Haas Automation has produced an excellent video on the fundamentals of tailstocks for lathes. Although the video depicts a Haas lathe, this video is 100-percent about tailstocks and is a valuable intro for trainees as well as a worthwhile refresher for veteran turning operators.
Attendees at this year’s biggest metalworking shows—IMTS and JIMTOF, to name just two—were treated to a slew of machining center releases. The December product slideshow covers some of these new VMCs, HMCs and five-axis machines. Some common features of these machines include configurable options, automatic pallet changers and support for additional automation. Check out the photos and captions by clicking on the photo above, or visit the Machining Centers & Milling Machines Zone for more on machining centers.
One advantage of additive manufacturing is the freedom to reduce part weight by growing parts that are not solid, but instead have internal lattice or honeycomb structures. The next step is to take this line of thinking farther by choosing or developing materials that are inherently better at making strong lattices.
The sample parts here illustrate the potential. 3D printer maker Stratasys recently announced the availability of thermoplastic material ASA for its line of fused deposition modeling (FDM) printers. In these printers, the most commonplace material used to make functional parts is ABS. Intended for appearance products and products used outdoors, ASA has better aesthetics and better resistance to UV radiation. The latter material also has better mechanical properties, and this benefit can be leveraged in the part design.
With its greater strength, ASA “bridges” better, meaning thin walls or fins used to connect two part details can be trusted to reach farther in ASA. The dumbbell samples show the result. While the part at right uses a lattice design to save weight, the part at left takes advantage of the strength of ASA to realize a more efficient lattice that realizes even greater weight and material savings.
Sometimes shops have to get pretty creative when trying to figure out how best to fixture a part for machining. Precision Grinding and Manufacturing, in Rochester, New York, leverages an atypical technology to fixture parts such as thin-wall castings that are prone to flexing when conventional mechanical clamps are used.
In short, this technology, available from Blue Photon Technology and Workholding Systems, uses adhesive to temporarily bond a workpiece to numerous cylindrical grippers installed in a fixture plate. Once the adhesive is cured via ultraviolet (UV) light, the workpiece is securely held at a known datum location in an undistorted, free-state condition. After machining, the adhesive bonds between the grippers and workpiece are easily broken and any excess adhesive is removed from the completed part via a quick, steam-cleaning wash.
Read this story to learn how PGM is using this technology to its advantage.
In addition to making either metal or plastic parts, one other production application of additive manufacturing is building in sand to create molds for casting without any need for a pattern. Users include Ford and Hoosier Pattern. From Viridis3D now comes this video of a system that uses a robot to additively produce one-off sand mold components on a conveyor. The company says it is looking for beta sites for this system.