Makino-Makino_0006

Cutting it down to size

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[…]

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Red Hot

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[…]

Haimer-nano-shrink-3

Mini Mills

Nineteen minutes into the second period and the University of Ottawa’s women’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,[…]

Mittman_IMG_6372

5 X 5

Tooling up a vertical machining centre is easy. Just bolt a pair of 6 in. machinist vises on the table and call ‘er done. And while this path-of-least-resistance approach may be limited, it’s also fast, easy and cheap. Unfortunately for the owners of five axis vertical machining centres, machinist vises don’t cut the mustard. Five[…]

Formtek_IMG_4213

Tough Tubes

Ever wonder about the legs on a folding chair? How about the exhaust pipe on your car? Tubing is everywhere, but most of us don’t give it a second thought. The technology used to make this important product is quite amazing, however, requiring equipment longer than a football field and more expensive than a mansion[…]

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Shop Floor Evolution

When I started in the shop, machine tools were dumber than fence rails. Load the paper tape, adjust the rheostats for feedrate and spindle speed, click, click, click the offset thumbwheels, push cycle start and pray. Programs were keyed into a Teletype machine; when changes were needed, the printout was redlined and sent back to[…]

Erowa_Palletizing

Choosing wire EDM workholders

There comes a time when some chipmaking shops add wire EDMing to their repertoire. This is often done to reduce costs, because bringing what were once subcontracted, secondary EDMing operations in-house often makes good financial and logistical sense. It can also be due to demands from medical and aerospace customers, who ask their suppliers to[…]

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Shops have plenty of choices when gripping small parts

Wedge, cam, square and pull-down clamps, micro vises and chucks, hexagons and rounds. These are just some of the workholding options available to shops that mill small workpieces. Finding the right clamps isn’t a problem, but how they’re utilized may be. This article examines some of the options and provides tips on how to use[…]

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Lightly Touched: Choosing the best marking method for delicate workpieces

Back in my shop days, most workpieces were marked by using hardened steel stamps and a 2-lb. hammer. WHAM! That heavy-handed approach didn’t cut it when the shop began supplying thin-walled aluminum brake sleeves to Boeing. We ordered a bunch of rubber stamps and gently rolled the part number in permanent ink around the sleeve’s[…]