Optimization of Tool Path for Uniform Scallop-Height in Ultra-precision Grinding of Free-form Surfaces

Shanshan Chen, Chi Fai Cheung, Feihu Zhang, Mingyu Liu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Free-form surfaces have been widely used in complex optical devices to improve the functional performance of imaging and illumination quality and reduce sizes. Ultra-precision grinding is a kind of ultra-precision machining technology for fabricating free-form surfaces with high form accuracy and good surface finish. However, the complexity and variation of curvature of the free-form surface impose a lot of challenges to make the process more predictable. Tool path as a critical factor directly determines the form error and surface quality in ultra-precision grinding of free-form surfaces. In conventional tool path planning, the constant angle method is widely used in machining free-form surfaces, which resulted in non-uniform scallop-height and degraded surface quality of the machined surfaces. In this paper, a theoretical scallop-height model is developed to relate the residual height and diverse curvature radius. Hence, a novel tool-path generation method is developed to achieve uniform scallop-height in ultra-precision grinding of free-form surfaces. Moreover, the iterative closest-point matching method, which is a well-known algorithm to register two surfaces, is exploited to make the two surfaces match closely through rotation and translation. The deviation of corresponding points between the theoretical and the measured surfaces is determined. Hence, an optimized tool-path generator is developed that is experimentally verified through a series of grinding experiments conducted on annular sinusoidal surface and single sinusoidal surface, which allows the realization of the achievement of uniform scallop-height in ultra-precision grinding of free-form surfaces.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215–224
Number of pages10
JournalNanomanufacturing and Metrology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


  • Free-form surfaces
  • Ultra-precision grinding
  • Scallop-height
  • Optimization
  • Tool-path generation
  • Ultra-precision machining

Cite this