Posted by: Mark Albert 19. June 2015

Aligned for Precision

To precisely condition the form, shape and finish of an inside diameter of a workpiece, no machine tool outperforms an ID grinder if (and only if) key components of this grinder are properly aligned. This article outlines the importance of this alignment, explains how to recognize the symptoms of misalignment and describes what corrective steps to take. The author, Bill Bednarski, is an applications engineer at Saint-Gobain Abrasives in Worcester, Massachusetts.

The components on a basic ID grinding machine that must always be in alignment are the X- and Z-axis slides, the grinding wheel spindle, the grinding wheel truing dressing device and the workhead spindle. As the linked article above shows, a properly aligned ID grinding machine, along with the right wheel specification and optimized grinding cycle parameters, will be a very cost-effective method to produce precision workpieces.

Posted by: Russ Willcutt 18. June 2015

When the Chips Are Down

Every machine shop has developed its own procedure for chip disposal. This is necessitated by concerns such as the configuration of the facility, the metalworking fluids in use, the materials being machined and the type of chips being produced.

Whatever type of system a company has developed, I generally encounter a desire for a better process, or for certain improvements, during the shop visits I make. For example, one company would like to automate the process to the greatest extent possible, while another is interested in environmental compliance. Others want to reclaim fluids from chips to lower new coolant costs. Whatever the situation, the basic steps involve:

  • Transport: Getting the chips from the machine tool to the processing system can be accomplished in many ways, either manually or via conveyors.

  • Size: Grinding or sorting chips to a uniform size.

  • Separation: Once the chip size is relatively standard, and tramp metals such as bolts, etc., have been removed, the chips are introduced into a centrifugal spinning device, sending coolant to a filtration system and dry chips to a bin.

  • Disposal: Dry chips are transported to a bin and handled by a disposal company. In the example photographed above, the dry, uniform chips are driven by air through overhead piping to the bin, which can automatically send emails to both the machine shop’s general manager and the disposal company that the bin is full and ready for pickup. 

One of the most efficient systems I’ve seen first-hand was during a visit to Brek Manufacturing, which had recently installed a leading-edge system with another one soon to be installed. 

Posted by: Derek Korn 17. June 2015

Two-Minute Video: Advantage of Twin-Pallets/Dual-Station Vises

The BT-360D VMC from Bulova Technologies includes an integrated twin-pallet changing system. This video (okay, it actually runs 2:01 minutes) shows how this type of machine platform, combined with Toolex dual-station vises, can maximize spindle up-time by enabling operators to change-out workpieces on one pallet while parts are machined on the other.

Posted by: Emily Probst 16. June 2015

June 2015 Digital Edition Now Available

Click the image above to access a digital edition of the June issue
Modern Machine Shop.

“It’s like shuffling a deck of cards every day,” says Paul Hogoboom about the challenge of managing ever-shifting job priorities at P&J Machining. The shop has a long history of light-out machining on flexible machining systems and palletized cells, yet its newest system, which consists of two four-axis Matsurra HMCs with a Fastems pallet storage and retrieval system, represents what Mr. Hogoboom considers the most important advance in this sector of lights-out aerospace machining, namely, the control software’s capability to automatically reschedule job priorities on the fly based on shifting demands in production from customers. Learn more here.

Also in this issue:

Read the full issue here.

Posted by: Peter Zelinski 15. June 2015

Video: Vertical Machining Centers at Taylor Guitars

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When I visited Taylor Guitars to learn about its manufacturing process, one of the manufacturing technologies I encountered was vertical machining centers. While some of the VMCs at the company’s factory in El Cajon, California, produce metal tooling for in-house use, most of these machines are carving wood to sculpt the guitars. In this video, factory neck department manager Julie Gardiner talks about this machining center application. Also, company founder Bob Taylor describes the challenge of making a product out of wood. An organic workpiece material, wood is very different from metal, in part because the quality of the material available is gradually in decline.

I visited Taylor as part of a film shoot for a forthcoming Edge Factor documentary on music-industry manufacturing. Find updates about the progress of this project at

On that same trip, we also shot this video at DW Drums.

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