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7 Different Machining Processes Explained

Posted In Industrial & Technology - By Techtiplib on Monday, April 10th, 2017 With No Comments »

If you’re working in the manufacturing sector, you’ve surely encountered the need for machining. It’s the catch-all term for the process of cutting and forming raw materials to produce certain shapes. This covers a wide range of different processes, ranging from traditional ways to innovative techniques.

Machining Processes

Here are some of the most common machining processes in use today: 

Traditional Machining

These machining processes are often associated with manual work. However, that doesn’t mean they’re obsolete—many of them are still in use today, albeit they are increasingly becoming more automated:

  1. Turning
    This process is performed by installing the raw material on a lathe, which spins quickly against a set of blades. The blades then cut and scrape excess material away to form a shape. While traditionally lathes have been manually operated, today most of these lathes are automated and are computer numerical controlled (CNC).
  2. Milling
    Like turning, milling also uses rotations and blades. Yet in milling, it’s the tool that revolves around the raw material, unlike turning wherein the raw material rotates around the blades. Milling operations also use multi-point cutting tools, compared to turning that only uses a single-point tool.
  3. Drilling
    The name is quite self-explanatory—it’s when you use a drill bit to produce a cylindrical hole in a piece of solid material. Drilling is usually employed when making holes that are intended to help in assembly. This process is also versatile, as you only need to change the drill speed or feed based on the kind of material you’re going to create a hole in.

Non-Traditional Machining

Of course, with the advent of new technology, there are now better ways of cutting and shaping raw materials. These non-traditional machining methods include the following: 

  1. Laser Cutting
    While most people associate lasers with weaponry and sci-fi movies, the power of a concentrated beam of light has a lot of applications in machining. With the help of a motion control system with linear stages and laser optics, a focused laser beam can be used to engrave or cut materials to shape. This process allows for extreme precision, which is essential for creating small parts.
  2. Oxy-Fuel Cutting
    Instead of a beam of light, oxy-fuel cutting uses a mix of gas fuels and oxygen to melt and cut raw material. These gases include acetylene, gasoline, hydrogen, and propane. The use of these gases makes this process ideal for dealing with thick, hard materials such as high-grade steel.
  3. Water Jet Cutting
    There’s also a machining process involving fluids—water jet cutting. By using a high-pressure stream of water plus some abrasive powder, the raw material is cut cleanly. This process is used for cutting materials that may get damaged by heat. 
  1. Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM)
    As the name suggests, EDM uses high levels of electrical current to cut through raw materials. There are two kinds of these processes in use—wire EDM and small hole EDM. Both help makers create near 90-degree corners with high precision.

These machining processes are just some of the most common methods used at factories by manufacturers today. Many of these processes have been combined to great effect, helping companies mass-produce goods, and more are still in development. Hence, these techniques can be said to have formed the basis of the modern world as we know it.

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