Precision Cutting Tools already holds one of the highest tolerances on shank diameter in the industry for their end mills. All PCT End Mills Shanks hold an h6 tolerance! That means that
1/8" - 1/4": -0.0001"/-0.0003"
1/4" - 1/2": -0.0001"/-0.0003"
1/2' - 1": -0.0001"/-0.0004"
A tighter grind tolerance often times will mean a much shinier polished shank. A polished shank is more apt to have lower coefficient of friction which makes it more prone to slip particularly while being held in a collet type toolholder.
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:
As the CNC manufacturing industry continues to grow we're meeting more and more new people coming into our industry. Although many experienced machinists have lots of knowledge, we're finding that the new people are asking questions about some things that may be common knowledge to the old hands. One of the questions relates to "Why the heck is the cone on the toolholder the angle that it is?" We're here to help answer that....
By now, many have undoubtedly heard that most steep taper (CAT, BT) Toolholders hold an AT3 taper tolerance or better. So what exactly is AT3?
Steep Taper, Fast Tapers & Locking Tapers
Before we get into the tolerance and specs it's important to understand that there are basically two classes of tapers:
Since Toolholders have to be automatically changed in the CNC machine you want them to be as close to a locking taper as possible (8°/side) without, well, 'locking' in place (7°/side)! This is also the reason the ER/DR style collets also are made to an 8°/side angle as well by-the-way.
What is AT3?
That brings us to the "AT" standard for steep tapers. "AT" is an ANSI/ASME (ASME B5.50-1994) and ISO Standard (ISO 1947 ) that runs from AT1 to AT11. Since the AT tolerance is essentially logarithmic, the lower the number the tighter the tolerance (and harder it is to 'hit' in manufacturing). In other words the difference between AT 3 and AT4 is NOT the same increase in tolerance as between AT3 and AT2. AT3 is harder to attain than AT4 and AT 2 is substantially harder to reach than the jump from AT 4 to AT3. Again, the lower the number, the tighter the 'self releasing' tolerance.
Most CNC Machines steep taper spindles are made to an AT2 Specification. In order to stay competitive most all toolholder manufacturers are holding an AT3 tolerance (or better). Because there are much fewer spindles made than rotary toolholders this makes manufacturing sense. The key words here to pay attention to is "or better" Just like when you make parts in your shop to a tolerance, that doesn't mean that every part is exactly the same. The parts are within a tolerance band. That's what the "AT" defines! So when a toolholder manufacturer says "AT3 or better" that can mean that some of the holders are actually holding an AT2 tolerance... and this is sometimes the cause of the tolholders 'sticking' in the spindle:Not because they are out of tolerance, but because they are actually holding a closer tolerance! (...nearer a locking taper)
By-the-way, most all steep taper toolholders are made from some derivative of 8620 steel and then case hardened.
Food for thought
So although most people think that the drive dogs on the spindle are doing the 'driving' of the rotation of the toolholder, it's actually the taper connection that is driving the rotation of the tool. If that wasn't the case, then you would see the drive dog notches in the toolholder start to show signs of wear when the spindle impacted them all the time. Afterall, the 8620 is only case hardened.
There are a couple of last things to make note of and think about:
So if you over tighten your retention knob (pull stud) it can expand the smaller part of the taper.
Collet Chuck Size
We often get asked to spec out tooling packages for new CNC mills and one of the questions we encounter most, or should, is how do you select the right toolholder collet size for your companies applications? The real choice is in the size of the collet chuck itself. So several considerations should be reviewed...
What size are your tools?
Your first consideration should be the size of end mills or drills you will be using most often. If you are doing smaller work you would require smaller diameter range collets. Generally you may prefer the ER16 and ER32 sizes. If the bulk of your tool requirements are in the mid range you can also use the ER20. The following is a list of tool diameters that can be used with each size collet chuck. Essentially, the most popular, and again, readily available from a number of sources, are the ER 16, ER20, and ER32... in no particular order.
How far do you need to reach?
A second consideration is the actual reach of the tool. Not projection reach, also know as “gage length” "l1" but projection diameter “D”. Obviously, stubbier is better for projection reach "L1". But, you also need to review the families of parts that you intend to run on the machine. If you intend to use the holder to "reach" into a tight fit then the OD of the projection "D" of the toolholder needs to be considered. Many shops don't always consider this and end up using much longer carbide shanked end mills to get into deep pockets when getting a smaller diameter ER collet and collet chuck would be much less expensive over the life of the job.
Sometimes there is just no getting around having a custom tool made. Give us a call at 916.765.4227 or email us if you just can't seem to reach into the part with your toolholder.
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.