12 Jul 2019
You can start with the best equipment and the finest blade. But, if you don’t use a high quality saw arbor, the right fluid and the proper feeds and speeds you won’t end up with a quality cut. Quality cuts come from quality saw arbors.
The internet is packed with forums for machinists. One of the most common denizens of these forums are those with slitting saw cuts. They complain about broken blades, broken arbors, and tons of destroyed work pieces. If it can go wrong in cutting, it will probably go wrong with a slitting saw cut. But some times you just need that slender cut from a slitting saw.
Pros. Slitting saws excel when you need a very slender cut. No, they aren’t designed for thick cuts or particularly deep cuts. But that doesn’t mean you can’t cut fairly deep. It’s harder to get a thin slot with an end mill than a slitting saw.
Cons. Don’t hurry. Slow speeds are the norm for most slitting saws. This is especially true when the blade is large. Feed speeds are also slow. But that doesn’t mean you can let the blade dwell. Slitting saws demand copious amounts of cutting oil or lubricant. Sometimes it is hard to get fluid to the cutting site if the slit is particularly thin or deep.
Be Generous with Fluid
No matter the material or blade, use generous amounts of lubricant. Slitting saw blades are very thin. They are also incredibly fragile. That’s why they break so easy and confound those forum denizens.
The saw blade has been heat treated to keep it hard and sharp. As the blade cuts, it generates friction. Friction creates heat; and heat destroys the blade treatment and dulls the blade quickly. Chips and/or work material fuse to the blade. Now you’ve ruined the work and murdered the blade.
Plenty of cutting oil or lubricant provides a constant cooling. It keeps the blade clear of chips. It is good to be generous with your fluid.
If you have an awesome machine, a spectacular blade, and a truckload of coolant, don’t ruin things with a crap saw arbor.
Many cheap, imported arbors flood the market. With tools, you always get what you pay for. Don’t pay much, don’t get much. Those imported arbors are warped. That’s a real problem for true horizontal cuts.
One internet forum denizen complains his saw was wandering like a drunk sheepherder. The group told him to get with it and get a good arbor. That would be like a saw arbor from The Tool Company!
Whether you need an arbor for precision cutting or a quality slitting saw arbor, trust The Tool Company for arbors that are true and designed for CNC applications.
The Tool Company can set you up with slitting saw arbors that fit blades from ¼” to 1 ¼”. Complete with deep, low profile caps to reduce slippage. Forget the drunk sheepherder. Think reliable sheep dog.
Every saw arbor is USA made. No cheap imports that aren’t true. Order your slitting saw arbor today and say good-by to broken blades and ruined work. Hello clean slots.
25 Jun 2019
The most common cutting tools in CNC machining are drill bits and end mill. They don’t do the same thing, but they each earned a place in the shop. Collets or end mill holders hold end mills in place. Chucks hold drill bits. Collets cost less then end mill holders. They grip better than an end mill holder as well. There are two types of collets: Morse taper and R8. Do they work the same? When it comes to performance, does the R8 tool holder work better, worse or equal to the Morse taper. How do the two compare? Let’s see.
Up First – The Morse Taper Tool Holder
The Morse Twist Drill Company engineered the Morse taper. It is an American invention. Stephen Morse invented the twist drill and needed a way to hold the tool. So the company he founded in Massachusetts created the Morse taper to hold the bits in their drills.
A continuous taper is the key feature of the Morse taper. A set screw secures the collet in place. Morse tapers and drawbars don’t go together. If you see a machine with a drawbar it’s been modified.
The Morse taper is best for tools that are changed infrequently. The Morse taper isn’t the best tool holder for automated tool changing. Auto tool changing is the bailiwick of the R8 tool holder.
The Morse Taper is best used for mini mills and hobby shops. It’s not the best solution for the industrial shop.
Up Next – The R8 Tool Holder
The Bridgeport Machine Company of Bridgeport, Connecticut developed the R8 tool holder for quick tool changes. As machining grew, so did the need for quick tool changes. R8 tapers are easy to spot. They are straight and then flare to a taper.
No set screw darkens the doorway of the R8 tool holder. This beauty uses a drawbar. Now you have much more efficient tool changing. The R8 tool holder is right at home in industrial settings. Try to maintain the same z height every time you remove and reinstall the tool a Morse taper. Yeah, keep trying. The R8 tool holder makes it much easier. That’s why professional machine shops love them.
You can even find R8 endmill holders pretty easy. And, because they are not rare, they don’t cost much.
So, if you’ve made the move to use R8 collets, they need a place to stay. The Tool Company sells trays that secure your R8 collets. Protect your tooling with a strong, high-impact plastic R8 tool tray. Look, if you only use the best, then only use R8 tool holders. Then keep them safe in a tray made in the USA and sold by The Tool Company. Buy now and protect your R8 tool holders with a tray that keeps them safe and organized.
11 Jun 2019
The fly cutter has a variety of uses. That’s why it has a place in most machinist’s shops. Whether you machine manually or are into CNC machining, fly cutters are your specialized cutting tool with many uses.
Use fly cutters for:
- Shallow cuts
- Broad cuts
- Quickly removing small amounts of metal
Use your end mill to remove large areas and then grab that fly cutter for the smoothest finish. Fly cutters outperform a face mill every time. Make fewer passes and score a smoother finish. Nothing beats fly cutters for fine finishing.
Look at these ways to use fly cutters.
CNC’ing requires a tabletop that is absolutely smooth and absolutely level. Even when you level the legs, the bed or top of the table may still have dips and bumps that will ruin performance. That means you must resurface the bed at least several times a year. The best way to do this is with a fly cutter.
Since this is a large area, you want to use a large fly cutter. The Sierra American FC-25 is a 2 ½” diameter fly cutter. It will allow you to clear a large area smoothly and quickly. When you setup, allow for a 40% overlap and just skim the surface to remove 1/16” at the first pass. That’s probably all you need to get the smooth, level surface your machine demands.
The Fly Cutter in the Machine Shop
If a head gasket is blown or you must change the compression ratio, a fly cutter is your go-to tool. That’s because it can completely resurface a head. That’s called “skimming” in an automotive machine shop.
Cylinder head skimming is a head saver and savior. As long as the head isn’t cracked and can hold pressure, refinish the face with a fly cutter by removing 0.0002” of the surface to return it to a smooth and flat state. If you use a face mill, you may get crossover lines. While the lines will be almost impossible to see, they will surely affect performance.
Does an exhaust or intake manifold need cleaning up due to corrosion or erosion. Or, maybe the angle needs to be changed slightly to better align with an aftermarket intake manifold. The deck surface on the block may need to be resurfaced. When resurfacing these parts, you must do it quickly, efficiently and correctly. Use a fly cutter and not a face mill.
If you want the best results you need the best fly cutters. You need to use a fly cutter from The Tool Company. Every fly cutter, CNC tool tray, and saw arbor we sell is made right here in the USA. Our fly cutters are:
- Balanced to run at high RPMs
- Use large set screw for blade stability
You get a fly cutter and a 5 year warranty. Why settle for inferior fly cutters and inferior results? Order your fly cutter today.
28 May 2019
There’s a common problem with everything on earth that spins. In machining, we call this problem runout. It’s the inaccuracy of anything that spins. That’s because the tool or shaft doesn’t turn with perfect alignment to its main axis. It’s a common problem. But, it’s also a huge problem. For 5C collets, a simple collet wrench solves the problem.
TIR Measures Your Accuracy
Are you accurate? When your drill chuck can’t hold the drill bit in the center, as it turns, it turns on a secondary axis. Meet runout. Total indicator runout (TIR) measures the concentricity of the collet. It’s how you measure accuracy and runout. Just place a dial indicator against the rotating bit. The tool amplifies all minute variations, enough for you to see them with the naked eye. Basically, it is a magnifier. It just makes the very slight deviation from true concentricity big enough for you to see and measure. You must measure to make adjustments. That’s because you’ll never adjust what you never measure. Naturally, you can’t measure what can’t be seen. Once you can see and measure, you can adjust.
Try something as simple as cleaning. Open the jaws and blow out with compressed air. Just a small bit of debris could be the cause of the problem. Then check the drill rod and verify it is still true. Take time to verify the runout on the spindle as well as checking the bearings on the spindle.
Correcting Brake Lathe Runout
Taking care of the arbor is taking care of runout. Every once and awhile, check the spindle and arbor. Look for metal chip buildup or rust. Clean your arbor with fine steel wool and some WD40. Don’t use sandpaper or a wire brush. Removing metal makes the runout worse. While you’re at it, inspect the spindle bearings. When the lathe is properly set up and the arbor looks good, this is probably the runout source.
Use a Collet Wrench and Protect Your Collets
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In other words, the simplest way to correct runout is to prevent it. Runout happens with collets that aren’t properly tightened. Runout can ruin the collet.
Use a collet wrench to tighten all three jaws evenly. Just align the prongs into the collet. Now simply turn the wrench. That threads the collet in the machine.
See, its easy. You didn’t do it because you didn’t know. Now you know. So, what are you waiting for, a collet wrench? That’s easy too.
Get a Collet Wrench Today
See the concave face? You get perfect alignment every time the first time. That large tapered handle is easy to hold and the bright fluorescent orange is easy to find. It really stands out in the shop.
Buy this magnificant collect wrench from The Tool Company today. Solve a simple problem easily.
Did you start machining with an end mill? Did fly cutters terrify you? It’s okay, that’s where most machinists start. But if you’ve been working for awhile, those days are long gone. That doesn’t mean you get the most out of your tools. Take a minute to look at some jobs differently. Grab your slitting saw arbor, load your blade, and open your eyes.
Use Your Hands
There’s nothing wrong with a hand job. No, not that hand job. We’re talking about cutting a part off and then finishing it by hand. The hand finish quality isn’t equal to a fly cutter, but it is an alternative. On a 3 axis mill, just use your slitting saw and lop the piece off. Now you can finish the underside by hand. This is the perfect answer if you are machining a very thin part or working on a piece that is particularly hard to hold. Just cut it off and give it a hand finish. Believe it or not, you’ll save time by hand finishing the piece. That’s because if you ruin the part trying to machine finish it you’ve got to begin again. That wastes time, money, and material. Don’t waste.
We all need a little relief from time to time. That includes your parts. No, your parts don’t need to take a break, they need a relief slot to stop breakage.
A relief slot provides a part just enough give to clamp tightly without destroying part integrity.
The slitting saw is the superior tool for cutting a relief slot. With the saw blade tightly held in place with a good slitting saw arbor, make a relief slot in one or two passes. A good slitting saw arbor has a deep cap and low profile to get the blade as close as you want it to be.
Because slitting saws are thin and run fast, they heat up very fast. Buy a blade made from carbide if your budget can handle it. Steel costs less, but it doesn’t have the staying power of carbide.
Regardless of the blade metal, always run with copious coolant. Remember, slitting saw blades run hot. Fluid will let you make long cuts and fast cuts without warping.
Selecting a slitting saw arbor is simple. Just buy your slitting saw arbor from The Tool Company. Their deep, low profile caps get the cutter close. A”Vibra Core” design absorbs vibration. Less vibration means less runout.
Made in American for American machinists. Buy a slitting saw arbor today. And start looking that your slitting saw blade a bit different. Make it one of the most valuable tools in your cutter arsenal.
29 Apr 2019
You’ve got fly cutter questions. We’ve got answers. Talk about a match made in Heaven! People ask fly cutter questions a lot. The questions we hear most often are below:
How do I get a better finish? Use a face mill or a fly cutter?
Answering this question is easy. Go with a fly cutter every time. Get a single cutting surface with a fly cutter. Use a blade larger than the work area for a finishing cut with a single pass. Every finishing pass you make decreases the finish quality. Remove all cutters from your face mill except one and convert your face mill to a fly cutter. Or, just start with the right tool in the first place.
Can you fly cut aluminum?
Yes, but you must use the right cutting blade. Remember, aluminum is soft. Use a hard cutter for the best result.
How do you grind the bit? Never forget the geometry of the cutter. The end of the tool always does the cutting. Grind the rake into the end of the tool. It’s the bottom of the bit that determines the surface smoothness.
Are feeds and speeds different? Just use your standard shop software to calculate feeds and speeds. Fly cutters usually run at lower RPMs. Only your software knows for sure. As with any other job, just rely on your software for proper feeds and speeds. Software is very important.
Can you fly cut to quickly remove material? Use your face mill first to remove material quickly. It does this job better. You’ll get deeper cuts and faster chip removal. Once all material is removed, then make that final fly cutting finish.
Does tramming matter? Just if you care about results. This question usually comes from someone noticing a dip in the finish. The tool isn’t the problem. The tool set-up is the problem. Make sure everything is trammed and up to snuff before you make the first pass.
What makes a good fly cutter?
The real questions are who makes a good fly cutter, what makes it good, and where can you get it. The answers are as follows:
Big Diameter Fly Cutter is Best
Minimize the number of passes by maximizing the size of the tool. Bigger cutter equals fewer passes resulting in better finish. That’s the formula for a good fly cutter. The Tool Company carries large diameter sizes to handle large cutters. Repeat after me the flycutting mantra “The larger the cutter, the fewer the passes. The fewer the passes the finer the finish.”
Bigger is better in flycutting!
Stability and Balance
Just like the kids walking those train tracks, you need stability and balance to get where you are going. Finishing cuts need maximum stability and balance. You’ll get that with a Tool Company fly cutter. Their fly cutters have the larger 1/4-20 alloy set screws. So, you get better blade stability. Because they are balanced, feel free to run at whatever RPMs you need to achieve your goal.
A Large Fly Cutter Saves Time and Money
Use a larger cutter with 1/2” and 3/8” fly cutter bits to save. Because you make larger cuts, you work faster. On the job, saving time means saving money. Get productive with the right size fly cutter.
What’s Stopping You?
The final question we have is for you! What’s stopping you from buying a fly cutter from The Tool Company right now? They are made in the USA and backed by an unbeatable warranty. Get quality and get your fly cutter today.
09 Apr 2019
In the past, we’ve covered CNC tooling, CNC techniques and even how to use CNC tool trays to build a tooling cart. But we’ve never covered the general topic of CNC machining. Time to fix that.
What Does CNC Mean?
CNC is an acronym for Computer Numeric Control. It refers to machines that cut or carve while being controlled by a computer using sophisticated software instead of a human. You could be using a router, mill or lathe. But this isn’t robotics. Attach saw blades, router bits, drill bits and face mills to a CNC machine and get the job done.
CNC machines run on an X axis and a Y axis. Think back to a piece of graph paper. The X axis runs across the paper on a horizontal line and the Y axis goes up. The bed of a CNC machine is like that piece of graph paper. The X axis is the horizontal and the Y axis is the vertical. But you’ve got more than two dimensions with CNC machining.You machine in three dimensions. CNC machines are like 3D printers because they recognize the Z axis. The Z axis refers to the movement of the tool up and down.
Digital Technology Changed Machining
Digital technology changed machining forever. Before the marriage of computers and drills, if you wanted to create many holes in a work piece, a human had to manually operate a drill press up and down. And feed the material. First, they manually inserted the drill bit in the spindle. It was labor intensive.
Then someone figured that a computer could control the boring job of operating the drill press. Suddenly a program could contain the instructions to tell the machine how and when to move. The same program could be used to feed the stock.
But the biggest change to machining began with computer assisted drawing (CAD). This technology allowed you to design something using computer software, then take more software to convert the design into a set of instructions that a machine could use to produce the work. Now humans control machinery with software instead of hands.
The Tool Company understands machining. Whether you need CNC tools or CNC tool trays to keep them safe and organized, The Tool Company has you covered. We support American manufacturing. We only sell American made products.
Order your CNC tools and CNC tool trays today from The Tool Company.
26 Mar 2019
Manual machinists love their fly cutters. But many machinists think that for CNC machining you should use a face mill for the best finish. Horse pucky. Physics are physics and geometry is geometry. Science and math don’t change just because you machine by hand or with CNC. Every CNC machinist knows that you just use a CNC fly cutter to get an the ultimate finish.
The Finishing Pass and the CNC Fly Cutter
Step one is to get the piece to the specified dimensions. You take pride in your work, so it’s important the your final product looks good too. You always take one final step. That’s the finishing pass. Here’s how to pull it off.
Control Chip Load. You must control the chips. When chips contact the work surface they can mess up the finish. Keep chips out of the way with air, coolant, or a combination of both. You know flooding the cutting area is important. If you don’t know this, read more here.
Control Feeds and Speeds. Keep your RPMs up. The less time the material spends in contact with the tool the less likely the edge will buildup. Less edge buildup equals a smoother finish. Whether you use the CNC Cookbook or another g-wizard calculator make sure you’ve got it set up right.
Use the Correct Angle. Ensure the lead angle is correct. Use higher lead angles for better results. A correct tool nose radius is critical to the quality of the finish. Cleanly remove chips with the right chipload in relation to the radius of the cutting edge. If you have a large cutting edge radius in relation to the chipload, the cutter can’t get under the chip and cleanly slice it. When heat builds up you reduce the life of your tool.
Don’t Allow Wobble and Chatter. Tighten your set screws properly. If you over torque you can create the same problem as not tightening enough.
Fly Cut with the Right CNC Fly Cutter
All the tips in all the blogs won’t give you a good finish if you don’t start with a good CNC fly cutter.
Buy your CNC fly cutter from The Tool Company. These CNC fly cutters are just better. They come in 3 sizes, ranging from 1 ½” to 2 ½” in diameter. Sold individually or in a set. The CNC fly cutters are the best because they are:
- American made
- Heat treated for long tool life
- Come with large set screws for more stability
- Balanced and ready to run at high RPMs.
When you want the best finish use the best CNC fly cutter. Buy your fly cutter at The Tool Company. You’ll get the best finish time and time again.
14 Mar 2019
Wouldn’t it be great if your large mill, lathe, or jig borer could be controlled like a hand tool? CNC amps up machining to an awesome level. But, all that power, speed and automatic tool changing no longer makes the tool feel like an extension of your body. Admit it, there are times when you would like a bit of fingertip control. Like if you need to drill small holes. That’s when you really want fingertip control. Fortunately, for those times you can still get the feel of a hand tool with a drill press. A micro drill adapter gives you hand sensitive control of your drill press.
Controlling the Peck Cycle
As you already know, holes are drilled using a peck cycle. Your drill bit is like a chicken or pigeon pecking at grain. Except your drill bit is pecking at wood, metal, or plastic. Peck drilling stops swarf build up. You must peck if the depth of the hole is more than three times the width. When pecking, the drill bit goes in less than 5 times the diameter of the hole and then comes partially back out. Then you do it again. And again. And again till you reach the depth you need. The bit never leaves the work completely. It retracts the drill only slightly. This style of peck drilling is faster but it only works on long holes. It’s easy to overheat break the drill bit. And it’s easy to break the bit when drilling really small holes. The smaller the hole, the smaller the bit. The smaller the bit the more control you need.
If you’ve got a very large and extremely powerful machine but you need a little hole, you’ve got a problem. If you used a hand tool, you would automatically have that tactile sense of the peck. But your big drill press wasn’t made for that kind of operation. However, if you modify your press with a micro drill adapter you can get that kind of control. Install quickly on your drill press and suddenly you have fingertip control. You peck confidently, even when you peck at a small hole. Peck gently with finger pressure then release. It auto returns to the top of the cycle.
Get it at The Tool Company
Make sure you get the right micro drill adapter. Get it at The Tool Company. The hardened pin design avoids problems with the tool-holding collet. Doesn’t matter if your chuck is keyed or not. That’s because the “O” tapper fits both. The bearings are double-shielded, so it lasts. But don’t worry about tool life, you get a 5 year warranty. You won’t find that elsewhere.
Like everything at The Tool Company, it’s made in the USA. It’s made for The Tool Company by Sierra American Multi-Systems and they understand control. For a small hole, you need control. If you need control, install a micro drill adapter. And buy a micro drill adapter from The Tool Company.
If you are like most home machinists, two things scare you. Learning to use a fly cutter and trying make precision cuts. Experienced machinists know that precision requires control. Many hobby machinists aren’t confident when it comes to control. But, control isn’t a problem if start with a quality, ultra precision arbor and saw blade.
See, using an ultra precision saw is nothing more just making small, precise cuts. Doesn’t matter what material you are cutting. It could be wood or metal. But small cuts require precision. Precision means you’ve got to get up close and person with the work area.
Now that you know what makes a precision cut, let’s get sawing. Use these hacks to ace precision cuts:
- Watch your speeds. It’s better to use less speed when you need precision. Just because that blade looks like a circular saw blade doesn’t mean it cuts like one. So, for precision slits and cuts, get in close and run slow. Keep the feed rate low as well.
- Use plenty of lubricant or air to keep the area clean. This isn’t the time to be stingy with lubricant. Flood the workarea if you must.
- Make sure to remove all swarf after every pass. It’s important to keep the cut clean.
- Make sure you always cut in the same direction.
Use an Ultra Precision Arbor
All saw arbors are supposed to keep the saw blade in place. But ultra precision cutting requires extraordinary rigidity. It also requires you to get the blade as close to the work as possible. Most saw arbors are held in place with a cap. This cap can be a problem if a vise is holding the workpiece. If the clamping screw runs afoul of the vise the result is disaster. Ruined work. But the ultra precision arbor sold by The Tool Company solves that problem. It gets a low profile from its deep cap. As a result, you can get the blade closer to the work area than with a standard arbor.
Buy the Best Ultra Precision Arbor
The best ultra precision arbor is found at The Tool Company. This arbor does more than just get you close to the workpiece. Proximity is just the start. Additional benefits are:
- Superior vibration absorption
- Durable Weldon shank
- Extra Long Reach
- 5 Year Warranty
It’s also homegrown. That’s right. The best ultra precision arbor is made in the USA. Order a set of three ultra precision arbors or just buy an individual arbor. Either way, you’ll cut with precision when you cut with an ultra precision arbor.