Project Description

This project involved designing and manufacturing an aluminum part using NX CAD/CAM and a CNC machining center. The part contains a complex surface and involved two set-ups to complete.

Takeaways and Skills Developed

  • Designing for manufacture
  • Optimizing CAM to reduce time and number of operations
  • CNC machining
    • Preparing and operating a CNC machining center
    • Using multiple set-ups to complete a part


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CAD modeling

I modeled my part using Siemens NX. I designed the part for CNC manufacturing by keeping all features machinable by standard sized tools.

Computer Aided Manufacturing

Using the NX CAM interface, I created a manufacturing program to safely machine the part. Tool paths were designed to avoid problematic operations such as full width cuts and generate a smooth, high quality surface finish.

CNC Manufacturing

Once exported as G-code, I used the CAM program to operate a CNC machine to create this part. I used two set-ups in my manufacturing. The first set up machined out the cross and complex geometry, the second set up removed the excess material left on the back of the part.

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Identifying Machining Error

On the completed part, a little step was machined onto the back of the part during the second set-up. This was due to some misalignment when preparing for the second machining operation. This taught me the importance of extremely diligent and careful tolerancing when using extremely accurate CNC machines.

Final Product

The finished part was of high quality and possesses a smooth, undulating surface as modeled. Achieving that level of smoothness required accurate surface modeling and machining with a small ball end-mill.

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