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.
Turning has been practiced by machinists for centuries on many different materials. Originally, turning acted on wood to create complex, cylindrical designs for use in tools, handles, furniture. Today, turning is a vital part of the metal manufacturing process, and a major technique used by precision CNC machine shops in the United States and around the globe.
Turning is the process of rotating a workpiece and bringing it into contact with a cutting tool. As the workpiece turns, the rotating motion forces the cutting tool to strip away material. The cutting tool itself can move linearly, either parallel or perpendicular to the axis of the spinning workpiece. Cuts made in turning, and the resulting shape of the workpiece, are determined by the motion and shape of the cutting tool.
All metal casting processes have their own unique characteristics. When designing a new part for casting, the most appropriate process should be determined by a number of factors, including:
- Tooling costs
- Labor costs
- Design characteristics
- Desired appearance
The goal of the manufacturer and the supplier should be to find the optimal balance that produces the lowest per-part cost at a given quantity, while meeting or exceeding all quality requirements.
Here, we compare investment casting to three metal casting processes: shell mold casting, greensand casting and permanent mold casting.
Aluminum can be shaped through a wide variety of process, including:
For any type of metal, casting is arguably the most versatile of all of the forming processes, and results in the greatest variety of parts. In fact, the US Department of Energy estimates that over 90% of all manufactured goods contain metal cast products.
Investment casting, sometimes known as lost-wax casting, is a metal forming method known for its ability to produce parts with tight tolerances, complex inner cavities and accurate dimensions.
As we discussed in our Introduction to Investment Casting post, the basic technique has existed for millennia. Over the years, innovations in equipment and methodology have kept pace with demand. Today, investment casting is one of the most popular forms of metal casting.
Read on to learn more about the unique process of investment casting.
Investment casting is nearly as old as metal casting itself, with the earliest known examples dating back to 3,500 BC. Before investment casting was invented, metal castings were created using open stone or ceramic molds. Investment casting allowed for much greater detail and smoother finish, vastly expanding the possibilities of metal casting.
Today, investment casting is one of the most versatile methods of metal casting. The process, which is still similar to that used over 5,000 years ago, allows for tighter tolerances, more intricate shapes and smoother surface finishes than other metal casting methods.
Read on to learn about the origins and applications of investment casting.
In manufacturing, aluminum is rarely pure. Instead, manufacturers form alloys that dramatically increase aluminum’s strength and stiffness, while maintaining its other desirable properties. Both professionals and non-professionals often make comparisons between aluminum and steel, because the two metals are both used for such a wide variety of products.
But comparing aluminum to steel is a bit like comparing apples to oranges: steel is already an alloy, while aluminum is an element. Carbon steel, a basic steel alloy, is composed of iron (Fe) and carbon (C). Pure aluminum, despite its many winning properties, is too soft and not strong enough for most industrial applications. But aluminum alloys can be thirty times stronger than pure aluminum, and regularly exceed steel in strength-to-weight ratios.
Efficiency is good for any business. It doesn’t matter if your company is manufacturing or service oriented. Greater process efficiency always offers a wide range of benefits over "business as usual."
On a broad level, manufacturing more efficiently can help cut costs, improve throughput and reduce environmental impact. All of these general benefits lead to additional benefits down the road, from increased sales and quality to improved company image.
Read on for 9 ideas to improve manufacturing efficiency.
The shell mold process is unique and exhibits many advantages over other metal casting processes, but many people don’t fully understand its benefits.
In this installment of the Introduction to Shell Molding blog series, we will compare and contrast the shell mold process with investment casting and greensand casting methods. It is important to keep in mind that all processes have their own appropriate applications.
Based on your part's needs in terms of tolerances, production volume and surface finish, any one of these processes could be the ideal match.