Integrated method for tool path generation in five-axis sculptured surface machining

J Fan, Alan Ball

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)


Five-axis machining allows continuous adjustment of cutter orientation along a tool pass. Unfortunately, the flexibility has not been fully exploited due to the separate consideration of tool path generation and cutter orientation in current machining methods. This paper presents an integrated method (IM) for tool path generation, which is tightly integrated with the orientation strategy, to minimise tool path length under the constraint of smooth cutter orientation. Distinctively, cutter orientation along a tool pass is optimised by balancing considerations of maximum material removal and smoothness of cutter movement. Further, the intervals between successive tool passes are maximised according to the optimised orientation. In the paper, the IM is combined with the quadric method, a recently developed cutter orientation strategy, for iso-parametric machining with a flat-end cutter. However, the method could be applied to other orientation strategies with different machining mechanisms and cutter types. Simulated examples illustrate that the IM is more efficient in machining than established methods.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6813-6831
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Production Research
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011


  • CAM
  • tool path generation
  • cutter orientation
  • five-axis machining


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