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Machining processes

Machining is any of various processes in which a
piece of raw material is removed or cut into a
desired final shape and size by a controlled
material-removal process.
Also known as Subtractive manufacturing.
Machining is classified in two categories:
Conventional methods:
Utilizing mechanical energy (Cutting, grinding, milling,
Nonconventional methods:
Utilizing electrical, chemical, thermal energy sources
(ECM, EDM, etc.)

Machining can be used to create a variety of features
including holes, slots, pockets, flat surfaces, and even
complex surface contours.
Almost all materials can be machined, including
metals, plastics, composites, and wood.
material, which has been paid for, is cut away and
despite the low setup and tooling costs, long
machining times may be required and therefore be
cost prohibitive for large quantities
Workpieces before
and after machining
Turning is used to create cylindrical parts by cutting away
unwanted material.
The turning process requires a turning machine or
lathe, workpiece, fixture, and cutting tool.
We can produce typically axisymmetric parts that have many
features, such as holes, grooves, threads, tapers, various
diameter steps, and even contoured surfaces.
Process cycle
Total time of process includes setup time and time for cycle.
Setup time: time for setup of machine and installation of
fixture device
Cycle time: loading and unloading of workpiece, time for
cutting, idle (non productive time) and tool replacement time
Cutting parameters
Cutting feed: distance that the cutting tool or
workpiece advances during one
revolution of the spindle
Cutting speed: speed of the workpiece surface
relative to the edge of the cutting tool
Spindle speed :rotational speed of the spindle
Axial depth of cut: depth of the tool along the axis
of the workpiece
Radial depth of cut: depth of the tool along the
radius of the workpiece
Turning machine (lathes) come with Computer Numerical
Control (CNC). CNC lathes are preprogramed and offer very
high precision


Drilling is a cutting process that
uses a drill bit to cut or enlarge
a hole of circular cross-section
in solid materials.
The bit is pressed against the
work-piece and rotated at
around 100 to 8000 rpm
A drill bit enters the work-
piece axially and cuts a blind
hole or a through hole with a
diameter equal to that of the

Process and problems
Drilling may affect the mechanical properties of the work-
piece by creating low residual stresses around the hole
When possible, drilled holes should be located
perpendicular to the surface. This minimizes the drill bit's
tendency to "walk", which causes the hole to be misplaced.
The higher the length-to-diameter ratio of the drill bit, the
higher the tendency to walk. The walk tendency can be
reduced by establishing a centring mark drilling, such as by
centre punching or spot drilling.
Cutting fluid is commonly used to cool the drill bit, increase
tool life, increase speeds and feeds, increase the surface
finish, and aid in ejecting chips.
Drill bit
almost always of circular cross-section but square, polygonal cross
sections are also observed
Bit geometry aspects:
The spiral (or rate of twist) in the drill bit controls the rate of chip
The point angle, or the angle formed at the tip of the bit, is determined
by the material the bit will be operating in.
The lip angle determines the amount of support provided to the
cutting edge.
The length of a bit determines how long a hole can be drilled, and also
stiffness of the bit.
Material of drill bit:
Steels :
low carbon steel bits are inexpensive, Low lifespan
high carbon steel are more durable
High speed steel (HSS) bits are hard, and much more resistant to heat
Cobalt steel alloys are used to drill stainless steel and other hard
Tungsten carbide and other carbides
Polycrystalline diamond (PCD): hardest of all tool materials and is
therefore extremely resistant to wear.

Drill bits are often coated with some materials to
improve heat resistance, corrosion resistance and
Titanium nitride (TiN)
Titanium aluminium
nitride (TiAlN)
Titanium carbon
nitride (TiCN)
Diamond powder
Zirconium nitride
Black oxide

Milling is the most common form of machining, a material
removal process.
By feeding the work piece into the rotating cutter, material is
cut away from this work piece in the form of small chips to
create the desired shape.
Milling is typically used to produce parts that are not axially
symmetric and have many features, such as holes, slots,
pockets, and even three dimensional surface contours.
End milling: makes either
peripheral or slot cuts, determined
by the step-over distance, across
the workpiece
Chamfer milling: A chamfer end
mill makes a peripheral cut along
an edge of the workpiece, known
as a chamfer.
Face milling: A face mill
machines a flat surface of the
workpiece in order to provide a
smooth finish.
Drilling Reaming Boring
In addition following processes also come
under milling operation
The tooling that is required for milling is a sharp cutter that will be
rotated by the spindle.
The cutter is a cylindrical tool with sharp teeth spaced around the
The teeth may be straight along the side of the cutter, but are
more commonly arranged in a helix. The helix angle reduces the
load on the teeth by distributing the forces.
Also, the number of teeth on a cutter varies. A larger number of
teeth will provide a better surface finish.
Milling machines can be found in a variety of sizes and designs
Milling machines can also be classified by the type of control
that is used.
manual milling machine requires the operator to control the
motion of the cutter
computer numerical control (CNC) milling machine move the
workpiece and cutter based on commands that are
preprogramed and offer very high precision

components of milling machine:
Base and column: The base of a milling
machine is simply the platform that sits
on the ground and supports the machine.
A large column is attached to the base
and connects to the other components.

Table: The workpiece that will be milled is
mounted onto a platform called the table

Saddle: The saddle is the platform that
supports the table and allows its
longitudinal motion.

Knee: The knee is the platform that
supports the saddle and the table. the
knee provides the vertical motion of the


Grinding is an abrasive machining process that uses a grinding
wheel as the cutting tool.
It can produce very fine finishes and very accurate
Each grain of abrasive functions as a microscopic single-point
cutting edge, and shears a tiny chip
Abrasive grains
The abrasive particles are hard material that can cut or abrade other
substances it may be:
Mounted in resin or belt
Closely packed into wheels or stones, holding together by bonding
material. (most common)
Natural abrasives:
Sandstone, mixture of alumina and magnetite, corundum and
Commercially important: quartz, sand, garnets and diamond
Artificial abrasives:
Silicon Carbide (SiC), Carbon Boron Nitride (CBN)

Grit geometry:
Abrasive grains are not uniform in shape and are randomly
distributed across the surface
Not all grains cut at the optimum angle but due to distribution, the
grinding surface is designed to the average distribution
Chips cut, plow or rub on the surface
Grit density determines the chip loading
As grit material abrade, fracture or dislodge, new grit material is
exposed, creating a continuous removal rate.
Grinding wheels
Work-piece surfaces produced by grinding are influenced by the
following factors:
Work-piece material : harder materials allow finer finishes
type of wheel : fine grains yield finer finishes
dressing procedure: improperly dressed wheels will mar the work
feed rate: finer finishes are obtained with slower feed rates
machine rigidity: older, worn machines yield a poor quality finish
wheel condition: clogged wheels cannot produce a good finish
lubricant: coolant filtration removes waste that could damage work-
piece surface and cools the surfaces
Types of grinding
A wide variety of machines are used for grinding:
Hand-cranked knife-sharpening stones (grindstones)
Handheld power tools such as angle grinders and die grinders
Various kinds of expensive industrial machine tools called
grinding machines
Bench grinders often found in residential garages and basements

Bench grinders
Electric discharge machining (EDM), sometimes colloquially
also referred to as spark machining, spark
eroding, burning, die sinking or wire erosion, is a
manufacturing process whereby a desired shape is obtained
using electrical discharges (sparks).
Material is removed from the work piece by a series of rapidly
recurring current discharges between two electrodes,
separated by a dielectric liquid and subject to an
electric voltage.
One of the electrodes is called the tool-electrode, or simply
the tool or electrode, while the other is called the work
piece-electrode, or work piece.

History of EDM
The history of EDM Machining techniques goes as far back as the
1770s when it was discovered by an English Scientist. However,
Electrical Discharge Machining was not fully taken advantage of until
1943 when Russian scientists learned how the erosive effects of the
technique could be controlled and used for machining purposes.
When it was originally observed by Joseph Priestly in 1770, EDM
Machining was very imprecise and riddled with failures.
Commercially developed in the mid 1970s, wire EDM began to be a
viable technique that helped shape the metalworking industry we
see today.
In the mid 1980s, the EDM techniques were transferred to a
machine tool. This migration made EDM more widely available and
appealing over traditional machining processes. Today, Wire
EDM makes it possible to work with harder materials and metals
while keeping the exactness of precision cutting.

Process of EDM
EDM spark erosion is the same as having an electrical short that
burns a small hole in a piece of metal it contacts. With the EDM
process both the work piece material and the electrode material
must be conductors of electricity. The EDM process can be used in
two different ways:

A pre-shaped or formed electrode (tool), usually made from
graphite or copper, is shaped to the form of the cavity it is to
reproduce. The formed electrode is fed vertically down and the
reverse shape of the electrode is eroded (burned) into the solid
work piece.
A continuous-travelling vertical-wire electrode, the diameter of a
small needle or less, is controlled by the computer to follow a
programmed path to erode or cut a narrow slot through the work
piece to produce the required shape.

Types of EDM
Conventional EDM: In the EDM process an electric spark is used to
cut the workpiece, which takes the shape opposite to that of the
cutting tool or electrode. The electrode and the workpiece are both
2 submerged in a dielectric fluid, which is generally light lubricating
Wire-Cut EDM : The wire-cut EDM is a discharge machine that uses
CNC movement to produce the desired contour or shape. It does
not require a special shaped electrode; instead it uses a continuous-
traveling vertical wire under tension as the electrode.
Sinker EDM Machining Process: In this process, two metal parts
submerged in an insulating liquid are connected to a source of
current which is switched on and off automatically depending on
the parameters set on the controller. When the current is switched
on, an electric tension is created between the two metal parts
which causes an electric spark. Where it strikes, the metal is heated
up so much that it melts.

Advantages of EDM
Conventional EDM machines can be programmed for vertical machining,
orbital, vectorial, directional, etc. machining cycles. This versatility gives
Electrical Discharge Machines many advantages over conventional
machine tools.
Any material that is electrically conductive can be cut using the EDM
Hardened workpieces can be machined eliminating the deformation
caused by heat treatment.
X, Y, and Z axes movements allow for the programming of complex
profiles using simple electrodes.
Complex dies sections and molds can be produced accurately, faster, and
at lower costs.
Thin fragile sections such as webs or fins can be easily machined
without deforming the part.

Numerical control (NC) is a form of programmable
automation in which the mechanical actions of a machine
tool or other equipment are controlled by a program.
The work head is a cutting tool or other processing
apparatus, and the work part is the object being processed.
When the current job is completed, the program of
instructions can be changed to process a new job.
Numerically controlled (NC) machine tools were developed
to fulfil the contour machining requirements of complex
aircraft parts and forming dies.
In 1970s, computer numerically controlled (CNC) machine tools
were developed with minicomputers used as control units. With
the advances in electronics and computer technology, current
CNC systems employed several high-performance
microprocessors and programmable logical controllers that work
in a parallel and coordinated fashion. The programs produce a
computer file that is interpreted to extract the commands
needed to operate a particular machine via a post processor, and
then loaded into the CNC machines for production. Since any
particular component might require the use of a number of
different tools drills, saws, etc., modern machines often
combine multiple tools into a single "cell". In other installations,
a number of different machines are used with an external
controller and human or robotic operators that move the
component from machine to machine. Current CNC systems
allow simultaneous servo position and velocity control of the
axis, monitoring of controller and machine tool performance,
online part programming with graphical assistance, in-process
cutting process monitoring, and in-process part gauging for
completely unmanned machining operations.
Units of NC
A typical NC machine tool has five fundamental units. They
The input media,
The machine control unit,
The servo-drive unit,
The feedback transducer, and
The mechanical machine tool unit.

The input media contains the program of instructions, it is the
detailed step-by-step commands that direct the actions of the
machine tool; the program of instructions is called a part program.
The individual commands refer to positions of a cutting tool relative
to the worktable on which the work part is fixtured. Additional
instructions are usually included, such us spindle speed, feed rate,
cutting tool selection, and other functions. The program is coded on
a suitable medium for submission to the machine control unit.
In modern CNC technology, the machine control unit (MCU) consists
of a microcomputer and related control hardware that stores the
program of instructions and executes it by converting each
command into mechanical actions of machine tool, one command at
a time. The MCU includes system software, calculation algorithm,
and transition software to covert the NC parts program into a usable
format for the MCU.

The third basic component of an NC system is the servo-drive unit; the
drives in machine tools are classified as spindle and feed drive
mechanisms. Spindle and feed drive motors and their servo-amplifiers are
the components of the servo-drive unit. The MCU processes the data and
generates discrete numerical position commands for each feed drive and
velocity command for the spindle drive. The numerical commands are
converted into signal voltage by the MUC unit and sent to servo-
amplifiers, which process and amplify them to the high voltage levels
required by the drive motors.
The forth basic component of an NC system is the feedback transducer. As
the drives move, sensors measure their actual position. The difference
between the required position and the actual position is detected by
comparison circuit and the action is taken, within the servo, to minimize
this difference.
The fifth basic component of an NC system is the machine tool that
performs useful work. It accomplishes the processing steps to transform
the starting work piece into a completed part. Its operations are directed
by the MCU, which in turn is driven by instructions contained in the part
program. In the most common example of NC, machine tool consists of
the worktable and spindle.

Advantages of CNC

Complex and intricately shaped part fabrication can be
performed with greater accuracy and faster turnover rates.
Quality control and equipment inspection systems can be
semi- or fully automated.
Shorter CNC machine set-up and integration times result in
greater productivity.
In some cases, computer-controlled networks can reduce
the number of machines required for a particular project.
CNC programs can be modified, making them adaptable to a
wide range of machining tasks.
There is less need for prolonged machining trial runs under
CNC programs.