Sales figures don’t lie: indexable cutting tools—featuring removable cutting tips called inserts—are a smash hit with machine shops.
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While the initial investment for a modular quick-change tooling system is higher than that of traditional toolholders, significantly improving the connection between spindles and tooling is well worth it.
In the 1955 short story “Autofac,” Philip K. Dick envisioned a world dominated by self-replicating robots that work incessantly, eventually depleting the planet’s resources.
February 2020 U.S. cutting tool consumption totaled $188.2 million, according to the U.S. Cutting Tool Institute (USCTI) and AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology.
There’s more than one way to finish a hole. The most effective option will depend on the number of parts, cycle time and tolerances. One of the most effective options is boring.
Many job shops hold onto traditional, inexpensive tooling systems. ER collets and Weldon flats are tried and true; they work and are proven. At the same time, newer, advanced machining technology, such as multi-axis machines, may perform better when newer, advanced (and more expensive) toolholders are deployed.
Vibrations, chatter marks, and tool failure are all problems that can be prevented with intelligent monitoring and feedback systems.
Unlike its name, the use of shrink-fit tooling is expanding. A shrink-fit toolholder starts with a slightly undersize bore that is heated to enlarge the inner diameter enough to accept a cutting tool and then grip the cutter as it cools and contracts.
The history of cutting tools goes back a ways—a long, long way. Our prehistoric ancestors were pretty good at making stone tools, and the technology has improved from there. I saw how much on a February visit to the Deutsches Museum in Munich, which has an exhibit on the history of machining.
Not long ago, the mention of workholding might call to mind the traditional vise or three-jaw chuck. The integral nature of proper fixturing to successful machining has forever changed that paradigm and made workholding as critical to the manufacturing process as any of the machines or systems of which it is a part.