Every machinist has their refined arsenal of tools that they like to use. No matter what the job looks like, they will try to find a way to pick their favorite tools and make them fit into the program.
Hands-on learning is quickly becoming the best-known way for students to fully grasp concepts and curriculum, especially in the world of technical CNC machine education. To this end, classrooms have started to change in accommodation for this type of hands-on teaching. Because 3D printers are becoming more regular in everyday classrooms (not just tech ed rooms), machine tools, like multi-axis CNC mills and lathes, are more commonplace in the shop.
Knife making can be both artisan and a highly automated process, but like any craft, there are some very specific tools that make the whole process easier. While you might be able to make a knife with a hunk of steel and a couple files, having the right tools in your shop will make things much easier.
While we all know the importance of picking the right machine tool for the right job, it’s important to remember that there is so much more to making chips than just the mill or lathe you are using. Choosing the right tools and workholding for your job is just as important, if not more so!
As covered in our 10 Things No One Tells You About Machining article, runout is everywhere! However with most tools we use this amount is negligible. Using, say, a 3/8” endmill with .0008” of TIR won’t have significant consequences (especially when roughing). Unless you’re chasing tenths, the runout is such a small percentage of the tool’s overall diameter (~0.21%) that it wont have any noticeable affects. As you small diameter tools, this percentage begins to increase. Using a 1/32” endmill with the same runout amounts to a TIR that is 2.56% (about a 10x increase!). This can result in uneven wear, chatter, bad surface finish, missing tolerances, and even broken tools.
McMaster-Carr is great for finding a part, making small orders, and even grabbing CAD models or drawings for hardware. Keep in mind however it can get expensive – if you’re buying in volume, spend the time to source your parts directly for a lower price.