Abstract

This paper presents a new process planning method for five-axis machining, which is particularly suitable for parts with complex features or weak structures. First, we represent the in-process workpiece as a voxel model. Facilitated by the voxel representation, a scalar field called subtraction field is then established between the blank surface and the part surface, whose value at any voxel identifies its removal sequence. This subtraction field helps identify a sequence of intermediate machining layers, which are always accessible to the tool and are free of self-intersection and the layer redundancy problem as suffered, respectively, by the traditional offset layering method and the morphing method. Iso-planar collision-free five-axis tool paths are then determined on the interface surfaces of these machining layers. In addition, to mitigate the deformation of the in-process workpiece and avoid potential dynamic problems such as chattering, we also propose a new machining strategy of alternating between the roughing and finishing operations, which is able to achieve a much higher stiffness of the in-process workpiece. Ample experiments in both computer simulation and physical cutting are performed, and the experimental results convincingly confirm the advantages of our method.

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