Posted by: Mark Albert 24. October 2014

The Joy of CNC Machining

James A. Harvey's new book, “CNC Trade Secrets, A Guide to CNC Machine Shop Practices,” offers great advice and oodles of practical tips and checklists for shop personnel newly introduced to CNC machining. What makes the book readable and appealing is that the author clearly enjoys working with CNC technology.

This book bridges the gap between the skilled manual machinist and the CNC machining technologist. Both should read this book to understand one another better. Shop managers and manufacturing engineers ought to read it, too, to understand how they can work with CNC machinists more effectively.

However, the main purpose (and value) of this book is to ease the transition from conventional machining to CNC operations. Even if the reader made this transition years ago, revisiting this experience will provide refreshing and useful insights into the basics. This type of reader is also bound to find numerous tips or “tricks” that prove handy and beneficial. Of course, machining trainees and apprentices can learn much from this book as well.

It is well-written, well-illustrated and well-organized. In short, it’s a fun and useful book on entry-level CNC.

CNC Trade Secrets is available from Industrial Press Inc. or from Amazon.

Posted by: Peter Zelinski 23. October 2014

Weldon-Flat Tools in a Precision Toolholder

Systems for locking end mills in place within a shrink-fit or hydraulic expansion toolholder, so that there is no danger of the tool pulling out during high-force cuts using a toolholder of this type, often require the shank of the tool to be modified for clamping.

However, there is one standard class of tools that already has a shank modified for clamping: tools with Weldon flats.

Schunk recently introduced a system that makes use of the Weldon flat for clamping during high-force milling with a precision holder. The system, seen here as it was displayed at this year’s IMTS, is based on the company’s Tendo line of hydraulic-expansion toolholders. As seen in this model, a metal sleeve holds the tool, clamping on the Weldon flat. That sleeve then provides the surface for the screw that locks the tool in the holder for the high-force milling typical of aerospace materials such as titanium and Inconel.

Posted by: Derek Korn 22. October 2014

Looking to Lower Lighting Costs?

The Mach LED Plus replacement lighting fixtures can provide as much as 70 percent energy savings and can be connected via a common M12 plug connector.

Although the cost of electricity in the United States is low compared to other countries, U.S. manufacturers continue to look for ways to reduce energy consumption. Lighting is one area that they commonly target. However, savings can be realized by changing not only overhead facility lighting to more efficient units, but also equipment lighting fixtures.

For example, Waldmann Lighting Company recently introduced its newest industrial fixture, the Mach LED Plus, at IMTS. The company says this energy-efficient LED upgrade for traditional fluorescent tube luminaires can provide as much as 70 percent energy savings compared to luminaires with fluorescent lamps and also offer much longer service life.

A key design element is the system’s ease of installation. The Mach LED Plus adds LED technology to the same form, dimension and connection options of fluorescent tube luminaires being used in many of today’s industrial applications. The 2.75-inch diameter enables the use of existing brackets eliminating the need to drill additional holes (specially designed brackets are available for flexible adjustment of the luminaires). These units are available in six lengths ranging from 14 to 42 inches and can be connected via an M12 plug connector to either a low-voltage (24-volt) source or 100-, 120-, or 220/240-volt sources.

Posted by: Peter Zelinski 21. October 2014

Video: Trial Cuts with Ultrasonic-Assisted Machining

A video created by Acoustech Systems includes footage of holes being drilled with and without ultrasonic-assisted machining. This company’s newly developed system is essentially a toolholder that has ultrasonic actuation built in. Adding this toolholder to the process can actually increase a shop’s machining capacity, because standard machines and tools can cut faster thanks to the friction reduction that the ultrasonic effect achieves. Comparison cuts in the video seen here show a standard drill doubling its speed and cutting more smoothly in both 1-inch-thick steel and 1-inch-thick titanium. Learn more about ultrasonic-assisted machining in this article

Posted by: Mark Albert 20. October 2014

Centerline Issues for Turning Inserts

Photos of sample inserts such as this one illustrate wear patterns that help diagnose cutting tool misalignments in turning.

Tooling expert Mike Fagan suspects that many programmers and machinists could use a refresher on the importance and effects of insert alignment in turning operations. This short, amply-illustrated paper is his effort to clear up some of the misunderstanding. 

It covers signs of misalignment and suggests ways to fix problems, with additional tips and advice to improve turning operations. To find the paper, click here.

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