Stephanie (Monsanty) Hendrixson served as a Modern Machine Shop summer intern in 2012 and joined the team as an assistant editor later that fall. She currently works on event news for MMS Online and on the production of the print magazine. She also blogs about additive technology and helps to manage Additive Manufacturing magazine as its associate editor. Stephanie holds an M.A. in professional writing from the University of Cincinnati and a B.A. in English literature and history from the University of Mount Union.
High-efficiency machining (as opposed to say, high-speed machining) aims to reduce overall cycle time with a more efficient cutting process. This means taking fewer cuts at higher torque and deeper depths—often the full length of the flute—to clear material as efficiently as possible. To compensate for the larger axial depth of cut and avoid overloading the machine or tool, HEM relies on strategies such as a smaller radial depth of cut and different cutting patterns than conventional machining.
The right cutting tool can help, too. At EMO this year, IMCO Carbide introduced two series of tools designed specifically for high-efficiency machining. The Pow-R-Path IPT and IPC series have a larger diameter core to help avoid breakage in continuous cuts as deep as 4.5×D. Both 7- and 9-flute tools are offered. To aid in chip removal, the cutting tools are available with IMCO’s Chip Management System (CMS), which leverages a series of small notches on the cutting edges to break chips into shorter pieces that are easier to remove from the cutting area with coolant or an air blast. When paired with HEM tool paths, the series tools can run at higher feed rates and reduce overall cycle times.
The video above demonstrates how this works, showing a 1/2" IPT7 mill using a HEM strategy compared to a 1/2" four-flute mill using a more conventional method with multiple cutting passes.
A while back, a discussion sprang up on our Top Shops LinkedIn group about how to prevent cutting tool injuries. The original poster was looking specifically for ways to protect machinists from getting cut on their hands and arms while working inside CNC lathes. Some great ideas came out of this conversation (in fact, you can still participate at the link above—you’ll need to join the group and be approved if you’re not already a member).
Oddly enough, it was around this time that I visited Swiss Automation, a turning shop that came up with its own solution to this same problem, using an inexpensive desktop 3D printer. Get the whole story on the Additive Manufacturing website.
Hosted by CompositesWorld, the conference examines the expanding role of carbon fiber in the composites industry.
Working with composite parts is a tricky business, because a composite by definition is a combination of more than one material. The properties of any given part depend on a range of factors including how layers are oriented as well as the matrix and reinforcement materials used. Carbon fiber is among the most common reinforcement materials used in composites—which is one of the reasons why our sister publication, CompositesWorld, is hosting a conference devoted to understanding the properties, benefits and applications of this material.
A plastic part like this could be milled or 3D printed. How do you decide between processes? Image courtesy of Proto Labs.
Additive manufacturing is a good choice for functional prototypes. It’s often faster and cheaper than molding or machining the part, and flexible enough to quickly produce design iterations. But is it always the best choice?
Not necessarily. Depending on the material, geometry, tolerances and other requirements of a given prototype, machining is sometimes the better option. See how they match up and learn how to decide between 3D printing and machining in this short article based on information from Proto Labs.
The October issue of Additive Manufacturing marks a new beginning for the magazine. This is the first edition following the re-launch of the publication, and the first expanded, full-sized issue. Click the cover image above to read the digital version in your browser or download it to your device and see what we’ve been working on for the past several months.
Inside are some familiar departments including our editors’ column, product news and feature-length application stories. But you’ll also find expanded news from AMT and new sections like “Taking Shape,” a series of short reports on additive manufacturing research, technology and applications. Stories in this issue include:
The making of the aluminum part shown on the cover;
Applications for a 3D printer inside a Swiss turning shop;
The use of direct-metal laser sintering (DMLS) to build better coolant nozzles for ID grinding; and
Considerations for choosing between 3D printing and machining for making functional prototypes.