Simple Rotary Modelling using 2D Toolpaths

Creating vectors for a basic column

This section will show how to create a simple column, using the profile and fluting toolpaths.

Start by creating a new rotary job. Please note that settings shown here are only an example and should be adapted to match your machine setup and available material.

In this example the blank will rotate around X axis. We will refer to it as the rotation axis. The axis that will be wrapped is the Y axis. We will refer to it as the wrapped axis. That means that the top and bottom boundaries of the 2D workspace will actually coincide. We will refer to them as the wrapped boundaries.

First, create the cove vectors using Draw Line/Polyline tool. Those will run along the wrapped axis at both ends of the design. Snapping may be useful to ensure that the created line starts and ends at the wrapped boundaries.

In this example the coves were placed 1 inch from the job boundaries, leaving 10 inches in the middle for the flutes. The flutes will run along rotation axis. Assuming 0.5 inch gap between the cove and the beginning of the flute, the flutes will have the length of 9 inches. This example will use 8 flutes.

To start, create a line parallel to rotation axis that is 9 inches long. Now select the created flute vector and then select one of the cove vectors while holding down Shift. Then use Copy Along Vectors tool to create 9 copies. The original flute vector may now be removed as it is no longer necessary. Note that first and last copy are both created on wrapped boundaries. That means they will coincide, so one of them can be removed. As the last step select all flute vectors and press F9 to place them in the center of design.

Creating rotary toolpaths

The process of creating 2D rotary toolpaths is very similar to creating toolpaths for Single - and Double - models. This example will use the profile toolpath on the cove vectors. To create the toolpath, select the cove vectors and click on the Profile Toolpath from

To create the toolpath for the flutes, select the flute vectors and click on the Fluting Toolpath. This Example used a 1 inch 90deg V-Bit set to Flute Depth 0.2 and using the Ramp at Start and End and Ramp Type Smooth options. Ramp length was set to 0.25 inches. Both toolpaths can be seen below.

Toolpath for coves of the column
Toolpath for flutes of the column

Simulating and saving toolpaths

It is time to simulate toolpaths using Preview Toolpaths. If the option to animate the preview is selected, the simulation will be visualized in flat mode. Once the simulation is complete, the wrapped rotary view will be turned back on automatically.

Contrary to single - and double - sided simulation, rotary simulation is not 100% accurate. For example round holes will appear in rotary view as oval ones, but obviously will be round when part is actually machined.

Although the design can be considered to be finished, in practice it is useful to be able to cut-out the remaining stock. This can be realized by making the design slightly longer and adding profile cuts. In this example the blank length was extended by 2 inches using the Job Setup . Existing vectors can be recentered using F9After that the existing toolpaths have to be recalculated.

The cut-out vectors can be created in the same way as cove vectors. Two extra profiling toolpaths can be created using the suitable End Mill. In this example we used a tab with a 0.5 inch diameter. In order to achieve that, the user can type the following in the Cut Depth box: z-0.25 and then press = and the software will substitute the result of the calculation. Variable 'z' used in the formula will be substituted by the radius of the blank automatically by software. It is also important to specify Machine Vectors Outside/Right or Machine Vectors Inside/Left as appropriate. The cut-out toolpaths and the resulting simulation can been shown below.

Cut-out toolpaths in 2D view
Finished part after adding cut-out toolpaths

The final step is to save the toolpaths in a format acceptable by your machine. Use the Save Toolpaths and select the wrapped post-processor matching your machine.


Tools and values presented in this example are for illustrative purposes only. Size of tools, feed rate, tabs diameter etc. have to be adapted to the material and machine used to ensure safe and accurate machining.

Spiral toolpaths

This section will explain how to create and simulate spiral toolpaths.

One way of thinking about spiral toolpaths is to imagine a long, narrow strip of fabric. Such a strip can be wrapped around a roll at a certain angle. In order to create a toolpath that wraps around the blank multiple times, one can create a long vector at a certain angle. Such a vector is an equivalent to the strip of fabric when it is unwrapped from the roll.

Although such a toolpath will exceed the 2D workspace of the rotary job, thanks to the wrapping process during both simulation and machining the toolpath will actually stay within material boundaries.

The most crucial part of designing spiral vectors is to determine the right angle and length of the line that would result in a given number of wraps. Suppose one would like to modify a simple column design to use spiral flutes, rather than parallel to rotation axis. The following example will use flutes wrapping 3 times each, but the method can be adapted to any other number.

All but one of the existing flute vectors can be removed. Select the Draw Line/Polyline and start a new line by clicking at one end of the existing flute. This line needs to be made along the wrapped axis with the length being 3 times the circumference of the job. In this example that means typing 90 into the Angle box and typing y * 3 into the Length box and pressing =. If the wrapped axis is not the Y axis, but rather the X axis, then the above formula should be x * 3.

Now one can simply draw a line connecting to the other end of the original flute vector and the newly created one. Using Copy Along Vectors tool this single flute may be copied in the way described earlier. In this example 4 spiral flutes were created, as can be seen below.

Vectors used to create spiral flutes
Spiral toolpaths in flat view

Once the flute vectors are ready, the toolpath can be created again using the Fluting Toolpath. An important thing to note, is the difference between the appearance of spiral toolpaths in the wrapped and flat view. By clicking on Auto Wrapping one can switch from wrapped rotary view to flat view and back again.

As can be seen above, in the flat view the toolpaths will follow the vectors and extend beyond the job boundaries. On the other hand the wrapped view, presented below, will display the toolpaths spiralling around the blank.

This was just a brief overview of general 2D workflow for rotary machining. Remember to also take a look at video tutorials dedicated to rotary machining, which are accessible from the Tutorial Video Browser link when the application first starts.