Posted on: 28 July 2017
Inexperienced metal fabricators who use micro-mills and other small CNC cutters frequently replace broken cutters because those fabricators may not know how to prolong the life of those machines. This article discusses some suggestions that you can implement in order to reduce the frequency at which your CNC micro-mills and cutters break.
Adjust the Feed Rate First
CNC micro-mills are usually damaged when the feed rate of the material that is being cut becomes too high. High feed rates lead to the formation of more chips within a short time. Those chips weld onto the cutting edge of the machine and the accumulated heat causes the cutter to break. It is therefore advisable for you to reduce the feed rate before you reduce the spindle rpm (revolutions per minute) so that fewer chips are formed during the cutting cycle.
Use More Coolant
Coolants serve several purposes during the cutting cycle. For instance, they lubricate the cutting tool so that fewer chips adhere to it. Coolants also cool the tool in addition to clearing away any chips that are formed. It is therefore helpful for you to start using a system that floods the cutting tool with a coolant in case your cutters have been breaking frequently. Change to another coolant type in case your current one isn't performing as expected. Alternatively, you can switch to a coolant misting system in case your set up cannot allow you to flood the work zone as you cut different materials.
Change Your Tools
Carbide cutting tools may break more easily when compared to tools made from high-strength steel (HSS). This is because carbide cutters are more brittle and cannot flex during the cutting cycle. Start using HSS tools if the carbide ones are breaking frequently.
Anchor the Equipment
Equipment vibration can also shorten the life of CNC machining tools. This is because the vibrations cause the tool to deflect as it makes contact with the material that is being cut. Prevent this premature tool wear by making sure that the material being cut is firmly anchored onto the workstation. Keep the tools firmly anchored as well.
Prolonging the life of CNC machining tools starts with understanding the unique attributes of the tools in your possession. Talk to the supplier of your equipment so that he or she can give you additional advice on how you can get longer life from your small CNC milling or cutting machinesShare