2.5D milling operation is widely used in a variety of applications. Generating efficient cutter path for 2.5D milling operation is very important in order to shorten total machining time and thus enhance overall throughput. However, most existing cutter path generation algorithms do not produce highly efficient cutter paths for certain type of complex pockets. The reason behind this is as following. For different types of pocket geometries, different types of cutter paths have been shown to be efficient. However, in certain types of complex pockets, no single type of cutter path produces efficient path throughout the pocket. Hybrid cutter paths, where different portions of the complex pocket have different types of paths, appear to be promising idea for generating efficient cutter path. However, currently only limited work has been devoted to generating hybrid cutter paths automatically. In this paper, we systematically analyze different cutter path generation strategies, and discuss several existing heuristics. Based on our observations, we propose two algorithms for generating hybrid cutter path, i.e., a greedy algorithm using heuristics and a branch and bound search algorithm, which can find efficient hybrid cutter path for complex parts.

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