Vortex milling – Trochoidal milling

New CAM function in ConstruCAM-3D!

What is vortex milling (trochoidal milling) and what are the benefits?

High chip volume with vortex milling

So how does the vortex milling work? In conventional full cut groove milling , the wrap angle is 180 degrees. During vortex milling, the angle can be limited to below 90 degrees depending on the spiral feed. This is made possible by a milling cutter with a smaller diameter and driven in spirals at high speed.

Lower machine load

The horizontal infeed takes place in loops along a center path. The chip cross-section at the cutting edge is relatively constant during the routary milling and is independent of horizontal milling direction changes. This results in a lower load on the machine and the tool, which allows higher cutting values to be achieved.Other terms for vortex milling are rotation milling, wave milling, circular grooving, trochoidal milling.

Lower heat generation

Significantly higher cutting depths during trochoidal milling are possible. For conventional milling, a max. Milling depth of 1..1.5 * FrD (tool tip diameter) is customary. Unlike the vortex milling. By circumventing the cut-to-size section, cutting depths of> 2 x D can be achieved even without specially designed cutters.

Shorter processing times

During vortex milling, machining can be carried out with a high cutting depth and a high cutting speed, and the roughing can be accelerated. For the user, this means shorter machining times, better tool utilization and a noticeably lower tool wear during the milling process. Since different groove widths or pocket sizes can be produced with only one tool, the tool has to be exchanged less frequently.

Tool life is extended by up to 10 times!

Scientific analyzes have also shown that the service life has a positive effect on expensive milling tools. This is also clear and easy to explain. If you were only able to deliver 10mm depth in conventional milling and the cutter was thus extremely loaded in this lower 10mm range and was also worn there, the entire wear process is now partially shifted to the entire cutting depth of the milling cutter.

Lower cutting edge load on the tool

This has the consequence that the cutting load, which now extends to a much larger cutting edge length during trochoidal milling, is significantly reduced. In addition, there are also no unsightly bursts on the cutter at the most frequently used “depth edge” of the cutting edges, which result in unsightly longitudinal ridges as a result of the milled surface.

All these advantages are particularly noticeable in smaller CNC machines such as the High-Z CNC router as well as many other models of competitors and in the present time almost an “MUST” for every CNC milling machine owner who is more efficient, and desires a tool-friendly operation.

Conventional machine movement

Konventionelles Nutenfräsen

Machine movement during vortex milling

Trochoidales fräsen - Wirbelfraesen-cnc

Further screenshots / screenshots on trochoidal milling

Vortex milling and its cost and profitability benefits

•The cutting edge is engaged with its entire length. This enables higher cutting values as well as a higher chip rate during infeed;
• the tool life is increased;
less vibrations; the machine and the workpiece are protected;
• the processing time is shortened

ConstruCAM-3D now also equipped with vortex milling functions

In the CAM area of ConstruCAM-3D, the ‘vortex cycles’ complex functions for milling with the vortex method are offered.

Available are :

    • Vortex base movement ( ‘vortex section’)
    • Contour processing (‘vortex break’)
    • Contour (vortex milling)
    • Contour (‘vortex pocket’)

Vortex milling is only useful for full cut (grooves)

When vortex milling, the tool moves with spirals laterally into the material. The advantages of the process are described above. The only disadvantage is the relatively large idle distance of about 50% on the backward spiral movement. For the clearing of surfaces (in pockets) it is only useful to create the first groove with vortex milling. An island which has already been milled can be processed economically with the previous clearing methods (for example contour-parallel).

Highly efficient pocket processing during rotary milling

The functions ‘vortex fracture’, ‘vortex incision’ and ‘vertebral pocket’ take this into account and only perform the first full section in the vortex procedure. The contour can then be freed and sized. In order to start the vortex milling movement in the material, a vertical starting spiral can be selected for this purpose. A difference makes the ‘spiral pocket’.

This is a highly efficient pocket processing with a starting spiral, clearing spiral and finishing path. Because of the special motion, this function is only for
simple, regular geometries.

Vortex milling cycles – increasing the removal rate with vortex milling!

With these milling cycles, high productivity rotary milling can be used on all portal milling machines for economical  Wirbelfräsen Spiralfraesen Fräszyklen
machining with large infeed depths and in difficult-to-machine material.

The milling path calculations for effective machining are always made for one section or one contour only. The milling paths are stored here in Trochoidal milling together with a dip spiral and the tool data in the specified target layer.

Multiple functions in trochoidal milling

The functions ‘vortex onset’, ‘vortex mill around’, ‘vortex pocket’ and ‘Spiral pocket’ are designed for simple contours without nesting or overlaps. Wirbel Trochoidalfräsen Startspirale

Complex contours must be entered manually or edited conventionally.

The functions use several individual methods, which are combined into complex milling cycles.

All movements are performed with trochoidal milling using the same tool.

Vortex milling cycles in detail

Starting spiral (starting movement, dipping spiral)

Startspirale Anfahrbewegung
For easier immersion in the solid material a 3D starting spiral can be selected.

Vortex spiral (Vortex milling)
Wirbelspirale Wirbelfräsen

For the first groove, the vortex milling method is used


Abräumen Wirbel Tasche

Vortex pocket with parallel clearance
Pockets are cleared by conventional methods (exception: ‘spiral pocket’).


Abräumen Wirbel Tasche

Spiral pocket with an optimal clearing spiral

Finishing the contour

Schlichten der Kontur

The workpiece is sized to the final dimension

All milling paths are stored with a tool stored in the specified destination layer

Tool target layer

Tool input (see ‘General instructions – The tool input’).
Input of tools and technology data for the calculations. The complete milling movement is performed with this tool. The vortex milling cycles are performed with the exception of the starter spiral in 2D with a cylindrical tool.

Each tool requires a geometry (cutting radius, tip radius) and valid technology data (immersion depth, flying height, working feed XY, immersion feed Z, spindle speed and changing station). If the tool data is incomplete or incorrect, then incorrect milling data may be generated.

Layer selection

Store milling objects in a milling layer (destination layer) (see ‘General instructions – The tool input’). The calculated milling paths are saved in the specified target layer. The milling sequence should be observed. The milling objects in the target layer can be edited with ‘CAM. CAM – Edit ‘ later.

This technology is ideal for extensive, complex milling and combination of all milling processes. The milling work is completely prepared at the programming station. With the help of the functions’ CAM. Norm / Zoom projection ‘and’ volume view ‘the working process can be controlled.