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 8. June 2015

Video: In-House Manufacturing of the Machined Direct Drive Drum Pedal

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Machining is so important to DW Drums’ latest pedal design that machining is part of the product’s name. In this video, Rich Sikra, the company’s vice president of manufacturing, discusses the production of the Machined Direct Drive pedal, the advantages of having that production in-house, and how the company has saved cost by using extrusions instead of machining from rectangular blanks.

I visited DW Drums as part of a film shoot for a forthcoming Edge Factor documentary on music-industry manufacturing. Find updates about the progress of this project at

Posted by: Peter Zelinski 27. May 2015

3 Reasons Why Additive Manufacturing Belongs on a Machine Tool

Hybrid Manufacturing Technologies makes an award-winning head that enables additive manufacturing capability to be added to a standard machine tool. Far from being competing capabilities, Hybrid cofounder Jason Jones, Ph.D., says “subtractive” CNC machining and additive manufacturing complement one another. Additive makes sense on machine tools, he says, for three reasons:

1. Setup reduction. A production metal part made through additive manufacturing is probably going to need machining before it is complete. Mating surfaces and threaded holes, for example, need to be machined. Therefore, why not perform the additive build on the machine tool, where this finish machining can be performed as part of the same cycle?

2. Energy expense. Additive manufacturing requires a heat source intense enough to melt metal. If you are going to invest in the power needed for this melting, then why limit the capability to the small build volume typical of a stand-alone additive machine? Bringing additive manufacturing to a big machine tool permits the use of that machine’s travels.

3. Less dramatic shift. Cultural inertia impedes the adoption of additive manufacturing. Longtime manufacturing professionals are familiar with CNC machine tools, but the additive machines are strange to them. Adding the additive capability to the machine tool provides an easier path to adoption.

Read more about the arrival of hybrid additive/subtractive machines.

Posted by: Peter Zelinski 20. May 2015

Video: Robot Loading at Rekluse

Rekluse is the motorcycle clutch maker that spun off a new company, VersaBuilt, after its own challenges with fluctuating production demand led to the development of a system for robotically loading not just the machined part but the part and workholding together. We described the significance of this approach to machine loading in a recent feature article. Now, ABB Robotics has produced this video describing Rekluse and VersaBuilt’s story, and showing the robot in action. Note also in the video how the robot, shelving system and controller all are wheeled as a single unit up to the face of the machining center.

Posted by: Peter Zelinski 14. May 2015

Automation for Oilfield Manufacturing

In what Thane Russell of Absolute Completion Technologies describes as “the most advanced manufacturing cell in Alberta,” a level of automation not typically associated with oilfield manufacturing is being applied to downhole parts. Absolute makes well completion tools for the oil and gas industry. Mr. Russell says the company’s new robot-loaded cell applies production techniques from automotive manufacturers elsewhere in Canada. He spoke in this video report about the new cell from the Edmonton Journal.

Another place robot loading is being used for manufacturing downhole components is Louisiana.

Posted by: Peter Zelinski 12. May 2015

Video: Automation Inside the Workzone

Hear “automation,” and we usually think of something external to the machine, such as a robot or gantry loader. Okuma produced this video in which the company’s Jeff Estes points out that time-saving automation can also be achieved using components that locate entirely inside the machine tool. The options he cites here include a Koma Precision rotary table, Schunk quick-change vise, and probing for part measurement and tool break detection.

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