Derek Korn

Derek Korn joined Modern Machine Shop in 2004, but has been writing about manufacturing since 1997. His mechanical engineering degree from the University of Cincinnati’s College of Applied Science provides a solid foundation for understanding and explaining how innovative shops apply advanced machining technologies. As you might gather from this photo, he’s the car guy of the MMS bunch. But his ’55 Chevy isn’t as nice as the hotrod he’s standing next to. In fact, his car needs a right-front fender spear if you know anybody willing to part with one.

Posted by: Derek Korn 21. January 2015

Video: 1964 Game Show Demos Drilling through Human Hair

A number of years ago, I visited National Jet in LaVale, Maryland to develop this article describing its micromachining and micro-drill-manufacturing capabilities. Recently, I happened to learn that the company’s founder, JA Cupler, appeared on the game show “I’ve Got a Secret” back in 1964. This video shows the clip, which is interesting to watch for nostalgia’s sake and the drilling demo. During the demo (this starts around time mark of 6:00 if you want to skip ahead), a National Jet machinist drills a hole through a strand of hair (about 0.003-inch in diameter) using a 0.001-inch diameter drill.

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: Derek Korn 7. January 2015

Ball-Drive System for Accurate Table Rotation

Fourth- and fifth-axis rotary tables bring added flexibility to conventional three-axis VMCs. At IMTS, Koma Precision introduced the Tsudakoma RG series of rotary tables that uses a ball-drive system for table rotation.

As shown in the photo above, both sides of each ball remain in contact with the system’s worm gear, and each ball is located to within 1 micron of each other. The company says this design offers zero backlash/reversal error while providing a maximum indexing speed of 140 rpm with high accuracy, rigidity and torque transfer. In addition, the device, which is available in three sizes, is said to require no adjustments over its lifetime.

Posted by: Derek Korn 30. December 2014

Video of Interesting Turbine Blade Workholding System

Five-axis machining of long turbine blades can be tricky, especially in terms of securely fixturing them for effective milling. The Starrag Group demonstrates an interesting blade workholding system in this video. The clamping system is an automated steady rest with measuring system to stabilize the machining process. It offers adjustable clamping devices that can be used on raw and finished blade areas and can accommodate different blade families. The company says rigid clamping using this system results in longer tool life, lower tooling costs, higher material removal rates, improved contour accuracy and overall lower unit costs.

Posted by: Derek Korn 23. December 2014

Through-Tool MQL Basics

MQL offers economical and environmental benefits because just a small amount of coolant is required during machining.

What’s involved in through-tool minimum quantity lubrication (MQL) delivery? What does a tool designed for through-tool MQL look like? Unist, designer and manufacturer of fluid application systems for industrial markets, sheds light in a white paper called “Single Channel MQL,” which you can access here.

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