Selecting Flat End Mills for 2-1/2D Milling Operations
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The size of milling cutter significantly affects the machining time. Therefore, in order to perform milling operations efficiently, we need to select a set of milling cutters with optimal sizes. It is difficult for human process planners to select the optimal or near optimal set of milling cutters due to complex geometric interactions among tools size, part shapes, and tool trajectories.
In this paper, we give a geometric algorithm to find the optimal cutters for 2-1/2D milling operations. We define the 2-1/2D milling operations as covering the target region without intersecting with the obstruction region. This definition allows us to handle the open edge problem. Based on this definition, we introduced the offsetting and inverse-offsetting algorithm to find the coverable area for a given cutter. Following that, we represent the cutter selection problem as shortest path problem and discuss the lower and upper bond of cutter sizes that are feasible for given parts. The Dijkstra's algorithm is used to solve the problem and thus a set of cutters is selected in order to achieve the optimum machining cost.
We believe the selection of optimum cutter combination can not only save manufacturing time but also help automatic process planning.