|dc.description.abstract||Over the past few years, manufacturing companies have had to deal with an increasing demand for feature-rich products at low costs. The pressures exerted on their existing manufacturing processes have lead manufacturers to investigate internet-based solutions, in order to cope with growing competition. Today, the availability of powerful and low cost 3D tools, along with web-based technologies, provides interesting opportunities to the manufacturing community, with solutions directly implementable at the core of their businesses and organizations.
The wooden sign is custom i.e. each sign is completely different from each other. Mass Customization is a paradigm that produces custom products in masses. A wooden sign is custom in nature, and each sign must be completely different from another. Although process planning for mass customized products is same, the tool path required to CNC machine the custom feature varies from part to part. If the tool path is created manually the economics of mass production are challenged. The only viable option is to generate the tool path automatically; furthermore, any time savings in the tool path lead to better profit margins.
This thesis presents the automatic web-based tool path planning method for machining sculptured wooden sign on 3 axis Computer Numerical Controlling (CNC) Machines using optimal and cost-effective milling cutters. The web-based tool path planning strategy is integrate with web-based CAD system to automatically generate tool paths for the CAD model using optimal cutter within desired tolerances. The tool path planning method is divided into two parts: foot print (path along which cutter moves) and cutter positioning. The tool path foot print is developed during design stage from the CAD model based on the type of surface to be machined. The foot print varies from part to part which facilitates the mass customization of wooden sign. After designing foot print, the foot print is discretized into points and the gouge-free cutter position at each of these points is found using "Dropping Method". The Dropping Method where cutter is dropped over the work piece surface, and the highest depth at which cutter can go without gouging the surface is calculated. This is repeated for all the position along the foot print. This tool path planning strategy is developed for ball nose, flat-end and radiused end milling cutter for machining wooden sign.
The tool path generated using this method is optimized for machining time, tool path generation time and final surface finish. The bucketing technique is developed to optimize tool path generation time, by isolating the triangles which has possibility of intersection at particular position. The bucketing Technique reduced the tool path computation by 75 %, and made tool path generation faster. The optimal cutter selection algorithm is developed which selects best cutter for machining the surface based on the scallop height and volume removal results. The radiused end milling cutter results in highest volume removal which results in lower machining time compared to ball nose end milling cutters, but the scallop heights is higher. However, the scallop height in the radiused end milling cutter is higher only in few regions which reduces the final surface finish. For a sign, it was found around the boundary of logo, outline of lettering, interface of border and background. Thus, in order to achieve higher surface finish and lower machining time, a separate tool path is developed using "Pencil Milling Technique" which will remove the scallops from the regions that was inaccessible by radiused end mills. This tool path with the smaller cutter will move around the boundary of logo and lettering, and clean-up all the scallops left on the surface.
The designed tool path for all the three cutters were tested on maple wood and verified against the actual Computer Aided Design model for scallop height and surface finish. The numerical testing of tool path was carried out on a Custom Simulator, ToolSim and was later confirmed by actually machining on a 3 axis CNC machine. The same sign was machined with variety of milling cutters and the best cutter was selected based on the minimum scallop and maximum volume removal. The results of the experimental verification show the method to be accurate for machining sculptured sign. The average scallop height in a machined using 1/8 th inch radiused end milling cuter and using Pencil tool path on the machined surface is found to be 0.03989 mm (1.5708 thou).||en