Categories
Welding

Types of Welding: TIG vs. MIG vs. Stick Welding

Do you have a welding project but aren’t sure where to begin?

Does welding terminology confuse you? Are you worried you won’t understand the technicians at the welding shop?

If welding isn’t your area of expertise, it might be hard to find the right company to do the work.

A five percent failure rate is considered high in the industry. Meeting this stringent benchmark requires a professional team. 

At Elemet Manufacturing Inc., we offer a wide variety of types of welding processes. We work with many metals, including Aluminum, Brass, Copper, Galvanized steel, Stainless steel, and Titanium.

Our organized shop setup ensures improved control over the materials and workflow. You will receive the level of quality you expect. 

Contact Elemet Manufacturing Inc. to request an estimate today.

We can help you decide what welding process will best suit your welding needs.

Elemet Manufacturing is part of Elemet Group. We offer CNC machining, waterjet, and other cutting services, welding, and metal cutting and fabricating services. EMI is located in Aitkin, Minnesota.

Understanding the different types of welding is key to making the right choice for your project. 

We can help you understand the key features of each type of welding in this guide.

TIG Welding

A welder TIG welding. TIG welding is one of the types of welding.

The T in TIG stands for tungsten, which is the type of electrode used in this type of welding. It’s used because it can withstand high temperatures. The process involves arc welding with Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG). 

A professional welder can control both hands with accuracy. They hold the wire in one hand and the gun in the other, which gives them more precision. That’s important when you are working with thinner metals and smaller projects.

The rod generates the heat, which melts the metal wire that bonds the surfaces together. This process creates a smooth, beautiful weld and is used when the weld is going to be visible.

This type of welding is commonly used for aluminum and stainless steel metals. TIG welding is often used in the automotive industry, especially when the weld will be painted.  

TIG welding uses a constant voltage power supply. It’s used commonly when welding smaller pipes because of its precision.

MIG Welding

A closeup of MIG welding in progres. MIG welding is one of the types of welding

Metal Inert Gas is used in this type of welding. It’s the most common and the easiest to learn how to do. The external gas is used to shield the weld metal from things in the environment.

It allows the welder to operate quickly and reasonably continuously. The process involves a wire that feeds out of the welding gun. A spark comes from the end of the wire.

MIG welding is a more point-and-shoot process. It’s great for thicker metals. MIG also suits larger projects that need long continuous welding runs. It is perfect for projects using sheet metal.

Flux core arc welding is similar to MIG welding. It uses an electrode shielded from the air, making it a good option for outdoor use. The electrode is a hollow wire similar to a straw.  

A good welder can create beautiful smooth welds using a MIG welder. It takes experience and proper conditions. That’s another reason to find a professional shop to do your work. 

Stick Welding

A close up of stick welding.

Stick welding is the process most commonly used for more industrial welds. Stick welding will do the job when working on a bridge, outside storage tank, or pipeline. 

Stick welders are also great for structural steel, repairing farm equipment, and shipbuilding. If you want to weld sheet metal, use a TIG or MIG welder.

It’s great when the metal is not ideal because it can create a good bond in more challenging situations. It’s also the simplest setup of all the welding systems. Stick welding isn’t as neat as other welding methods.  

It uses a constant voltage power supply, similar to TIG welding. 

You can weld steel, stainless steel, nickel-based alloys, and chrome. You can also bond stainless steel to regular steel.

Stick welding is also your best choice for very thick metals of 1/16 inch or more. When the project is outdoors or in a drafty area, this is the welding process that suits your needs.

Stick welding is sometimes referred to as shielded gas metal arc welding. It’s also called manual metal arc welding. It’s good to know the terminology when you talk to professionals.

Decide Which Type of Welding is Right For You

A diagram Stick, Gas, MIG and TIG welding systems.

Understanding which welding process you need to use is the first step. Several factors come into the decision-making process.  

The first thing to consider is the type of metal you are working with. Thickness is one factor to think about, as some welders work better with thinner metals than others.

Is the weld going to be visible? Some welding techniques are better suited to surfaces that will be painted, such as automobiles.

The location of your project can influence which type of welding to consider. If the work can be done indoors in a professional shop, you have more options to choose from.

Finally, your budget might affect your decision.

We can help you consider all factors, so your project will be successful. 

Elemet Provides All Types of Welding

A finished weld

When you need quality welding, you want professionals. 

When you’re investing money in a project, you want to know the work will last. Hire our experienced team, and we will guide you in making the best choices for your welding project.

At Elemet Manufacturing Inc., we are focused on solutions to your manufacturing needs. To ensure your welds are strong and dependable, choose us for your welding project.  

Contact the experts at Elemet Manufacturing Inc.

Categories
Waterjet Cutting

Plasma vs. Waterjet Cutting

If you need to have raw materials cut, you have a few different options for cutting methods. Two of the most popular methods for cutting raw materials are plasma cutting and waterjet cutting. Elemet Manufacturing offers the cutting services you need to accomplish any job.

Elemet Manufacturing is located in Aiken, Minnesota. Formed by combining the forces of Precision Waterjet Concepts and Aitken Iron Works, Elemet Manufacturing can meet all of your cutting and machining needs. 

Elemet offers CNC machining, CNC milling, turning, threading, 5-axis waterjet cutting, welding, painting, and other complementary services.

Elemet Manufacturing offers state-of-the-art waterjet cutting that can handle even the most challenging jobs. Elemet provides two options for waterjet cutting, CNC abrasive waterjet cutting, and pure waterjet non-metal cutting. 

CNC abrasive waterjet cutting is best for metals like stainless steel, carbon steel, aluminum, and titanium. Pure water non-metal waterjet cutting machines are best for non-metallic materials like plastic, foam, rubber, carpet, glass, marble, and stone.

What makes Elemet unique is its 5-axis waterjet cutting technology. Most waterjet cutters make flat cuts along three axes: X (left to right), Y (up and down), and Z (parallel). Elemet, on the other hand, can achieve precise, intricate 3D cuts by cutting along five axes.

In addition to the X, Y, and Z axes, Elemet waterjet cutting machines can also cut along the A-axis, which rotates around the X-axis, and the B axis, which rotates around the Y-axis.

Elemet’s 5-axis waterjet cutting machine can even cut stainless steel by combining high-velocity water with an abrasive material. 

Elemet’s state-of-the-art machines can cut metal at two to four times the speed of traditional machining. If you’re interested in cutting services from Elemet, complete an estimate form.

Depending on your job, either waterjet or plasma jet may be the best option for you. Read on to learn more about waterjet vs. plasma cutting to choose the best cutting method for you.

Waterjet Cutting

A waterjet cutting machine cutting out small, particular shapes.

With waterjet technology, a machine uses a mixture that usually includes water and some abrasive material. The machine forces this ultra high-pressure water mixture along a designated path, thus cutting the raw material.

To achieve this mixture, the abrasive material (very often garnet) travels through a line into the mixing component of the machine. In the mixing component, the abrasive mixes with water. From there, the machine sprays out the mixture with ultra high pressure, exceeding 50,000 psi. 

This process creates a cutting stream that sprays out of the tip of a ceramic nozzle. The cutting machine moves this nozzle along a path designated by the machine’s software and at an appropriate cutting speed for the material.

Plasma Cutting

A plasma cutting machine

Rather than using water and abrasive materials, plasma cutters rely on gas (often nitrogen, argon, or oxygen) and electricity to achieve precise cuts. Plasma cutting machines force gas through a small opening at extremely high pressures. Once forced through this opening, the gas meets with electricity that travels through the cutting nozzle. 

During this process, the gas is heated to such a high temperature that it becomes plasma. Given its high temperature, the gas can melt raw materials, blowing away excess materials and leaving a precise cut.

Comparing Waterjet to Plasma Cutting

Professionals in the cutting industry consider waterjet cutting to be more precise than plasma cutting—waterjet cutting results in higher cut quality across a variety of materials. 

Most waterjet cutters can cut at a precision of +/- .005 inches (although some are even more precise than this). Unlike some plasma cutters, the cutting speed can be adjusted on waterjet machines, leaving a smoothly finished surface that does not require secondary machining.

Plasma cutters can also create smooth finishes, although their precision of +/- .01-.03 inches is markedly less than waterjet cutters. 

The thicker the material, the less precise and clean the cut will be when you’re dealing with plasma cutting machines. The high-temperature plasma cannot always melt through thick materials without creating unwanted slag along the cut.

Another difference between waterjet and plasma cutting involves materials. Plasma cutters are limited to cutting metals, including steel, stainless, and aluminum. 

Plasma cutters are not recommended for cutting conductive metals because these materials do not cut well on the machine. Experts recommend plasma cutters cut through materials no greater than .5 inches thick.

Waterjet cutters, on the other hand, can cut through virtually any material. Waterjet cutting machines can handle hard materials, like steel, and can cut soft materials, like bread. Because waterjet cutters do not rely on heat to achieve cuts, they can cut through materials of considerably more thickness than what plasma cutters can handle.

Cost

High pressure waterjet aluminium cutting.

The determining factor between waterjet and plasma cutting is often the cost. For thinner, metallic materials, plasma cutting is often the quicker and cheaper option. 

However, when cutting thick and/or non-metallic materials, waterjet cutting is better and less expensive. Furthermore, waterjet cutting can eliminate the need for secondary machining, thus saving further on costs. 

Wrap-Up

A plasma cutter cutting out dragon shapes out of metal.

While there are many options for machine cutting, depending on the material and thickness of your job, the leading two technologies are waterjet cutting and plasma cutting. 

Waterjet cutting achieves precise, finished cuts by combining water with abrasive material and shooting a cutting nozzle at incredibly high velocity. On the other hand, a plasma cutter heats gases to very high temperatures and achieves cuts by melting the raw material.

When it comes to cutting services, Elemet Manufacturing cannot be beaten. Elemet offers state-of-the-art, advanced cutting technologies to meet all of your needs. 

With its innovative, 5-axis waterjet cutting system, Elemet can tackle jobs from dense stainless steel to pliable plastic and rubber. If plasma is more appropriate for your cutting needs, Elemet also offers plasma jet cutting services. 

To get started with Elemet, simply complete an estimate request. Once you complete this request, you should expect to hear from an Elemet Manufacturing representative. The representative will learn more from you about your job to determine the best cutting option for you. 

When you’re looking to achieve precise, finished, high-quality cuts across a variety of materials, turn to Elemet manufacturing.

Categories
CNC Machining

EMI MEANS QUALITY CNC MILLING MACHINE SERVICES

The most frequently used CNC machining service for metalwork is CNC milling machine services. Milling is a high-demand service for OEM’s due to their increased need for parts with geometric complexity. CNC milling tools perform drilling and cutting machining processes. CNC milling machines and tools are incredibly versatile and produce custom, precision parts for a wide variety of industries and applications.

Three things an OEM requires from a CNC Milling Machine service

Precise CNC Milling

 

Precision

Precision is essential to part quality. OEMs have specific tolerances, and design parameters that every part ordered must meet to fit smoothly into the overall project upon assembly. In addition, most parts require machining on multiple surfaces at various angles with precise dimensions. EMI’s team of highly skilled CNC craftsmen have the experience and expertise needed to produce close tolerance components with precision accuracy.

Speed and Efficiency

CNC milling machines are best suited for running parts in production quantities. A conventional CNC can sometimes take hours to set up. However, more modern CNC machines are designed to minimize setup time. A full-service CNC machining service such as EMI maximizes efficiency and minimizes operator error by investing in experienced craftsmen and modern CNC milling machines.

Quality control

All reputable CNC machining services check their parts. However, those CNC milling machine services that go above and beyond “checking” stand out from the rest. Having an ISO 9001:2015 certification helps ensure that products consistently meet requirements and quality is routinely managed.

Elemet Manufacturing machines custom CNC parts for clients of all sizes in a wide variety of industries. Our clients trust us to deliver high-quality parts that meet their precise specifications fast. Interested?

The CNC milling machine is the heart of the precision CNC machining process.

Man Programming CNC Milling Machine

One of Elemet Manufacturing’s core service offerings is CNC milling machine services. CNC milling machines use computerized controls and translated codes from CAD and CAM software to perform automated machining functions on the raw metal stock.  Metal sheets or blocks are placed in a vise on a table below a spindle that spins rotary cutting tools to remove excess material from the raw metal as it is fed into the milling tool.

The main parameter that determines the capabilities of a milling tool is the number of axes. A basic 3-axis CNC milling machine has three movement axes. X=Left to Right.  Y = Forwards and Backwards. Z = Up and Down. The three axes of motions let the spindle spin a cutter at high speed to carve away material to create unique shapes, slots, holes, and details in a part. The type of cutting tool defines the shape of the part.

Horizontal and Vertical Machining provide efficiency and speed.

Horizontal CNC Milling Machine

Many machine shops use only one type of milling center. Our horizontal and vertical milling centers provide very different sets of advantages. An OEM or designer’s project shape, part volume, and required machining features benefit from the versatility and efficiency of dual machining mill types. In addition, our vertical and horizontal mills transform complex manufacturing processes into a single setup providing faster turnarounds and cost-efficient CNC machined parts.

A Vertical CNC milling machine features vertically-oriented tooling with rotating cylindrical cutters that can move along vertical axes to make plunge cuts and drilling. It is instrumental in die sinking.  This design makes them suitable for end milling operations, which use tools with teeth on the periphery and face.

A vertical CNC milling machine is ideal for:

  • Box type parts, such as gearboxes, spindle boxes, and gear pump shells
  • Complex curved parts, such as cams and mold cavities
  • Specialty or irregular parts, such as brackets and braces

Horizontal CNC milling machines have horizontally oriented tooling with rotating cylindrical cutters that can move along horizontal axes to create the shapes, slots, details, and holes of a part. As a result, they have faster processing speeds and can produce complex components in fewer operations.

A Horizontal CNC milling machine is ideal for:

  • Large or heavy parts with expansive surface areas
  • Specialty or irregular parts
  • Components that require machining on multiple sides
  • Applications that call for slots, grooves, pocketing, and facing

A 4-axis CNC milling machine service provides precision machining of complex parts. 

4-axis CNC Milling Machine

EMI offers 4-axis CNC milling machine services that can cut part geometry and complex or intricate shapes that other machining methods can’t match. By combining several stand-alone operations into one, the service can achieve:

  • Increased Accuracy
  • Reduced Part handling
  • Eliminating Multiple setups
  • Reduced Cycle time
  • More Efficient Production

The spindle head on a 4-axis CNC milling machine operates closer to the workpiece, which permits:

  • use of shorter cutting tools with less vibration
  • operation at higher cutting speeds
  • tighter tool movement
  • improved surface finishing

When a 3-axis CNC milling machine cannot accomplish the part complexity the client requires, a 4-axis CNC milling machine is an efficient, high-quality solution. 

Applications for CNC Milling Machine Services

CNC milling is especially valuable for producing large parts that demand significant floor space, such as aircraft and aerospace panels or components. It also supports projects for:

  • Commercial applications
  • Building and maintenance
  • Electronics
  • Medicine
  • Security
  • Recreation
  • Transportation
  • Automotive
  • Industrial and O.E.M. 

The Advantages of CNC Milling Machine Services

The most significant advantage of CNC milling machine services is processing almost any kind of metal material. CNC milling can process all types of steel, titanium alloys, aluminum alloys, tungsten, copper, bronze, and iron. Elemet Manufacturing Inc. offers cost-effective, quality CNC milling machine solutions. EMI provides:

  • Production of complex parts
  • Cost-effective prototyping
  • Short-run production
  • High dimensional tolerances
  • Smooth finishes
  • Variety of materials
  • Cost Efficiency
  • 100% quality
  • Quick turnaround times
  • Superior customer service

The key to fast, quality custom CNC milling machine services is working with the right partner.

Working with an experienced one-stop CNC machining services shop will provide you the most cost-efficient, quality custom CNC milling machine services for your project. Elemet Manufacturing Inc. is an ISO 9901:2015 certified one-stop machining company providing quality services.

We offer innovative solutions to the OEM industry and eliminate the need for external sourcing, saving you time and money. In addition to our CNC Milling Services, we provide:

  • CNC turning, threading, and machining
  • 5-axis waterjet cutting
  • Welding
  • Fabricating
  • Assembly
  • Inspection

We are part of the Elemet Group, offering innovative, one-stop metal fabricating, CNC machining, and industrial coating solutions since 1947. Our sister companies are:

We stake our reputation on providing the highest quality and customer service. Contact us today to learn more about EMI’s CNC milling machining services or receive a free estimate on your next CNC machining project.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories
Metal Fabrication

EMI = Precise Metal Bending

EMI uses a CNC brake press for Metal Bending. This process consists of bending and forming the metal into the desired shape.  In concept, metal bending and forming are simple. However, the actual process requires precision positioning of the tooling and workpiece material, combined with the proper programming of the CNC Press Brake, to achieve the precision bending and forming.

CNC Press Brake Metal Bending Services

CNC press brake

CNC press brake bending is one of the most common sheet metal fabrication operations. Also known as press braking, metalworkers use this method to bend a material into an angular shape.

Press brake metal forming services are used to form a piece of sheet metal along a straight axis into a V, U, or channel shape. The press brake uses specialized molded dies and a punch that helps form the shape of the sheet metal for specific design needs.

Press brake machines rely on high pressure to perform their work. As a result, they can shape most materials, including bronze, copper, aluminum, iron, steel, and composites.

The critical factors influencing the mechanics of bending and forming are the material, sheet thickness, width over which the bend or form occurs, machinery, tooling, and specific metal process.

We can take your custom prototype or design and bring it to life for your specific project and needs. With individual experience averaging over a decade, Elemet Manufacturing’s talented workforce takes pride in maintaining a level of quality second to none. Your products are bent and formed accurately, on time, with minimal distortion and maximum consistency.

The Metal Bending Machine Process

Metal Bending machine punch and die

Hydraulic press brakes work by clamping the workpiece or sheet metal between a matching punch and die. Once the workpiece or sheet metal is positioned underneath the press brake machine punch, the tool setter activates the machine. The press brake machine, using hydraulic pressure, pushes the punch down against the surface of the workpiece into the die, which shapes the workpiece.

Three Types of Metal Bending Services

Man Metal Bending sheet metal

There are three types of bending on a press brake. The relationship of the end tool position to the thickness of the material defines each type. These three types are air bending, bottoming, and coining.

1.    Air Bending

The flexibility and relatively low pressure required by air bending make it a popular choice. In the Air bending process, the metal workpiece does not touch the tooling parts entirely. The workpiece rests on 2 points, and a radiused tipped punch pushes the material into a die with a U or V-shaped channel to create the bend.

Air bending can produce different profiles and products using a single set of top and bottom tools and varying press-stroke depth. The bend’s angle is determined by how far the punch tip penetrates the “V” cavity. The greater the penetration of the punch tip, the greater the rise achieved. The stroke depth must be very accurate to achieve a quality bend.

Correcting the bend angle is simple. If the load is released and the material’s spring back results in a wrong angle, it is simple to adjust by applying some more pressure.

Advantages of air bending

  • Requires less bend force
  • Uses smaller tools than other methods
  • No retooling
  • Angle accuracy is approximately ±0.5 deg

2.    Bottoming

In the bottoming process, the metal workpiece is forced against the punch and the groove width opening in the bottom tool.  However, the two pieces do not make complete contact.

The optimum width of the opening (V) should be 6 to 12 times the sheet metal thickness (t) for sheets 3-12 mm thick. The bend radius should be at least 0.8-2t for sheet steel. Bottoming requires a different toolset for each bend angle, sheet thickness, and material.

Advantages of bottoming

  • greater accuracy
  • less spring back

3.    Coining

In the coining process, the top tool forces the material into the bottom die with high force, causing permanent shaping through the workpiece.

Advantages of Coining

  • Very little spring back
  • Can produce an inside radius as low as 0.4t with a V as high as 5t
  • High precision

Issues from Improper Metal Bending Services

Metal Bending tools

Metal bending and forming require proper positioning of the workpiece, the die, and the punch while precisely determining the bending radius, pressure, and clearance. Errors in positioning or bend calculations can result in poorly formed parts that may not fit well with other parts in the assembly process. Types of problems that can occur include:

  • Broken parts
  • A bending edge that is not straight and an unstable size
  • Cracks at the bending angles
  • A bending surface that is too thin
  • An uneven or bulging surface on the part
  • Misaligned holes in the part

Work with EMI for your Metal Bending Services

Man operating CNC Press Brake

Elemet Manufacturing (EMI) has various CNC Press Brake machines to handle any job, no matter the size. CNC technology allows us to provide press brake metal bending and forming faster, more accurately, and with reliable consistency.  Our machines include:

  • Accupress Mechanical 135-ton Press/Brake (10’)
  • Hydraulic 25-ton press
  • Hamilton 250-ton Press

EMI offers creative manufacturing solutions to our clients and eliminates having to work with several different partners, saving you time and money. In addition to our CNC Metal Bending Services, we provide:

  • CNC milling, turning, threading, and machining
  • 5-axis waterjet cutting
  • Welding
  • Fabricating
  • Assembly
  • Inspection

As part of the Elemet Group, we offer one-stop metal manufacturing, machining, fabricating, and coating solutions. Our other group company services include:

The Benefits of Working with Elemet Manufacturing

  • Competitive pricing
  • Fast production times
  • Reliable accuracy and consistency
  • Can produce one prototype or large production runs
  • All work performed under one roof

When you work with us, you are more than a client; you are a valuable partner. Our team at Elemet Manufacturing is happy to assist you with your project and will help you to determine the correct bending and forming method for your needs. Give us a call.

 

 

Categories
CNC Machining Metal Fabrication

Prototyping With A “Cold” Manufacturing Process

Choosing the right metalworking partner for cold-forming metal can be a critical decision. You rely on them to get a prototype produced. However, if you choose the wrong partner, there can be problems.

For instance, the inherent properties of metal present challenges. Metal tends to change its shape, area, volume, and density in response to a change in temperature. As a result, it may easily deform when being processed into your prototype.

To ensure complete satisfaction, you need to choose a CNC machining services provider with experience in the cold manufacturing process.

Because no heat is added to the material, cold-forming sheet metal allows for high speed, precision, and quality production. 

Elemet Manufacturing Inc. (EMI) has decades of experience. We’re an industry leader in custom, extensive work envelope CNC machining services for prototyping and production runs. 

Count on CNC’s machining processes to meet the highest standards of quality and efficiency for cold forming and prototyping. 

EMI is an ISO 9001:2015 certified company.

What Is The Prototyping Process 

workers examining prototype Bringing a new product to market involves the design, market research, and manufacturing of your product. 

Prototyping is the part of this process where a working model of the product is made and tested. A manufacturer can make a prototype from the same material as the end product. You can use an alternative material for the prototype for testing purposes.

A sheet metal prototype is a model of a metallic product. Your prototype is built according to your design to test your concept or process. In addition, it provides you with a physical sample that can be replicated. 

For your product to be a success, you need to start with an excellent prototype model. 

A Short Overview Of Metal Cold Forming Processes

Cold forming is the process of forging metal below its recrystallization temperature. It is shaped at near room temperature.

The scope cold forming uses is wide and varied. It includes complex shapes such as riveted joints, screw heads, threads, and a vast number of other applications.

Cold-forming techniques are often split into four categories: squeezing, bending, drawing, and shearing. 

The cold-forming process uses the pressure and speed of a mechanical or hydraulic press. The press takes a metal ‘blank’ (a flat piece of metal) and shapes it using a ‘punch’ and ‘die’ set. Basically, the punch is the tool used for shaping, and the ‘die’ is the clamp that holds the metal.

The metal blank will form around the punch as it’s hammered into the die. The blank takes the correct shape without material waste. 

This process is all carried out at room temperature and is known as cold forming or cold forming sheet metal.

Cold forming can be used on a variety of metals, including aluminum, copper, brass, steel, and stainless steel.

cold form process

Advantages Of Cold Forming Process For Prototyping 

The cold-forming process has several advantages, including higher production speed, minimal material waste, and a more robust end product.

High-Speed Production

Because high temperatures are not used on the metal material, cold-forming allows for high-speed production, around 100 parts per minute. In addition, the cold forming process eliminates the need for several additional machining operations. This reduces the time needed to complete the manufacturing process.

Little Material Waste

The high percentage of material utilization in cold-forming means that material waste is significantly reduced, if not eliminated.

Traditional metal manufacturing processes, due to offcuts, etc., can generate significant waste. For example, cutting, milling, and grinding can result in 80% or more of the original material being converted to waste.

In stark contrast, cold forming uses 100% of the original material.

Cold forming brings benefits that are both environmental and financial. There are considerable cost reductions that the process of cold-forming metal can achieve.

Stronger End Product

All the original material is used. The metal is stretched beyond its yield strength but with no adverse effect on its tensile strength. 

Because there is a restructuring of the material grain as the part is formed, the result is improved tensile strength. 

The metal becomes more rigid and stronger, much like a sawn piece of timber becomes stronger along its length.

cold forming threads

Disadvantages Of Using A Cold Forming Process

There are some disadvantages of cold forming sheet metal, including:- 

  • A more limited variety of metals for which the process is effective 
  • A lesser scope of shapes and forms that can be achieved 
  • Higher setup costs 
  • Greater manufacturer experience is required to be successful

Limited Metal Types

The main disadvantage of cold-forming sheet metal is that the process cannot be used for every type of metal. The reality is that some metals are more likely to crack. For instance, certain steel types with a .5% or above carbon content cannot successfully withstand the process. 

Limited Shapes And Forms

Another disadvantage is that cold forging can only create specific shapes. Those shapes are usually more basic and mass-produced. If you’re looking for a custom metal piece, a different process will probably work better for your desired outcome.

Higher Setup Costs

High production quantities are required to justify the high setup costs of cold-forming sheet metal. Quantities of 25,000 to 100,000 per year are needed.

Greater Experience Required

Compared to hot forming, the loads required to deform material are high and material deformability is low. A team with a  high degree of manufacturing experience is needed to achieve complex geometries.

What conclusion do you come to after this consideration of cold-forming and prototyping?

You can likely see the many advantages of cold-forming your prototype and have learned some potential pitfalls. Indeed, choosing the right metalworking partner for cold-forming metal can be a crucial decision. That’s particularly true if you rely on them to get a prototype produced.

For peace of mind, trust the expert team at Elemet Manufacturing to care for your cold forming and prototyping needs. Contact us today!

 

Categories
CNC Machining

5 Tips on How to Choose a Machine Shop

Good relationships are vital to the heart of all business. If you require a custom piece of machinery, you need to trust the shop that is in charge of manufacturing. Choosing a machine shop that is right for you can be the start of a valuable business relationship. 

With options available, it can be overwhelming to find a shop to meet your needs. The key to choosing the shop that’s right for you is setting your expectations first. 

In this blog post, you will find tips on choosing a machine shop that will put you first. Not only that, but you will have the machinery and skills needed to give you the product you deserve. 

Elemet Manufacturing specializes in metal turning services throughout the United States. Contact us today! 

machine shop

Choose a Machine Shop 

It is worth reiterating that any new business relationship should be researched and cautiously entered. Here are some of our tips to get the very best work available when looking for a reliable machine shop.

1. Reputation 

Good old-fashioned online reviews are an excellent way to begin your dive into a shop’s reputation. Not just paying attention to the rating given, but the comments left can also go a long way into giving you a peek into how they treat customers. 

It would help if you also remembered that one bad review out of several does not mean that you’ve found a lousy shop. You may want to research what clients they have had and possibly how long that relationship lasted. 

Longer relationships with customers can be a display of a great working relationship.

Word of mouth is also valuable. If you know someone that has used the shop you’re considering, ask them about their experience. You may also get to see firsthand the work completed. 

A high customer turnover rate or a lack of reviews can be a sign to proceed with caution. In most circumstances, clients will often want to praise good work. It’s a nod to the service received and a connection from one good business to another.

2 men watching CNC maching

2. Are their cards on the table?

When you have a meeting or consultation with the machine shop of your choice, you should be on the lookout for transparency. 

A good shop should share the following without hesitation: 

  • The shop’s failure rate and how they plan to fix errors. All shops have this rate, and owners should not hide it. 
  • Certifications: Certain skillsets and machine operations require certificates. Those should be available upon request. 
  • Have they dealt with a variance of projects and quantities in their shop?
  • They should have a plan on how to handle modifications if they are requested. 

No shop is perfect, and they should tell you how they deal with setbacks with production. Also, if they can do your job from start to finish. 

3. They have the right tools for your job.

Whatever your needs, the shop taking on your project should be able to do the job from start to finish. Before your initial meeting, consider researching the necessary machines for your job. 

Only doing part of the job and then going to another shop to finish can result in work that is not consistent and can waste time. It can also unknowingly increase your budget and draw out your timeline. Time is money, and needing both can throw a wrench into your plans. 

Upon your first meeting with the potential machine shop, they should tell you if your entire project can be completed in-house. 

4. Investing in the future and education are essential.

Shops that invest in their future plan on sticking around, often shown through certifications and having proper machinery. Having the correct credentials for machinists and up-to-date machinery shows they believe in their product.

Ask your contact what machines they have on the floor and if those same tools are used on the production and prototype runs. If they are not, then ask why and how does that change the product?

Certifications are also a good indicator of the priorities and quality of a shop. The certifications not only ensure that machinists know what they’re doing but that they will invest in their team.

5. Care and communication

No matter what the project or business, communication is vital. Going a step further, you should also feel that they care. The person set as your contact should be able to explain what is going on with your project at any time. 

If an issue arises, your representative should contact you promptly with how they will solve that issue. Online reviews and testimonials should speak to how well or poorly a shop has matters handled. 

The representative handling your project should also be well versed in what their shop offers. For example, Elemet offers laser and water jet cutting. Our representatives can explain the pros and cons of each as well as the differences

It is their job to guide you through the process of your project and provide transparency. In an ideal setting, this would include having one contact who knows your project. Having too many hands in the project can lead to confusion. 

male using machine shop tools

Putting it Together

As we’ve stated, choosing a machine shop isn’t a choice to be taken lightly. It’s a relationship that can last a long time, hopefully helping you invest in your ventures. 

Precision Waterjet Concepts and Aitkin Iron Works have joined forces to create Elemet Manufacturing. This merge has brought forward a shop that offers: 

  • Waterjet cutting
  • Welding 
  • CNC Machining
  • Metal fabrication and cutting services

Although we call Aitkin, Minnesota our home, we happily ship nationwide across the United States. Elemet Manufacturing has prided itself by specializing in precision work and putting our clients first. Contact us for a free quote; we can’t wait to work with you. 

 

Categories
CNC Machining Metal Fabrication

Metal Turning 101

Metal turning and spinning date back thousands of years. The first pictorial evidence that archaeologists uncovered in the tomb of the fourth-century Egyptian pharaoh Petosiris. The picture features an illustration of two men operating an ancient lathe. 

Technicians can do metal turning by hand, but most shops have incorporated mechanized lathes into their operations. Today, we’re going to look at an introduction to metal turning. We’ll cover questions like: What is metal turning? What metals can be turned? What can be formed through the process of metal turning? And more.

At Elemet Manufacturing, Inc., our experienced machinists and drafting technicians carefully match our technology with your design needs from beginning to end. You can rely on our metal turning processes to meet the highest-quality and most efficient standards. Contact us today!

metal turning machine What Is Metal Turning?

Turning is the most basic machining process. It is also the most common lathe machining operation

During the metal turning process, a cutting tool subtracts metal pieces from a rotating workpiece’s outer diameter. The main objective of metal turning is to reduce the workpiece to the desired dimensions. 

Turning can be on the external surface of the part or internally, also called boring. The material used in this production is generally a workpiece generated by other processes, such as casting, forging, extrusion, or drawing.

Metal turning is a form of machining. It is a material removal process used to create rotational parts by cutting unwanted material. 

The metal turning process requires a turning machine or lathe, a workpiece, a fixture, and a cutting tool. The workpiece is a piece of pre-shaped metal secured to the fixture. The fixture is attached to the turning machine and rotated at high speeds. 

The cutter is typically a single-point cutting tool connected to the device. However, some operations use multi-point tools. The chosen cutting tool feeds into the rotating workpiece and cuts away material in small chips to create the desired shape.

Turning produces rotational, typically axis-symmetric parts with many features, such as holes, grooves, threads, tapers, various diameter steps, and even contoured surfaces. Parts that are fabricated entirely through turning often include limited-run components, perhaps for prototypes. 

Metal turning is also commonly used as a secondary process to add or refine features on manufactured parts using a different approach. Due to the surface finishes and high tolerances that metal turning offers, it is ideal for adding precision rotational features to an element whose basic shape has already formed.

Now, let’s take an in-depth look at different types of metal turning and some complementary processes:

metal turning machine

Boring

Boring is the metalworking process of enlarging a hole already drilled (or cast) using a single-point cutting tool (or a boring head containing several such tools). Boring is commonly used to achieve greater accuracy of a hole’s diameter and can be used to cut a tapered hole. Boring is the internal-diameter counterpart to turning, which cuts external diameters. 

Chamfer Turning

Similar to step turning, chamfer turning creates an angled transition of a square edge between surfaces with different turned diameters.

Contour Turning

In a contour turning operation, the cutting tool axially follows the path using predefined geometry. Multiple passes of a contouring tool are necessary to create the desired shapes in the finished product. 

Drilling

Drilling is the metalworking process of removing material from the inside of a workpiece. This process uses standard drill bits held stationary in the tool turret of the lathe. Separately available drilling machines can do the procedure.

Facing

Facing in the context of metal turning work involves moving the chosen cutting tool at right angles to the workpiece’s rotation axis. Facing is performed by the operation of the cross-slide. The first operation is often performed in the workpiece’s production and frequently the last – hence the phrase “ending up.”

Grooving

In metalworking, grooving is similar to parting, but grooves are cut to a specific depth instead of severing the part entirely from the stock. Machinists can perform grooving on internal and external surfaces and the part’s face (also known as face grooving or trepanning).

Hard Turning

Hard turning consists of metal turning for materials with a Rockwell C hardness more significant than 45. It is typically performed after the workpiece has been heat-treated. The hard turning process tends to replace more traditional grinding operations. 

Hard turning is appropriate for parts requiring a roundness accuracy of 0.5-12 micrometers or surface roughness of Rz 0.8–7.0 micrometers. Hard turning applications include gears, injection pump components, and hydraulic components, among other applications. 

Knurling

Knurling is cutting a serrated pattern onto the surface of a part to use as a handgrip using a specific purpose knurling tool.

Parting

The parting process, also called parting off or cutoff, creates deep grooves that remove a completed or partially completed component from its parent stock.

Polygonal Turning

Polygonal turning is a turning process in which non-circular forms are machined without interrupting the raw material’s rotation. 

Reaming

Reaming is a sizing operation that removes a small amount of metal from a hole already drilled. Reaming is used for making internal holes of extremely accurate diameters. For example, a 6mm hole is made by drilling with a 5.98 mm drill bit and then reamed to precise dimensions. 

Spherical Turning

Spherical turning produces a ball shape on the workpiece.

Step Turning

The process of step turning creates two surfaces with an abrupt change in diameters between them. The finished product resembles a step.

Tapered Turning

Tapered turning produces a conical surface by gradual reduction or increase in diameter from a cylindrical workpiece. This tapering operation has a wide range of use in the construction of machines. 

Almost all machine spindles have taper holes that receive taper shank of various tools and work holding devices. Tapered turning produces a ramp transition between the two surfaces of the workpiece with different diameters. The result is due to the angled motion between the workpiece and a cutting tool.

Threading

Both standard and non-standard screw threads can be turned on a lathe using an appropriate cutting tool. Either externally or within a bore, generally referred to as single-point threading.

What Metals Can Machinists Turn?

Now that we’ve covered “what is metal turning,” let’s turn to what Machinists can turn materials, and they utilize several different metals in the metal turning process:

  • Ferrous metals, such as iron, steel, or cast iron
  • Aluminum
  • Brass and other copper alloys
  • Hi-temp nickel alloys
  • Titanium
  • Other non-ferrous metals

metal turning machine

Why Work With A Metal Turning Shop?

There’s no easy way to describe the benefits of high-quality, precision machining and its importance in today’s manufacturing economy. Hopefully, today, we’ve answered the primary question, “what is metal turning”? 

At Elemet Manufacturing, Inc., our experienced machinists and drafting technicians carefully match our technology with your design needs from beginning to end. You can rely on our metal turning processes to meet the highest-quality and most efficient standards. Contact us today!

 

Categories
Waterjet Cutting

7 Differences Between Laser And Waterjet Cutting

When it comes to the differences between laser and waterjet cutting, some nuances are important to know to determine the right custom manufacturing method. Both can each take the information from your 2D file to create your object. Both are also great for rapid prototyping or production. So let’s dig into those differences.

Elemet Manufacturing specializes in 5-axis waterjet cutting services. These 5-axis waterjets can handle large production runs but mostly serve our customers with quick turnaround services. Contact us today!

Laser Cutting

Laser cutting metal involves low risk, waste, and required clean-up. The use of laser cutting machines doesn’t generally call for safety goggles, even though it’s always good to wear some and be cautious.

However, for lasers to cut some materials, the dust and smoke produced can be slightly toxic, so it’s essential to have proper ventilation. Noise pollution is also very low with laser cutting.

After the laser cutting process, the machine doesn’t need heavy cleaning. The cutting waste is mostly dust that you can quickly vacuum. One of the main concerns linked to laser cutting is the thermal stress on the heat-affected zones.

To avoid thermal stress cracking, the technician can adapt the laser’s speed. Also, metals with higher reflectivity, such as brass and copper, are more efficiently processed.

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Waterjet Cutting

Waterjet cutting is a subtractive manufacturing technique. It uses pressurized water focused on a tiny point to cut the material. The pressure can be as high as 60,000 pounds per square inch (4137 bar). The operator can mix the water with an abrasive such as garnet, which increases its cutting possibilities (more materials, closer tolerances).

Waterjet cutting is widely recognized as a complementary tool to other cutting processes. Waterjet cutting systems can use “just water.” Depending on the material, use a combination of water and an abrasive, normally garnet.

With either method, waterjets cut materials using an erosion process. 5-axis waterjets are flexible tools that can cut virtually any material at any thickness. This flexibility expands the breadth of projects that a job shop or other business can perform. Waterjets can cut stainless steel one minute and plastic the next. Also, waterjet cutting works on laminated material.

Waterjet cutting can involve more risks, higher noise pollution, and higher clean-up. Indeed, the waterjet cutting process can be extremely noisy and requires ear protection.

Protection is necessary against the pressurized waterjet (specific gear, covers, safety glasses). Moreover, the waterjet cutting area gets quite messy, with large quantities of cutting waste caused by mixing water and abrasives.

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The Differences Between Laser & Waterjet Cutting

Determining whether to use lasers or waterjets for your next project will depend entirely on your specifications. For each project, you’ll need to ask yourself several questions, including:

  • What materials will you be cutting?
  • What is the thickness of your materials?
  • What sort of edge finish and tolerance does your task require?
  • Will heat impact the part?

Let’s look at some of the main differences between laser and waterjet cutting more closely:

Engraving / Cutting Capability

A laser can engrave as well as cut material. Waterjets only allow for cutting. Laser engraving is advantageous if you want to directly add serial numbers, assembly marks, or aesthetic designs.

2D Or 3D Designs

Waterjet cutting, particularly 5-axis waterjet cutting, can handle 3D cuts. Laser cutting can’t.

The Materials Each Can Cut

Laser and waterjet cutting can each cut difficult materials. Laser cutting can cut all plastics, glass, woods, and metals, excluding highly reflective metals. Indeed, metal laser cutting is doable, and you can laser cut stainless steel, aluminum, or mild steel, for example. 5-axis waterjet cutting machines can cut all materials.

The Thickness Each Can Cut

Laser cutters can cut thick materials. The optimal thickness range is 0.12″ to 0.4″ (or 3 to 10 mm). A waterjet cutting machine can cut denser objects, the optimal thickness being 0.4″ to 2.0″ (10 to 50 mm).

The Level Of Precision

Laser cutting can be more precise than waterjet cutting machines. The minimum width of the cutting slit is 0.006″ (0.15 mm) for laser cutting and 0.02″ (0.5 mm) for waterjet. As for their processing tolerance, it is approximately 0.002″ (0.05 mm) for laser cutting and 0.008″ (0.2 mm) for waterjet cutting.

The Potential Damage To The Material Being Cut

Each technique poses its problems when it comes to part integrity. Indeed, laser and waterjet machines can cause a little damage to the material during the cutting process.

Laser cutting can cause burn marks on the material and darken the cut’s sides. In many cases, a little cleaning can remove the burn marks. As for the darkening, it merely needs to be taken into account when thinking through your object’s design. You can potentially play on the contrast of colors between the colored faces and the black sides.

On the other side, as a cold cutting process, waterjet cutting doesn’t require heat. Still, it applies very high forces on the material, which can pose problems, especially for small parts. They might get deformed or even not cut.

The Work Environment

While waterjet cutting is a relatively clean process, laser cutting can cause smoke and sparks in the environment. Proper ventilation and safety equipment are always a good idea.

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When Your Project Calls For Waterjet Cutting

We’ve looked at the many differences between laser and waterjet cutting to help guide you to the best method for your project!

To sum up, laser cutting can offer higher precision, is more fitting for detailed objects, or is preferred when you require engraving. Alternatively, waterjet cutting can cut through thicker sheets and has virtually no material restrictions. It also doesn’t cause heat-affected zones on the materials cut.

Elemet Manufacturing specializes in 5-axis waterjet cutting services. These 5-axis waterjets can handle large production runs but mostly serve our customers with quick turnaround services. Contact us today!