Freesteel Blog » Another day another “revolutionary” new roughing strategy

Another day another “revolutionary” new roughing strategy

Monday, December 17th, 2012 at 4:54 pm Written by:

Does this look familiar?

This one from EdgeCam got under the radar.

It seems it was released last month, or maybe earlier in the year.

It does not appear to have implemented retract steps yet — a feature we had from the start in our original 2004 Adaptive Clearing development — but the pitch of the initial clearing spiral is variable, which shows it’s on the right track.

At some point we’ll have enough of these “unique” “revolutionary” cutting strategies for an independent agency to really help us out by properly benchmarking them against one another and publishing the results. That way everyone would know where their weaknesses lay and what to focus development on.

As it is now, with all the different software companies building their own implementations of this fluke cutting technique, and falsely marketing them as though nothing like it exists anywhere else in the world, we are experiencing an extraordinary amount of wasted energy.

The waste is in the form of machinists waiting for unnecessarily inefficient and buggy implementations to complete the calculations, because the developers don’t get the crucial feedback they need to make cheap and substantial improvements in the software, and in the form of developers unwittingly working on areas of the code that are have no benefit to the end user.

That’s quite aside to the unbelievable waste by certain companies sinking their finite resources into pointless patents rather than improving their code.

The Adaptive Clearing is on my mind because we have been spending what feels like months working on toolpath reordering and the multicore version of the algorithm.

The reordering algorithm was worked out on the long train back from Copenhagen, and it’s quite simple. I’ll write it up at some point. And the multicore is something that Anthony wants. He’s promised to make one of his nifty videos where he demonstrates the algorithm using a sit-on lawnmower if we ever get it finished. That’s what’s keeping me motivated when I am losing the will to push on after one too many of these queues of queuing threads hangs and everything is completely broken for a couple of days. What a great idea: take an algorithm that’s already too complicated and make it four times more complex. I’m sure it will work out. Maybe.


  • 1. Jared replies at 17th December 2012, 11:32 pm :

    I am surprised that this algorithm has not been duplicated in the academic world, unless maybe I have missed it. Since there are no good open source implementations this seems like the next best thing, although I am sure it would prompt more interations of the algorithm.

  • 2. HDH replies at 18th December 2012, 3:39 am :

    Also it would be nice to compile a list of CAM vendors and whose machining modules they are using. The majority seems to be using Moduleworks, Machineworks and Volumill. Though some like hypermill with there 5axis contour offset machining seem to be something no one else is offering.

  • 3. Julian replies at 19th December 2012, 9:00 am :

    This touches on a long-running campaign of mine — there needs to be an independent agency that benchmarks all the different CAM software and provides a technical report which everyone (customers and suppliers) can trust. Only this way will we know who’s doing well, and who needs to improve and in what areas. Such benchmarking is not undertaken within the CAM software companies in my experience, so we as developers do not have a clue if we are succeeding.

    Such benchmarking would also establish who was licensing which software from whom, as it would be evident in the equivalence of the output.

    I had wondered who could organize this agency (it cannot be the software companies themselves as they have a conflict of interest and have failed to organize this in decades). Likewise, the large consumers of CAM have failed to run cutting trials and publish the results in all the time I have been working. One agency that could organize it the Department of Defence — as a service to their suppliers, just to let them know.

    As to funding it, there are all sorts of government research grants which could be diverted into something this beneficial. And there’s even more money in the form of “research tax credits” given to highly profitable companies like Autodesk that from what I can see is entirely wasted — unless I can identify some strings attached to it, which I haven’t so far.

    Anyway, this requires a full post when I have done the research.

  • 4. anders replies at 22nd December 2012, 6:14 pm :

    The commercial companies never publish exactly what algorithm or geometric method they are using, so it’s very hard to say if there are papers and/or open-source code out there for any particular toolpath.
    The closest I’ve come so far to an adaptive pocketing algorithm is with a “medial-axis-pocketing” strategy in my openvoronoi library. These videos that illustrate the current status:

    This is completely input-geometry driven, not a cutting-simulation that is updated as we proceed cutting the part (as adaptive clearing that Julian has described here).


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