Peter Zelinski

Peter Zelinski has been a writer and editor for Modern Machine Shop for more than a decade. One of the aspects of this work that he enjoys the most is visiting machining facilities to learn about the manufacturing technology, systems and strategies they have adopted, and the successes they’ve realized as a result. Pete earned his degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Cincinnati, and he first learned about machining by running and programming machine tools in a metalworking laboratory within GE Aircraft Engines. Follow Pete on Twitter at Z_Axis_MMS.

Posted by: Peter Zelinski 4. August 2015

Video: Free Kit for Hosting a Manufacturing Day Event

Manufacturing Day this year is October 2. On that date, businesses and schools across North America will respond to the misperceptions about manufacturing and reach out to the next generation of manufacturing talent by opening their doors to let the public see modern manufacturing from the inside. Hundreds of manufacturing tours, open houses and related events are being planned for that date. (Find the events near you by searching here.)

For a manufacturing business, the hardest part about participating in Manufacturing Day likely is not having something to show, but instead planning how to show it. Manufacturers are not event organizers, and they don’t necessarily have the resources at hand to engage and inform a crowd of visitors. The creators of The Edge Factor Show have responded to this with a free Manufacturing Day kit that includes promotional material, main event presentation media, interactive activities and resources for following up after the event.

In the video above, Edge Factor’s Larissa Hofman describes the kit’s contents.

The team also produced this teaser for prospective Manufacturing Day attendees.

Posted by: Peter Zelinski 3. August 2015

Video: Machining API Groove with “Spirograph” Tool Path

Face grooves in circular flanges are often turned, but turning is a challenging way to produce the special grooves in oil-industry valve bodies. The American Petroleum Institute (API) requires this groove to fit tightly with its sealing ring by means of a ±15-minute tolerance on its 23-degree walls and finishes of 32 and 63 microinches RMS. Those tolerances can be hard to hold when plunging the turning tool into the material rapidly wears the cutting edge. In addition, the valve bodies themselves are simply awkward to turn.

Cutting tool maker Sandvik Coromant has developed an alternate system for API seal ring groove machining that does not use turning at all, or at least not turning on a lathe. The company’s “SpiroGrooving” system instead uses an adjustable toolholder to make face grooves on a machining center. Two turning and boring inserts are simultaneously rotated and helically interpolated to generate the groove.

The toolholder in this system positions the two V-style inserts at a distance appropriate to the groove diameter. The other important component of the system is a software code generator in which the user inputs the groove diameter and the desired cutting pitch and chip thickness (both dependent on workpiece material) to obtain the NC code particular to this groove.

The tool path is not a simple helix. Instead, as the spindle spins the custom toolholder in time with the helical orbit, each of the two inserts alternates between cutting the inner and outer wall of the groove, and the diameter of the helical path tapers to create the 23-degree walls. Sandvik calls the resultant path an “intelligent spirograph.” Watch slow-motion footage in the video above. 

A system for turning oil-industry face grooves on a machining center uses an adjustable toolholder along with an NC code generator for creating the unusual path.

Posted by: Peter Zelinski 30. July 2015

Additive Manufacturing Conference Speaker: Dr. Lonnie Love

At an event earlier this year, Dr. Lonnie Love discussed additive manufacturing’s need for “moon shots.”

Dr. Lonnie Love, group leader of the Manufacturing Systems Research Group at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, will be one of the speakers at the upcoming Additive Manufacturing Conference. At an event earlier this year, he discussed additive manufacturing’s need for “moon shots.” The conference—October 20-21 in Knoxville, Tennessee—focuses on industrial applications of additive manufacturing. Learn more and register to attend at

Posted by: Peter Zelinski 27. July 2015

Video: Collaborative Robots in Screw Machine Shop

Two “Baxter” collaborative robots from Rethink Robotics are helping to disrupt what third-generation shop owner Bill Marcell describes as the previous “old school mentality” of Standby Screw Machine Products, the 76-year-old contract machining business in Berea, Ohio. Today, one of the new robots does packaging, freeing an employee from this work by packing two boxes at once, while another robot loads a milling machine in an automation application likely to save the company 1,000 person-hours per year.

Collaborative robots are easily redeployable robots that work safely close to people. Mr. Marcell and project manager Jess Horvath describe their experience with the new robots in this video produced by Rethink.

Posted by: Peter Zelinski 23. July 2015

Vise System for Quickly Clamping 16 Parts

The workholding system that TRP Machine is calling the “MV16” is not actually a new product, but instead it is the way this Bohemia, New York job shop has held parts for machining for more than 20 years. Looking for a simple and inexpensive way to (A) hold several workpieces in one machining cycle, (B) hold a variety of different part numbers without setup changes, and (C) load and unload workpieces quickly from one machining cycle to the next, the shop devised a workholding system on its own able to realize those objectives. What is new now, says shop owner Roger Price, is that TRP has begun to manufacture the MV16 as a product available to other machine shops.

The system is essentially a single large plate embedded with eight independent and closely spaced double-acting vises. Each of the 16 jaw positions opens to a width of 3.25 inches, and clamps parts to a location repeatability of 0.0005 inch. Thus, 16 identical pieces can be quickly and precisely clamped for machining in the same setup, or 16 entirely different parts can be clamped into a single setup as well. Or, since the jaw positions lie in parallel, a row of four jaw positions at once can be used to clamp a workpiece up to 28 inches long.

Mr. Price says the system has been invaluable to TRP in allowing the shop to maintain high in-cut time percentages on its machining centers. The standard MV16 plate is 20.25 by 28.25 inches, but he says the system can also be customized to different sizes and even to a different number of vise positions. A tombstone version of the system uses four double-acting vises on each of four different faces to achieve a total of 32 jaw positions. Learn more from TRP Machine.

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