The scientific & technical objective of this research proposal is to enable SME's to manufacture complex prototypes (workpieces with undercut or tools) with conventional 3 axis milling machines. So the proposal concerns the development of production methods, software for 3D-CAD-surface preparation and additional 2 axis workholding equipment. As a result tool and pattern maker will get the following advantages: - Enormous reduction of investment costs compared with purchasable rapid prototyping systems by a more intelligent use of available CAD/CAM resources. - CNC-precision and -surface quality without manual rework independent of component size. - Direct use of all cuttable materials without additional casting processes. Research is required to work out production strategies in order to build up prototypes for different demands, i.e. Iost models for different casting processes, prototypes for high loading, design models with a good surface quality as well as air or fluid flow models with high tolerance out of different optical and chemically resistant materials. In order to rationalise the CAD surface preparation, i.e. disagregation in plane or freeformed "plates" and followed by a sectioning of all these plate surfaces for different milling strategies, additional software has to be developed. The development of additional equipment for conventional milling machines will reduce the milling effort and avoid also 5 axis problems. Problems of plate connection especially for metal materials and marketing are addressed.
Funding SchemeEAW - Exploratory awards
WS2 8BH Walsall