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noviembre 26, 2008

WorkNC revives the ancient skills of the Japanese armorer

The most widely recognized element of traditional Japanese armor worn by Samurai warriors is the ornate helmet, the ‘Kabuto’. Adorned with family crests, sculptures and mythical images, the Kabuto has symbolic significance in Japanese culture. TOMCO, a Japanese company specializing in high speed CNC machining manufactured a scale model of a Kabuto to demonstrate its expertise using Sescoi’s WorkNC CAM/CAD software.

Starting with an original Kabuto, the TOMCO engineers captured the shape with a laser 3D scan before manipulating the model in CATIA V5, ready for CNC programming in WorkNC. Working from a solid block, they used WorkNC’s powerful roughing, semi-finishing and finishing routines to machine the intricate details on the outside of the helmet, taking account of the available tooling and the capabilities of the machine tool itself. Repeating the process on the inside of the Kabuto required the use of WorkNC’s Auto 5 automated 5-axis toolpaths. These enabled the machine to reach deep into the helmet using the shortest possible cutters for rigidity while avoiding collisions between the machine, the job, the tool and its holder. The machining video showing the process and WorkNC’s high speed machining techniques can be seen at http://www.tomco-web.co.jp/01_news.html

The Kabuto is the latest in the series of stunning showpiece items machined by Japanese WorkNC users. Sescoi worked in collaboration with CAMbrain Co Ltd to manufacture a ‘robot hand’ from a solid aluminum block on a Mori Seiki 5-axis machining center, while engineers from the Kawanami Ironworks won the Gold prize in the Die and Mold Machining section of Mori Seiki’s Cutting Dream Competition Awards 2007 with a ‘silver jacket’ machined from 5052 aluminum. The three showpiece items demonstrate the skills of the Japanese engineers and the capabilities of WorkNC. All the parts required collision free 5-axis toolpaths to make it possible to cut the extremely complex shapes and precision to produce the fine detail and achieve the exceptional surface finish.

The Kabuto had pride of place on Sescoi’s stand at the recent JIMTOF show and drew in a large number of visitors who were fascinated by the detail and complexity of the model. European engineers will be able to see the Kabuto for themselves and catch a glimpse of Japanese culture by visiting Sescoi at EuroMold in Hall 8 stand F22.


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