CIRP Encyclopedia of Production Engineering

2014 Edition
| Editors: The International Academy for Production Engineering, Luc Laperrière, Gunther Reinhart

Five-Axis Tool Path Generation

  • Bert LauwersEmail author
Reference work entry


In order to produce parts with a complex-shaped geometry, milling machines have to be programmed in a way that milling tool movements result in removing all necessary excessive material. Starting from a CAD model, Fig. 1illustrates the main phases of preparing the NC-programs for NC machining. Based on the CAD model, the CAM software generates a tool path, a description of tool movements in the part coordinate system, depending on the part geometry and settings defined by the CAM engineer. The output of the CAM system is a CLDATA-file (controller independent) which in a next step is converted by an NC-postprocessor to an NC-program. The latter describes the tool movements within a machine coordinate system. The postprocessor is also responsible for converting commands into a format that is supported by the exact controller of a machine at which the tool path will be executed. The output of the postprocessor is a file of instructions (commonly named G-code instructions)...
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Dejonghe P (2001) An integrated approach for tool path planning and generation for multi-axis milling. KU Leuven, LeuvenGoogle Scholar
  2. Jerard BC (1998) Sculptured surface machining: theory and applications. Kluwer, DordrechtGoogle Scholar
  3. Lee C-J, Lee Y-S (2002) A machining potential field approach to tool path generation for multi-axis sculptured surface machining. Comput Aided Des 34(5):357–371CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Lee Y-S (1998) Non-isoparametric tool path planning by machining strip evaluation for 5-axis sculptured surface machining. Comput Aided Des 30(7):559–570zbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Lefebvre PP (2007) Development of an operation planning system for multi axes milling of complex shapes. KU Leuven, LeuvenGoogle Scholar
  6. Makhanov WA (2008) Curvilinear space-filling curves for five-axis machining. Comput Aided Des 40(3):350–367CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Nan Wang KT (2008) Five-axis tool path generation for a flat-end tool based on iso-conic partitioning. Comput Aided Des 40(12):1067–1079CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Plakhotnik D (2012) Tool path planning and optimization for five-axis flat-end milling considering machine kinematics. KU Leuven, LeuvenGoogle Scholar
  9. Zhonglin Han DC-J (2001) Isophote-based ruled surface approximation of free-form surfaces and its application in nc machining. Int J Prod Res 39(9):1911–1930CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© CIRP 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Production Engineering, Machine Design and Automation (PMA)KU LeuvenHeverleeBelgium