5-Axis Machining

Principle Axis Method

Principle Axis Method is a technique for machining curved surfaces that are encountered in molds, dies and other engineering objects. The basic idea stems from the observation that when a cylinder that models a flat end milling cutter, is moved horizontally it machines a flat surface, however, if the axis of the cylinder is inclined than the same movement results in a curved surface. The radius of curvature of the surface depends on the inclination of the axis to the surface. This observation extends to radiused end mills as well. In PAM the relationship between inclination and curvature is determined. This relationship is used to calculate the inclination and the direction of inclination at all points along a tool path, from the principle curvature of the surface.

The PAM has been tested on numerous surfaces. The method is easy to implement but must be checked for gouging. The machining experiments show that tool paths created using the PAM are upto 80% shorter than 3-axis tool paths. This however, is the upper bound as not all surfaces of a part can be machined using 5-axis methods.

The publication that describe the method in detail are given below:

Rao, N., F. Ismail, S. Bedi
Int. J. of Machine Tools and Manufacturing, Vol. 37, 1997, pg. 1025-1040
Bedi, S., F. Ismail, M.J. Mahjoob and Y. Chen
Toroidal Versus Ball Nose and Flat Bottom End Mills
Int. J. of Advanced Manufacturing Technology, Vol. 13, pp. 326-332, 1997
Bedi, S., S. Gravelle and Y. Chen
Principal Curvature Alignment Technique for Machining Complex Surfaces
ASME J. of Manufacturing Science and Engineering, Vol. 119, pp.756-765, November 1997
Rao, N.V., S. Bedi and R. Buchal
Implementation of Principal Axis Method for Machining of Complex Surfaces
Int. J. of Advanced Manufacturing Technology, Vol. 11, pp:249-257, 1996

Last updated on: September 19, 2014
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