Open Mind Replicates Famous Nutcracker Through Advanced Digital Machining

by Anna

In a festive endeavor aligned with Christmas traditions, Open Mind has successfully replicated a renowned nutcracker from the Erzgebirge region in East Germany using state-of-the-art digital machining techniques. The project, conducted in collaboration with Emuge-Franken, showcased an end-to-end digital process chain and efficient 5-axis machining powered by hyperMILL.


The 400mm tall nutcracker, a replica of the traditional Seiffener Volkskunst, was milled from aluminum with precision and accuracy. The process demonstrated the capabilities of advanced digital technologies in recreating intricate designs and efficiently machining complex components.


The journey began with a 3D scan of the original wooden nutcracker provided by Seiffener Volkskunst. This high-resolution mesh model, consisting of 1.2 million triangles, was generated by WESTCAM, a partner known for its expertise in hyperMILL and extensive knowledge in 3D measurement technology.

Using hyperMILL CAD/CAM, Open Mind created a surface-based 3D model parametrically, allowing easy modifications for production-related changes. The model was then divided into distinct parts, such as the upper body, legs, arms, and lever, which were later assembled after completion.

The machining process took place at FRANKEN’s Rückersdorf application center on a Hermle C32 machining center, employing 5-axis simultaneous machining in a single clamping operation. This approach enabled continuous machining of surfaces without segmentation, ensuring a seamless finish.

Strategies from the hyperMILL MAXX Machining high-performance package optimized roughing operations, with the use of the EvoGrip centric clamp from Emuge ensuring reliable workpiece clamping. For finishing, a ‘high-precision surface’ mode was employed, utilizing FRANKEN’s circle segment end mill for efficient production of high-quality curved surfaces.

One notable challenge in this project was the dimensions of the part exceeding the work area of the machine. Open Mind addressed this by leveraging the hyperMILL VIRTUAL Machining package, which includes an optimizer capable of adapting connecting movements between milling operations to machine kinematics. This allowed for precise machining-based simulation of the actual NC code, ensuring safe and reliable operations.

The successful replication of the nutcracker showcased the synergies between CAM, cutting tools, and machine capabilities. Open Mind expressed gratitude to its partners, including EMUGE-FRANKEN, WESTCAM, and Seiffener Volkskunst, for their collaboration and emphasized the achievement in impressing the artisans from the Erzgebirge region with the detailed execution of the digital adaptation of their original design.


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