Three-axis CNC milling is often used to machine sculptured parts. Due to the complex surface shape of these parts, well-planned tool paths can significantly increase the machining efficiency. In this work a new principle of CNC tool path planning for 3-axis sculptured surface machining is proposed. Generic formula to calculate the steepest tangent direction of a sculptured surface is derived, and the algorithm of the steepest-ascending tool path generation is introduced. A single steepest-ascending tool path has been verified to be more efficient than a single tool path of any other type. The relationship between machining efficiency and three key variables, tool feed direction, cutter shape, and surface shape, is revealed. The newly introduced principle is used in planning tool paths of a sculptured surface to demonstrate the advantages of the steepest-ascending tool paths. This new tool path scheme is further integrated into the more advanced steepest-directed and iso-cusped (SDIC) tool path generation technique. Applications of the new tool path principle and the SDIC tool paths to the machining of sculptured parts are demonstrated.
A New Principle of CNC Tool Path Planning for Three-Axis Sculptured Part Machining—A Steepest-Ascending Tool Path
Contributed by the Manufacturing Engineering Division for publication in the JOURNAL OF MANUFACTURING SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING. Manuscript received Jan. 2004. Associate Editor: M. Davies.
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Chen, Z. C., Vickers , G. W., and Dong, Z. (September 7, 2004). "A New Principle of CNC Tool Path Planning for Three-Axis Sculptured Part Machining—A Steepest-Ascending Tool Path ." ASME. J. Manuf. Sci. Eng. August 2004; 126(3): 515–523. doi: https://doi.org/10.1115/1.1765147
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