If you own and operate a small machine shop, you might not have the financial resources available to invest in a large VMC machine. Since these larger machines are designed to work with tough materials like stainless steel and titanium, you may think that your ability to machine these materials is limited when you only have a smaller CNC machine in your shop.
It's important to recognize that you do have the ability to work with tough materials on a small machine, but only if you take the time to prevent tool deflection. Here are two ways that tool deflection can compromise the integrity of your work when machining tough materials on a small CNC machine.
1. Tool deflection can create vibration.
When the tool of your small CNC machine is moving during the machining process, this deflection can result in an increase in the amount of vibration that your cutter experiences while completing a machining task. This increased vibration, commonly referred to as chatter, can seriously compromise the quality of the finish on your titanium or stainless steel projects.
To minimize chatter when machining tough materials on a smaller CNC cutter, be sure that you are using a tool that is large enough. Increasing the diameter of the tool will make it more stable, helping to keep chatter to a minimum.
2. Deflection can cause your tool to break.
Imagine that you bend a paperclip repeatedly. Over time, the metal would weaken and the paperclip would snap in half. Each time your machining tool deflects during a cutting rotation, the conditions are similar to bending a paperclip. The tool weakens, and it can snap before your machining project has been completed.
Investing in quality tools can be a simple way to ensure your smaller CNC machine can handle working with titanium or stainless steel. Look for carbide tools, as these will be stronger than their competitors. It can also be beneficial to invest in tools crafted by well-established and reputable brand name companies. These tools are more likely to feature precise geometric dimensions than their cheaper competitors, allowing the tool to make accurate cuts that can reduce the amount of deflection that takes place during the machining process.
Diversify the types of services available to your customers without spending a lot of money by taking the time to learn how you can successfully reduce tool deflection while machining tough materials with your small CNC machine.