Posted by: Peter Zelinski 15. January 2015

New CNC Machining Podcast

Jim Carr and Jason Zenger have launched a new audio podcast devoted to the business of CNC machining. “MakingChips” landed on the iTunes “New and Noteworthy” list within two weeks of its launch.

Both hosts are based in the Chicago area. Mr. Carr is a job shop owner (we wrote about his shop here.), while Mr. Zenger is the president of an industrial supply company with a particular focus on cutting tools. The two friends say they’ve been planning the podcast and working toward the day of its launch throughout the previous year.

To listen to episodes, visit the podcast’s website, or subscribe via iTunes (for iPhone) or Stitcher (for an Android device).

Posted by: Peter Zelinski 14. January 2015

Video: C-Axis Interpolation for Turning on a Machining Center

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The tool in this video shot at Effort Foundry is not drilling, but actually turning. A feature of the Siemens CNC on this Fryer machining center controls spindle revolution in time with the helical interpolation in X-Y-Z to move a single-point boring tool around the bore ID. That feature saves significant time and cost for the Bath, Pennsylvania, foundry, because the part seen here needs a turned finish on the precision bore, not the finish that would be produced if helical milling achieved the hole. The control feature therefore avoids the need for a separate setup on another machine.

Effort Foundry recently added this machine and others as part of its new expansion into in-house machining.

Posted by: Steve Kline, Jr. 13. January 2015

December 2014 Metalworking Business Index (MBI) at 52.1


With a reading of 52.1, the Gardner Business Index showed that the metalworking industry grew for the 12th consecutive month and the 14th time in 15 months. December’s rate of expansion was the fastest since August, and the rate of expansion accelerated slightly throughout the fourth quarter of 2014. The month-over-month rate of growth was 4.4 percent, which was faster than the previous two months. The annual rate of growth decelerated for the third month in a row.

Both new orders and production increased for the 15th month in a row. The new orders index was noticeably higher than last month and hit its highest level since August. The production index was virtually unchanged from last month. Backlogs continued to contract but at a noticeably slower rate than the last three months. Compared to the same month one year ago, backlogs increased 6.6 percent. They had contracted the previous two months. While it was still growing quickly, the annual rate of growth has decelerated for four months in a row. This indicates that capacity utilization will likely see its peak rate of growth in the first or second quarter of 2015. Employment continued to expand, but it did so at its slowest rate of 2014. The rate of contraction in exports continued to slow. Supplier deliveries continued to lengthen, increasing at their fastest rate since August.

Material prices increased at a sharply slower rate. The material price index was under 60 for the first time since December 2013 and at its lowest level since October 2012. Prices received have increased the last eight months. The rate of increase was the fastest since August. This is the strongest period of sustained price increases by metalworking facilities since the summer of 2012. Future business expectations increased slightly, reaching their highest level since May.

Plants with more than 100 employees grew at a somewhat faster rate than last month. These plants still have significantly better business conditions than smaller facilities. However, plants with 50-99 employees continued to grow at a decent rate. Shops with 20-49 employees grew for the second time in three months. And, in a positive sign for the industry, shops with fewer than 20 employees grew for the first time since January 2014 and just the second time since March 2012.

The South Central had been the fastest growing region for five months in a row, but it contracted hard in December thanks to the steep fall in oil prices. It was the only region to contract this month. The fastest growing region was the North Central – East. It was followed by the Northeast, Southeast, West, and North Central – West.

Future capital spending plans contracted 13.9 percent compared to December 2013. This was the fastest month-over-month contraction since April 2013. The annual rate of growth contracted 1.9 percent, which was the first time it contracted since October 2013.

Posted by: Derek Korn 12. January 2015

Fifth Annual Top Shops Benchmarking Survey Online

Benchmarking survey participants will receive four reports including an Executive Summary that compares responses between the Top Shops benchmarking group and the rest of the participants.

Modern Machine Shop’s fifth annual “Top Shops” benchmarking survey offers shops of all types and sizes a chance to see how they rate against similar machining businesses. All data collected from individual companies will remain confidential.

Participants who complete the survey will be able to receive a series of summary data reports of the results. Participants are also encouraged to enter the Top Shops Honors Program by providing their full contact information at the beginning of the survey.

Take the survey here.

Learn more about the Top Shops benchmarking initiative here.

If you have questions, please send an email to me at

Posted by: Mark Albert 9. January 2015

Register Now to Become a PMTS VIP

The Precision Machining Technology Show (PMTS) returns to Columbus, Ohio, April 21-23, 2015. Be among the first 1,000 to register and gain VIP status. VIPs earn rewards such as a free PMTS T-shirt, complimentary happy hour drink tickets, free registration and express check-in. Register early and be a VIP.

PMTS 2015 has more than 270 exhibitors displaying the latest in precision machining technology and showcasing ideas on how to improve processes and increase profits. Networking opportunities and other intangible benefits also set this show apart.

PMTS is presented by the Precision Machined Products Association (PMPA) and co-presented by Production Machining and Modern Machine Shop. PMTS is the precision machining industry’s signature event, offering the largest on-site gathering of precision machining equipment.

To learn more about the technical conference, special events, and to see who’s exhibiting at PMTS, visit

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