scottgus1's picture

video game development -> 5-axis CNC milling?

I have a Shopbot CNC router that I am planning to expand to 5-axis milling capabilities. I really like to make my own tools and programs so I understand them well. I have decided to try the ambitious project of developing my own 5-axis cutting software rather than shelling out $20k for a program that I haven't the foggiest idea how to use.

Why am I putting all this on a video game programming forum?

I was playing a little mini-putt golf program on my pda and it occured to me, this video game knows where the ball is and where the playing field obstacles are, and how they interact. Why couldn't that programming be put to use in a CNC milling program? I need to figure out how to move one object bearing a strong resemblance to a ball-nose router bit along any 3D solid model file given to the program. Sounds a little like the stuff done in video games all the time - control interactions between one or more simulated 3D objects in computer memory.

Does it sound to anyone like OpenTK might be something I could use to take a stab at my idea?


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Kamujin's picture

I don't know much about you, but I do know about the costs to develop software. From the tiny amount of information that you've given me, I wouldn't be surprised if it took more then $20k worth of your time to develop.

To answer your question, I would imagine that software to run a milling algorithm would be interested not only in the final 3D object, but in computing collisions between the "bit" and the un-milled blank as every "layer" of material is cut away.

OpenTK would be quite useful to help visualize this process, but I think much of the collision logic would require that you develop libraries that are beyond the scope of OpenTK.

Additionally, I think you would need an inverse-kinematics library to deal with the 5 axis rotation. I believe this is also beyond the scope of OpenTK.

This is just my uneducated opinion, so forgive me if I am way off base.

Hangar's picture

There are physics libraries available, but I believe these are also the wrong tool. This sounds more like a search algorithm. Maybe a robotics forum is the place to ask.

scottgus1's picture

Okie-doke. Thanks muchly for your experience and opinions. I know I'm biting off rather a mouthful and I appreciate the responses. Thanks again.