We describe an automatic machining tool path generation method that combines local tool path planning for machining features with global tool path planning. From the solid model and the tolerance specifications of the part, machining features are automatically recognized, and geometry-based precedence relations are obtained between these features. From this information, the machining sequence, tool selections, and machining conditions are determined. Machining tool paths are then generated automatically for each setup, combining local and global tool paths. Local tool paths to machine each feature are generated using successive offsetting operations. Global tool paths between features are generated incrementally by searching the adjacency graph of feature free spaces, which represents the current free space of the part. Feature free spaces are obtained by expanding the machining features through their fictitious faces. The start and end positions for the local tool paths of each feature are selected based on a heuristic method to minimize the cost of each segment of the global tool path. This automatic tool path generation method is currently being developed as part of a comprehensive machining process planning system.

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