by Peter Jacobs, via OSG USA blog
There are almost as many distinct variations of CNC tools as there are finished products that could be milled. If you are familiar with the functions these tools perform, it will be much more straightforward for you to select the ones appropriate for the project you are working on.
When it comes to the amount of time it takes and the quality of the work to be produced, choosing the appropriate cutting tool for your CNC milling machine, the material, and the type of milling can have a significant impact.
So here is a list of prominent milling tools utilized for CNC cutting.
Different types of CNC milling tools make it feasible to achieve the highest level of product customization. While cutting into and shaping different types of materials, several tools are employed.
The tool that should be utilized to cut also gets decided by the finalized design of the cut. Aside from these factors, specialists choose their tools based on how well they match the required speed with the desired finish.
Depending on the ultimate purpose of the completed product, one of these two considerations might take precedence over the other.
The top 7 milling tools for CNC cutting are:
1. End Mills
There are numerous kinds of end mills, each of which is designed for a particular kind of cutting. All end mills cut at an angle of ninety degrees.
A center-cutting end mill is what's required to make a vertical cut. These mills can cut both the center and the margins of the workpiece.
Non-center cutting end mills feature a hole in the middle of the tool and only contain cutting edges mostly along the ends of the mill. Since roughing end mills have fewer flutes than standard end mills, they are the tools of choice for making the initial cuts in a workpiece.
You will need finishing end mills with additional flutes to obtain a design similar to the part you want to produce. It will enable you to deliver a component that is cut with immense precision.
The tool employed on a project will vary depending on several factors, the most important of which is the number of flutes and the material of its composition.
The production of end mills typically involves the use of cobalt, high-speed steel, and carbide as raw materials. More details about the different types of mills (as per their material) are given below.
End mills may perform a wide variety of cuts, the type of tool used depends on the type of cut being made:
2. Face Mills
This tool is primarily used to create a level surface on a solid portion of the material. As the first step in milling, this is often performed on the top of the stock to smooth it out. The cutter inserts in a face mill's sole body can be changed for specialized cutting tasks. You would require more cutters to remove metal at a faster rate.
3. Twist Drills
Drill bits resemble end mills in that they have a conical cutting tip on the end of a shaft with one or even more flutes. Twist drills are often made from solid carbide or High-Speed Steel (HSS). The drill's hardness, wear resistance, and lifespan can be improved by applying a gold-colored coating, such as TiN.
4. Fly Cutters
Fly cutters are considered the best to create a fantastic surface finish. The clockwise motion of these cutting tools produces a mirror-like finish on the material.
5. Center Spotting Drills
These stocky tools first construct a precise conical hole to avoid the drill bit from drifting during a cutting operation and end up drilling the hole at an incorrect site. Screw clearance holes and counterbores can be drilled with the same tool thanks to multi-function drills that spot and countersink.
Reamers are mainly utilized to enlarge the existing holes in compliance with the tolerance while providing a superior surface finish. They help you ensure the accuracy of the roundness and diameter of a drilled hole.
For reamers to work, a pilot hole of roughly the same diameter as the final product must first be bored.
7. Taps and Thread Mills
Taps are tools used to cut threads into the interior of a material. Yet not every thread is produced by a cutting procedure. By applying pressure, Roll Form taps get inserted into holes, and the surrounding material is shaped to fit them.
Thread mills are similar but can be employed to cut internal or external threads.
The key to successfully machining products and components is selecting the appropriate CNC tool. Learn how each one functions, and keep in mind the use of the most beneficial ones in your manufacturing facility.
About the Author
Peter Jacobs is the Senior Director of Marketing at CNC Masters. He is actively involved in manufacturing processes and regularly contributes his insights for various blogs in CNC machining, 3D printing, rapid tooling, injection molding, metal casting, and manufacturing in general.
Technical Blog courtesy of Techniks USA
Edited and amended by Bernard Martin
If you work in the metalcutting, signmaking or cabinet making manufacturing industry, the term “collets” is already very familiar to you.
There are many types of collets used in many different industries and applications. This article is focused on collets used in rotary tool holders found in CNC milling machining centers and CNC Routers and also used in CNC Lathes and Swiss Style CNC's.
Let's cover the basics:
What are Collets?
Collets are the critical connection between the cutting tool and the tool holder, also called a collet chuck. Most collets are round, cone-shaped, and slotted. Collets encircle the cutting tool shank to evenly distribute holding power around its center bore.
Before getting too deep into the technical aspect of collets, It's going to be helpful to anyone new to the use of collets to understand the basic anatomy of collets and of a collet chuck system.
How Collets Work
The tapered collet base is made to fit into the collet pocket of the collet chuck body. The free release locking tapered (16°included, 8° per side) design of the collet base and collet pocket allows the collet to be centered in the pocket as it is pushed in by the collet nut on the lead face during setup.
This centering effect enables the collet to achieve a high degree of accuracy (concentricity); much more than drill chucks and side-lock style end mill holders.
As he collet nut is tightened down on the collet, it is pushed into the pocket collet chuck pocket. The slots in the collet allow the I.D. bore to collapse and apply clamping pressure to the cutting tool shank. It's essentially a spring that is compressed tight around the shank of the cutting tool such as a drill or end mill.
The result is a very strong and rigid clamping force on the cutting tool. Since the collet base is tapered to match the collet pocket, tool runout (T.I.R.) is reduced.
Total indicator runout (TIR) is a term often used in manufacturing, especially when dealing with rotating parts such as cutting tools, particularly endmills and drills. TIR is defined as the difference between the maximum and minimum values measured across an entire rotating surface about a reference axis.
By, Kathrin Rehor, Corporate Communications, Mapal
Compared to conventional metal designs, parts made of carbon fibre reinforced plastics (CFRP) are considerably lighter with the same load capacity. This offers great advantages – and not just in the aerospace industry. Low weight, high strength and low mass forces are also important in numerous other fields of application.
CFRP is increasingly being used in racing cars, high-end bicycles or sports equipment, in machine engineering and for handling equipment or robots. As a development partner, MAPAL supports the development and implementation of turnkey processes with a high level of process expertise and an extensive range of tools.
We are a specialised industrial service provider with a wide range of technical products as well as services and solutions. The area of composites covers a wide range of semi-finished products through to complex three-dimensional component geometries made of GRP and CFRP“, explains Wulf Wagner, Product Manager of the Composite Technology business unit at ERIKS Deutschland GmbH.
Particularly for products as these, customers expect support in the joint development of innovative solutions. Thanks to its exceptional engineering department, the company also designs, calculates and manufactures complete CFRP components for its customers as prototypes or in series.
CFRP moulded parts are created from „prepregs“.
This semi-finished fibre product is already impregnated with a suitable resin that has not yet cured. In series production, the compression moulding process presses prepregs, which have been laid on top of each other, into mould halves with appropriately designed geometries.
The hot tool cures the resin and a component with the contour of the desired part is produced. However, five-figure sums have to be invested in the metallic mould halves. This cost barrier is proving to be a drawback for many potential users who may only need one or a few parts
In order to offer customers a cost-effective alternative, especially in the start-up phase of a development, the standard insert material EPRATEX_CFS 100 was developed, as Wulf Wagner explains.
The same prepregs are used for this. The uniformly 100 mm thick panels are available in dimensions up to 350 x 500 mm.
The random orientation of the fibres in the material means that the properties are largely isotropic. The validated manufacturing process ensures reliable compliance with the properties specified in the data sheet for the structural design.
Variations in dimensions, thickness and matrix system are possible on request. By machining on suitable machining centres, any desired number of pieces can be produced, from individual parts to small series.
Wanted: a turnkey machining process
“While there are numerous suppliers of CFRP laminate panels with low wall thickness on the market, 100 mm thick panels are special”, says Sven Frank, Global Head of OEM Management at MAPAL. However, since machining CFRP is not that simple, ERIKS was looking for a turnkey validated and optimised machining process.
Wulf Wagner came into contact with MAPAL. In addition to an extensive range of tools for machining CFRP workpiece materials, the precision tool manufacturer has a high level of expertise in process design and implementation.
“What’s more, our research and development centre, which is eminently equipped both technically and in terms of personnel, can do test machining”, explains Frank.
He emphasises: “MAPAL is happy to contribute all these resources to development projects that we conduct jointly with customers.”
In doing so, the company is ready to take on any challenge. The test component chosen by ERIKS is a bracket in standard geometry from the Euro Gripper Tooling (EGT) system, which is used in large quantities in the German automotive industry in an aluminium design.
The RCG Omega bracket is 30 per cent lighter and enables significant advantages in the design of Euro Gripper Tooling (EGT) systems.
Special demands for the tools
“The carbon in the carbon fibers of CFRP sometimes has diamond-like structures. Uncoated solid carbide tools cannot withstand this extremely abrasive material for long”, explains Dr Oliver Pecat, Team Leader for Aerospace Development at MAPAL.
“Within one metre of milling path in a full cut, the cutting edge radius of a freshly ground solid carbide milling cutter skyrockets from 2 µm to 15 or 20 µm, while the cutting forces triple.”
More cost-intensive tools with PCD (polycrystalline diamond) inserts hold up better but leave the tool designer with far fewer degrees of freedom in the geometry.
For CFRP machining, MAPAL thus prefers diamond-coated solid carbide tools. MAPAL has been producing the extremely hard and abrasion-resistant CVD coating used in this case in-house since the beginning of 2021.
“In total, we’ve designed the machining of the ERIKS bracket with ten tools”, says Pecat. “In addition to the EcoFeed face milling cutter with PCD milling inserts, various versions of the OptiMill-Composite-Speed solid carbide milling cutter in a roughing-finishing design and the MEGA-Drill-Composite-UDX are used, all of which are proven and process-reliable tools in the machining of composite materials.”
With MAPAL to the optimum machining process
The project allowed the R&D department to make full use of its extensive capabilities to design and validate an optimal machining process: the CAD geometry data was transferred with the aid of two of the four CAD/CAM programmes available in-house – Siemens NX and Solidcam.
The developers carried out all the machining processes in comprehensive application simulations. Machine properties and clamping situations were taken into account.
The development of the process steps was iterative – idea, simulation, test and evaluation. “The successful completion of the development opens up a market with a lot of future potential for both ERIKS and MAPAL”, concludes Sven Frank.
Special features of CFRP machining
“CFRP workpiece materials behave totally differently to metals during machining because the carbon fibres break brittly”, says Tizian Gühna, CAD/CAM programmer at MAPAL.
With metals, the heating of the workpiece is largely based on the energy absorption through plastic deformation of the chips before breaking off. The carbon fibres in the CFRP workpiece break completely brittly as soon as the stress in the material exceeds a critical point.
Hardly any heat is generated in the process. Consequently, the cutting speed can easily be increased to high values as soon as the other parameters of the process are set. Of course, the rigidity of the machine and the clamping setup as well as the avoidance of vibrations have to be taken into account.
Parts for numerous high-tech sectors
“In aircraft construction, there is a great demand for carbon-fibre parts that have been produced using validated processes”, says Dr Peter Müller-Hummel, Component Manager for Aerospace and Composites at MAPAL.
Particularly in the interior of passenger aircraft, there are countless parts with medium to low safety classifications such as seat fasteners, cable holders and pipes.
These often have to be adapted during the development and testing of a new aircraft, which results in a large demand for parts in smaller quantities. Müller-Hummel also sees a high demand for small series parts in a host of other sectors such as the automotive industry, machine engineering or medical technology, where the EPRATEX_CFS 100 panel material is ideal.
“Highly satisfied” with MAPAL as an innovation partner
“We’d been in contact with MAPAL for years and had successfully worked together to solve a wide range of tasks”, Wulf Wagner recalls. This means that there was a solid foundation of trust.
This time, too, things went quickly after the initial contact: within just two weeks MAPAL had decided not just to tackle the project, but also to give it high priority.
At the working level, communication with the various specialist departments and the employees there went very smoothly right from the start. The goal was achieved in the gratifyingly short time of only two and a half months.
“That’s why we’ll certainly be knocking on their door again for future development projects”, Wulf Wagner sums up.
Jack Rushlander, Jergens Technical Sales Manager discusses layout and planning techniques for 5-axis machining centers.
Jack talks about how advancements in 5 Axis CNC machining technology has changed dramatically in the past 20 years. Dynamic Work Offsets and other capabilities have made workholding easier but also given shops even more opportunities to to improve process and reduce cycle time.
Check out the video below and see how Galactic Widget Company tackles the workholding of a Thingamajig.
OptiMill-SPM: High Performance Mills for the High Volume Machining of Aluminium Structural Parts
MAPAL has developed a new range of aluminium roughing mills
In the aerospace industry, aluminium structural parts, such as wing parts and frame elements are generally milled from solid material. A buy-to-fly ratio of 22 (95 %) is not uncommon here.
New machine generations that have sufficient drive power and the necessary spindle speeds make the high-performance machining of aluminum parts cost effective. MAPAL has developed a new range of aluminium roughing mills especially for these machines.
The OptiMill-SPM (structural part machining) high performance mill is equipped with a cutting edge that makes up 60%-80% of its diameter. This represents the maximum contact depth for the high-performance milling of aluminum.
Thanks to a highly positive cutting edge geometry and optimised chip flutes, the cutting force of PCD mills is reduced by up to 15%. Even when milling on standard machines, this reduction in cutting force results in more efficient machining parameters, and hence in improved performance.
The bottleneck form of the mill prevents the tool from bending during the machining process. Another advantage of this stable design
is the clearance that is created between the wall of the part and the mill shank. This prevents chips from scratching the wall of the part, particularly if it has deep pockets.
OptiMill-SPM tools with internal cooling are available in a solid carbide design with a diameter range of 6 to 32 mm or in a PCD design with a diameter range of 6 to 50 mm as part of the standard range. The range of products also includes variants with the well-known CFS replaceable head system.
OptiMill-SPM Roughing Tool Features in Detail
More Designs for Roughing
Mapal's FaceMill-Diamond-ES & NeoMill-T-Finish exact an optimum surface finish for every quantity of parts
With an extensive and diversified range of tools for reaming, drilling and milling and many years of process experience, MAPAL places a huge focus on aluminium machining.
Two new products address additional customer requirements:
Both of these increase economic efficiency in aluminum milling applications.
FaceMill-Diamond-ES – the versatile PCD face milling cutter is ideal for small quantities
The milling cutters have fewer cutting edges than the established FaceMill-Diamond tools, making them a more cost-effective and an “Economical Solution”. With a diameter of 50mm (1.96"), for instance, the FaceMill-Diamond-ES has five cutting edges, while the classic FaceMill-Diamond has twelve. Another difference is the area of application: The FaceMill-Diamond-ES is suitable for shoulder milling, trimming and machining thin-walled parts, as well as face milling.
The new milling cutter is available in the diameter range of 32mm(1.26") to 80mm (3.15"). Dimensions have not changed in comparison to existing FaceMill-Diamond models. Accordingly, it can be used directly in existing production, if, for example, the larger chip space of the new tools should be used. Cutting depths of up to 10 mm are easily possible.
All milling cutters in the FaceMill-Diamond-ES series can be reground and re-equipped. They are exclusively available as milling cutters for arbor mounting.
NeoMill-T-Finish – finishing aluminium with indexable inserts
With the new system, customers can also use other cutting materials in addition to the PCD-tipped inserts, depending on application and workpiece material, such as uncoated carbide or carbide with CVD diamond or PVD coating. This means the optimum cutting material can be used for aluminium workpiece materials with different silicon content and casting processes (sand casting, pressure die casting and permanent mould casting).
The indexable inserts each have up to four usable cutting edges. An optimum version is available for every customer and every requirement, offering maximum economic efficiency and process reliability.
A patent-pending insert arrangement system is what makes the new milling cutter unique. The main inserts, which perform stock removal of up to 2.5mm (0.98"), are attached to the circumference. A wide finishing insert arranged axially is responsible for the ability to reach surface roughness levels of Rz = 1.5 µm.
The innovative system enables homogeneous wear and tear on the cutting edges: Thanks to the special arrangement of main inserts and wide finishing inserts, all main inserts have the same feed per tooth, smooth running for good surface quality and no burr formation.
The resulting longer tool life is reflected in a lower cost per part with a high level of process reliability.
Each tool is adapted specifically to the customer’s requirements. Maximum economic efficiency and productivity are the top priority. The tool body is usually made from steel. If weight restrictions are in place, MAPAL manufactures the tool body in aluminum or with a weight reduction bore.
The NeoMill-T-Finish can be configured in the diameter range from 50mm (1.97") to 315mm (12.4") and can be ordered as a monolithic unit or an adaptive unit for milling holders with arbor.
Cutting speeds of up to 6,000m/min (236,220IPM) and feed rates of 2.5mm (0.98" IPR) per revolution are possible in use.
Andretti Autsport Reduces Set-Up Time by 80% with Big Kiaser Unilock Workholding
Charlie Mitchell, machinist for Andretti Autosport, discusses how Unilock pallets reduced his setup time by as much as 80%.
Hoffman Estates, IL - The BIG KAISER EWA Automatic Fine Boring System from BIG DAISHOWA performs closed-loop boring operations without a human operator. This breakthrough eliminates the need to stop the spindle to manually adjust the boring tool, which results in considerable time savings. Also, eliminating human interaction reduces cost, improves accuracy, and minimizes scrap. The adjustment range of this fine boring head allows for the handling of multiple bore sizes with the same tool and ensures a repeatable boring process.
The EWA fine boring head is available in two sizes, one with a boring range of Ø2.677"-5.276" (Ø68-134mm) and the other with a range of Ø.394"-2.126" (Ø10-54mm). EWA kits are also available for each of these head sizes. These can include inserts, insert holders, a controller, antenna and protective case.
The EWA can be used on machines with BT/BBT30-40-50, CV/BCV(SK)40-50, BIG CAPTO 5-6-8 and HSK-A63-80-100-125 spindles. The Automatic Fine Boring System can be integrated in three primary configurations: fully integrated, PC control, or tablet control.
A fully integrated system has the EWA control software running directly on the machine tool control via an app or technology cycle, requiring no external control device. The fully integrated system can only be integrated on new machine tools.
For legacy machines, a PC interface between the machine tool and the EWA can provide a fully automated, closed-loop control cycle. Commands are sent from the machine tool to the EWA, automatically adjusting the tool in synchronization with the machining process.
The PC acts as a synchronization interface between the machine tool and the EWA. It stops the machining cycle after the touch probe makes a measurement, reads the result and sends the corresponding adjustment value to the EWA. After the EWA has been adjusted, the PC notifies the machine tool to continue the process.
The EWA can also be operated as a standalone tool, controlled manually with the BIG KAISER app on a tablet or smartphone. This enables the option to measure bores using an in-machine probe or manually, and to make fast adjustments in the app. Adjustments also can be done semi-automatically, where the head will move to pre-entered diameter values after a stoppage.
To see the EWA Automatic Fine Boring System and other innovations from BIG DAISHOWA, visit booth #431610 at IMTS.
Technical Support Blog
At Next Generation Tool we often run into many of the same technical questions from different customers. This section should answer many of your most common questions.
We set up this special blog for the most commonly asked questions and machinist data tables for your easy reference.
If you've got a question that's not answered here, then just send us a quick note via email or reach one of us on our CONTACTS page here on the website
Our technical section is written by several different people. Sometimes, it's from our team here at Next Generation Tooling & at other times it's by one of the innovative manufacturer's we represent in California and Nevada.
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