Re: Automatic Tool Path Generation

From: Bert VandenBerg (
Date: Mon Feb 02 1998 - 17:34:16 EET

Brent Stucker wrote:
> I have heard about software packages that use STL files to generate tool
> paths automatically. Is anyone familiar with commercially available software
> that can be used for that purpose?
> What I need is a way to automatically create tool paths for finish machining
> (where you use RP to make a near-net shape part and CNC to finish the
> part to tolerance). I am working on an approach whereby you use SLS to
> create a part that is slightly larger than the desired final product and then use
> an STL file to create tools paths for finish machining. I can envision an
> approach where you could use a "beam-offset" method for creating the tool
> paths (much like you would use for laser beam width compensation on a SLS or
> SLA machine) and start out, say, 30 thousandths of an inch from the final
> desired dimensions and work in at 5 thousandths increments.
> If someone knows of some currently available tools that could help me out, I'd
> be appreciative. Otherwise, I'll have to create my own software tools.

I looked for this kind of capability at Autofact '97. Some programs you
might want
to look into:
Delcam's CopyMill/CopyCad programs
Cimitron's CAM systems
Tebis AG's Tebis 3.0

In my opinion all have good capabilities for importing, and machining
from facetted
models like STL or DXF files. They generally offer a variety of cutting
so that surface finish and machining time can be traded off as

Additionally some major CAM systems do 3axis machining from a facetted
model, but may
not be able to directly import a facetted model.

Hymarc makes a scanner, whose data can be easily polygonized. This
offers our customers
a route to CNC tooling that avoids the 'classic' surface reconstruction
step (thus my
interest in the subject).

Bert van den Berg                   E-mail:
Hymarc Ltd.                 
38 Auriga Dr., Unit 5                   Tel: (613) 727-1584
Ottawa, Ontario  K2E 8A5                Fax: (613) 727-0441

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