Inventor HSM Pro and Quality Control

This won’t be a long post today but it will be one I have wanted to make for a couple of months now. It revolves around a topic dear to me and that is just how does your software supplier of choice vet what he does before you see it. Privileged information will drive you nuts sometimes as there are cool things you know but have been asked to not talk about. It is the price you pay to be taken into confidence.

Autodesk is a paradox to me in this regard. They are an odd mix of things to talk about and then not doing so. One of these is just how do they determine that the code for HSM is improving and worthwhile? I don’t know how many actual chip cutting users they keep in contact with who do testing and then report back. On the Inventor side of things it is a bit fledgling so the community in all it’s aspects is not quite in place yet. I believe that in the next few months it will be so up to and including the regular almost weekly at times updates the SW HSM guys have been getting for years now. And I expect the increasing participation of users in the soon to be regularly scheduled beta releases and in feedback from actual achieved results in the field.

I am fascinated with the concept of High Speed Machining. Even though it has been in use here for over a year it still seems a bit magical when it is set up and cut loose. Things have to be right though when doing this because at these speeds and feeds every problem from eccentric tool holding and unbalanced tool holders to software algorithms is amplified and proper conditions make the difference between success and failure. Since Al W was so kind as to mention “The Spike” in the following video I figure I can talk about one of the tools used by HSM and Autodesk to verify the validity of what they are doing with the Adaptive and other I assume tool paths in HSM. Information on the spike is found at I would have to think there must be some equipment somewhere they might be using this Spike on to so I would conjecture a machine lab of some sort or at the least access to machines somewhere here in the states where they verify the software with chips.

If what I have observed in person in my shop is any indication, and I have both current versions of Volumill and HSM to play with so I can form a pretty good idea of real results, HSM is winning the high speed machining AND the ease of use war. These people are serious about what they do and make real efforts to put field tested productive tools into your hands.

5 responses to “Inventor HSM Pro and Quality Control

  1. Hi Dave,
    High speed machining is kind of fascinating to watch. Well its a big step up from watching grey paint dry and of course quite a major jump from observing Siemens marketing department in action.
    What always has me somewhat alarmed is the table movement. I imagine it wears much faster and therefore looses precision but hey I am not a machinist.
    Is there any facility to limit the speed of the cut in relation to the mass of the stock and fixtures, thinking of the table acceleration, inertia etc?
    Sorry if that’s a dumb CAD monkey question 🙂

    • Hi Neil,
      Hey you slipped in here under the radar on me!
      Table travel capacity on my mill is rated at a 3000#. In general with vices and work pieces I bet I don’t get above 300# accumulated weight very often so the mills are built to take it for quite some time. The increase in profit with faster parts completion, the reduction in tools to be stocked and the increase in tool life far outweigh some eventual increase in maintenance.

      On my mill the rapids travel when not cutting is I believe 1000 IPM and top cutting speed is 610 IPM. This is determined by limits on the servos and the ball screw pitch and engineers who calculate what will be a prudent compromise between durability and cost to manufacture and productivity in output. There are mills out there now with 2,000+ IPM travel but they cost gobs of money too. In addition through research there are accepted speeds and feeds for cutters. I have never gone above around 400 IPM for cutting and these parameters are set in the CAM plan output which then tell the mill what to do.

      I would have to think though that with 3000# on the table it all has to slow down during acceleration.

      HA, grey paint is real, Solid Edge is real but Siemens marketing is not so what are you talking about?

  2. I guess what I am saying is that if the cutting tool action is maximised/optimised shouldn’t the table motion be managed too? ie. accelerometer feedback? dunno…

  3. I’d love to know if there are people like you out there who have compared HSM’s Adaptive Clearing to MasterCAM’s, Gibbs & EdgeCAM’s equivalent strategies. I’m working on a customer local to me, who uses a current version of EdgeCAM, hopefully he will be open minded enough to try HSM machining and back to back to two products. He has a Fanuc Robodrill, so a great little machine to High Speed Machine with.

    • Scott,
      I can’t speak for anything other than Volumill and HSM Adaptive. In my case I have found Adaptive to be simpler to create tool paths with and also quicker on times due to reduced tool path length. Perhaps others will speak up here about what they have found to.

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