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 28. January 2016

The Value of Benchmarking

Here are a few past Top Shops “Honors Program” winners showin’ the goods.

This is the time of year when I ask shop owners and managers to consider participating in our magazine’s annual Top Shops benchmarking survey. There are a variety of reasons why I feel it’s valuable to participate, which I outline in this article. That article also includes comments from past participants about past survey results they found interesting or surprising, how they’ve applied what they’ve learned from the results, and so on. 

Posted by: Derek Korn 19. January 2016

“Swiss Automatic” Grinder…Made in Jersey

The CAM.2 microgrinding machine from Glebar uses a hydrostatic bushing to offer support very near the area of contact between the part and the grinding wheel. There’s pretty much no limit to the length of wire to be ground, as shown in these demonstration parts with tiny ground flats, tapers, threads and so on.

Glebar, a New Jersey manufacturer of OD grinders, plunge grinders and other types of grinders, developed an interesting technology for grinding long, small-diameter parts. We’re talking workpiece stock as small as 0.005 inch in diameter and a minimum grinding diameter of 0.0005 inch for applications such as medical guidewires that can range to 16-feet long.

The way it does that is by applying a concept that’s similar to a sliding-headstock, Swiss-type lathe and its signature guide bushing. Learn more.

Posted by: Derek Korn 4. January 2016

Three Design Elements for Effective Turning on a Five-Axis Machine

The rotary table balance control system on this five-axis machine enables 600-rpm turning of non-symmetric parts weighing as much as 8,818 pounds.

I like to use numbered or bullet lists in my articles. These visual tools make it easier for readers to quickly scan an article for relevant information. It also makes the article shorter and easier to digest, in part because there’s no need to include transition sentences taking the reader from one paragraph to the next. Instead, key points are provided in meaningful little portions.

In a recent print article, I wrote about three design elements said to enable the MCT five-axis machine platform from Burkhardt + Weber, part of Industrias Romi SA, to be effective at turning operations. These include:

  1. Turning tool adapter (Because turning with a tool in the main spindle limits production and damages bearings.)
  2. Table balance control (Because parts to be turned on a five-axis machine often aren’t symmetric.)
  3. Thermal isolation system (Because introducing heat isn’t helpful here.)

Learn more.

Posted by: Derek Korn 23. December 2015

LinkedIn Post Puts a Tenth into Perspective


So what does a "tenth" actually look like? Brad Bohnet, tooling guru at Applied Engineering, posted a nifty analogy in our Top Shops LinkedIn Group.

He says the shop had talked about this for some time, and ultimately set on a journey to discover what 0.0001 inch might look like. Long story short, they scaled 10,000 pennies to 1 inch, and this is what they found

We launched our LinkedIn group back in 2011 to complement our annual Top Shops benchmarking survey. To date, we have nearly 1,900 members—decision-makers in North American machining facilities that include shop owners, managers, engineers, programmers and other senior personnel. We currently are limiting the group to only these people because we believe this exclusivity is part of what makes this group different and helpful. Click here to request to join or email for an invite if you feel you meet that criteria and would like to see the post above and be part of this and other discussions.

Posted by: Derek Korn 15. December 2015

New Vincennes University Education Center Unveiled

Vincennes University is located in the Southwest portion of Indiana. Its Gene Haas Training and Education Center is located in the center of the state near Indianapolis and shares a facility with the Haas Factory Outlet Midwest.

Last week, I attended the open house for the new Vincennes University Gene Haas Training and Education Center, located near Indianapolis in Lebanon, Indiana. The Gene Haas Foundation provided a $1.5 million grant to the city of Lebanon to help fund the construction of the 24,000-square-foot educational facility, which also houses the Haas Factory Outlet Midwest with demonstration area and offices.

The heart of the center is a CNC lab that includes five Haas VF-2 VMCs and five ST-10 turning centers as well as some TL-1 CNC lathes. There, students can take advantage of Vincennes University’s CNC Machinist NOW program, a 15-week, 600-hour training program designed both for military veterans as well as unemployed or under-employed folks looking to embark on a new career path. Similar programs are available for industrial maintenance and metrology, and the facility includes labs and classrooms for those programs, too.

The CNC lab includes a range of VMCs and turning centers available for students enrolled in the school’s CNC Machinist NOW program.

This lab supports the school’s 600-hour metrology program and includes inspection equipment ranging from hand gages to CMMs.

During the open house, the Foundation also presented $382,400 to the center to be used for student scholarships. Kathy Looman, foundation administrator, says this year alone the Foundation has granted more than $9 million to manufacturing education in the form of scholarships, “inspiring young people to explore manufacturing as a career and program support.”

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