Based on the geometrical property of the toroidal cutter, an improved local gouge detection method for 5-axis sculptured surface machining was presented here. By alternately taking full advantage of point projection principles on curve and surface, the minimum distance between the circular curve of the toroidal cutter and the design surface was firstly calculated. Then the local gouge detection was accomplished through comparing the minimum distance with the corner radius of the toroidal cutter. The maximum interference quantity required for correction was also gotton. Results of an example showed the new method was correct and stable.