Optimize Secondary Processes with 3D Programming

Efficiently utilize the expanded functionalities of 3D tube machines with Mazak's FX Tube software

By Tim O’Donnell, Software Supervisor at Mazak Optonics Corp.

As with 2D laser processing, enhancements in 3D tube processing for machine tools continues as well. Machines are no longer just cutting tube or structural material, but they are now capable of handling additional processes such as tapping, thermal drilling, and ergonomic features such as assisting in part sorting for the machine operator on the unload side. All making the machine a more capable and efficient instrument for fabricators.

Programming in FX Tube has made it easy for fabricators to program these functions in Mazak’s FT-150 FIBER.

Programming Secondary Operations

For tapping, it is first necessary to determine the pre-hole size that the software should detect to allow the tap to be applied. 

The same is true for thermal drilling, as shown in Figure 2.

FX Tube is also configured to cut a pre-hole (tapping) or not (thermal drilling), as shown in Figure 3 and Figure 4, respectively. 

While the software is already configured for tapping and thermal drilling, FX TUBE offers ease-of-use and flexibility by allowing users to make adjustments as needed.

Making Adjustments

When creating a part, users can set the hole to the pre-hole size required. If importing a part in, users can use the  Edit the Imported Tube  function to modify the hole size to match the software requirements.

After applying tool path, users can then select the tap or thermal drill for each feature. 

The FX TUBE’s simulation capabilities allow users to see the operation being performed and help verify that the NC program output will function as required.

Part Sorting

Similar to tapping and drilling, the FT-150 FIBER can further assist operators by sorting parts in the 4.5 meter (14.76’) unload station.

In Tube Designer, after applying tool path, assign the unload station where the machine should unload parts. For short parts, under 700mm (27.559”), there are four unload positions. For long parts, over 700mm (27.559”), there are two unload positions. 

The inputted data will stay embedded on the part and in the FX TUBE programming software when generating the simulation and NC program. This data will then also be used for the unloading of the part. By setting the simulation build to "manual" for unloading, the software will determine the individual unload stations for each part and unload it there automatically. 

As outlined above, programming software—like Mazak’s FX Tube—makes it easy for fabricators to efficiently utilize the expanded functionalities of their 3D tube machine.

For additional assistance, please contact the Mazak Software Department at 1-888-MAZAK-US.

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About Mazak Optonics Corporation

Mazak Optonics Corporation is a major supplier of laser-cutting systems, offering 50 laser models and leading the industry in the implementation of emerging laser technologies. The company’s 50,000 sq. ft. North American Headquarters are located in Elgin, Illinois, and feature a 30,000 sq. ft. laser technology center housing up to 18 machines for demonstrations and training. Mazak Optonics is part of Yamazaki Mazak Corporation (Oguchi, Japan), the global leader for the manufacture of machine tools and systems for the precision machining of metal parts, including CNC turning centers, horizontal and vertical machining centers, Multi-Tasking machining centers, turnkey cells and software solutions. The North American Headquarters for Yamazaki Mazak are located in Florence, Kentucky. For more information on Mazak Optonics’ products and solutions, visit www.mazakoptonics.com, email sales@mazaklaser.com or call 847.252.4500.