There’s one basic rule of shop floor economics that everyone should know: if the machines aren’t making chips, the business is losing money. But the shape of those chips and their removal from the work area is every bit as important as producing them in the first place.
For instance, the bird’s nest of long, stringy chips so common when machining aluminum, stainless steel, and superalloys is not only dangerous to the machine operator, but is a great way to break cutting tools and destroy workpieces when it inevitably becomes wedged in the wrong place at the wrong time. And few machining sounds are more cringe-worthy than the crunch…crunch…crunch of chips being recut, quite possibly signaling a chipped and soon-to-be-broken cutting tool.(more)
Cylindrical grinding is one of the oldest of all machining technologies. Though credit for its invention remains a bit fuzzy, most attribute development of the first production grinding machine to Charles Norton (ironically, not the same Norton of grinding wheel fame), who worked at Brown and Sharpe and was charged by company founder Joseph Brown with working the kinks out of the “universal grinding machine” he’d been struggling with for some time.
Since that time, cylindrical grinding has evolved into the go-to method for producing extremely precise round components such as shafts, mandrels, bearing journals, and core pins, as well as creating formed shapes and contours on a wide variety of turned parts.
With all the talk these days of hard turning, however, never mind the availability of ever more complex, capable, and above all highly accurate CNC lathes, it’s easy to wonder if cylindrical grinding is going the way of cam-actuated screw machines and high-speed steel tool bits.(more)
Sometimes, however, a simpler solution is called for: the basic two-axis CNC lathe. (more)
Have a few dozen hydraulic manifolds to make? The KHV-400 allows you to machine the ports on each side using the horizontal spindle, and without relocating the part, machine the top face and intersecting holes with the vertical spindle. The same approach can be used on a variety of everyday workpieces, including mounting brackets, electronics enclosures, engine components, and more.
The machine comes standard with 10,000-rpm cooled spindles, dual tool changers, loads of working space, and twice the productivity. And if you’re wondering about programming what is essentially two machine tools in one, Kent Machine Tool has made switching between vertical and horizontal programming easy with an innovative merge function. Check it out—for many shops, the KHV-400 will settle the vertical vs. horizontal argument once and for all.(more)
Mistakes are less likely with a CNC. There’s no chance of cranking the handle one turn too far or forgetting to zero out the DRO after picking up an edge. There’s no need for a calculator or trigonometry tables when laying out a bolt hole pattern—just plug in a couple values and get drilling. That nerve-wracking pocket you worked on for two hours last week is child’s play on a CNC knee mill. Part quality’s better, tool life increases, and the pile of parts sitting on the bench at the end of each shift will be much higher when a knee mill has CNC capabilities.
One look at the computer screen mounted to the side of the thing, though, and you might be tempted to avoid all that programming stuff and stick with your trusty DRO. But CNC knee mills are surprisingly easy to operate—the Acu-Rite MillPwr G2 control available on all Kent USA CNC knee mills, for example, is both user friendly and powerful, with simplified navigation screens, offline programming functions, Ethernet and USB ports, and a 3D-graphics display that will never leaving you guessing about a part feature.(more)