CNC Carbide tool grinding reccommendations?
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  1. #1
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    Default CNC Carbide tool grinding reccommendations?

    Hey folks, here's a subject I'm not actually experienced in: production grinding of carbide cutters... Anyone have background in this? I've started with RFQs from leading manufacturers of the relevant equipment, the goal here is to make a single type of cutter (1/4" diameter O-flute) as consistently as possible with minimal supervision, in batch sizes in the low hundreds.

    Any personal recommendations for the equipment? Success stories? Horror stories?

    Geometry wise, we have collected enough data from years of cutting aluminum with so many styles of these that we should be able to get that determined fairly well. Then it's just a matter of proving out a reliable program to produce desired geometry.

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    If I understand your question, are you are looking to purchase a CNC tool grinder for this production? Or, are you looking for someone to make these for you?

    We make custom and standard carbide tooling. I would be happy to quote in those qtys if you like. Or, do you want some names of CNC tool grinder manufacturers?

    Mike

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    I work for a shop that has Anca, Ewag, and Walter grinders.

    I work on a different side of the shop from those guys, but I do know that the Anca and Ewag do not have to have the machine repairmen working on them nearly as much as the Walters. Seems one of them is broken down at all times.

    The CNC grinder operators have said they really like the Anca.

    I'm a mill/lathe/surface grinder/WEDM guy, so no hard and fast facts on those machines other than what I've seen and heard. I could ask the grinder operators some questions about the machines if you'd like.

    Did see a Walter catch on fire once. Wheel got into steel where it shouldn't have been (brazed carbide tipped tool) and lit it up. Guessing that could happen to any of them though.

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    Correct we would like to make these cutters ourselves, our current supplier is an absolute wanker.

    Anca seems to have resounding votes from numerous sources... expensive though. Nuclear option basically.

    Anybody tried grinding like this in an Okuma lathe with live-tooling? only one flute angle to grind so perhaps it could be achieved with an aggregate angled wheel?

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    Hi apoc_101:
    In your first post you remarked on the need to make these very consistently but in your last post you asked about maybe making these using a cobbled-together bodge with a lathe and a live tool.

    I don't think you're going to get away with something so crude for your stated goal; you need super concentricity and minimal stickout.
    The workheads for CNC grinders are super high precision units so far as I know; Carbide Bob has commented on this forum about the need to work to sub-tenths and you can't do that with a bog standard 5C collet setup you'd find on a lathe...you need better.

    There are a few cutter vendors that post to this forum; all are likely to be able to service your needs far more effectively than you can ever hope to unless you're prepared to shell out a big chunk of money in a machine, tooling and training.

    Just because your last vendor was an incompetent douche doesn't mean they all are.
    For example, I've used AB Tools for form cutters in the past and have had only good things to say about the quality of work Alfred puts out.

    There are lots of others too; toolmonger has offered to quote a couple of posts ago.
    I'd take him up on his offer; if all turns out brilliantly you'll have a winner and you didn't even need to get your hands dirty!!

    Cheers

    Marcus
    Implant Mechanix • Design & Innovation > HOME
    www.vancouverwireedm.com

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    All depends on what you want to do.
    Here is one of or members showing how to do it on VMC,...as Hass no less.
    Grinding in a Haas - YouTube
    AlfredLyon.. the aforementioned AB tools. Top shop with a great reputation in the carbide tool world.

    Then at the other end are $500,000- $1,200,000 machines that run lights out and make huge quantities per day at tight numbers.
    Not that the above member has also posted about his newer machines (Anca I think) and how much he likes them.

    It's not just geometry, it is surface finish and edge chippage, particularly important in Al cutters. (oh ....and carbide base grade)
    Be sure to add in some decent measuring equipment, carbide tools in general do not like micrometers.

    Do you really want to go though the learning pains of all the details of production carbide grinding?
    What will you do with spent coolant? Mist collection? Get that warning tag that comes on carbide.
    Cobalt leaching and coolants? What are all these diamond wheel specs and how to you tune and choose?
    I could make a really long list of things you do not want to learn or deal with unless your volume is very high.
    Bob

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    Quote Originally Posted by CarbideBob View Post
    All depends on what you want to do.
    Here is one of or members showing how to do it on VMC,...as Hass no less.
    Grinding in a Haas - YouTube
    AlfredLyon.. the aforementioned AB tools. Top shop with a great reputation in the carbide tool world.
    Very cool. Thanks for posting that.

    Teryk

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    Quote Originally Posted by CarbideBob View Post
    All depends on what you want to do.
    Here is one of or members showing how to do it on VMC,...as Hass no less.
    Grinding in a Haas - YouTube
    Is that a router bit for woodworking?

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    Quote Originally Posted by implmex View Post
    Hi apoc_101:
    In your first post you remarked on the need to make these very consistently but in your last post you asked about maybe making these using a cobbled-together bodge with a lathe and a live tool.
    No such cobbling together. If we build the setup, even with considerable alteration of the machine, it would be done properly. we build and integrate CNC machines and robots in-house, not a stretch to build a solid CNC grinder setup in an existing machine with OSP300 and three independent spindles. Not a stretch at all (we have engineers who specialize in machine design)

    The existing live and aggregate tooling we use is of the same accuracy as tooling would be in a grinding machine, so we will definitely investigate that route.


    Great responses so far, it's definitely within our means to have a smooth integration of grinding for these bits, as long as a suitable work center is had.

    Anca is definitely the stand-out machine builder for this, as I've found on several sources in the past few days... Will be getting quotes from them and some others.


    For reference, regarding the bit: we use them to cut 5052 and 6061 aluminum on half a dozen work centers (sheet and extrusion). Have used bits from four different suppliers, we process very high volumes and spend a *ton* on these cutters. The biggest problem is consistency of the grind, with the lower cost bits made locally, and more expensive bits can't overall reduce breakage enough to make up for increased cost. Reducing the cost is what we're after, so it's really unlikely we're going to drop half a million on a machine for it (unfortunately.. I'd much rather have a high end dedicated CNC grinder.)

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    Alfred Lyon makes toolbit stuff like that partly on haas vmcs .. and has done for years.

    You/your people are extremely unlikely to succeed in making adequate cnc machine stuff.
    In the short term, or cost-effectively.
    Imho.

    Fwiw .. I design and make cnc stuff like the tool grinders.
    It took me about 17.000 hours, and 200k€, to learn, and I had some world-class instruction from the biggest machine tool builder in the world and their top designers.
    None of my stuff is public.

    If you were to spend 5000$ on tooling per month,
    and the new machine cost 200k (more or less right),
    it would cost you approx 80 months to equal machine+operator+materials costs if you got the machine built in zero time with zero downtime and perfect reliability.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hanermo View Post
    You/your people are extremely unlikely to succeed in making adequate cnc machine stuff.
    In the short term, or cost-effectively.
    Imho.

    Fwiw .. I design and make cnc stuff like the tool grinders.
    It took me about 17.000 hours, and 200k€, to learn, and I had some world-class instruction from the biggest machine tool builder in the world and their top designers.
    None of my stuff is public.

    If you were to spend 5000$ on tooling per month,
    and the new machine cost 200k (more or less right),
    it would cost you approx 80 months to equal machine+operator+materials costs if you got the machine built in zero time with zero downtime and perfect reliability.

    I've been doing this for 15 years and I'm perfectly aware of what it takes, what's involved, the hours and expense of R&D and construction of CNC machines, robotics, and their integration.

    It's not crazy at all to configure a machine in-house to make this single cutter... it would cost a lot of time and expense, so would installing a new or used CNC grinding machine. We're weighing all available options.

    The cutter:

    Last edited by apoc_101; 12-05-2017 at 04:59 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by apoc_101 View Post
    I've been doing this for 15 years and I'm perfectly aware of what it takes, what's involved, the hours and expense of R&D and construction of CNC machines, robotics, and their integration.
    Well than go for it as it is simple.
    15 years in, what could go wrong?
    WTF would ask the question to start with as you can do it already and know better?
    I see no evidence that you know jack shit about this world but simply think you can do it better at lower cost inside.
    Perhaps you can.
    Your design pictures speak for themselves, understand them and function but what?
    Bob

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    Quote Originally Posted by CarbideBob View Post
    Well than go for it as it is simple.
    15 years in, what could go wrong?
    WTF would ask the question to start with as you can do it already and know better?
    I see no evidence that you know jack shit about this world but simply think you can do it better at lower cost inside.
    Perhaps you can.
    Your design pictures speak for themselves, understand them and function but what?
    Bob
    We have a lot of options on the table for these and each of those needs to be investigated... Production grinding of carbide is not something I've done in my 15 years which is why I'm asking here.

    The way it's looking, minimum 5 years to break even on investment to in-house these... less if we also sell the cutters to other shops consuming this type of cutter (know a few).

    May be better off just getting a volume deal with OSG, who has started making these now.

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    Saskatchewan? We took three deer blinds up to Cody Robbins at Saskatoon… it is way too cold up there for grinding cutters…
    Think a full line grinding is a high expense. A specials shop can make simple cutters for a very good price if you order a dozen of the same cutter. Perhaps best for one making tools for sale..
    Qt [the goal here is to make a single type of cutter (1/4" diameter O-flute) as consistently as possible with minimal supervision,] That sounds easy enough ..Perhaps better describe the cutter and the guys here can give more advice.
    Tool in post 11 is a very simple tool and likely would be made at a specials shop for a very low price..

    Here in Michigan one might go to:
    Special Drill & Reamer Corp
    in Madison Heights, MI 4871

    - MLive.com


    and order 12 or 24 for a very good price....possible Special Drill and Reamer will ship to Saskatchewan and only a phone call away,(single flute 1/4" end mill, x long, with x length of flute ,for x material, they know ..... Thinking perhaps 10 to $15 each with a sizable order. (Called a single flute end mill)

    That cutter could be also be made on a simple tool and cutter grinder with a work head. ...For only that one cutter I would put a spiral bar to follow on a work head.. have a gashing wheel with the gash radius..and perhaps a 150 grit wheel for the OD and end..leave the machine set to this cutter so little set-up time or high skill needed...likely cost perhaps $3,000 to get set up with finding a good used machine...
    A small Walters or the like also good cost perhaps $6,000 with finding a good used machine...

    ONSRUD 62-725 1/4" Solid Carbide One Flute Downcut O Flute for Hard Plastics Router Bit - Ballew Saw bits and blades

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    Dunno anything about grinding stuff in those quantities and certainly not in carbide.....

    But the thing that stands out to me, have you ID'd the "ideal" carbide substrate before going off on a grinding spree? Are the bits that work vs the ones that don't last, the same exact material and treatment? Would a coating on the best solve some of the problems? Have you worked with anyone big enough to have reliable quantitative info on the best substrate and coating, and then try adjusting the grinding?

    You research project would probably pay off well if as you indicate it solves a problem - but the magic bullet is probably not going to be a new innovative grinding method, or even superior process control.

    If you can id perfect material, then maybe a relatively inexpensive basic (cnc) grinding set up would be all you need.

    smt


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