Production of a critical part for musical instruments requires tightly controlled placement of features to maintain instrument tone. This small, Austin-based job shop relies on CAD/CAM software to maximize programming and machining capabilities. Dynamic Motion technology permits heavy cutting, with or without new, massive CNC machines.


When Ryan Green was a college student in Austin, TX, he studied mechanical engineering and worked part time as an office temp. One day during his commute, Green spotted a sign in front of a machine shop that read, “Now Hiring Machinists.” That sign, and the immediate U-turn that followed, changed the course of Green’s career path. He applied for the job and was hired as a machine operator. 

Thanks to this job and those that followed, Green delved into Mastercam software and SOLIDWORKS. He was hired as an Applications Engineer at MLC CAD Systems, the Austin-based Mastercam Reseller, and eventually moved into MLC’s sales department. 

Green’s next venture was to build his own machine shop business. RockQuality Consulting, Liberty Hill, TX, began in his garage and grew steadily into a busy job shop. Green took the plunge and committed full time to RockQuality Consulting, a provider of precision CNC-machined parts and assemblies serving mainly the semi-conductor and aerospace industries. Green uses Mastercam for a variety of complex machining jobs, including the production of high-end musical instruments.  

– Our client has a unique product that we helped him design in CAD, and then we machine the metal parts, said Green. I rely heavily on the Mastercam for SOLIDWORKS product. I do all of my design with it for this particular customer. 

Mastercam for SOLIDWORKS is an integrated software solution that combines CAD with CAM. It lets users standardize a database of CAD files without compromising the quality of NC programming. It includes the CAD/CAM software’s toolpath technology and post processors in the SOLIDWORKS environment. RockQuality Consulting used the software solution for production of a critical part for musical instruments and accompanying custom hardware pieces. Placement of features must be tightly controlled as it is crucial to maintaining instrument tone. 

– With Mastercam for SOLIDWORKS, everything remains associative, said Green. Before using it, we would have to export out of SOLIDWORKS and then open up Mastercam, breaking the link between the Mastercam and SOLIDWORKS files. 

Beforehand, a change made in SOLIDWORKS while there was a separate Mastercam file would not propagate back into that Mastercam file, so it would take hours to program parts. Now, with the integrated software solution, a RockQuality machinist can easily make a change to a part file, saving valuable programming time. 

Another Mastercam feature that helps RockQuality Consulting is Dynamic Motion technology. Because the technology utilizes the entire flute length of a cutting tool, air cutting is reduced or eliminated, and tool life is extended. Cutting tough materials is easier and new and old machines perform better.

– Dynamic toolpaths revolutionized the approach to machining parts, said Green. They revolutionized it so well that they did away with the mindset that you have to have a really massive, expensive machine to handle heavy cutting. 

For example, RockQuality cuts some parts from heat-treated stainless steel, which is harder and can be more brittle than untreated stainless. Using proper cutting tools and machine features, in tandem with Dynamic Motion technology, makes the tricky task of machining heat-treated steel possible. 

– There’s no way I could make some of these parts without Dynamic Motion technology – not on the equipment I’ve got, said Green. I’d have to invest in heavier machines and, to be honest, they’d be out of my reach. Dynamic motion makes so much possible. I can’t imagine not having it.

Mastercam helps RockQuality Consulting push the capabilities of all its machines. A comprehensive selection of toolpaths provides the precision and flexibility needed to take on a variety of machining jobs. Green leans on Mastercam’s Multiaxis toolpath, which improves productivity with simultaneous 4- and 5-axis machining capability. It offers a range of basic and advanced multiaxis machining strategies. In addition, these toolpaths are useful for advanced control of 3-axis machines. 

– That’s something that throws people – that multiaxis is really helpful for 3-axis applications, said Green. 

RockQuality maximizes its surface finish process through Accelerated Finishing, which works in conjunction with advanced, new cutting tool shapes. For one of its automotive customers, RockQuality produced a set of billet intake manifold runners by using a lollipop cutter to perform port surfaces in a simultaneous 4- axis setup. By switching to Accelerated Finishing and using a barrel-shaped cutter, the shop increased stepover by six times and slowed down the feed rate to yield a smoother finish. The result was a 60 percent reduction in port surfacing time and a higher quality surface finish. 


– With Mastercam, I’m not at all concerned with what I can and can’t run here, said Green. The sky’s the limit. 

Customer Quote 

– Dynamic toolpaths revolutionized the approach to machining parts. They revolutionized it so well that they did away with the mindset that you have to have a really massive, expensive machine to handle heavy cutting.

Ryan Green, Owner at RockQuality Consulting, Liberty Hill, Texas

Mer info hos: AME:, tel: 031-411 700.