Mesh-based tool path calculations for tubular joints
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionAdvances in Mechanical Engineering, 12, (6). 10.1177/1687814020933383
Manufacturing of large steel tube structures is faced with excessive welding, fit-up and rework times in tube joints, due to various types of deviation from nominal shape of the tubes. This article presents a procedure and geometry calculus for generating cutting and welding paths based on measured geometries. The procedure poses the two measured meshes as per construction specification and invokes a mesh intersection procedure to get the mesh intersection path; performs an optional smoothing; interpolates the smoothed path to a specified angular resolution; estimates the two surface normal vectors and the two surface tangents in the plane spanned by the normals at each interpolation point; calculates the cutting tool and welding tool approach directions for obtaining the specified welding groove geometry at each interpolation point; and finally stores all the data parameterized by the interpolation angle. Illustrations of results with both synthetic, representative meshes and meshes obtained from scanning of actual tubes at the shop-floor at a manufacturer are presented. The reference implementation for the developed software tool is based on Python and uses the mesh modeller from the 3D creation suite Blender as platform.