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Thread: VMC as a shaper

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    Default VMC as a shaper

    I have an application that I think would benefit from being shaped as opposed to face milled and wondered if anyone has ever used their 40 taper VMC as a shaper? I would remove all but one insert then feed along X axis.

    It would be taking very light cuts in a Aluminum FWIW.

    I wouldn't think that would be detrimental to any critical components.

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    i guess if you orient it just right and take light cuts, I guess it should be OK.

    Please show results!


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    Non rotating load endangers spindle bearings

    100 percent safe would be a setup that doesn't actually load the spindle bearings or that rotates it while doing so IE a bearing'ed setup that steadies on the Z assembly

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    I think it would be fine. Every bearing spec I've ever seen lists a higher "static" load vs. it's rotation/moving load, so I think that would fine. Plus, whatever shaping cut you're probably going to take, I'm assuming is going to be a light-cut. It probably generates less axis-thrust and bending-moment on the spindle than a heavy milling cut, so again, probably fine.


    I don't think I'd do it by removing inserts from a milling cutter, and orienting the spindle though, unless you're talking about the tiniest of cuts. The insert being off-center, is still going to try to rotate the tool, and probably try to break the orient on the spindle. If you could fabricate the cutter so that the insert is on-center, I think you could have better results.

    I wonder if someone with a couple' CNC machines could make something up for you...

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    What about taking a HSS fly cutter body and orientating the spindle with the slot parallel to the travel? You'd get 10 or 15° of rake and just need to touch up the face on a piece of HSS.

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    I think it would resist rotation best if you drag it "behind" the center of the spindle rather than push it ahead of the spindle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Booze Daily View Post
    I think it would resist rotation best if you drag it "behind" the center of the spindle rather than push it ahead of the spindle.
    Ever use the fine boring cycle and have the bar facing the wrong way? Works great for putting a key slot in a bore

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    I would orient the spindle and try to rotate by hand just to get a good a feel of how little force is required to rotate just a couple degrees. You have to have a robust locking mechanism on the spindle to fight any rotation.

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    Any way you can attach a static holder on your machine's spindle casting and avoid the spindle?

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    Quote Originally Posted by BROTHERFRANK View Post
    Any way you can attach a static holder on your machine's spindle casting and avoid the spindle?
    THIS (up there ) is how I have seen it done by someone I know. Worked the treat. Obviously, time was spent insuring for alignments of the mounting member and tooling. But after, it was fairly interestingly slick.

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    Along a similar vein, is rotary broaching OK in a VMC?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cole2534 View Post
    Along a similar vein, is rotary broaching OK in a VMC?
    Yes, because the spindle is turning.

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    Quote Originally Posted by yoke View Post
    I have an application that I think would benefit from being shaped as opposed to face milled and wondered if anyone has ever used their 40 taper VMC as a shaper? I would remove all but one insert then feed along X axis.

    It would be taking very light cuts in a Aluminum FWIW.

    I wouldn't think that would be detrimental to any critical components.
    what would be the advantage to using a non rotating tool ? in the old days they would say part warps less but many parts are milled to tight tolerances. often cold rolled aluminum has a skin of work hardened metal that when removed the part warps. usually its best to anneal part or if not possible you rechuck allowing to to warp then remove the warpage. but highly stressed parts often this needs to be done many times as each time material is removed it will warp. often it needs time to warp that is a 10 minutes or longer it might warp some more.

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    I had a very similar request for an application (cutting ~30m of <0.5mm racetrack groove in some MIC6) a year or two ago, and couldn't find anyone in the US who was actively offering it. Since I was doing prototyping, I just found someone to do it with an endmill. The company I was working for at the time had some products with circular grooves which were single point turned.

    There's a firm somewhere in Europe that offers a machine for shaping deep, thin slots which I thought would be a good fit for my application, but they didn't have any machines installed in the US and I wasn't willing to go through the hassle.

    Maybe it's time for me to make up some tooling and see if my old employer is looking for a new supplier. I do think some calcs are in order regarding the spindle bearings, but that shouldn't be terribly difficult.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pariel View Post
    I had a very similar request for an application (cutting ~30m of <0.5mm racetrack groove in some MIC6) a year or two ago, and couldn't find anyone in the US who was actively offering it. Since I was doing prototyping, I just found someone to do it with an endmill. The company I was working for at the time had some products with circular grooves which were single point turned.

    There's a firm somewhere in Europe that offers a machine for shaping deep, thin slots which I thought would be a good fit for my application, but they didn't have any machines installed in the US and I wasn't willing to go through the hassle.

    Maybe it's time for me to make up some tooling and see if my old employer is looking for a new supplier. I do think some calcs are in order regarding the spindle bearings, but that shouldn't be terribly difficult.
    Reminds me of something I saw on ebay years ago. There was a 50 taper attachment that makino sold years ago for "Hale machining" that got our interest. We didn't buy the thing.

    Basically, it was a 50 taper holder that had a servo motor on it. You put a "shaper" tool in that, and program your racetrack or whatever shape. As it goes around, the servo on the toolholder turned the tool to the correct angle to shape out the groove.

    Nowadays with machine technologies that allow you to orient and move the spindle like a C axis, some fancy machines may allow you to do this without the extra equipment.

    Found a video showing a machine doing the same thing, again doesn't seem to have an attachment like I described above.

    YouTube

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    Closest we've done is broaching 5/32" square T-wrench bodies in a 2006 Hardinge VMC (8000 rpm spindle) Parts were air hardened tool steel with an appropriate pilot hole, so there wasn't much working against it. This was before we had a mechanical die press running in the shop though, so I doubt we'd do it again, but it worked fine and I don't think we saw any lasting damage to the machine. All the same, I'd go for a static tool holder as noted above. Shouldn't be too hard to set-up and you'd trade off fussing with spindle orientation with doing so with the physical tool holder (simpler in my mind).

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    I wish a warning message popped up during startup, that stated something like my previous owner tried some weird crap. Be forewarned before purchase. Could you do it, sure. It's yours. Be nice and warn the next guy in line of your advetures.

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    Would this work?

    YouTube

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaxian View Post
    Would this work?

    YouTube
    I like that!

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    We essentially broached on Mazak VMC's on a regular basis at a past company. In tool steel.

    Unfortunately I wasn't involved, so I can't really help other than to say the tool room did it on a regular basis. I do remember the spindle would increment and lock in position (couldn't/wouldn't rotate) as multiple cuts were made. I watched it run a few times, but never looked into the code or the tooling. Kinda wish I did, as I have a job that would save a setup if I could shave a 1/32 endmill cut to a square corner.

    I do not know if Mazak was involved, or if special applications engineering was required.


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