Millbox Tips and Tricks: Part 1 –  With Evan Katz

Millbox Tips and Tricks: Part 1 – With Evan Katz

Hey, whats up guys! Today we’ve got a special post for you. This article was written by Evan Katz and I thought it had some really great info so I reached out to see if we could feature it on this blog.

Huge thank you to Evan and the team over @Argen Canada for letting us share it with our readers!

Evan Katz RDT, Senior Education & Product Development Manager at Argen Canada Evan is an RDT and Technical Specialist/Trainer in all aspects of CAD/CAM workflow, including Intraoral software and hardware, CAD design, CAM strategy & mill repair.

Understanding how CAM software fully functions can take some time.
In most cases, it also helps to fully understand how your CAD software works. In the day-to-day rush of having to scan, design mill, sinter and finish so many cases, we sometimes forget that the software we use (either CAD or CAM) can often help us out by allowing us to become more efficient, but mainly more consistent.

Argen sells, services and supports Roland mills – these dental mills come with MillBox software, developed by Lab and CIMsystems SRL. As of 2017, we only sell MillBox, which runs Sum3D in the background. Updating your Sum3D licence to MillBox is quite easy!
MillBox offers a number of under-utilized tools that can help you become more effective such as:

  • Internal cavity adjustment
  • Screw access hole adjustment
  • Importing contact area data **SNEAK PEEK**

Internal Cavity Adjustment:

When you design an abutment or a screw-retained crown from a scan body (library abutment), we do not have any control over the spacer between the titanium base and the internal aspect of the abutment/crown. This can lead to a loose fit which will result in too much rotation between the titanium base and the part. This can be somewhat counterbalanced by cementing the base to the part and using the contact areas as rotational stops, however with MillBox this can be controlled.The spacing within internal cavity can be adjusted very easily.

Simply enable the abutment/crown by clicking onto it – then click the Tools option:

Now open the Cavity Fit option within the sub-menu, which in-turn open the Adjust Cavity Fit menu

You can now make changes to the internal cavity, either using the positive numbers (+) to make a tighter fit, or use the negative number (-) to make a looser fit. Once you have decided how loose or tight you want to make the part, by clicking the check mark the internal cavity will turn the color associated with the value.

Keep in mind this will not change the .STL, it simply adds or removes the specified amount from the milling parameters

Screw-Access Hole Adjustment:

If you are not using a scan body to create a screw retained abutment or crown, you will likely be manually placing the hole into your crown through your CAD.
In some cases, the diameter of the screw access hole cannot be adjusted in CAD and you will be left with either a hole that is too small or too large. Both situations will require some post-processing work which can be done using MillBox CAM. This can be done for both library and non-library abutments.

Within MillBox, you have the ability to adjust the diameter of the screw-access hole, as well as the plunge depth. In this case, we will concentrate on the screw-access hole diameter.

After the .STL has been imported, click the Tools button on the left side of the software.
Once the Tools options are open, click the Curves and Surfaces icon to open up that specific operation.
Once this has been opened, a list of specific operations will open on the top banner area.
When clicking Change Cylinder Size, your .STL will disappear and only the milling curves will be present.

On the screw-access hole curve you will see 2 gold dots. By clicking on a dot, it will open up a graphic that shows the diameter of the hole. This can be changed to make it smaller or larger all depending on your situation.

Again, this will not affect your .STL, it just adds a milling offset to the hole milling operation.

Importing Contact Area Data **SNEAK PEEK**

In an upcoming version of Argen MillBox, you will be able to export your contact areas that you have created in 3Shape CAD. Millbox will be able to recognize this as a contact and avoid placing support pins onto that area.

MillBox is a very powerful tool which if used correctly will help your laboratory gain superior and consistent milling results. Putting a lot of effort and time into your CAD design only to have less than ideal milling results is frustrating and often leads to additional post-processing time.

Let the CAD and the CAM work for you!

About Argen

For more than 50 years Argen, a family-owned American company and partner to dental labs worldwide, has served the dental industry and continues to invest in new and innovative product offerings to provide dental labs with affordable, high-performance products and industry-leading customer service.

Why the MCXL is the BEST e.max CAD Mill Out There

Why the MCXL is the BEST e.max CAD Mill Out There

Why the MCXL is the BEST e.max CAD Mill Out There

So I’ve got your attention. Do I really dare stake claim to a statement as bold as “the MCXL being THE BEST mill out there”? Absolutely not, the MCXL is a terrible mill.

Read the title over again carefully.

Truthfully, the MCXL is a terrible mill, but in my opinion, it is the “BEST e.max CAD mill” out there. It’s loud, its proprietary, and it’s track record is beyond unreliable. Personally, the one I’ve used at our lab since 2012 has gone through 10 motors, a few distribution boards, a fried main board that went POP and billowed smoke, 3 replacement PC towers, and approximately 2-3 chamber doors per year of ownership. Thankfully, mostly all covered under warranty. The Patterson service team member, David, practically lived at our lab at one point. Any more and we probably would’ve had to put him on the payroll.

Now, back to the main point of this post. The MXCL is indeed the best mill for e.max CAD, or blue blocks as they are colloquially referred to. (Even though they look more violet/purple to me personally. What do you think? Am I color blind? Throw your opinion down in the comments!) I didn’t reach this epiphany until a few months ago as a result of our lab purchasing an imes-icore 350i that was ‘capable’ of milling e.max. Notice the emphasis on ‘capable’.

Yes, with the 350i there was an option for a burr smaller than the width of my thumb. And yes, I was able to design in a CAD software package (3shape) that wasn’t intended for ‘clinically acceptable’ same-day restorations while the patient waits in the lobby with a magazine. And yes, I had CAM software that could nest at different angles and with different sprue sizes!

But when it came time to milling e.max with the 350i, the honeymoon period wore off quickly. Margins chipping, entire crowns breaking loose, poor tool life, longer mill times. How could this be possible? This machine can mill titanium! It weighs 500 lbs! It can tilt at 30 degrees in multiple directions. It can play game of thrones! It can mill everything… Click here to go to my YouTube channel and watch the full review. Now that I’ve finished shamelessly plugging my own content, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

It made me realize that I took that little MCXL money-pit for granted all these years. Sirona, for some odd reason, has had this unfounded vendetta against the dental lab industry and has been actively trying to eliminate the profession by directly targeting dentists as their usual modus operandi since… forever. Let’s set my personal feelings about that aside for a moment, and I’ve gotta say, Sirona did something very right with the MCXL. I can pay due respect to a feat of engineering when it is rightly earned.

My model of the inLab MCXL features 2 motors on each side, the grinding motion and simultaneous action rips through e.max blocks like a 2am run to taco bell does on its way through your digestive system. The torque driver supplied with the machine is dialed in to a specific setting to eliminate vibration in the mandrel. It took me almost 8 months before I thought to apply the same torquing principle to the 350i’s glass block adapter… which did indeed significantly reduce chipping rates!

Calling the MCXL a “Mill” is actually inaccurate. It is a grinding machine. The way that it operates compared to a standard mill is completely different. This gives it an edge over mills with “wet options” because it is a purpose built tool for a specific task. Yes, there are other purpose-built grinding machines out in the market like the Roland DWX-4W, the CORiTEC 140i, The IOS Technologies Ts150, Kavo Arctica, AG Ceramill Mikro IC, Carestream CS3000, VHF N4, and the Planmeca PlanMill40S. But I haven’t personally tested any of those machines to comment on their respective e.max grinding abilities.

Taking it a step further, when the coolant that is used gets mixed with leftover grindings from the e.max, it amounts to nothing less than what I’d like to describe as ‘liquid sandpaper’. This is catastrophic for the seals and gaskets it just destroys them. Those cheap plastic MCXL chamber doors never stood a chance. My newfound respect was confirmed earlier this year when I had a chance to chat with a bunch of colleagues. They also mill e.max cad blocks, but on Wieland Selects, Rolands and even on DMG Ultrasonics. The consensus is that any and all CNC machines that mill e.max are prone to rapid deterioration. It’s simply the nature of the beast. The MCXL just happens to mill e.max much more quickly and produces desirable margins more reliably. Finally, the Pièce De Résistance, and what makes the MCXL stand out in its specific category as opposed to other purpose built wet grinders: How popular it is, and as a direct result of that, how cheaply one can come across a unit second hand. The used market for MCXLs is ripe for the picking.

As much as dentists like to try their hand at eliminating lab bills from their practices, many of them lack the time/staff/patience/know-how to operate a mill effectively, and their MCXL’s end up sitting in a corner collecting dust. Eventually, those lightly used machines end up on the second-hand market. You could purchase an entire farm of second-hand MCXL units to mill glass blocks all day long for the fraction of cost of some other options I’ve previously listed.

Picture this: you pick up an inLab cam license from Sirona, and then network together a farm of these machines. Disclaimer: there would be no automation, occlusal anatomy detail would suck, and those who dare to enter the room would probably be required to wear noise-cancelling ear protection from the screaming of those motors.

But churning out units at an average of 15 minutes a piece and margin reliability that beats out half-million dollar, 15-kilowatt behemoths. You’ve got a golden solution for a high-volume production environment to take care of such a challenging material. And since you can pick up used ones on eBay for next to nothing. If one is irreparable, just hop on an auction site and pick up a slightly used replacement. Granted, if everyone did this, we’d simply drive up the price in the second hand market and do what mining cryptocurrency has done to the cost of graphics cards.

But for that particular enterprising individual, who has just the right amount of demand, this solution might be a good fit. Personally, I find my volume of milled e.max to be declining so this MCXL farm wouldn’t be a good fit for me. Newer generation zirconias that are being released now, are rivaling e.max in translucency and overall appearance, while also being much easier to mill and touting higher strength figures.

If someone does decide to venture into this MCXL farm idea, we’d love it if you could share some pictures of your progress/setup! One piece of advice though: make sure you have a very capable service team member on your staff at all times, those machines are notoriously unreliable. The MCXL may be a terrible mill, but in my opinion, it is the BEST e.max CAD mill out there!

Have any stories about the unreliability of this machine that you’d like to share? Or do you disagree with the opinions? Throw your thoughts down in the comments section and let us know what you think about the MCXL.

imes-icore COREiTEC 350i Review

imes-icore COREiTEC 350i Review

imes-icore’s COREiTEC 350i is a Jack of all trades milling machine that can pretty much handle anything thrown at it.

HUGE Thank You to our Sponsors (hyperDENT & IMILLING) for making the production of this review video possible!

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