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What Should You Consider When Turning Micro Parts on a Lathe?

  • 28 September, 2017

The length of this part is 0.08 inch. Effective turning of this part requires one to look at the entire machining process,

which includes machine, cutters and operator.

The manufacture of miniature parts is not new, but over the past several years, there has been a trend toward continued miniaturization in a range of industries, including aerospace, automotive, medical and electronics. Mike Smoody, application engineer at HORN USA, says to machine a part with outer diameters (ODs) as small as 0.0039 inch, one must look at the whole process, because there are quite a few challenges. The slightest variation in the process caused by material or cutting tool characteristics, thermal variations in the machine, or vibrations will have a direct impact on the ability to produce features of this type.

There are many different definitions for micromachining. For Horn, micromachining on lathes means ODs as small as 0.0039 inch, inner diameters (IDs) as small as 0.0078 inch and plunge cuts from 0.0197 inch. In addition, these operations require extremely low depths of cut (less than 0.0039 inch), extremely low feed rates (0.00019 ipm), low cutting forces and a demand for high surface qualities.

Horn’s S274 µ-Finish system, as well as its Supermini and DS micro end-mill system,

was used to machine this tiny component (numerical values are in millimeters).

Source: Modern Machine Shop

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