Ants are creatures of efficiency, not effectiveness. Machinists need to be both. We need to improve processes while also identifying and embracing better methods. Machinists have the luxury of choosing the right tools to boost a job’s efficiency, but they can also upgrade the machine tooling process itself. By improving how machinists choose tools, they will also find the best tools in the fastest way possible.
Limitations of Search for Machine Tooling
Google is a starting point for most of our digital searches. It’s creative; it’s free-form, and sometimes downright inspired. But there are a few big problems with it.
#1 For all the information on the web, the web leads to misperceptions
Googling for cutting tools tends to be the first thing people do, like Reddit user, u/greatthebob38. Take a look at where this process almost led him.
u/greatthebob38 has clearly put a significant amount of work already into the machine tooling process. They looked up guides and thought a lot about specs. At the point of this Reddit comment, they are pretty far down the decision tree, but as you can see, they have a LOT of misperceptions about their purchase!
As one Redditer pointed out, why would you need a coolant system to sculpt wood? Either the post is missing some additional needs specifications, or the CNC 6040 is not the right tool. This isn’t Google’s fault; it’s not greatthebob’s fault; it’s just what you get in a complicated, gigantic field that isn’t specialized to a machinist’s needs. Information overload is real, and you can’t Google for wisdom.
#2 Information on the web is incomplete and difficult to transfer
You might also notice from greatthebob’s post that despite almost making a purchase on eBay, there’s still major knowledge gaps. They need to find the right solid 3D model, holders, and feeds and speeds, which can become a pretty big time sink. When we saw that post, 2 days after initial posting, it had 2 responses, neither of which could deliver all the information that a simple search result in MachiningCloud would yield. That’s because most of the requisite information would require detailed images and files to convey, not just words.
Alternatives to Google-Driven Machine Tooling: 2 ways to caffeinate your search
Here’s the deal: Google is a fine start to open ended questions, but there are more effective ways to find the cutting tools you need for your work. And it’s awesome that you’re exploring this now because these ways will jolt your search like a 5-hour energy, AND you’ll walk away with knowledge about what makes machining one of the best professions/past-times/hobbies/OBSESSIONS in the world.
Open up your search to the community
We know that once you get on a job you want total focus so that you can finish your work. BUT honestly, the machining community is a big reason why we do what we do. Family probably doesn’t understand what you do for 40 hours a week like another machinist would, and Machinists often love sharing and listening to hard-earned failures or successes in the shop (bragging can be helpful and misery loves company).
Like greatthebob, ultimately you can open up your search to users. Reddit can help, as well as a few other machinist forums. YouTube educational and inspirational videos are getting better and better. You will be shocked at how altruistic this community can be, so definitely reach out for help, and get ready to be advised! No one can possibly digest, much less remember, all the machine tooling knowledge out there.
In addition to the community at large, some machinists go to vendors with questions, which can work. You can find very experienced people working for vendors, people with a lot of experience and even deeper knowledge about their vendor’s tools. But vendors can place limitations on machine tooling that many machinists aren’t willing to accept.
What digital communities, forums, and tools do you use for machining? Drop us a note on Facebook
MachiningCloud, the Machinist’s Best Friend
If you haven’t tried MachiningCloud yet, then definitely check out this tool. It’s basically like an enormous machine tooling database, with 99% of vendors represented and detailed CAD and CAM files for each. Plus there is a growing community there and additional tools to fuel your machining projects.
Honestly, we don’t know of any better machine tooling method out there, and we keep looking!