Machine Shop Tips

Here is an assortment of tips on machining and machine shop management from shops that have been profiled in Modern Machine Shop.

Here is an assortment of tips on machining and machine shop management from shops that have been profiled in Modern Machine Shop.

5S doesn’t have to be expensive
Shop cleanliness and organization go hand in hand. And neither has to cost that much. One shop uses cardboard as an inexpensive yet effective template to store various hand tools. Source: Making Strides to Maximize Worker Efficiency.

The 18% solution
Increase coolant concentration to 18 percent, and you might see dramatically more tool life in titanium and Inconel. Source: Machining for Air.

Faster machining doesn’t need spindle speed
Through axial chip thinning, high-feed mills can increase the metal removal rate even if the machine’s spindle speed is low. Source: High Speed Machining ... without the Speed.

Green machining (not the way you think)
To hold tight tolerances on delicate parts, paint the walls of your shop green. Seriously—the environment, including color, has a calming effect that contributes to focus and patience. Source: Easy Does It.

High speed machining doesn’t need spindle speed
The disciplines of high speed machining make sense at any spindle speed. A shop with just 4,000-rpm machining centers could benefit from HSM practices. Source: No Need for Speed.

Job shops need presetters
Many job shops don’t realize this, but because of how often they change tools, job shops are among the best candidates to use tool presetters. Source: A Practical Guide to Presetters.

Looking around is costly
Whatever item the operator is searching the shop floor to find is not as valuable as the time that he or she spends searching for it. One shop discovered it could get a lot more done if only it had more straps available for the crane! Source: Lean Manufacturing for the Job Shop.

Machining composites is like machining wood
When machining composites, use sharp tools at high spindle speeds and low feed rates. Source: Machining Composites by Conventional Means.

Magnets can hold odd workpieces
Workpieces are more likely to twist on a magnetic chuck than be lifted off of it. Dowel pins prevent the part from twisting as it is safely machined atop a magnet. Source: Magnetic Holding Pattern.

Plunge roughing makes sense in at least 3 cases:
(1) Where there is a deep slot or pocket, (2) where chatter is a danger, and (3) on a lighter-duty machine. Source: Taking the Plunge.

Prototyping offers production benefits
Prototyping work allows you to perfect machining processes that will be used during production runs. Source: Successfully Feeding the Medical Market.

The turn-mill machine does not have to turn
Lathes with milling and drilling capability can be the most efficient choice for some parts that do not even require any turning. Source: Turning is Optional.

Use oil to prevent powder metal from rusting
Powder metal parts tend to oxidize after machining. Prevent those parts from rusting by submerging them in oil after they’ve been machined. Source: How To Machine “Pure Abrasion”.

Use workholding to increase capacity
The right workholding can turn even the simplest CNC machining center into an unattended production center that increases the shop’s capacity by running through the night. Source: Get Better before You Get Bigger.

Used cutters can still be useful
Don’t trash worn finish cutters. Use them for less-accurate semi-finishing work to get the most out of costly tools. Source: Cutting to the Model.

Using oil? Don’t forget fire suppression
Your grinding machine should have an automatic fire suppression system when oil is used as the coolant. The precaution saved the building for one shop. Source: In It for the Long Haul.