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 14. July 2014

Hurco to Award Free Machine Tool to Winning Entrepreneur

The VMX24i CNC machining center is one of the machines the winner might choose in the entrepreneurial contest to be decided at IMTS.

Hurco’s “Chipmaker Challenge” contest will allow a manufacturing entrepreneur to win a free CNC machining center or CNC lathe (winner’s choice). The contest is currently underway, accepting applications until August 8.

The contest is modeled after the TV show Shark Tank, says Hurco North America General Manager Joe Braun. Entrepreneurs in manufacturing who have been in business five years or less can pitch their business plans, including what they expect to achieve with the free machine. The top five finalists will appear in front of a panel of judges at the Hurco booth (S-8319) at IMTS  September 9.

One of the aims of the contest is to “get publicity for the entrepreneurs in our industry who do remarkable things each and every day,” Mr. Braun says. “We decided to create an exciting, competitive, entertaining event that showcases these entrepreneurs and highlights high-tech manufacturing.”

To learn more about the Chipmaker Challenge, and to enter, go here.

Posted by: Peter Zelinski 9. July 2014

Clamping Options for Five-Axis Machining

In five-axis machining, the workholding has to get out of the way. This is one of the challenges. Particularly on trunnion-style machines that pivot the part instead of the tool, the wrong choice of clamping or fixturing risks collisions as the part rotates through compound angles. Meanwhile, one of the promises of five-axis machining is the ability to cut various faces of the part in a single setup. That benefit is compromised if the workholding device—say, a standard vise—covers up the surfaces of the part.

For shops rethinking their workholding for five-axis machining, Haas Automation posted this useful article detailing various fixturing options engineered specifically for five-axis machining.

One other approach, seen in the accompanying photo, is to make the workpiece itself the fixture by clamping the billet and machining the part out of it. This photo was taken at Padgett Machine. Read about Padgett’s experience with five-axis machining here.

Posted by: Peter Zelinski 3. July 2014

Video: 3D Printing of Injection Molds at Whale

How do you 3D print an injection mold in plastic, put it into an injection molding machine, and then use that plastic mold to produce plastic parts?

That was the question pump manufacturer Whale faced when it first considering making injection mold tooling in this way. Watch the company print and use these plastic molds, and talk about its experience with them, in this video from Stratasys.

Learn more about using plastic molds to make plastic parts in this article.

Posted by: Peter Zelinski 2. July 2014

Pros and Cons of Making Foundry Patterns Via 3D Printing

In casting, a mold produces the form of the cast part, while a pattern is used to make the form of this mold. Pattern making is therefore the heart of casting.

Danko Arlington is a company that recently turned to 3D printing—specifically, fused deposition modeling—as a potentially more efficient way to make castings. In a report on the company’s website, company president John Danko discusses the pros and cons of making patterns through additive manufacturing. According to Mr. Danko, those pros and cos include:


  • Design freedom
  • Incorporation of intricate features
  • Reduced labor
  • Speed
  • Customers’ high interest in 3D printing


  • Equipment cost
  • Material cost
  • Risk of pattern distortion during printing
  • Difficulty repairing or modifying a pattern made through 3D printing
  • Potential distortion of 3D printed patterns by hot foundry sand

Read more in Danko Arlington’s report.

Yet another option, instead of 3D printing a pattern, is to 3D print the mold itself directly in sand.

Posted by: Peter Zelinski 30. June 2014

Model Machine Shop Video: MK Precision

Click on the photo above to watch the video on YouTube.

Here are three separate reasons why this video created by medical contract manufacturer MK Precision is worth watching:

  1. At around 2:50, company president Mike Klesh starts to describe how he himself is a recipient of implant components like those his shop machines. Diagnosed with scoliosis at age 20, he underwent dramatic spinal correction.
  2. The video also describes the shop’s philosophy of breaking down knowledge silos by aiming to train every shopfloor employee to perform every shopfloor role. Is your shop able to do this? In many shops, employees seek to protect their own value by guarding specialized areas of expertise. Ultimately, that behavior is a constraint on the growth of the business.
  3. If you are thinking of producing a video to promote your own shop’s distinctive value and capabilities, consider using this video as your benchmark. The Internet makes it possible for prospects to research you long before you know you’re being checked out (if you ever do know it at all). I think you will agree that MK Precision’s online video does an excellent job of representing the company to those unknown prospects.

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