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Chapter 1. Basic Machining and Tips

Machining Flowchart

Thinking about Machining

Let us consider the steps involved in creating a mechanical device to solve a given problem (Fig. 1). The first step is conceptual development (the design stage).  Next we lay out an assembly plan and draft the plans for each part (the drawing stage). Then the individual parts are machined. Finally, the device is assembled.

Fig. 1. The Overall Process

Please note that the entire process is far more than just working with machine tools! After reviewing the plans, we must consider how we will machine each part. Then we must prepare materials, tools, and jigs and fixtures, if needed. We begin by cutting the material to rough size.  Then we machine the pieces on the cutting and shaping tools (the lathe and mill).  Finally, we add the finishing touches, such as drilling holes or cutting threads.

The most important step is to plan the machining of each individual part. Naturally, the process differs from part to part. The shape of the part, the material used, and the accuracy required all contribute to the plan.

Fig. 2. Details of Machining

Efficient Machining

In machining, it is important to make an accurate part. In industry, it is also required to make a part quickly. It is clear that an expert will take less time than a beginner. But the operating time of a machine tool is not so different between the expert and the beginner, because the machining time is bounded. For efficient machining, it is important to plan your work operations ahead of time. Please note that a beginner should not rush a machining operation, as rushing increases the chance of making a mistake. Mistakes have to be corrected, or the piece abandoned, taking more time rather than less.

Cutting Process and Die-Casting Process

Cutting and die-casting are typical machining processes. The cutting process uses a sharp blade to remove a portion of the material. One of its characteristics is that metal waste is generated. The lathe and the mill are typical cutting machines. We can make various parts using a cutting machine. They are thus suitable for making one-time items such as experimental equipment.

On the other hand, the die-casting process makes use of the ductile properties of metals. It produces no waste, and thus it is suitable process for mass production. However, a given die-casting pattern can produce only one specific part. It is not suitable for one-time items.

(The contents of this web site describe only the cutting process. The author is not knowledgeable in die-casting and mass production.)

Fig. 3, Cutting Process and Die-Casting Process

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