In this article, we’ll discuss how experienced machine shops like Eagle CNC think about the complex relationship between heat treatment and machinability. Determining where heat treatment fits into the CNC machining process is a vital consideration for machining parts to net shape quickly and cost-effectively.
Eagle CNC is the Eagle Group’s state-of-the-art machine shop, specializing in CNC machining of both ferrous and nonferrous castings, forgings, bar stock and burn outs. At Eagle CNC, we machine new parts directly from raw stock, or from parts that have been shell cast or investment cast by our sister companies, Eagle Alloy and Eagle Precision. While our workpieces start in a variety of states, nearly every product we machine undergoes heat treatment before delivery.
Metal manufacturing professionals are a close-knit community, and just like any specialized group, we've developed our own way of speaking. To outsiders, many of whom are our friends, family and customers, metalcasting & machining lingo might seem like another language entirely. Here, we aim to demystify metalcasting & machining jargon so anyone can join the conversation.
At the Eagle Group, we provide full-service metalcasting and CNC machining from start to finish. Part of our responsibility as a supplier is to estimate part price for each new product. One of the largest line items affecting final part price on any job is tooling. In metalcasting, tooling often comprises patterns used to create molds and cores. In CNC machining, tooling can refer to work holding fixtures, tool holders, cutting tools or tool inserts.
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Broaching is a machining process using a cutting tool with teeth that increase in size from front to back. In many cases, an entire surface (or multiple surfaces) can be finished in a single pass with broaching. The technique is most often applied to finish holes, splines and flat surfaces.
Broaching is a relatively new machining process, developed in the 1850s with metal-specific applications. Originally, broaching was used to perform work on internal characteristics, like keyholes in pulleys and gears. During the 20th century, broaching was further developed for use in firearms, and subsequent developments have dramatically improved tolerances and made broaching more versatile for modern machine shops.
Sawing is one of the oldest cutting techniques in use today, and innovations have allowed the process to keep up with advances in material, tolerances and product complexity. By definition, sawing is cutting a narrow slit in a workpiece by moving a toothed or abrasive cutting tool against the surface. Sawing is often used to remove large sections of material without particular concern for tolerances, but modern CNC sawing machines can be used for finishing work as well.
Boring may not sound like a very exciting topic, but don't let names deceive you: boring is one of the most widely used techniques in machining, and one of the most reliable ways to finish holes.
Boring is the process of enlarging and finishing pre-existing holes. The holes might have been cast, drilled or otherwise formed to a rough state, but boring is often the best technique to provide the accuracy and repeatability expected of CNC machined parts.
Drilling is one of the most common techniques used in manufacturing to create holes. In contrast to other hole-making methods like boring, reaming and tapping, drilling is most often used to create holes in unbroken surfaces. In precision CNC machining, drilling can range in scope from simple, rough hole drilling to complex, multi-feature hole drilling.
Milling is one of the most common processes in CNC machining, most likely because it is so versatile. Using a single tool, machine shops can create nearly limitless shapes on the surface of a workpiece. Milling can completely transform a piece of metal stock into a finished part of nearly any complexity.
The milling process in CNC machining consists of removing material with a rotating cutting tool. Unlike turning, the workpiece does not need to rotate in milling operations. In some cases, the workpiece will move linearly against a cutting tool; in other cases, the workpiece will remain stationary while the cutting tool moves.