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Turning Operations: Tooling Changes With Technology

Machine shops offer, among many different services, turning operations. This involves the removal of metal or other material from the outer diameter of a workpiece as it rotates. The purpose is to create a circular shape or cylindrical surface with a single point tool. Over the years, while the goal has remained the same, the tools have changed to reflect technological advances. Early Turning Tools One of the early tools for machinist performing a turning operation were single-pointed, solid, rectangular pieces of high-speed steel (HSS) with rake and clearance angles only on one end. Prior to this, the tools commonly were composed of high-carbon steel. HSS tools offered a distinct advantage with their ability to withstand much higher temperatures and yet retain their hardness (temper). Other qualities included: Faster speed of cutting Higher hardness levels Greater abrasion resistance However, issues remained concerning the ongoing need to sharpen them. A dull HSS tool requires sharpening, generally employing a pedestal grinder. Carbide tools offered further improvement. For turning operations, they offered machinists the chance to improve their capabilities and production speed. Carbide turning tools, compared to their predecessors, offer: Improved wear resistance Increased tool longevity Enhanced productivity However, like HSS turning tools, carbide tools require sharpening. While not as frequently, they are not conducive to fast turnover. They require the use of a diamond wheel and special training and experience in using it. Tools for Turning Operations Today While some machine shops still employ HSS tools and carbide, others are currently utilizing better technology to improve productivity and reduce the necessity of retooling and maintenance. Tool holders with coated or uncoated carbide inserts mechanically locked into place are common in workplaces. CNC turning machines make multi-axis turning operations simple. Using carbide inserts, they operate with CAM to provide machinists with more options than ever before. In the hands of a skilled operator, they simplify what was once...

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The Value of Prototype Machining

Do you have an idea for an exciting new product? Perhaps you are thinking of making improvements on existing products. This can take a great deal of research and development and prototype machining can be highly beneficial. Let’s take a closer look at the process, to discover the many benefits it can provide today’s businesses. What is a Prototype? Prototypes are working models of new ideas, concepts and designs. In other words, if you are thinking of creating a new product, you may want to manufacture some test samples first. This gives you an idea of what to expect and you can test the prototype to see just how well it works. It could be a new gear, mold, bolt, housing or any number of things which require machining. Some working prototypes may be created in clear plastic so you can view internal parts. This can greatly facilitate testing. Why Use Prototype Machining? Suppose you plan to produce a special part like a bolt or shaft, and it will be used in thousands of applications. You will need to manufacture thousands of these parts and you want to make sure they are perfect for the job. It makes sense to produce a small run so you can test them to see how well they function. This will help you avoid mistakes or errors which can lead to costly changes or even product liability lawsuits. How Are Prototypes Different from the Actual Product? There are three basic ways prototypes can differ from the finished product. For example: Production methods – you may want to see what will happen when you mill, lathe or grind a specific material. In fact, you might not wish to use the most sophisticated methods to get a good idea of its strength or other properties. In other words, high tolerance may be necessary for the actual product but not for some types of testing procedures and this can be a cost effective way to prototype. Material – to save money you can sometimes produce metal parts with plastic or other cheaper materials, when making a prototype. Less detail – you can often save time and money when you produce facsimiles with very little detail. This is especially true if you are still in the design stage and expecting changes. Should You Perform Your Own Prototype Machining? Many companies today choose to outsource prototyping for a number of reasons. For example, a good service can assist you with the design process and has all the right materials and equipment for the job. This can help you save a great deal of time, money and...

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