Tool Path Generation for Flexible Blade Cutting

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Broek, Han J.
Horváth, Imre
Smit, Bram de

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Free Form Thick Layered Object Manufacturing FF-TLOM is based on application of a reshapeable cutting device, which allows a free form shaping of thick polystyrene foam layers. Once manufactured, these layers are stacked to produce a physical model. Tool path generation for the heated flexible blade tool is a challenging task, since it influences the quality of the manufactured objects as well as the effectiveness of the fabrication process. Them difficulties arise from the following facts: (a) when slicing is computed, the instantaneous tool positions are defined by matching the blade profile against the nominal shape of the CAD model, (b) the tool positions calculated relative to the cut layers have to be converted into the global reference frame of the layer cutting equipment, (c) the resultant tool path should maintain the achieved preciseness approximating the front surface of the layers, and (d) it is impossible to calculate all points of the tool path in real time. This paper proposes an effective tool path calculation method for flexible blade cutting. The contour of the layers is converted into an ordered set of smooth and awkward boundary features. For the smooth boundary features, the tool positions are computed by dense sampling in order to achieve the optimal cutting.



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