Computer aided design and manufacture for three dimensional milling
Advances in both computer technology and the necessary mathematical models capable of capturing the geometry of arbitarily shaped objects has led to the development in this thesis of a surface generation package called 'IBSCURF' aimed at providing a more economically viable solution to free-form surface manufacture. A suit of computer programs written in FORTRAN 77 has been developed to provide computer aids for every aspect of work in designing and machining free-form surfaces. A vector-valued parametric method was used for shape description and a lofting technique employed for the construction of the surface. The development of the package 'IBSCURF' consists of two phases. The first deals with CAD. The design process commences in defining the cross-sections which are represented by uniform B-spline curves as approximations to give polygons. The order of the curve and the position and number of the polygon vertices can be used as parameters for the modification to achieve the required curves. When the definitions of the sectional curves is complete, the surface is interpolated over them by cubic cardinal splines. To use the CAD function of the package to design a mould for a plastic handle, a mathematical model was developed. To facilitate the integration of design and machining using the mathematical representation of the surface, the second phase of the package is concerned with CAM which enables the generation of tool offset positions for ball-nosed cutters and a general post-processor has been developed which automatically generates NC tape programs for any CNC milling machine. The two phases of these programs have been successfully implemented, as a CAD/CAM package for free-form surfaces on the VAX 11/750 super-minicomputer with graphics facilities for displaying drawings interactively on the terminal screen. The development of this package has been beneficial in all aspects of design and machining of free form surfaces.