In this paper, we develop a versatile CAM method by which five axis machining can be effectively carried out with a three-axis CNC machine together with a rotary-tilt type indexing table. In this method, the part surface is divided into a set of subareas, and each subarea is machined by the virtually oriented tool whose orientation is provided via the index table. The key goal in developing our solution algorithm has been to minimizing the number of part setups (i.e., angle changes in the indexing table) and the surface ridges where multiple tool paths join. A robust algebraic solution procedure for achieving these practical criteria is presented, including the details of surface decomposition, tool path computation, and the interface of the index table. Since the developed method enables utilization of existing machines (equipped with three-axis control) for five-axis machining, the results are practically meaningful, especially for small to medium industries.

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