Holding Tabs

If possible I like to have some tabs, holding the piece that I am cutting out to the block that I am cutting from.  For a while I was searching for a CAM program that would add these tabs for me, like Visual Mill.  Now I realize, after watching some MadCam training videos that I can do this myself in my drawing software.  What follows is an outline of the steps for reference.

For Cutting Out Two Sided Models
Command Names are underlined

  • Bounding Box around Model
  • Rectangle around top of box looking down top view
  • Move Faces out to leave room to machine around model (Needs to be large enough to clamp down the work lets say .25 min better .5 inches.  Also leave room for the bit to do a profile all the way around.
  • Offset the rectangle you drew so you have room to cut around actual model, need a gap bigger then cutting bit
  • Extrude Curve through the work piece
  • Boolean difference to leave gap
  • Make your tabs on the side somewhere .2 long by .1 high works well
  • Snap to the tab to curve in the gap made above with the boolean difference
  • Transform array around the curve number of tabs you want.
  • Make a surface to separate the top and bottom of the model

The last step is only needed if you are going to do two sided milling like the video.  This works well enough for 2D machining however a simple 2D profile down will take no notice of the tabs and just cut them right off.  3D operations from above, at least with MadCam will see the tabs and cut around them.

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