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Revolutionizing hoist drum production: how Mastercam CAM software boosted efficiency by 83% at 3D-Machine, Inc.

3 min read

Digital manufacturing solutions cut production time by 83 percent with Mastercam's CAD/CAM software for 3D-Machine, Inc.

Learn how 3D-Machine, Inc. used the Mastercam CAM toolpath solution to turn 40 hours + for machine setup, tooling, and machining into 7 hours.

One of the challenges owner and operator of 3D-Machine, Inc. Sam Roberts was finding a solution that allowed for precision and reduced production time, specifically in machining a 212-foot indentation onto a sizable hoist drum.

The fully equipped machine shop has expertise in precise milling and turning of components with weights ranging from a fraction of an ounce to 30,000 pounds. It serves various industries such as hydro and nuclear power, automotive, aerospace, communications, and medical. 3D-Machine currently utilizes advanced software tools like Mastercam Mill, Mastercam Lathe, and Mastercam Wire to carry out its operations.

Moreover, the company actively contributes to the improvement of Mastercam by participating in the Beta Program and providing valuable user feedback for the upcoming release. Roberts values the software for its impressive capabilities and extensive range of toolpaths.

“It took us seven hours to put in this groove, which if you laid out in a straight line would measure 212 linear feet,” said Roberts. “We had to use a mill and a rotary to make rough, then finish the part. We did the deburr on a VTL in seven hours. It’s just beautiful.”

The team at 3D-Machine successfully manufactured a carbon steel component designed for a cable reel. The part features a pitch of 0.9375 inches and a radius of 0.406 inches. The customer achieved the desired specifications, a 12mm (0.4724 inches) button tool was utilized for roughing and finishing operations. Since 3D-Machine produced the chain, the deburring process was seamlessly integrated during manufacturing.

This particular component, a hoist drum, is utilized for lifting or lowering loads using a wire rope or cable. Given its large size, the drum was machined using a large Vertical Turret Lathe (VTL). However, it is essential to note that the chosen toolpath is not limited to vertical machining and can be effortlessly performed on a horizontal lathe.

To guarantee precise shaping according to their requirements, Roberts and his team depend on Verify, a feature provided by Mastercam. Verify helps programmers avoid tool collisions by allowing them to verify for potential damage, examine the part's final shape, and visualize the inclusion of fixtures through its simulation screen. This capability enhances productivity and enables them to address issues before cutting the parts.

According to Roberts, "Mastercam provides us with the opportunity to undertake projects that would be impossible for other machine shops. Over the years, we have successfully manufactured several parts that would have been beyond our capabilities without the CAD/CAM software."

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Our solutions


Reduce production time required to machine a 212-foot groove onto a large hoist drum




Lathe Custom Thread toolpath supports custom thread forms and expands support for modeling chucks and chuck jaws.

The toolpath streamlines and simplifies programming workflow.

Mastercam Verify prevents tool collisions by letting programmers check for gouges and view part shapes and fixtures on a simulation screen.

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