Abstract

Recently, companies have been experimenting with parallel-mechanism based approaches for milling machines. This research presents an investigation into the development of a special 6-6 parallel mechanism for application to contour milling. The idea behind this approach is that existing non-CNC milling equipment can be augmented to increase its capability at a lower cost than purchasing traditional 5-axis machining centers. This paper presents the phase of research associated with developing a parametric kinestatic design methodology for a special 6-6 parallel mechanism (Kinestatic Platform, KP). This methodology was applied to the design specifications associated with 5-axis contour milling. The resulting kinestatic design’s dynamics were evaluated to determine the actuation requirements of each connector. A prototype connector was built to allow the evaluation of actuator response under simulated loading conditions. Joint stiffness and control strategy were of primary concern in evaluating the performance of the prototype connector. The parametric kinestatic design and control strategy results are presented. Several observations are evidenced from the research. Joint deflection is an obvious critical issue and the most difficult to quantify. A scheme is proposed detailing the concept of using a separate metrology frame to overcome difficulties associated with accurate connector length determination.

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