This month's cover story illustrates something fundamental about high speed machining. The article presents a recipe related to speeds and depths of cut, but it doesn't list what those parameters should be. Instead, the recipe is for finding those parameters on a case-by-case basis. Processes become more individualized at higher speeds, because the speed exaggerates the influence of highly variable effects. In aluminum (the subject of this month's article), the limiting effect may be chatter. In hard steel, the limiting effect may be tool strain from tiny changes in load. In either case, “HSM” may call for experimentation just to see what the process can do.
Which leads me to a question. For shops that do have HSM experience: What can your process do?
I'm not just asking about speeds and feeds. I'm also asking about the kind of work you do. How have you improved the way you make parts? How has HSM let you do things on machining centers you never did before?
I ask for a reason. This year, Modern Machine Shop will publish a special issue on high speed machining. We did something similar in '99. That year, we devoted significant coverage to GM and Boeing, among other companies. And while we may cover such large manufacturers again, we also want to cover the progress that less-well-known manufacturers have made. That includes small shops, and it includes shops the staff of this magazine may not know well—which is where you come in.
If your shop has a story to tell related to HSM, please contact us.
Worthy topics include hogging out aluminum for aircraft parts, very fast milling and drilling of batch production parts, milling highly detailed parts with tiny tools, fast electrode milling for more efficient EDM, and hard steel milling to make EDM less necessary.
We are also interested in HSM applications different from all of the above.
The special issue will appear in August. MMS editors will start researching articles probably in March. We will almost certainly receive many more good leads than we can use, so let me apologize in advance if we don't choose to write about your shop.
Here's how to make contact: Send a note describing the work you do, the speeds at which you run, and anything that makes your HSM application stand out. You can send that note to me at PZelinski@mmsonline.com. I look forward to hearing from you!