In February of 2013 I posted an article titled: “5-Axis…it just ain’t that scary”, and to date it has been one of the most popularly read articles in my blog series. So, I thought I would expand on that article a little bit, and dive a little deeper into what can be done with 5-axis technology…and show how even the advanced features of 5-axis really aren't anything more than multi-axis common sense, when you break it down.
Hurco recently partnered with Modern Machine Shop magazine for an educational online 5-axis webinar, called: “Take Five for 5-Axis”. It was very well received by everyone who attended, and the feedback afterward was outstanding. In this webinar, I try to present this information in a very simple way, and attempt to explain things in a manner that even those who have no history of 5-axis machining can understand it. After all, that was the intention…to educate and teach!
Hi...I'm Maggie and I'm hi-jacking Mike's blog this week. As the Product Technical Specialist, Mike visits shops throughout the USA. Last month, he got stuck in the Northeast during one of many snow events that region has experienced. When he got back to the office, he told us about his trip and I thought it would be good information to share with his readers.
When people hear the term “automation”, it usually conjures visions of high production processes, where shops are running hundreds of thousands of the same part. But in today’s ever-changing and increasingly competitive industry that is not always the case. Just like many small job shops have begun to migrate toward 5-axis machines to increase multi-sided part efficiency, those same shops are also beginning to move toward automation to help them increase profits and impact their bottom line.
To understand and begin this migration toward automation, you first must understand and “buy-in” to the ideas of standardization and palletization. Winning in the game of “high-mix, low-volume” part manufacturing means reducing spindle downtime, and the first step towards winning that battle is standardizing your setup process. …after all, at the end of the day you can only invoice for the parts that you have completed. So reducing the idle time between jobs is a crucial step to getting more done in a typical eight hour shift.
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.
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 CNC 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.
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.