Hot wire roughing of EPS is a process that we have developed in house. The video above pretty much explains it all! We built our robot system with this in mind and with the hot wire tool we can get the best of both worlds with machining and hot wire cutting. The time saved with hot wire roughing is enormous, and much less foam mess! The Robotic team designed the hot wire cutter to be used and mounted as any normal milling cutter would be. From here we used the one setup to both hot wire cut and then machine the foam away. Using SprutCAM robot we developed the techniques required to easily program this setup making the CAM programming fast and simple. The engineers went one step further and developed a very successful method of swarf extraction when milling foam with the robot. Robot milling extraction is decisively tricky due to the articulated nature of the robots movements and the restrictions that need to be placed on the extraction hose.
The image above shows stage one of the process completed. All the excess foam has been cut away with the robot hot wire tool. Stage 2, the machining now commences as the hot wire tool gets dropped and the milling cutter loaded in to the machining spindle. This combination of technologies can be used to add machined detail to ruled geometry. The ruled geometry can be cut with the hot wire cutter while the detail gets added with traditional milling using the robot.