Abstract

Many useful methods have been applied to Rapid Prototyping (RP) technologies in recent years, and each of them has its own features. To solve the problem in large-scale prototyping, a robotic machining center with layer based algorithms is developed. Using STereoLithography (STL) file, the surfaces of a model are represented by triangles. Calculating the intersection between a series of parallel planes and the STL file, a STereolithography Contour (SLC) file of the model is generated where the model is represented as a series of contours on a set of parallel planes. Instead of using the popular RP technologies, traditional Computer Numerical Controlled (CNC) machining method is applied in machining each layer of the model. With visibility calculation, the thickness of each material layer is selected. When collision is detected for a point on the tool path, the orientation of the tool is modified. With the machining of a vase model, the effectiveness of the proposed algorithm is demonstrated. Errors of the robot machining system are analyzed by a Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM) and a surface texture measuring machine.

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