Author Archives: Amit Shirsat

  1. Horizontal vs. Vertical Milling

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    Planner Milling & CNC Vertical Milling

    Technox Machine & Manufacturing Inc. is a full-service machine shop that specializes in high-quality machined parts and metalworking operations. We offer turnkey solutions for your machining needs, ranging from low- and high-volume productions of small goods to the production of oversized assemblies.

    As part of our capabilities, we offer horizontal and vertical milling services. Milling processes use rotating cutters to remove excess material from a workpiece. Here, we’ll go over the differences between horizontal vs. vertical milling to ensure you choose the right option for your needs.

    What Is Horizontal Milling?

    For horizontal milling processes, the CNC machine has a spindle that’s oriented in a horizontal position. The affixed cutting tool on the spindle will then move from side to side across the length of the available space, removing excess material from the adjacent workpiece. Horizontal milling machines typically use a disc-shaped cutter resembling a saw blade.

    Because of the spindle’s orientation, the mill can create deep, heavy cuts in the workpiece. This makes horizontal milling ideal for creating slots, grooves, and angled cuts. Horizontal milling machines are often the preferred choice for heavy-duty or large components because they have large beds and more powerful motors. Other key benefits of horizontal milling machines include:

    • Versatility. These mills can be used at a wide variety of speeds and with different cutting tools.
    • Chip evacuation. One common problem with cutting deep grooves and narrow cuts into workpieces is that chips can build up in the cuts and between moving pieces. Horizontal mills are oriented for simple chip removal, resulting in cleaner surface finishes.
    • Milling on multiple sides. Horizontal mills can cut and machine multiple sides of a workpiece rather than focusing on just one side.

     

    What Is Vertical Milling?

    Vertical milling machines also feature rotating cutting tools attached on a spindle. In these machines, the spindle is oriented vertically and moves up and down to make cuts into a workpiece. There are two main types of vertical milling machines: turret mills, which are small, versatile options with a fixed spindle, and bed mills, which have a moving bed to allow for a full, 3-axis range of movement.

    Some of the key benefits of vertical milling processes include:

    • Cost-effectiveness. The machines are more affordable than heavier horizontal milling machines, making the process cheaper both for manufacturers and their clients. 
    • Available expertise. Vertical mills are the default option for most manufacturers. This makes it easier to find expert operators who can manage complex designs or unique projects. 
    • Reduced risk of error. The vertical spindle orientation makes it easier for operators and monitoring systems to detect potential errors or misalignment. This results in higher product quality, less material waste, and faster production overall. 

     

    Which One Is Right for Your Application?

    Both horizontal mills and vertical mills offer several key benefits, and the best option depends on your project’s particular requirements. Crucial factors to consider when choosing the right process include:

    • Size and shape of the piece
    • Number of planes on which the piece needs to be worked

    Heavier workpieces or items that need to be worked on several sides are most suitable for horizontal milling, whereas projects like sinking dies are ideal for vertical milling. 

     


    Horizontal and Vertical Milling Services at Technox

    At Technox, we specialize in both horizontal and vertical milling. We have the equipment and the expertise to create a diverse array of custom parts with different machining techniques. For help determining the right milling process for your needs, contact us today, or request a quote to get started.

  2. CNC Milling Services for Large Parts

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    Planner Milling & CNC Vertical MillingAn integral process in modern machining, computer numerical control (CNC) milling is capable of much more than generating small parts. In machining, large parts are considered to be any component with size requirements that exceed standard CNC milling equipment or weights that surpass a single employee’s capability to carry. Projects of this size or weight mean that manufacturers must have specialized equipment to handle production on such a scale, backed by a team of experienced operators. 

    Technox Machine & Manufacturing Inc. is a one-stop shop for all your fabricating and machining needs. With nearly endless options for part size and weight, our team manufactures large-scale parts at the highest levels of quality and precision, customizing our products to fit any application or industry.

     

    Large Part CNC Milling 

    CNC milling is a subtractive machining process that relies on computer-controlled tooling and instructions to selectively cut and drill materials away from a larger workpiece, ultimately shaping a custom component. CNC milling machines can rotate tools along multiple axes to mechanically remove material from varying planes of the workpiece. 

    Large CNC milling machines follow similar steps as those in other CNC machining processes, including: 

    •     Design creation through computer-aided design (CAD) software
    •     Conversion of CAD files into numerical codes the CNC equipment can digitally read
    •     Preparation and positioning of the tooling and workpiece
    •     Automated part generation

    Manufacturers can use CNC mills for a wide array of large parts with numerous material options. However, they should select an effective material best suited for the specific end-product. Brass, aluminum, stainless steel, and strong high-temp alloys are ideal metals for the process, as are several plastic options.

    CNC milling offers numerous benefits for even large-scale components, including:

    CNC Milling Benefits

    • Accuracy. CNC milling machines operate with minimal human intervention, bypassing the possibility of employee error in the manufacturing process. These machines rely on software codes, thus delivering consistent and repeatable precision without flaws. These automated machines can also operate for long hours without compromising the quality or tight tolerances of jobs.
    • Speed. The automation of the CNC milling process and the ability for simultaneous cuts allow for faster and more efficient production, as well as increased productivity overall. Machines can operate rapidly to match the demand for products without breaking or tiring.
    • Versatility. In addition to the wide array of material choices that this process offers, once the CAD software translates a design into programmed instructions for the CNC mill, the equipment can produce parts for even the most complex of components. 
    • Safety. CNC mills isolate machines from most human contact, reducing the risks that result from direct interaction between humans and traditional milling machines. Also, modern CNC machines can automatically change tools during processing, which can potentially eliminate the human aspect from the tooling preparation stage. This allows employees to execute software program updates and utilize preventive measures to keep the machines running.
    • Cost-effectiveness. When you combine the above benefits, it’s clear that CNC milling machines can significantly cut down on production costs, all while maintaining high levels of quality and performance. For instance, they improve productivity, with higher output in less time than manual or standard operations. CNC milling services also offload financial liabilities and downtime costs incurred through common accidents with machines that rely on human-machine interaction.

     


    Planer Milling & CNC Vertical Milling Capabilities

    At Technox, we can help you mill any large part up to 113″ x 336″ x 84″ with tolerances of ±0.0005″ of the design specifications. We’re also capable of milling all kinds of materials, including copper, cast iron, bronze, aluminum, plastics, and wood. Our three facilities are equipped with state-of-the-art machines such as:

    •     Planer milling machinery
    •     3- and 4-axis CNC vertical milling equipment
    •     35 high-capacity forklifts, cranes, and hoisting machines for lifting up to 15 tons

    Technox also offers planer milling services. In this process, the mill shapes the outer profile of a component by making linear cuts to achieve grooves and notches. This works differently than CNC milling since the planer mill moves a workpiece back and forth against the tool, whereas CNC mills rotate the cutting tools against the workpiece. Planer milling processes often create end-products such as rings, castings, segments, shafts, and dial plate drums.

    Industries Served 

    CNC Milling Industries Served

    Our cutting-edge large CNC machining and planer equipment can handle the manufacture of large parts for a variety of industries. CNC milling services work well in the following industries:

    •     Aerospace
    •     Automotive and transportation
    •     Consumer goods
    •     Electronics
    •     Healthcare
    •     Military and defense
    •     Robotics and automation

    As for planer milling, the process has applications in the following sectors:

    •     Automation
    •     Bulk conveying
    •     Food handling
    •     Packaging machinery
    •     Oil & pipeline equipment
    •     Plastic and steel processing
    •     Printing machinery

    Types of Large Milled Parts

    Types of Large Milled Parts

    While milling machines can produce smaller components for the above industries, large parts are also highly valued in these sectors. For example, the aerospace industry requires large, high-performance parts for turbines, satellites, and airplanes. The power generation sector also utilizes gas and wind turbines. In automotive and transportation applications, trucks, tractors, cranes, bulldozers, ship components, and other heavy-duty equipment require large and heavy fabricated parts. Machine tables or bases, fixture plates, and other components also necessitate services for oversized workpieces. Once again, versatility is a definite advantage in milling processes.


    Large Part CNC Milling 101

    (Click to Expand)

    Why Technox? 

    We believe that our clients deserve the best quality in their products, and we’ve built a repertoire of comprehensive fabrication services to meet your exacting design needs. In addition to planer and CNC vertical milling, we also offer turning, boring, countersinking, knurling, tapping, and threading. Technox also provides secondary and finishing services including welding, assembly, heat treating, saw cutting, shot blasting, part repair, painting, plating, and powder coating to meet all our customers’ needs.

    Our team can assist you in choosing the material and machining process that best fits your application while also providing access to our expertise in oversized and complex parts. Coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) assist us in assuring that completed components match up with the initial design specifications for superior accuracy. We aim to reduce manufacturing costs without sacrificing quality, and so Technox is in compliance with all industry standards.

    Certifications

    Technox is committed to strict quality management, and so we ensure that our processes are compliant with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards, maintaining an ISO 9001:2015 certification. As an Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA)-compliant company, we also value a safe working environment for our team of experienced machinists. Finally, Technox’s American Welding Society (AWS)-certified professionals thoroughly inspect and test your welded products to guarantee optimal quality.

    Contact Technox, Your ​​Trusted Large Part Fabrication Partner  

    CNC milling machines have undoubtedly revolutionized large part fabrication processes. However, the quality of your large parts depends on the manufacturing team that you trust. Technox offers superior, customizable CNC and planer milling services to best meet our customers’ exacting specifications. Contact us today and let us help you maintain the highest quality with your large part fabrication project, or request a quote to get started.

  3. Horizontal Boring: All You Need to Know

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    For applications requiring holes drilled in workpieces of various sizes, horizontal boring services may apply. Horizontal boring machines are compatible with many types of workpieces and can efficiently drill into workpieces while achieving tight tolerances.

     

    Horizontal Boring & CNC Horizontal Boring

    Horizontal Boring 101

    Boring enables operators to further process cast, forged, or drilled holes that exist within a workpiece, enlarging them, improving their dimensional accuracy, or increasing the diameter of the hole. These processes can also increase surface smoothness and ensure the original hole axis’s deviation is correct.

    This process relies on horizontal boring machines, which include a column, bed, spindle, saddle, and ram. The machine travels horizontally on the X-axis along the bed. Meanwhile, the saddle travels along the row vertically on the Y-axis. The plunger and boring tool then move inward on the Z-axis and outward on the W-axis. The machine then cuts around a stationary workpiece installed on the front side of the boring machine. This is what makes horizontal boring different from vertical boring, in which the workpiece turns while the tool remains stationary.

     

    Advantages of Horizontal Boring

    Horizontal boring manufacturing offers many benefits, such as:

    • The Ability to Produce Large-Format Elements: The right horizontal boring equipment works with large workpieces, enabling the production of large-format parts for various industries. This is especially useful for industrial and agricultural applications.
    • The Ability to Produce Large Numbers of Parts: Due to their ability to make multiple cuts simultaneously and their high speed of cutting, horizontal boring machining can produce many parts for applications requiring a high volume of components quickly.
    • Minimized Tool Deflection: If a tool faces more resistance than it can handle, deflection may occur. As a result, the tool may initiate an improper drilling angle due to the application of excessive force. However, horizontal boring machines help prevent this because they maintain a closer distance between the drill and the anchor point during drilling.
    • The Ability to Apply CNC Boring Technology: Computer numerical control (CNC) is a type of technology that controls certain machining tools through software programming. This enables operators to enter specific commands that machines must follow, including horizontal boring machines. These CNC machines help maximize precision while minimizing the risk for human error during the boring process.


    Horizontal Boring Services from Technox

    At Technox Machine & Manufacturing Inc., we provide reliable horizontal boring services to help ensure accurate, high-quality, and timely component orders. We perform these services with some of the best horizontal boring equipment, including machines with a maximum of 120″ x 152″ x 70″ work envelope, along with a five-axis capacity. These capabilities enable us to machine some of the most complex parts at consistently fast speeds. At the same time, we can maintain precision with tolerances of ± 0.0005″. 

    We have the equipment and skills required to complete many machining processes and work with a wide variety of materials, including engineering plastics, high-performance alloys, and standard metals.

    Contact Our Experts for Premium Horizontal Boring Solutions

    If you require horizontal boring services, turn to the professionals at Technox. We’ve provided premier horizontal boring services and more to customers since 1976. With customers across a wide range of industries, including steel mills, fluid power, oil and gas, and equipment, we have a reputation for delivering quality products.

    For more information about our services, contact us today or get started on your next project when you request a free quote.

  4. Boring vs. Turning – All You Need to Know

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    Since our humble beginnings in 1976 as a job shop and repair company, Technox Machine & Manufacturing has grown into one of the largest complete metal fabrication operations in Chicago. As a one-stop shop, we offer machining, fabricating, grinding, and welding services for a wide range of industries, including steel, food, oil and gas, plastics, paper, textiles, and recycling.

    Two of our most popular services are boring and turning. Both processes cut material away from a workpiece to create a new shape, but they do so in different ways. To select the right method for your application, learn more about each process here. 

    Boring vs Turning comparison


    Horizontal Boring & CNC Horizontal BoringBoring

    In boring, a non-rotating cutting tool—like a drill—removes internal material from a workpiece to create or enlarge holes. Boring must achieve tight tolerances and precise results, requiring the expertise of a skilled technician. The process is performed on a lathe, boring miller, or conventional milling machine.

    There are horizontal and vertical boring processes, but horizontal boring is generally more versatile. Vertical boring requires the workpiece to move while the tool is held in place, which translates to limitations in workpiece size. In horizontal boring, the workpiece is kept stationary, enabling larger part sizes, increased production speed, reduced tool deflection, and compatibility with CNC machining. With complex projects, these benefits add up to faster turnaround times and lower price points. 

     

    Turning - Horizontal, Vertical & CNC TurningTurning

    Like boring, turning uses a stationary, non-rotating cutting tool. However, instead of removing internal material and increasing inner diameter, turning removes external material from the workpiece, thereby reducing the outer diameter.

    CNC turning centers are available in 3-, 4-, and 5-axis varieties. The more axes, the more complex geometries the machine can produce. All turning subtypes—tapered, hard, and spherical—require a cutting tool to remove material. Lathes are best for simple turning projects, while CNC turning centers are ideal for more complex capabilities that require multiple tool changers and chip conveyors.


    Premium Boring and Turning Services from Technox

    At Technox Machine & Manufacturing, we provide many types of boring and turning services. Our state-of-the-art facility houses cutting-edge machinery and technology, including 15-ton lifting cranes to manage especially large parts. Our horizontal boring and CNC horizontal boring machines offer 5-axis capacity and a maximum work envelope of 120” x 152” x 70”, allowing us to produce complex parts with tolerances of ± 0.0005”. We work with a vast array of materials, including:

    • Steel
    • Stainless steel
    • Aluminum
    • Brass
    • Copper
    • Bronze
    • Nickel
    • Cast iron
    • Inconel
    • Hastelloy
    • Plastics

    Our horizontal, vertical, and CNC turning capabilities include 3- and 4-axis equipment that can produce parts with diameters up to 152” and lengths up to 240”, with tolerances of ± 0.001”. 

    Through stringent testing and inspecting during all phases of production, Technox consistently demonstrates a commitment to high quality with every project. We work closely with our clients to deliver complete metal fabrication solutions and finishing services, which include painting, powder coating, plating, and more. From prototypes to high-volume production runs, we manage everything in-house to keep your costs low and ensure quick delivery. Contact us to learn more about our services, or request a quote to start your project today. 

     

  5. MIG vs TIG Welding

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    Welding is a fabrication process that involves the use of heat and/or pressure to form a durable joint between two separate pieces of material. Depending on the part and production specifications, industry professionals employ different welding techniques to create the desired assemblies. Two of the most common welding methods used are MIG and TIG welding. The following blog post provides a comparison between the two, outlining what they entail, advantages and disadvantages, materials utilized, and typical industrial applications.

    Types of Welding Methods

    Numerous techniques and technologies have been developed to optimize the welding process for different materials and products, including:

    • Arc welding uses an electrical current to weld metals. Types of arc welding include metal inert gas (MIG) welding and tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding, among others.
    • Friction welding melts the bonding and base material through mechanical friction. This process can be used with thermoplastics and metals.
    • Electron beam welding uses a stream of electrons to melt materials into a joint. This process must be completed in a vacuum and is typically used for thicker components.
    • Laser welding is a high-speed process that employs a laser to melt and join metals and/or thermoplastics together.
    • Resistance welding uses heat generated between electrodes or rotating wheels to melt and join the base materials. Types include spot welding and seam welding.


    MIG vs. TIG: Which One Is the Best for Your Application?

    MIG welding and TIG welding operate under a similar principle; heat generated by an electrical current melts the base materials and/or bonding materials, which, when cooled, form a solid joint. Despite similarities between the two processes, they remain distinct in their benefits and best use cases.

    TIG Welding: Benefits and Applications

    tig welding process illustration

    TIG—i.e., tungsten inert gas—welding is highly versatile, enabling industry professionals to join a wide range of small and thin materials. It uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode to heat the metal and can be used with or without a filler.

    Compared to MIG welding, it is much slower, often resulting in longer lead times and greater production costs. Additionally, welders require highly specialized training to ensure they achieve proper precision and accuracy. However, it also offers greater control during the welding operation and produces strong, precise, and aesthetically pleasing welds.


    MIG Welding: Benefits and Applications

    mig welding process illustration

    MIG—i.e., metal inert gas—welding is generally used for large and thick materials. It employs a consumable wire that acts as both the electrode and the filler material.

    Compared to TIG welding, it is much faster, resulting in shorter lead times and lower production costs. Additionally, it is easier to learn and produces welds that require little to no cleaning and finishing. However, its welds are not as precise, strong, or clean as those formed by TIG welding operations.

     

    Typical Materials Used in MIG and TIG Welding Operations

    Both MIG and TIG welding can be used on a wide range of metals, with MIG welding more suitable for thick materials and TIG more appropriate for thin materials. Typical weld materials include aluminum, carbon steel, and stainless steel.


    Why Choose Technox for Your Welding Needs?

    At Technox Machine & Manufacturing, we are a full-service job shop and repair company specializing in manufacturing large assemblies and subassemblies in prototype to full production quantities. In addition to our machining and grinding capabilities, our secondary services range from fabrication and welding to complete repair, replacement, and reassembly.

    Our fully certified welders are well-versed in MIG and TIG welding and accommodate aluminum, carbon steel, and stainless steel materials. Some of the typical products we assemble and repair in our welding department include bearings, bearing housings, and bushings. All of our welded products adhere to ISO 9001:2015, AWS, and OSHA standards.

    To learn more about our welding capabilities, contact us or request a quote today.

     

  6. How to Choose the Right Material for Your CNC Machining Application

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    Computer numerical control—i.e., CNC—machining is a subtractive manufacturing process used to produce high-precision parts and components designed and built to tight tolerances. By employing computerized machines and tooling, industry professionals use the method to process a wide range of materials, each of which offers its own manufacturing benefits and limitations.

    The following blog post serves as a guide outlining what factors to consider when choosing a material for a CNC machining project. Additionally, it compares some of the materials commonly used and their characteristics and typical applications.

    Planner Milling & CNC Vertical Milling

    How to Select the Right CNC Material

    The material used in a CNC machining operation can affect both the quality and performance of the finished part. When choosing a material, there are several factors to consider. The answers to the following basic questions can aid in the selection process:

    • What mechanical, thermal, and other material properties are necessary for the product to perform adequately in the application and operating environment?
    • Which available materials fulfill all or most of the necessary characteristics to meet design requirements?
    • Which material allows for the highest level of performance, the best machinability characteristics, and the most cost-effective production?

    However, answering these questions requires a thorough understanding of product requirements and the characteristics and common applications of each potential material.

    Comparing Different CNC Materials: Material Properties and Common Applications

    Industry professionals employ a wide range of materials in CNC machining operations to suit different product and project specifications. Some of the most commonly used materials include:

    . Aluminum

    One of the most common and easy to machine metals available, aluminum is a highly versatile and cost-effective option for CNC machining projects. Additional material properties include:

    • Medium strength (6061) and high strength (7075)
    • Corrosion and temperature resistance
    • Thermal and electrical conductivity
    • High workability

    Typical applications include:

    • for 6061: aircraft and marine fittings, camera lens mounts, couplings, and electronic hardware
    • for 7075: aircraft and bike parts, gears and shafts, fuse parts, keys, missile parts, and valves

    . Brass

    Similar to aluminum, brass is easy to work with and cost-effective. Other material properties include:

    • Medium strength
    • High stability
    • Corrosion resistance
    • Chemical resistance
    • High machinability

    Typical CNC machined parts include:

    • Aerospace components
    • Electronic hardware and contacts
    • Fitting
    • Healthcare devices

    . Bronze

    Bronze consists of copper and zinc and carries many of the same physical and mechanical properties of the base copper material, such as:

    • Non-sparking
    • Corrosion resistance
    • Thermal and electrical conductivity
    • Good workability

    Typical products produced include:

    • Bearings and bushings
    • Musical instruments
    • Sculptures
    • Springs

    . Cast Iron

    In CNC machining operations, cast iron is primarily used for its ready availability, strength, and wear resistance. Typical applications include:

    • Car and truck parts
    • Wind generation equipment parts
    • Oil well pump components
    • Tools and machine tool frames

    . Copper

    Copper offers several characteristics that make it suitable for CNC machined parts, including:

    • Medium strength
    • Electrical conductivity
    • Corrosion resistance
    • Good workability

    Some of the CNC machined products typically made from copper include:

    • Automotive and general engineering parts
    • Appliance components
    • Electrical contacts

    . Nickel and Nickel Alloys

    There are a variety of nickel and nickel alloys, such as Hastelloy and Inconel, available for use in CNC machining operations, each of which offers:

    • Medium to high strength
    • Corrosion and oxidation resistance
    • Medium workability

    Typical applications for these materials include:

    • for Hastelloy: chemical reactors, distillation equipment, pipes and valves, and pressure vessels
    • for Inconel: automotive and aerospace parts, consumer electronics, and healthcare devices

    . Steel and Steel Alloys

    Steel is available in a wide range of grades to suit different industrial and commercial machining projects. In general, each alloy demonstrates the following properties:

    • High strength and hardness
    • Low corrosion resistance
    • High formability, machinability, and weldability

    Applications of steel in CNC machining operations include:

    • Heavy-duty parts
    • Gears
    • Rivets
    • Shafts
    • Studs

    . Stainless Steel

    Stainless steel combines the strength and hardness of steel with greater corrosion resistance. In addition to these advantageous characteristics, it also offers good machinability and weldability.

    Industrial and consumer applications include:

    • Aerospace and automotive parts
    • Food processing equipment
    • Medical and surgical instruments
    • Machinery components
    • Screws

    . Variety of Plastics

    Plastics serve as a low-cost, easy-to-machine alternative to metals for applications where strength and electrical conductivity are not critical. Depending on the specific plastic formulations, some of the properties that plastic demonstrate are:

    • Nylon: fair flame resistance and insulation
    • PVC: excellent chemical and corrosion resistance and good flame resistance
    • PEEK: high stability and strength, impact resistance, and minimum creep

    Typical applications include:

    • for nylon: bearings and insulators
    • for PVC: construction profiles to medical devices, roofing membranes to credit cards, and toys to pipes
    • for PEEK: connectors, switches, and test sockets

    Horizontal, Vertical & CNC Turning

    CNC Materials From Technox Machine and Manufacturing, Inc.

    For CNC machining operations, industry professionals most commonly employ aluminum, steel, and stainless steel due to their overall strength and versatility. However, depending on the part and project specifications, they may also utilize other materials for enhanced thermal and electrical conductivity, rust and corrosion resistance, or other required material properties.

    At Technox Machine and Manufacturing, Inc., we have a broad range of materials available to suit a variety of machining applications. Our team has the knowledge and expertise to help you select the material with the right characteristics for the cost-effective production of your components. Contact us for more information about our material availability and capabilities or request a quote to discuss the details of your next project.

  7. CNC Machining Guide: Types of CNC Machines, Materials, Benefits

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    Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machining is a high precision method for manufacturing customized parts derived from a variety of different materials and within very tight tolerances. There are many benefits that come from implementing a CNC machining production solution.

    Horizontal, Vertical & CNC Turning

    Understanding CNC Machining

    CNC machining is considered a subtractive manufacturing technology, which means that the end product is formed by selectively removing excess material from the workpiece. Every end-to-end CNC machining operation follows a similar four-step production process.

    These four production phases are:

    • Part Design

    Parts produced via CNC machining generally start out as initial designs from Computer Aided Design (CAD) software. In the design phase, engineers give careful thought to all aspects of the desired final product, such as parameters for optimal performance, operating conditions for the end part, and acceptable tolerance variation levels.

    • Design Conversion

    Upon completion of the initial design phase, the CAD model must be converted into a functional CNC program using Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) software. CAM software is able to extract the geometrical requirements from the CAD model’s origin file and translate them into a CNC-compatible programming language—such as G-code or M-code—which will dictate the mechanical operations of the machine.

    • CNC Machine Preparation

    Next, the CNC machine operator must set up both the machine and the target material according to the specifications required by the CNC program. The operator will ensure that the correct cutting or drilling tools are properly installed and are matched with the appropriate bits or end mills. The operator must also set up the workpiece, typically either in a stationary clamp or attached directly to the CNC machine.

    • Executing Programmed Operations

    Finally, the CNC machine operator executes the desired mechanical processes. During operation, the CNC program precisely controls the movements of the machine tooling.

    cnc drills - drilling machine

    Types of CNC Machines

    The most common types of CNC machines are those that use cutting tools to remove excess material from the workpiece. While there are CNC machines that employ water jet cutting and electrical discharge machining (EDM) operations, this guide will focus on the five most common categories in the following list, divided into two basic classifications: 3-axis and multi-axis machines.

    3-Axis CNC Machines

    3-axis machines allow cutting tools to move along straight three-dimensional vectors (up and down, left and right, forward and backward). There are two types of 3-axis CNC machines:

    • CNC Milling Machines

    In CNC milling operations, the workpiece remains stationary and a high-speed rotating cutting tool comes down onto the workpiece to remove excess material. This type of machine is very useful for forming basic geometric shapes.

     

    A Guide to CNC Milling:

     

    • CNC Turning Machines (Lathes) 

    In CNC turning operations, the cutting tool remains stationary while the workpiece rotates at a high speed on a spindle. CNC turning offers the ability to produce cylindrical parts quickly and with tight tolerances. For example, Technox Machine and Manufacturing has CNC lathes that can produce parts with dimensions of up to 152″ in diameter and 240″ in length, while still holding tight ± 0.001″ tolerances. The big disadvantage to 3-axis turning operations is that only cylindrical parts can be manufactured efficiently.

    Click here to learn more about the Differences Between CNC Milling and Turning.

    Multi-Axis CNC Machines

    Multi-axis CNC machines are similar to 3-axis machines, but with a higher degree of freedom in mechanical movements. For instance, multi-axis machines can employ rotational and diagonal cutting operations. There are three main types of multi-axis CNC machines:

    • Indexed 5-axis CNC Milling Machines

    Even though this type of milling machine can only cut along 3 linear axes during operation, in between operations the operator has the ability to rotate the bed and tool-head for the next cut, allowing for increased shaping capabilities.

    • Continuous 5-axis CNC Milling Machines

    This machine type allows for continuous movement along the three linear axes and two rotational axes during operation. This gives the operator the ability to create highly complex forms from the target workpiece.

    • Mill-Turning CNC Centers

    Mill-turning centers combine the functionalities of CNC lathes and CNC milling machines. The workpiece may be rotated at high speeds on a spindle or precisely positioned for milling operations.

     

    Designing CNC Machined Parts – CAD Model Design

    CAD model design CNC machined partA 2D vector or 3D solid part CAD design is the point of conception for a CNC machined-part. Besides design requirements directly related to the product’s end application, engineers must also be mindful of the capabilities and limitations of the CNC machine that will be utilized for the actual cutting operations.

    The engineer must convert the CAD model’s origin file into a CNC-compatible format, such as the open-source STEP or IGES format, or a more restricted format like IPT or SAT. It is also considered a best practice for an engineer to create a technical drawing that will be sent along with the digital CAD instructions. These drawings are used to verify design tolerances and geometries; help the machinist to identify the part’s salient features; and serve as a tangible source of verification should questions arise.

     

    Benefits of CNC Machining

    CNC machining offers several competitive advantages, including:

    • Quick order lead times
    • High precision
    • Highly customizable
    • Creates products with exceptional physical properties and performance thresholds

    Materials Used

    Appropriate material selection is critical for CNC machining operations. This choice is largely dependent on the expected usage for the end product. You’ll need to examine a range of material properties to determine which is best for your design, such as:

    • Tensile strength
    • Hardness
    • Ease of operation
    • Chemical resistance
    • Corrosion resistance
    • Thermal properties

    At Technox, we utilize a broad spectrum of materials for our machining operations, including:

    • Steel
    • Stainless Steel
    • Aluminum
    • Brass
    • Copper
    • Bronze
    • Nickel
    • Cast Iron
    • Inconel®
    • Hastelloy®
    • Plastics

     

    CNC Machining Applications

    CNC machined parts are employed in a vast array of applications across industries. At Technox, we serve a broad range of sectors, including:

    • Steel
    • Food and beverage
    • Plastics
    • Paper
    • Textile
    • Recycling
    • Oil and gas
    • Fluid power
    • Construction

    Planner Milling & CNC Vertical Milling

    CNC Machined Parts at Technox

    At Technox Machine and Manufacturing, we offer versatile, customized solutions to our clients and we deliver only the highest quality work. Our machining capabilities include:

    • Boring
    • Milling
    • Drilling
    • Tapping
    • Threading
    • Counterboring
    • Countersinking
    • Knurling

    If you’d like more information about the advantages of partnering with Technox, please reach out to us or request a quote.

     

  8. What Are the Basics of CNC Milling and Turning?

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    CNC Turning Machine

    Computer Numerical Control (CNC) technology has dominated the metal forming industry in recent years, as it offers advanced precision and repeatability that can be impossible to achieve with manual processes alone. With so many CNC technologies on the market, it can be difficult to distinguish between them and what they are used for. While there are many similarities between CNC milling and turning, there are also distinct, important differences.


    Understanding the Differences Between CNC Milling and Turning

    While CNC milling is nearly synonymous with CNC machining, CNC turning often produces parts faster and more affordably than milling. CNC milling is limited to the range of motion of the cutting tools. CNC turning is not as good at conserving material but allows for complex design options and faster operations.

    (Click on image to enlarge)

    CNC milling and turning differences - Infographic

     

    CNC Milling

    Planner Milling & CNC Vertical Milling

    CNC milling is a machine process which produces custom-designed parts or components by progressively removing material from the workpiece using rotating multi-point cutting tools and computerized controls. These systems usually have three linear degrees of freedom. They can move freely around the X, Y, and Z axes while the workpiece remains stationary. This limited dimensional operation reduces the speed of operations, making milling more suitable for prototyping and smaller production runs.

    CNC Turning

    CNC turning is a manufacturing process that involves holding bars of material in a chuck and rotating them while feeding a tool to the piece to remove material until the desired shape is achieved. As the desired shape is achieved through the removal of material, it is also known as subtraction machining.

    Horizontal, Vertical & CNC Turning

    All of the work can be completed from one side if the CNC turning center has only one turret, but some turning centers have a main spindle and sub-spindle for even faster operation. With this configuration, the main spindle partially machines the workpiece, which is then moved to the sub-spindle to complete the job on the other side of the part. The speed of CNC turning operations makes it an ideal process for large production runs with short lead times.

    CNC Milling and Turning: Applications and Types of Materials

    Production Capabilities

    The production capabilities of CNC milling include a range of processes, such as:

    • Chemical
    • Electrical
    • Mechanical
    • Thermal

    CNC mills provide superior material conservation efficiency, which leads to a reduction in material costs over the machine’s lifespan. CNC mills fabricate products such as complex short-run production parts, precision components and parts, and prototype parts.

    CNC turning lathes, on the other hand, are used to conduct operations such as:

    • Boring
    • Drilling
    • Facing
    • Grooving
    • Knurling
    • Parting

    CNC milling and turning are used in a number of industries, including:

    • Woodworking
    • Electrical industry
    • Electrical discharge machining (EDM)
    • Metal removing (in automotive or manufacturing)
    • Material fabrication

    CNC Machining Services from Technox

    Machining services such as CNC milling and CNC turning provide multiple options for the precise fabrication of components and parts. Each method has its pros and cons, making them ideal for different applications.

    Technox operates one of the largest machine shops in the larger Chicago area. We possess capabilities to handle oversized parts and a range of value-added services that make us a single-source supplier for nearly any project. We can handle prototyping, large production runs, and everything in between.

    For more information on the differences between CNC milling and turning or to inquire about our other services, please contact us or request a quote.

  9. Guide to CNC Milling Services

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    Milling is the process of machining irregular, curved, or flat surfaces by feeding the material through a rotating cutter with several cutting edges. CNC mills are ideal for cutting complex shapes, forming difficult-to-cut materials with high levels of precision, and come in many axis configurations and sizes. In addition, CNC milling machines can turn around parts in as little as a day, manage a wide range of production run sizes, and achieve precision tolerances.

    Planner Milling & CNC Vertical Milling

    Types of CNC Mills

    CNC mills come in 3-axis, 4-axis, and 5-axis configurations:

    3-Axis Mills

    Three-axis mills cannot manage the same level of efficiency or detail as 4-axis or 5-axis machines, but in many cases, they can produce the same products. While not as profitable or high-quality as 4-axis or 5-axis mills, these machines are suitable for:

      • Automatic or interactive operation
      • Cutting sharp edges
      • Drilling holes
      • Milling slots

    4-Axis Mills

    These mills can operate on materials ranging from aluminum alloys and composite board to foam, PCB, and wood. The 4-axis mill is a multi-functional CNC tool which features slightly improved functionality over 3-axis mills. It is often used in such applications as:

    • Advertising design
    • Creating art
    • Hobby prototype building
    • Industry
    • Medical equipment creation
    • Teaching
    • Technology research

    5-Axis Mills

    5-axis mills possesses the most advanced capabilities available for CNC mills. It operates far faster than 4-axis and 3-axis CNC machines and produces vertical milling at the highest quality and precision. These mills are ideal for producing:

    • Aerospace products
    • Architectural door frames
    • Artificial bones
    • Car molds
    • Medical technology
    • Military grade products
    • Oil and gas machine parts
    • Titanium creations for both artistic and practical functions

    Advantages of CNC Milling

    CNC milling offers a range of benefits, including:

    • Reduced Costs

    Every business looks for ways to cut costs without sacrificing quality. With CNC mills, businesses can improve the bottom line by providing significant cost savings. As CNC mills work faster and more accurately, they enable the efficient production of complex and specialized products.

    Reduced labor hours also save money on expenses such as:

    – Unemployment insurance

    – Wages/salaries

    – Benefits such as health, dental, vision, and life insurance

    • Safety

    Safety is greatly enhanced when using CNC machinery. With no bending or crouching required to operate the machines, ergonomic conditions are greatly improved for workers. This leads to fewer workplace accidents and less fatigue, largely mitigating the risk of human error in the milling process.

    • Efficiency

    CNC milling machines perform non-stop with minimal necessary downtime. Facilities that run three shifts can continue production 24/7 without issue.

    • Versatility

    Versatility is one of the most significant benefits of CNC milling. CNC milling allows manufacturers to trim and shape a variety of materials without sacrificing quality or efficiency.

    Conclusion

    CNC mills are ideal for a wide variety of production run of all sizes for complex, high-quality products. CNC machines will also save a significant amount of time and money thanks to their operational efficiency and reduced labor costs.

    Since 1976, Technox has offered the highest quality machining with exceptional customer service and fast turnaround times. For more information on our CNC milling services, please request a quote or contact us today.

  10. What Are the Challenges of Large Part Machining?

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    large part machiningThe machining of large parts presents several challenges when compared to the fabrication of smaller, lighter components. Namely, oversized parts oftentimes must be moved quickly between tools or locations. Machining parts that are too heavy, large, or bulky to be easily moved by a single human being requires specialized equipment. Large parts may also be too large to readily fit into the work zones of most common CNC machine tools.

    How Large Part Machining is Different

    Large part machining may require extra steps or possess additional factors that need to be taken into account, magnified, or multiplied in order to get the job done effectively. Some of these include:

    Accuracy

    Factors that typically influence machining accuracy in a negative way are magnified when parts are larger. This means that careful consideration needs to be placed on monitoring and countering these factors. Temperature is one of the more notable and significant examples of this. The process for machining massive parts generates larger amounts of heat, so users must compensate for this heat to maintain integrity of the final part.

    Stress

    Material stress is yet another factor that’s frequently overlooked when smaller parts are being fabricated. Workpieces of a conventional size often leave some room for error here, but large parts do not. Stress-related distortions must be located and fixed promptly in order to keep them from negatively impacting finishing accuracy.

    Tooling

    In the case of large five-axis machine spindles, the range of rotary-axis travel is essential. Machining large parts quickly means that the tooling range must account for the size of the design to ensure that time is not lost per part. Spindles that can reach all holes on a part at once make for faster work.

    Tolerances

    As these parts have a larger surface area, additional quality checks may be required to ensure that parts are being fabricated with reliable repeatability. Performing semi-finish passes and setting aside the time to measure between them before taking one or more finishing passes can be key to achieving strict tolerances.

    Challenges Facing the Large Part Machining Industry

    Large part machining offers a range of unique challenges. When implementing new processes, keep the following three obstacles in mind:

    1. Implementing Large Manufacturing is a Tough Process

    Implementing large part machining capabilities can be a stressful process. Investments in equipment capable of machining larger parts involves a certain amount of risk. Staff will require additional training on the new equipment to successfully fabricate oversized parts, which may cause some internal frustration or pushback from the workforce.

    2. Buying in at the Shop-Floor Level

    The individuals who will be doing the legwork behind large manufacturing need to be invested in the process. Any shop relies on the experience and abilities of its workforce to drive success. Without support at the ground level, new large part initiatives will suffer.

    3. Don’t End Experiments Prematurely

    It takes more time than many professionals may expect to fine-tune a large part manufacturing process and get it right. Stumbling along the way and needing to adjust your process is normal, but not everybody has an easy time coming to terms with this. It’s easy to think your process is broken or ineffective when it’s in its infancy, and this is how many larger projects fail.

    For more information about our large part machining capabilities, or if you’re interested in what large part machining could mean for your organization, please contact us.