With its mountain bike frame milled from solid stock, North Bucks Machining Ltd, based in Milton Keynes, UK, has created a new reference workpiece that demonstrates the many possibilities offered by the hyperMILL® CAM suite from OPEN MIND Technologies.
Engineer Steward Palmer introduced the hyperMILL® CAM system to his parents’ family business to make more efficient use of the company’s 5-axis machining centre. The extremely powerful machining strategies of the CAM software allowed him to realise his personal dream of developing his own weld-free and weight-optimised downhill mountain bike frame.
The main frame, seat post and swing arm are each milled from solid aluminium blocks. Here, Palmer took advantage of the roughing module in the hyperMILL® MAXX Machining performance package. The high-performance cutting (HPC) strategies allowed North Bucks Machining to achieve large stock removal volumes in the shortest time possible. Palmer explains: “Using hyperMILL®, we were able to machine the main frame in one hour and 30 minutes. In the past, this took two hours and 20 minutes. This is equivalent to a reduction of around 40 percent.”
An aluminium frame weighing less than 7kg was machined from raw material with a starting weight of 165kg. But this isn’t enough for Palmer: He now seeks to further enhance the design of the frame to reduce the overall weight to 5kg.
The finishing strategies offered by hyperMILL® were also very important as the bike frames produced by North Bucks Machining do not undergo secondary finishing operations. It’s only since calculating the toolpaths with the CAM software from OPEN MIND that the company has been able to achieve the desired surface finish.