Perhaps one of the few topics that isn't done justice on the internet (in my slightly biased opinion, at least) is metal cutting - especially from a novice perspective. A few months ago, I was surprised to realize that some of our most popular Youtube videos have been aimed towards beginners. Videos like these ones: how to use an edge finder, changing tools in Mach3, Fly Cutting Aluminum. Machining is very visual, and a picture (or video) is worth at least a thousand words. Anyways, we want to do more of this. Our idea is to do some cutting and then talk about what's going on during the cut - feeds, speeds, surface finishes, etc. This type of commentary has been really helpful to students at our workshops, and we're hoping to capture some of that on video so a wider audience can benefit as well. Here's the first video in what is planned to be a recurring video segment on Fundamental Machining, "Face Milling".
We did all the cutting with our Modular Insert Face Mill. We used the 31253 inserts for Steel and Stainless Steel, but used 31709 for Aluminum. The 31709 inserts have a polished face and also a slightly modified cutting edge for better performance in Aluminum and non-ferrous metals. They really make all the difference, as far as surface finish is concerned with aluminum. I also want to point out that we chose not to use flood coolant, but that was only for the sake of video clarity. All of the cuts shown here would benefit from the use of coolant. We were able to put together the video with some help from two great online sites: CNC Cookbook and OnlineMetals.com CNC Cookbook: Bob Warfield has put together a great resource for the CNC Machinist, with a large assortment of interesting and informational articles about machining. It's well worth a visit if you've missed it up until now. Many are probably also familiar with Bob's software venture, GWizard. It's an online CNC Machinist's calculator and especially well suited to small machines. It also has some pretty innovative features that I haven't seen in other machinist programs before. The Cut Optimizer feature is especially cool - it will recommend cutting parameters (width and depth of cut) based on a calculation of tool deflection. OnlineMetals.com: Great prices and great, fast service. But what I really like is the very informative online product guides. They also have a fun blog as well. I also keep track of some other sites in the column on the left hand side of the page. I'm sure there are some other good machining ones out there as well that I haven't seen before. If you've got some that you think we should know about, let us know. I'd love to see what others are reading!