The contouring accuracy of a multi-axis machine has a critical effect on the quality of many advanced technology products. One of the best approaches to assessing the contouring performance of machine tools is through double ball bar measurement. During circular interpolation motion, the machine traverses, with two axes at a time, a circular trajectory, with each axis subject to sinusoidal changes in acceleration, velocity, and position. The motion error is measured by detecting the relative distance between a point on the spindle nose and another point on the machine table and plotting this distance in polar coordinates. The present paper derives mathematical models and diagnosis procedures for first and second-order motion error resulting from the active degrees of freedom of a multi-axis machine. The theoretical results are verified by both computer simulation and double ball bar testing experiments.

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