DEPTH OF CUT COLUMN
by Jack Burley, President and COO at BIG KAISER Precision Tooling Inc.
It’s time for machine tool builders and machining companies to shelf the long-standing ISO 1940-1 standard in favor of ISO 16084:2017. Not only is balancing tools rarely necessary, it can also be risky.
A lot of conflicting information has circulated over the years about balancing tools. As an author of the new standard for calculating permissible static and dynamic residual unbalances of rotating single tools and tool systems – ISO 16084:2017 – allow me to clear some things up and, hopefully, make life a little easier for you.
Since its institution in 1940, the G2.5 balance specification has been widely accepted across the industry; i.e., “it’s how things have always been done.”
However, machines were much slower 80 years ago. Back then, the most advanced machines would have spun larger, heavier tools at a maximum speed of about 4,000 RPM. If you applied the math from those days to today, you’d get unachievable values.
For example, the tolerances defined by G2.5 for tools with a mass of less than 1 pound rated for 40,000 RPM calculates to 0.2 gram millimeters (gm.mm.) of permissible unbalance and eccentricity of 0.6 micron. This isn’t within the repeatable range for any balance machine on the market.
Similarly, application-specific assemblies, for operations like back boring and small, lightweight, high-speed toolholders, can’t be accurately balanced for G2.5.
Machine tool builders rely on an outdated number, too, often basing spindle warranty coverage on using balanced tools at very specific close tolerances. While it’s true that poorly balanced tools run at high speeds wear a spindle faster, decently balanced tools performing common operations won’t wear spindles or tools drastically and deliver the results you’re looking for.
While it’s true that poorly balanced tools run at high speeds wear a spindle faster, decently balanced tools performing common operations won’t wear spindles or tools drastically and deliver the results you’re looking for.
A Little Lesson About Forces
This all begs the question: When do you need to take the time to balance holders? I would argue that tools require balancing only if they’re notably asymmetrical or being used for high-speed fine finishing. Here’s a rule I’ve long followed: If cutting forces exceed centrifugal forces due to unbalance, high-precision balancing isn’t needed because the force required to balance the tool will most likely be less than cutting forces.
At that point, aggressive cutting – not unbalance – is going to damage the spindle.
Unbalanced tools are also blamed for issues that turn out to be misunderstandings about a machine’s spindle. I’ve visited shops with new high-speed spindles that had trouble running micro tools over 15,000 RPM. They rebalanced all the tools on the advice of their machine tool supplier, but to no avail. It turned out the machine was tuned for higher torque and higher cutting forces. Before going to the effort of balancing toolholders, work with your machine builder to understand where a spindle is tuned.
Not only is balancing tools rarely necessary, it can also be risky. Our inherently asymmetrical fine-boring heads are a good example. Because we balance them at the center, a neutral position of the work range, you lose that balance if you adjust out or in.
To adjust, you’d typically add weight to the light side, which can be a problem for chip evacuation and an obstructor. Or you can remove weight from the heavy side, but that means you have to put some big cuts on the same axis of the insert and insert holder, ultimately weakening the tool.
In longer tool assemblies, common corrections made for static unbalance can also cause issues. It happens when a toolholder is corrected for static unbalance in the wrong plane; i.e., adding or removing weight somewhere on the assembly that’s not 180 degrees across from the area where there’s a surplus or deficit.
Once the tool is spun at full speed, those weights pull in opposite directions and create a couple unbalance that often worsens the situation.
A Cautionary Tale
If you do go down the balancing road, you’d better know where you can modify tools, what’s inside, how deep you can go, and at what angles. Whether you’re adding or removing material on a holder, I highly recommend consulting the tool manufacturer for guidance first.
As a cautionary tale, consider a customer who was attempting to balance a batch of our coolant-fed holders. Based on the balancing machine, the operator drilled ¼-inch holes at the prescribed angle into the body of the holders. Not realizing what was inside, he drilled into cross holes connecting coolant flow and ruined several holders.
Tooling manufacturers are doing their part to avert disasters like this. For most, simple tools like collet chucks or hydraulic chucks are fairly easy to balance during manufacturing. We account for any asymmetrical features while machining and grinding holders and pilot each moving part, ensuring they’ll locate concentrically during assembly. These measures ensure the residual unbalance of the assemblies is very, very low and eliminate the need for balancing.
Decades of the same standards have conditioned us to think a certain way about balancing tools. While it seems logical that every tool must be balanced, it’s just not the case: Many issues attributed to unbalance aren’t caused by unbalance, and the risks of balancing every single tool often aren’t worth the reward.
Save your balancing time and resources for high-speed fine finishing. If you do have work where balance is crucial, consider how the tools you buy are balanced and piloted out of the box and/or consult your partners before making any modifications.
A guest blog from BIG KAISER.
High-speed machining started getting popular in the ‘90s, especially in aerospace where they replaced fabricating processes with machining monolithic parts like wing struts from billets. Machine tools capable of spinning cutting tools at tens of thousands of RPM made it easier to produce these parts quickly.
Like machines, holders adapted. The centrifugal forces they had to manage in order to keep tools cutting correctly became extreme. The toolholding systems available at that time were found not to be as effective as the shallower 1-to-10 taper ratio of the German hollow taper shank, hohl shaft kegel (HSK) in German. The HSK has since been standardized to ISO specifications (12164-1, -2).
HSK is now available in several sizes and forms to fit with small to large machines. For the most part, the market has settled on the form A for general milling. It has been adopted in Japan, North America and Europe and is truly one of the only worldwide-side toolholder standards. Form E or F is for high-speed machining. The forms have different features depending on the standard they follow.
In the end, to achieve efficient tool life, proper finish and productivity in high-speed work, holders need to be as rigid, compact and short as possible to keep the whole assembly stable.
What to know when choosing a high-speed tool holder
When it comes to balancing holders, the quality G2.5 is widely used in the industry and is described in the ISO 1940-1 (issued in 2003) standard. However, this quality class is often over-specified and is in many cases not economically or technically feasible, especially when applied to smaller and lighter tools. Standards often applied to tools are more suited for rigid rotors and are practical in a broader use for balancing.
However, it cannot be applied to a complete system of spindles, tool holders and tools adequately and within technical constraints. For example, a tool to be compliant will have to be balanced to less than 1 gmm/kg at a speed of 25,000 rpm, which in turn corresponds to a mass eccentricity of less than 1 μm. This allowable tolerance is less than the interchange accuracy for even HSK, essentially negating all the costs and time for balancing the tool to such a strict tolerance.
For this reason, all BIG KAISER tool holders are balanced according ISO 16084 (issued in 2017) specifically developed for rotating tool systems. ISO 16084 focuses on the interaction between spindle and tool factoring in the allowable load on the spindle bearings generated by the tool’s imbalance. This load must not exceed one percent of the dynamic load capacity of the spindle bearings.
According to ISO 16084, the allowable unbalance tolerance is specified in [gmm] and is not expressed using a special quality grade [G]. In conclusion, BIG KAISER does not indicate any G-values for balancing quality, but rather the maximum rotational speeds of the individual tool holder.
The BIG Kiaser MEGA holder program includes a variety of styles that can be used up to 40,000 RPM. They guarantee 100 percent concentricity and runout accuracy down to .00004" at the nose. They are built specifically to withstand speed and forces required in today’s high-throughput environment.
For more information on BIG KAISER's approach to balancing tool holders, click here. To learn more about our high-performance tool holders here.
We are very excited to announce that we are now able to offer on-site technical training to YOUR machinists at YOUR location! This is offered at no charge to customers who use any of the manufacturer's whom we represent in California and Nevada.
However, just because you don't purchase things from us, don't feel left out! We also offer on-site topic specter training on any of the following topics for $150/hour.
Each presentation lasts about 2 hours. The presentations last approximately 45-60 minutes with the remaining time for Q&A and discussion about unique applications in your facility.
Training Classes Available:
Advanced Part Manufacturing:
Our most widely used finish boring system, BIG KAISER Series 112, features a high precision boring head with a center-mount boring bar or boring bar/insert holder combo with a predefined fixed offset designed to bore one specific size.
Although the BIG KAISER system provides a multitude of standard components to create the ideal combination of boring bar and insert holder – you may not always have the ideal combination at your disposal. Don’t fret – that is the beauty of the system.
The total boring range of your assembly is reached through radial adjustment of the bar. However, when doing so, there is still always the consideration of balance while assembling the tool. As logic would tell you, the farther away from the boring head’s centerline you offset the boring bar, the greater the unbalance. This affects not only the performance of the tool, but more importantly, the results. And this is especially true for deep hole boring.
To get the greatest productivity and flexibility from the BIG KAISER 112 boring system, we recommend replacing the fixed bar & insert holder with a radial adjustment bar & insert holder which keeps the bar at centerline at all times. This allows for different boring ranges to be reached, all while keeping the tool as balanced as possible.
In this video, Matt Tegelman, Applications Manager and BIG KAISER Product Manager, walks you through the process of adjusting the fixed boring bars and inserts holders. And if balance is a concern, utilizing the radial adjustable option, Matt demonstrates how to properly center the boring bar on both a tool presetter and in a machine spindle, and finally, how to fine-adjust to the desired diameter.
by Bernard Martin
We often run end mill "tests" to determine which tool performs best. Obviously, our goal is to "win' the test and get more business for our manufacturer's. This is article is about one our "tricks" and it's also why we represent both cutting tool manufacturers and rotary tool manufacturers. We want to make sure that the products work together.
As a general rule most cutting tool & tolholder manufacturers prefer to use single angle (ER/DR style) collet chucks for general purpose cutting tool applications under 1/2" (12mm).
The rules are a bit different in High Speed Machining, as there are many more things to consider, but the problems of TIR at high speeds, where you can hear and feel the chatter, are still there in general end mill cutting operations at lower RPM.
It's all boils down to runout and uneven chip load.
One of the big differences between HSK, short taper toolholders is the way the tool fits into the machine tool spindle. HSK uses a simultaneous fit between the short taper and the face of the spindle. The connection is very rigid. HSK provides dual contact between the spindle face and taper while a conventional V-taper only makes taper contact.
A standard V-taper tool system is designed to make contact along a fixed taper in the machining center spindle. The tool is held firm against this taper by the drawbar inside the spindle of your CNC. When a conventional holder is seated in the CNC spindle, there is approximately a 3 mm gap between the tool holder flange and the spindle face.
The HSK drawbar "fingers" reach inside the Hollow Shank. One of the big advantages of HSK is the "Merry go Round" effect on the drawbar fingers and how centripetal forces affect it. As the RPM is increased on the HSK toolholder the drawbar fingers actually use become a tighter connection on the inside of the flange and increase the pressure in the spindle connection.
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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