The Roland ZCL-50 Rotary axis unit is an optional accessory for the Roland MDX-50 that will allow you to automatically create multi-sided objects without the need for manually flipping the workpiece over.
New article that explains benefits of 4th axis.
How It Works
The rotary axis will allow the machine to mill one side of an object then automatically rotate and mill the other side. The SRP Player software has settings for you to choose Top, Bottom, Front, and Back which tells the MDX-50 and ZCL-50 to rotate to those respective positions and mill the model out on all 4 sides. In addition to milling on those 4 sides the SRP Player software has a setting that allows you to add any angle for the rotary axis unit to turn too. The machine will then perform a milling operation at that angle as well. This allows you to create models that otherwise would not be able to be created. Once you have performed a milling operation if you decide you need to rotate and mill again to reach another area, you can go back into SRP Player and add additional points to have the ZCL-50 rotate for more milling operations. This allows you to achieve undercuts as well as milling of other hidden features that otherwise could not be cut.
Live 4 Axis Milling
The Roland ZCL-50 rotary axis allows for live 4 axis milling operations. This type of milling is also supported in the SRP Player software. The bottle you see in picture would be an example of an item that has been machined with a live 4 axis milling operation. The rotary is rotating while the item is being machined. This method works best for cylindrical items. Jewelry users will use this method when milling out rings. You can also make parts you would make on a lathe using the live 4 axis milling operation.
The MDX-50 and ZCL-50 has a huge advantage over other 4 axis milling systems on the market, because the Roland engineers have added an automatic calibration routine that once the ZCL-50 is installed, you will simply select a button on the Virtual Control Panel and the machine will run a calibration routine that takes about 3 minutes. The rotary axis unit will then be calibrated to match the machine. On a normal 4 axis milling machine this single calibration could take about 1 hour to perform and based on the systems hardware, might be required daily. With the Roland MDX-50 and ZCL-50 you perform it once and the rotary axis calibration is saved to memory so you would not need to perform it again.
Easy To Use
The MDX-50 and ZCL-50 has another advantage over the other systems, automatic prompts. When using the SRP Player software, you are prompted to do any setup item needed before milling by a picture and message that tells you what to do. So you don't have to understand how the MDX-50 works you just have to follow the prompts the software gives you and perform the functions required and you will be able to mill out your model.
Automatic Tool Measurement
Since the MDX-50 and ZCL-50 has an included automatic tool measurement you will never be required to manually setup the tool length, you simply load the tool into the machine and press a button on the control panel and the machine measures the tool and puts it in memory. If you have to use another tool on a milling operation the software will stop the machine and change tools and remeasure, then it will go back to work.
There is no other system on the market that has this kind of advanced functionality built into the user interface. This allows students, engineers, inventors, hobbyists, jewelers the ability to run a 4 axis milling system without the long education requirements normally required. Since the machine has built in safety zones, and automatic prompts this eliminates the worry of crashing your machine and damaging it beyond repair.
The size of a workpiece that can be mounted on the ZCL-50 is about 14.96" x 4.72" diameter or a block that fits into this circle. The actual part size will be a little less in the 14.96" length due to the holding of the piece while milling.
The MDX-50 and ZCL-50 comes with SRP Player software for performing milling. Sometimes users have a need to use other CAM software or develop their own for their specific applications. The MDX-50 and ZCL-50 will accept commands from all CAM software. The machine reads Roland's standard machine language as well as industry standard G-Code. So you can use additional CAM software you already use or software that you have a need to use for a specific application, like dental, orthopedics or whatever you desire. We also include a NC Code User's Manual for those who want to write their own programs to drive the MDX-50 and ZCL-50.
The MDX-50 and ZCL-50 allows you to add your own custom fixtures to the machine. The Users Manual includes a diagram that shows the interface / hole layout for the ZCL-50. We have experience designing custom fixturing for the ZCL-50 so if you have any questions contact us and we will try to answer your questions.
Use with the Roland MDX-50