Cad Cam Development

Basic 3C UGS NX CAM tutorial

Mug model that is going to be milled

Mug model that is going to be milled

This artice shows how to generate basic 3C CNC paths and start animation of milling. I work with a mug model that was downloaded for grabCad.

There are two parts of the article. The first one presents some comments on the UGS 3C milling process and 3C milling problems to  consider and second is video I’ve recorded for you from UGS that visualizes the creation of whole process step by step so that you can repeat it by clicking it out on your computer.

Comments on the milling process

All in one you need have to is to fulfill following checkpoints:

  1. Open UGS with your selected cad model. Alternatively if you don’t have any model and want just train than download it from grabCad
  2. Change your UGS application runtime mode to manufacturing
  3. Create a new program
  4. Create a new Operation
  5. Create a new geometry. Be carefull here. Make sure that you selected manufacturing coordinate system to your model coordinate system. Otherwise you have to provide appropriate mapping so that the milling machine could work and mill your product

    Milling parameters

  6. Specify Part. Select your model’s part. Just simply click it out from model.
  7. Specify blank. Please leave it blank if you don’t need at CNC path creation time. Once paths are generated UGS will ask you to specify blank part. This creates an axis aligned bounding box of your model.
  8. Specify check. Select all parts of model that you are going to mill, mostly preferably is you whole model, so click select all.
  9. specify cut area. Select all parts of your model to be milled.
  10. Tool. Create tool with appropriate parameters. You can move a tool out of the model (as I show in the movie) to have your tool visualized and visible and easier change tool dimensions. The shape of milling tool depends on your model needs. The bottom of the mug is flat so I use a ball mill tool.
  11. Play with other arguments like single depth cut and see how it’s performing on milling paths. Once you’re completed click verify and start simulation

Comments on the general 3C milling process

  1. The shape of the milling tool
    • There are different types of tool types in UGS and in reality which you can use in milling. Please remember that you cannot drive toroidal (MILL in UGS) milling tool over flat surface from top (see mill and face mill photos below). The toroidal tool always comes sideways to prevent severe damages to tool, material and milling machine.
    • Once you’re preforming a CNC simulation make sure that you provide a sufficiently long tool so that there will be no contact of head of CNC machine with your product because your machine will crash right then. Suppose there is no possibility of providing proper tool rotate your model coordinate axes so that short tool can easily mill your product.
    • You always  have to perform contact simulation before milling!  This is indispensable part of your machining process that will spare you some 200 000 $ (avarage price of 3C CNC milling machine). This kind of contact simulations can be done in UGS and I promise you a post in future.
    • The table below presents some of the most popular tools used in milling with their names in UGS. UGS does also provide a versatile tools library. Don’t forget to provide detailed tool information so that paths could be generated efficiently

  2. UGS tool name Sample tool image

    Basic toroidal milling tool


    Ball mill tool


    Face mill tool


    Carrier milling tool

    Carrier milling tool

  3. UGS limitations
    • Area mill zig patterns do not consider boundary conditions
    • Area mill follow-periphery patterns are not well-behaved in steep/shallow  surface combinations
  4. Milling speed considerations
  5. It takes about 15 minutes to generate paths and visualize the milling process on mine video below. Note, that I created only one step milling process. I haven’t distinguished the rough milling process and finishing milling process. Rough milling process can be done with a tool of grater diameter and much faster than the finishing  process. So this video is only experimental and in real world applications you need to split your process into several: for instance: rough milling, than finishing milling. If you want to have other object axis milled you need to rotate your model axes and so on.

  6. General shape of paths
  7. There are different general shapes of paths creation process for instance: Zig, Zig-Zag, Trochoidal and so on. Take it into consideration and choose best one for your situation. For example: it is bad to choose Zig-Zag for fragile material because fast hard(carbon) milling tool can corrupt your material at edges.

  8. How can I mill the mug handler?
  9. As you can see on the movie below the tool normal axis was along the height of the mug. In order to proceed with milling of all the mug you need to perform 2nd stage milling. That is achieved by rotating model coordinate axes so that handle of the mug would be perpendicular to the Z-tool normal axis. This will finish up your machining process and your mug will be done so that you can present your chef.

Video step by step guide I’ve recorded in UGS:


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  1. * tay says:

    Thanks for that tutorial. I just started using NX6 and found the website to have many interesting articles, tutorials, and models. I hope you find it helpful also!

    | Reply Posted 6 years, 3 months ago

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