Skip to content

From Coding to Chipmaking

Kitchener software developer tackles high speed machining Imagine running into a problem with your G-code—maybe one of the 3D surfaces on the mould cavity you’ve been programming is a little wonky, or a feature blend isn’t quite right. Wouldn’t it be cool if you could call up the CAD/CAM developer and get them to tweak the code for you? If you’re a machinist at Miltera Machining Research Corp. in Kitchener, ON, that wouldn’t be a problem. That’s because Miltera’s sister company is Truepath CAM developer CAMplete Solutions Inc., and the programmers work right next door. Any machinist with a toolpath problem can pick up the phone or take a short… Read More »From Coding to Chipmaking

Building Bridges

Nova Scotia fabricator reduces processing time with integrated beveling capability The Problem: Additional business calls for higher production efficiencyThe Solution: An investment in five axis plasma cutting technology If your bridge needs fixing, give Cherubini Metal Works Ltd. a call. As a member of the Cherubini group of companies, this Dartmouth, NS, company is well-equipped to fabricate a new double-tee or deck slab, bathtub girder or three plate girders. With 18,000 sq m (200,000 sq ft) of production space, an assembly bay boasting 14 m (47 ft) under the hook, and 420 employees across the Cherubini Group as a whole, there’s little this company can’t handle. Cherubini doesn’t stop at bridges, however.… Read More »Building Bridges

Cutting it down to size

Machining small parts takes big precision and plenty of know-how Without micromachining, we’d still be watching the Red Green Show on tube-style TV sets and calling Aunt Emma on a rotary dialer to discuss the family reunion. Contact lenses wouldn’t exist, smart devices would be dumb, computers would be the size of a house. But what is micromachining, and how does it differ from hogging out a block of 6061-T6 aluminum, or ploughing a hole big enough for a golf ball in a chunk of tool steel? Smaller than smallJohn Bradford, micromachining R&D team leader at Makino Inc., Auburn Hills, MI, defines it in several ways. “The first element is… Read More »Cutting it down to size

Red Hot

BC fireplace maker turns up the heat with fiber laser technology The Problem: Rising energy costs in the face of increased customer demand call for a technology upgradeThe Solution: Fiber lasers cut costs and raise productivity Electricity is expensive on Vancouver Island. This was a large part of the reason why Pacific Energy Fireplace Products Ltd. had long steered clear of CO2 lasers, opting instead to stick with its tried and true CNC turret punches. Yet fabricators have been successful with lasers for over three decades. Compared to punching, laser cutters are faster to set up, and require far less maintenance. And in Pacific Energy’s case, cutting complex part profiles was becoming increasingly difficult with… Read More »Red Hot

Mini Mills

Nineteen minutes into the second period and the University of Ottawa’s womn’s hockey team, the Gee-Gees, trails by one. Out of nowhere, the Montreal Carabins’ left wing bruiser Helga Lefèvre smashes Gee-Gees centre Holly McDuff into the boards, fracturing her cheekbone and leaving a ragged gash above Holly’s hairline. Blood turns the blue line red, but the crowd roars as the intrepid junior shrugs off the pain; she pulls a third period hat-trick and leads the team to victory. At the hospital, the doctor repairs Holly’s cheek with a tiny metal plate, then uses staples to reattach the flap of skin to her forehead. Because he’s worried about an infection,… Read More »Mini Mills

Tightrope Walkers

In his 2011 MICROmanufacturing article, “Life on the Small Wire,” Dave Kari, director of wire electrical discharge machining at Top Tool Co., discussed the challenges of learning to machine parts with extremely thin wire. Three years later, Kari’s learning curve with micro wire EDMing is far from over. While a typical EDM shop uses wire 0.008″ and above, Kari works with wire one tenth that size—0.0008″ in diameter. “It’s nearly invisible to the naked eye,” he said. “For every new job that comes through the door, you take everything you know and throw half of it out the window. What’s left is the basis for a whole new page in… Read More »Tightrope Walkers

Troublesome Titanium

Tips on machining this tough material  Without this durable, high-strength material, our world today would be a far different place. Airlines would charge more for flights, houses would need painting more frequently, hip joints and dental implants wouldn’t last. Unfortunately, the same characteristics that make titanium ideal for a wide range of aerospace, medical and consumer products also make it an unwelcome visitor in many machine shops.  1. The Basics Titanium has a narrow band of machinability, with recommended cutting speeds of 60 m/min for roughing and 3-4 times that when finishing. Feedrates are entirely dependent on chip loads and other factors, but should be high enough to prevent work… Read More »Troublesome Titanium

Making a Splash With Boomers

When baby boomers were thirty-somethings, spas were considered status symbols. Today, as these children of the Cuban missile crisis and “I Like Ike” campaign buttons become AARP members, they grow less concerned with what their neighbors think and more concerned with their aching backs. The spa industry is slowly taking notice, modifying their sales and manufacturing tactics to meet the needs of an aging demographic. This means an emphasis on the health benefits of hydrotherapy and improved spa accessibility, as well as marketing campaigns that feature physically fit seniors and their smiling grandchildren. It’s a huge market populated with largely affluent prospects, many of whom are first-time spa buyers. “It’s… Read More »Making a Splash With Boomers

Heavy Traffic

Since the dawn of CNC milling, machinists have been trying to squeeze more parts onto the table and position them quicker. That’s because to a machinist, it’s all about reducing setup time and cranking out more parts per hour.  There are many ways to achieve this, but for shops still relying on the old tried, true and blue 6″ machinist vise for workholding, the only option is to cram as many vises on the table as possible. On a typical 20″×40″ machine, this means a maximum of four vises. For small lot sizes, this might be OK, but it’s not very productive. And while it’s possible to double up and… Read More »Heavy Traffic

Ready, Preset, Go

Do you set your cutting tools offline? If the answer is no, you’re losing money. And you’re not alone. Offline tool setting is one of those things shop managers and machinists often read about but seldom try. One reason is the intimidation factor. Setting tools offline may require you to re-evaluate how you set up and plan jobs. If yours is like most shops, you’re always under the gun. When you finish one job, you clear off the chips—maybe—then start reloading tools and reprogramming the CNC. You also probably clamp the part in the vise or fixture, put the tool in the spindle, touch the tool off the top of… Read More »Ready, Preset, Go