3-D conformance analysis of manufacturing plans using M-maps, by explicating formal GD&T schema from the process plan
A process plan is an instruction set for the manufacture of parts generated from detailed design drawings or CAD models. While these plans are highly detailed about machines, tools, fixtures and operation parameters; tolerances typically show up in less formal manner in such plans, if at all. It is not uncommon to see only dimensional plus/minus values on rough sketches accompanying the instructions. On the other hand, design drawings use standard GD&T (Geometrical Dimensioning and tolerancing) symbols with datums and DRFs (Datum Reference Frames) clearly specified. This is not to say that process planners do not consider tolerances; they are implied by way of choices of fixtures, tools, machines, and operations. When converting design tolerances to the manufacturing datum flow, process planners do tolerance charting, that is based on operation sequence but the resulting plans cannot be audited for conformance to design specification.
In this thesis, I will present a framework for explicating the GD&T schema implied by machining process plans. The first step is to derive the DRFs from the fixturing method in each set-up. Then basic dimensions for the features to be machined in each set up are determined with respect to the extracted DRF. Using shop data for the machines and operations involved, the range of possible geometric variations are estimated for each type of tolerances (form, size, orientation, and position). The sequence of manufacturing operations determines the datum flow chain. Once we have a formal manufacturing GD&T schema, we can analyze and compare it to tolerance specifications from design using the T-map math model. Since the model is based on the manufacturing process plan, it is called resulting T-map or m-map. Then the process plan can be validated by adjusting parameters so that the m-map lies within the T-map created for the design drawing. How the m-map is created to be compared with the T-map is the focus of this research.