Bring on the Heat

Contrary to popular belief, the cutting edges of cutting tools don’t actually produce chips. What happens is that the pressure of a rapidly spinning tool on a work piece plasticizes part of the parent material, creating a shearing effect that forces the material to ride up the tool. The flute and tool geometries form the chip and force it away from the tool body until it breaks off and evacuates.

Green Wing Partners
1 Source: Mylek, S., Bring on the Heat, CNC Software, Tolland, CT, October 1, 201

How can you make your CNC machining processes more effective?  One of the biggest takeaways is a heightened appreciation for the roles that machining parameters and heat play when cutting metal. Therefore, it is generally a mistake to back off on the feeds and speeds to “protect” cutting tools and parts from heat damage.

Constant chip thickness is needed for keeping an optimal amount of heat in the chip and directing it away from the tool and work piece. Heat is not always the enemy. Rather, it is an essential ingredient of the cutting process and should be carefully managed to create optimal material-removal conditions.

Heat, and lots of it, is needed within the shear zone for efficient material removal.  However, that heat should not be allowed to linger, lest it migrate into the part or the cutting tool. Instead, the heat must be removed via chip formation and evacuation.

Our temperature-controlled technology pulls all excess heat down through the part and away which maintains the part, the vacuum fixture and the bed of the gantry itself at a constant temperature of 68°F ± 3°F.  This effectively minimizes thermal expansion and maintains dimensional accuracy for bore and pocket depth and overall size.  This allows us to maintain a 53’ skin to 636” ± .048” vs. a typical ± .496” on a very hot day in a non-air-conditioned shop.