A new cutting force simulator has been developed to predict cutting force in ball end milling. In this simulator, uncut chip thickness is discretely calculated based on fully voxel models representing both cutting edge and instantaneous workpiece shape. In the previous simulator, a workpiece voxel model was used to calculate uncut chip thickness under a complex change of workpiece shape. Using a workpiece voxel model, uncut chip thickness is detected by extracting the voxels removed per cutting tooth for the amount of material fed into the cutting edge. However, it is difficult to define the complicated shape of cutting edge, because the shape of cutting edge must be defined by mathematical expression. It is also difficult to model the voxels removed by the cutting edge when tool posture is nonuniformly changed. Therefore, a new method to detect uncut chip thickness is proposed, one in which both cutting edge and instantaneous workpiece shape are fully represented by a voxel model. Our new method precisely detects uncut chip thickness at minute tool rotation angles, making it possible to detect the uncut chip thickness between the complex surface shape of the workpiece and the particular shape of the cutting edge. To validate the effectiveness of our new method, experimental five-axis milling tests using ball end mill were conducted. Estimated milling forces for several tool postures were found to be in good agreement with the measured milling forces. Results from the experimental five-axis milling validate the effectiveness of our new method.

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