All about Zero-Stock Machining

This technique for streamlined mold production is now well developed and widely accepted.


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Today's machining technology makes it unnecessary to leave extra stock on the cores and cavities of molds for plastic injection, regardless of the size of the mold. Mold components that need little or no benching or extensive time on a spotting press can be produced directly on high-end machining centers with accurately radiused ball nose cutters and CAM tool paths for light finishing passes and closely spaced stepovers. This technique is most often referred to as zero stock machining, but other common names include cutting to zero, cutting to the model, net machining and similar terms.

The following articles provide a comprehensive introduction to the concepts of zero stock machining.

  • Who’s Afraid to Cut to Zero?
    This article, first published in 2005, is still a valid explanation of “cutting to zero.” It also conveys the urgent need for its acceptance.
  • Nothing to Hold Them Back
    This article reiterates the relationship of zero stock machining to advanced high speed milling. It also summarizes the essential requirements for the machine tool, cutting tools and CAM software to implement zero stock machining.
  • Where New Machines and Methods Overshadowed the Old
    This article defines the attributes of a machining center appropriate for zero stock machining.
  • Cutting to the Model
    This article examines the essential role of ball nose end mills with radiused accuracy of ± 0.0002 inch at the tip. Strategies for optimum management of these cutters are also discussed.
  • CAM Software Is the Driving Force
    This article looks at the features and capabilities of cam software suitable for generating tool paths to produce smooth, accurate geometry well that machining center is operating in the unattended mode.