ModuleWorks creates CAD/CAM software for machining and simulation,including the Dental Framework series. Dentists use CAD/CAM software, intraoral 3D scanners and specialized dental CNC machines to create an array of dental components for their patients. If you will be receiving a dental crown, a 3D model must be made (or a cast), and then the crown must be machined to exact specifications. There are 3D printers (like the Objet Eden260VS from Stratasys) that can 3D print different dental fixtures, but CNC machines are more commonly used.
ModuleWorks just released Dental Framework 2017 with new applications and features for dental professionals and machinists to sink their teeth into. This latest version of the software uses advanced toolpath calculations and outputs the corresponding NC file for dental CNC machines.
The software utilizesXML scripts as verified machining templates that can be configured for implementation, along with a substantial toolset library that helps dentists and oral surgeons specify precise dental indications for machinists to manufacture.
Dental Framework 2017 uses an integrated CAM-engine for toolpath calculations and has some interesting new 3-axis, 4-axis and 5-axis CAM features to help manufacturers come up with efficient machining strategies for milling and grinding (which are called “chair-side”) applications.
Basically, software engineers at ModuleWorks have added new integrated algorithms for chair-side grinding applications and new enhancements for milling complicated dental components, including those with tricky geometries like deep overhangs or undercuts.
Grinding (chair-side) applications—Adaptive Roughing vs. Conventional Constant Offset Roughing
Adaptive roughing provides a bit more consistency and balance versus constant offset roughing because it doesn’t have to perform full-width cuts by repeatedly measuring engagement volumes of the tool and its material. Instead,it removes material from the remaining stock at a more gradual and constant pace. This more stable load on the tool allows material to be removed faster at better feed rates, which reduces machining time.
A parallel constant offset roughing toolpath (left) versus an adaptive roughing toolpath (right), which is used for grinding out inlays, crowns, bridges and veneer components. (Image courtesy of ModuleWorks.)
Calculation Performance and Multi-Core Processing
Depending on what hardware you have under your workstation, Dental Framework 2017 could potentially offer higher speed solutions based on the dental indication being machined. The integratedCAM-engine takes advantage of multi-core processing, and ModuleWorks claims that this can help speed up toolpath calculationsby more than 50 percent. Any component or dental indication that has complex geometry (and most of them do), including bridges and dentures, require more time to process toolpaths.
A ModuleWorks chart that purports to show the improvement times in grinding and milling dental indications. (Image courtesy of ModuleWorks.)
Any improvement in speed decreases the level of discomfort experienced by a dental patient, who is probably patiently eating a diet of soup, applesauce and yogurt while waiting for the machinist to fill their orders. But quality, as usual, is king.