MMS Blog

Additive manufacturing (AM) is changing design. Along with expanding the range of designs that are possible to manufacture, it is changing how we think about design’s role, where design falls in the manufacturing process and what “design” actually entails.

That’s because the design in AM determines not just the end performance of a 3D-printed part, but also how it will build—whether it will warp, develop the right material properties or print within tolerance. Design is, likewise, beholden to what happens after the print. Can loose powder be fully evacuated? Can the support structures be removed without damaging critical features? Does this part need machining allowances or workholding features? When design is an integral and pervasive component of the additive manufacturing process, the result is a successful build that can be efficiently post processed and go on to serve its intended purpose.

The image gallery above, based on Modern Machine Shop magazine’s Modern Equipment Review Spotlight, features various gages, optical systems and tools for inspecting equipment and setting tools. This is only a selection of the products we publish related to measurement and inspection. Find more in the product page of our Inspection & Measuring Zone

Swipe through the gallery above for details on each product, and follow the caption links for more information.

Sponsored Content 11. January 2019

High Efficiency or High-Feed Milling?

There’s some good news for those of you looking to boost the productivity of your existing machining centers. Enabled by new cutting tool and CAD/CAM technology, the cutting strategies of high-efficiency and high-feed milling are now within reach of any shop. Each can dramatically increase roughing metal removal rates yet provide significantly longer tool life.

High-efficiency milling uses solid carbide end mills with small stepovers, but faster feed rates and deeper depths of cut. High-feed milling is pretty much the opposite. It uses an indexable cutter with a shallow depth of cut, high feed rates and larger stepovers. Both provide a means to cut faster than conventional roughing, and CAM systems can now generate the toolpaths to get the most from each strategy.

As a 27-year-old writer who had been part of Modern Machine Shop’s staff for one year, I began writing a column titled “Mark: My Word.” Since its first appearance in the January 1981 issue, I have written 457 such columns. This one, however, is my last. That is enough.

For 38 years, I have never not been thinking about and searching for my next column topic. Sometimes an idea popped into my head on a late-night stroll or during a morning shower, and the column was finished a few hours later. Other times, an idea that had been kicking around in my mind for months or even years had to be coaxed out with difficulty, then labored over in rewrite after rewrite. Most often, I found something worthwhile to write about by simply monitoring the pulse of our industry. I visited shops, attended trade events and scanned product and news releases. What never varied was the pressure of a monthly deadline. Writing this column was a fixed part of my job.

The Gardner Business Index (GBI): Metalworking registered 53.4 for December. Although December’s above-50 reading was slightly lower than the prior month, it was still a milestone for the Metalworking Index: It marked the first time in recorded history that the index has recorded two years of consecutive expansion. Furthermore, it established 2018 as the fastest expanding calendar year since 2012, with an average monthly reading of 57.7. (The prior record was set in 2017 with a reading of 55.8.) The index was supported by supplier deliveries, production, new orders and employment. Backlogs and exports contracted during the month, pulling the average-based index reading lower.

Among all components, supplier deliveries registered the fastest rate of expansion since April, suggesting that manufacturing supply chains were still reacting to the unprecedented expansion of new orders initiated during the first quarter of 2017. As recently as October, new orders readings registered above 60; however, most components in recent months signaled slowing growth. Should the first quarter or first half of 2019 experience additional periods of slower growth in new orders and production, manufacturers will have to carefully monitor and adjust their input supply flows.

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