Previously the flat() predicate looked only at the number of intervals contained in a fiber when deciding where to insert new fibers in the adaptive waterline algorithm. Here I've borrowed the same flat() function used in adaptive drop-cutter which computes the angle between subsequent line-segments(yellow), and inserts a new fiber(cyan) if the angle exceeds some pre-set threshold.
This works on the larger Tux model also. However, there's no free lunch: the uniformly sampled waterline (yellow) runs in about 2 s (using OpenMP on a dual-core machine), while the adaptively sampled waterline takes around 30s to compute (no OpenMP).
The difference between the adaptive (red) and the uniformly sampled (yellow) waterlines is really only visible when zooming in on sharp corners or other details. Compare this to adaptive drop-cutter.
The point based CAM approach in drop-cutter, or axial tool-projection, or z-projection machining (whatever you want to call it) is really quite similar to sampling an unknown function. You specify some (x,y) position which you input to the drop-cutter-oracle, which will come back to you with the correct z-coordinate. The tool placed at this (x,y,z) will touch but not gouge the model. Now if we do this at a uniform (x,y) sampling rate we of course face the the usual sampling issues. It's absolutely necessary to sample the signal at a high enough sample-rate not to miss any small details. After that, you can go back and look at all pairs of consecutive points, say (start_cl, stop_cl). You then compute a mid_cl which in the xy-plane lies at the mid-point between start_cl and stop_cl and, call drop-cutter on this new point, and use some "flatness"/collinearity criterion for deciding if mid_cl should be included in the toolpath or not (deFigueiredo lists a few). Now recursively run the same test for (start_cl, mid_cl) and (mid_cl, stop_cl). If there are features in the signal (like 90-degree bends) which will never make the flatness predicate true you have to stop the subdivision/recursion at some maximum sample rate.
Here the lower point-sequence (toolpath) is uniformly sampled every 0.08 units (this might also be called the step-forward, as opposed to the step-over, in machining lingo). The upper curve (offset for clarity) is the new adaptively sampled toolpath. It has the same minimum step-forward of 0.08 (as seen in the flat areas), but new points are inserted whenever the normalized dot-product between mid_cl-start_cl and stop_cl-mid_cl is below some threshold. That should be roughly the same as saying that the toolpath is subdivided whenever there is enough of a bend in it.
The lower figure shows a zoomed view which shows how the algorithm inserts points densely into sharp corners, until the minimum step-forward (here quite arbitrarily set to 0.0008) is reached.
If the minimum step-forward is set low enough (say 1e-5), and the post-processor rounds off to three decimals of precision when producing g-code, then this adaptive sampling could give the illusion of "perfect" or "correct" drop-cutter toolpaths even at vertical walls.