This paper reports the development of an efficient tool path planning strategy for CNC machining of freeform surfaces directly from their representation in the form of point cloud. A grid based adaptive isoplanar tool path planning system has been designed and implemented for 3axis CNC machine using ball end mill. Inverse tool offset algorithm (IOM) is used to compute initial uniform CL (Cutter Location) grid points. From these CL points, surface slope and curvature are estimated and the forward and side step errors likely to be produced during machining are computed. The grid is subsequently refined through segmentation if the error values exceed the user defined tolerances. Adaptive grid refinement is continued iteratively till the error values converge below the prescribed tolerance limits. The grid (CL) points are sequenced to generate the final tool path. The software system developed takes the input part model as point cloud and generates post-processed CNC part program in the ISO format. The CNC part programs were extensively tested for various case studies on the commercial CNC simulator as well on the actual CNC machine. The results were compared with those from the commercial software for the same process conditions. Our system was found to generate more efficient tool paths in terms of enhanced productivity, part quality and reduced memory requirement.

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