Hybrid Finishing 101

Mastercam X5 introduces a new cutting technique called Hybrid Finishing. The word “hybrid” has become more and more common: hybrid cars, hybrid bikes, even hybrid plants. But hybrid finishing? What is it, how does it work, and what can it do for you?

?What it is
Mastercam X5’s new Hybrid Finishing toolpath combines two separate, proven cutting techniques to provide faster programming and a better single-pass finish. The two techniques it combines are:

  • Constant Z cutting. Also called “waterline” cutting, this type of toolpath carries out its cutting pattern at a given depth with no up or down movement in Z, and then moves down to do the next level. Essentially a series of contour cuts, this technique is especially useful on high vertical walls or very steep surfaces where other techniques might leave a “stair step” look.?
??Constant Z cutting is excellent for steep-walled areas.?
  • Scallop machining. This high-speed machining technique measures its stepover in 3D as it moves along the surface, rather than parallel to the toolplane as other techniques do. The result is cut spacing that is maintained as the surface angle changes, creating a consistent scallop height. This technique is good for complex surface shapes that need a consistent finish.?

?Scallop machining maintains a consistent 3D stepover.

How it works
Just like a hybrid car switches between gas and electric as the situation demands, Hybrid Finishing switches between machining methods based on the shape of the part. Steep areas will be machined using constant Z cutting and shallower areas will be handled with scallop machining. The toolpath switches seamlessly between techniques and cuts in a logical optimized order.

Hybrid Finishing smoothly combines different cutting techniques for steep and shallow areas.

Since shops have their own preferences and best practices, the setup for this technique is flexible. You can set the “steep” and “shallow” values in a variety of ways, letting you dial in exactly how you want the software to perform. Or you can just go with the defaults that we used to test cut in our own shop.

What it can do for you?Hybrid Finishing can help streamline your programming. Instead of creating two separate toolpaths to achieve the same end, you can now do it with just one. Since Mastercam automatically creates smooth transitions between the techniques, you get a better finish off the machine. Give it a try!

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