An optimal approach to the rough machining of sculptured parts with least machining time is presented. The contour map cutting method is used to generate CNC tool paths based on the CAD model of sculptured parts. The part and stock geometry related parameters, including the number of cutting layers and the distributions of cutting depth, and the process parameters of feed rate and depth of cut, are optimized. The method can automate CNC programming for sculptured part rough machining, considerably improve productivity, and lower production costs. Two examples are used to illustrate the approach and its advantages.

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