Improvement of toolpath quality combining polynomial interpolation with reduction of toolpath points

  • Bouchenitfa Hichem
  • Chaves-Jacob Julien
  • Linares Jean-Marc
  • Sprauel Jean-Michel
  • Azzam Noureddine
  • Boukebbab Salim

  • Toolpath
  • 5-axis milling
  • Polynomial interpolation
  • Meshed surface
  • Free-form surfaces
  • Biomedical


The aim of this study is to propose a 5-axis toolpath smoothing method in order to improve the quality of machined surfaces. Currently, toolpaths are commonly computed from CAD models presenting small geometrical discontinuities. These discontinuities may be caused by an insufficient quality of the CAD model (geometrical discontinuities) and the use of meshed surfaces (e.g. STL files). Normally, CAM systems generate linearly interpolated toolpaths. CNC options are then used on the machine to smooth the toolpath. The geometrical discontinuities of CAD models and linear toolpath interpolation may induce a unsmooth toolpath. This type of toolpath causes marks on the machined workpiece even if classical enhanced CNC options are used. Generally, these marks are unacceptable for the functionality of the workpiece. To reduce this problem, this study proposes a method to efficiently smooth toolpaths and consequently improve the obtained surface quality. The proposed method may be employed with high end controllers commonly used on 5-axis CNC machines. First, a five degree polynomial interpolation method is presented. This interpolation is computed to ensure geometrical continuity in the slope and curvature of the obtained toolpath. Next, a concatenation method is proposed to reduce the size of the CNC program and to improve the toolpath smoothness. Moreover, the purpose of this concatenation is to obtain an optimized repartition of points along the toolpath. Furthermore, in a reverse engineering process this method avoids surface reconstruction, decreasing the process time and improving the quality of the obtained surface. The efficiency of these methods is validated by the machining of biomedical prostheses. The CAD model used for the test is a meshed surface. 2