For many employing nesting software the process to produce a quality beveled part evolves from days or even weeks of trial and error. Despite wasted time and a high scrap the part is still likely to require extensive manual clean-up. Beveling can include a variety of applications – each with a unique set of challenges. Additionally, thermal cutting, abrasive cutting, and machining all have a completely different set of considerations when performing bevel cuts on plate, tube, wood, composites, and so on. Regardless of how simple or complex the part is the process requires experience and a thorough understanding of machine and material.
Issues & Best Practices
What makes the bevel so different from a traditional 90 degree cut? At any given time at least three, and sometimes four, variables are always in play: feed rate, tilt angle, kerf offset, and sometimes arc voltage. Each must be held within tight parameters for a successful bevel cut. The process can be overwhelming for even the most veteran programmer.
Nesting Software and Better Beveling
SigmaTEK’s Services Group has worked with a number of fabricators running every conceivable cutting machine and nesting software to establish a beveling process that is both reliable and sustainable. “Cutting machines are all different and each comes with specific OEM recommendations for operating,” said Sr. Project Manager, Bruce Renfro. “In addition, the material being cut and even the manufacturing environment itself will have a surprisingly strong influence.” Material type, grade, and thickness are certainly no mystery to the fabricator; but the manufacturing environment is often overlooked with regard to its impact on cutting in general and beveling in particular.
A manufacturing environment can include a wide variety of sometimes unrelated factors and conditions. For example is beveling being performed on a wet or dry table? Each has its own set of best practices. A few basic steps that can be taken to better ensure quality include:
- Regular replacement of consumables.
- Pressurized air tanks should be charged. Care should be taken to ensure that air pumped to the machine is clean and pollutant-free.
- Before each shift inspect and adjust the torch as needed.
- Deviations to tolerances can slowly develop and manifest over time to affect cut quality. Machine calibration should be checked and corrected periodically.
Because machines are all different, CAD/CAM nesting software post processors are written with specific machines and applications in mind. Still some level of customization is generally recommended. Renfro refers to the process as dialing in a machine. “It’s generally recommended to calibrate posts for all cutting processes but especially for beveling. We work with new bevel customers to synchronize all of the aforementioned variables and conditions in order to achieve targeted tolerances.”
SigmaTEK’s Services Group provides a service package to include bevel training and consulting to help dial in these machines. This service generally runs three days or less.