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a dissertation submitted to the department of mechanical engineering and the committee on graduate studies of stanford university in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of doctor of philosophy

By Ju-Hsien Kao June 1999

c Copyright 1999 by Ju-Hsien Kao All Rights Reserved

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I certify that I have read this dissertation and that in my opinion it is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

Fritz B. Prinz (Principal Adviser)

I certify that I have read this dissertation and that in my opinion it is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

Mark R. Cutkosky

I certify that I have read this dissertation and that in my opinion it is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

Kosuke Ishii

Approved for the University Committee on Graduate Studies:

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a robust model for arbitrarily shaped regions. An approach is proposed based on the 2D MAT to assist in detecting such problems. planning for such processes exhibits rigorous challenges due to process ﬂexibility and highly demanding planning automation. Three process planning problems are tackled based on the proposed MAT representation. Although decomposed layers may represent valid and manufacturable geometry. These challenges. In addition. The MAT together with the boundary representation empowers shape manipulation and geometric reasoning. three-dimensional layer building. the presence of previously built layers may pose manufacturing diﬃculty. can not be suﬃciently tackled via common boundary representation of geometric models. iv . This class of processes oﬀers sophisticated design ﬂexibility with engineering materials. However. First. is still an art of research. various techniques based on the Medial Axis Transform (MAT) are presented. In this thesis. The approaches presented in this thesis utilize representation of the MAT in terms of clearance functions on the object boundary. moreover.Abstract Additive/Subtractive Solid Freeform Fabrication (SFF) integrates material addition (deposition) and removal (machining) to build up three-dimensional objects incrementally. Although numerous algorithms have been proposed to recognize the MAT of polygonal objects. and the ability to fabricate complex engineering devices and multi-material objects. an important task in planning additive/subtractive SFF is to determine whether a computed decomposition plan is feasible for manufacturing. especially suitable for engineering designs. The clearance functions are computed via a divide-and-conquer methodology. The medial axis transform encodes intrinsic shape characteristics into a lower dimensional metric.

The medial axis transform encodes global shape characteristics into readily available 1D metrics and is particularly suitable for such an application.surfaces that impose manufacturability problems are identiﬁed. there are virtually no solutions to producing a connected and smooth spiral path that completely ﬁlls an arbitrary cross-section. material integrity produced by solid freeform fabrication is closely related to topology and fairness of deposition paths. The potential of utilizing such techniques for geometric reasoning and process planning is yet to be explored. Second. However. v . it imposes rigorous computational challenges in that global shape interrogation needs to be accessed. However. cutting tool selection plays an essential role in automated planning of additive/subtractive SFF. The proposed MAT representation and planning approaches apply not only to additive/subtractive solid freeform fabrication but also to various conventional manufacturing processes. A procedure based on histograms of shape thickness is suggested to eﬃciently compute an optimal set of cutting tools for minimal machining time. The resulting deposition paths are computed based on the medial axis transform. The shape is so optimized that connected and smooth deposition paths can be generated. Third. We propose a shape optimization algorithm based on the medial axis transform to relax boundary constraints of cross-sectional geometry.

provided valuable technical guidance and a strong foundation of software development. for his valuable feedback and discussions on Chapters 3 and 4 of this thesis. and Professor Jean-Claude Latombe. I would also like to thank other members of the doctoral thesis committee: Professors Mark Cutkosky and Kosuke Ishii for serving on my thesis reading committee. Krishnan Ramaswami and Miguel Pinilla. strong technical guidance. has been a continuous source of advice both in technical aspects and future directions. who has provided me with a global vision of research. Cheng-Hua Wang. who also worked in the computeraided manufacturing ﬁeld. has always been a great resource of research discussions. Jyun-Ming Chen. Chairman of Computer Science Department. an oﬃcemate during my master’s study. several people have provided me with valuable technical guidance and moral support: Dr. During my ﬁrst two years of graduate study. Dr. Dr.Acknowledgements First and foremost. who introduced me to Professor Fritz Prinz. They are very knowledgeable in the areas of solid modeling and computational geometry and have vi . study. I would like to thank my advisor. James Hemmerle. Dr. and valuable feedback on my research. Professor Kincho Law for serving as the oral defense committee chair. has helped me with personal advice and technical guidance on numerous occasions. Raju Mattikalli. Professor Fritz Prinz. He has given me conﬁdence in my abilities and has provided me with strong encouragement and moral support during my Ph. Many of the research ideas developed in this thesis have been inspired by numerous discussions with Dr.D. I would like to express sincere thanks to these individuals. my co-advisor during the Master’s study. I wish to express my sincere gratitude to Professor Prinz.

In particular. Dr. Sheng-I Chou. I would like to thank Tom Hasler. Alexander Nickel. Cheng-Hsien Liu and Shelley Cheng. Heidi Su. I would like to thank Te-Kan Yin. who have given me tremendous help when I joined the group. and Rudi Leitgeb. Wei-Ming Chi. Dr. patience.given me great inspiration and suggestions on this research. vii . for her care and understanding. Alexander Cooper. Last but not least. John Kietzman. Many friends have also provided support and advice in my personal life. and moral support. I am especially indebted to my loving wife. I wish to express my deep appreciation to my dear parents and parents-in-law for their continuous support and aﬀection. Chun-Ying Lee. Several colleagues in the Rapid Prototyping Laboratory have also helped me with many projects I participated in at Stanford. I thank all of the laboratory members for sharing their knowledge and experience with me. Sylvia Walters and Lynn Hoschek also gave me great administrative support very patiently. encouragement. John Fessler. Gayle Link.

. . . .1. . . . . . . . .2 1. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 3. . . . . . . . . Medial Axis Transform . . . . . . . Overview of MAT Applications . . . . . . Properties . . . 3 Medial Axis Transform 3. . . . . . .1 1. . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 3. . . . . . Existing Approaches . . . . . .4 Process Planning Tasks and Requirement . . . . . . . .3 2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Additive/Subtractive Solid Freeform Fabrication . . . . . . . . . . . 1. . . . . iv vi 1 1 2 3 5 6 7 9 12 12 22 27 28 31 31 34 38 40 Thesis Scope and Problem Statement . . . . . . . . . .3 1. . . . . . . . . . Discussion and Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . .1. . . . . . .1. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Process Planning for Additive/Subtractive SFF 2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 2. .4 1. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 3. Process Planning and Geometric Reasoning .3 Solid Freeform Fabrication . . Existing Approaches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Problems and Challenges . . . . . . . . . . . . . Thesis Outline .Contents Abstract Acknowledgements 1 Introduction 1. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Deﬁnition .2 2. . . . . . . viii . . . . . . . . . . .1 Background . . . . . . . .2 1.

. Examples . Related Work . . . . . . . 47 48 51 51 64 64 65 70 72 72 74 78 84 86 86 88 92 94 99 4 Computing Medial Axis Transforms 4. . . . .4 4. . 4. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 4. . . . Synchronizing Clearance Functions . . .5 4. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 6. . . . . . .3 4. .1 6. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 5. . . . . . . Evaluation of Existing MAT Algorithms for Process Planning . . . . . .5 3. . . . 121 Discussion and Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . Analysis of Algorithm Extension to Generalized Curvilinear Polygons . . .3 5. .1 4. . . . . . . . . . Manufacturability Analysis for Part Decomposition .2. . . . . .3 6. . . . . . . Computing Individual Clearance Functions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Completing Clearance Functions . . . 103 Discussion and Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . Overview of Part Decomposition . . . . . .6 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Algorithm for Smooth 2D Compact Regions . . . . . . . . . . . . . Discussion and Conclusion .4 5. . . . . 107 Proposed Approaches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Preliminary . . . . . . . . . . . . 116 Examples . . . . . . . . . . . Examples . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 Introduction . . . . . .2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106 107 6 Path Planning for Material Deposition 6. . .1 4. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 4. . . . . . . 5 Manufacturability Analysis for Decomposition 5. . . . . . . .2 5. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Manufacturability Analysis with a 2D Medial Axis Transform . . . . . . 110 Deposition Paths of Prescribed Geometry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113 Shape Optimization for Optimal Deposition Paths . . . .2. . . . . . 124 ix . .6 Requirement of MAT Algorithms for Process Planning . . . . . . . . . . .1 5. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 6. .6 5. .6 Overview of the Approach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3. .2 6. . . . . . . . . .3 4. . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 7. .1 7. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 130 Discrete Histogram Model . . . . . . . . . . 137 Tool Selection for Finish Machining . 139 Examples . . . . . . . . .3. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126 Related Work . . . . . . . . . . . .1 8. . . . 140 Discussion and Conclusions . . . . . . . .1 7. .3. . . . . . . . 140 145 8 Conclusions 8. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 Tool Selection for Machining Near Net Deposits . . . . . . 127 Tool Selection for Bulk Material Removal . . . . . 146 Future Work . . . . . . . . .5 7. . . . . . . . . .6 7. . .2 Contributions . . . . . .4 7. . . . . 149 151 153 A Conversion from MAT to Boundary Representation Bibliography x . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Continuous Analytical Model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 Automated Cutting Tool Selection 7. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129 7. .3 126 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 134 7. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116 xi . .1 Formulas and examples of the constant-oﬀsetting and adaptive-oﬀsetting approaches. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .List of Tables 6.

. . . . . .1 1.2 Process cycle of a typical additive SFF process. . .5 2. . . . . . . .3 4. . . Part decomposition and a build sequence for an injection molding insert.1 3.2 3. . . . . . . Illustration of medial axis transform deﬁnition in two dimensions. . . . An intermediate result of material deposition. . . . . Mapping from a boundary point to the center of its medial axis ball. . . . . 2. Bisecting point and bisecting distance. . . . .7 2. Clearance function on the boundary of the region. . .2 4. .4 2. 15 Build direction and its eﬀects on process plans. .5 4. . Visualization of the clearance function for an example 2D region. . . . . . . . . .1 2. . . . . . .2 2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 4. . . . . . . Clearance function as inﬁmum of bisecting functions. . . . . . . . . . . . Axiom of part decomposition . . . . . . .List of Figures 1. . . Process cycle of a typical additive/subtractive solid freeform fabrication process. . . . . . . . . . . .8 3. . . .3 4. . . Bisecting functions and the clearance function. . . . Strong deformation retract of a rectangular region. . . . . . Bisecting functions for an example 2D region. Projection of boundary points onto the medial axis. . . . . . . .7 Process planning steps in additive/subtractive SFF.6 2. . An intermediate result of subtractive operations. . . . . . A completed injection molding insert and its features. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 4. . . 19 xii . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 4. . . . 4 14 18 18 21 22 23 33 35 38 52 53 55 57 59 60 62 3 Deﬁnition of compacts in additive/subtractive solid freeform fabrication. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

4. . . . . Manufacturability analysis procedures for constructing a turning wheel assembly with additive/subtractive SFF. . . . . .11 An injection molding insert and its manufacturability. . . . . 4. . . .15 Clearance functions for a smooth region with holes.9 A simple turning wheel assembly.9 Visualization of the clearance function for a 3D object. . . . . . . . 76 4. .5 5. . . A compact decomposition solution to the turning wheel assembly. . Computing inaccessible boundaries of a region. . Initializing the merged clearance function. . . . . . 63 69 70 79 80 81 82 83 90 91 91 92 96 97 98 4. . . . . . .12 Computation of the clearance function for a rectangular region. . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 5. . . . .5 6. . . . . . .14 Computation of the clearance function for a smooth curved region. .7 Common deposition patterns . . . . . . . . . . 109 Proposed deposition path planning methodology.6 6. . .2 5. 4. 105 6. . . . . . . . 108 Problems produced by recursively oﬀsetting algorithms. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 5. . . . . . 111 An example of a simple MAT. . . . . . . . . . . 104 5. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Two possible build sequences of a simple turning wheel mechanism. . . . . . Manufacturability of two build sequences of a simple turning wheel mechanism. . . . . . 114 Shape optimization for optimal deposition paths. . . . .2 6. . .6 5. . . 5. . . . . .3 6. . . . . . . . . . . .10 A link component and its manufacturability. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Computing the inaccessible wedges for manufacturability analysis. . 4. . .122 Optimal deposition path planning for a curved layer geometry. . . . . . . . . . 105 5. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4. . .16 The clearance functions and medial axes for a 2D domain with curvilinear boundaries. . . . . . .8 4. . . . . . . . .1 5. . 123 xiii . . 102 A decomposition example and its manufacturability. . . . . . . . 117 Optimal deposition path planning for a shape with contraction features. . . . .1 6. . . . . . . . . . . .11 Extension of the proposed approach to generalized curvilinear polygons. A non-r -sweepable region. . . . .4. . . . . . . . . . . .10 Tracing the clearance function. . . .4 6. . . . . .8 5. . . . . . . .13 Visualization of clearance function on a rectangular region. . . .3 5. .

. . . .4 7. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 7. . . . . . . . . . . . .7.5 7.141 The results of tool selection for bulk material removal of the sample geometry. . . . . . . . . . . . .6 7. . . . . . 143 A. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 7. . 152 xiv . . . .7 Generalized trapezoids for a 2D object. . 142 Tool selection for machining near-net deposits. . . . . . . .2 7. . . 133 Eﬀective clearance histogram and the accumulated clearance histogram. . 132 R-accessible trapezoid and its relation with tool paths. . .1 Boundary curve approximation between two adjacent MAT disks at s and s + ds. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131 r -accessible trapezoids. . . . . .136 Eﬀective and accumulated clearance histograms for the sample geometry. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

and has been shown insuﬃcient for geometric reasoning without further extensive computation. The Medial Axis Transform (MAT). Nevertheless. Such a boundary representation describes objects by their boundaries. encodes intrinsic shape 1 . However. surface quality. process planning for such processes exhibits rigorous challenges due to process ﬂexibility and demanding planning automation. on the other hand.Chapter 1 Introduction 1. also known as layered manufacturing. A common model to describe product geometry is based on its boundary. and material integrity. manufacturing engineers are eagerly seeking ways to deliver increasingly complex products in a timely and cost-eﬀective manner. Solid Freeform Fabrication (SFF).1 Background In today’s competitive industry. Additive/subtractive solid freeform fabrication aims at improving these eﬀects by integrating layered manufacturing techniques with conventional subtractive operations such as machining. the price paid for such automation is reduced part accuracy. This class of processes oﬀers sophisticated design ﬂexibility with engineering materials and the ability to fabricate intricate engineering devices. seems to warrant their attention by creating physical objects automatically from mathematical models in a layer-by-layer fashion. An essential part of process planning in additive/subtractive SFF involves reasoning about product geometry to generate product-speciﬁc manufacturing plans.

INTRODUCTION 2 characteristics based on the object interior. build time is greatly reduced. also referred to as additive solid freeform fabrication (Figure 1. Subsequent layers are then deposited and bonded onto the previous layers until the ﬁnal approximated 2 1/2 D objects are constructed. parts are often completed within a few hours up to a couple of days. 3D objects are decomposed into 2D layers.CHAPTER 1. and each layer is built by various deposition or forming processes. SFF builds up 3D objects by successive 2D layer deposition. Second. FDM). 1.1 Solid Freeform Fabrication Solid freeform fabrication (SFF) is a set of manufacturing processes that produce complex solid objects directly from geometric models without speciﬁc part or tooling information. It is the goal of this thesis to provide a solution for computing MATs of 2D curved objects and to utilize the MAT techniques for various process planning tasks in additive/subtractive solid freeform fabrication. due in part to diﬃculty of MAT computation in engineering domains. It oﬀers complete information for geometric reasoning when used in conjunction with boundary representation. no custom ﬁxtures are required. This additive SFF technique exhibits several advantages over traditional manufacturing methods. however. SLA). objects are sliced into 2D thin layers. This powerful representation. several disadvantages can also be observed due to the nature of layered .1). sintering of powders with laser scans (Selective Laser Sintering. First. months. The following provides a detailed background on these subjects. complex objects can be easily built. and extrusion of heated thermoplastic polymers (Fused Deposition Modeling. in contrast to conventional processes that may take few weeks. has not yet received full utilization. Third. SLS). A subset of such processes is layered manufacturing. or longer. Deposition methods may include solidiﬁcation of liquid resins with ultraviolet radiation (Stereolithography. However. and planning on 2D domain is relatively simple.1. traditional machining operations demand sophisticated ﬁxturing techniques for complex objects.

CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION

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Iterative layer deposition

Finished part (after support structures removed)

Figure 1.1: Process cycle of a typical additive SFF process. processing. First, the surface ﬁnish of completed parts is poor; parts exhibit wellknown stair-step eﬀects along the build direction. In addition, the shrinkage factor for the chosen material has to be considered during planning. Second, material choice is limited; candidate materials should ensure geometric preservation as well as adequate bonding between adjacent layers. Materials, along with deposition methods, should also guarantee the required part resolution. Finally, material integrity is hard to achieve for engineering applications; constraints on material selection and geometric preservation prohibit parts built with common engineering materials. In addition, intrinsic behavior of such fabrication methods makes materials anisotropic along the build direction. Applications of additive SFF processes are often limited to look-andfeel prototypes, form-ﬁtting for assembly tests, or as an intermediate means for other manufacturing processes such as patterns for investment casting.

1.1.2

Additive/Subtractive Solid Freeform Fabrication

Additive/subtractive solid freeform fabrication (Figure 1.2) aims at improving geometric accuracy of parts produced from purely additive SFF processes. This class of manufacturing processes comprises iterative material deposition and removal. Parts are ﬁrst decomposed into simpler, smaller, and manufacturable 3D building blocks; each building block is then iteratively built and shaped. Common additive/subtractive SFF processes include Laminated Object Manufacturing (LOM) — shaping outlines of each thin layer, Lasercaving – cutting cavities with laser layer-by-layer, and Shape

CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION

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additive procedure (deposition)

subtractive procedure (shaping)

finished part (after support structures removed)

Figure 1.2: Process cycle of a typical additive/subtractive solid freeform fabrication process. Deposition Manufacturing (SDM) [40] – machining surfaces of decomposed threedimensional entities. Many other research institutes are also investigating approaches to integrating contour shaping into their layered manufacturing processes in the hope of expanding material applicability while achieving required geometric accuracy. This class of processes exhibits several advantages. First, it produces better accuracy than purely additive SFF due to introduction of intermediate material removal procedures. Second, materials and deposition methods are not constrained by resolution of deposition, since accuracy of parts is controlled by shaping processes. For instance, materials can be cast, fused, welded, or even pre-fabricated. Third, no custom ﬁxturing is required. Fixtures are inherent in additive/subtractive SFF; support structures and all previously built layers automatically serve as ﬁxtures for the subsequent layers. Finally, additive/subtractive SFF opens up the engineering design space. Parts can be embedded with pre-fabricated components such as electronic devices or sensors. In addition, it is capable of constructing internal intricate features as well as integrated assembly mechanisms.

CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION

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However, such process ﬂexibility brings in complexity and diﬃculty in automating process planning. For example, in additive/subtractive SFF, we often decompose parts into three-dimensional solid layers, as opposed to two-dimensional thin slices. Furthermore, intermediate shaping operations present non-trivial planning tasks, compared with purely additive SFF; speciﬁc geometry information of parts needs to be evaluated for selecting appropriate tools to shape the layer surfaces. Such process planning tasks must require minimum human intervention, if not full automation, to make additive/subtractive SFF a reliable and attractive production technique.

1.1.3

Process Planning and Geometric Reasoning

Basic constituents in process planning of additive/subtractive SFF include computation of the build orientations, decomposition of the input 3D objects into smaller and manufacturable entities, planning of deposition operations, and machining instruction generation. The input to such process planning includes part geometry, material, process information, and other production requirements. These resources can not be independently considered during process planning. However, it is of particular interest in this thesis to study how part geometry inﬂuences the resulting manufacturing plans. For instance, surface normals and their relations with the build orientation aﬀect complexity of machining operations as well as part decomposition. The smoothness of the part boundary dictates the topology and quality of the deposition path. The thinness of part features determines the proper build sequences to ensure that thin features can be constructed without causing shaping diﬃculties. Curvature of surfaces and clearance between features inﬂuence machining parameters such as tool sizes. Dimension of parts and their shape distribution aﬀect total build time and amount of support structures required. Both local and global geometric properties need to be accessed to evaluate feasible manufacturing plans as well as to determine a costeﬀective solution within many alternatives. A common mathematical model for deﬁning part geometry is based on boundary

In addition. surfaces of 3D objects).g.CHAPTER 1. However.1. Thickness of a local region corresponds to the dimensional metrics recorded on the medial axis. . This transformation labels each point on the medial axes with a metric of the dimension of the local region. INTRODUCTION 6 representation. and tangency of a point on these entities. Therefore.4 Medial Axis Transform The medial axis transform is a representation that encodes an object with symmetric (medial) axes in the object interior.. This representation describes an object by its enclosing boundaries (e. Such a representation provides knowledge of object interior. However. 1. the medial axis transform in its raw form is not capable of providing solutions to local geometric properties of surfaces. The distribution of shape dimensions can be analyzed from the medial axes and the associated dimensional metrics. The clearance in the exterior of an object can be captured by computing the medial axis transform of the negative volume. we require a hybrid representation based on medial axis transform and boundary representation to record both local and global geometric information of an object. curvatures. the medial axes obtained from the medial axis transform can be utilized for shape recognition due to its reduced dimension and enhanced representation simplicity. global geometric properties such as proximity between features or thickness of a speciﬁc region in the part are not directly available without further extensive computation. This makes boundary representation inadequate for interrogating part geometry and for supporting a completely automated process planner. One can reconstruct the object by sweeping a scalable ball along the medial axis with its radius equal to the dimensional metric recorded on the medial axis point. It provides readily available information on local geometric properties such as normal directions.

many algorithms tend to operate in tessellated domain. An alternative solution to this problem is to construct MAT in a 2 1/2 D manner. Due to expensive computation involved in computing MAT for freeform solids. and to utilize the MAT techniques for various process planning tasks in additive/subtractive solid freeform fabrication. .CHAPTER 1. Our goal is to present a new paradigm of describing medial axis transform with its boundary representation. INTRODUCTION 7 1. More specifically. if the sliced 2D MAT can provide adequate interrogation information. In addition. this thesis covers the following issues: MAT Computation of Arbitrarily Shaped 2D Objects: Algorithms to computing the medial axis transform for an arbitrarily shaped 3D object have been studied for many years and yet present numerous diﬃculties in doing so robustly. However. which alone is inadequate for various geometric reasoning tasks encountered in process planning. We also propose a solution to computing 2D MAT based on this paradigm and show that such a solution exhibits advantages over many existing approaches. few of them deal with arbitrarily shaped 2D regions eﬃciently. However. as discussed in the previous sections. These two representations must be coupled so that answers to various geometric interrogation should be readily available without further extensive computation. Such a solution is particularly suitable in planning additive/subtractive SFF since the processes are inherently dependent on a ﬁxed build orientation. artiﬁcial medial axis branches often appear as a result of discretization due to sensitivity of medial axis transform to boundary smoothness.2 Thesis Scope and Problem Statement The goal of this thesis is to develop a generic approach for representing and computing MAT of arbitrarily shaped objects. It is computationally economic to compute MATs of many sliced 2D regions as opposed to that of a full 3D solid. Many 2D MAT approaches have been proposed. their primary concern is on the conversion of 2D geometry to the medial axis transform.

or point-to-point based methods such as welding.CHAPTER 1. spiral paths appear to result in more uniform thermal stress distribution across a 2D region. Such computation should be eﬃciently performed without needing to generate all the manufacturing plans. The issues include: casting of viscous materials into small thin cavities. INTRODUCTION 8 Manufacturability Analysis for Part Decomposition: The ﬁrst step in process planning is to verify whether a submitted design is manufacturable within capacity of manufacturing facility. Among these deposition approaches. fusing and extrusion. the next step is to generate material deposition paths. This is in hope to resolve various manufacturability problems imposed by process constraints by a means of decomposition. In additive/subtractive solid freeform fabrication. point-to-point processes require careful planning of deposition paths in that deposition conﬁguration can greatly aﬀect material integrity. Various process and material constraints could prevent the parts from being built in compliance with the desired quality. each of which is built incrementally. 3D solids are decomposed into a number of manufacturable entities. machining of narrow regions. Path Planning for Material Deposition: Once a solid is decomposed to a set of feasible entities. Of these problems. often includes raster and spiral patterns. manufacturability analysis could not be conveyed without knowledge of decomposition behavior. To assess manufacturability of a particular decomposition solution. Various deposition methods can be invoked. used to ﬁll a 2D region with its 1D trajectory. we need to evaluate geometry of the layer to be built and its relation with the built geometry. deposition of materials into internal sharp corners. and building a thin tall entity. Therefore. including regionbased approaches such as casting and adhering. we shall demonstrate how the proposed 2 1/2 D paradigm can be utilized to ensure that each decomposed entity can be shaped properly with available cutting tools. Point-to-point deposition is usually performed in 2D fashion. The corresponding deposition path. Of these two patterns. Common methods for generating spiral paths rely on recursive oﬀset of boundary .

Materials can be deposited non-uniformly in extrusion-based deposition. Chapter 2 outlines general process planning tasks involved in additive/subtractive solid freeform fabrication (SFF). Chapter 3 and chapter 4 focus on representation and algorithms of medial axis transform. and it is considered diﬃcult to achieve fully automated cleanup or shaping procedures. . including 2D laser cutting. we propose a new path generation algorithm based on the medial axis transform. Of these processes. material removal processes are involved to accurately shape their surfaces. 2D contour machining or cutting. 1. Automated Cutting Tool Selection: Once material is deposited to form a near-net shape of decomposed entities. Various shaping methods can be applied to accomplish this task. INTRODUCTION 9 curves on a 2D deposition region. Selection of this parameter often requires skillful human intervention due to diﬃculty in automated geometric reasoning. Such methods exhibit inherent drawbacks since gaps may exist if step-over distances are not properly chosen. The content of each process planning task is identiﬁed and existing planning approaches are reviewed.3 Thesis Outline The rest of this thesis is organized as follows. is a more feasible and reliable means to eﬃciently remove waste materials and to accurately shape freeform surfaces. To minimize these problems. laser cutting only separates the part and waste materials. Machining. 3D surface machining.CHAPTER 1. We suggest an optimization scheme based on the proposed medial axis representation to compute an eﬃcient set of cutting tools with minimal machining time. Current challenges faced in implementing an automated process planner are also presented in this chapter. and electrical discharge machining. on the other hand. A challenging task in planning machining operations is to determine the sizes of cutting tools.

The problems in generating spiral paths for depositing materials are ﬁrst summarized. Chapter 4 proposes a new representation of the medial axis transform using clearance functions. the MAT representation and algorithms are evaluated against various planning requirement. An approach is proposed to improve the quality of deposition paths by relaxing shapes of deposition regions. It is shown that even though parts may be decomposed correctly with respect to the build direction. Chapters 5 to 7 investigate approaches based on the proposed clearance function representation to facilitate various process planning tasks in additive/subtractive solid freeform fabrication. Existing applications of MAT and its potential usage for mechanical design and manufacturing are discussed. Chapter 6 describes a method of generating high-quality deposition paths. Algorithms for computing MAT of 2D and 3D objects are summarized. they may not present a feasible manufacturing plan due to various manufacturing constraints. A 2D manufacturability tool based on the suggested clearance function model is proposed to identify a feasible 3D decomposition that permits cutting tool access throughout the fabrication. A formula is then presented to generate smooth and connected spiral paths directly from the optimized medial axis transform. INTRODUCTION 10 Chapter 3 reviews the deﬁnition and basic properties of medial axis transform. This algorithm can also be generalized to curvilinear polygons consisting of circular arcs and linear segments. Two optimization models to accomplish this task are described: one is a continuous analytical model based on the proposed clearance . Such a model is introduced in chapter 4. Chapter 7 proposes a new approach to automated selection of cutting tools that achieve minimal machining time. In order for MAT to support various planning tasks of additive/subtractive SFF. A method that utilizes such a representation to compute MATs of arbitrarily shaped 2D objects is presented. An overview of available part decomposition strategies is provided.CHAPTER 1. This chapter shows that a coupled model based on MAT and boundary representation is needed to accomplish automated planning. Chapter 5 focuses on manufacturability analysis for 3D part decomposition. Such an approach is shown to exhibit several advantages over existing methods.

Several potential applications that could beneﬁt from the proposed representation and algorithms are described. .CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION 11 function representation. These models are utilized to select an eﬃcient set of cutters for removing bulk materials. for shaping near-net deposition. Chapter 8 concludes this thesis and summarizes contributions of the work presented in this thesis. the other is a discrete histogram model encoded from the continuous representation. and for ﬁnish machining.

Chapter 2 Process Planning for Additive/Subtractive SFF This chapter outlines general process planning tasks involved in additive/ subtractive solid freeform fabrication (SFF). 2. The content of each planning task is identiﬁed and existing planning approaches are reviewed. Current challenges faced in implementing an automated process planner are presented in this chapter. The contents contain machineunderstandable codes for driving designated machines to perform desired operations. whereas sequences specify orders of operations that are valid to manufacture the given parts. Requirements and content of each planning step are presented in this section and existing approaches and challenges to 12 . to improve product quality. but also to reduce cost of fabrication. to enhance quality in terms of lead time and throughput. and to utilize various manufacturing resources in a cost-eﬀective manner. The goal of an automated process planner is not only to generate various manufacturing instructions.1 Process Planning Tasks and Requirement Process planning of additive/subtractive SFF takes full 3D geometric models as input and outputs a process description that speciﬁes contents and sequences of operations necessary for producing the given parts.

Planning of additive/subtractive SFF processes entails the following tasks: • Determining the build orientation • Decomposing a 3D object into simpler manufacturable 3D entities • Planning material addition operations • Planning material removal operations • Planning post-processes The ﬁrst two steps are related to characteristics of solid freeform fabrication. removing intermediate processing features such as sprues or runners. and then detail the content of each planning task. etc. . planning for detail material addition and removal operations. in which the build direction and layer geometry must be pre-determined. etching out sacriﬁcial materials. generally include tasks such as • Selecting material addition/removal methods • Sequencing operations • Selecting tools or ﬁxtures • Computing operation parameters • Generating NC programs • Determining setup requirements • Planning auxiliary steps The last step. The following sub-sections ﬁrst outline the deﬁnition of a compact — a building block in additive/subtractive SFF processes. PROCESS PLANNING FOR ADDITIVE/SUBTRACTIVE SFF 13 achieve such planning automation are described in the following sections. post-processing. the next two steps.CHAPTER 2.1. involves operations such as removing parts from ﬁxtures. A schematic framework that depicts these planning steps is shown in Fig 2.

to specify required auxiliary procedures) for each decomposed model Plan Deposition Plan Machining Manufacturing Plans Figure 2.CHAPTER 2. Determine Build Orientation minimal volume of support structure required) Oriented model Decompose (e.. to select machines and tools.1: Process planning steps in additive/subtractive SFF.g.. PROCESS PLANNING FOR ADDITIVE/SUBTRACTIVE SFF 14 CAD model (e. to resolve geometric constraints and process constraints) A list of decomposed models (e. for minimal build time. to compute operation parameters and NC instructions.g. .g..

Compact Additive/subtractive SFF processes involve iterative material deposition. Operations associated with each compact may include deposition with diﬀerent types of material or machines. and no interference should occur in depositing or shaping processes from the top with respect to the build direction. any ray cast along the build direction should not intersect a compact geometry more than once (see Figure 2. The left ﬁgure represents a valid compact since all rays cast along the build direction intersect the geometry at most once. which together represent a ﬁnal product. machining operations using CNC machines. Each of these operations is associated with a part component or a decomposed geometry (i. a compact in [39]).2: Deﬁnition of compacts in additive/subtractive SFF.e.. The following describes issues related to automatic and optimal planning for additive/subtractive processes. a set of compacts) are that all supports for its undercut features must be previously built. shaping and other secondary operations. Or it could be simple operations such as automatic insertion of pre-fabricated components. The characteristics of such decomposed geometry (i.. or electrical discharge machining. Factors to be considered to achieve lower-cost. PROCESS PLANNING FOR ADDITIVE/SUBTRACTIVE SFF 15 build direction a valid compact an invalid compact Figure 2. Determining Build Direction Build directions greatly aﬀect subsequent process plans and material integrity. better-quality parts include .CHAPTER 2. In other words.e.2). The geometry on the right is not a valid compact since some vertical rays intersect it twice.

and then casting the part material on the support materials. As a common practice. • Surface ﬁnish: Downward-facing surfaces usually have worse surface ﬁnish compared with the directly-machined surfaces. Such a factor has to be taken into account. the size of a compact along the build direction should not exceed the length of the cutter to be used for .CHAPTER 2. an orientation with lower overall height along the build direction requires less time to complete the parts since material often takes more time to be cured or solidiﬁed before subsequence machining operations can be applied. • Material integrity: Some parts are preferred to be built along a speciﬁc direction. PROCESS PLANNING FOR ADDITIVE/SUBTRACTIVE SFF 16 • Build time: Diﬀerent build orientations result in diﬀerent operation sequences. The volume of support structures required aﬀects the overall build time as well as number of layers. which in turn aﬀects the total build time. • Volume of support structures: Surfaces facing downward are usually formed by constructing a support structure. Part Decomposition Once a build orientation is determined. we would like to choose a build direction so that the areas of downward-facing surfaces can be minimized. In general. material bonding between layers is often worse than the intra-layer bonding. A large number of compacts may increase the defects and decrease the surface quality along layer boundaries. In addition. a part is decomposed to a set of manufacturable compacts subject to the following constraints: • Process constraints: Some processes may impose an additional constraint on the envelope or shape of a compact. such as for material strength consideration. • Number of compacts: A relatively large number of compacts as a result of decomposition increases the build time. For instance.

Figure 2. a support structure needs to be built prior to building this feature. • Geometric constraints: As deﬁned previously. Furthermore. Individual compacts are ensured manufacturable only if they are supported by previously built objects. 28]. The output of this decomposition step is a set of geometric entities that are manufacturable with the participated material addition and removal processes.4 demonstrates how the build direction may aﬀect the decomposition results.3 shows the axiom of part decomposition. Second. PROCESS PLANNING FOR ADDITIVE/SUBTRACTIVE SFF 17 machining the contour of the compact. in order for a compact to be manufacturable. the upward-facing surfaces or counterparts of downward-facing surfaces need to be accessible by a given material removal tool. Figure 2. Figure 2. In additive/subtractive SFF processes. Or the depth of a compact may not exceed the curing depth in case post-curing is required. A by-product to this part decomposition is often the creation of support structures. Planning for Material Addition Material is usually deposited in consecutive 2D layers until a near-net shape of a compact is built.CHAPTER 2. the size of a compact may relate to quality of material deposition.5 illustrates a solution to part decomposition and the part build sequence for an injection molding insert with internal cooling channels and a copper deposit [19. These supporting objects could be “previously-built” part compacts or temporary support structures made of sacriﬁcial materials to be removed upon completion of the object. In addition. which should be also taken into account. material addition must enable access from above with respect to the build direction. a compact is a geometric entity such that no ray shooting along the build direction should penetrate more than once. deposition may not need to . When there exists any overhang feature in the part. we ought to consider these additional constraints: ﬁrst.

CHAPTER 2. PROCESS PLANNING FOR ADDITIVE/SUBTRACTIVE SFF 18

Upward-facing surfaces

Downward-facing surfaces

**111111111 000000000 000000000 111111111
**

: part material

0000000000 1111111111 0000000000 1111111111

support material 11 : 00 00 : subtrate 11

1111111111 0000000000 1111111111 0000000000 1111111111 0000000000

Figure 2.3: Axiom of part decomposition. Volume below upward-facing surfaces can be constructed directly, whereas volume above downward facing surfaces must have their support structures built.

2. 2a. 1. (a) : part material : support material

3. 2b. 1. (b)

Figure 2.4: Build direction and its eﬀects on process plans. The left ﬁgure shows the part to be built. The ﬁgure (a) represents a possible build orientation, which results in two build steps but may create machining diﬃculty at the top notch. Figure (b) shows another build orientation, which requires three build steps but the total build height is smaller.

CHAPTER 2. PROCESS PLANNING FOR ADDITIVE/SUBTRACTIVE SFF 19

(1)

(2)

(3)

(4)

Figure 2.5: Part decomposition and a build sequence for an injection molding insert built in Rapid Prototyping Laboratory at Stanford University. Step (1) completes the bottom portion of the insert, where the cavity for the copper deposit has been shaped and the cooling channels are ﬁlled with a sacriﬁcial material. Step (2) incrementally builds the middle section of the insert. Step (3) ﬁnishes the copper deposit. The ﬁnal step completes the insert. Note that the actual build steps involve more operations and more sophisticated sequencing to improve the part quality and surface ﬁnish.

CHAPTER 2. PROCESS PLANNING FOR ADDITIVE/SUBTRACTIVE SFF 20

be net-shaped since intermediate material removal processes remove excess materials to accurately shape the geometry. Major planning steps include: • Selecting a material addition method: Various deposition methods exist. Selection of the method depends on material types and desired characteristics of parts. • Sequencing operations: Deposition is performed layer by layer from bottom to top. • Computing operation parameters: The step-over distance between deposition passes depends on deposition methods and materials deposited. • Generating NC programs: This involves generating machine-understandable instructions to drive the deposition head to move across a 2D region. • Determining setup requirements: The part has to be transferred to a predetermined location for accurate and consistent part fabrication. • Planning auxiliary steps: This includes any post-processing such as cooling, UV curing, pre-heating, etc. Figure 2.6 shows an example of material deposition in progress. Materials can be deposited in near-net shape and later be accurately machined by material shaping operations.

**Planning for Material Removal
**

In additive/subtractive SFF processes, there exist no tool interference problems since any supports for undercut features have been built in earlier stages, and parts can be further decomposed according to machining constraints. Therefore, planning for machining operations need not consider interference problems. In additive/subtractive processes, automatic machining path generation is crucial due to the number of machining operations involved. The tasks include

PROCESS PLANNING FOR ADDITIVE/SUBTRACTIVE SFF 21 Figure 2. spindle speeds. • Determining setup requirements: Since no custom ﬁxtures are required. peripheral milling. • Selecting tools or ﬁxtures: In additive/subtractive SFF. and tool changes. depth of cut. • Generating NC programs: This refers to G-codes that should completely remove excess materials. step-over distances are determined by materials. An injection molding insert is being built as shown in this ﬁgure. • Selecting material removal methods: CNC machining and electrical discharge machining (EDM) are two of the most common methods. this usually refers to positioning of parts.CHAPTER 2. • Computing operation parameters: Machining parameters such as feed-rates. ﬁxtures are the previously built materials. cleaning. • Sequencing operations: Machining often involves various operations such as pocket machining. .6: An intermediate result of material deposition. Appropriate tools need to be selected or fabricated (in case of EDM) that accommodate part geometry. It is at a stage after material is deposited in near-net shape and before a shaping process is invoked. and cutting conditions. • Planning auxiliary steps: These may include pallet transfer. or sculpture surface machining. machining methods.

Various material removal processes can be involved to ﬁnish a part.2 Existing Approaches Process planning techniques for additive solid freeform fabrication have been widely studied and applied in daily operations.7: An intermediate result of subtractive operations. 2. due to the inherent diﬃculty.CHAPTER 2. new approaches proposed for planning additive/subtractive SFF are discussed. . Figure 2. In addition.7 shows an example of material removal and shaping. PROCESS PLANNING FOR ADDITIVE/SUBTRACTIVE SFF 22 Figure 2. Figure 2.7) and its features. This section reviews some of the planning techniques that are applicable to both additive and additive/subtractive SFF processes. many issues still need to be resolved to fully deliver the promise of planning automation for additive/subtractive solid freeform fabrication. An injection molding insert is shaped with 2 1/2 D machining. However.8 shows a completed injection molding insert (the counterpart of the one shown in Figure 2. This insert is to be further processed by electrical discharge machining for more accurate ﬁnish.

(Bottom): A transparent view of the embedded copper deposit and cooling channels.CHAPTER 2. PROCESS PLANNING FOR ADDITIVE/SUBTRACTIVE SFF 23 Copper deposit cooling channels Figure 2.8: (Top): An injection molding insert with internal cooling channels and embedded copper deposits. . The core of this insert is made of INVAR whereas the shell is stainless steel.

amount of support structures can be estimated by computing surface areas requiring supports (i. downward-facing surfaces usually produce a rougher surface ﬁnish when support structures are removed.e. where a 3D object is sliced into planar 2D layers. For example. Slicing an object into 2D layers often takes advantages of the facetted representation and results in very eﬃcient computation. This is in contrast to additive SFF. This transition corresponds to existence of silhouette edges on the surfaces. the number of transitions from downward-facing to upwardfacing surfaces aﬀects the number of material addition/removal cycles. Recently. material strength may be predicted by ﬁnite element analysis. PROCESS PLANNING FOR ADDITIVE/SUBTRACTIVE SFF 24 Determine Build Orientation The build orientation can be determined by solving a non-linear optimization problem. This approach reduces the overhead of computing silhouette edges numerically for each evaluated build direction. Gupta [23] proposed an approach that maps surface normals to a unit sphere and determines the orientation that results in the minimum number of downward / upward-facing surface transitions directly from the mapped unit sphere. better part strength. [54] proposed an approach based . In additive-subtractive solid freeform fabrication. Furthermore. surface ﬁnish can be evaluated according to angles between surface normals and the build direction. The total area of such surfaces is to be minimized.. For 3D part decomposition. [38] The build-time objective function can be approximated by number of layers or heights of objects along a given build direction. good surface ﬁnish. minimal amount of support structures. Ramaswami et al. The free variable of this optimization problem is the build direction and the objectives are usually minimal build time.CHAPTER 2. those with downwardfacing normals). etc. Part decomposition In additive/subtractive solid freeform fabrication. an object is decomposed into arbitrarily shaped 3D compacts. additional criteria need to be considered.

50] where nodes represent each compact geometry or other pre-fabricated components to be inserted. These build alternatives can then be transferred to job shops for run-time scheduling. and these plans can be chosen optimally depending upon machine availability or other criteria such as build time and surface ﬁnish. Common patterns for generating deposition paths are raster patterns (or zig-zag patterns) — paths are parallel to a given direction. a set of alternative build plans can be computed. edges represent the adjacency relationship between connected nodes. .CHAPTER 2. Once a deposition method is chosen. The results of decomposition can be structured in an adjacency graph [49. which is used to split the surfaces. They ﬁrst identify the silhouette edges along a given build direction. A directed graph that represents the precedence relationship among compacts can then be extracted from the adjacency graph. Planning for Material Addition Material addition methods are determined by the types of materials and desired characteristics of parts. Each plan represents a possible build sequence on the decomposed geometry. With the precedence graph. A collection of these silhouette edges together with existing edges form a loop. PROCESS PLANNING FOR ADDITIVE/SUBTRACTIVE SFF 25 on silhouette curves. The deposition height per layer as well as feed-rate of deposition is usually obtained from the experimental data. the associated setup procedures and required auxiliary steps can be retrieved from the database. These two patterns. Part models are then decomposed and support structures are generated with the help of several extrusion operations. or directions for raster patterns can be alternated [27] to minimize warpage as a result of incremental deposition. etc. and spiral patterns (or contourparallel patterns) — paths are parallel to contours of geometry.

the amount of excess materials to be removed is relatively small and features on the original parts may have been decomposed. one could use ﬂat-end milling to create pockets or slots. where the free variable is the tool size and the objective is usually to minimize total machining time. and side milling to proﬁle contours. Feature recognition techniques have been widely used to identify these machining features [57]. Tool paths for contour proﬁling are often generated by oﬀsetting the boundary curves. The appropriateness of the parameters is unknown until paths are computed. the material removal process can be considered to be “featurefree”. spiral patterns. For instance. Machining parameters such as depth of cut. Therefore. PROCESS PLANNING FOR ADDITIVE/SUBTRACTIVE SFF 26 Planning for Material Removal A material removal process usually involves automated CNC machining to accurately shape the material geometry. concavity or ﬂatness. generate spiral paths on this plane and map them back to the original surface. no sophisticated feature recognition process is required. Tool selection is often solved by an optimization procedure. face milling to create ﬂat surfaces. paths for surface machining often follow given patterns such as raster patterns. pass spacing (step-over distance). Rough machining is used to create near-net shape of a compact. raster-pattern paths can be produced. . For spiral-pattern paths. Several types of machining operations are available for various features of the parts. in additive/subtractive solid freeform fabrication. By shooting a ray along a given direction and projecting such a ray onto a surface. Evaluation of the objective function requires generating tool paths and computing the resulting machining time. However. Ramaswami [53] outlined the procedures for CNC machining in the Shape Deposition Manufacturing process. are often given by users. As a result.CHAPTER 2. ball-end milling to create sculptured surfaces. or parameter-line patterns. proﬁle cutting or ﬁnishing cutting is then employed to accurately shape the layer. one could project the boundary of a surface onto a 2D plane. The types of operations depend only on surface properties such as convexity.

2. Planning for Material Addition The spiral path pattern has been widely used in CNC machining for machining pockets. for examples. electrical discharge machining. they need to be merged or split to resolve additional geometric constraints due to feature interaction.3 Problems and Challenges Part decomposition Although Ramaswami’s approach [54] gives a feasible solution to decomposition. These increase diﬃculty in machining and may require more expensive and time-consuming processes. decomposition result. It has been shown that such an approach may result in incomplete ﬁlling and that paths . PROCESS PLANNING FOR ADDITIVE/SUBTRACTIVE SFF 27 Parameter-line patterns can be easily created by following the constant-parameter curves. small or sharp features in the decomposed objects may also appear. However. if not optimal. However. Consequently. A common approach to generating the spiral paths is via recursive oﬀsetting. when features interact. the process planner should report where the problems occur and suggest possible design modiﬁcation before actually generating all manufacturing plans.CHAPTER 2. A key issue to such part decomposition is manufacturability analysis of decomposed objects. the produced compacts may consist of small features or narrow cavities. Binnard [5] utilizes a set of pre-deﬁned library elements to facilitate part decomposition and to generate associated manufacturing plans. such evaluation can help determine a good. the same strategy may not be directly applicable to material deposition due to sensitivity of material integrity to conﬁguration of deposition paths. when no part decomposition strategies exist to build a complex design with available manufacturing resources. Since solutions to part decomposition are not unique. Furthermore.

It also does not guarantee a successful enumeration of all possible plans.4 Discussion and Conclusion In this chapter. These include determining build orientations. One of the most critical manufacturing parameters is the tool size and tool geometry. decomposing 3D objects into sub-entities. conﬁgurations of paths are often constrained by geometry of deposition regions. and planning material deposition . Common CAD/CAM systems often require users to provide such an input. PROCESS PLANNING FOR ADDITIVE/SUBTRACTIVE SFF 28 generated may be disconnected or contain sharp corners. However. the process planning tasks involved in additive/subtractive solid freeform fabrication (SFF) are outlined. where machining operations are frequently involved. It is a challenging task to create a smooth and complete path for any arbitrarily shaped 2D deposition regions. voids may exist and materials can be deposited non-uniformly. 2. This is often achieved by generateand-test approaches. step-over distances between adjacent passes are signiﬁcant to both completeness and eﬃciency of machining. This ineﬃciency is even exaggerated in the planning of additive-subtractive solid freeform fabrication. Therefore. A question often arises as to what an appropriate tool size should be for an eﬃcient cutting. One safe but ineﬃcient approach is to enumerate all possible tools and determine the best possible outcome. where a feasible process plan is generated and the result is then compared with the input to evaluate the performance of the generated plan. However.CHAPTER 2. many parameters usually are determined by skillful human intervention. As a result. Moreover. The challenges for users are to “reason” about the machined geometry and to provide an appropriate “guess”. Planning for Material Removal A main challenge of planning a machining operation is to evaluate whether an object can be correctly shaped with a given process. this generate-and-test process can be very time consuming.

for many manufacturing constraints could render such a plan infeasible. Due to its combinatorial nature. Such approaches further compound the complexity of problems. the process planning of additive/subtractive SFF. simulated. is not yet considered satisfactory. a geometric representation that enables fast spatial interrogation is needed. however. Although path generation has been developed for conventional machining. To achieve automated computation of feasible part decomposition. if not be able to fully automate. it is impractical to explore all decomposition plans.CHAPTER 2. manufacturability analysis must be employed to assist identifying a feasible result. . material need not be deposited to its net shape (due to introduction of shaping operations). Attributed to advanced computer technology. Selection of cutting tools demands spatial reasoning of machining regions. Currently the process planning demands considerable human intervention. common manufacturability analysis tools rely heavily on feature extraction and the generate-and-test methodology. a representation is needed that could inherently couple geometry of the deposition region with its deposition path. To facilitate computation of a relaxed shape for achieving desired path characteristics. Part decomposition is a challenging task in such process planning. In additive/subtractive solid freeform fabrication. Machining planning has been studied for more than three decades. There is a need to use a simple and powerful representation to facilitate manufacturability analysis for part decomposition. To achieve automation of cutting tool selection. the success allows tool paths to be generated. and veriﬁed within a short period of computation time. Such an advance. PROCESS PLANNING FOR ADDITIVE/SUBTRACTIVE SFF 29 and removal operations. it is not directly applicable to material deposition due to sensitivity of resultant material integrity to topology and geometry of the deposition path. However. Such ﬂexibility allows deposition geometry to be relaxed to accommodate a desired path conﬁguration. It presents rigorous challenges as parts become more complex. it is also unwise to examine only one single solution. as human intervention is often required to identify machining strategies and to assign necessary machining parameters such as cutting tools. It is our goal to facilitate. Furthermore. Material deposition is generally performed in a 2D fashion.

CHAPTER 2. PROCESS PLANNING FOR ADDITIVE/SUBTRACTIVE SFF 30 This thesis investigates the medial axis transform (MAT) representation. and presents several approaches based on MAT to accomplish numerous challenging planning tasks for additive/subtractive solid freeform fabrication. .

it would be the loci of centers of locally maximal disks inside the region. The set of x is the medial axis MA(A).1 (Medial Axis Transform) Let A be a subset of Rn . p ∈ Rn }. x ∈ Rn be a point in A. r ) denote a set of points in Rn that are r ∈ R distance or less from the point x ∈ Rn . MAT(A). The Medial Axis Transform of A.1 Deﬁnition The Medial Axis Transform (MAT) was ﬁrst proposed by Blum [6] to describe shapes for biological problems. A ball or disk is locally maximal if there exist no other balls or disks that contain it. Let Ball(x. r ) = {p | distance(p. where x ∈ A and rx ∈ R.Chapter 3 Medial Axis Transform 3. These medial axis points together with the radii of the associated locally maximal balls deﬁnes the medial axis transform of an object. The points on the medial axis are called medial axis points. In two dimensions. In other words. In other words. rx ∈ R such that the ball centered at x with radius rx is locally maximal in A. rx ).1) 31 . We have the following deﬁnition for the medial axis transform: Deﬁnition 3. rx ). x) ≤ r. such that (Figure 3. MAT(A) is a set of (x. is a subset of Rn+1 consisting of the closure of points (x. Ball(x. He deﬁned the medial axis as loci of centers of locally maximal balls inside an object.

rx1 ). The edges where more than two medial surfaces meet are called seams [60. (x. Existence of branch points or seams suggests non-manifold topology of medial axes. Medial axis balls must be tangent to the associated boundary points since a medial axis ball is locally maximal. It also captures sharp corners of a boundary. to where the medial axis ball touches the boundary. (x2 . 9]. rx ) ∈ MAT(A) =⇒ Ball(x. They represent a trajectory of the innermost interior points. medial axis points form a set of continuous 1D or 2D entities. The points where three or more entities meet are called branch points. deﬁnes the radius function of medial axis transform. Furthermore. In two dimensions. MEDIAL AXIS TRANSFORM 32 1. For detailed analysis of a shape. these medial axis points represent a set of continuous 1D entities. A continuous mapping from medial axis points to their associated radii. at any boundary point. Each medial axis point is encoded with the radius of the associated medial axis ball. The latter are usually referred as medial surfaces.CHAPTER 3. the proﬁle of the radius function could indicate certain geometric characteristics such as contraction and symmetry. where the radius function value approaches to zero. the medial axis transform of a convex polygon has branches reaching all corners of the polygon. rx2 ) The balls that satisfy the above conditions are called medial axis balls. or equivalently. rx ) ⊆ A 2. rx2 ) ∈ MAT(A) =⇒ Ball(x1 . a medial axis ball can be constructed by “growing” a ball toward the interior until the ball strikes the boundary at any other points. the medial axis points are equidistant to object boundary. rx1 ) Ball(x2 . This radius value represents the distance from a medial axis point to its nearest boundary points. On the other hand. Magnitudes of the radius function depict the “thickness” of a region in the neighborhood of the medial axis points. A small notch appearing on the contour introduces a branch of medial axis extending to it. (x1 . Moreover. The medial axis is sensitive to boundary geometry. According to the above deﬁnition. or distances to boundary. this feature enables capture of imperfectness of . In three dimensions.

1: Illustration of medial axis transform deﬁnition in two dimensions. the second condition of the deﬁnition). (Bottom) All of the balls shown in this ﬁgure are medial axis balls. MEDIAL AXIS TRANSFORM 33 e a d b c A Å Ì´Aµ Figure 3..CHAPTER 3. balls a. disks) satisfy the ﬁrst condition of Deﬁnition 3. However. . The trajectory of their centers constitutes the medial axis.1. (Top) All balls (in the 2D case. and d are not the medial axis balls since they do not satisfy the maximality condition (i.e. b. The radii of the balls together with the medial axis deﬁne the medial axis transform.

such sensitivity to noise may bring in additional complexity of reasoning. The boundaries of these partitioned regions constitute Voronoi edges and represent the trajectories of points equidistant to boundary entities. A generalized Voronoi diagram partitions the space into regions. The relations between the size of the navigating object and the radius function dictates accessibility of the navigator through the space. Regarding geometric properties of medial axis. We shall summarize a few important theorems and results from previous literatures. among objects.2 Properties Medial axis transform exhibits several properties that enable representation of an object in an unambiguous and simpler manner. Nackman [44] studied how the radius function and the medial axis curvatures are related to the surface curvatures in three dimensions. therefore the minimum spacing. MEDIAL AXIS TRANSFORM 34 geometry. The minimum radius along the medial axis represents the smallest clearance. Many algorithms for generating medial axis transforms are based on Voronoi diagrams. Brandt [8] investigated the medial axis tangents. Blum [7] presented the curvature relationship between the boundary of a planar ﬁgure and its medial axis. Medial axes are a subset of Voronoi edges for polygons in two dimensions or for polyhedra in three dimensions. 3. However. curvatures and rates of change of the radius function in terms of diﬀerential parameters of the boundary. To evaluate spacing among a collection of objects. for shape recognition. The following section describes a few mathematical properties of medial axis transform. In terms of topologic properties of medial axis transform and its relationship . followed by discussion on how we can utilize these properties for our geometric reasoning and representation. The trajectory of medial axis depicts the safest navigation path that is the farthest from all obstacles.CHAPTER 3. each of which encloses points closer to a polygon edge or polyhedron face but no closer to others. the medial axis transform of the negative (delta) volume of these objects can be computed.

with the boundary of the region. He also proved connectivity of the medial axis by strong deformation retraction theorem. the function M : P −→ MA(A). we shall summarize some of the theorems and results from [59]. is continuous.2: Mapping from a boundary point to the center of its medial axis ball.and piecewise C 2 -continuous. mapping from the . We begin with uniqueness and continuity of the medial axis transform: Lemma 3. This lemma dictates that given a bounded and closed manifold. MEDIAL AXIS TRANSFORM 35 A P Å Ô Ô Å ´ Aµ Figure 3. Chiang [12] provided a proof that for a simple and compact region in R2 whose boundary curves are piecewise twice-diﬀerentiable. the MAT is unique. Then for every point p ∈ P there is one and only one maximal ball touching p. Let P be an open subset of ∂ A which is G1 .2). which maps each point p ∈ P to the center of its maximal ball (Figure 3.2 (Uniqueness and Continuity of Mapping to MAT) Let A be an n-dimensional compact sub-manifold of Rn and let MA(A) be its medial axis.CHAPTER 3. since they are the most fundamental and important to our applications. Sherbrooke [59] described the relationship between the maximum principle curvatures of its surface and the medial axis of a 3D object. Furthermore. connected and invertible. Such mapping is continuous. In the following.

Let Y be a subspace of a topological space X . one can reverse the mapping and obtain the manifold from the medial axis transform.3 (Strong Deformation Retract) Let I be the closed interval [0. 1) ∈ A for x ∈ X . 3. In contrast to the boundary representation. H (x. we shall need the following topological notion [43]: Deﬁnition 3. 1]. it can be generalized to any shape with tangent discontinuities by replacing sharp corners or edges with inﬁnitesimal trimmed hyperspheres. In other words. MEDIAL AXIS TRANSFORM 36 boundary of this manifold to its medial axis transform is unique and continuous. the medial axis transform provides an intrinsic description of objects. 2. such mapping is invertible. Medial axis transform. provides information such as thickness of regions. and clearance between two features.CHAPTER 3. t) = y for y ∈ Y and t ∈ I . H (x. we can reconstruct a region from its medial axis transform. It also enables us to interrogate surface properties such as curvatures and normals. volume of an object. Boundary representation oﬀers geometric information about the limit or extent of an object. Therefore. whereas medial axis transform measures its content. For examples. boundary representation allows us to easily modify the shapes by blending a corner or tapering a surface. where an object is represented by its enclosing boundaries. all compact regions could be represented as manifolds bounded by piecewise C 2 -continuous entities joined G1 -continuously. on the other hand. As a result. This helps to represent an object in a diﬀerent manner: describing an object by its innermost interior and the associated thickness metrics. H (y. In order to show how the medial axis is related to the boundary of the manifold. Although the above lemma assumes that the boundary of the manifold should be G1 -continuous (its tangent direction is continuous) and piecewise C 2 -continuous (the second derivatives are continuous). . These two representations are both useful for shape manipulation and reasoning. Since the mapping is one-on-one and continuous. Then Y is called a strong deformation retract of X if there exists a continuous mapping H : X × I −→ X such that 1. 0) = x for x ∈ X .

Strong deformation retraction deﬁnes the homotopic relationship from a topological space to its subspace. Therefore.4 (Medial Axis Retract Theorem) Let A be a compact sub-manifold of Rn with a G1 -continuous boundary ∂ A which is also piecewise C 2 -continuous. medial axis transform retracts the region uniformly from its boundary and records the distances it travels from the boundary to the ﬁnal shrunk entity. and more concise knowledge. then MA(A) is path connected.CHAPTER 3. The next section reviews some of the applications based on the medial axis transform. In particular. Then the medial axis of A. MA(A). medial axis transform not only preserves information regarding shapes of an object. but also provides equivalent. if A is path connected. The medial axis is a strong deformation retract of the manifold it represents and is a result of a smooth deformation.3 shows a strong deformation retract of a rectangular 2D region. We shall utilize such characteristics of medial axis transform for many of our planning applications. the medial axis is path connected. Of all possible strong deformation retraction. allowing one to reason about shapes more easily with a lower dimensional representation. due to homotopic transformation from the manifold to its medial axis. Since the boundary of a manifold is path connected. is a strong deformation retract of A. MEDIAL AXIS TRANSFORM 37 H is called a strong deformation retraction. The following theorem [59] states that the medial axis is a strong deformation retract of a manifold. Strong deformation retraction “shrinks” the region into thinner and smaller subspace. complete. Figure 3. Theorem 3. . Furthermore. the medial axis preserves the topology.

design rule checking for sheet metal components [52]. path generation for pocket machining [48. so is its medial axis. and biological shape analysis [6]. 3. MEDIAL AXIS TRANSFORM 38 a b c d e Figure 3. and e). shape blending in computer animation [58]. 47]. feature recognition [20]. The radius function is then linearly . mid-surface extraction for engineering analysis [56]. The design and optimization variables are the medial axis radii at some control points of the medial axis.3 Overview of MAT Applications Medial axis transform has been widely employed in many applications. b. punch shape recognition [11]. The medial axis is a strong deformation retract of the region (in order of a. robotic motion planning [33]. Although applications of MAT spread in a very wide range of engineering and scientiﬁc ﬁelds.CHAPTER 3. c. such as pattern recognition of digital images [42]. d. Since the region is path connected.3: Strong deformation retract of a rectangular region. [64] employed medial axis transform as design optimization tools: they described two-dimensional shapes by its MAT and then optimized the radius function according to speciﬁc engineering criteria such as to maximize the moment of inertia about an axis. Here an overview on how this technique can be more attractive and useful to mechanical engineering is discussed. ﬁnite element mesh generation [24. Engineering Design: Vimawala et al. analysis of VLSI designs [41]. it has not yet been widely utilized in mechanical engineering domain. 25].

or slots. which simpliﬁes complexity of the analysis. it preserves topology of objects. MEDIAL AXIS TRANSFORM 39 interpolated from the values at the control points.e. Since inappropriate meshes could introduce numerical problems or inaccurate results. they do not exhibit structural characteristics of shapes. Although this technique provides a useful tool for design optimization. bosses. G¨ ursoy [24] proposed approaches based on medial axis transform to decompose a 2D region into sub-domains. or Delaunay triangulation approaches. it may assist designs by providing symmetry and volumetric information. generating structured meshes is signiﬁcant. the associated medial axis . This process is iterated until the ﬁnal shape converges. allowing to capture global geometric variance. and by oﬀering tools for evaluating and articulating the resulting geometry. Features can be reasoned about in a lower dimension. corners.. Medial axis transform provides tools for capturing symmetry of objects. referred as “right” and “left” radii. The problem is magniﬁed in three dimensions. However. meshes resulting from these techniques do not necessarily capture the global description or features of objects such as ribs. dimensionality is assigned onto the medial axis. Triangular meshes are generated in individual subdomains according to their thickness information (i. Engineering Analysis: The ﬁrst step toward engineering analysis is discretization of solid objects. and due to the non-intuition of visualizing an object via MAT.CHAPTER 3. To ﬁx the problem. referred to as mesh generation. In addition. a valid medial axis transform is regenerated from the 2D shape represented by the faulty MAT. designing objects from scratch by medial axis transform may be diﬃcult. This is due to limited freedom or rigorous constraints in choosing or deﬁning the radius function that satisﬁes the MAT deﬁnition. The optimization results in temporarily faulty medial axis transform since the distances from the control point to its nearest boundary points are allowed to have diﬀerent values. Many mesh generation techniques exist such as advancing front. However. In other words. Not only so. The role of MAT for design evaluation is essential. octree.

4 Existing Approaches “Skeletonization” or “medial axis transform extraction” of digital images has been widely studied for the past few decades in computer vision society. However. or location for pins or gates for molding or casting processes. MAT can be exploited to determine uniformness of a shape. sharpness of a corner. [52] employed the medial axis transform for designrule checking in sheet metal design. The input to this skeletonization is an array of image pixels. common practice of verifying these design rules relies on graphical visualization of shapes and identiﬁcation of possible designrule violation interactively. However. and a contracting point of a shape. This interactive approach does not guarantee complete design rule checking. Among the . Several design-for-manufacturing rules have been established to ensure parts can be built with good quality for a given process. Radhakrishnan et al. adaptive meshing schemes can be applied to accommodate regions close to singularity. possibly with noises. pattern recognition. feed-rates. In addition. often only expertise of craftsmanship can oﬀer more valuable advice. since shape analysis needs to be performed to generate reliable and practical process sequences compromised to speciﬁc manufacturing characteristics. 3. clearance of an assembly. MAT can also help to compute appropriate process parameters.CHAPTER 3. MAT. and shape analysis. Manufacturing Planning and Manufacturability Analysis: Manufacturing planning is one of the attractive areas in which MAT could contribute the most. the output is a “thinned” representation of the original data image. on the other hand. MEDIAL AXIS TRANSFORM 40 radii). For instance. helps to identify features or to verify the design-formanufacturing rules. This technique has been very popular in image processing. the potential of medial axis transform applications is still to be explored. such as cutter radius. Thin features are mapped with ﬁner meshes whereas thicker regions are ﬁlled with courser meshes. Recently.

Our focus is on the exact skeleton representation of a continuous description of a 2D or 3D domain since they are the most useful for engineering applications. Among these are sequential thinning algorithms and parallel thinning methods. Ogniewicz [46] proposed an approach that generates the Voronoi diagram of the boundary points (pixels) and extracts the skeleton through pruning procedures that take into account the noise level and accuracy requirement. and preservation of topological and geometric equivalence is of the most importance. the connectivity of the skeleton is diﬃcult to maintain. The accuracy of the skeletons depends on user-speciﬁed parameters as well as level of noise in the input image. on the other hand. The latter is considered to be more eﬃcient than the region-based approaches but would need to resolve issues related to noisy boundary data input. A comprehensive survey of thinning approaches can be found in [32]. The majority of these algorithms are “region-based”. The pixels of images are iteratively thinned. where the input is usually an array of ﬁlled image data. redundant pixels are successively deleted until a ﬁnal skeleton is derived. or equivalently. The second category is based on the boundaries of images. dimension reduction. Current proposed approaches are classiﬁed into the following categories: • Discretization • Thinning • Tracing . Boundary-based approaches. More speciﬁcally. is more stable and less problematic. It is well criticized in [17] that pure thinning approaches are inadequate in representing its topologically equivalent skeletons. Over 130 of articles are referenced in that paper. MEDIAL AXIS TRANSFORM 41 various properties of the medial axis transform. However. the overhead of these approaches is to detect the boundary of the image and removing excessive small branches due to noisy input. invertibility. The boundaries are extracted via edge detection and skeletons are generated directly from the boundary data.CHAPTER 3. Two diﬀerent categories [10] of approaches have been proposed.

the Voronoi diagram of the point set is generated and edges of the Voronoi diagram internal to the image are extracted. Discretization In this category of approaches. Pruning procedures are then applied to handle errors in sampling and to represent hierarchical skeleton representation. 10] used the regular set model to relate the boundary sampling density to the discrete skeleton for an accurate skeleton approximation. Once boundaries are sampled. Original images can be regenerated without introducing signiﬁcant errors based on the regular set model analysis. MEDIAL AXIS TRANSFORM 42 • Subdivision • Incremental • Pairing Each of these categories will be discussed in detail in the following subsections. He associated with skeleton segments the prominence values that measure the signiﬁcance of existence of particular segments. Brandt [9. The next section will discuss suitability of these approaches to our process planning applications.CHAPTER 3. circularity residual (the ratio of the medial axis disk perimeter to the path distance of its deﬁning points). These attributes include potential residual (the path distance between its deﬁning boundary points). Ogniewicz [46. His approach focused on the representation and pruning of the Voronoi diagram generated from discrete boundary point set. Note that the terms skeletons and medial axes are often interchangeable. Pruning operations can then be applied to remove small branches due to noise or digitization errors introduced during sampling. 45] proposed the hierarchical or multi-scale representation of skeletons. These algorithms utilize Voronoi diagrams and Delaunay triangulation in generating discrete medial axis representation. chord residual (the ratio between the shortest . boundaries of a domain are sampled and medial axes are generated from the set of discrete boundary points.

They “thin” an object by successively oﬀsetting its boundary toward its interior until vanishing. together with geometry of the skeleton segments that connect them. The amount of oﬀset at each step depends on topology and connectivity of original objects. Reddy et al. one can locate all the critical points on the medial axis. the generalized Voronoi diagram. One of these measures can be applied for the hierarchical skeleton representation. . Among these breakpoints. Thinning The algorithms in this category simulate the grass-ﬁre process. when a curve is split into two connected pieces during oﬀsetting. is then constructed that represents the skeleton of an object. The optimization adjusts and generates the geometry of the skeleton patches and edge points to satisfy the accuracy requirement of the skeleton geometry. but on the discretized boundary point set instead of mixed dimensional entities. for example. The dual of this triangulation. Montanari [42] identiﬁed the breakpoints where topology of oﬀset curves is changed during oﬀsetting. He improved the slow convergence rate of generating triangulation of skeletons by applying a sequence of local constrained optimizations on a smaller set of triangulation to achieve the required accuracy. where each Voronoi edge and vertex is associated with a hierarchy table indicating the level of signiﬁcance and the corresponding hierarchy. Turkiyyah et al. MEDIAL AXIS TRANSFORM 43 distance to its path distance). edges and faces (in case of 3D) of an object. as the intermediate breakpoint the point where a boundary edge vanishes as a result of trimming. he deﬁned as an initial breakpoint the point where an oﬀset curve changes its connectivity. most of the thinning algorithms for digital images are based on iterative deletion of pixels one step at a time.CHAPTER 3. on the other hand. [55]. In contrast. as the ﬁnal breakpoint the point where the entire oﬀset curve shrinks to a single point. By iteratively oﬀsetting the boundary curves and eﬃciently identifying these breakpoints. G¨ ursoy [24] extends his work by including circular arcs as boundary elements. employed a generalized Delaunay triangulation technique on the bounding vertices. [63] also proposed an algorithm based on the Delaunay triangulation.

This process continues until a bisector can no longer be extended from a terminal point.CHAPTER 3. 61. 59] proposed an algorithm that constructs the medial axis transform of 3D polyhedra. When two bisectors meet. These are either at convex corners or centers of locally maximal positive curvatures. In their algorithm. The skeleton faces are then identiﬁed by traversing along closed loops of skeleton edges. The algorithm terminates when all bisectors are initiated and traversed from all terminal points. Bisectors are initiated from these terminal points along associated contour elements. The medial axis transform can be easily extracted by removing the Voronoi edges connecting to concave vertices of the polygon. MEDIAL AXIS TRANSFORM 44 Tracing Tracing algorithms ﬁrst identify a point on the medial axis and then complete the medial axis by traversing along associated boundary elements. Merging two chains can be performed in O (n) by initiating a curve from the starting vertices of the two chains and traversing until it reaches the end of either chains. The overall algorithm exhibits time complexity O (n log n). Subdivision Lee [34] proposed a divide-and-conquer approach that constructs the generalized Voronoi diagram for simple polygons. Sherbrooke et al. both internal and external Voronoi . Chou [14] identiﬁed all the terminal (end) points on the medial axis. [62] extends Lee’s algorithm to computing generalized Voronoi diagram for polygons with holes. The Voronoi diagrams of individual chains can be trivially constructed (by shooting vertical rays into inﬁnity). All end points and branch points of skeletons are ﬁrst computed and edges of skeletons are traversed from these points along the associated polygonal facets. [60. Srinivasan et al. signaled by the fact that mapping between a boundary point and a bisector point is unique. where a chain is a sequence of polygon edges that are bounded by two convex vertices. The algorithm recursively divides the polygonal boundaries into two lists of chains. they merge and generate a new bisector.

centers of convex circular arcs. The tree is then divided into two subtrees when it encounters a branch point and the algorithm terminates when no more bisectors exist. The algorithm temporarily constructs a MAT tree for polygons with holes and then connects with missing graph edges to form a MAT graph. Evans et al. or centers of special circles that connect inner boundary curves to the external one.CHAPTER 3. where h is the number of holes and n is the total number of boundary edges. centers of inscribed osculating circles at sharp concave corners. Persson [48]. Choi [13] presented an MAT approximation algorithm in planar domain via “domain decomposition”. locating the pre-merged Voronoi region that contains this vertex. The merging process starts at a point on the merge curve and traces along the boundaries until a simple closed curve is completed. This merge point can be computed by selecting the topmost vertex on the inner boundary. He subdivides the domain (with holes) into smaller simplyconnected planar sub-regions that overlap only at the joints where subdivision occurs. The domain boundary corresponding to the approximated MAT is then computed (in discrete steps) and compared with the original domain geometry. MEDIAL AXIS TRANSFORM 45 diagrams of individual contours are constructed and then merged. The merge point is the intersection point of an upward ray from the topmost vertex and the bisectors. proposed a bottom-up approach that constructs . These joints can occur at the following places: convex sharp corners. The edge between the root and its subtree is labeled by the bisector between the left wing and right wing of the contour initiated from the root. The tree starts with either a sharp convex corner or the center of a convex circular arc. Approximated medial axes based on Bezier-Bernstein curves are computed for individual sub-regions. The overall merging operation takes O (n log n + nh). on the other hand. [18] employed a top-down approach to construct the MAT trees for simply-connected curvilinear polygons and the MAT graphs for multiply-connected polygons. and ﬁnding the bisectors between the vertex and the boundary associated with the identiﬁed Voronoi region. If diﬀerences exceed a certain tolerance value. the sub-region is further subdivided at the medial axis point where the error is maximum.

For non-convex polygons. except for some pathological test cases. Each of such bisector intersection points is associated with the clearance distance to its deﬁning contour elements. Surface pairs are selected via some surface thickness criteria that capture thin-walled geometry. in which the medial axis can be trivially computed. reduction. This reduction in time is contributed by heuristically computing bisectors from the branch point with the smallest clearance distance. For convex polygons. MAT can be constructed in O (n2 ). inserts one edge per step and updates the medial axis transform in constant time. Reduction continues until a convex polygon becomes a triangle or until a non-convex polygon is reduced to two elements. Incremental Preparata’s algorithm [51] involves two stages. Bisectors between two adjacent contour elements and the intersections of two adjacent bisectors are computed. The second stage. Pairing The pairing approach aims at computing approximated MAT suitable for applications that do not require exact MAT representation. Rezayat [56] presented a surface-pairing approach to generate mid-surfaces of a solid model. constructs a sequence of polygons by removing one element per step in such a way that a medial axis branch can be inserted later in linear time during the reconstruction phase. Held [25] provided proof and analysis to Persson’s approach and experimentally showed that this approach seems to grow only linearly with the number of contour elements. this algorithm performs in O (n log n). The ﬁrst stage. The process repeats until no intersection points exist that remain unselected. reconstruction. MEDIAL AXIS TRANSFORM 46 MAT for simply-connected polygons. The adjacency of these selected surfaces along with pairing . This is in the hope that fewer superﬂuous bisectors that do not contribute to the ﬁnal set of skeletons need to be constructed during computation.CHAPTER 3. The one with the smallest clearance value among all bisector intersection points is selected and a new bisector is initiated and cropped when it intersects another bisector.

• Conciseness: When more concise representation for medial axis transform is available. • Associativity: Doubly-linked associativity between a boundary point and the corresponding medial axis transform is essential. MEDIAL AXIS TRANSFORM 47 information is then recognized from topology of surfaces on the input model. For instance. the planning demand is higher than that . a MAT representation that accurately reﬂects the object geometry is required. medial axes of a 2D polygon may consist of parabolic segments. the generated MAT representation should exhibit the following properties: • Accuracy: Medial axis transform representation should be accurate for the purpose of shape reasoning and analysis. at a medial axis point. it should be utilized. For instance. The algorithms that generate the MAT should satisfy the following criteria: • Complexity: Since additive/subtractive SFF is an iterative manufacturing process that involves several build cycles. stored in a graph. we often need to evaluate geometry of an object to determine its manufacturability associated with a speciﬁc fabrication process. Therefore. The medial axis transform should utilize these analytical non-linear geometry representation in preference to approximated linearized segments. we also wish to know the corresponding medial axis point whose medial axis ball contacts a given boundary point. In process planning.5 Requirement of MAT Algorithms for Process Planning To make medial axis transform useful in the context of process planning. 3. This adjacency information.CHAPTER 3. represents topology and connectivity of the mid-surfaces patches which are then computed and joined. we could identify the closest boundary points. Conversely.

extracted from the generated Voronoi diagram. consists of many small linearized segments. thinning and subdivision. In the context of process planning. Although aggressive digitization with very ﬁne resolution produces a fairly accurate approximation of the medial axis transform. exhibit accurate and concise MAT representation when analytical forms are available. The tracing algorithms are the most suitable for smooth non-linear boundaries. 3.4. the above requirements are compared with several existing approaches discussed in section 3. In addition. in turn.6 Evaluation of Existing MAT Algorithms for Process Planning Given a smooth 3D solid model as input. accuracy of the medial axis transform generated from discretization methods depends upon sampling densities of the object boundaries. is penalized by accuracy of the result. The medial axis transform. This greatly reduces their performance. The running time. and in its raw form no connectivity information on the medial axis is available. Subdivision methods perform better than the thinning approaches in that pairwise comparisons to identify branch . • Completeness: The algorithm should take any smooth 3D CAD models (possibly with holes) as inputs and compute their MAT’s successfully. the generated medial axis transform is represented by discrete point set. MEDIAL AXIS TRANSFORM 48 of conventional processes. Complexity of these algorithms is therefore reduced in these circumstances. such CAD models are usually described by boundary representation.CHAPTER 3. it is less practical due to amount of time and space required. The digital thinning approaches digitize an object into voxels and apply thinning procedures to trim away voxels not on the medial axis. In order to achieve a good approximation of MAT. the tracing steps must be small. Similarly. Eﬃciency of the algorithm plays an essential role to overall process planning. The analytical approaches.

As a result. compared with linear approximation. • 3D MAT algorithms tessellate or digitize an object. a nonlinear curve can be approximated by few tangently continuous circular arcs ( G1 -continuous arc splines) [29] with very ﬁne accuracy. Consequently. • Many mechanical designs consist of extruded features. other approaches. material deposition is usually performed at incremental 2D layers. For examples.CHAPTER 3. complexity of computing MAT of regions bounded by nonlinear curves can be greatly reduced with the analytical subdivision method than with the tracing approaches. In addition. Many sub-processes in additive/subtractive SFF involve 2D operations. Lee’s and Shrinivisan’s algorithms utilizes the fact that the Voronoi diagrams and the medial axis of a 2D ﬁgure are planar graphs. A 2D MAT algorithm can eﬃciently compute the accurate MAT for the corresponding geometry. MEDIAL AXIS TRANSFORM 49 points of MAT are required at each oﬀset step of thinning algorithms. number of entities required to approximate a nonlinear curve is usually small. artiﬁcial medial axis branches may appear due to quantization errors. oﬀer a more concise and cleaner solution. From the above analysis. 2D analytic approaches. Their algorithms recursively . 2D analytical subdivision approaches seem to be the most suitable for assisting process planning of additive/subtractive solid freeform fabrication. whose cross-sections are often bounded by linear segments or circular arc entities. on the other hand. The reasons are: • Directionality is one of the characteristics in solid freeform fabrication. especially 3D algorithms. For the purpose of planning solid freeform fabrication. Analytical approaches take advantages of these elementary primitives and compute MAT with the help of closed-form analytical solutions for geometric operations. • Lee’s divide-and-conquer subdivision method oﬀers asymptotically optimal algorithm (O (n log n)). slicing a 3D object into a set of 2D planar ﬁgures is a way to reduce dimensionality and complexity of the computation. Therefore. are computationally expensive.

. The most crucial aspect obtained from the medial axis transform is the extraction of proximity information of features in the ﬁgure. The medial axis transform is then extracted from the generalized Voronoi diagram. We shall propose an eﬃcient representation that suits our applications based on Lee’s and Shrinivisan’s methodology. geometry of the medial axis is not of particular importance for some of our applications. we would like to identify the portion of the features or boundaries that produce such access “hurdles”. Therefore. Furthermore. we found that by utilizing such representation we • Improve the performance and simplify the implementation complexity of Lee’s and Shrinivasan’s algorithms • Reduce the redundancy of deﬁning medial axis transform when a boundary representation is also available • Provide simpler geometric operations during MAT computation • Extend the applicable input domain to arbitrarily 2D shapes bounded by nonlinear entities with the same methodology The following chapter describes the proposed representation and the method to compute 2D medial axis transform. and merge the results via a sequence of dividing edges. For example.CHAPTER 3. In addition. The locations of points that are equidistant to these two features are not of our particular interest. a representation that associates the boundary directly to the proximity metrics is very crucial. MEDIAL AXIS TRANSFORM 50 construct the Voronoi diagrams of two subsets in terms of planar graphs. whose edges represent the geometry of the medial axis and are labeled with corresponding radius information. we might be only interested in knowing whether two features are so close together that they prohibit a machining tool from accessing their feature proﬁles. Nevertheless. The proposed method directly associates boundary points to the corresponding proximity metrics so that proximity information is immediately available at any given boundary point. Such information is useful for further design modiﬁcation for manufacturability.

1) The projected medial axis point Mp of a given boundary point p is the point on the medial axis closest to the given boundary point and on its positive normal line. we shall deﬁne the projection M from a boundary point p of A onto the medial axis MA(A). The projection M : P −→ Q projects a boundary point p ∈ P onto such a medial axis point Mp ∈ Q that the medial axis ball centered at Mp touches ∂ A at p. 51 .Chapter 4 Computing Medial Axis Transforms 4.and piecewise C 2 -continuous boundaries. Deﬁnition 4. we shall introduce the notion of the “clearance function” and its relationship with the medial axis transform (MAT). and the set of medial axis points of A be Q. With the following deﬁnitions and lemmas. and regular region A be P .1 (Projection of a Boundary Point onto Medial Axis) Let the set of boundary points of a connected.1 Preliminary Let A be a connected and compact (closed and bounded) region in Rn with regular (none-self-intersected) and at least G1 . First. (Figure 4. compact.

The following deﬁnes a function that records the projection distance from boundary to the medial axis. Uniqueness. Lemma 4.CHAPTER 4. .2. ¾ Proof.2 (Existence. The following lemma shows that such projection exists and is unique for every boundary point of the compact region. This result is immediately followed from Lemma 3.1: Projection of boundary points onto the medial axis. COMPUTING MEDIAL AXIS TRANSFORMS 52 Figure 4. Mp is also the center of the locally maximal ball tangent to the boundary at p. and Continuity of Projection) The projection M from a boundary point p of A onto a medial axis point Mp exists uniquely and is continuous. and that the projection is continuous for a continuous boundary.

3 (Clearance Function) Let P be the set of boundary points of A.4 (Existence. The clearance function C : P −→ R maps a boundary point p ∈ P to the distance between p to its projection Mp (Figure 3. Proof. since the medial axis ball centered at Mp is tangent to ∂ A at p.1. Cp is the distance of projection. we have Mp = p + Cp np . and Continuity of Clearance Function) The clearance function on the boundary of A is unique and continuous. The x-axis denotes a parameterization of the boundary whereas the y-axis represents the distance of projection from a boundary point to its associated medial axis point. Furthermore.3.2).2: Clearance function on the boundary of the region shown in Figure 4.2 and 4. Uniqueness. Lemma 4. From Deﬁnition 4. COMPUTING MEDIAL AXIS TRANSFORMS 53 Figure 4. where np is the unit normal vector at p pointing toward the interior of A. Deﬁnition 4. Mp = p + Cp np .CHAPTER 4.

Cp is continuous by the continuity theorem. Given the boundary representation of a compact region. The . Since each medial axis ball must touch two or more boundary points. we shall introduce the notion of bisecting functions. np exist and are unique (from Lemma 3. the MAT can be concisely described by the clearance function associated with boundary points of the region. Cp) | x = p + Cp np .5 (Medial Axis Transform and Clearance Function) Let C be the clearance function associated with boundary of A. COMPUTING MEDIAL AXIS TRANSFORMS 54 Cp exists and is unique because Mp .6 (Bisecting Point and Bisecting Distance) The bisecting point b1. Furthermore. together with the clearance function.2. the projection from boundaries of a given compact region completely deﬁnes the medial axis. Deﬁnition 4.3). Moreover. Proposition 4. ∀p ∈ ∂ A } . where np is the unit normal and Cp is the clearance function value at a boundary point p. p. the projection deﬁnes the medial axis transform.2). ¾ The clearance function maps a set of boundary points of A to the radii of the associated medial axis balls. since p and np are continuous from our assumption and Mp is continuous according to Lemma 4. To achieve this.2 between two boundary points p1 and p2 (p1 = p2 ) is the point equidistant to and on the normal directions of p1 and p2 (Figure 4. The medial axis MA(A) and medial axis transform MAT(A) can be formulated as MA(A) = { x | x = p + Cp np .CHAPTER 4. ∀p ∈ ∂ A } MAT(A) = { (x. The task of computing MAT of a compact region is equivalent to that of computing the clearance function.

2 n1 = p2 + d1.5 is the bisecting point and d4.1 for p1 and p3 .2 ∈ R > 0 (4. Note that the bisecting point and distance between p1 and p3 are not deﬁned since no bisecting point exists that satisﬁes the Equation 4.3: Bisecting point and bisecting distance.2 = p1 + d1.5 is the bisecting distance for points p4 and p5 .CHAPTER 4. Deﬁnition 4. b1.1) Bisecting distance is deﬁned for a pair of boundary points.2 and distance d1. For any two distinct points .2 satisﬁes the following equation if they exist: b1. Similarly.2 is called the bisecting distance between p1 and p2 . We shall deﬁne a function that maps the pairs of boundary points to their bisecting distances.2 denotes the bisecting point between p1 and p2 .2 n2 for d1. The bisecting point b1.2 from p1 and p2 to the bisecting point b1. b4.7 (Bisecting Function) Let P be the set of boundary points of a compact region. distance d1. COMPUTING MEDIAL AXIS TRANSFORMS 55 Figure 4.

p Figure 4. p2 on P.p2 We deﬁne the bisecting function of two identical points to be d = ∞ if ∃d > 0 =⇒ limq1 →p+ (q1 + d nq 1 ) = limq2 →p− (q2 + d nq 2 ).CHAPTER 4. or inﬁnity otherwise.4 shows a portion of the bisecting function for an example 2D region.q is continuous in the neighborhood of p = p0 . Bp1 .8 (Transitiveness and Symmetry of Bisecting Functions) Assume that the bisecting functions Bp. we deﬁne the bisecting function B : P × P −→ R as the function that maps a pair of boundary points to their bisecting distance if it exists.r are deﬁned and ﬁnite for three distinct boundary points p. Let p0 and q0 be a pair of boundary points where the bisecting distance is deﬁned.q . ¾ Note that for an arbitrary pair of boundary points (p. q = q0 .r Proof. the bisecting distance may not be deﬁned. otherwise. We shall show that the bisecting function Bp.q = Bq. q).p • Bp. COMPUTING MEDIAL AXIS TRANSFORMS 56 p1 . 1 2 = ∞ otherwise. Corollary 4. d if ∃d > 0 =⇒ p1 + d np = p2 + d np . then • Bp. r. Bp. q.q = Bq. Bq. Detailed proof is omitted here. .6.q = Bp.r =⇒ Bp. These can be derived from Deﬁnition 4.

B2 . Note that only a portion of all possible bisecting functions are shown in this ﬁgure. The bisecting function B1 represents the bisecting distances between a point in [a. d]. b] and a corresponding point in [c. COMPUTING MEDIAL AXIS TRANSFORMS 57 Figure 4.4: Bisecting functions for an example 2D region. . b] and corresponding points in [e. Similarly. The X and Y axes denote a continuous parameterization of the boundary curve.CHAPTER 4. [g. h] respectively. B3 record the bisecting distances between a point in [a. f ]. whereas the Z axis denotes the bisecting function value for a point in X and the other in Y.

q corresponds to a ball tangent to p and q with radius Bp. ¾ From bisecting functions of pairs of boundary points.q if it exists. Since boundaries and their normals are continuous and Bp0 .q is deﬁned. the clearance function value Cp at p is the inﬁmum of all bisecting functions between p and any point q ∈ ∂ A: (Figure 4. Proof. We know that at p = p0 and q = q0 . q = q0 from the continuity theorem. Therefore. the medial axis ball associated with a boundary .q0 is the limit of the bisecting distance in the neighborhood of p0 . there exists Bp. we could construct the clearance function as follows: Lemma 4.CHAPTER 4.q is continuous in the neighborhood of p = p0 .q0 exists. for Bp0 .q q Proof.q0 nq 0 We can rewrite the above equation as Bp0 . By deﬁnition. q0 . q = q0 . the bisecting function for p and q exists and is continuous in the neighborhood of p = p0 .q ≥ 0 such that p0 + Bp0 .q0 (np 0 − nq 0 ) = −(p0 − q0 ) Let us ﬁrst consider the case where np 0 = nq 0 .10 (Clearance Function as Inﬁmum of Bisecting Functions) Given a boundary point p of the region A. The bisecting function Bp. Bp0 . we can conclude that Bp. Bp. p0 must equal to q0 .q is continuous in the neighborhood of p = p0 . By deﬁnition.q0 np 0 = q0 + Bp0 . COMPUTING MEDIAL AXIS TRANSFORMS 58 Lemma 4. When np 0 = nq 0 .q0 is deﬁned. q0 be a pair of boundary points whose bisecting point and distance exist. Each bisecting distance Bp.5) Cp = inf Bp. q = q0 . Therefore.9 (Continuity of Bisecting Functions) Let p0 .

e. This ﬁgure is the result of projecting the bisecting functions in Figure 4.5 projects multiple bisecting functions shown in the Figure 4. COMPUTING MEDIAL AXIS TRANSFORMS 59 Figure 4. The clearance function (shown as a thick curve) is the inﬁmum of these bisecting functions. such a medial axis ball is the smallest among the many balls tangent to p and any other boundary points. Figure 4.q . Cp equals to the inﬁmum of all bisecting distances associated with p.5: Bisecting functions and the clearance function.4 onto the XZ plane. point p is the ball tangent to p and locally maximal. Since the clearance function value Cp at p equals to the radius of the medial axis ball associated with the point p. i.. All bisecting functions associated with points in [a. This local maximality can be achieved by shrinking an inﬁnitely large ball tangent to p until the ball contains no boundary points.6 shows a more general interpretation of the relationship between bisecting functions and the clearance function. The curve representing the clearance function is the lower envelope of all the bisecting function curves.4 onto the X − Z plane. In summary. inf Bp. b] are shown in this plot. the deﬁnitions and lemmas provided in this section suggest: • The medial axis transform of a compact region can be uniquely deﬁned by the .CHAPTER 4. Equivalently. where the Z-axis records all deﬁned bisecting distances between a boundary point in X and any other boundary points. q ¾ Figure 4.

and connected region A. Since the clearance function is continuous. clearance function on the boundary. regular. we could utilize a tracing methodology to ﬁnd their inﬁmum values directly. the clearance function maps a boundary point in Rn to a scalar representing the clearance metric associated with that boundary point. To visualize the relationship between the clearance function and MAT. • The clearance function exists. The second conclusion allows us to compute the clearance function by ﬁnding the inﬁmum of bisecting functions. Using the clearance function to represent MAT is more concise since a boundary representation of the object is already available as the input. It can be computed by taking the inﬁmum of all bisecting functions between pairs of boundary points.6: Clearance function as inﬁmum of bisecting functions. The ﬁrst conclusion ensures that it suﬃces to compute the clearance function for the medial axis transform. and it is unique and continuous. we could plot the clearance function on the boundary in the (n+1)-th dimension for an object in Rn . for a 2D compact. For instance. Such associativity is needed for spatial reasoning in the context of manufacturing process planning. COMPUTING MEDIAL AXIS TRANSFORMS 60 1 2 4 3 È Figure 4. we could draw .CHAPTER 4. In addition.

The face F under the curve β now constitutes the interior of A. the clearance curve β becomes located on the medial axis. p ∈ ∂ A } As we “bend” the clearance face toward interior of A. which we shall explore in the next few chapters.8 shows a visualization of the 3D rectangular box with its clearance function. This is in contrast to pure boundary representation. When we completely “fold” the clearance face onto the X-Y plane. The area under the clearance function forms a face perpendicular to A. It can be seen that the boundary together with the clearance function oﬀers a volumetric representation of a region. Cp ) | p ∈ ∂ A } . The curve β representing the clearance function in this augmented space can be described as β = { (p. the projection of β onto A moves away from the boundary toward the medial axis. . In the next section. t) | 0 ≤ t ≤ Cp . The clearance function and boundary representation provide readily available information for fast geometric reasoning.7). we propose a method of computing the clearance function for a compact region in R2 . Figure 4. COMPUTING MEDIAL AXIS TRANSFORMS 61 the region A on the X-Y plane and plot the clearance function in Z (see Figure 4. where analysis and evaluation of these metrics usually require explicit computation and reasoning.CHAPTER 4. whereas the face F under the curve β in the augmented space can be formulated as F = { (p.

CHAPTER 4. the bottom ﬁgure shows that the medial axis is the result of projection of the clearance function curve. The top ﬁgure shows the clearance function attached to the boundary of the region. the middle ﬁgure shows “bending” of the clearance function in progress with the angle θ. COMPUTING MEDIAL AXIS TRANSFORMS 62 Figure 4.7: Visualization of the clearance function for an example 2D region. .

the bounding surfaces of the box are developed on a planar domain. Figure (b) shows the medial axis of the rectangular box depicted in Figure (a).CHAPTER 4. . COMPUTING MEDIAL AXIS TRANSFORMS 63 (a) (b) (c) (d) Figure 4. The clearance function associated with bounding points of the box is plotted perpendicularly to the developed surfaces. as shown in Figure (d). In ﬁgure (c).8: Visualization of the clearance function for a 3D object.

exhibits quartic complexity with respect to the number of boundary elements or points. .continuous curves. tedious graph manipulation during computation of MAT can be avoided. 4. and connected region bounded by at least G1 .1 Overview of the Approach The approach described in this section is based on earlier work by Lee [35]. on the other hand. In this section. Chou. These approaches explicitly compute geometry of the Voronoi edges or medial axes in the planar domain. A naive approach is to explicitly compute the bisecting distances for all pairs of boundary points and then ﬁnd their inﬁmum. α1 . regular. αm . Furthermore. they rely on graph or tree structures to maintain connectivity of these entities. Let α0 be the outer loop and αi (i > 0) be the inner loops. proposed an approach to computing Voronoi diagrams of simply-connected planar shapes with arbitrarily curved boundary. regular. and such a representation is more concise than the graph-based representation. and Chou [14]. associativity from any boundary point to its clearance metric is directly maintained. where m is the number of holes in A. As shown in the previous section.and piecewise C 2 . Each boundary curve αi is oriented in such . Srinivasan extended Lee’s method to computing Voronoi diagrams of 2D polygons with holes. the task of computing MAT becomes to ﬁnd the clearance function. This computation. Let the boundary curves of a 2D compact. Srinivasan [62]. the clearance function is the inﬁmum of all bisecting distances associated with the boundary points. In this section. Lee constructed the Voronoi diagram of a simply-connected polygon in O (n log n) with a divide-and-conquer approach. however. COMPUTING MEDIAL AXIS TRANSFORMS 64 4.2. . . and connected region A ⊂ R2 be α0 . We shall also see that with the proposed paradigm. α2 . we shall introduce a more eﬃcient algorithm to computing the clearance function on the boundary of a 2D compact.2 Algorithm for Smooth 2D Compact Regions Since MAT can be trivially converted from the clearance function.CHAPTER 4. we shall generalize their work and apply it to the proposed paradigm: representing medial axis transform by the clearance functions. computation of clearance functions is more eﬃcient than that of MAT. .

Clearly. s1 . We append sh = s0 + |α| to the list S so that α(s0 ) = α(sh ): S = {s0 . 4. . s1 . .e. αm }. where |α| is the total curve length of α. .e. |α|]. . clearance functions are ﬁrst constructed individually. it is periodic with respect to the total curve length |α|. For the outer loop. . These conditions eliminate possibilities of degeneracy such as sharp corners or convex circular arc segments. We assume α0 . α1 ..and piecewise C 2 -continuous. the clearance function at this stage is computed in ignorance of existence of other contour curves. . . . In the proposed method. The procedure of computing the clearance function for a contour curve α in the domain I = [s0 . That is. We then synchronize the individual clearance functions to reﬂect such intersection.2 Computing Individual Clearance Functions We shall use α to denote a boundary curve in {α0 . We further assume that curvatures along the boundary curves have strict local maxima (as opposed to non-strict maxima). α0 is oriented counterclockwise and αi (i > 0) is oriented clockwise. Let S = {s0 . We shall discuss how the proposed method can be generalized to these degenerate cases in the next section. COMPUTING MEDIAL AXIS TRANSFORMS 65 a way that interior of A is on the left of boundary curves (i. . sh−1 } be a list of knots where the curvatures of α are positive and locally maximal. Upon these individual clearance functions computed. sh−1 . . they follow the right hand rule. For an inner loop. sh }. the original region is the intersection of the simple region bounded by the outer loop and many unbounded regions outside the inner boundaries.CHAPTER 4. αm are at least G1 . . . . the computed clearance function represents the simple region (i. .. without holes) bounded by this loop.) In other words. sh ] is described as follows: . . we shall show how they can be synchronized to reﬂect the intersection of the regions. . α1 . Since α(s) is closed and bounded. The following sub-section describes the procedure of constructing the clearance functions for individual contour curves in ignorance of existence of others.2. Let α be parameterized by its arc length s ∈ [0. the clearance function corresponds to exterior of the inner contour.

s ¯) s ¯∈IL CR (s ∈ IR ) = inf B (s. computed. CR (s ∈ IR ) = ConstructIndividualClearanceFunction(IR ). COMPUTING MEDIAL AXIS TRANSFORMS 66 Algorithm 4. if (h == 1) return C (s) = ∞. . 4. . s ¯) s ¯∈IR = min( inf B (s. Next. s ¯) s ¯∈IR s ¯∈I C (s ∈ I ) = inf B (s. s CL(s ∈ IL ) = ConstructIndividualClearanceFunction(IL ). . s ¯) = s ¯∈{IL inf IR } B (s. IR = [s h 2 . C (s ∈ I ) = MergeIndividualClearanceFunction(CL (s ∈ IL ). Therefore. 5. 2.e. Now we wish to construct the clearance function C (s ∈ I ) for the interval I = I1 By deﬁnition. s [s h 2 h 2 ] and I2 = . s1 . s ¯)) s ¯∈IL .1 (ConstructIndividualClearanceFunction) Input: I = [s0 . 3. . sh are the knots in I Output: Clearance function C (s ∈ I ) = inf B (s. we subdivide the parameter space into two halves: I1 = [s0 . no local maximum of positive curvatures in I ).. CR (s ∈ IR )) h 2 ]. sh ].CHAPTER 4. sh ]. it can be derived from the result of [14] that no bisecting functions are deﬁned for any pair of boundary points. inf B (s. Assume that the clearance functions for these two sub-intervals have been I2 . s0 . sh ]. s ¯) s ¯∈I 1. we could simply initialize the clearance function C (s) = ∞ for s ∈ I . IL = [s0 . When there contain no knots in the continuous interval I (i. s ¯). we have CL (s ∈ IL ) = inf B (s.

CHAPTER 4. s ¯) s ¯∈I = s ¯∈{IL inf IR } B (s . we could compute C (s ) by ﬁnding the minimum between CL (s ) and inf B (s . s ¯)) s ¯∈IR Similarly. s ¯). COMPUTING MEDIAL AXIS TRANSFORMS 67 For a given point s ∈ IL . s ¯). inf B (s . given CL (s ∈ IL ) and CR (s ∈ IR ). The following steps outline the procedure of constructing C (s ∈ I = {IL IR }). . C (s ) = inf B (s . and compute C (sr ) by ﬁnding the minimum between CR (sr ) and s ¯∈IR s ¯∈IL inf B (sr . s ¯)) s ¯∈IL = min(CL(s ). s ¯). for a given point sr ∈ IR . s ¯) s ¯∈IR = min( inf B (s . CR (sr )) Therefore. inf B (s . s ¯) s ¯∈I = s ¯∈{IL inf IR } B (s r . s ¯)) s ¯∈IL s ¯∈IL = min( inf B (sr . s ¯) s ¯∈IR = min( inf B (sr . C (sr ) = inf B (sr . inf B (sr . s ¯). s ¯).

sr ) such that the bisecting distance B (s . s = s∗ if (B (s . and CR (sr ). sr ) Stop tracing when either B (s . We then look for a new value of s or sr where the bisecting function has the same minimum value (Steps 7-8). s = sr = s if CL (s if CR (s h 2 h 2 h 2 IR } = [s0 . sr )). s Output: C (s ∈ I ). CR (s ∈ IR ). sr ). 7. B (s .s ¯) .. sr ). 9. s ¯∈I ∗ ∗ C (s r : s ∗ r ) = C R (s r : s r ). IL = [s0 .s h 2 h 2 ) s = arg inf B (s s ¯∈IL h 2 h 2 .2 (MergeClearanceFunction) Input: CL (s ∈ IL ). h 2 h 2 ) is smaller than CR (s ) is smaller than CL (s ) and B (s ) and B (s h 2 h 2 . I = {IL [Initialization Stage:] 1.9). sr ) Trace s . sr ) ).e. s r = s r [Tracing Stage:] Goto 5. and C (s ) = C (sr ) = B (s . the bisecting function in the neighborhood of such (s . but also as we trace s ¯∈IL s ¯∈IR forward. we trace the inﬁmum of bisecting functions starting from such (s . we wish to ﬁnd a pair (s .CHAPTER 4. 6. s ¯). Our goal is not only to locate the pair (s . sr ) equals CR (sr ). COMPUTING MEDIAL AXIS TRANSFORMS 68 Algorithm 4. s = arg inf B (¯ s ¯∈IL sr = arg inf B (s . sr ) equals CL (s )) s∗ = arg inf∗ B (s . sr ∈ / IR . sr ) such that B (s . if (B (s . sr ) undeﬁned In the initialization stage. sh ]. s ¯). sr ) is accomplished by looking at the neighborhood of (s . Continue tracing until s ∈ / IL . sr = sr + δr . or until B (s . and initiate a new bisecting function as the clearance function as we trace s and sr . sr ) remains minimum. sr ) equals CL (s ) or B (s . Finding an initial pair (s . 8. sr ) is minimum (i. C (s ) = C (sr ) = B (s . we trace the inﬁmum bisecting function until minimality is no longer maintained (Step 6). s ¯). sr ) equals CR (sr )) s ¯∈I ∗ sr = arg inf B (sr . sr ) = inf B (s . s ¯∈IR In the tracing stage. 3.s h 2 ) and comparing the values among B (s . 4.s ¯) ) sr = arg inf B (s s ¯∈IR C (s ) = C (s r ) = B (s . Such a tracing step continues (Step 9) until . sh ] h 2 ]. sr ) = (s h 2 . sr simultaneously: s = s − δ . C (s∗ : s ) = CL (s∗ : s ). the inﬁmum among all the bisecting functions at s or sr (i. IR = [s h 2 . sr ) until the clearance functions are all updated for every point in IL and IR .e. Next.. . CL(s ).s . 5. 2. sr ) is s. s ¯) = inf B (¯ s. Steps 1-4 achieve this goal (Figure 4.

s h ) is 2 2 smaller than CL (s h ) and CR (s h ).9: Initializing the merged clearance function. COMPUTING MEDIAL AXIS TRANSFORMS 69 Figure 4. 2 . the new clearance function initiates at s = s h 2 2 2 and sr = s h . (B) Since B (s h . s h ) is greater than CR (s h ). (A) Since B (s h .CHAPTER 4. the clearance function 2 2 2 2 initiates at s = s h and sr equal to its counterpart on CR (s).

3 Synchronizing Clearance Functions The tracing procedure to ﬁnd continuous inﬁmum bisecting functions among distinct loops is similar to the one used in computing individual clearance functions. Step (4) advances s according to Step 7 of the algorithm. The proof of correctness of this procedure to construct the inﬁmum of bisecting functions is discussed in the section 4. Step (2) advances sr according to Step 8 of the algorithm 4. We wish to ﬁnd a pair of points. sr ). sr ) is equal to the clearance values at s and sr . I corresponds to an inner loop. such that the bisecting distance B (s . . sr ) is the inﬁmum of all bisecting functions at s or sr . Step (5) completes the tracing. We shall explain a revised method to update clearance functions among distinct loops in the next sub-section. sr ) is no longer deﬁned (Figure 4. 4. Step (1) initiates the clearance function.sr ∈ IR has been completely traced or B (s . either s ∈ IL .10: Tracing the clearance function. each of which on a distinct loop.2. Let I ∗ denote a set of domains associated with all the previously synchronized clearance functions. B (s .CHAPTER 4. Let I denote the domain associated with the clearance function to be synchronized. The only diﬀerence is on computing the initial pair (s .10). Step (3) continues tracing. I ∗ is initialized to the domain of the outer loop.2. COMPUTING MEDIAL AXIS TRANSFORMS 70 CL CR (5) s0 (4) (3) (1) (1) s h 2 (2) (3) (5) s sh : the merged clearance function C (s) Figure 4.3. In other words.

s ¯) ∈ I ∗ .3 (SynchronizeClearanceFunctions) Input: CL (s ∈ I ∗ ). Such a tracing step continues (Step 7) until either s ∈ IL . we explicitly compute the bisecting function B (¯ s. sr ) Stop tracing when either B (s . C (sr : s∗ r ) = C R (s r : s r ). sr ) (Step 2). we ﬁnd a new pair of s . sr is computed. sr ) equals CR (sr )) sr = arg inf B (sr . s = s∗ The merging process starts with ﬁnding a pair of parameters s . Here we simply select the topmost point for sr (Step 1). sr = arg max α(¯ s). 5. sr ∈ / I . Trace s . 7. COMPUTING MEDIAL AXIS TRANSFORMS 71 Algorithm 4. It can be proved from [62] that any boundary point on its convex hull satisfy this criteria. sr ) equals CR (sr ). sr where the bisecting function has the same minimum value (Steps 5-6). C (s∗ : s ) = CL (s∗ : s ). sr on the synchronized interval I ∗ and an inner loop interval I such that their bisecting distance B (s . We initiate a new bisecting function as the clearance function at s and sr .CHAPTER 4. When this occurs. Continue tracing until s ∈ / I ∗ . 6. sr simultaneously: s = s − δ . Note that the tracing steps are fundamentally the same with the one used for constructing clearance functions on individual boundary curves. The only diﬀerence is that sr is on the current inner loop whereas s could be on any previously synchronized . s ¯∈I Once the initial pair s . s ¯). s r = s r s ¯∈I Goto 3. sr ) is no longer deﬁned. CR (s ∈ I ) Output: C (s ∈ {I ∗ I }) [Initialization Stage:] 1. s ¯∈I ∗ ∗ ∗ if (B (s . 2. 4.sr ∈ IR has been completely traced or B (s . s ¯). sr ) equals CL (s )) s∗ = arg inf∗ B (s . C (s ) = C (sr ) = B (s . sr = sr + δr . we ﬁnd a point sr in I such that arg s ¯∈{I inf I ∗} B (s r . we trace the clearance function starting from them (Step 3) until the bisecting function minimality can no longer be maintained (Step 4). or until B (s . To ﬁnd s corresponding to such sr . sr ) equals CL (s ) or B (s . sr ) undeﬁned if (B (s .y () s ¯∈I s = arg min B (s . s ¯) ∗ s ¯∈I [Tracing Stage:] 3. sr ) is minimum at s ∈ I ∗ and sr ∈ I . sr ) for every s ¯ ∈ I ∗ and determine s = arg inf∗ B (¯ s. This can be accomplished by taking the geometry of the inner loop α into account: ﬁrst.

I2 . 8. . I2 .2.2 utilizes the clearance function representation to compute the medial axis transform of a 2D compact. 7. Steps 1-3 compute individual clearance functions in ignorance of other contour curves. . Im 1. .4 (ConstructClearanceFunctions) Input: I0 . Im } SynchronizeClearanceFunctions(I ∗ . 4. We then update the clearance functions incrementally by adding one inner loop at a time until every inner loop is considered and the corresponding clearance function is updated (Steps 5-8). 4. Im } 2.3 Analysis of Algorithm The algorithm described in Section 4. . . . end for I ∗ = I0 for all I ∈ {I1 . The following section provides analysis of this algorithm. . ConstructSingleClearanceFunction(I ). for all I ∈ {I0 . 3. . . regular. . and connected region .4 Completing Clearance Functions The overall procedure of computing the clearance functions for all contours of a compact region is stated as follows: Algorithm 4. . I2 . . COMPUTING MEDIAL AXIS TRANSFORMS 72 inner loops or the outer loop. I ).CHAPTER 4. . . I1 . 6. . 4. I∗ = I∗ end for {I }. Im Output: Clearance functions in I0 . . I2 . Step 4 initializes the set of domain corresponding to the synchronized boundary. 5. I1 . I1 .

Associativity in the clearance function reduces the overhead of searching the corresponding medial axis point and the associated clearance information from the graph-based representation of MAT. Srinivasan [62]. For a multiply-connected region. the proposed approach requires to identify the intersection between the existing clearance function. Each synchronization procedure among distinct loops takes linear time with respect to the length of the inner contour. The storage requirement for the proposed approach is linear in L since only a set of scalars need to be stored as opposed to medial axis point location. which is essential to many of our process planning applications to be described in the rest of the thesis. Therefore to construct the clearance function for a 2D compact region with H holes takes O (LlogL + LH ) in time. • Third. • Second. This can be accomplished by computing the zeros . Updating graph structures during MAT construction can be error-prone and requires careful implementation. the proposed approach exhibits many other advantages: • First. COMPUTING MEDIAL AXIS TRANSFORMS 73 bounded by smooth curves. With the proposed representation. The clearance function is computed by the divide-andconquer approach: a boundary curve is divided into subsets at the knots where the curvature is locally maximal and positive. the clearance function on the outer loop is ﬁrst computed and then synchronized with those on the inner loops. where L is the total arc length of all boundaries. associativity from boundary points to their medial axis transform is directly maintained. This methodology generalizes the approaches by Lee [35]. The proposed approach takes O (|α| log |α|) to construct individual clearance functions of contour curves. and Chou [14] to compute clearance functions in 2D domain. there is no need to maintain the graph structures throughout the algorithm. Even though time complexity is not signiﬁcantly diﬀerent from Lee’s and Shrinivasan’s algorithms. a relatively simple linked list can be utilized to record the inﬁmum of piecewise bisecting functions that represent the clearance functions. clearance functions on two subsets of the boundary curves are computed and then merged to reﬂect the coexistence of the two subsets.CHAPTER 4.

e.. since in our representation all bisecting functions are labeled with their deﬁning boundary points and geometry of the medial axis can be described in terms of the clearance function (Proposition 4. the approach handles 2D compact regions bounded by nonlinear curves with multiple holes. it is applicable to both simply. COMPUTING MEDIAL AXIS TRANSFORMS 74 of two functions. The Voronoi diagrams or medial axis transform can be easily extracted from the clearance functions.) Furthermore.and multiply-connected polygons. • Fourth.CHAPTER 4. The disadvantage of the proposed approach is that one would need to convert the clearance function together with the contour geometry to construct the medial axis. the intersection can be computed more eﬃciently than the curve-curve intersection in 2D space.5). However. however. In these cases. In addition. the convex circular arcs have nonstrict local maxima of positive curvatures.4 Extension to Generalized Curvilinear Polygons The method discussed in previous sections assumes that the boundaries of 2D compact regions are at least G1 . In addition. Since for a 2D compact region the clearance function maps a point in 1D parametric space to a scalar value. 4.. . polygons consisting of circular arcs or linear segments). Now we turn our attention to 2D compact regions bounded by curvilinear polygons (i.e. This. does not limit its applicability to polygons or generalized curvilinear polygons (i. The boundary curves can be connected tangently or piecewise smooth as we will see in the next section. • Finally. We would need to modify the proposed method to accommodate these special cases.and piecewise C 2 -continuous. polygons with linear and circular arc segments). and have strict local maxima with positive curvatures. topology of the medial axis is readily available in our parametric and associative representation. boundaries are piecewise C 2 -continuous with G1 -continuous joints (when adjacent segments are tangently connected) or non-G1 -continuous joints (when tangents are discontinuous. this can be done trivially. the representation of clearance functions is very concise in conjunction with the boundary representation of an input object.

the boundaries and their normals need to be continuous as well. Since our approach is based on continuity of the bisecting functions and clearance functions. • Initializing clearance functions: Since we model the non-strict local positive maxima of curvatures as a strict local maximum. In practice. boundaries are at least G1 -continuous and the normals are uniquely deﬁned at every boundary point (see Figure 4. • Non-strict positive local maxima of curvatures: This occurs when the portion of boundary is a convex circular arc. it would confuse the tracing process since multiple boundary points are associated with the same bisecting function value.11). tangently joined with their neighboring entities. In other words. the normal directions are discontinuous in the neighborhood of these joints. . we pick a middle point on the arc as the knot. When initializing the clearance functions of an interval without interior knots. sharp corners). and sharp corners or circular arc segments with their angular lengths. the procedure to computing the clearance functions are the same except that initialization of clearance functions has to deal with convex circular arcs. and pair a point on the “left” of this knot with a point on the “right” such that the angular lengths from these two points to the knot are equal. We shall see how these eﬀect computation of clearance functions. we assign pairs symmetrically to deﬁne unique pairing. we replace these sharp corners with inﬁnitesimal circular arcs. Now degenerate boundaries have been handled. As a result.CHAPTER 4. For this reason. we would need to update the clearance function accordingly.e. consider the following: • Non-G1 -continuous joints: When the boundary consists of non-G1 -continuous joints (i. we parameterize linear segments with their arc lengths.. When these bisecting distances are also on the clearance function. COMPUTING MEDIAL AXIS TRANSFORMS 75 First. To accomplish this. bisecting distances are deﬁned with the same values for any pair of points on the arc. Overall speaking. In this case. and that tracing steps can be performed more eﬃciently with these entities.

11: Extension of the proposed approach to generalized curvilinear polygons. COMPUTING MEDIAL AXIS TRANSFORMS 76 Figure 4. .CHAPTER 4.

The local maxima of positive curvatures correspond to radii of convex arcs. it reduces computation time in constructing the clearance functions. the beneﬁts include: • Easier identiﬁcation of knots: The curvature of a linear segment is zero whereas that of an arc equals to its radius. computation complexity now becomes O (N log N +hN ) where N is the total number of segments and h is the number of holes. we initialize the clearance function values associated with the arc to be its radius. With only linear and circular arc segments on the boundary. Since there exist analytical solutions of bisecting distances between any pair of lines and arcs. such tracing is very eﬀective. Such approximation not only maintains the ﬁrst-order smoothness of nonlinear boundaries but also reduces complexity of describing nonlinear entities within acceptable accuracy. • Faster computation time: Computation is faster since there are analytical solutions for computing bisecting distances between segments. This is no longer the case when the boundary consists of portion of a convex circular arc. Constructing clearance functions for generalized curvilinear polygons is more efﬁcient than for smooth 2D compact regions.2 and Steps 3-4 of Algorithm 4. To take advantages of eﬃciency. • Tracing clearance functions ( Steps 5-6 of Algorithm 4. where any two points on the arc has a bisecting distance equal to the radius of the arc. not increments of parameters. Depending on accuracy pursued and types of boundary entities encountered. this process can be very ineﬃcient. In this case. we shall approximate the nonlinear boundary entities with tangently continuous bi-arc splines [29]. we could instead step through these entities in the order they connect. . In addition. In short. • More eﬃcient tracing: Tracing steps involve advance of segments. COMPUTING MEDIAL AXIS TRANSFORMS 77 we assign an inﬁnity value to all boundary points since no two boundary points in this interval deﬁne a valid bisecting distance.CHAPTER 4. Furthermore.3): Tracing is achieved by proceeding the boundary points incrementally.

The boundary of this region consists of four knots (i.12 and Figure 4. they can be approximated by bi-arcs very eﬃciently and robustly. methodology of utilizing clearance functions to describe medial axis transform is also suitable for computing MAT of 3D solids. The boundary curve is approximated by tangently continuous bi-arc splines [29]. The solid arrows denote that the clearance function on those segments are updated.14) presents the clearance function for a smooth curved region. The result is shown on the right. When nonlinear curves are present. s4 ] can be constructed. Tracing of this subset terminates as soon as it hits the end of the left curve (from s1 left to s0 ) or the right curve (from s1 right to s2 ). the clearance function for the subset [s2 . Furthermore. The ﬁrst step of computation initializes the clearance values of convex circular arcs to be their radii. COMPUTING MEDIAL AXIS TRANSFORMS 78 • More practical applications: Many 2D engineering designs consist of circular arcs and linear segments. The medial axis is revealed by “folding” the clearance face onto the 2D plane..5 Examples Four examples are shown in this section. Similarly. It is an open question though how tracing processes can be performed eﬃciently in three dimensions. The whole boundary ﬁrst gets split into two subsets: [s0 .CHAPTER 4. s2 ] and [s2 . s4 ]. The resultant clearance function is shown on the boundary of the region (Figure 4. The arrows in the ﬁgure indicate the boundary curves that have been traversed. s2 ] is computed (Step 1). The next two steps compute the clearance function of the left and right subsets. 4. . The remaining steps merge the two subsets and complete tracing of the clearance function. The merging process terminates when tracing meets the end points (s0 or s4 ). The ﬁrst example (Figure 4. The Step 3 merges the two subsets at s2 . The clearance function for the subset [s0 . It should be noted that the algorithm is applicable to both smooth nonlinear compact regions and generalized curvilinear polygons. The second example (Figure 4. at four sharp corners).13).e.13) shows the clearance function and the medial axis for a rectangular region. the dashed arrows denote that the clearance values remain unchanged after merging.

Step 1 computes the clearance function in [s0 . COMPUTING MEDIAL AXIS TRANSFORMS 79 s0 s4 s3 s1 Step 1: C s2 s0 Step 2: s1 s2 s3 s4 s0 Step 3: s1 s2 s3 s4 s0 s1 s2 s3 s4 s0 s1 s2 s3 s4 s0 s1 s2 s3 s4 Figure 4. Step 3 merges the two subsets and updates the clearance metrics in [s0 . s4 ]. . Step 2 computes the clearance function in [s2 .CHAPTER 4. s2 ]. s4 ].12: Computation of the clearance function for a rectangular region.

On the top. the clearance function is drawn along the normals of the boundary. . On the bottom. the trajectory of the clearance function curve represents the medial axis. the clearance function is plotted in the direction perpendicular to the input region. COMPUTING MEDIAL AXIS TRANSFORMS 80 Figure 4.13: Visualization of the clearance function on a rectangular region.CHAPTER 4.

14: Computation of the clearance function for a smooth curved region. The left ﬁgures show a sequence (from top to bottom) of intermediate results in computing the clearance function for the smooth region shown on the right. The x-axis represents a boundary parameterization and the y-axis denotes the clearance values. COMPUTING MEDIAL AXIS TRANSFORMS 81 C s Figure 4. The resulting clearance function is plotted in the direction perpendicular to the region.CHAPTER 4. .

Figure (a) shows a multiply-connected region bounded by smooth curves. Figure (b) to Figure (f) show intermediate results of clearance function computation by incrementally inserting an inner loop and updating the existing clearance functions. . COMPUTING MEDIAL AXIS TRANSFORMS 82 (a) (b) (d) (e) (c) (f) Figure 4.15: Clearance functions for a smooth region with holes.CHAPTER 4.

. COMPUTING MEDIAL AXIS TRANSFORMS 83 Figure 4.16: The clearance functions and medial axes for a 2D domain with curvilinear boundaries.CHAPTER 4. The top ﬁgure shows the clearance function associated with the boundary of the region. The bottom ﬁgure shows the medial axis extracted from the clearance function.

Eﬃciency of such computation relies on eﬀective merging procedures. The ﬁnal ﬁgure (Figure 4. and merging of multiply-connected polygons suggested in [62]. to the boundary. The clearance function is computed in 0. The concept of clearance functions can be employed in three-dimensional domains. deﬁnes the medial axis transform of an object. The clearance function is computed in 0.15) demonstrates how the clearance functions of a multiply-connected region is constructed.16) computes the clearance functions and the medial axes of a cross section of an injection molding insert shown in Figure 2. .CHAPTER 4. together with geometry of object boundary.6 Discussion and Conclusion This chapter presents an approach based on clearance functions associated with object boundary to compute the 2D medial axis transform. The clearance function records clearance. The proposed algorithm applies to arbitrarily smooth non-linear domains. a point on the new clearance function is ﬁrst identiﬁed. The boundary of the region consists of 5 cubic B-splines and is approximated by 36 G1 -continuous circular arcs [29]. To eﬃciently compute such inﬁmum. In the merging process. This clearance function. we utilize a divideand-conquer methodology. COMPUTING MEDIAL AXIS TRANSFORMS 84 The third example (Figure 4. radius of the maximal inscribed ball (or disk) contacting a boundary point. 4. It deals with both simple (domains without holes) and multiply-connected regions (domains with holes). The approach presented in this chapter utilizes the divide-and-conquer methodology proposed in [35]. The clearance functions of two subsets of boundary are individually computed and merged. or piecewise curvilinear polygons. The clearance function is the inﬁmum of a set of bisecting distances among all pairs of boundary points.7. The medial axes constitutes many branches due to existence of many sharp corners.03 second (CPU time) on a SUN workstation running a 295-MHz UltraSPARC-II CPU.02 second (CPU time) on the same machine mentioned above. and the inﬁmum function is traced simultaneously along the two sets of boundary.

no explicit computation is necessary to identify clearance values associated with a boundary point. relatively simple data structure. . Finally.CHAPTER 4. as opposed to graph structures. Second. representation of clearance functions based on existing boundary representation is more concise and practical for many engineering applications. is employed. linked list. In the next chapters. Third. First. the intersection of two functions can be computed more eﬃciently than intersection of two curves in 2D. the clearance function domain. COMPUTING MEDIAL AXIS TRANSFORMS 85 The fundamental diﬀerence is that we operate such computation in a diﬀerent domain. associativity from boundary points to the medial axes is directly maintained. we shall present approaches to tackle three of the challenging planning tasks encountered in additive/subtractive solid freeform fabrication. that is. The medial axis transform can be easily converted from the clearance functions and geometry of boundary. the proposed approach exhibits several advantages. clearance functions map a 1D boundary curve to scalar values. In addition.

**Chapter 5 Manufacturability Analysis for Decomposition
**

5.1 Introduction

Manufacturability analysis has been extensively studied [22] for various manufacturing processes such as assembly, machining, and injection molding. The goal of this analysis is to determine how diﬃcult, if not impossible, a designed part can be fabricated. A part is manufacturable if a physical object can be built in compliance with the design and part speciﬁcation. Since additive/subtractive SFF decomposes a 3D object into sub-entities (referred to as compacts in [39]), it would mean that each compact has to be manufacturable, and furthermore, the composition of the compacts does not alter the shapes or material integrity of previously built compacts. In purely additive SFF, such compacts correspond to layers or slices with a processdependent thickness. The parts produced from this class of processes exhibit a wellknown stair-step eﬀect. To analyze the part accuracy with respect to build orientations, Arni and Gupta [3] proposed a manufacturability analysis tool based on facet representation of objects. They derived the relationships between surface deviations and build orientations for each facet. The facets that can be fabricated with the speciﬁed tolerance are then projected onto a unit sphere according to their normal 86

CHAPTER 5. MANUFACTURABILITY ANALYSIS FOR DECOMPOSITION 87

directions. By ﬁnding a common intersection area on this unit sphere, a set of acceptable build orientations can be determined that guarantee the part can be built within the user-deﬁned tolerance. If such intersection can not be found, the part is not manufacturable. In additive/subtractive solid freeform fabrication, 3D solids are decomposed into a number of sub-entities, each of which is then built incrementally. This is in the hope to resolve various manufacturability problems imposed by process constraints by a means of decomposition. Therefore, manufacturability analysis for additive/subtractive SFF could not be conveyed without knowledge of decomposition characteristics. To assess manufacturability of a particular decomposition solution, we need to evaluate geometry of the new component to be built and its relation with the built geometry at each build stage. Various process and material constraints could pose problems in fabricating a complete part. For examples, casting viscous materials into small thin cavities or depositing materials into internal sharp regions often results in voids. Machining narrow regions or building a thin tall walls is usually diﬃcult and may not be possible. In this chapter, we shall identify narrow or inaccessible machining regions to evaluate manufacturability of a given part build plan. This chapter answers the following question: • Given a 3D model and its build orientation, can we ﬁnd a feasible decomposition plan that results in a manufacturable build sequence for intermediate machining operations? To simplify the problem, we assume: • Material deposition does not alter the shape of built compacts; the shaped compacts may change its dimension in a later stage due to built-in residual stresses resulting from material deposition. We assume such phenomenon can be controlled from the process perspectives. • Three-axis machining is employed for shaping individual compacts. The build direction is in line with the z-axis of the machine.

CHAPTER 5. MANUFACTURABILITY ANALYSIS FOR DECOMPOSITION 88

• Flat-end mills are the only type of cutters considered. The smallest radius of such cutters is known. In this chapter, we attempt to evaluate manufacturability of a given decomposition plan for additive/subtractive SFF. In order to better understand the eﬀect of decomposition on manufacturability, we brieﬂy summarize the principle of decomposition in Section 5.2. We review some of the related work in Section 5.3. We then describe an approach based on the proposed clearance function representation (Section 5.4) to determine manufacturability of a 2D machining region and to identify the surfaces that pose manufacturability problems. This is followed by a strategy of utilizing such a technique to analyze feasibility of 3D decomposition that permits cutting tool access (Section 5.5).

5.2

Overview of Part Decomposition

To understand the eﬀects of part decomposition on manufacturability of parts, we shall provide an overview of part decomposition methodology and discuss characteristics of decomposed compacts. Part decomposition in additive/subtractive SFF aims at subdividing a part model into smaller, simpler, and manufacturable components. Each of these components is then built in sequence to construct a complete object. This class of processes also utilizes sacriﬁcial materials to support overhanging features of a decomposed entity so that change of build orientations and custom ﬁxtures are not necessary. Since these support structures are built in alternation with decomposed part components, part decomposition modules usually also generate support structures to guarantee that decomposed parts can be built. Merz [39] referred such decomposed part models and support structures as “compacts”. Note that the compact not only satisﬁes the mathematical deﬁnition of “compactness” (being closed and bounded), but also meets the following manufacturing criteria: (see Figure 2.3) • Materials in a compact can be deposited from above with respect to the build

According to this deﬁnition. proposed a knowledge-based system that allows designers to build objects from primitives with built-in manufacturing plans. compact decomposition solutions exist. Note that the decomposition algorithms guarantee the accessibility from the top with respect to the build direction. a sequenced list of valid compacts is associated with each primitive. or by shaping processes. provided that arbitrarily small features can be shaped. • All upward-facing surfaces can be shaped from above with respect to the build direction. as any compact can be further decomposed to a set of sub-compacts that still represent valid compacts. . the above two approaches may result in sharp internal corners or small cavities in the compacts. A collection of these silhouette edges along with existing part edges form a loop. • Vertical surfaces can be produced either by casting materials onto previously built compact. on the other hand. In his approach. • Downward-facing features of a compact is replicated by depositing materials on previously shaped compacts.CHAPTER 5. MANUFACTURABILITY ANALYSIS FOR DECOMPOSITION 89 direction. When primitives are combined to create new designs. Furthermore. models are then split and support structures are generated. Such features are diﬃcult or impossible to be shaped with common material removal processes. Nevertheless. the associated lists of compacts are merged to represent a new sequence of compacts for the resulting object. he identiﬁes all the silhouette edges on the part surfaces with respect to a pre-determined build direction. With the help of several sweeping operations of the loops along the build direction. a set of valid compacts could be sequenced in a diﬀerent order to represent various build strategies. In addition. In this approach. Ramaswami [54] proposed an algorithm to automatically decompose an object into compacts. multiple. Binnard [5]. or inﬁnitely many. Manufacturability analysis is therefore essential to guarantee that the produced compact lists and their sequences constitute a manufacturable plan.

MANUFACTURABILITY ANALYSIS FOR DECOMPOSITION 90 Figure 5.CHAPTER 5. The assembled mechanism is to be built in additive/subtractive SFF.1: A simple turning wheel assembly. . The top of the ﬁgure shows the shaded and wireframe models of the shaft and the wheel.

3: Two possible build sequences of a simple turning wheel mechanism.e. The second plan builds the wheel ﬁrst and then the sacriﬁcial material. : sacrificial (support) material : part material Figure 5. . (A) 2.e. 4. 6.) 1. 5. The ﬁrst plan builds the sacriﬁcial material between the shaft and the wheel in Step 4. 3. 6.. compacts can be built in either order. 3.CHAPTER 5. 7. 4. 7.2: A compact decomposition solution to the turning wheel assembly. (B) 2. compacts must be built in the speciﬁed order. These two sequences diﬀer in Steps 4 and 5. MANUFACTURABILITY ANALYSIS FOR DECOMPOSITION 91 Figure 5.) Double arrows denote the adjacency relationship (i. Single arrows denote the precedence relationship between compacts (i.. 1. 5.

6. A manufacturability tool is intended to facilitate selection of a feasible build sequence from many alternatives. A solution to the compact decomposition of this part is shown in Figure 5. since the second plan creates a small groove between the shaft and the turning wheel. only the ﬁrst build plan is manufacturable with the given cutting tool (Figure 5.4). 5. 3. 7. 7. Several literatures on analyzing manufacturability of machined parts can be found. 1. Figure 5.3 Related Work Our goal is to determine whether a part decomposition plan constitutes a manufacturable sequence for machining operations. However.4: Manufacturability of two build sequences of a simple turning wheel mechanism.2. d 5. 3. 4.3 presents two possible build sequences. Cutkosky and Tenenbaum [16] developed a framework to support concurrent product and process design.1 shows a simple rotating wheel assembly.CHAPTER 5. (A) 2. Figure 5. The manufacturability is assured in the design stage since designs are associated with feasible manufacturing plans for . Designers work in “manufacturing modes”. The second build plan presents diﬃculties in machining the groove (the width of the groove d is smaller than the cutter diameter). adding design features and assigning process plan simultaneously. : sacrificial (support) material : part material : cutting tool Figure 5. 5. 6. MANUFACTURABILITY ANALYSIS FOR DECOMPOSITION 92 1. (B) 2. 4. whereas the ﬁrst plan goes around the problem by building the same part with a diﬀerent build sequence.

and valid features may not be found even if they exist. . Second. Furthermore.CHAPTER 5. machining features are always associated with the build direction. due to iterative build characteristic. The reasons are as follows. [21] presented a manufacturability analysis methodology for prismatic machining components based on evaluation of machining operations. To evaluate feasibility of part decomposition for additive/subtractive SFF. and instructions for machining those features are generated. MANUFACTURABILITY ANALYSIS FOR DECOMPOSITION 93 the intended fabrication method and facility. and ﬁxtures. Although Binnard and Cutkosky [5] attempt to alleviate such “compact-level” design by a composition method. [1. processes in additive/subtractive SFF are constrained to ﬁxed build orientations. However. diﬃcult feature extraction or ﬁxturing problems can be avoided. Such an analysis tool requires extensive computation on extracting and matching machining features to evaluate manufacturability. such a design process can be tedious. the resulting composition plans still demand manufacturability evaluation since merging of manufacturable primitives may result in non-manufacturable compacts. Various operation plans for machining a part are generated and evaluated against the designed shapes and tolerances. If no match is found. In addition. Gupta et al. the part is best designed in the “compact level”: designers create compacts and assign process plans to them. If no operation plans are found that match the designed characteristics. when only a 3-axis milling facility is considered. 30] proposed a feature extraction and evaluation system to analyze manufacturability of part features against available tools. these approaches are not directly applicable. Special setups or ﬁxtures are not required. In addition. Anjanappa et al. If multiple solutions are found. interaction between features often complicates feature extraction tasks. the part is not manufacturable. the best plan (in terms of machining time) is selected. machines. the part is non-manufacturable. they are considered manufacturable. If features match the speciﬁc setups such as cutting tools and ﬁxtures. to ensure that part decomposition represents a manufacturable build sequence. Therefore. such design may not be intuitive and require users with comprehensive knowledge on the process. this approach is limited to non-interacted features. First.

We wish to determine whether materials in a 2D region can be completely removed with a given cutting tool. the number of compacts and the combinatorial number of build sequences could compound the computational diﬃculties. This tool is intended to assist both Ramaswami’s decomposition algorithm and Binnard’s design-by-composition approach to identify a feasible build plan. In this thesis. a generate-and-test approach for manufacturability analysis is not practical in additive/subtractive SFF. It is also applicable to machining operations involving a 3-axis mill and ﬂat-end cutting tools. we propose a “feature-free” manufacturability analysis methodology to evaluate a given decomposition plan without generating machining instructions.1 (R-Sweepable) A region A is r -sweepable if the region A can be represented as union of disks Dr with radii r . The following deﬁnitions and lemmas provide basics to identify such unﬁnished regions. If materials can not be completely machined due to tool accessibility. we propose approaches to perform manufacturability analysis in 2D domain. 5. In other words. Deﬁnition 5. As designs become complicated. without explicitly computing the tool paths. The proposed manufacturability analysis approach is based on the clearance function representation. we would like to identify whether a 2D region is r -sweepable via its medial axis disks: . since parts are built in multiple cycles.CHAPTER 5. A is r -sweepable if there exist a set of Dr such that A= Dr Now. MANUFACTURABILITY ANALYSIS FOR DECOMPOSITION 94 Finally.4 Manufacturability Analysis with a 2D Medial Axis Transform In this section. we would like to identify those unﬁnished region.

A collection of such non-r -sweepable points constitute the unsweepable geometry. In addition. MANUFACTURABILITY ANALYSIS FOR DECOMPOSITION 95 Lemma 5.5).CHAPTER 5. we can ﬁnd a point p ∈ A such that p falls outside the union of all ¾ other medial axis disks that are r -sweepable. M M A = {∪k Dk | Di M Dj for i = j } Since all medial axis disks are mutually exclusive. such a region A can be completely swept by a given disk with radius r . a ﬂat-end cutting tool. any disk with radius larger than r can also be represented as union of many disks with radius r . From the above lemma. .2 (R-Sweepable Region) A region A is r -sweepable if all of its medial axis disks have radii larger than r . From deﬁnition of MAT. By the same token. Proof. In other words.3 (Non-R-Sweepable Region) A region A is not r -sweepable if there exists a medial axis disk D M with radius smaller than r (Figure 5. a region A can be represented as union of its medial axis disks. a region A can be represented as union of all of its medial axis disks. Therefore. ¾ Lemma 5. each of which is mutually exclusive. represented as a 2D disk with radius γ . there exists at least one point p in M a medial axis disk Di such that p does not belong to any other medial axis disks. These regions therefore are the uncut regions. or inaccessible regions for the given cutter. is not able to sweep or remove these non-γ -sweepable regions. By deﬁnition. we know that there exists a point in a medial axis disk with radius smaller than r that is not sweepable by any Dr inside the region. Proof.

However. we could identify the inaccessible boundaries by searching for boundary points Pγ whose clearance values are smaller than γ : (Figure 5. Furthermore.CHAPTER 5. since clearance values at boundary points are the radii of their associated medial axis disks. it is useful in describing approximated unmachined geometry since such computation is inexpensive compared with the task of identifying exact unmachined regions. Figure 5.5: A non-r -sweepable region. the following entities could be identiﬁed: • Inaccessible boundaries that induce tool access diﬃculty: Inaccessible boundaries P are a subset of boundaries associated with points in the inaccessible regions. Depending upon levels of interests in describing inaccessible regions given a cutting tool. The region contains medial axis disks with radii smaller than r .6) P γ = { α (s ) | C (s ) < γ } • Wedges bounded by inaccessible boundaries and medial axes: We deﬁne the wedge geometry Wγ to be the areas bounded by inaccessible boundaries and the associated medial axis. Such regions enclose all unmachined points but may also contain some machinable regions. MANUFACTURABILITY ANALYSIS FOR DECOMPOSITION 96 r : medial disk smaller than Dr . From Lemma 5. .3 these points are associated with medial axis disks whose radii are smaller than γ . Our tasks is to locate the subset of boundaries whose medial axis disks have radii smaller than γ .

CHAPTER 5. MANUFACTURABILITY ANALYSIS FOR DECOMPOSITION 97

: Pγ C (s )

γ s Figure 5.6: Computing inaccessible boundaries of a region. The inaccessible boundaries corresponding to a ﬂat-end mill with radius γ are those with clearance function values smaller than γ .

CHAPTER 5. MANUFACTURABILITY ANALYSIS FOR DECOMPOSITION 98

: Wγ C (s )

γ s Figure 5.7: Computing the inaccessible wedges for manufacturability analysis. The wedges associated with inaccessible boundaries and medial axes are shown in hatched regions. The exact unmachined regions are those subtracting the areas of the medial axis disks at end points of the inaccessible boundaries. The corresponding unmachined wedge Wγ is deﬁned as (Figure 5.7) Wγ = {p | p = α(s) + d n(s), 0 ≤ d ≤ C (s), C (s) < γ } • Exact unmachined geometry To compute the exact unmachined geometry U , we subtract the medial axis disks at end points of the inaccessible boundaries from the wedge geometry. Let S be a continuous subset of inaccessible boundaries, S ∈ [sa , sb ],

U = {p | p = α(s) + d n(s), p ∈ / Dr ( s a ) , p ∈ / Dr ( s b ) , 0 ≤ d ≤ C ( s ) }

In general, existence of inaccessible boundaries provides hints on whether the

CHAPTER 5. MANUFACTURABILITY ANALYSIS FOR DECOMPOSITION 99

given region can be completely machined with the given cutting tool, and on where the boundaries needs to be modiﬁed to achieve manufacturability. On the other hand, the wedges enclose the areas where residuals of materials could exist. Both inaccessible boundaries and wedges provide quick and computationally inexpensive ways to locate the areas with tool access diﬃculties.

5.5

Manufacturability Analysis for Part Decomposition

In this section, we will discuss approaches to analyzing manufacturability of a build sequence, represented by a list of decomposed compacts. As pointed out in the previous sections, we assume that a 3-axis CNC machine is employed and ﬂat-end mills are the only type of cutters considered. Given a list of compacts, {C1 , C2 , · · · , Cn }, we deﬁne a stage geometry at the i-th build step to be Si =

j<i

Cj

The stage geometry reﬂects the shapes already produced before a new compact built. For examples, the objects shown in Figure 5.3 denote various stage geometries, whereas the individual compacts are shown in Figure 5.2. We assume that any portion of the compacts will not be re-machined after built at their ﬁrst times, although the iterative nature of additive/subtractive SFF processes allows such ﬂexibility. In other words, we assume that no portion of the stage geometry can be destroyed later during the build processes. Based on this assumption, machining a compact surface should avoid interfering with any portion of the stage geometry. Given a compact Ci and the stage geometry Si , we wish to determine whether Ci is manufacturable in the presence of Si . To accomplish this, we compute the delta volume of the compact and stage geometry, and then analyze accessibility of the

This makes the clearance function computation more eﬃciently. For examples. In conventional machining. Individual surfaces are also recorded with all the produced edges on the slices. The following details this approach: • Step 1: Generate the delta volume. the delta volume could have an arbitrarily complex shape. a few slices would suﬃce for a prismatic part. Once a slice is generated. To facilitate computation. As a result. To utilize directionality of additive/subtractive SFF and ease computation of 2D MAT. . delta volume is deﬁned as the volume of stock material subtracted by the workpiece. A realistic variant of this deﬁnition would be the volume of a “suﬃciently large” bounding box subtracted by the workpiece. In the context of additive/subtractive SFF. we refer delta volume to be the region that should be “cleared” or “emptied” after material removal processes. materials to be removed are usually of limited amount and are located nearby the workpiece surfaces due to the near-net shape deposition process. This bi-directional reference allows us to retrieve information regarding which surfaces on the compact result in manufacturability problems. We shall use this deﬁnition throughout this chapter. • Step 2: Slice the delta volume. MANUFACTURABILITY ANALYSIS FOR DECOMPOSITION100 cutter γ within the delta volume. Flat faces are sliced to line segments whereas nonlinear surfaces are approximated by circular arc or bi-arc segments [29]. This volume reﬂects the region that should be removed after shaping processes. its edges are labeled with the associated surfaces on the compact Ci . By “suﬃciently large” bounding box we refer to the largest volume inside a workspace.CHAPTER 5. but an object composed of highly smooth surfaces may require a relatively large number of slices for more accurate representation. we shall slice the 3D delta volume into an adequate amount of thin slices perpendicular to the build direction.

. 7. {C0 . If no such inaccessible areas exist. end for . · · · . 10.CHAPTER 5. C2 . 9.4. We perform such manufacturability analysis for each compact Ci with respect to the corresponding stage geometry Si to determine if a build sequence C1 .1 (IdentifyManufacturability) Input: γ . the regions whose clearance values are smaller than γ are identiﬁed 5. We generate clearance functions for boundaries of each region. • Step 4: Identify “inaccessible” regions for each slice. Once the MAT clearance functions are computed for each slice. Each slicing operation may result in many disconnected regions. 5. . 3. These regions corresponds to areas that are not accessible by a ﬂat-end cutter with radius γ . • Step 3: Generate clearance functions for each slice. C1 . . The following summarizes the analysis procedure: Algorithm 5. 4. Cm } Output: Manufacturability and unmachined surface areas 1. end for 11. for i = 1 to m 2. Cn is feasible for fabrication.γ if (Pj. 6. . Si = ∪ Ck k<i Generate delta volume of Si ∪ Ci Slice delta volume of Si ∪ Ci for each slice in delta volume of Si ∪ Ci Compute clearance functions Cj Identify inaccessible boundaries Pj.γ = ∅) Report non-manufacturability. 8. MANUFACTURABILITY ANALYSIS FOR DECOMPOSITION101 and where on the surfaces need to be modiﬁed to accommodate manufacturing processes. the compact Ci is manufacturable.

MANUFACTURABILITY ANALYSIS FOR DECOMPOSITION102 Stage geometry Compact geometry Step 1: Step 2: slices Step 3 & 4: γ inaccessible boundary (highlighted) γ ··· Result: Figure 5.8: Manufacturability analysis procedures for constructing a turning wheel assembly with additive/subtractive SFF. and the inaccessible surfaces are then identiﬁed (Step 3 & 4). The geometry of the compact at this stage is a thin hollow cylinder. The top ﬁgure presents a stage geometry shown in Step 4 of the second build sequence in Figure 5.4. The clearance functions of all slices are computed. The delta volume of the united geometry is ﬁrst computed (Step 1). . and sliced (Step 2).CHAPTER 5.

The last ﬁgure (Figure 5. the procedure could stop in Step 9 when any inaccessible boundaries are found. The part is decomposed via Binnard’s composition approach [5]. Even if the cutting tool gouges into this sacriﬁcial compact. Figure 5. The part is to be built in a sequence denoted by the numbers in the ﬁgure.6 Examples Three examples are presented in this section.CHAPTER 5.10 shows an intermediate step of building a link component.11) shows the ﬁnal step of building an injection molding inserts [19]. the part compact itself can not be accurately machined to its designed shape due to presence of a sharp corner. However. Figure 5. The lines in the bottom ﬁgure show the areas of sharp corners that have machining diﬃculties with the given cutter size. Figure 5. Note that in this particular example. The result from the manufacturability analysis needs to be further processed to take into account this factor. In this example.9 shows a part composed of two cones and a tilted cylinder. We apply the proposed manufacturability analysis procedure at the Step 6. However. The part is decomposed to three part compacts and four support compacts via Ramaswami’s algorithm [54]. and an embedded copper deposit to facilitate heat transfer during molding cycles. it will not destroy the part geometry or prevent the subsequent layers from being built correctly. The inaccessible regions were identiﬁed for electrical discharge machining (EDM) operations. where the support structure of the tilted cylinder has just been built. This part consists of internal cooling channels that conform the shape of the molding part. MANUFACTURABILITY ANALYSIS FOR DECOMPOSITION103 If this procedure is only used for evaluating manufacturability (but not for identifying surfaces areas posing the machining problems). the support structure has been built to support the part compact. the unmachined regions are associated with the sacriﬁcial support material. . many sharp edges and small cavities prevent it from being completed with the given ﬂat-end mill. 5.8 shows an example of evaluating manufacturability of the turning wheel mechanism.

2. 4. . 5. cutter unmachinable region Figure 5. The bottom ﬁgure shows the analysis result for the compact and stage geometry at Step 6. MANUFACTURABILITY ANALYSIS FOR DECOMPOSITION104 7. 5. The Compacts 1–4 are not shown in this ﬁgure. part part compacts support compacts 6.9: A decomposition example and its manufacturability. 1. 3. 6. The top ﬁgures show the decomposition result and a build sequence for the given part.CHAPTER 5.

11: An injection molding insert and its manufacturability. The bottom shows unmachined areas of a compact. MANUFACTURABILITY ANALYSIS FOR DECOMPOSITION105 part part material unmachinable regions support material cutter Figure 5.CHAPTER 5. The top ﬁgure shows a link component. unmachinable regions cutter Figure 5. . The unmachined areas are identiﬁed.10: A link component and its manufacturability. The ﬁnal step of the build process is shown.

whereas upward-facing surfaces are shaped by material removal operations.CHAPTER 5. The approach is based on 2D medial axis transform. and determine which surfaces may be gouged if we were to machine those surfaces. Although our approach takes advantages of this simplicity. we can directly identify the surface areas that represent machining diﬃculty. This delta volume is sliced perpendicularly to the build direction. The part is decomposed such that materials can be deposited from the top with respect to the build direction. MANUFACTURABILITY ANALYSIS FOR DECOMPOSITION106 5. Since in our proposed MAT representation. and eliminates consideration of ﬁxturing problems since all overhanging features are supported by sacriﬁcial materials. The medial axis transform of each slice is then computed and evaluated against the smallest available tool size. We assume a 3-axis mill and ﬂat-end tools are employed for the material removal operation. . The proposed manufacturability analysis tool helps identify whether all upward-facing surfaces of the decomposed components are machinable with the designated machining process. we believe that it can be employed to facilitate manufacturability analysis for more complicated manufacturing processes such as conventional machining. The proposed approach utilizes directionality of the solid freeform fabrication processes. dimensional metrics are associated with object boundaries.7 Discussion and Conclusion We proposed a “feature-free” manufacturability analysis methodology to assist part decomposition for additive/subtractive solid freeform fabrication. The downward-facing surfaces are formed by material deposition onto previously shaped materials. We ﬁrst generate delta volume of the decomposed model and the previously built geometry. casting or electrical discharge machining.

In this chapter. The shape is optimized such that high-quality spiral deposition paths can be produced. and each layer is “stacked” on top of the others to construct an approximated 2 1/2 D object. we relax the constraints of cross-sectional geometry and propose a shape optimization algorithm based on the medial axis transform. However. In purely additive SFF processes. A poorly planned path often results in voids or gaps between adjacent passes or layers. there are virtually no solutions for producing a completely smooth and connected spiral path that ﬁlls an arbitrary cross section.Chapter 6 Path Planning for Material Deposition The quality of material produced by solid freeform fabrication is closely related to topology and fairness of deposition paths. Additive/subtractive solid freeform fabrication.1 Introduction A basic constituent of solid freeform fabrication (SFF) is the iterative build process. The resulting paths are computed based on the medial axis. 6. on the other hand. oﬀers non-planar 3D layer decomposition where decomposed subcomponents are iteratively 107 . as opposed to common recursiveoﬀsetting approaches. an object is decomposed into 2D planar layers.

One of the spiral path generation techniques is to oﬀset the boundary curves recursively toward its interior. Because of physical limitation. PATH PLANNING FOR MATERIAL DEPOSITION 108 Figure 6. built and shaped. Adjacent oﬀset curves are then connected or interpolated to produce a continuous contour-parallel deposition path. this recursive-oﬀset approach presents several problems: (Figure 6. Each subcomponent is in turn sliced into multiple 2D layers for material deposition and then shaped as a whole in a 3D manner. This is because when a 2D region entails a sharp internal corner. portions of oﬀset curves are trimmed to account for self-intersection. For extrusion-based deposition processes. However. Common patterns for generating deposition paths include raster patterns — paths are parallel to a pre-determined direction. spiral path patterns are often preferred for producing isotropic deposits. As a .CHAPTER 6. a deposition head is guided to traverse the pre-computed deposition paths.1).2) • Existence of gaps: Paths generated by recursive-oﬀset approaches do not guarantee to ﬁll a 2D region completely. traversing paths around sharp corners can not be performed at a constant speed. and spiral patterns (also known as contour-parallel patterns) — paths are parallel to contours of geometry (Figure 6. and contour-parallel pattern (right). • Non-smoothness of paths: An originally smooth boundary could result in oﬀset curves with many sharp corners due to trimming processes.1: Common deposition patterns: raster pattern (left). To deposit materials. and consequently gaps are generated. Such trimming results in rounding of the swept trajectory.

etc. PATH PLANNING FOR MATERIAL DEPOSITION 109 sharp corner sharp corners broken offset curve the offset curves Gaps due to diminished offset curves Gaps due to sharp corners predicted results Figure 6. revisiting the gaps in a later stage. .CHAPTER 6.2: Problems produced by recursively oﬀsetting algorithms.) have to be taken to ensure that gaps are ﬁlled. Special strategies (reducing step-over distances.

Excess materials can be accumulated sparsely. On the other hand. 6. Although excess deposits are produced outside the target areas. however.2 Proposed Approaches To overcome problems imposed by oﬀset approaches. resulting in exceeding thermal stresses. Moreover. PATH PLANNING FOR MATERIAL DEPOSITION 110 result. problems of gaps and path disconnectedness are minimized by relaxing the 2D layer geometry. In our approach. we propose a new methodology to produce better-quality 2D spiral deposition paths for additive/subtractive SFF. Smooth paths are then generated from this relaxed geometry. such retraction and re-entrance signiﬁcantly aﬀect material integrity. • Disconnectedness of paths: Oﬀsetting a closed curve could result in multiple disconnected oﬀset entities. smoothness of deposition paths is not addressed by any of the strategies used to generate machine tool paths. they can be shaped via the shaping procedures in additive/subtractive SFF. depending on topology of deposition paths and distances between adjacent passes. In this . these solutions are not satisfactory. As a result. a geometry manipulation technique (Figure 6. and by generating extra branches to reach the gaps.3) is proposed to accommodate the desired path pattern. or overheated (in case of solidiﬁcation-based deposition). at sharp corners materials are accumulated (in case of extrusion-based deposition). smooth transition from one oﬀset curve to another is not possible without requiring additional retraction and re-entrance. For extrusion-based deposition processes. In CNC pocket machining. For the purpose of material deposition.CHAPTER 6. Traversing extra branches causes many tool retractions and re-entrances during deposition. these problems are tackled by reducing distances between adjacent passes. path disconnectedness is dealt with by retracting the cutting tool and re-engaging it with the material at a new start point. In this chapter.

PATH PLANNING FOR MATERIAL DEPOSITION 111 2D geometry shape optimization algorithm optimized geometry recursive offsetting spiral path generation spiral path Figure 6. A common spiral path generation approach is based on the recursive-oﬀset algorithm.3: Proposed deposition path planning methodology. We propose to relax the cross-sectional geometry from which we generate deposition paths.CHAPTER 6. .

We let the optimized geometry be A. A naive approach that may reduce the amount of sharp turns in the deposition paths is to make smooth the boundary ∂ A of the region A. Oﬀset curves could be broken into pieces if. The optimized geometry. Our goal is to minimize the amount of excess material that needs to be deposited. Moreover. To formulate this layer geometry optimization problem. while convex hull can be computed in O(nlogn) for polygons with n edges). the oﬀset paths of a convex/ellipse ﬁgure are not necessary C 1 -continuous. solving the above problem is diﬃcult in that computation of “enclosedness” (A0 ⊂ A) is required. the formulation only guarantees the boundary of the new region to be C 1 -continuous. In general. must enclose the original layer geometry to ensure complete material deposition. subject to boundary smoothness constraints and the “enclosedness” of the deposition region: minimize A area(A) − area(A0 ) A0 ⊂ A ∂ A is C 1 continuous subject to However. this formulation brings up great complexity when considering all of the issues (connected. however. strategies of depositing materials . for example. Two simple solutions to the above problem are to use the convex hull approximation and the ellipse hull approximation. a bottleneck feature is present in A. let A0 be a 2D compact (closed and bounded) region where material is to be deposited. PATH PLANNING FOR MATERIAL DEPOSITION 112 technique. and optimal shapes can be computed very eﬃciently (ellipse hull computation involves solving a convex optimization problem. The former uses the smallest convex polygon and the latter uses the smallest ellipse for the optimized shape. smooth C 1 -continuous oﬀset curves). However. 2D layer shapes are ﬁrst relaxed (unconstrained) and optimized such that the generated spiral paths produce no or a minimal number of undesired features such as gaps or path discontinuities. Both of these approaches produce connected oﬀset curves due to convexity of the resulting shapes. Moreover. but makes no arguments on how C 1 continuities of oﬀset curves can be maintained.CHAPTER 6.

Let M be a simple MAT in two-dimensional space.3 Deposition Paths of Prescribed Geometry For convenience. where (x(s). l] . 6. Deﬁnition 6. y (s). r (s) is the radius function at arc length s and is greater than or equal to zero everywhere (r (s) ≥ 0).CHAPTER 6. An MAT that satisﬁes this condition allows us to easily evaluate and represent its boundary curve. to optimize the cross-sectional geometry so that a connected. s ∈ [0. The boundary of the ﬁgure M represents can be constructed as follows: Let such a simple MAT be M : (x(s). Each of the disks associated with these normal points touches the boundary at exactly two points. which consists of exactly two end points and no branch points. in other words. y (s)) is the skeleton trajectory parameterized by arc length s in R2 . l is the total curve-length of the skeleton. We shall introduce a new approach based on medial axis transform. and then discuss a variant approach for handling shapes other than this type of geometry. But ﬁrst. The next sections detail such an approach. or skeletons.4). we shall examine how deposition paths can be generated from the medial axis transform. The following examines the approaches of directly generating deposition paths from simple MAT. when the diﬀerence between the original area and its convex/ellipse hull is small. we shall deﬁne a special type of MAT. the simple MAT (Figure 6. r (s)). .1 A simple MAT is an MAT that consists of only two end MA points and no branch points. smooth deposition path could be produced from the optimized geometry with the least amount of excess deposits. We shall discuss approaches to generate deposition paths for a simple-MAT region. PATH PLANNING FOR MATERIAL DEPOSITION 113 on convex or ellipse hulls are eﬃcient only when original geometry is near convex.

PATH PLANNING FOR MATERIAL DEPOSITION 114 end points end points normal points qs qe ql qr Figure 6.CHAPTER 6. The second ﬁgure shows its MAT and the types of MA points.4: An example of a simple MAT where each normal point contacts the boundary at exactly two points. The ﬁrst ﬁgure shows the original geometry. . The last one shows the construction of boundary curves from the MAT.

which is the concatenation of all four curves. qy (s)) r r q r (s) = (qx (s). deposition paths can be generated accordingly. qy (s)) . respectively. PATH PLANNING FOR MATERIAL DEPOSITION 115 When x(s) and y (s) are C 1 -continuous.CHAPTER 6. are therefore tangently smooth: Q(M : x(s). y (s). The constant-oﬀsetting approach produces the same results as produced by directly oﬀsetting the boundary curves.1) q l and q r are connected at the ends by two circular arc caps (q s and q e ) with radius r (0) and r (l). The following table shows two diﬀerent strategies of generating spiral paths: one with constant oﬀset. r (s)) = q s ⊕ q r ⊕ q e ⊕ q l . The boundary curves Q(M ) of M . The latter .where l qx (s) = x(s) − r (s)[r ˙ (s )x ˙ (s) + (1 − r ˙ (s ) 2 ) l (s) = y (s) − r (s)[r ˙ (s )y ˙ (s) − (1 − r ˙ (s ) ) qy r (s ) qx r (s ) qy 1/2 y ˙ (s)] y ˙ (s)] 2 1/2 x ˙ (s)] x ˙ (s)] = x(s) − r (s)[r ˙ (s )x ˙ (s) − (1 − r ˙ (s ) ) = y (s) − r (s)[r ˙ (s )y ˙ (s) + (1 − r ˙ (s ) ) 2 1/2 2 1/2 .given that −1 ≤ r ˙ (s ) ≤ 1 . the boundary curves on its left q l and right q r can be expressed as (see Appendix and Figure 6. This is accomplished by successively “shrinking” the geometry until it diminishes. (6.4) l l q l (s) = (qx (s). With this formula. and the joining points between boundary curves and arcs have C 1 -continuity since q l and q r are both tangent to q s and q e . and the other with varying step-over distances to accommodate non-uniform “thickness” of the region. which is always smaller than the original radius r (s). The amount of shrinking is simply controlled by a new MA radius function r ¯(s).

Once such optimal geometry is generated.CHAPTER 6. It should result in the least amount of excess deposits. An ideal geometry should exhibit the following properties. and an optimization problem is formulated to determine such optimal deposition geometry. PATH PLANNING FOR MATERIAL DEPOSITION 116 Formula Constant-oﬀsetting approach r ¯i (s) = max(r (s) − i · d. The examples show the results of applying these formulas until the entire oﬀset curve diminishes.1.4 Shape Optimization for Optimal Deposition Paths As discussed in previous sections. the adaptive-oﬀsetting method. is preferred when widths of deposits are adjustable throughout the path.1: Formulas and examples of the constant-oﬀsetting and adaptive-oﬀsetting approaches. For extrusion based deposition processes. . moving the deposition head at diﬀerent feed-rates allows diﬀerent widths of deposits. a geometrymanipulation strategy is adopted. d is the step-over distance for the constant-oﬀsetting approach and n is the number of oﬀset curves for the adaptiveoﬀsetting approach.). 6. 1. voids or gaps may exist. and consequently. 0. Adaptive-oﬀsetting approach r ¯i (s) = r (s) − ( n−i1/2 )r (s) Example Table 6. deposition path generation using direct recursiveoﬀsetting approaches would possibly produce piecewise paths with sharp turns. the adaptive-oﬀsetting approach is applied to produce connected spiral deposition paths with varying step-over distances. In Table 6. approach. The above formulas provide equations of computing the new radius function r ¯i for the i-th oﬀset curve. In order to overcome this diﬃculty.

First. It should produce smooth deposition paths with the least amount of sharp turns.5). It should yield no disconnected paths. we limit our . it is expensive and diﬃcult to directly manipulate the cross-sectional geometry via its boundary representation. The following formulates such a shape optimization problem based on MAT. 3. it facilitates the formulation and computation of solving a shape optimization problem. a skeleton-based shape optimization is adopted to determine an optimal deposition geometry.CHAPTER 6. 2. the corresponding boundary representation and the deposition paths can be directly computed (Figure 6.5: Shape optimization for optimal deposition paths. As a result. Once the optimized MAT is determined. and r0 (s) be the radius function parameterized by the arc length s. unless the oﬀset paths are explicitly computed. Therefore. and then generates deposition path directly from the optimized MAT. Let S be the medial axis (skeleton) of the original cross-sectional geometry. Here. Since MAT oﬀers the direct access to the intrinsic geometric properties. PATH PLANNING FOR MATERIAL DEPOSITION 117 B-rep model with original deposition path very difficult Optimized B-rep with optimized deposition path Medial axis transform MA radius optimization Optimized medial axis transform Figure 6. it optimizes the given geometry based on its medial axis transform. This diagram shows the proposed approach. We observed that recursive-oﬀsetting algorithms based on boundary representations give no or little indication on the possibility of generating disconnected inner oﬀset curves.

For eﬃciency. r (s) should be greater than r0 (s) to ensure a full enclosure of deposition over the desired geometry.1) −1 ≤ r ˙ (s ) ≤ 1 For the adaptive deposition strategy where oﬀset distances can vary.. i. we do not attempt to optimize the skeleton: we ﬁx the skeleton and allow the radius function r (s) to be optimized to represent diﬀerent geometry. and can be approximated as follows: h= r0 max 1 (d + dmax ) 2 min where r0 max is the maximum of r0 (s).CHAPTER 6. the amount of excess deposition needs to be minimized. we constrain the step-over distance to be in a process-dependent acceptable range [dmin . The amount of excess materials can be approximated by taking the integral of the radii diﬀerences . First. i. r (s ) ≥ r 0 (s ) Next. dmax ]: dmin ≤ r (s ) ≤ dmax h where h is the predetermined number of passes required to fully ﬁll the optimized region. To simplify the problem. r (s) should represent a valid MAT radius function. r (s ) ≥ 0 In addition. the normal MA points should maintain a two-point contact with the boundaries to facilitate the computation of deposition path: (Equation 6.e. There are several constraints that r (s) needs to satisfy.e. PATH PLANNING FOR MATERIAL DEPOSITION 118 discussion to simple MATs only.

and the medial axis radius function is the free variable to this problem.where w1 . PATH PLANNING FOR MATERIAL DEPOSITION 119 between r (s) and r0 (s) over the entire skeleton. we approximate r (s) by a B-spline function with . w2 . we maximize the stretch and minimize the waviness of r(s) by minimizing F2 = S |r ˙ (s)|ds and F3 = S |r ¨(s)|ds Therefore. the problem becomes to minimize r (s) w1 F1 + w2 F2 + w3 F3 −1 ≤ r ˙ (s ) ≤ 1 .CHAPTER 6. and in turn. and w3 are the weights for the three objective functions. |r (s) − r0 (s)|ds S Since r (s) − r0 (s) > 0 and r0 (s)ds is a constant (r0 (s) is known). to produce a smooth path without unnecessary turns. we can further simplify the above formulation to F1 = S r (s)ds To achieve fairness of curves. This is a function optimization problem and may be solved by calculus of variations. dmin ≤ r (s)/h ≤ dmax subject to r (s) ≥ r0 (s). . To simplify the problem.

p (s0 ) (i) N0.p (sm ) (i) (i) (i) . . . . .where −1 P + r0 −h·r 0max h·r0max A = w1 NN T + w2 N N and T + w3 N N T N (s ) N (s ) · · · N (s ) 1.p (s0 ) N0.CHAPTER 6. Nj. .p m 1.p (s0 ) (i) N1.p (s0 ) Nn. (i) N0. Nn. Nn.p 1 1. .p (sm ) N (i) = (i) N0.p (s1 ) · · · Nn. .p (sm ) (i) N1.p(s)Pj . .p (s0 ) Nn. .p (s1 ) · · · N0. . . .p (sm ) ··· ··· .p (s1 ) · · · Nn. we obtain the following optimization problem in a matrix form: minimize P f = P T AP Np T −1 ≤0 −Np T subject to −Np T NT p −Np T . PATH PLANNING FOR MATERIAL DEPOSITION 120 degree p and n + 1 control points n r (s ) = j =0 Nj. .p (sm ) . After appropriate discretization and reformulation that replaces the absolute value functions with square functions. .where Pj is the j -th control point. .p is the j -th basis function with degree p.p 0 N = .p (s1 ) (i) N1.p (s1 ) N0.

6. Instead.CHAPTER 6. Due to presence of bottleneck features.6) begins with a smooth boundary. PATH PLANNING FOR MATERIAL DEPOSITION 121 s0 . By applying the proposed optimization technique. .5 Examples As discussed in previous sections. N = N (1) and N = N (2) . . The control points are the free variables for this problem. 3. a B-spline function with 10 control points and degree 3 is used to specify the optimal MAT radius function. Re-parameterize the medial axis by its arc length.7) is a section of an embedded copper deposit in . The next example (Figure 6. Due to the objective of smooth curves. Compute MAT of the original 2D cross-section. In this example. This approach is especially suitable for parts with relatively thin or skinning features. continuous spiral paths are possible (not shown in this ﬁgure). . 4. the original radius function is shown as dash lines. However. it produces smooth paths with smaller deposition area. the dotted lines show the intermediate radius functions during the optimization process. the paths generated by recursive-oﬀsetting approach result in discontinuities. the procedures to generate the optimal spiral paths are as follow: 1. And because of the minimum step-over distance constraint. the optimal curve does not exactly follow the middle bump. sm represent m discretized locations where si = il/m. and the optimized function is indicated by a bold solid curve. 6. The ﬁrst example (Figure 6. s1 . it stretches out of the boundaries. Solve the above optimization problem. deposition paths are generated based on the optimized cross-sectional geometry and the adaptive-oﬀsetting technique. 2. and can be solved by many eﬃcient algorithms. it would require relatively large amount of excess deposition. In Figure 6. Using the convex hull approach. Compute spiral paths from the medial axis and the optimized radius function. This is a quadratic optimization problem subject to linear constraints. In summary. the optimal radius function does not reach the minimum of the original radii.

After the deposition region is optimized. Originally.CHAPTER 6. PATH PLANNING FOR MATERIAL DEPOSITION 122 original geometry and paths optimize the MAT radii for optimal shape r(s) 6 4 2 0 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 s optimized geometry and paths Figure 6. oﬀset paths are disconnected. a smooth connected path with varying oﬀsetting distances is produced.6: Optimal deposition path planning for a shape with contraction features. .

7: Optimal deposition path planning for a curved layer geometry. .CHAPTER 6. By optimizing the medial axis radii and applying the adaptive oﬀset strategy. For this particular geometry. the areas between optimized and original geometry do not diﬀer much. an optimal shape and resulting deposition paths are produced. PATH PLANNING FOR MATERIAL DEPOSITION 123 original geometry and paths optimize the MAT radii for optimal shape r(s)12 10 8 6 4 2 0 0 50 100 150 s optimized geometry and paths Figure 6.

a shape optimization methodology is employed. Each build step requires a number of 2D layers of material to be deposited. but also minimize the area of an optimal shape. we limit our discussion to geometry with simple MATs. in other . Although reducing step-over distances between passes may reduce or eliminate gaps. smooth spiral deposition paths with varying step-over distances are computed based on the optimized geometry. PATH PLANNING FOR MATERIAL DEPOSITION 124 an injection mold. parts are iteratively built and shaped. Shape optimization is necessary to streamline the shape. however. paths with varying step-over distances allow the layer deposited in a seamless spiral pattern.6 Discussion and Conclusions In additive/subtractive solid freeform fabrication. Moreover. Furthermore. voids or gaps are often present. Convex hull and ellipse hull approaches provide simple solutions to eliminate path discontinuity. we aim at strategies that could not only intrinsically optimize path topology and minimize sharp turns. In order to overcome this problem. The technique of using relaxed shape for depositing material is suitable in additive/subtractive SFF in that material removal processes are employed to remove excess materials as a result of shape relaxation. a smooth connected deposition path is produced. small undeposited regions around sharp corners and gaps in internal area may still exist. The original geometry results in multiple disconnected paths. to accommodate deposition widths. especially for some cross-sectional geometries that are not near convex. In this chapter. deposition paths generated by direct recursiveoﬀset approaches often result in piecewise pass segments with sharp corners. the eﬃciency of applying these approaches is doubtful. By slightly modifying the geometry via the proposed approach. and to remove undesired features such as sharp corners. As observed from previous sections. 6. As a result.CHAPTER 6. The widths of deposits can be controlled by varying feed-rates of deposition heads in extrusion-based deposition processes. portion of regions may not be completely ﬁlled with materials.

g. it is only considered suitable for shapes consisting of multiple elongated branches. each with a single medial axis branch. However. Such operations increase overall build time. it often requires an intermediate step to plane the top of deposited materials in order to control the build-up. elongated shapes. Another alternative for layer geometry with multi-branch medial axes is to decompose the layer into sub-regions. . the ideal path width is smaller than the producible deposition width. Materials in the sub-regions are then individually deposited. For layers with relatively low aspect ratios or with constrained geometry. Therefore.CHAPTER 6. this method.) Therefore. could result in excessive material deposits in the interior since the computed step-over distances may exceed the range of producible deposition widths (e. when applied to layer deposition. PATH PLANNING FOR MATERIAL DEPOSITION 125 words. we recommend to utilize Held’s approach [26] to compute an optimal set of step-over distances that result in complete ﬁlling. Each sub-region is optimized according to the proposed methodology. This approach may result in excess deposition at the medial axis branch points..

This. These reduce the complexity in performing the automated planning for machining operations.Chapter 7 Automated Cutting Tool Selection NC (Numerical Control) programming has greatly improved the productivity of machining processes. we propose an automated tool selection algorithm for bulk material removal. is not suﬃcient to deliver the promise for full machining planning and process automation without an automated cutter selection strategy. 126 . special ﬁxturing is not required since sacriﬁcial materials and previously fabricated part components serve as custom ﬁxtures during the part build processes.1 Introduction In additive/subtractive solid freeform fabrication (SFF). for machining near-net deposits. there exist no tool interference problems since every machining surface has an upward-facing normal with respect to the build direction. Semi-automated tool path programming has been implemented in most of the computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) systems. Due to the incremental build procedures in additive/subtractive SFF. For example. many tedious operations can be eliminated. and for ﬁnish machining. The proposed methods assume the use of a 3-axis machine and ﬂat-end mills. however. when a 3-axis mill is used. material of a compact is deposited and then shaped to the desired geometry. 7. Furthermore. In this chapter.

whose geometries reﬂect the negative volume of all previously built compacts. AUTOMATED CUTTING TOOL SELECTION 127 In additive/subtractive SFF. (A negative volume is the diﬀerence between stock and part geometry in conventional machining processes.2 Related Work Bulk material removal can be accomplished by a series of pocket machining operations at diﬀerent depths. Among numerous process planning tasks for machining operations.CHAPTER 7. however. tool path generation has been well developed in many commercial packages. • The build direction is in line with the z direction of the 3-axis mill. we assume: • A 3-axis mill and ﬂat-end cutters are employed to shape the decomposed components.) We address the following problems in this chapter: • Determine a set of cutting tools to eﬃciently remove bulk materials for minimal machining time (section 7. Automated tool selection. • Determine a set of cutting tools to eﬃciently remove materials for near-net deposition (section 7. Here we refer the negative volume to be the volume that must be emptied after the shaping process.4).3). material can be deposited to near-net shape of targeted layer geometry. Machining operations for the former case only require to remove areas near the machining surfaces. still presents diﬃcult challenges. With these assumptions machining operations can be considered to be on a sequence of 2D layers. or could be cast into a machined cavity.5). • Determine a cutting tool for ﬁnish machining (section 7. 7. • A 3D surface is machined step by step along the z direction. Several approaches have been proposed to automatically selecting . whereas the latter case demands to remove a solid area of material. In this chapter.

The largest possible tool need not be always selected.and octree-based methods. [4] presented an approach for determining optimal arrangement of machining regions for the given set of cutters. In other words. In the quadtree. Lee et al. They represent machining regions by octrees and match proper tools for the octants. in their approach the eﬃciency of machining is evaluated by explicit computation of tool paths. since construction of tool paths often requires oﬀsetting. both Lee [36] and Arya [4] utilize a greedy method to locate the machining area with the largest tool. which is always smaller than that of its parent. compute an optimal set of cutting tools that achieve minimum machining time. In this tree. a node is labeled with a cutter size. the largest possible tool is selected. The remaining rough cutting tools depend on the sizes of remaining unmachined octants. To achieve eﬃcient rough cutting. and the union of these machining regions represents the complete pocket area. The path from the root to a leaf node denotes one possible tool combination. the largest possible cutting tool is always selected to remove the remaining unmachined area. Kyong et al. total machining time is evaluated by explicitly computing the tool paths associated with the selected cutters. . They represent all possible combinations of cutting tools in a tool combination tree. [31]. AUTOMATED CUTTING TOOL SELECTION 128 cutting tools for pocket machining. Dimensions of the cells indicate accessibility of corresponding sizes of cutting tools. intersecting. [36] proposes an approach based on subdivision.CHAPTER 7. the machining region is approximated by the decomposed “cells”. Each region is to be machined by one of the given cutters. [31] suggested a branch-and-bound search method to ﬁnd an optimal set of cutting tools. The goal is to minimize the total tool path length. on the other hand. They based their approach on quadtree decomposition and transformed the problem into a weighted set-cover problem. Such computation is expensive. In their method. and trimming of curves. Kyoung et al. By a breadth-ﬁrst search. it would require a large number of cutting tools for shapes with a wide range of feature sizes. In addition. Furthermore. Due to the NP–hard nature [2] of this problem. for it would result in relatively large unmachined areas. a set of tools with minimum machining time is eﬃciently identiﬁed. Arya et al.

Common methods to solving this problem rely on generate-and-test approaches: a cutting tool is randomly chosen and corresponding tool paths are computed. we propose an optimization scheme based on the clearance function representation. Machining time can be formulated as a function of tool path length and feed-rates. a more succinct representation based on encoding of the clearance function is proposed to further alleviate the evaluation of machining time. The tool path length is approximated by the tool size and the accessible area. Here we propose an approximation approach based on medial axis transform and . then the required machining time is evaluated based on path length and feed-rates. AUTOMATED CUTTING TOOL SELECTION 129 In this chapter. Such generate-and-test approaches are computationally expensive. one would need a smaller cutter that could ﬁt into every portion of machining volume. machining geometry imposes limitations on the tool size due to allowable clearance or tool accessibility. Furthermore. no speciﬁc setup or ﬁxturing is necessary. The accessible region for a given cutting tool is recognized by the clearance function of the boundary. It is unwise though to solely use such a cutter to machine the entire area. machining time and tool change time are dominating factors that aﬀect total production eﬃciency. In additive/subtractive SFF. Therefore. However. Total production time consists of machining time and other auxiliary time spent on setting up ﬁxtures or cutting tools.3 Tool Selection for Bulk Material Removal The goal for eﬃcient machining is to ﬁnd appropriate machining parameters so that total production time can be minimized while the machined parts meet the design speciﬁcations such as geometric accuracy and tolerances. 7.CHAPTER 7. This is because computing machining time or tool path length involves geometric evaluation that usually has no analytic forms. To complete machining. a set of multiple cutters are often necessary. especially when multiple tools need to be considered. Therefore. Length of tool paths is in turn a function of geometry of machining volume and the cutting tool. To determine an optimal set of cutters for minimum machining time is generally a diﬃcult problem.

s2 = {p(s) | p(s) = α(s) + t n(s). our task becomes to minimize A(r )/r for minimum machining time. 0 ≤ t ≤ C (s).1 Continuous Analytical Model s2 s1 Let C (s) be the clearance function associated with the contour curve parameterized by s. • The smallest ﬂat-end cutter used for pocket machining has to be smaller than or equal to the minimum clearance value of the machining area in order for complete material removal. AUTOMATED CUTTING TOOL SELECTION 130 clearance functions.1) Ts1 . The integral s2 . • The length of the tool path for machining all accessible regions by a given ﬂatend cutter with radius r can be approximated by the area of the accessible regions divided by r . we could deﬁne a function A : R −→ R that maps an arbitrary cutter radius r to its accessible area. This approach is based on the following observation: • A ﬂat-end cutter with radius r can access a boundary point that has a clearance value greater than or equal to r .1 (Generalized Trapezoid) A generalized trapezoid Ts1 . 7. where r is a value between zero and the largest clearance value within the machining region. We shall formulate this problem as follows. s1 ≤ s ≤ s2 } C (s)ds measures the area of the trapezoid bounded by s1 and . The tool path length associated with the cutter r can be approximated by A(r )/r .CHAPTER 7.3. • The largest ﬂat-end cutter used for pocket machining has to be smaller than or equal to the maximum clearance value of the machining area for tool accessibility. Therefore. Deﬁnition 7.s2 is a region bounded by boundaries from s1 to s2 and their associated medial axes: (Figure 7. Based on the above observations.

1: Generalized trapezoids for a 2D object.s2 when the curva- ture of the contour curve in [s1 .s2 ) = s2 α(s)C (s)ds s1 The trapezoids that are accessible by the cutter r correspond to contour segments with clearance values greater than or equal to r . The hatched regions in the clearance function corresponds to the generalized trapezoids shown in the top ﬁgure. In general. The is true for linear segments. we shall introduce a weighting function α(s) that scales the integral to reﬂect the true value of the trapezoid area. AUTOMATED CUTTING TOOL SELECTION 131 111111 000000 000000 111111 000000 111111 T3 4 000000 111111 000000 ×3 111111 000000 111111 000000 111111 000000 111111 000000 111111 000000 111111 0000000000 1111111111 000000 0000000000111111 1111111111 0000000000 1111111111 0000000000 1111111111 0000000000 ×1 1111111111 0000000000 1111111111 T1 2 0000000000 1111111111 0000000000 1111111111 0000000000 1111111111 0000000000 1111111111 0000000000 1111111111 0000000000 1111111111 0000000000 1111111111 0000000000 1111111111 0000000000 1111111111 0000000000 1111111111 ×2 × × × × ×4 11111 00000 00000 11111 00000 11111 00000 11111 ´×2 µ ´×1 µ 11111 00000 00000 11111 00000 11111 00000 11111 00000 ×111111 ×2 1111 0000 0000 1111 0000 1111 ´×3 µ 0000 1111 0000 1111 0000 1111 0000 1111 0000 1111 ´ 4µ × ×3 ×4 È Figure 7. area(Ts1 . . The integral s2 s1 C (s)ds equals to the area of the trapezoid Ts1 .CHAPTER 7. s2 ] is zero.

2: r -accessible trapezoids. 0 ≤ t ≤ C (s).CHAPTER 7. s ∈ Sr } The length of tool paths for machining the accessible trapezoid Tr can be approximated by .2) Sr = { s | C ( s ) ≥ r } Tr = {p(s) | p(s) = α(s) + t n(s). AUTOMATED CUTTING TOOL SELECTION 132 s 111111111111111111 000000000000000000 111111111111111111 000000000000000000 111111111111111111 000000000000000000 111111111111111111 000000000000000000 111111111111111111 000000000000000000 111111111111111111 000000000000000000 111111111111111111 000000000000000000 111111111111111111 000000000000000000 111111111111111111 000000000000000000 111111111111111111 000000000000000000 111111111111111111 000000000000000000 111111111111111111 000000000000000000 111111111111111111 000000000000000000 111111111111111111 000000000000000000 111111111111111111 000000000000000000 111111111111111111 000000000000000000 111111111111111111 000000000000000000 111111111111111111 000000000000000000 111111111111111111 000000000000000000 111111111111111111 000000000000000000 111111111111111111 000000000000000000 111111111111111111 000000000000000000 111111111111111111 000000000000000000 111111111111111111 000000000000000000 111111111111111111 000000000000000000 111111111111111111 000000000000000000 111111111111111111 000000000000000000 C (s ) 11 00 00 11 00 11 00 r 11 00 11 00 11 00 11 00000 111111 11111 000000 00000 11111 000000 111111 00000 11111 000000 111111 00000 11111 000000 111111 00000 11111 000000 111111 00000 000000 11111 111111 00000 11111 000000 111111 00000 11111 000000 111111 00000 000000 11111 111111 111 000 000 111 000 111 000 111 000 111 000 111 000 111 000 111 000 111 11111 00000 00000 11111 00000 11111 00000 11111 00000 11111 00000 11111 00000 11111 00000 11111 00000 s 11111 Figure 7.2 (r -Accessible Trapezoid) A r -accessible trapezoid is the union of a set of generalized trapezoids associated with boundaries Sr that have clearance values greater than or equal to r : (Figure 7. Deﬁnition 7.

Therefore. the smaller cutter rsmall need not re-machine the area completed by the larger cutter rlarge .3).3: R-accessible trapezoid and its relation with tool paths. AUTOMATED CUTTING TOOL SELECTION 133 Figure 7.CHAPTER 7. The dashed lines in the top ﬁgure show the tool paths for cutters rLarge and rSmall . the eﬀective machining area for the smaller cutter rsmall is the diﬀerence of accessible trapezoids for rsmall and rlarge (Figure 7. Lr = area(Tr ) = r Sr α(s)C (s)ds r When two cutters are considered. .

. This leads to the deﬁnition of clearance . we shall pre-compute the function Sr α(s)C (s)ds to avoid repetitive evaluation. AUTOMATED CUTTING TOOL SELECTION 134 Lrlarge = = Lrsmall = = = area(Trlarge ) Sr large rlarge α(s)C (s)ds rlarge area(Trsmall )−area(Trlarge ) Sr small rsmall α(s)C (s)ds− \S r Sr large α(s)C (s)ds Sr small large rsmall α(s)C (s)ds rsmall More generally. we solve the following problem: n. . where r1 < r2 < · · · < rn .. r2 . let {r1 ... rn } be a set of multiple tools considered.rn minimize Sri \Sri+1 α(s)C (s)ds i r i F ri + nTchange subject to r1 < r2 < · · · < rn Sr i = { s | C ( s ) ≥ r i } Srn+1 = ∅ . 7. We shall subdivide the parameter space of ∂ A according to their clearance values.2 Discrete Histogram Model To alleviate computation of trapezoid areas.r1 .CHAPTER 7. .r2 . . Since most of the cutting tools have radii equal to multiples of 1/32 inch. The total machining path length by using these cutters in a decreasing order (from large to small cutters) can be formulated as L= i Sri \Sri+1 α(s)C (s)ds ri To minimize the total machining time.. where Tchange is the tool change time and Fri is the feed-rate associated with the cutter ri .3.

connected.4 (Eﬀective Clearance Histogram) An eﬀective clearance histogram of A is a ﬁgure that represents the total area of the generalized trapezoids associated with the given range of clearance values.CHAPTER 7. it is useful in estimating eﬀectiveness of sweeping a region with a given disk. AUTOMATED CUTTING TOOL SELECTION 135 histogram. the corre+1 sponding rectangle area ARi in the histogram is equal to i R +1 ARi = i R α(s)C (s)ds. Ri+1 be a class interval in the eﬀective clearance histogram. Deﬁnition 7. or can be used to identify the uniformness. and regular domain A is a ﬁgure that represents a frequency distribution of clearances in the clearance function.3 (Clearance Histogram) A clearance histogram of a compact. The clearance histogram is an eﬀective way to evaluate skinniness and fatness of a region. we need an eﬀective clearance histogram to encode the trapezoidal areas associated with clearance values. where S = {s|Ri ≤ C (s) ≤ Ri+1 } S To evaluate the area that are sweepable by a given cutter with radius r . However. Let Ri . Deﬁnition 7. Deﬁnition 7.5 (Accumulated Clearance Histogram) An accumulated clearance histogram of A is a ﬁgure that records the total area of the generalized trapezoids associated with boundaries whose clearance values are equal to or larger than a given value. . Therefore. This frequency distribution corresponds to the number of occurrence of a value in the clearance function. to evaluate the total path length. we can construct the accumulated clearance histogram.

CHAPTER 7.4: Eﬀective clearance histogram and the accumulated clearance histogram. These ﬁgures illustrate the generation of these two histograms. . AUTOMATED CUTTING TOOL SELECTION 136 « ØÚ 00 11 11 00 00 11 00 11 00 11 00 11 00 11 00 11 00 11 00 11 00 Ê11 Ê Ê Ê 0 1 2 3 1111111111111111111111111 0000000000000000000000000 0000000000000000000000000 1111111111111111111111111 0000000000000000000000000 1111111111111111111111111 Ê 3 0000000000000000000000000 1111111111111111111111111 0000000000000000000000000 1111111111111111111111111 Ê 2 0000000000000000000000000 1111111111111111111111111 0000000000000000000000000 1111111111111111111111111 Ê 1 0000000000000000000000000 1111111111111111111111111 Ê 0000000000000000000000000 1111111111111111111111111 0 00 11 × 00 11 00 11 00 11 00 11 00 11 00 11 00 11 00 11 00 11 00 11 00 11 00 11 00 11 00 11 000 111 00 11 00 11 000 111 00 11 00 11 000 111 00 11 00 11 000 111 00 11 00 11 000 111 00 11 00 11 000 111 00 11 00 11 000 111 00 11 00 11 000 111 00 11 00 11 000 111 00 11 00 11 000 111 000 111 000 111 00 11 00 11 000 111 000 111 000 111 00 11 000 111 000 111 000 111 00 11 000 111 000 111 000 111 00 11 000 111 000 111 000 111 000 111 000 111 000 111 000 111 000 111 000 111 000 111 000 111 000 111 000 111 000 111 000 111 000 111 000 111 000 111 000 111 000 111 000 111 000 111 000 111 000 111 000 111 000 111 000 111 000 111 000 111 000 111 000 111 000 111 000 111 111 000 000 111 111 000 000 111 11 00 00 11 00 11 00 11 00 11 000 111 00 11 00 11 00 11 00 11 00 11 00 11 000 111 00 00 11 00 11 00 11 00 11 00 11 00 11 00 11 00 11 011 1 000 111 00 11 00 11 00 11 00 11 00 11 00 11 000 111 00 11 1 0 111 000 1 0 00 11 00 11 00 11 00 11 00 11 00 11 00 11 00 11 11 0 0 111 000 11 00 11 00 00 0011 00 11 00 11 11 000 111 11 00 00 11 00 11 1 0 00 11 00 11 Ð Ö Ò À ×ØÓ Ö Ñ 11 00 00 11 00 11 00 11 00 11 00 11 00 11 00 11 00 11 000 111 00 11 00 11 00 11 000 111 00 11 00 11 000 111 00 11 00 11 000 111 00 11 00 11 000 111 00 Ê11 Ê Ê Ê 0 1 2 3 ÙÑÙÐ Ø Ð Ö Ò À ×ØÓ Ö Ñ Figure 7.

Our task is to compute a set of cutting tools to remove these excess deposits. Rm are a list of cutter candidates.rn minimize i r i F ri + nTchange subject to r1 < r2 < · · · < rn . The sizes of cutting tools are constrained by the minimal feature of the machining volume. where R1 .. where S = {s|C (s) ≥ Ri } j R The accumulated clearance histogram records the areas of accessible regions for a set of cutting radii Ri .r2 .. However. AUTOMATED CUTTING TOOL SELECTION 137 The rectangle area of the accumulated clearance histogram for a class interval [Ri . Ri+1 ] represents the area A∗ Ri accessible by a disk with radius Ri and can be computed directly from the eﬀective clearance histogram A∗ Ri = α(s)C (s)ds = S j ≥i +1 ARj . This not only consumes materials more eﬃciently but also reduces time for subsequent material removal processes. it would be ineﬃcient to use a relatively small cutter to machine the entire area.. The optimization problem thus can be simpliﬁed as ∗ (A∗ ri −Ari+1 ) n. rn (n < m) is to be chosen from this list.CHAPTER 7. Rm }. r2 . · · · . the ﬁnal cutter selection r1 . material is ideally deposited to the near-net shape. n≤m . we assume that no materials are deposited more than γ distance away from boundaries of the targeted shapes. To model this near net geometry. 7.. ri ∈ {R1 .r1 . · · · . · · · . R2. R2 . Therefore a . when this minimal feature is much smaller than γ .4 Tool Selection for Machining Near Net Deposits In additive/subtractive solid freeform fabrication.

However. We could update the models proposed in the section 7. we compute the clearance functions of all boundaries of a part. Since additive/subtractive solid freeform fabrication does not begin with a pre-deﬁned stock as in other conventional machining process. Since the virtual bounding box is suﬃciently large. the clearance values of the boundaries reﬂect true spacing with the part itself. since the geometry of near-net deposits could be considered to be with γ thickness of skin materials. Once the delta volume is extracted.3 as follows: . In addition. To model the volume of excess deposits. not with the bounding box. The delta volume reﬂects the region that should be emptied upon completion of machining operations. This virtual box needs to be large enough so that restrictions or constraints put on geometry of the delta volume do not eﬀect the outcome of cutting tool choices. it may be suﬃcient to use a sequence of cutting tools with sizes in a decreasing order and traverse the machining boundaries with each cutter. In other words. AUTOMATED CUTTING TOOL SELECTION 138 combination of cutting tools need to be considered. machining areas for individual cutters are identiﬁed. all materials are within γ distance away from the boundaries. depending on the set of tools available and the machining geometry involved. 0 < t ≤ min(C (s).CHAPTER 7. On the other hand. we ﬁrst construct the delta volume of the targeted deposition region. In this section. this is not always satisfactory either. γ )} Note that we put the γ constraint for the maximum distance from the boundary. we shall determine a set of machining tools for eﬃcient machining on the near net deposits. we create a suﬃciently large box as a “virtual” stock that encloses the entire part geometry. the virtual box should be at least a diameter (of the largest tool considered) away from any point on the boundaries. Based on assumptions mentioned earlier. We could model this excess area Ax as the following: Ax = {p(s) | p(s) = α(s) + t n(s).

AUTOMATED CUTTING TOOL SELECTION 139 n.5 Tool Selection for Finish Machining There are two situations that constraint the size of the cutter to be smaller. Both cases are captured by the medial axis transform since by deﬁnition a region can be entirely covered by union of disks with the radius equal to the smallest clearance that reside in its interior. One is the local geometric property of a contour curve: if any point on the contour has large curvature and its center of curvature is in the interior of the region.rn minimize ∗ (A∗ ri −Ari+1 ) i ri + nTchange subject to r1 < r2 < · · · < rn . . R2 . Rm }. · · · ..r1 .r2 .CHAPTER 7.. we could construct the accumulated clearance histogram for fast computation of the above optimization problem: n. The other is due to its global property: when two portions of a contour are very close to each other.. they form a narrow passage where a smaller cutter must be used to pass through the region. Therefore. the radius of the smallest cutter can be determined by ﬁnding the minimum value of the clearance function.. n≤m A∗ rn+1 = 0 7.rn minimize Sri \Sri+1 α(s) min(C (s)..γ )ds r i F ri i + nTchange subject to r1 < r2 < · · · < rn Sr i = { s | C ( s ) ≥ r i } Srn+1 = ∅ Similarly.. ri ∈ {R1 .r2 .r1 .. the cutter has to match the radius of curvature in order to follow the contour periphery. A cutter with size equal to this minimum clearance is guaranteed to be able to completely remove material in the region..

Rm }. more machining time is spent on cleaning up the unmachined area with the smaller cutter. machining simulation tools have been introduced to verify the . the entire machining process has to accommodate the smallest feature size.7 Discussion and Conclusions Tool selection is the backbone of automated machining planning. Cutters are selected according to eﬃciency of machining.7 shows an example of machining near-net deposited region.6 presents the result of tool selection for the pocket area shown in Figure 7. Conventionally. As a result. Figure 7. 7. Recently. The peaks in the eﬀective clearance histogram indicate the thickness of the region with the most frequent occurrence.CHAPTER 7. whereas a smaller tool cleans up the remaining unmachined regions. a larger cutter remove a good portion of the area. 7.6 Examples Two examples are shown in this section.5. since the larger the tool. Note that the largest tool is not necessarily selected. · · · . The width of the excess material surrounding the boundary of the targeted area is known. AUTOMATED CUTTING TOOL SELECTION 140 minimize r r r ≤ min C (s) s subject to r ∈ {R1 . When multiple tools are considered. this is accomplished with experienced human intervention. When the problem is constrained to selecting only one cutter. Such information is compiled into the accumulated clearance histogram to facilitate computation of accessible area for a given cutting tool.5 shows a pocket area and the encoded clearance histograms. Such human decision often provides no guarantee on complete machining or the best utilization of machining resources. R2 . Figure 7. the larger the unmachined area remained. Figure 7.

CHAPTER 7. AUTOMATED CUTTING TOOL SELECTION 141 Figure 7. .5: Eﬀective and accumulated clearance histograms for the sample geometry shown on the top.

CHAPTER 7. Three cutters considered Figure 7. AUTOMATED CUTTING TOOL SELECTION 142 a. One cutter considered b.6: The results of tool selection for bulk material removal of the sample geometry. . Two cutters considered cutter radii: c.

AUTOMATED CUTTING TOOL SELECTION 143 a. Deposited area c. Machining with 1 cutter d. Desired deposition region b.CHAPTER 7. . Machining with 2 cutters cutter radius: Figure 7.7: Tool selection for machining near-net deposits.

which suggests the need for using a smaller tool or choosing diﬀerent machining parameters. However. Furthermore. Unmachined regions are graphically located. the introduction of automated tool selection facilitates the process planning and improves the overall fabrication eﬃciency. The proposed 2 1/2 D tool selection algorithm best beneﬁts the additive/subtractive solid freeform fabrication due to directionality of the processes. the same algorithm can be applied to conventional pocket machining and rough machining operations. these tools neither provide information on how small a ﬁnish cutter should be. nor suggest the set of cutting tools for eﬃcient rough machining. The total machining time is also estimated based on tool path and feed-rates. The ﬁnish tool is selected according to the smallest clearance value on the machining boundary. the clearance functions are encoded to discrete clearance histograms to alleviate explicit computation of tool paths. This chapter focused on automated tool selection in 2 1/2 D domain. In addition. Although this approach is developed for additive/subtractive SFF. Threeaxis machines and ﬂat-end mills are considered. The optimal sets of cutters for removing bulk materials and excess near-net deposits are computed via an optimization formulation based on the medial axis transform and clearance functions.CHAPTER 7. AUTOMATED CUTTING TOOL SELECTION 144 result of cutter selection and the associated tool path. .

Chapter 8 Conclusions Additive/subtractive solid freeform fabrication (SFF) integrates material addition and removal) to build up three-dimensional objects incrementally. a new model is presented for computing the medial axis transforms of arbitrarily shaped compact regions in two dimensions. they are also applicable to planning of many other conventional manufacturing processes such as CNC machining. if not impossible. a shape optimization scheme is introduced to compute optimal layer geometry for producing high-quality deposition paths. techniques based on alternative geometric representations. can not be suﬃciently tackled via common boundary representation of geometric models. In particular. to build with traditional manufacturing processes. These challenges. The next two sections discuss the contributions of this thesis work and future 145 . However. Medial Axis Transform (MAT) and clearance functions. planning for such processes exhibits rigorous challenges due to process ﬂexibility and highly demanding planning automation. are presented to facilitate planning of additive/subtractive SFF. It is capable of producing engineering parts diﬃcult. The techniques proposed in this thesis are mainly targeted at process planning for additive/subtractive solid freeform fabrication. In this thesis. moreover. Eﬃcient cutting tool selection strategies are outlined for shaping near-net deposition as well as for bulk material removal. Automated manufacturability analysis tools are presented to assist evaluation of part building and decomposition. However. To reach this end.

the approaches dealing with curved objects are usually not as eﬃcient as those based on polygon or point approximation of objects. CONCLUSIONS 146 research directions that could beneﬁt from the ideas proposed in the thesis. The clearance functions record the distance metrics on the boundary of objects. 59. clearance functions utilize the existing B-rep of objects and record proximity information on the boundary. Conventional MAT representation limits the performance of such computation since proximity metrics are not directly available in conventional MAT representation. Such clearance function representation in conjunction with B-rep carries the same amount of proximity information as MAT. 2. . This representation is useful for applications requiring explicit description of the medial axes such as in motion planning and pattern recognition. 45. 25]. A generalized approach for computing 2D MAT Most of the existing algorithms for computing 2D MAT require objects represented by polygons or bounded by discrete points. 14. with or without holes. Since objects are usually described using boundary representation (B-rep). However. 1. However. yet is very concise as only scalar values are to be added to the B-rep. 8. Only a few approaches exist that are capable of handling curved objects.1 Contributions The main research contributions of this thesis are summarized as follows.CHAPTER 8. This thesis proposes a new MAT representation using clearance functions. A new representation for Medial Axis Transform Conventionally medial axis transform (MAT) is represented by geometry of medial axes and the distance from the medial axes to the nearest boundary entities [46. 61. proximity information associated with object boundaries is more important. 60. in many other engineering applications such as design shape analysis and manufacturing process planning. geometry of the medial axes is not of particular interest.

4. Such tool accessibility analysis is applied to all possible build plans for a given part model to identify feasible build sequences in additive/subtractive SFF.CHAPTER 8. and computation of clearance functions is more eﬃcient than that of MAT since a clearance function maps a 2D boundary point to a scalar clearance metric. Both methods are not eﬃcient for fast accessibility analysis. 30]. associativity from a boundary to its clearance metric is readily available. A “feature-free” methodology for tool accessibility analysis Tool accessibility analysis can be performed via pairwise distance computation between boundary elements [21]. whereas the latter relies on feature recognition techniques. it suﬃces to evaluate 3D cutting tool accessibility by successive 2D analysis. 3. surfaces corresponding to the inaccessible regions are immediately recognized following this analysis. An innovative approach for optimal path generation Material deposition in solid freeform fabrication is usually performed in a 2D . Moreover. The proposed approach utilizes the divide-and-conquer methodology to compute clearance functions along the contours of input objects. The medial axis transform can be easily extracted from the computed clearance functions. With the proposed algorithm. Inaccessible regions for a given cutter can be quickly identiﬁed via the clearance function representation. Since machining is performed only on non-undercut surfaces for additive/subtractive SFF. or by extracting machining features and matching them with available cutting tools [1. tedious graph manipulation during MAT computation is avoided. A “feature-free” methodology for tool accessibility analysis is proposed in this thesis. a generalized approach based on [35] [62] and [14] is developed for constructing MAT of arbitrarily curved 2D objects. not a medial axis point in the 2D Euclidean space. CONCLUSIONS 147 In this thesis. The former approach exhibits quadratic computational complexity.

Deposition paths are then generated directly via the optimized medial axis transform. or gaps/voids in the interior of a 2D layer. An eﬃcient cutting tool selection strategy Cutting tools are often determined with experienced user intervention. This approach is best applied to relatively slender layer geometry. Generating 2D spiral deposition paths is often accomplished by recursively oﬀsetting the layer boundary. however. In this thesis. CONCLUSIONS 148 manner. and complete paths. Via this histogram. The computed paths are smooth. connected. Selecting a set of cutting tools for minimum machining time is then accomplished by an optimization. This thesis provides an eﬃcient selection strategy based on the proposed clearance function representation to achieve the minimal machining time. This approach. The machining region is ﬁrst encoded into a “clearance histogram”. Although several attempts have been made to automatically identify cutter sizes for a given 2D machining geometry. often results in piecewise pass segments with sharp corners. they often rely on the more expensive generate-and-test methodology. Such a method randomly selects a cutter and evaluates the resulting machining time by explicitly computing the associated tool paths.CHAPTER 8. 5. A 2D layer geometry is relaxed to allow smooth paths to be constructed. The excess material deposits can then be removed via subtractive operations such as machining. where the function evaluation can be directly assessed from the clearance histograms. and result in no gaps in the interior of a 2D layer. distance metrics stored on the medial axis are optimized to represent a smooth region. the length of tool paths and the associated machining time can be quickly approximated. a shape optimization algorithm based on medial axis transform is proposed to generate smooth. In the proposed method. .

2 Future Work The proposed medial axis transform and clearance function representation can be utilized in many other process planning tasks. 10]. the clearance metrics can be directly retrieved from the diagrams and the adjacency information of the boundary points. Some of the potential applications and research directions are described below: 1. the pruning processes to remove spurious structures introduced by boundary discretization are normally cumbersome and may alter the homotopy of the skeletons [9. since the proposed representation is based on the B-rep of objects. For the . Alternatively. Materials could be deposited onto an existing component and shaped to the desired geometry. CONCLUSIONS 149 8. Once the Voronoi diagram or Delaunay triangulation is computed. 10]. 2. Computing clearance functions based on the proposed representation does not require pruning of the Voronoi diagrams. 55.CHAPTER 8. they could be formed by casting materials into a pre-shaped cavity. The clearance function representation oﬀers the same amount of information as provided by MAT in terms of proximity information. Furthermore. it can be easily distinguished whether a particular Voronoi edge is introduced by the discretization errors or by the original geometric characteristics. However. Computing clearance functions for 3D objects Most of the existing 3D MAT algorithms are based on Voronoi diagrams or Delaunay triangulation of the discrete boundary points [9. Evaluating clearance for material deposition An important characteristic of additive/subtractive solid freeform fabrication is the alternate deposition and machining processes. and yet the computation based on the proposed representation is less complex. 37. 63. the entities in the interior of the original objects are extracted and pruned to represent the approximated medial axis geometry or skeletons. In the applications where proximity information is of more importance than the geometry of medial axes or skeletons. the proposed clearance function representation is more eﬃcient and useful.

This leaves options to select diﬀerent build sequences. The surfaces requiring EDM operations are then those bounding the inaccessible regions. CONCLUSIONS 150 latter type of deposition. To generate the electrode geometry for die-sinking EDM. . Such regions correspond to the inaccessible areas (Chapter 5) of the smallest cutter used in CNC machining. materials usually have diﬃculty to reach corners of the cavity. electrical discharge machining (EDM) is an alternative to machining relatively narrow and sharp regions. the regions left by machining processes have to be known. For example. For viscous materials. The geometry of EDM electrodes is often determined by experienced persons. Generating electrode geometry for die-sinking electrical discharge machining (EDM) Many engineering parts can not be fabricated by CNC machining alone due to the presence of small features compared with available cutter sizes. For metal parts. 3. By grouping and synthesizing the adjacent surfaces requiring EDM. leaving voids or gaps at the corners. In particular. geometry of the cavity often limits materials to be completely deposited. Such problems degrade the material integrity and are very diﬃcult to discover during layer build processes. surfaces that bound the deposition regions and cause incomplete deposition can be identiﬁed. The clearance function representation can be utilized to detect such problems during the part decomposition stage. Similar to the strategies used in tool accessibility analysis (Chapter 5). die-sinking EDM can be utilized to machine internal cavities and sharp corners. geometry of the electrodes can be extracted with the help of extrusion operations. or to apply other build techniques such as the overcutﬁll-trim-backﬁll strategy [15]. if a cavity is relatively tall and thin. This process requires EDM electrodes to be fabricated prior to the EDM operation. narrow cavities prevent them from reaching the bottom.CHAPTER 8.

1/2 y ˙ (s)] 151 .Appendix A Conversion from MAT to Boundary Representation The left and right boundary curves of a simple MAT can be computed as follows: (Fig.1) l qx (s) = x(s) + r (s) · cos(φ + π/2 + θ) = x(s) − r (s) · sin(φ + θ) = x(s) − r (s) · [sin(θ) · cos(φ) + cos(θ) · sin(φ)] = x(s) − r (s) · [r ˙ (s )x ˙ (s) + (1 − r ˙ (s ) 2 ) Similarly.A.

qy (s+ds)) r (qx (s). y(s+ds)) ds r (qxr(s+ds). qy (s)) r x Figure A. l qy (s) = y (s) + r (s) · sin(φ + π/2 + θ) = y (s) − r (s) · [r ˙ (s )y ˙ (s) − (1 − r ˙ (s ) 2 ) r qx (s) = x(s) + r (s) · cos(φ − π/2 − θ) 1/2 x ˙ (s)] = x(s) − r (s) · [r ˙ (s )x ˙ (s) − (1 − r ˙ (s ) 2 ) r qy (s) = y (s) + r (s) · sin(φ − π/2 − θ) 1/2 y ˙ (s)] = y (s) − r (s) · [r ˙ (s )y ˙ (s) + (1 − r ˙ (s ) 2 ) 1/2 x ˙ (s)] .1: Boundary curve approximation between two adjacent MAT disks at s and s + ds. qy (s+ds)) y θ l (qlx(s).APPENDIX A. qy (s)) r+dr θ r (x(s). CONVERSION FROM MAT TO BOUNDARY REPRESENTATION152 l (qxl (s+ds). y(s)) φ (x(s+ds).

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