Process planning for the rapid machining of custom bone implants
This thesis proposes a new process planning methodology for rapid machining of bone implants with customized surface characteristics. Bone implants are used in patients to replace voids in the fractured bones created during accident or trauma. Use of bone implants allow better fracture healing in the patients and restore the original bone strength. The manufacturing process used for creating bone implants in this thesis is highly automated CNC-RP invented at Rapid Manufacturing and Prototyping Lab (RMPL) at Iowa State University. CNC-RP is a 4th axis rapid machining process where the part is machined using cylindrical stock fixed between two opposing chucks. In addition to conventional 3 axes, the chucks provide 4th rotary axis that allows automated fixturing setups for machining the part. The process planning steps for CNC-RP therefore includes calculating minimum number of setup orientations required to create the part about the rotary axis. The algorithms developed in this thesis work towards calculating a minimum number of orientations required to create bone implant with their respective surface characteristics.
Usually bone implants may have up to 3 types of surfaces (articular/periosteal/fractured) with (high/medium/low) finish. Currently CNC-RP is capable of creating accurate bone implants from different clinically relevant materials with same surface finish on all of the implant surfaces. However in order to enhance the functionality of the bone implants in the biological environment, it is usually advisable to create implant surfaces with their respective characteristics. This can be achieved by using setup orientations that would generally isolate implant surfaces and machine them with individual finishes.
This thesis therefore focuses on developing process planning algorithms for calculating minimum number of orientations required to create customized implant surfaces and control related issues. The bone implants created using new customization algorithms would have enhanced functionality. This would reduce the fracture healing time for the patient and restore the original bone strength. The software package created using new algorithms will be termed as CNC-RPbio throughout in this thesis
The three main tasks in this thesis are a) calculating setup orientations in a specific sequence for implant surfaces b) Algorithms for calculating a minimum number of setup orientations to create implant surfaces c) Machining operation sequence. These three research tasks are explained in details in chapter 4 of this thesis.
The layout of this thesis is as follows. Chapter 1 provides introduction, background and motivation to the research in this thesis. Chapter 2 provides a literature review explaining different researches conducted to study the effects of different surface finish on the bone implants on their functionality. It also presents different non-traditional and RP techniques used to create bone implant geometries with customized surfaces, their advantages and limitations. Chapter 3 gives the overview of process planning algorithms used for CNC-RP and those needed for CNC-RPbio. Chapter 4 is the main chapter of the thesis including process planning algorithms for rapid machining of bone implants with customized surfaces using CNC-RP in details, while Chapter 5 provides Conclusions and Future work.