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Optimize machining using barrel mills in NX CAM software

Siemens Phenom Siemens Phenom
Siemens Phenom

Barrel cutting tools are being used more and more by manufacturers because of the unique advantages they offer. These tools, with effective radius between 50 and 1000+ mm, help you achieve the desired scallop height with less cutting passes. This can shorten machining time, while improving surface finish.


Barrel cutting tools are used for various machining operations, including finishing of flat and slightly curved walls, as well as deburring. NX CAM software supports programming using barrel mills enabling you to improve your machining efficiency.


 barrel tool 1.pngbarrel tool 2.1.jpg


This tech tip explains the best practices about using barrel mills and it also highlights some of the new functionality in NX CAM 12.0.2.


Below, we will describe how to define barrel cutting tools and how to use these tools for NC programming.  


Barrel tool definition


In NX CAM 12.0.2, we added a new tool type, Tangent Barrel, which simplifies the user interface.  As shown in the example below, the new settings enable you to easily define and use barrel mills for NC programming.


 barrel tool 3.0.jpg.pngbarrel tool 3.1.png


Note that in the older versions of NX, you can define these tools as ‘BARREL’ or ‘MILL_10_PARAMETER’ but it requires some settings that are not always obvious from the vendor catalogs. 


Taper barrel mill tool needs to be defined using a ‘MILL_10_PARAMETER’


barrel tool 4.png


Note: MILL_10_PARAMETER does not allow to define the upper fillet, so the tool shape follows the untrimmed corner. This fillet is not a recommended working area of the tool and this representation assures we are always on the safe side. Note that this is not a functional limitation.


To help you find the key settings, we’ve created the attached NX part (.prt) file:


part file 5.jpgTaper barrel to 10 params Tool Conversion 12.0.2

User fills in the data from the vendor catalog into the expressions (blue), and it will generate a solid body of the tool with 3 PMIs to be used in the CAM tool definition. Follow the green arrows to set those correctly when building the 10 parameters tool.


In future releases, we are planning to add a new tool type in NX to simplify the definition of these tools.


Using data provided by Fraisa, we created some of their tools in NX:


barrel tool 6.png


These predefined tools let you browse and select a tool:


barrel tool 7.pngFraisa Taper Barrel tools.prt


Attached prt contains several tools defined in NX.


NC programming using barrel cutting tools


NX CAM software supports barrel mills in Surface Contouring (Fixed and Variable Axis) for long time.  In Variable Axis, it is recommended to use the “Swarf Drive” option:


 barrel tool 8.png


Set the tilt angle as recommended by the vendor (α/2): 


barrel tool 9.0.jpgCourtesy Franken Expert Tool Catalogbarrel tool 9.1.png

With appropriate increase / decrease of the tilt angle, you can control the contact point on the tool (Ring Height):


Tilt angle = 18 Deg – Contact closer to tip

Tilt angle =15 Deg – Nominal Angle

Tilt angle =10 Deg – contact closer to shaft

 tiltangle1.png  tiltangle2.png  tiltangle3.png


Starting with NX CAM 12.0.2, the Multi-Blade Blade Finish operation was optimized to support these tools for blisk machining.


The Guiding Curves capability in the next release will be expanded to support barrel mills. The user will be able to directly control the Ring Height, Swarf angle and use Tilt tool axis for avoidance and smoothing. We will make it available through the Early Adaptors Program (EAP).  In future, we will develop a set of operations targeted to machine pockets using barrel mill tools.


Please contact me directly at if you need more information.


Before you go, check out this new two minute video made by our friends at Fehlmann AG and FRAISA.  The video shows a nice machining cut that highlights the Adaptive Milling toolpath as well as 5 axis finishing with a barrel tool -- using NX CAM software!


Eddy Finaro
NX CAM Product Manager
Siemens PLM
Solution Partner Phenom Solution Partner Phenom
Solution Partner Phenom

Hi @Eddy_Finaro

if you can check also ER 9291443 (I added request for other shapes Ive recently met)

Gears Esteemed Contributor Gears Esteemed Contributor
Gears Esteemed Contributor

Where is the "attached part" you refer to?

Siemens Phenom Siemens Phenom
Siemens Phenom

 The original attachments did not went through. Zipped those and added them to the article. there are two prts. one containing a bunch of Fraisa tangent barrel tools with Fraisa names. the second allows you to find the "tough parameters"  when describing the tangent barrel as a 10 parameters tool (X2, Y2 and FL).

both were created and saved with 12.0.2.


Sorry for the glitch,



Hi @Eddy_Finaro

Pls, share any program generated the model.



like this anyone.





Solution Partner Creator Solution Partner Creator
Solution Partner Creator


Some tools are not created.

How can we solve this problem?


There are two samples in the below.

I can create the No.2 but I cannot create the No.1.


NO.α/2ø d1r1r2r3l2l1ø d2 h6Z
Solution Partner Genius Solution Partner Genius
Solution Partner Genius



The link below is for a Quickgrind catalogue.


If I am correct the Barrel Radius to be entered in NX is 250.0 mm, it is referred to as the Flute Radius.

NX will not let me use a radius greater than 232 so I should be logging this with GTAC?


barrel Tool.png