What to Consider When Turning Exotic Materials

The properties that make exotic materials desirable for aerospace, energy and medical applications mean that machining them requires proper planning, equipment and strategies.

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Exotic materials like heat-resistant superalloys and titanium alloys are becoming more in-demand, especially in industries like aerospace, energy and medical. But the properties that make them especially well-suited to these applications (including strength-to-weight ratio, strength and hardness retention at high temperatures, and corrosion resistance) also make them more difficult to machine. As the article “Turning Exotic Materials” describes, turning these materials is not impossible with proper planning, equipment and strategies.

Because the window for machining these materials is relatively small, it requires planning strategies in advance. This means establishing the best tool approach, cutting data and tool paths. Calculating spiral cutting length can also help predict and program when to index inserts.

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These applications require dedicated tools with specific insert shapes and grades. The best tool is determined by a combination of lead/entering angle of the cutting edge, the stage of turning operation (roughing, semi-finishing or finishing), workpiece condition and the type of cut. Stable toolholding, a capable machine with rigid setup conditions, and optimized coolant application also help with machining exotic materials.

Read “Turning Exotic Materials” for all the details.