Earlier this decade, the auto industry moved to lighten cars and trucks. It was supposed to be a competition between steel, long the dominant vehicle material, and aluminum. The latter got a boost when Ford Motor Co., Dearborn, Mich., bet big on aluminum, making aluminum bodies for its F-150 and Super Duty pickups.
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Until the middle of 2010, first-tier subcontract machinist, JJ Churchill, could produce turbine blades only if they had their fir-tree root-forms preground elsewhere, or if they were subsequently added by another subcontractor. No longer is this the case.
Burrs, sharp edges, and rough surfaces plague even the most precise metal-cutting or forming process. Deburring and finishing can often be treated as the step-child of a manufacturing process, but its importance is growing as tolerances get tighter and precision devices become the norm.
It’s been almost two decades since the C5 Corvette hit the streets with its groundbreaking chassis built around hydroformed steel bumper-to-bumper frame rails. The technology gave engineers a chance to create components that were both lighter and stiffer than traditional stamped and welded assemblies.
US machine shops are potentially underutilizing the machinability of brass by as much as 85 percent in their part processing operations, reports a recent study from the Copper Development Association Inc. (McLean, VA).
The challenge of machining hip replacement implants out of cobalt chrome
Extrusion and drawing, two related, stalwart topics in material forming, are covered from top of punch to bottom of die in more than 200 papers in the SME Technical Paper library. The range of contributors is broad, from companies like Alcoa, Westinghouse, ASEA, Western Electric and General Electric to universities in Japan, Germany and the US, as well as individual entrepreneur metalworking shops.
Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group is now using 3D printing from Stratasys to manufacture flight-ready parts for several of its military, civil and business aircraft—while producing specific ground-running equipment at a lower cost than aluminum alternatives.
It’s a sad fact of practically all metal removal operations that, no matter how sharp the tool or free-machining the material, there are going to be burrs, hanging chads, ragged corners, and other edge quality issues that must be dealt with before calling the workpiece complete.
Beginning around six years ago, one machine tool builder after another added laser cutting and even welding to their products’ already impressive repertoires.