TOOLS TO SUCCEED IN HIGH-SPEED MACHINING PG. 6
BIKE MAKER DISCOVERS TIME AND COST SAVING WITH SPECIALTY TOOL HOLDERS PG. 12
SPINDLE SPEEDER AN ‘EYE OPENER’ FOR FISHING LURE MAKER PG. 24
Tech Topics Tools to Succeed in High-Speed Machining
To maximize speed potential, a holistic approach that considers tool, holder, machine and operator is essential. Bike Maker Discovers Time and Cost Saving with Specialty Tool Holders Due to its deep-pocket cutting jobs, Trek needed reach more than rigidity or high power. Six Tips for Tooling Up a New Machine Don’t overlook the tools you purchase for a new machine tool. Time to Take the Blinders Off When it Comes to Tooling Up Why do we seem stuck in a this-is-how-we’ve-always-done-it rut? Answering Tricky Boring Tool Questions Interesting questions—and unexpected answers. Spindle Speeder an ‘Eye Opener’ for Fishing Lure Maker A fishing lure manufacturer decreased primary machining process from 75 to 15 hours. Time Saving Tips Simple strategies that can turn wasted time into money-making time. Questions with Alan Miller BIG DAISHOWA’s senior manager engineering shares tips on selecting tool holders for the aerospace industry. Choosing PCD & CBN Inserts We tackle some of the most frequently asked questions. Think Differently and You’ll Cash in on That New 5-Axis Machine Fast Check out these tips to get the most out of your investment. Tool Presetting Identifies and Isolates Costly Problems Find out what made one company president change his thinking on presetters. Six Things You Need to Know Before Choosing Workholding Devices Consider these six factors when setting out to find a new device.
BIG News Letter from the President Jack Burley, President/COO
Customer Spotlight The BIG-PLUS Difference Andretti Autosport’s engineering
manager explains the BIG-PLUS Difference ER Collet Chucks How Team Penske Utilizes ER Collet Chucks
6 Tools to Succeed in High-Speed Machining To maximize speed potential, a holistic approach that considers tool, holder, machine and operator is essential. 12 Bike Maker Discovers Time and Cost Saving with Specialty Tool Holders Due to its deep-pocket cutting jobs, Trek needed reach more than rigidity or high power. 24 Spindle Speeder an ‘Eye Opener’ for Fishing Lure Maker A fishing lure manufacturer decreased primary machining process from 75 to 15 hours.
Product Spotlight C3 Program
14 31 31
PRO SHRINK Tubechiller
infographic Fine Boring Heads Intermediate Diameters
Fine Boring Heads Small Diameters
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LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT We have all learned since the pandemic to navigate the internet in ways that we didn’t need to before. We now hold and attend meetings from our office or home office using virtual web- based applications such as TEAMS. We can visit various internet sites to research unique solutions to our manufacturing challenges and post questions to industry forums about a new technology we don’t understand. We can even start a random text with a company we might want to do business with; almost all of us offer on-line chat features to help you navigate our products on the website. Bill Gates is famous for his quote “content is king,” and never have those words been so true. BIG DAISHOWA is a leading tooling company that produces unique products and solutions for our customers. It is important for us to deliver relevant, high quality, interesting and unique content to our customers that provide valuable insights on our products. The more you know, the more efficient and productive you will be, and our goal is to challenge ourselves to keep the content coming. We have assembled some of our most recent and popular content on the pages that follow. Customer case studies, product data and general how-to information will inspire you to find new solutions to old problems or answer the questions you have on a topic that might be confusing. If you still have a question or problem, please feel free to sidestep the new normal of post-pandemic research and give us a call; we welcome any challenges you have.
Jack Burley President/COO
TOOLS TO SUCCEED IN HIGH-SPEED MACHINING
It probably doesn’t take much to convince you that machining at higher speeds can save you time and money. But like driving down the highway in your car, increasing your speed means that you are also increasing the inherent risk in the situation. A tool holder rotating at 35,000 RPM poses more of a danger than the same tool holder rotating at 8,000 RPM, just based on the kinetic energy involved. If a high- speed operation goes awry, you won’t have much time to act, and typically it’s your part, workholding or machine itself that bears the brunt of the damage, not to mention potential danger to the operator. Greater cutting speeds also mean greater heat and chip generation. Nevertheless, with great risk comes great reward, and those who master machining at high speeds quickly reap the benefits of increased productivity. If necessity demands that you run at higher speeds, you need to choose the proper tooling and cutting strategies to reflect this or you may be doomed before the race even begins. Nowadays when machinists talk about high-speed machining, they are usually discussing optimizing toolpaths and feeding strategies through CAM. You will hear phrases such as tool engagement, stepover and trochoidal milling. A big revelation that many machinists have at some point in their career is that once you reach a certain cutting speed, the cutting temperature decreases. It may be counterintuitive, but in addition to decreasing cycle times, you are also increasing the life of the
tool because heat dissipation is improved. Whatever feeding strategy you utilize, they all serve the same purpose: maximizing your material removal rate with the equipment you have. Fortunately, HSM toolpaths are usually a built-in feature to CAM software, so not much programming effort needs to go into this. Decades of research and countless papers are dedicated to this topic alone (and for good reason), however it’s still only one piece of the puzzle. To maximize your speed potential, a holistic approach that considers tool, holder, machine and operator is essential. Spindle speed and balance The first step, as common sense as it may be, is knowing the maximum speed of your spindle. This will be your absolute ceiling when it comes to speed. The next natural inclination is
to look at your cutting tool. This means trading in your high-speed steel tools for carbide, or your carbide for super hard materials like PCD or CBN. Increasingly hard cutting tools largely translate to increasingly fast cutting speeds and today’s modern cutting geometry designs have made possible previously unthinkable speeds. But many ignore the interface between the two: the tool holder. Machining speed, besides depending on the physical limitations of the machine tool and cutting tool, will largely be governed on how well balanced the tool holder is. Balance is usually the focus when you’re talking about high-speed tool holders because it offers the greatest opportunity for improvement, but keep in mind that your maximum speed will only be as fast as the “weakest link” allows. If you have a 12,000 RPM spindle, inserts that allow you to cut at 9,000 RPM, but your tool holder is only balanced for 8,000 RPM, then 8,000 is your max RPM.
The definition of high speed is different depending on who you ask, especially considering how fast cutting tool technology is evolving. Regardless, all these concepts apply whether you’re trying to get up to 10,000 RPM or up to 30,000 RPM. But the importance of these concepts is amplified more and more as the speed increases. The faster you spin, the more exaggerated any mass irregularities become and any speed harmonics present in the system will become increasingly excited. This translates into vibrations which, in turn, cause poor runout, surface finish, and ultimately wasted money spent on scrapped parts and equipment damage. Symmetry is your best friend at high speeds. Shrink fit holders, hydraulic chucks and high-performance collet chucks are typically the best examples of well-balanced tool holders because, by design, they’re symmetrical. They’re also generally slim – most of the mass is concentrated near their centerline. And since we’re on the topic, it may be time to ditch the trusty sidelock endmill holders you’re used to. Mechanical milling chucks improve on endmill holders in every capacity (except for perhaps axial tool pullout), so they are the preferred alternative. This includes better balance. In fact, our MEGA DOUBLE POWER chuck is a mechanical chuck that has been specifically designed for higher speeds. This chuck, along with all other MEGA chucks we offer, have had all surfaces ground to a mirror finish. At high enough speeds, even slight anomalies in body concentricity
and tolerancing) callout for shafts and holes, so boring head balance is crucial especially for those situations. At the very least, standard boring heads are usually pre-balanced for a diameter somewhat near the middle of their diameter range. If it’s a rigid, reasonably short bore, this will suffice. When higher speeds and longer boring bars are needed, we offer a family of auto-balancing heads, designated EWB. These heads are well- balanced throughout their diameter range, because of a clever counterweight design inside the head that automatically adjusts a counterweight as you adjust the diameter. Taper considerations Equally as important as the tool holder body is the taper. In most cases, you’re stuck with the machine spindle taper you already have. But, if you’re in the market for a new machine and feeling the need for speed, it may be time to consider something with an HSK spindle. HSK was developed in the 1990s specifically to combat problems that conventional steep tapers encounter at high speeds. The spindle taper will expand more than the holder under high centrifugal force because of differences in stiffness, which causes the tool to “sink” in the Z-axis. HSK was innovative in that the drawbar
come into play. Grinding all surfaces ensures that this factor is removed from the equation. They also make use of a notch-less nut, giving a perfectly cylindrical surface on the exterior, as opposed to the hexagonal or notched nut that you commonly see.
Balancing act When it comes to fine boring tools, balancing can be a very serious issue. Single-point finish boring heads are fundamentally unbalanced because of their asymmetry and special care is required to ensure that they perform as expected. To say that bores are tolerance-sensitive features is an understatement, and this unbalance can easily scrap a part if you aren’t careful. Running a boring head as fast as it can go should always be the goal, but progressively worse, unbalance can be introduced to the system as an unwanted byproduct. An unbalanced boring head can be very deceptive, because it will frequently bore your diameter within spec. Yet, upon further inspection, you will find that you have created an oval-shaped bore rather than a circle-shaped one. Circularity/cylindricity is a common GD&T (geometric dimensioning
Eliminate the bottleneck In some cases, you’ll find that your spindle is the part of the chain that’s holding you back. Fortunately, there also exist alternative, after-the-fact methods by which to increase the maximum speed of your spindle. Spindle speeders, as their name suggests, are specialized holders that aim to do this. They really shine in applications that involve very small and monotonous work, and especially in larger spindles where you wouldn’t otherwise be able to ramp up the speed very high. Basically, it’s possible to retrofit your conventional 40- or 50-taper machine into a high-speed micro machining center, without the cost of buying an entirely new machine. They’re available in a variety of different flavors, but the function remains the same: to significantly increase RPM and cut down on time-consuming cycle times. Whether it’s electric, hydraulic, pneumatic, or spindle-driven, each version has its pros and cons. Personally, we find that spindle- driven and pneumatic (air-driven) spindle speeders cover all of our
fingers go inside of the thin-walled taper and expand outward to clamp. Unlike steep tapers, high speeds are encouraged because they aid the clamping mechanism and proper seating. Moreover, all HSK holders have flange contact in addition to taper contact as part of the standard. This eliminates the dreaded sinking phenomenon. Past 35,000-40,000 RPM, an HSK spindle becomes one of your only remaining options. You can also remedy this unwanted Z-axis movement by using BIG-PLUS tooling, which is the same flange contact principle applied to steep taper holders like CAT or BT. In addition to preventing Z-axis sink, you will see huge gains in rigidity, given that you have a BIG-PLUS spindle. What most people don’t know is that many machine tool builders already include BIG-PLUS spindles as a default feature, so there’s a good chance you have one and don’t even know it. This may be easier than making the big leap to HSK. A word of caution: be careful not to confuse BIG-PLUS with the dual contact claims that are running rampant throughout the market. Keep in mind that only licensed tool holder manufacturers have the tools and gages to make true BIG-PLUS holders. Anyone can claim to have dual contact tooling with practically no proof. BIG-PLUS is not an international standard, so to be safe, use tooling clearly marked with “BIG-PLUS Spindle System – License BIG DAISHOWA SEIKI,” otherwise you can seriously damage your spindle. All BIG DAISHOWA tooling comes with true BIG-PLUS, so for our customers, this is never an issue.
bases. Spindle-driven speeders are really the only preferred option for situations in which you’re trying to increase your output up to ~20,000 RPM (ours are designed with a planetary gear system that multiplies your input spindle speed by 4-6x). At the same time, you maintain high torque transmission since it’s mechanically driven, and you can still use relatively large diameter tooling. In a perfect world, gear-driven systems would be used for all high-speed situations for this very reason. However, some applications call for speeds in excess of 100,000 RPM (think of a dentist’s drill) and you can imagine that even the most impeccably oiled and designed gear system would start to melt well before that point. This is where some other method of power transmission is required, like an air turbine. Air-driven spindle speeders provide the fastest speeds of any type by far and utilize ceramic bearings to withstand the high heat caused by internal friction. BIG DAISHOWA’s Air Power Spindle system, for instance, can reach speeds up to 120,000 RPM.
used in conjunction with very small diameter tools in order to reach ridiculously fast speeds. It’s not unheard of to achieve upwards of 50,000 RPM in some applications. The only catch is, of course, you are using very small tools. Again, when it comes to tool holders, the max speed largely depends on balance. Therefore, a high-speed machinist will be well-acquainted with the fickle art of balancing tool holders and the standards that are used. As tooling technology and speed progress, so too does the need for a proper standard by which to measure unbalance. When good enough doesn’t cut it As cuts get faster, tools get smaller, and tolerances get tighter, there is no longer any more room for the good-enough attitude. Traditionally, tool holder balance has always been measured based on the archaic ISO 1940-1 balancing standard (yes, we’re talking about the year 1940). ISO 1940-1 is all-encompassing and applies to pretty much any type of rotating machinery, large or small. There’s nothing wrong with this old standard. In fact, it’s done an outstanding job up until this point. But the modern problem is twofold. First, the standard is so generalized that it doesn’t account for many important variables unique to spindle/tool holder systems such as ATC repeatability, dynamic cutting forces and modular components. Second, holders have gotten so small and are rotated so fast that, in some cases, achieving a balance benchmark like G2.5 is nearly impossible from a practical
Exploring a new frontier Once you start exploring this new frontier of speed, complications besides balance come into play. When someone uses a dial indicator to gage runout on a test bar, they are measuring what’s known as static runout. This gives you an idea of the level of dimensional precision involved in the manufacturing of the tool, holder and spindle assembly. Let’s say you measure 5 tenths of runout with an indicator on a high-performance drill, which is within your tolerance range. If you run it at 3,000 RPM or so, you wouldn’t really notice anything unusual in the generated hole that would dispute the earlier reading. However, you feel like you can run it faster. At first you may feel satisfied with the shorter cycle times, but at a certain point after ramping up the spindle speed, you will gage the holes and realize that they’re suddenly oversized. Naturally, you go to measure the runout again and are dumbfounded when it still reads 5 tenths. You’ve just become the latest victim of dynamic tool runout. This type of runout is mainly caused by centrifugal forces associated
with faster spindle speeds. These inertial forces will make the tool want to bend away from the centerline, so it will appear to fan outward at the tip when rotating. It’s hard to detect and even harder to accurately measure – it typically requires some sort of noncontact laser/light sensor device. You wouldn’t encounter it under most standard application conditions because the forces require exceptionally fast speeds, but it can also be an issue with small diameter micro-machining tools that are easier to bend. Ideally, you want to keep the mass of the tool holder as close to the centerline of rotation as possible. You also want to keep your tool as short as possible. This is the reason why there is general trend of higher max speed the smaller your tool holder is. You simply don’t have that much mass to throw around, so a higher speed can be attained safely. HSK-E style tool holders take this principle to the extreme. In addition to having an HSK taper that’s already well-suited to higher speeds, this form of the standard aims to be as close to perfectly symmetrical as possible by the removal of all notches and drive key slots. These are commonly
C G = Center of gravity Imbalance
C G = Center of gravity Imbalance
Rotation speed ω
Rotation speed ω
Fig. 2: Unbalanced
Fig. 3: Balanced
C ω = Center of gravity balance hole
U = Res. Unbalance F = Res. Centrifugal force
BIG DAISHOWA tool holders are designed for high-speed machines. If a rotating tool holder (Fig. 1) is not rotationally symmetrical, imbalance occurs (Fig. 2). As a result, when the rotational speed is increased, non-symmetrical centrifugal forces occur at the tool holder and the cutting tool, causing vibration and premature spindle bearing failure. To correct for the imbalance, the tool is balanced by various methods such as drilling (Fig. 3), milling or grinding a flat, moving the center of mass as close as possible to the center of the axis of rotation.
standpoint and oftentimes isn’t even necessary. Today’s balancing machines are realistically only sensitive enough to pick up on a minimum of around 0.5 g-mm. In light of this issue, a new standard dubbed ISO 16084 has been developed. This standard considers (what seems like) every possible variable that influences balance in a tool holder/spindle system and was compiled by a joint team of industry experts and academics. Like ISO 1940-1, the operator will only have to define a few variables to physically describe the holder and speed/balance requirements while the machine does the calculation work and spits out results in the familiar terms of gram millimeter (g-mm). But unlike ISO 1940-1, this standard remains viable for any size tool holder or speed and only asks that you define whether or not you require standard balance quality or fine balance quality (rather than G6.3, G2.5, and so on). You will find that the new standard is more lenient for small tool holder/high speed situations, to the point where the permissible unbalance is achievable. This
leniency is even more apparent as you decrease speed and increase size. The reality is, we as an industry have been manufacturing all tool holders based on a strict standard that was never even designed with tool holders in mind. Since ISO 1940-1 is usually the stricter standard, you may be asking yourself: what’s wrong with the old standard if it’s worked so far, or what’s wrong with a tool holder being more balanced than it probably needs to be? A few things. Besides the fact that the math behind ISO 1940-1 breaks down and becomes impossible to achieve at smaller sizes and higher speeds, this also means that for years we have spent countless dollars and hours tricking ourselves into needlessly over- balancing tool holders in some cases. Clearly, the transition to ISO 16084 will not happen overnight and it may not directly affect everyone but be on the lookout for it as it slowly gains headway. Future impact The tendency in machining has been toward faster and faster, and there’s no reason to believe
that this trend will change anytime soon.
Developments in 3D printing technology, hybrid processes, and rapid digitalization and interconnectivity will greatly impact the manufacturing sector, no doubt. But that’s not to say that machining’s role will disappear, or even necessarily diminish. Rather, there will be a continued shift toward high-speed machining to better complement and keep up with these processes. If you can make it faster, you can make it for cheaper. And if you can make it for cheaper, you have an edge over your competition. Shops are in a constant race with each other, and those who don’t adapt easily to the constant advances in technology are left in the dust. With higher speeds becoming more of a necessity, proper understanding and implementation of these strategies is essential to survival.
CONTRIBUTOR Jack Kerlin is an Application Engineer at BIG DAISHOWA. firstname.lastname@example.org
Trek has been building bikes for almost 50 years. According to Trek, the Madone SLR (pictured) is one of the world’s most sophisticated road bikes.
BIKE MAKER DISCOVERS TIME AND COST SAVINGS WITH SPECIALTY TOOL HOLDERS
Bicycles are one of the oldest modes of transportation, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t evolved with the times. Having built bikes in Wisconsin since 1976, Trek Bicycle knows this evolution well. It has been on the front lines of the electric bike movement and other equipment advances like cycling lights, computers and sensors. Trek Bicycle, based in Waterloo, Wis., is a bicycle and cycling product manufacturer and distributor under the brand names Trek, Electra Bicycle Co., Bontrager, and Diamant Bikes. Trek bicycles are marketed through 1,700 independently owned bicycle shops across North America, subsidiaries in Europe, Asia, South Africa, as well as distributors in 90 countries worldwide. Every idea a Trek engineer has for a new technology or how to integrate it passes through the company’s Prototype Development Lab. It’s where things like frames and accessories are experimented with and
Cory Marty of Trek Bicycle and his team use MEGA MICRO chucks to machine lightweight and complex bike components.
runout,” Marty admitted. “We were looking for tooling that was similar to shrink fit holders, with the shape and accessibility you could get, but we weren’t ready to step up to a full $30,000 shrink fitting package that limited us to one or two diameters.” Considering the work the lab does, easy changeover was also of critical importance. Marty explained he has to set up 10-15 tools,
The prototyping machine shop where Trek Bicycle tests and creates its latest innovations.
changing tool lengths each time, for each part Trek works on. The heating and cooling cycles involved with shrink fit tools would simply be too time consuming. After browsing tooling catalogs in search of holders that could be quick and easy to handle and with dimensions that would allow access to tricky pockets, Marty invited Mark Sazy from BIG DAISHOWA, Hoffman Estates, Illinois, to demonstrate the company’s MEGA MICRO chuck. The chuck’s narrow body, with nut diameters as slim as 0.394" (10 mm), is supported by a shallower taper angle that boosts the holder’s rigidity and limits the extreme angles needed to reach down into deeper pockets. “MEGA MICRO chucks were designed for the exact scenario Cory was dealing with in the prototype lab,” said Sazy, who specializes in value-added sales at
machined to make Trek’s most innovative ideas come to life. “Every time we run a part, it’s something new that we just fresh programmed,” said Cory Marty, senior engineering technician at Trek’s Prototype Development Lab. “Our turnaround time, from when an engineer puts in a project to the time they have something in their hands, is about 10 to 14 days. We don’t get the luxury of setting up an old job or running multiples of anything. A lot of the work we do is with tight, deep pockets—common stickouts are about 6-8×D. Every part is a first-off. Everything is 3D-surfaced, organic shapes.” When Trek recently invested in a five-axis machine tool, Marty had a big decision to make about which tools would get the most out of the new machine. Due to its deep-pocket cutting jobs, Trek needed reach more than rigidity or high-power cutting. Using CAM software, Trek could program a three-axis tool path that recognizes when the tool will collide with the model. It automatically starts tilting the tool axis out of the way to adjust for tool holder clearance. But, with standard ER 32 or 16 tool holders in a deep and tight pocket, the machine had to tilt significantly to clear the body of the holder, which resulted in unnecessary axis movements or potential machine collisions. “Every time we added an extra extension or cobbled something together, we knew we would be adding
The MEGA MICRO chuck’s extremely slim body and nut design provides superior balance and concentricity and is ideal for reaching into confined areas.
BIG DAISHOWA. “The prototype lab is a place where everything is under a microscope in a way. All eyes are on the details. It was great to have the opportunity to demonstrate our tools under those conditions—that’s where the value is clearly evident, with what we refer to as the ‘economy of quality.’” Marty decided to purchase one package of 15 MEGA MICRO chucks to use with all of Trek’s cutters 0.25" (6.35 mm) in diameter and under. “The quality of the tool holders themselves was just phenomenal, better than I’ve seen on any tool holders before,” Marty said. “The finish on every single surface of the holder is just fantastic and that just screams quality when you pull it out of the box.” The slim nut and simple collet clamping turned out to be the best of both worlds for Trek, according to Marty. “The MEGA MICRO chucks have the same profiles and shapes of shrink fit holders with the versatility of collets,” he said. “You can use basically any size shank you want. They’re balanced a lot better, so they don’t vibrate as much as the ER 32s that we were running previously.” The extreme tilts the programming software once had to adjust for have been eliminated. “I’d say probably 50 percent of our reach issues were resolved just by changing holders without manually changing the way things are programmed. The machine only has to tilt maybe 10 degrees out of the way to get down into the pockets. We’re able to reach into places we weren’t before without extravagant, cobbled-together extensions, and all with higher speeds, feeds and finishes.” As with any specific technology or equipment, shrink fit holders have their unique advantages. And, as with every shop, the cost or time required for the perfect solution isn’t always an option. Marty knew exactly what he needed, though—easy changeover and access—and through research and trial found the alternative that could deliver on a budget. CONTRIBUTOR Cory Marty is the Senior Engineering Technician at Trek’s Prototype Development Lab. Mark Sazy is the Regional Sales Manager at BIG DAISHOWA. email@example.com
The BIG-PLUS Difference Andretti Autosport’s Engineering Manager explains the BIG-PLUS Difference. Charlie Mitchell, Manufacturing Engineering Manager for Andretti Autosport, explains how the BIG-PLUS spindle system differs from conventional tool holders.
C3 PROGRAM Additions include mono-block holders with a tough and reliable insert clamp that enables highly efficient cutting; square tool holders in 90° and 180° types; and round tool holders with an ultra-slim design.
FINE BORING HEADS INTERMEDIATE DIAMETERS
.00005"/Ø Display (50 Millionths)
.0005"/Ø Dial .0001"/Ø Vernier
.0005"/Ø Dial .0001"/Ø Vernier
.0005"/Ø Dial .0001"/Ø Vernier
.0005"/Ø Dial .0001"/Ø Vernier
.00005"/Ø Dial (50 Millionths)
NO YES EWE, EWN, EWN-SD
EWB, EWB-AL, EWB-UP
CKB1 CKB2 CKB3 CKB4 CKB5 CKB6 CKB7 .787 8.000 BORING RANGE
EWN EWE EWN-SD EWB EWB-AL EWB-UP
Included EWB, EWB-AL, EWB-UP
*Static balance point of boring head occurs at mid-point of boring range with smallest insert holder attached
Order Separately EWE, EWN, EWN-SD
EWN EWN-SD EWB EWB-AL EWB-UP PERFORMANCE VS VERSATILITY EWE
All our tooling solutions are high-performance. Chart is comparing performance vs. versatility for only the models mentioned above.
Click here for full catalog
The addition of a new machine can be exciting for a metalworking business. It signals progress and growth while giving the team something new and exciting to work and experiment with. In order to make the most of this investment, however, don’t overlook the tools used in the new machine tool. When someone buys a machine tool, they’re usually thinking about things like speed, axis movement or the speed of the toolchanger. It’s understandable. These upgrades can take seconds or minutes out of cycle time. But in order to take full advantage of its capabilities, the right tooling is needed to unlock a machine’s full capability and satisfy customer needs. Here is some of our best advice for making the most of a new machine tool with the right tooling. Michael Herman 6 TIPS for Tooling Up a New Machine Tool
1. Communicate early with your machine tool salesman We often see the following scenario: a shop wants the size and power of a 50-taper machine, but there isn’t quite the budget for it. So, the shop opts for a 40-taper machine and eventually finds out it doesn’t have the needed horsepower or torque. There’s no going back now, so they try to compensate with tooling and variable-cut milling programs to limit the torque and horsepower requirements. This not only slows things down, but also creates a mismatch of tooling for the machine and/or work. Communication upfront with your machine salesman is key. Make sure they understand your needs regarding capacity and what you’re looking to manufacture, all the way to the one percent of work that could come across the machine that might cause a problem.
2. Consider your spindle Each spindle style comes with unique standards, whether it’s a more conventional CAT or BIG-PLUS, or something a bit more specialized like HSK or Capto. If a facility is already heavy on one type of spindle or another, you’ll want to consider the costs of adding an entirely new type of tooling as opposed to using the equipment and knowledge already on the floor. The higher speeds at which you plan to work, the more you’ll want to consider BIG-PLUS or HSK because of their proven track record. 3. Get to know your tooling supplier When investing in a new machine tool, it’s important to take the time to look into the tooling suppliers under consideration as well. For example, many tooling companies do not manufacture from H13 or
tool steel. Those tools are not going to have the life expected to pay for themselves. There’s a good chance that a cheaper tool holder will run for about six months before runout problems pop up—even on a brand- new machine. In addition to material consistency and quality, understand how a tool manufacturer qualifies its standards. For instance, where do they measure runout? If it’s measured in the taper, it doesn’t tell you all that much. But if its measured at some multiple of the tool’s diameter in front of the nut, it’s a much better indicator of what a shop can expect from that tool. If you take the time to understand how tools are made, what the tool manufacturer guarantees and why, you can make a one-time investment, likely for the life of that machine (assuming the tools are properly cared for). That’s a real cost savings.
4. Don’t overlook retention knobs These devices may be inexpensive, but retention knobs may be the last thing between you and a catastrophic collision or break. This is not an area to skimp. Don’t pull an old one out of the coffee can from under the bench. We can’t tell you how often we see piles of retention knobs that are either damaged or have been deformed due being used in another machine over and over. This is especially risky in a new, precision-ground machine. Retention knobs should be treated as perishable and should not be repurposed for a new machine or tooling. 5. Understand the difference between licensed vs. unlicensed tools For those buying a machine with a BIG-PLUS spindle, many don’t realize the damage they can do when they use a non-licensed holder on a licensed spindle. It’s kind of like Russian roulette. You might have seven of 10 tools that work pretty well, but three tools that are taken in and out can ruin the face or taper of a machine. When that happens, none of the other tools are going to perform as they should. It’s just not worth the risk after investing so much in a new machine.
6. Understand your tooling certificate options Ready-to-run packages appear to make things easy on the tooling front, but the truth is you’re likely only getting a handful of tools that even apply to the work you do. The rest will burn a hole in your shelves. Tooling certificates available from distributors or machine tool companies act like a debit card. Not only do they allow for building a custom shopping list that’s already paid for, they also provide direct and ongoing access to tooling engineers who can help find exactly what’s needed today and as work evolves. In the end, having a resource who knows your shop, machinery and work history can pay big dividends. Investing in Tooling Would you put discount tires on a Ferrari? Probably not. So why invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in a machine and then dedicate a tiny percentage of that expenditure to tools? Your existing tool holders may appear to be in good condition to the naked eye, but nearly any imperfection will find its way to the spindle of a machine that’s fresh off the truck. During a recent shop visit, we saw a highly reputable machine known for its best-in-class accuracy that
had been installed just weeks before. The shop had 60 tools in a 300-capacity magazine and wanted to fill in some of the empty spots. The tools already in the machine were inexpensive and unlicensed. The customer thought these were the right choice because they were about a third of the price of the licensed BIG-PLUS tools the OEM recommended. One look revealed that the tool holders were fretted on the side because of improper grinding. When the machine was run, the spindle was damaged. The shop had to buy a whole new spindle for a million-dollar machine that was only weeks old. In other words, do your homework, communicate openly and ask questions of those you’re working with during the machine purchase. If you do, you’ll get what you expect out of your capital investment, avoid unnecessary expenditures and realize significant cost savings over the life of the machine tool.
CONTRIBUTOR Michael Herman is the Vice President Sales at BIG DAISHOWA. firstname.lastname@example.org
TIME TO TAKE THE BLINDERS OFF WHEN IT COMES TO TOOLING UP
The world of metalworking performance is one of trade-offs. Every piece of the chain, from a holder setup to process sequencing, affects something else along the way. The trick is to sacrifice as little — or even gain as much — value as possible with the choices you make. Unfortunately, and misguidedly, tools and workholding are often thought of as the “sacrifice” part of that equation, or just plugging a hole. The truth is, tools and workholding fall into the small category of devices around a shop that have contact with the parts you’re delivering. By no means is either a small link in the chain. As we’ll see, the tooling you choose today can impact everything from manpower to measuring, bolstering the chain instead of serving as “just another” link. I talk to a lot of customers who are getting ready for a project or trying to integrate a new machine ASAP. Understandably, they either ask for the cheapest holder they know can get the job done, or whatever they know worked on the old machine. In a high-mix, low-volume environment, this process might work, but that’s not every machine shop, by a long shot. Instead, most should consider what’s happening around the specific task, a few steps before and a few after,
The world of metalworking performance is one of trade-offs. Every piece of the chain, from a holder setup to process sequencing, affects something else along the way. The trick is to sacrifice as little — or even gain as much — value as possible with the choices you make.
and the potential for other positive tradeoffs when selecting tooling and workholding. Could extending cycle time slightly with the right tools eliminate a dangerous manual operation or guarantee precise measuring the first time? The answer is definitely. Yet, most don’t think this way. Why do we seem stuck in this rut? One of the biggest culprits holding us back is that we often don’t think in terms of the higher technologies that have emerged in the last decade or so. The speeds, feeds and axes that unlock performance. This also means we don’t have to use collet chucks for everything or shrink fit chucks just because that’s how it’s been done. It’s past time to start making tooling and workholding decisions that align with the power and versatility of today’s machines. (The tooling and workholding is ready for it.) Start asking what you can do differently than before. Whether you bought a new machine five years ago or a used one five days ago, have you been using the same old tooling or adjusted to its specs and capabilities? Streamline Your Operations Moreso than ever, tooling and workholding are capable of fortifying and streamlining operations. Below are just a few examples of how. Put them to practical use, or use them as inspiration, as you consider your next purchase. In-process, touch probe measuring is coming on strong across the machining world, and for good reason. By sacrificing a little extra spindle time, we all but eliminate the tedious and time-consuming task of manual measurement.
The UNILOCK workholding system, an example of zero-point clamping, uses spring pressure or manual actuation to clamp knobs in fixed locations for rapid unloading, loading and locating of fixtures and workpieces.
If you’re already probing, don’t sacrifice the all-important reliability of the cycle. There’s no reason you should be hoping the workpiece is clean. Chip blowers and chipfans add a minute or two of cycle time, but they act as an insurance policy. In addition to automatically cleaning a part, they’ll guarantee that manual or automatic offsets are right, ultimately avoiding significant downtime. These convenient tools are loaded directly into a spindle or tool changer and can be programmed seamlessly into a machining process. While some might consider our first examples non-essential, this next chain-fortifying solution is more fundamental to the machining process. Zero-point workholding allows you to flip/load parts precisely, perform operations and remove them quickly. Just to get you thinking: If the capability is there to inspect automatically on a machine, there’s no good reason for sluggish unloading, right? Why, then, opt to use vises or common jaws? Our UNILOCK workholding system, an example of zero-point clamping, uses spring pressure or manual actuation to clamp knobs in fixed locations for rapid unloading, loading and locating of fixtures and workpieces. Standard knobs can be clamped and mounted in a blind location hole from the bottom or fastened from the top of a fixture. If ever there’s a chance the machine will be handling a lot of changeovers, especially for automation, trying to be efficient is next to impossible without zero- point clamping and sacrifices to productivity. Again, think about
For precision deep hole machining the SMART DAMPER enables high-cutting parameters to be used, achieving extremely short cycle times and improving productivity by up to a factor of 10.
what’s happening around your current situation, before and after buying. Boring tools and setups offer opportunity for adding value instead of just plugging a hole. Customers are always looking to come up with a universal way for their tools to do more. Their first instinct is to ask for a longer tool, but let’s take a step back with them. Because we have one of the most versatile modular boring systems at our disposal, the continuously improved CK system, let’s start with the shortest tool and build from there. That way, you have tooling that can do more than one thing and you’re not sacrificing speed every time you use the longer tool. The same goes for vibration damping in long boring or milling operations. Cobbling together extensions may eventually get the job done the cheapest way possible, but why struggle with it? It’s not worth the trade-off when something like the SMART DAMPER is available. The integrated design of the SMART DAMPER system shortens the distance from the
damper and the cutting edge, which is the source of vibration and chatter. You can get anything to work if you slow it down enough, but is it worth it? For our final example, let’s turn to a finishing operation. I often hear from customers that they don’t want to chamfer on the machine because it takes up too much cutting time when there are operators that can do it after. It’s a fair argument, but still another example of thinking of cutting tools and holders as conveniences instead of opportunities to add value with the help of today’s machinery. Hand deburring may seem simple, but it’s not always repeatable. It takes skill and time to hit every single edge with a file or shiv. Even for deburring, better cutting technology is out there. Machines can run around a part much faster than can be done by hand — and then the part’s done. The C-CUTTER MINI is built to the lowest diameter limits in order to optimize chip load and spindle speeds when chamfering small and large features. The cutter can use
up to four inserts, and they play a key role. So much so that they are among the only inserts we design in-house: extremely sharp edges with three types of coating reduce cutting resistance to help address speed, finish and force concerns that can arise. The examples of how tooling and workholding add more value than ever to the metalworking chain are everywhere. Not each of these may apply directly to something you do, but the approach should apply always — take the blinders off when it comes to tools and workholding. As technology continues to advance on the machine side, tooling and workholding offer new and different opportunities to bolster an operation.
Here are three tips on how to approach tooling and workholding. First, stop thinking of it as just another trade-off or necessary sacrifice for filling a gap or getting one thing done. Two, look at the other technology in the project or job. If everything but the approach to holders or workholding has been adjusted or updated, time to think again. Last, but not least, consider the processes and equipment “around” the task at hand, including future or current work that could be positively impacted.
CONTRIBUTOR Jack Burley is the President/COO of BIG DAISHOWA. email@example.com
FIND YOUR SALES TEAM
There’s more than one way to make holes, but some approaches are better than others. On one hand, it’s nice to have options, but they also make decisions about tooling and processes a bit more difficult. Working with customers from across just about every industry, our team gets to see what works, what doesn’t and how others can learn. These are a few of the interesting questions—and unexpected answers— we talk about with end users. How many modular components can be used in a boring setup? As always, the shortest possible setup is best. Modular boring assemblies using systems, like our CK precision tool system, unlock all kinds of possibilities for making this happen, including reductions, extensions and damping options. There are limitations, however. In any boring assembly, components should be limited to four or five, not including boring head insert holders. Considering the number of possible combinations, almost any hole can be accounted for. ANSWERING TRICKY BORING TOOL QUESTIONS
How do I stop burning through roughing cutters? One way to help reduce consumable costs in rough boring is to limit the radial load. The best way to do that is to use more of a plunging motion as opposed to interpolation, which will eat away at the flutes from the sides. A twin cutter boring head is a great solution. It balances the load better, requires fewer inserts to begin with and ultimately makes perfect roundness easier.
When should l be thinking in terms of roughing and when should I be thinking in terms of finishing? The most common differentiator is final tolerance. If diameter tolerance is tighter than 0.004", a finishing heads should be in the discussion. How do I make sure I choose/assemble boring tools that are the right length? There is more to the right-sized tooling than diameter and gage length. The bore depth and the reach to get to the bore need to be factored. In other words, if the bore is three inches deep, but the tool must reach five inches to get to the bore, you should be planning your setup for eight inches of reach. What is the best way to prep a hole before boring? Rough and fine boring is best done after the workpiece has been milled to square the hole to the entry surface, including castings and weldments when possible. Fine boring tools should also enter a hole that has been chamfered, where the rough or semi bore is free of existing chatter or deep scallops created by rough milling. Is there a better way to finish holes with hardened steel bushings? Jig grinding is the common approach, and yes, it’s time consuming and requires a skilled operator. Boring tools with cubic boron nitride (CBN) grades have proven effective alternative, even in very small holes. Let your tooling do the hard work, not your operators. Can I use an extended range insert holder for production and prototyping? Shops often borrow in-house components from other applications and replace the insert holders. This can be a smart move in small-batch scenarios. Trying to get production out of the same setup, however, would yield adequate results, but not the most productive. An assembly using a larger modular connection size and boring head is better. That will reduce the L:D ratio and provide better balance with the insert holder closer to the boring head.
How do I get control of chips when I’m boring? First and foremost, optimize the cutting speed. High cutting speeds usually lead to cutting conditions that maintain a consistent chip load. Identify a chip load in inches-per-revolutions (IPR) that generates the shortest possible, C-shaped chips. Even think about making a trial cut to optimize chip form. It can be worth it in the long run.
Seeing the diameter readout on a digital boring head is nice, but I’m not sure how I’ll get return on the investment? Digital boring heads do much more, especially ours. When connected to the BIG KAISER app via Bluetooth, the incremental value from the EWE fine boring head can be fed into the preset parameters to give the true output diameter of the tool. The head also stores up to 200 cycles of information (target diameter, tolerance, incremental adjustment) for each adjustment along with a date/time stamp, providing process traceability for certifications and planning. We offer an array of hole making solutions for common and uncommon processes, including roughing, finishing, face grooving, chamfering, back boring, drilling and more.
CONTRIBUTOR Matt Tegelman is the Senior Product Specialist at BIG DAISHOWA. firstname.lastname@example.org
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