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[…]

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[…]

Renishaw_triumph_3

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[…]

UnivKY_RHP_0424

Leaning towards lean

  I’m not wired for lean. My garage is a disaster, I take too many steps when making coffee in the morning and I have no problem stocking up on paper towels if there’s a sale. Some of this antilean thinking may stem from my early years in a machine shop, where half-day setups and[…]

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[…]

Baxter1

Collaborative robots lend a helping hand

Joe’s struggling to package a truckload of parts before noon. Mary can’t keep up on the painting line. Jimmy’s in trouble with the boss because he can’t make quota. These are just a few of the challenges faced by workers on the manufacturing floor, problems that, in many cases, can be solved with collaborative robots.[…]