CNC Machining Blog

Improving Workpiece Surface Finish

Posted by Mike Cope on Fri, Jun 27, 2014

As machinists we apply our skill, knowledge and experience to produce the best looking and most accurate parts that we can. We take a great deal of pride in the products that we produce, and we want others to see that pride in the finished product. But what do we do when we aren’t getting the results that we want? When dimensionally the parts meet blueprint specifications, but the surface finish and overall appearance is less than desirable? When this happens we need to go back the basics and ensure that we are using the best machining practices that we know to be correct.

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Tags: Aerospace & Defense, history of machining, 5-Axis Machining, Milling, Manufacturing Industry Insights, Mill Tooling, Turning, Lathe Tooling, Tool & Die, Mold Making, Prototype Machining, High Speed Machining

Sandvik Suggests Five things to consider when tooling up for 5-axis

Posted by Mike Cope on Fri, May 09, 2014

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Tags: 5-Axis Machining, Milling, Manufacturing Industry Insights, Mill Tooling, Turning, Lathe Tooling

CNC Lathe Considerations: bed design

Posted by Mike Cope on Thu, Feb 13, 2014

In the last article we discussed the questions that you should be asking yourself when buying a CNC lathe, and we discussed some of the common terminology associated with turning. In this article I would like to build on the topic of purchasing considerations, and want to discuss the ins and outs of the two main bed designs – the true slant bed and the flatbed “flying wedge” configurations.

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Tags: history of machining, CNC Control & Software, Manufacturing Industry Insights, Turning, Lathe Tooling

CNC Lathe Considerations & Terminology

Posted by Mike Cope on Wed, Jan 22, 2014

When purchasing a CNC lathe, there are several questions that you need to ask yourself before you begin the process. Some of these questions will be quite obvious: How much axis travel do I need? What size chuck should I look for? How many tool stations are on the turret? What is the spindle bore size? Etc... However, there are other specifications that are just as important, but not always so obvious: What is the maximum swing distance that my work will require? What is the maximum turning diameter necessary for my family of parts? What kind of spindle horsepower and torque will my type of work consume? The first set of questions above is relatively easy to answer, but the second group requires a better understanding of lathes in general.

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Tags: NC / G-Code Programming, Manufacturing Industry Insights, Workholding, Turning, Lathe Tooling

Mill-Turn Turret Shootout: VDI vs. BMT

Posted by Mike Cope on Tue, Sep 03, 2013

A few months ago I published a two-part series on the basics of mill-turn technology, where I covered topics such as: axis configurations, the orientation of live tooling holders, mill-turn terminology, instances when a Y-axis might be necessary, etc… In today’s article I want to discuss the differences between the driven tool mounting configurations, and offer my opinions on the benefits and challenges associated with each one.

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Tags: WinMax Conversational Programming, Manufacturing Industry Insights, Mill Tooling, Workholding, Turning, Lathe Tooling

Resources You Can Use: a list of helpful shop products

Posted by Mike Cope on Fri, Jun 07, 2013

As machinists we are all aware of the standard tools of our trade; however, there are other non-standard tools available - that not everyone is aware of - that could be very helpful in our day-to-day life in the shop. Just like any other industry, if there is a time consuming and mundane procedure that must be completed, you can bet that somewhere there is someone who has already invented a tool or device that would make that task easier…if we only knew where to go to find those tools.

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Tags: 5-Axis Machining, Milling, CNC Control & Software, Manufacturing Industry Insights, Mill Tooling, Workholding, Turning, Lathe Tooling, Prototype Machining, Automation

Mill Turn Technology: understanding live-tool orientations

Posted by Mike Cope on Tue, May 21, 2013

In the last blog article we touched on the basics of mill-turning technology. Today I would like to build on that basic foundation. One area of confusion to many operators is tooling – especially the tool holder orientation descriptions (radial tools vs. axial tools). Hopefully we can clear that up a little bit for some of you who struggle with it. I would also like to discuss the use of different tooling options to conserve turret stations when running parts that have lots of features and cutting operations. Machining intricate parts without running out of tooling stations is a common struggle when creating parts on a mill-turn machine.

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Tags: WinMax Conversational Programming, NC / G-Code Programming, CNC Control & Software, Manufacturing Industry Insights, Turning, Lathe Tooling

An Introduction to Mill-Turn Technology

Posted by Mike Cope on Mon, May 13, 2013

On a pretty regular basis I am asked to explain something pertaining to live tool machining on a lathe - or Mill-Turn as it is commonly referred to in the industry. Even people with a CNC turning background are sometimes a little confused and can find their understanding a bit cloudy…especially in the areas of tooling, and when the use of an additional Y-axis is necessary. In this article I will try to shine some light on the basics of live tool machining, and the application of the optional Y-axis. In a future article, I will discuss tooling, toolholders, tool orientations, and the differences between VDI and BMT turrets. 

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Tags: Manufacturing Industry Insights, Turning, Lathe Tooling

Deep Holes in Half the Time: with Modulation Assisted Machining (MAM)

Posted by Mike Cope on Thu, Apr 18, 2013

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Tags: CNC Control & Software, Manufacturing Industry Insights, Turning, Lathe Tooling

The Hurco blog - an introduction

Posted by Mike Cope on Wed, Oct 17, 2012

​Hello, and welcome to the Hurco blog. I will be updating and posting something new each week on a variety of different subject matter: high-speed and 5-axis machining, workholding, the latest control technologies, and Hurco tips-and-tricks…just to name a few.

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Tags: Energy, Aerospace & Defense, Medical, Automotive, 5-Axis Machining, WinMax Conversational Programming, NC / G-Code Programming, Milling, CNC Control & Software, Manufacturing Industry Insights, Mill Tooling, Workholding, Turning, Lathe Tooling, CAD/CAM / Post Processor, Tool & Die, Mold Making, Prototype Machining, High Speed Machining, Automation