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cutting tool engineering

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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

Spot Drilling – Get it Straight

If you’re going to drill a hole, it stands to reason that you want the hole to be straight and accurate. There are many ways to accomplish this, but all involve getting the hole started properly. The main obstacle standing between you and drilling a straight hole is drill walk—the amount the tool deflects from a straight path. Avoiding this usually involves starting a hole with the shortest drill possible followed by successively longer drills until the desired hole depth is attained. The hole is started by “spotting” the workpiece, which involves making a dimple in the face of the part with a very stubby and rigid drill known as… Read More »Spot Drilling – Get it Straight