5-Axis Machining

Flank Milling

In flank milling the material removal is done with the side of the cutter in comaprison to point milling where the cutting is done with the bottom edge of the cutter. Flank milling shapes the design surface based on the trajectory it follows and the shape of the tool. In the work done here at Waterloo, the trajectory is that produced by a 5-axis machine and the tool shape varies between a cylinder, cone, barrel and generic shape.

In order to produce a flank milling tool path, two curves are identified on the design surface. These curves than form the rails on which the tool is rolled. The tool contacts the rails at points whose parametric value matches or if a ruled surface is put between the rails, the contact points lie on either side of the ruled line. The tool is tangential to both the rails at the respective contact points.

Here at Waterloo we have also developed a technique to generate the surface machined by a moving tool. This method can be used to generate the surface produced by the flank milling tool path and a comparison could be done with the desired surface. The machined surface will depend on the direction in which the tool moves and will be different from the ruled surface. To ensure a good match between the machined surface and the ruled surface the contact point on either rail is moved algorithmically until the deviation between the machined surface and the ruled surface is minimized. This approach has been developed for a cylindrical and conical tools, but the approach still needs to be extended to a barrel or generic tools.

The work on flank milling was done by C. Menzel and is being extended by C. Li. The following is a list of publications related to flank milling:

C. Li, S. Bedi, S. Mann Error Measurements for Flank Milling Submitted to Computer-Aided Design.
S. Bedi, S. Mann, and C. Menzel
Computer-Aided Design. Vol. 35, 2003, pg 293-300
Last updated on: September 19, 2014
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