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Design Science Journal
Theses repository

Generative Design-to-Fabrication Automation using Spatial Grammars and Heuristic Search

Year: 2012

Author: Christoph Heinrich Walter Ertelt

Supervisor: Prof. Kristina Shea

Institution: Technische Universität München

Pages: 1-164

ISBN: 978-3-00-040177-0

Abstract

Planning for Computerized Numerical Control (CNC) fabrication requires generation of
process plans for the fabrication of parts that can be executed on CNC enabled machine tools.
To create such plans, a large amount of domain specific knowledge is required to map the
desired geometry of a part to a manufacturing process, thus decomposing design information
into a set of feasible machining operations. Approaches to automate this planning process still
rely heavily on human capabilities, such as planning and reasoning about geometry in relation
to machining capabilities. In this thesis, the author presents a new, spatial grammar-based
approach for automatically creating fabrication plans for CNC machining from a given part
geometry. To avoid the use of static feature sets and their pre-defined mappings to machining
operations, the method encodes knowledge of fundamental machine capabilities. The use of
spatial grammars as a formalism enables systematic formulation of hard and soft constraints
on spatial relations between the volume to be removed and the removal volume shape for a
machining operation. Further, a software implementation of the core method is presented and
validated using several examples of machining a part on a milling machine including changed
tools and tool failures during runtime. Advanced heuristic search methods are investigated to
further improve the quality of the generated plans in terms of accuracy and machining time.
Overall, the approach and method presented is an enabler for the creation of an autonomous
fabrication system and CNC machine tools that are able to reason about part geometry in
relation to available capabilities and carry out on-line planning for CNC fabrication.

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