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A fine cutting method for tough materials.

A new, high-speed machining process from LeBlond Makino, Mason, OH, can significantly cut processing time in machining of titanium alloys, nickel-base alloys, hardened steels, and other hard materials.

Termed "flush fine" cutting, the process works by taking light cuts at very high rpm. It combines several technologies, including very high spindle speeds, through-spindle coolant, and special tooling, to achieve reduced machining time, single-step operation, and good surface finish in machining of hard metals. Flush fine cutting was demonstrated at IMTS '92 in September performing deep pocket machining of a 3" x 3" x 2" cavity in titanium. Machining time for the single-step operation was three minutes, and the part had a surface finish of 8 to 10 muR. LeBlond compared these results with a four-step conventional machining process (predrill, rough cut, fine cut, and finish) taking about 90 minutes.

Decreases in machining time have been equally impressive with other materials tested. Machining the same deep pocket configuration, flush fine cutting reduced processing time from 30 minutes to 3 minutes for mild steel, from 180 minutes to 3 minutes on hardened steel, and from 210 minutes to 20 minutes for Inconel nickel-base superalloy.

To achieve such results, the process integrates several elements, including high spindle speeds; 1000-psi, through spindle coolant delivery; a specially grooved, coated tool; and highly dampened way surfaces to minimize vibration during cutting. A LeBlond spokesman emphasizes that these are all proven technologies that have been combined in a new way.

The IMTS demonstration ran on a LeBlond Makino MC 98 horizontal machining center fitted with an optional 15,000-rpm, 40-hp spindle. Spindle speed for the demo was 12,000 rpm, and feedrate was 78 3/4 ipm. A single 10-mm, TiCN-coated

carbide ballnose end mill did all the cutting. The tool was modified with two longitudinal grooves designed to channel coolant to the cutting zone. Coolant through the spindle at 1000 psi not only keeps workpiece and cutting edge temperatures in line but also blasts chips away from the cutting zone. The ability to rapidly evacuate chips is a key to the process.

For more information on flush fine cutting from LeBlond Makino, Mason, OH, circle 378.
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Title Annotation:Manufacturing Update; Leblond Makino Machine Tool Co.'s flush fine cutting process
Publication:Tooling & Production
Date:Dec 1, 1992
Previous Article:On-line, automated Brinell testing.
Next Article:Superfinishing for super quality.

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