End mill tools integration in CNC machining for rapid manufacturing processes: simulation studies

Computer Numerical Controlled (CNC) machining has been recognized as a manufacturing process that is capable of producing metal parts with high precision and reliable quality, whereas many additive manufacturing methods are less capable in these respects. The introduction of a new layer removal methodology that utilizes an indexing device to clamp the workpiece can be used to extend CNC applications into the realm of rapid manufacturing (CNC-RM) processes. This study aims to improve the implementation of CNC machining for RM by formulating a distinct approach to integrate end mill tools during finishing processes. A main objective is to enhance process efficiency by minimizing the stair-casing effect of layer removal so as to improve the quality of machined parts. In order to achieve this, different types of end mill tools are introduced to cater for specific part surfaces during finishing operations. Virtual machining simulations are executed to verify the method and the implications. The findings indicate the advantages of the approach in terms of cutting time and excess volume left on the parts. It is shown that using different tools for finishing operations will improve the capabilities of CNC machining for rapid manufacturing applications.