Chapter 9:

3D Toolpaths

Upon successful completion of this lesson, you will be able to:



3D tool paths are used to machine non-prismatic parts such as molds, dies, and organically shaped consumer products. These parts may be composed of hundreds or thousands of faces.

CAD/CAM software creates 3D tool paths by first triangulazing the model, as shown in Figure 9.1 (though the mesh is far finer than shown in this illustration). This mesh is used to calculate the tool path based on tool size and shape.

3D tool paths are calculation intensive in part because of the extensive checking required to ensure the tool does not gouge the part as it moves across the topography of part faces.

Figure 9.1: 3D Tool Path Calculation