Re: Machining of stl-files

From: Ir. J.W. Gunnink (
Date: Thu Apr 10 2003 - 15:13:57 EEST

Dear all,

Regarding the question Rohit Kumar posted to the list on machining
STL-files please read our point of view. If you are not interest at all
milling delete the message but you then ignore one of the best RT
technologies at the present moment for real plastic injection moulding
and die casting. All the answers can be found more extensive in a
downloadable paper from our website:

Tool path accuracy problem resulting from triangulatio:
When a STL-file is outputted with a tolerance of e.g. 0.001 mm then
theoratically you can mill a geometry with this accuracy. But as the
most of you know a CAM system is also using a calculation tolerance.
Normally we use 0.005 mm for that. When you have your milling (HS-)
proces totally under control you can reach this kind of accuracies but a

small change in diameter of cuttertools will effect this. Normally we
guarantee 0.01 mm on this. So the problem is not at all in the STL file
or the CAM system. That is all just maths by calculating with good
algorithmes. Output the geometry in a fine enough tolerance (0.001 mm)
and calculate with the right tolerance (0.005 mm) and have your milling
proces in control and you will be fine. As you can read in our study on
this subject it is even better to use STL-files directly to calculate
on! Allmost all CAM systems do that internally anyhow, but they don't
tell you as you then become afraid of inaccuracies and SLA like
geometries with staircases etc.

An extra remark we like to make is on speed for tool path generation and

This is normally exactly the same as using "conventional IGES rubbish".
As you can read in our study, most of the CAM
systems use triangulated data internally anyhow. But now there is
something very good on the market to make life easier with respect to
(HS-)milling for moulds and dies. That is PowerMILL-AutoCAM. Have a look

for more information at This is really one-push-button
milling for high quality moulds without knowledge needed as really all
technology (cuttertool databases with all technology for speeds and
feeds, depth/width of cut etc) is already in the system. Just like our
Actua-MJM machine: plug and mill! After importing your mould geometry
the system is chosing cuttertools, feeds, speed, depth and with of cut,
strategies it self on a reliable basis. It will also tell you what the
smallest detail is it can mill so that you know that you need to do some

small detailling yourself with EDM or really exotic milling strategies.
So no more looking in catalogues or calculating n=1000*V/(3.14*D),
f=fz*z*n etc.

The only thing you have to do is import your geometry, chose the
blockmaterial, chose the machine and the reference plain and push the

This kind of developments will speed up developments on RT more and

When some one wants to know more or wants to comments: be free

All the best from Holland

Jan Willem

Ir. Jan Willem Gunnink
Senior Project Manager
TNO Industrial Technology
Dept. of Industrial Prototyping
De Rondom 1
P.O.Box 6235
5600 HE Eindhoven
The Netherlands
Work: +31-40-2650609
Fax: +31-40-2650769
Cellular: +31-6-20353750
Visit us at:

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