On setup level tool sequence selection for 2.5-D pocket machining

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This paper describes algorithms for efficiently machining an entire setup. Previously, the author developed a graph based algorithm to find the optimal tool sequence for machining a single 2.5-axis pocket. This paper extends this algorithm for finding an efficient tool sequence to machine an entire setup. A setup consists of a set of features with precedence constraints, that are machined when the stock is clamped in a particular orientation. The precedence constraints between the features primarily result from nesting of some features within others. Four extensions to the basic graph algorithm are investigated in this research. The first method finds optimal tool sequences on a feature by feature basis. This is a local optimization method that does not consider inter feature tool-path interactions. The second method uses a composite graph for finding an efficient tool sequence for the entire setup. The constrained graph and subgraph approaches have been developed for situations where different features in the setup have distinct critical tools. It is found that the first two methods can produce erroneous results which can lead to machine crashes and incomplete machining. Illustrative examples have been generated for each method.

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Robotics and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing