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Department of Mechanical Engineering
McMaster University
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Research Focus

Research activity focus is the integration of CAD/CAM software with factory floor CNC machine tools and Coordinate Measuring Machines (CMMs). This is accomplished by developing specialized solid modeller software, machine tool monitoring and control devices and software, and the joining communications links. Particular emphasis is on integrating new inspection sensors with Open Architecture CMM motion controllers.

Software has been developed for advanced tool path planning for dies and molds, and for refurbishment of jet engine compressor blades. CMM Motion Control software has been developed for industrial distribution.

Industry short courses are occasionally held to disseminate information to the local manufacturing community. As well, the research group presents at major conferences and in academic journals.

Current Projects

Projects underway or recently completed include solid modeller based machining simulation, machine tool based touch trigger probe reverse engineering and 5-axis tool path generation, and development of Direct Computer Control (DCC) CMM software, including a Graphical User Interface (GUI) and data fitting mathematics integration. An advanced, Open Architecture CMM motion controller, with ethernet capability, is used to interface to a variety of CMM inspection sensors such as trigger and analog touch probes, and a non-contact laser digitizer. Links to a selection of photos are included below. For a more extensive selection of laboratory activity photos, refer to the Gallery.

Future Directions  

Academic collaboration with Dr. M.A. Elbestawi (Mechanical Engineering) is frequent. Other regular academic collaboration is with Dr. G. Bone (Mechanical Engineering), Dr. D. Capson (Electrical and Computer Engineering), and Dr. M.P. Sklad (Mechanical Engineering).
Dr. Spence is an associate member of Computing and Software, and is beginning collaborations with professors in that department.
A new project, involving human heart muscle digitizing and analysis, is beginning with Dr. Kamran Behdinan (Ryerson Polytechnic University (Toronto, ON). Specific projects involve collaboration with other faculty in Mechanical, Electrical and Computer, and Software Engineering.