The tensile qualities of metal make it one of the most exacting materials to work with. This difficulty also poses a significant challenge to producing detailed and accurate components. Traditional methods just couldn’t keep up with the tighter tolerances that modern engineering calls for.
This is where CNC milling techniques come in. Today, it is among the most common metal-working industrial processes. While others, such as laser and plasma, represent cutting-edge technology, they can’t simply stand up to the capability and complexity a CNC mill can deliver.
To best understand CNC milling techniques, let’s take a look at what it is and how to use them. When you need accurate production on complicated designs or have a fabrication issue that needs to be solved, contact Elemet Manufacturing. We provide innovative solutions for manufacturing problems of all shapes and sizes.
What is CNC Milling?
CNC milling is a machining process that uses computer-controlled rotary cutting tools to remove material from a workpiece. The milling process can be used to create custom parts and prototypes from a variety of metals and other materials.
CNC milling machines are generally more accurate and efficient than traditional machining methods, and they can be used to create complex shapes that would be difficult or impossible to produce with other methods.
CNC milling is an essential machining technology for the modern manufacturing industry.
CNC Milling Techniques
As you can expect, there are various ways in which a CNC machine can achieve the various designs you create. You begin with a computer-aided design (CAD) or 3D model of the component you want.
The software then translates the model into a machine-readable form, which the Computer Numerical Control reads. The CNC mill carries out the instructions and uses different paths and movements to achieve the product. To accomplish your goal, a CNC machine may use the following techniques.
1. Surface or Plain Milling
As the name suggests, the CNC machine employs various tools to subtract material from the surface of the item it is machining. During this process, the mill’s rotation axis moves parallel to the work item.
The type of tool you use depends on the outcome you are expecting to achieve. If you’re looking for a quick outcome, use a wide cutter to remove material from the workpiece quickly. The result, however, may not be the finish you are looking for.
To get a finer finish, it’s best to utilize a tool with finer teeth. You end up using fast cutting speeds and slow feed rates. The outcome is well worth the effort.
2. Face Milling
When using the face milling technique, the machine’s rotational axis will be perpendicular to the surface of the workpiece. The tool faces the workpiece face down for the express purpose of removing material from it.
It would be best if you relied on face milling for more intricate contours with a fine finish. The results tend to be superior in comparison to plain milling because the side teeth do the cutting while the tip teeth do the surface finishing.
3. Angular Milling
The cutting tool in this technique faces the workpiece’s surface at an angle. If your design has angular cuts such as dovetails or grooves, then this technique will take care of them quite easily.
If you’re using a 3-axis mill, putting different cutters should be the way to go. You can count on dovetail cutters to attain angled grooves and a conical cutting head if you’re looking for chamfering.
4. Form Milling
Form milling is your go-to technique when you want to get radii, counters, or curves. You employ different cutting tools to achieve specific accuracy for each detail you’ve worked into your design. Therefore, you spend less time switching between cutting heads.
Done right; you can realize the non-flat cuts in a single session. The tools can help you obtain various outcomes, such as round edges and recesses. They’ll need to be the appropriate tools to attain the result you want as accurately as possible.
5. Profile Milling
For concave or convex designs, it takes a three-step process to get desirable outcomes. These are rouging, half-finishing, and final finishing. For a proper profile milling session, use round inserts for the roughing and then ball-nose end mills for the semi-finishing and finishing steps of the process.
Do You Need Advanced CNC Machining Services?
Then look no further than Elemet Manufacturing Services. We have been a market leader in providing innovative solutions for problems facing manufacturers all over the globe. We are a joint venture between Precision Waterjet Concepts and Aitkin Iron Works that merged; we provide you with over 100 years of experience.
Not only do we provide advanced CNC machining services, but we also offer 5-axis waterjet cutting, painting, welding, and other solutions. Our combined knowledge and experience make us a manufacturing powerhouse.
Let our team solve your manufacturing problems. Get in touch with us today.
Metal fabrication is the process of cutting, forming, and assembling metals to create structures or individual parts. The cutting process involves using tools to remove material from the workpiece and can be done either manually or with a machine.
Welding joins two pieces of metal together and can be done using various methods such as oxyfuel welding, tungsten arc welding, and resistance welding.
CNC milling is a machining process that uses computer-controlled cutting tools to remove material from the workpiece. The metal fabrication process includes additional steps such as surface finishing, heat treatment, and assembly.
The following is a brief description of various metal fabrication processes and a more in-depth look at when to use CNC milling.
Contact Elemet Manufacturing to learn more about the wide range of metal fabrication services available, including precision waterjet cutting, welding, and CNC machining.
Metal cutting is a manufacturing technique that uses a sharp tool to remove material from a metal workpiece. You can use this method to create everything from simple objects like coins to complex pieces like car engine components.
In most cases, the metal workpiece is a sheet that is first cut into smaller pieces using a saw or laser cutter.
Once you have cut out the desired shape, the parts are welded or fastened together to create the final product. Metal cutting is an essential manufacturing technique used in many industries.
Folding requires shaping a metal surface at a specific angle. It is one of the most challenging methods of fabricating metal components. It is a technique unique from metal bending and limited by geometry and tonnage.
Intricate, acute bends are often not possible as the folding beam has to be able to reach the bend without running into other surfaces on the component. When a folding machine cannot exert enough force, that is when a press brake comes into play.
Metal folding is frequently used in the manufacturing of automotive parts, food packaging, and appliances. It is an efficient and cost-effective way to create strong and durable products.
Welding is a metal fabrication process that involves joining metal parts together by heating the materials to their melting point, which fuses them when cooled. Several different welding methods include laser welding, TIG welding, MIG welding, and stick welding.
Each method has its advantages and disadvantages, and the best choice for a particular project will depend on the material selection, the desired strength of the joint, and the budget.
Machining involves removing material from a workpiece to create the desired shape or finish and is performed using various tools, including lathes, mills, and routers. Machining is generally divided into two categories: subtractive and additive.
In subtractive machining, material is removed from the workpiece, while additive machining, on the other hand, involves using 3D printing technology to build up the desired shape layer by layer.
This method uses a drill to punch holes in metal placed beneath a die by drilling through it. The circumference of the drill must be small enough to fit appropriately through the die for the punch to be effective.
The scrap slug produced as a result of the operation may be thrown away or recycled. Slugging is another name for stopping short of punching through the metal when making things out of metal.
Shearing is when sheet metal is cut into pieces using power-driven blades. It is commonly used to cut metal plates, sheet metal, or metal tubing. Shearing is a quick and efficient way to produce parts with a high degree of accuracy.
However, it can also produce burrs and sharp edges, which you must remove before having a usable piece. Metal shearing is an important process in many industries, including automotive, aerospace, and construction.
The metal stamping process is a manufacturing method that uses dies to form complex parts from sheet metal. In contrast to punching, the goal is typically to form a shape in the metal and not punch through it.
The process can produce varied shapes and sizes and is well suited for mass production. The metal stamping process is an efficient way to create parts with complex shapes from sheet metal.
Casting is a process in which you heat metal until it liquefies and pours it into a mold. The metal takes the shape of the mold as it cools, and once it has cooled completely, you break the mold to reveal the finished product.
Casting is often used to create metal objects with complex shapes that would be difficult or impossible to create using other metal manufacturing methods. You can also use casting to produce large metal objects relatively quickly.
What is CNC Milling?
CNC (computer numerical control) milling gradually removes material from the workpiece using rotating multi-point cutting tools and digital controls. This technique creates a specific part or product tailored to the customer’s specifications.
This method can machine many materials, including metal, plastic, glass, and wood, and create a vast range of goods and parts with unique designs.
CNC milling, drilling, turning, and others are mechanical processes in which material is removed from the workpiece mechanically, such as by the actions of the milling machine’s cutting blades. CNC milling technology is one of the most dependable ways to make parts from various materials.
Benefits of CNC Milling
The most notable benefits of utilizing CNC milling technology are outlined below.
Manufacturing parts precisely to specifications is one of the main benefits of using CNC milling machines. The danger of real-time human error, common in manually run machines, is eliminated by CNC mills.
CNC mills depend on pre-programmed computer instructions, which can be reviewed and checked for accuracy before production. You can form complex pieces accurately with tolerances as tight as 0.004mm.
Conventional milling machines may require an operator to change the cutting tools manually depending on the work required. It is time-consuming and ineffective because it allows for human error during the changeover procedure.
On standard CNC mills, rotating carousels can usually store up to 30 different tools. These instruments are automatically replaced on the spindle during machining operations, allowing you to complete cutting activities more quickly and accurately.
Automated tool changeovers and pre-programmed instructions can reduce fabrication time from days to a few short hours.
Wide Range of Material Options
CNC mills are compatible with many materials, including plastics, metals, and composites. If you have blocks of the material to mill, CNC mills will have no trouble with it.
High Rate of Production
Because CNC milling is an automated operation, the cutting tool can transition through procedure steps more quickly than humans. The actual cutting rates are limited by the design and materials used. It still creates a higher output rate than most other manufacturing methods.
CNC milling is an accuracy- and speed-oriented technique that you can use to produce parts with complex shapes. It is also relatively affordable, making it a popular choice for both prototyping and low-volume production runs.
When choosing a CNC milling service, it is important to consider the accuracy and speed requirements of the project, as well as the cost. By carefully selecting the right CNC milling service provider, it is possible to produce high-quality parts at a reasonable price.
Choose the Right Method for Your Project
Metal fabrication requires sophisticated tools and expertise. Elemet Manufacturing has developed expertise in many metal fabrication techniques for various commercial and industrial applications.
Call us today if you need more information about a specific metal fabrication method or want to know which one is appropriate for your project.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
Building and maintenance
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
High dimensional tolerances
Variety of materials
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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. 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.
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:
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.
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!
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:
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.
Similar to step turning, chamfer turning creates an angled transition of a square edge between surfaces with different turned diameters.
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 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 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.”
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 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 is cutting a serrated pattern onto the surface of a part to use as a handgrip using a specific purpose knurling tool.
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 is a turning process in which non-circular forms are machined without interrupting the raw material’s rotation.
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 produces a ball shape on the workpiece.
The process of step turning creates two surfaces with an abrupt change in diameters between them. The finished product resembles a step.
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.
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
Brass and other copper alloys
Hi-temp nickel alloys
Other non-ferrous metals
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!
Fifty years ago, machinists were responsible for crafting every single manufactured piece to perfection, and these hand-crafting skills are still needed today. But when it comes to producing the same piece at high volume and with high precision, computerized machines are vastly superior. That’s where CNC machining services enter the picture.
At Elemet Manufacturing, Inc., our experienced machinists and drafting technicians carefully match our technology with your design needs from beginning to end. We promise our CNC machining services meet the highest-quality and most efficient standards.
Our CNC machining center can handle tapping, drilling, countersinking, and other operations – all in one shop. Contact us today!
What Is CNC Machining?
A (Very) Brief History
John T. Parsons is considered the pioneer of “numerical controls,” the precursor to today’s CNC machines. Parsons needed to manufacture complex helicopter blades and quickly realized that the future of manufacturing was connecting devices to computers. Parsons was dubbed “The Father of the Second Industrial Revolution” to work on these controls.
CNC Machining Today
Today, we find CNC-manufactured parts in practically every industry.
The term “CNC Machining” is commonly used in industrial and manufacturing applications, but precisely what is a CNC machine?
CNC machining systems use computers to run programs that control how they shape or finish the desired parts.
These CNC programs can control everything from the machine’s motions to spindle speed, turning coolant on or off, and much more. Manufacturers can use this technology to perform a range of complex processes, including grinding, routing, milling, punching, turning, and lathing. With CNC machining, machine shops can accomplish complex three-dimensional cutting tasks with a single set of prompts.
Most people choose machined parts when manufacturing requires high precision, high quality, or when the materials are particularly tough and hard to work. CNC machining services revolutionized the manufacturing industry in the 1960s and is the most used method today.
CNC machining is suitable for various industries, including aerospace, agriculture, and construction. It can produce multiple products, such as airplane engines, automobile frames, garden tools, hand tools, and surgical equipment.
The process encompasses several different computer-controlled machining operations — including mechanical, chemical, electrical, and thermal processes, removing the necessary material from the workpiece to produce a custom-designed part or product.
What Are The Different Types Of CNC Machines Used In A Machining Shop?
The earliest numerical control machines date back to the 1940s when motors controlled the manufacturing tools’ movement. As these technologies advanced, engineers enhanced these mechanisms. First with analog computers, and then ultimately with digital computers, leading to today’s CNC machining.
The vast majority of today’s CNC machining arsenals are entirely electronic. Some of the most common CNC-operated processes include ultrasonic welding, hole-punching, and laser cutting.
Milling is a process that employs rotating multipoint cutting tools to remove material from a workpiece. The CNC milling machine typically feeds the workpiece against the cutting tool in the same direction as the cutting tool’s rotation.
Basic mills consist of a three-axis (X, Y, and Z) system. Most newer mills are more advanced and can accommodate three additional axes. Some of the more common CNC-operated capabilities include hole-punching, laser cutting, and ultrasonic welding.
In lathe machines, the workpieces are cut in a circular direction. With CNC technology, cuts are made with precision and high velocity.
CNC lathes produce intricate designs that wouldn’t be possible on manually run versions of the machine. The control functions of CNC mills and CNC lathes are similar. However, most CNC lathes consist of only two axes — X and Z.
In a plasma cutter, the material is cut with a plasma torch. This process is generally applied on metal materials but can also be employed on other substrates. The plasma is created through compressed-air gas and electrical arcs to cut metal, producing the necessary speed and heat.
In CNC machining, waterjets are machining tools that cut hard materials, such as granite and metal. These cuts can happen with high-pressure water applications or, in some cases, the water is mixed with sand or some other potent abrasive substance. This process shapes many factory machine parts.
Waterjets are a cooler-temperature alternative for materials that cannot bear the heat-intensive processes of other CNC machines. Waterjets are used in various sectors, such as the aerospace and mining industries, where the process is powerful enough for carving and cutting.
Waterjets are also used for applications that require intricate cuts in material.
Turning is a machining process that employs cutting tools to remove material from a rotating workpiece. The CNC machine – typically a lathe or turning machine – feeds the cutting tool linearly along the rotating workpiece’s surface.
It removes the material around the circumference until the desired diameter is achieved. Turning produces cylindrical parts with external and internal features, such as slots, tapers, and threads.
How Do CNC Machines Make Parts?
CNC machine systems make it possible to program the machining tools’ speed and position and run them via software in repetitive, predictable cycles. This can all happen with little to no involvement from the machine’s human technicians.
Best of all, CNC machining services are by no means static since newer prompts can be added to pre-existing programs through revised code.
A very simplified peek into the process looks like this:
#1 – Design The Ideal Part
Designers use CAD software to design a 2-D or 3-D model of the part you need. CAD stands for “Computer Aided Drafting.” Therefore, CAD software is like drawing software that lets you precisely specify the dimensions for each part you need.
The optimal material for a CNC manufacturing application is mainly dependent on the particular application and its specifications. Most materials can be used, provided that they can withstand the machining process. This is demonstrated with sufficient hardness, tensile strength, shear strength, and chemical and temperature resistance.
The workpiece’s physical properties determine the cutting feed rate, depth of cut, and optimal cutting speed.
Cutting speed refers to how fast the machine’s tool cuts into or removes material from the workpiece, measured in “surface feet per minute.”
The feed rate calculates how quickly the workpiece feeds towards the machine tool in inches per minute.
Cut depth is how deep the tool cuts into the piece.
Typically, each workpiece will first undergo an initial manufacturing phase. It is measured to the approximate, custom-designed shape and dimensions. The workpiece undertakes a finishing step in which it experiences slower feed rates and shallower cut depths to achieve its more precise and accurate specifications.
#2 – CNC Programming
Engineers then use CAM software to convert the CAD model into a “g-code.” G-code is the language used to program the CAD model design into a CNC machining system.
#3 – Machine Setup
In this third step, the machine sets with work-holding, proper tooling, and the g-code program and tool data; loaded to prepare the machine to manufacture the part.
As part of this setup, the operator will also need to tell the machine where “Part Zero” is. Part Zero refers to the axis position that corresponds to 0, 0, 0 in the part’s CAD model.
After the program is inputted and the material is chosen, the operator gives it a “trial run” (or creates a prototype) to ensure no mistakes are present in the coding.
#4 – Machining The Parts
With the programming done and the machine set up, it’s time to manufacture the parts.
Advantages Of CNC Machining Services
As with the birth of any new technology, we must anticipate shifts and adjust to meet new challenges. This has never been more true in the manufacturing industry, as manufacturing and automation advancement and 3-D printing continue to progress.
Increased Productivity & Efficiency With Continual Use
Unlike manual labor, CNC machinery (of course, barring any malfunction or maintenance issue) can work continuously over an extended period without a break. This dramatically increases productivity and efficiency.
Consistency, Precision, & Redundancy
Through computer software, the design of any given product only needs to be fully programmed once. The manufacturing machine can then perfectly replicate that design for any order quantity. Adjustments made with programming require little to no effort to perfect any part.
Because computer software controls CNC machining services, fewer technicians are needed for operation and oversight, cutting overall expenses.
The software can be reprogrammed quickly and efficiently to produce many parts, allowing operations to keep up with shifting customer needs and demands.
CNC technology uses computer precision to go beyond the limitations of manual drafting and crafting capabilities. More complex and intricate operations are also possible with CNC machining.
Why Work With A CNC Machining Shop?
Extreme precision demands CNC machining.
There’s no easy way to describe the benefits of high-quality, precision machining and its importance in today’s manufacturing economy.
While conventional machining methods are acceptable for some industries, other industries require tolerances of +/- .001″ or tighter. Often, thousands or tens of thousands of identical parts are needed for a single order. This need is close to impossible without CNC’s repeatability.
Any industry that relies on precisely-machined parts uses CNC machining services to create custom machined parts from raw materials, fabrications, or castings into individual components.
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 CNC machining processes to meet the highest-quality and most efficient standards. Our CNC machining center can handle tapping, drilling, countersinking, and other operations – all in one shop. Contact us today!