MMS Blog

Historically, five-axis machine design has essentially used a 3+2 configuration, with the “3” being a three-axis machining center and the “+2” being a rotary/tilt table or head. It was possible to contour with all five axes, but that “+2” could be a machining obstacle in terms of both positioning speed and accuracy.

Three-axis machining forces the use of long tools to reach certain workpiece features while five-axis machining facilitates a more rigid tool and toolholder set, enabling more aggressive machining. Other essential components of the latest in five-axis machining include more responsive servo motors, higher thermal stability…READ MORE.

Alpha Precision, an injection mold manufacturer, has been part of a recent resurgence of moldmaking in its native Irish Republic. Advanced die/mold software from Vero Software helped the company through the recession there by giving it a competitive edge to work in high-end markets.

“Several years ago, Ireland experienced an exodus of toolmaking contracts as work went overseas, particularly to China,” Director Brendan Feely says. “At the same time, the specialist Visi CAD/CAM software for the mold and die industry was rapidly developing and adding new features. Even companies which weren’t computer literate were investing in the technology to survive.”

Comp Cams’ line of aftermarket camshafts for GM LS engines look shinier than they once did. However, that was just a side benefit of revamping its grinding operations and implementing a centrifugal barrel finishing process. The real goals, which the company achieved, were to minimize the waviness across lobe surfaces as well as remove tiny peaks of material that grinding left behind. This increased the surface-bearing area between lobes and their mating lifters to lower the stress on lobes during operation for improved durability and reduced valvetrain noise.

Also in this issue of Modern Machine Shop:

Each year, when we conduct a Top Shops benchmarking survey, we ask participants to select from a list of strategies they think are effective sales and marketing tools for their business. In general, the most commonly selected are brochures, sales personnel, company website and facility tours.

The percentage of those who say blogs are effective has traditionally been low (although there was a bit of an increase in our last survey). This has always puzzled me, because a blog enables shops to get new information out to customers and prospects more regularly. It also enables them to offer more detail than they could with Twitter, Facebook or Instagram (although a blog can prove valuable to those social media channels as I’ll mention later).

Guitarist Jimmy Page is renowned for using a violin bow to create droning, otherworldly tones on Led Zeppelin’s first album in 1969. Little did he know then that incorporating similar effects on the band’s last album 10 years later would not require a bow at all.

By then he had access to the Gizmotron, a mechanical bowing device invented by Kevin Godley and Laurence Neil “Lol” Creme of fellow British rock group 10cc. Played like a mini keyboard with the guitarist’s strumming hand, the Gizmotron contains a spinning, variable-speed aluminum shaft that drives spinning rollers into the strings, mimicking the infinite sustain of a violin or cello. Unfortunately for legions of amateur guitarists, the device ultimately proved too sensitive and difficult to use for broad commercial success. Now it is back, revived by a specialist in restoring keyboards who spent years tracking down original copies of the rare, notoriously fragile effects unit for his redesign efforts.  

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