In machining processes, contouring accuracy is usually more important than tracking performance. In order to reduce the contour error, there have been many contour control algorithms for conventional machine tools, which noticeably improve their contouring accuracy. However, the available contour control algorithms cannot be directly applied to the parallel machine tools. The dynamic characteristics of the parallel machine tools are not consistent inside workspace and unsymmetrical disturbances can be imposed on any axis. Due to these, mismatched dynamics cause unwanted contour error. In this paper, we present a contour control algorithm for the cubic parallel machine tool that employs the parallel mechanism for its moving table, which can be also applied to a general parallel manipulator. The contour error estimation method for free-formed curve trajectory is proposed and the relation between the contour error vectors in joint and Cartesian spaces is considered. In order to show the validity of the algorithm, the contour control simulations and experiments are made for various contour trajectories with the cubic parallel machine tool. The results show that the proposed controller reduces the contour error considerably both in joint and Cartesian spaces.

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