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#CNC

Lathe Machining Cost Reduction

In Machining, a Lathe that changes tools is great but on small parts that have several quick operations there can be more tool change time than spindle-on machining time.  A great way to increase spindle-on time and reduce overall cycle time is to tie several tools together in a method known as "gang tooling." Gang tooling planning is very difficult as you need to anticipate the following operations while working on the current one.  At Lean Machine, we always go further than most with 3D design because it always pays off in the long run.  Since we already have our machines 3D modelled and we can download all tooling off our vendor's website, and every part is drawn in 3D, we can plan out a gang tool very quickly. 

The Brass bar hex stock is seen with the finished machined part just needing a part-off operation.  The orange block is the gang tool holder that we've designed.  You can also see the blue and grey Iscar tools and yellow inserts. 

The Brass bar hex stock is seen with the finished machined part just needing a part-off operation.  The orange block is the gang tool holder that we've designed.  You can also see the blue and grey Iscar tools and yellow inserts. 

Here is the Autodesk Inventor designed tool block with the HSM tool paths applied.

Here is the Autodesk Inventor designed tool block with the HSM tool paths applied.

Our Haas VF4 milling the tool block.  This is a steel 3"x3" billet.   Iscar's endmills are the greatest!

Our Haas VF4 milling the tool block.  This is a steel 3"x3" billet.   Iscar's endmills are the greatest!

Lots of internal features to machine but we've designed to be quick to machine.   

Lots of internal features to machine but we've designed to be quick to machine.   

Here's a close-up of the Iscar tools that will be installed in the block. 

Here's a close-up of the Iscar tools that will be installed in the block. 

All tools installed and ready to machine. 

All tools installed and ready to machine. 

Top view of the block and tools.  Notice the dovetail cut on the backside to fit our tool post and the height setting attachment. 

Top view of the block and tools.  Notice the dovetail cut on the backside to fit our tool post and the height setting attachment. 

Steel High Speed Machining

This post is about a cute little steel part (yes, steel can be cute) that started as a quick brainstorming session in engineering and resulted in a cool finished product for a Saskachewan electronics manufacturer.  Even the smallest job at Lean Machine can involve all of management, engineering, administration, and of course our machining department.  There are some pretty neat circular machining marks left on the part due to a unique machining method that we will explain below.

This part looks like it could be made from steel flatbar but here at Lean Machine we almost never use pre-cut shapes.  This started as a laser cut blank off our HK Laser then we put it through our Haas VF4 mill and this is the resulting part.  By not using pre-cut shapes we can reduce our inventory (as you can imagine we would almost never have the correct shape and qty in stock) and shorten our lead times because we can custom cut whatever we need out of a large plate.

This part looks like it could be made from steel flatbar but here at Lean Machine we almost never use pre-cut shapes.  This started as a laser cut blank off our HK Laser then we put it through our Haas VF4 mill and this is the resulting part.  By not using pre-cut shapes we can reduce our inventory (as you can imagine we would almost never have the correct shape and qty in stock) and shorten our lead times because we can custom cut whatever we need out of a large plate.

Below is the difference between traditional machining vs high speed.  The idea is to take smaller (thinner) cuts at a faster rate.  We try to achieve a cut with the entire diameter and height of the cutter engaged in order to spread the chip load over the whole tool (instead of just the leading edge).  High speed machining also gets super technical by trying to match your cutting frequency with the resonant frequency of the machine but we will leave the explanation of that for another post.

Here is a pretty accurate description of the old (we'll call it traditional to be nice) machining method vs the new better, faster way. 

Here is a pretty accurate description of the old (we'll call it traditional to be nice) machining method vs the new better, faster way. 

The is a top down view of a cutting tool.  By burying the cutter deep into the material you can take thin cuts that load the tool around more of the diameter which distributes the load evenly.  Dropping the tool down into the middle of the material used to be a scary thing to do if you just tried to plow through as you would quickly overload the cutter and it would break.  Now we can even use smaller (cheaper) tools because they spin faster to eject the chip (and the heat).

The is a top down view of a cutting tool.  By burying the cutter deep into the material you can take thin cuts that load the tool around more of the diameter which distributes the load evenly.  Dropping the tool down into the middle of the material used to be a scary thing to do if you just tried to plow through as you would quickly overload the cutter and it would break.  Now we can even use smaller (cheaper) tools because they spin faster to eject the chip (and the heat).

We use both MasterCam and Inventor HSM to complete our machine programs.  This is a screen shot of what MasterCam calls "Dynamic Milling".

We use both MasterCam and Inventor HSM to complete our machine programs.  This is a screen shot of what MasterCam calls "Dynamic Milling".

Happy Anniversary to Lean Machine

Lean Machine is officially 10 years old! We have enjoyed every day of the past 10 years (six for Zach and Shaun) and we look forward to the future as there is exciting things to come.  We stand by our motto of: A Better Part for a Better Price.  There is more automation, leaner processes, added capabilities, and much more to watch for from the team at Lean Machine. 

Here is Zach and Shaun doing what they love best....Making chips!

Here is Zach and Shaun doing what they love best....Making chips!