Machining Cloud RSS Machining Cloud RSS feed 12/5/2019 12/5/2019 60 Blog – MachiningCloud 32 32 What Will MQTT 5 Do for Machinists? The latest upgrade of Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT) makes the protocol more robust, more secure, and ultimately ready to be used across IoT. That’s a big deal for everybody, and a big deal for machinists. Now we have a tool to facilitate easy communication from CNC machines, sensors, and probes to the entire network. And it turns out that all the popular kids will use it too. OK, let’s start with some context for what makes MQTT so important and necessary. An Internet of Disconnected, Unintelligible Things Without a shared protocol for communicating data, every sensor requires its own unique broker to translate data into useful information. That would be a bit like what you would get if instead of G-Code each machine had its own unique language to translate CAM into numerically controlled motion. Each machine would require a unique CAM application, and that would be incredibly annoying. For the same reason the Internet of Things is a vision more than a reality… UNTIL we use a shared protocol for transferring data from thing to actionable information. Once every ‘thing’ communicates in the same way, it becomes much easier to create and implement new ‘things’ onto the network. You could add sensors without any additional software. You could have any system on the network ‘listen’ to those sensors directly without any intermediary application to decode them. That communication protocol would change our Internet of Disconnected Unintelligible Things into a real IoT. Well, though it’s been like watching glue harden for the last — oh, 20 years — MQTT is finally doing just that. This latest version MQTT 5 seals the deal. Why they skipped MQTT 4 and went straight to 5 Make no mistake: MQTT 5 is an elegant step forward. It provides more robust features that are necessary to take it to the next level of usability, but at the same time it doesn’t break version 3.1.1. However, it’s important to note that they skipped a version for code-based reasons, not because they were trying to make MQTT sound like a big deal to us. MQTT is designed to be incredibly lightweight. When initially developed in 1999 it supported pipeline sensors spread across countless miles, sensors with the IQ of a doormat, but with so many the information needed to be sent in the most efficient way possible. In fact MQTT code provides only one byte of data in which to communicate version number, giving you just one digit. The last update (called 3.1.1 in the human world) took the label “4” in the protocol. Leaving 5 for this update. So… actually the exact opposite of Spinal Tap’s amps. Even still, the skip to 5 could actually be truer than truth. Because the evolution sets the foundation for a true IoT in a way that 3.1.1 didn’t quite reach. If you’re interested in digging into the details, we highly recommend HiveMQ’s Introduction to MQTT5. But suffice it to say the new version is: More scalable, which is insane Secure, which is necessary More formalized to make it easier to use What Does MQTT 5 Mean for Machine Shops? As machinists we are accustomed to working with highly specified tools, tools that relatively few people understand, much less support. Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT) is revolutionary because it is a means of communicating between devices that is designed for broad applications but useful even for us. MQTT is used by manufacturers, engineers, transportation companies, smart home appliances, and more. Before version 5 we had tentatively accepted MQTT, but version 5 makes it even easier and more valuable to apply on the shop floor. Here’s a current machining use-case of MQTT — eFlex, but this is only one of many. If you read through their offerings you can start to see how MQTT drives innovative services for manufacturers.  But you don’t need to buy end-to-end solutions like eFlex to derive insane value. Check out this CDP Studio demo to see how easy it becomes to install, track, manage, and apply sensor data for shop applications.  These aren’t industry standouts by any means, just examples of a few capabilities that MQTT 3.1.1 already delivers. They are like the first rocks in a landslide of Industry 4.0 systems… Yes yes. If only there were a better term. Industry 4.0 is already old, and it is barely here. Should we just skip to 5 then? 11/26/2019 CNC Fail Videos Compilation: Summer 2019 You have to admit, a great CNC Fail video is a lot like a great movie. First, the stage is set, and we see the hero (AKA cutting tool) addressing a coming challenge. Then, as in so many great movies, it all goes wrong. So for our seasonal Best of CNC Fails compilation this summer, we thought we would give justice to this emerging subgenre by comparing CNC fail videos to actual movie plots. Enjoy with popcorn and your beverage of choice. 13 CNC Fails: Summer 2019 Psychological Thriller Psychological thrillers are all about the setup. You are introduced to a relatively normal world. It feels real, possibly even warm and comforting. You might even think you were just watching a run-of-the-mill shop video. But then one brutal turning point puts the main character (cutting tool) into a craze, and he/she destroys everything in his/her cutting path. This video makes you think it’s just business as usual. There’s nothing special about that last path. But our hero breaks nonetheless, and in a big way. 2001, A Space Odyssey because no one knows what’s happening until a spaceship goes off the rails. The Matrix Everyone falls the first time, even The One. Nuclear Holocaust The cutting tool moves toward the center of the map, and when it arrives the world explodes… Meteor on a Zipline to Earth Sometimes the plot moves in a straight, very predictable line toward the end. You almost wonder why they don’t see it for themselves… Then there’s a definite twist as the main character (cutting tool) makes one last try at salvation. This might even seem to work… until it just doesn’t. To Think We Could Cut Metal In cult classics like Army of Darkness and Shaun of the Dead, the hero is just a normal dude in the middle of someone else’s fantasy, which makes every task at hand seem absurd, whether it be to cut off the head of a levitating, undead witch or to actually cut through pure metal. What Is Happening? Some things you look at and you don’t even know what to call them. Something Missing Movies like The Wicker Man are glimpses of sometimes-real societies with strange, horrific rules involving human sacrifice. Here, they sacrificed one of the cutting tools before trying to use it. At least now we know why these societies are uncommon. Dumb Robot Zoolander might not be considered a horror movie, per se, but you have to admit, he and Hansel are just reacting to the forces around them without thought or any impact. Troubleshooting 3 Problems at Once Event Horizon is in a league of its own. The movie is about a spaceship, but the spaceship is possessed by the devil. Does it count as sci fi, ghost and paranormal, haunted house, or demonic? Whatever you call it though, the problem isn’t about the cutting tool, or the workholding. It’s in the block itself. Infinite Chip Rate When you boil down Star Trek: Generations to its essence, you’re left with a ribbon gone completely out of control. You know you’re in trouble when you could stick your chip to a Christmas present. Great cutting path. Poor exit strategy. Just like the end of Braveheart. Too Much Heat “Heat” with Al Pacino and Robert De Niro: starts off slow… But eventually things get pretty tense Then the heat does come around the corner… Final Credits Kudos to Net Fail for putting this awesome compilation together. If you have CNC Fail videos or want to share your process or shop, definitely share them with us.   Contact Us First Name*Last Name*Email Address* Phone Number*Company*Message* Yes, I'd like to receive news from MachiningCloud, Inc. related to its products, services, events and special offers by email. You may unsubscribe at any time by following the instructions in the communications received. Your information will be handled in accordance with the MachiningCloud Privacy Policy.NameThis field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. 10/8/2019 Ceramic Cutting Tools in 2019: Materials, coating, and cutting paths Ultratough, high-temperature alloys often call for Ceramic Composite Cutting Tools (CCCTs) for their ability to handle extreme heat with high strength. They have been in circulation for decades, but developments in materials processing, coatings and most recently, cutting paths have unlocked new efficiencies that make them a better option than ever. That’s a big part of the reason they are used in more and more applications from aerospace to energy and automobiles. We’ll cover some of the old innovations that first put ceramic on the map decades ago and discuss more recent phase-toughened ceramics like XSYTIN – 1. Then we’ll discuss how the unique properties of these materials is just now being understood and exploited by CAM software. Even if you use CCCTs regularly, there should be some new news here even for you. Let’s begin. Whisker-Reinforced Ceramic Upped Productivity by a Factor of 10 The secret of the Universe unfolded for machinists who worked with hardened AISI 4340. It was the 1980s, so crazy hair was already on the scene when Silicon Carbide (SiC) whiskers were added to Alumina Oxide (Al2O3), producing an insanely tough material with reported 2,100 MPa compressive strength and a Young’s modulus of 840 GPa. Cutting tools made with whisker-reinforced SiC literally shortened production times by a factor of 10. One article published in 1991 by Adams et al. reported the turning time for an aircraft landing gear made of hardened steel (~57 HRC) reduced from 12 and a half hours to 1 and a half by using SiCw tools (David W. Richerson, in Comprehensive Composite Materials, 2000). How do Silicon Carbide whiskers x10 hardness?! Alumina Oxide was already capable of withstanding heat, but the hardness and consistency achieved through whisker reinforcement made the material hard enough to cut steel. Whiskers increase the strength of the material through crack deflection, crack bridging and whisker pullout. Because the whiskers are stronger than the alumina oxide matrix, cracks begin in the matrix first, so the whisker extends across the crack and holds it closed. This reduces the stress at the tip of the crack. And as the crack continues, it must pull the whisker against the matrix, causing an insane amount of friction that channels the force and heat toward the center of the tool, further stabilizing against the force of the opening crack. The best cutting paths play to these strengths by inducing force toward the center of the tool, but more on tool paths later. We still need to talk about two more advancements that are widely used on CCCTs today: phase toughening and coatings. Phase toughening with Zirconium, or coating? The next advancement was less magnificent but still significant. When the alumina matrix is combined with flecks of zirconia, the resulting material becomes even harder. When temperature reduces to under 1150 degrees, zirconia increases volume by 3%. Now let’s consider what can happen under cyclical stress conditions. Already with whiskers we have microcracks increasing cutting tool volume. This places intense pressure on the main crack to keep it closed. But with zirconia, disengaging from the cut allows the tool to cool below 1150 degrees. The zirconia expands and works to push those cracks closed. That’s why you need a completely different cutting path for phase toughened CCCTs. You want them to cool and heat cyclically. Phase-toughened ceramics are two-to-four times as hard as your typical whiskered alumina with Compressive strength of 2,500 MPa and flexural strength of 675 MPa (compared to ~350 for Al2O3). Greenleaf makes XSYTIN-1 inserts that are phase toughened, but the technology is still rarely applied today. Maybe it’s because working with zirconia is completely different than other ceramics. Coatings are far more common, perhaps because they don’t require a path reboot like zirconia does. Without zirconia you want to retain constant contact (more reasons on that below), so this slight difference in material makes a huge difference in path and capability. A path for every ceramic treatment: 4 tips for CCCTs Phase toughened ceramics are a different monster, so we’ve ‘zipped’ two lists of best practices together: “with zirconia” and “without zirconia.” Speed One thing that makes ceramic tools different is their penchant for heat, which means speed. But phase-toughened is like kerosene on a family BBQ. Compare these ideal speeds for hard turning Inconel 718. Coatings don’t make a difference in path, but they do add tool life: Whisker-reinforced ceramic insert: cutting speed of 800 sfm, feed of 0.008 ipr and DOC of 0.080” Phase-toughened: 700 to 750 sfm, 0.014 to 0.016 ipr and 0.080″ to 0.120″ (2.03mm to 3.05mm) DOC Contact Here’s another area of difference between phase-toughened and ‘traditional’ ceramics. Traditionally, interrupted cuts are bad because they allow the tool surface to cool. But phase-toughened ceramics actually prefer cyclical stress because it allows the zirconia to expand and repair itself. Feed As you can see in the feeds mentioned above, you want to feed fast. Beware Sharp Edges and Corners Despite whiskers, aluminum oxide is still relatively brittle. This necessitates caution when entering, exiting, and navigating around edges. If you can, round off areas of entry and exit before machining to avoid the risk of a chip or break. Reduce feed rate by as much as one-half around corners, as a greater portion of the insert engages the surface. A typical path for a right angle corner is actually to disengage completely and then enter the far wall head on. Even though typical ceramics prefer constant contact, the risk of breakage is too great. If your project requires a lot of corners, then consider a phase-toughened tool that thrives under this kind of challenge. Pile on the experience We’ve covered just the very basics of ceramic tooling in this article, so if you have an experience to add, please pile it on! Follow MachiningCloud on Facebook for updates on the latest developments in CNC machining to share about your own odysseys into alumina oxide. 8/28/2019 AI-Based Cutting Tool Monitoring Technologies Will Hit Shelves in 2021 Currently there are a wide variety of manual and automatic processes for checking tool wear. These systems are constantly stepping up the game with incremental improvements, but they are about to get warp speed. The kind of incremental improvements we see are undoubtedly useful. You can buy indexable cutting tool inserts that are coated to make erosion more obvious. New methods employing optical, radioactive, or electrical sensors have been tried and implemented on CNC machines. These have improved accuracy while reducing downtime. But how many tools still break mid-job? How many hours does tool monitoring cost your shop despite investments, planning, and regular changes? There is still plenty of room for development… at least until next gen cutting tool monitoring technologies roll out. That’s because a bunch of experimentation and development is finally coming to a “head.” Literally, machining is about to get an Artificial Brain. Let’s talk about the most recent tools that will bring highly accurate automated tool monitoring to your shop in the early ‘20s if not next year. Cutting Tool Monitoring Data Types Are Overwhelming, the Last Decade Has Shown There are already quite a few methods of measuring tool wear, but each has its own limitations. You might see sensors that analyze the actual geometric parameters of the cutting tool, or after-the-fact measurement of surface roughness, or tool tip heat, but these cannot be reliably measured during cutting. Many are difficult or impossible to apply — at least in a way that produces significant value for machine shops. Lately, more indirect methods have implemented modern sensors and sophisticated analytics technologies to process external signals, using data such as cutting force, vibration characteristics, acoustic emission, temperature, and surface characteristics. These are easier to apply on real shop floors, not just artificial environments, which makes indirect measurements more promising by far. Over the last couple of decades, the number of data types has grown. It’s still growing actually, as the following results show. Patterns in Chip Color, Acoustics and Spark Proliferation Can Predict Tool Wear One exciting paper published this year looked into two uncommonly measured factors: chip color and spark proliferation. The signs of wear would be too subtle for humans to reliably record or use, but the differences are no problem for sensors to measure. Tests did find a significant relationship between these factors. These kind of experiments have forwarded the kind of data we can consider when developing a cutting tool monitoring system, but they also complicate the field. With so many options for measurement and analysis, we haven’t developed the right measurement and analysis. This is the perfect problem-type for Machine Learning because we are using a large number of variables and inputs to predict a measurable outcome. The original research > “Research on tool state based on sound signals and colors of chips, Annals of the Faculty of Engineering Hunedoara, Feb 2019 Neural Networks Sort through the Data to Deliver 92.59% Accuracy But indirect measurements haven’t led to consistently accurate predictions on the shop floor. Experiments like the one above provide useful insights, but they are typically constrained by fairly rigid conditions. Experimenters will use a handful of projects to gauge results, so their data will only be applicable to a very small set of real-world scenarios. Meanwhile each experiment adds to the grand equation of tool wear: 2,000 data points when all you need is one good predictor of tool wear. The equations, datasets, and models have piled up, which makes cutting tool monitoring is finally ready for AI. Published in this year’s Complexity; Hoboken, an experiment with artificial neural networks and an assortment of sensors broke new ground in cutting tool monitoring predictiveness. What is an Artificial Neural Network (ANN)? Artificial Neural Network (ANN) simulates the human brain to process information in the service of a clearly defined task. It’s totally different than other algorithms because traditionally, algorithms are developed by humans. ANN develops its own algorithms based on learning samples. The more samples you expose the program to, the better it gets. ANN learns how to reach your target objective in “its own way.” Google DeepMind is one of the best known examples of ANN. If you haven’t seen DeepMind in action, check out this Starcraft II game between AI and a pro gamer to see what it can do. Researchers have attempted to use ANN for cutting tool monitoring in the past, but there have been a few obstacles: Adaptability – existing monitoring models can be accurate, but when they are, they are narrowly defined. They might work on one specific kind of project but not very many others. Cost of sample data – ANN thrives in large data sets where it can adjust to different conditions and develop a nuanced model that plots inputs to the right output.  But acquiring large sample sizes of various project types is challenging and costly. Finding the right sensor set-up – Even with ANN doing the heavy analytical lifting, deciding what type of data to feed it is itself a complicated undertaking. 92.59% Accuracy The latest and greatest model was developed by Maohua Du and a team of researchers. Their ANN was tested across a wide variety of environments and posted a 92.59% accuracy in predicting tool wear. That isn’t just in one set-up either. The system works across different machining operations such as milling, drilling, boring, forming, and shaping, each combined with different cutting tools and workpiece materials. Read the full paper in Complexity > To be sure more development will occur between now and when CNC machines will boast ANN-driven cutting tool monitoring systems, but with working models already in existence, you can bet on seeing them soon. 8/5/2019 Intelligent Layering: A new additive manufacturing technique that competes with CNC machining to deliver precision parts Cutting tool meets Metal Injection Molding (MIM), meets Binder Jetting. A love triangle begins. To this day additive manufacturing has a long way to go before it will meet the scalability of more traditional machining processes. That’s why you see companies like Carbon3D digging into extreme customization like they are doing for Riddell football helmets. Each helmet is specified to the athlete, designed, prototyped, and manufactured just one time. Which is incredible. But for most applications and especially for machine parts, manufacturers require much more scalability. They need to reproduce the exact same part, flawlessly with the greatest efficiency possible. Now there is an additive/CNC hybrid process that emphasizes precision and scalability both. What is Intelligent Layering? Intelligent layering uses the strengths of subtractive and additive manufacturing that creates high-precision parts at scale. The process begins by reimagining MIM but with the power of CNC. A powdered metal is spread across the build area; then a binder application adheres the powder. So far we are talking about binder jetting, which is nothing new. But then a cutting tool finishes the exterior of the layer to achieve a superior surface quality before the next layer is applied. Layer by layer, the additive/subtractive machine builds the part without a mold. Once complete, the manufacturer sinters the part to fully bind the metal to its full strength. Solved! Tolerance, surface, and yield Metal additive manufacturing has three big problems that have historically made it a poor competitor to subtractive processes. Here’s a snapshot of the biggest differences. Additive problems Yield can be as low as 20% Surface quality is poor Prototypes are exceptional but quality reduces significantly at scale Intelligent Layering Like traditional metal injection molding techniques (~99.7%) Tolerances of +/- 0.002 inches (+/- 50 microns) with even better tolerance projected in next gen machines High surface quality No quality difference between prototypes and mass-produced parts OK, so far we’ve looked at how Intelligent Layering solves additive’s biggest problems, but we haven’t discussed what makes it better than MIM. The biggest problem with MIM has been its reliance on molding. Designing, sourcing and machining a mold takes a lot of time before you even start production. Prototypes and custom tools are extremely expensive. Although exceptionally efficient and precise at scale, MIM has floundered on smaller jobs where additive processes are thriving. The additive process behind Intelligent Layering subverts the need for mold-creation, improving time-to-delivery and significantly improving cost for small-to-medium batches, solving MIM’s biggest problem. The additive process of Intelligent Layering ensures that parts can be prototyped and manufactured in small batches easily while still achieving economies of scale. This makes patent-holder 3DEO a company to watch. Early in 2019 they announced production of 12 intelligent layering machines to more than double their previous manufacturing capacity. That kind of growth implies more than a theoretical advantage. Does the Cicada Kill Her Spouse, or Will Intelligent Layering Augment CNC Machining? Even though 3DEO’s technology uses subtractive processes, it could still ultimately disrupt machine shop floors everywhere, theoretically. However, this technology serves and even opens up a niche of its own. It is ideal for small to mid-sized batches. That’s why gun enthusiasts are excited about the opportunity to develop custom ammunition with 3DEO. Larger companies require more time to develop new products and launch. But with lower ramp-up cost for highly precise, custom jobs, Intelligent Layering is in a category all on its own. Its highest value will be in new products, not in stealing production from old ones. For example, intelligent layering can use tungsten carbide as a raw material, which means it could be used to create cutting tools. But why would you create old tools that are already being created, when the technology makes it easy to create a new line of highly customized cutting tools? In 2019, 3DEO is a relatively small company. Twelve more machines will bring them to 20 total. This makes it impossible to make big splashes in the near term. On the other hand, they don’t need to scale too quickly. The patent underlying Intelligent Layering expires in the year 2037, giving them 17 years to perfect the technology. Other mass metal additive manufacturers also have potential. GE Additive is expanding, as is TRIDITIVE. Both these firms have larger businesses than 3DEO, so as an industry metal additive manufacturing could quickly become a competitor. But it might be more worthwhile to call them influencers. What is so interesting about Intelligent Layering is its recombination of existing technologies to solve the weaknesses of each. We see this in metal alloys as well. But does the success of an alloy mean we should worry about any of the ores in its composition? Maybe the marriage of additive and subtractive will actually be of value to everyone? Imagine being able to customize a cutting tool when you can’t find one that meets your needs. How many more products could you create? In the meantime, MachiningCloud will consider adding metal jet fixtures to its digital library of cutting tools. If this love triangle is as fruitful as it promises to be, there will soon be machinists who will source additive and subtractive tools within the same build project. It’s kind of awe-inspiring actually… Sort of like eating Golden Grahams and Cookie Crisp out of the same bowl… Definitely worth a try. 7/24/2019 Robots Vs. CNC Machinists: Are we gonna’ lose? You have to admit: It would be super ironic if robots took our jobs because…well… didn’t they give them to us? I mean where would a CNC machinist be without a CNC machine? The tools of our work might not think for themselves, but they already save an incredible amount of time and boost shop output. If the machines that we create and update to help us ultimately help us right out of a job description, it would be hilariously tragic… like a Tarantino movie.  We looked into the real technologies that might lead to this grim lights-out-factory future in five to ten years. Let’s see how we fair in our own private war against the machines. Machinists: Five-to-Ten Year Outlook First we need to discuss all the technologies that will be able to perform and in some cases outperform the tasks we do today. For all the robots on Youtube doing backflips, sketching art, beating Grandmasters at chess and Starcraft II champions, you would think that the level of sophistication is already on the cusp of replacing humans at almost anything. But reality is decades behind the marketing.  Fact is, robots are prohibitively costly and still more limited than humans, generally. They are not the threat right now. Other technologies are. According to World Economic Forum Future of Jobs Report, there are four technological “drivers of change.” They are: Ubiquitous high-speed mobile Internet Artificial intelligence Widespread adoption of big data analytics Cloud technology (Robotization is not a significant driver now, but it will become one in many industries) Most companies discuss plans or current investments that utilize some or all of the first four drivers, but less than one-third discuss robots (Future of Jobs Report). Focusing on what’s in front of us, we can see how these four technologies are working together to change CNC machining.  MachiningCloud is a great example of cloud adoption, and not only because they sponsor this blog. The cloud app significantly reduces the time it takes to source tools. In the same way, CNC Cookbook’s G-Wizard Editor, and many like it, speed up coding time. Even Computer-Aided Design (CAD) was thought to adversely impact the number of drafters on the shop floor. These technologies save time while increasing productivity and reducing errors. Meanwhile as new tools have developed and become widespread, the number of machinists in the United States has increased from 434,000 in 1998 (Occupational Outlook Quarterly, 2000) to 468,600 in 2016 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019). Despite technology businesses have hired more machinists to produce more than ever before. Technology has been less impactful on machinist jobs than the economy as a whole. Job outlook for machinists and tool and die makers through 2026 is projected to be lukewarm as usual: not up or down. Tool and die makers will decrease, while the rest of the industry will grow slightly. The explanation: “…advances in automation, including CNC machine tools, should reduce demand for tool and die makers to perform tasks, such as programming how parts fit together, that computer software can perform.” In other words: more of the same. If you talk to business leaders now about their workforce plans, you get mixed news that also backs up this kinda not kinda anything trend. Almost half of employers do expect to reduce some of their full-time workforce by 2022. However, more than one-third (38%) expect to “re-skill” and “upskill” their workforce for more productive tasks. This suggests that job security and opportunity for advancement will be measured by your ability to learn and use new technologies as they become available. What about the Trade War? Will US Manufacturers Hire More Machinists? If China and US can’t reach an agreement on trade, and even if they do at this point, we can expect more manufacturers to open new shops on US soil. However, “reshoring” provides an opportunity for employers to build more automation into their facilities. Research by World Economic Forum suggests that reshoring activities increase demand for skilled workers but not for repetitive, lower skilled work.  Microshops Are a Source of Hideous Growth While larger employers struggle to hire and pay more machinists, there are more opportunities for skilled machinists outside of their work. Just look at the CNC machines market, which is growing by 7% per year. Who is buying all these machines? Not your employer… Hobbyists. Who buys their work? Consumers. Who designs their work? Professionals.  Etsy grew by 20% in 2018 to sell $4 billion in goods (Etsy Annual Report 2018). That is huge in comparison to workforce expansion. Machinists are killing it on this platform. Look at this 3d STL model for a snowman on Etsy that has over 150 5-star reviews.  Look at that! It’s hideous but also strangely alluring, isn’t it? Like Smithers in a jumpsuit wearing almost “nothing at all…nothing at all.” At $5 a pop, how much has the designer earned?  With so many CNC machines out there, demand for good models is increasing. So why put your eggs into someone else’s basket when you can get out there and sell your own stuff?  What Can Machinists Do to Earn More Money?  Generally, technology reduces repetitive work and increases demand for unique, thought-based activities. This is definitely true in CNC Machining. Over the next five-to-ten years, we will see a continuation of the same trend. Employment will stay roughly the same while businesses retool and reskill the workforce. On the shop floor, you might see some workers elevated to greater roles and responsibilities while others fall behind. That will have less to do with their current role and more to do with how much they learn.  The workers who can learn new skills will be able to command better pay and increased security as their productivity rises. But workers who perform repetitive tasks and who do not learn new skills might watch their paychecks stay the same or even, in some cases, disappear.  It might be tough to hear, but at least technology is something you can proactively exploit.  As always, we’re here to bring you the latest information about CNC Machining. We’ll continue to address emerging tools and how you might best exploit them to stay ahead in the years to come. 7/9/2019 Milling titanium: Balancing aggression with caution! Titanium is intensely rewarding. It is resistant to oxidation and a long list of other chemicals. You can recycle it, and it is relatively light considering its strength, so you can see why Ti is a common thread among advanced industries like aerospace, automotive, medical and firearms. The payoff for mastering this material is undoubtedly big. But there is a problem: The cost, length of the journey you must take to reach the promised land. Titanium is extremely difficult to work. It seems like most CNC Machining accidents involve this incredibly difficult metal. The most experienced CNC professionals will apply extreme caution just to be sure they won’t break something. How cautious? Notice this footage is recorded at 12x speed! And mistakes still happen no matter how much caution is applied! Let’s face it. If we were burglars, titanium would be our Fort Knox. Everyone wants to break the last record surface speed, held unofficially by TITANS of CNC at 250 IPM. Their process is awesome to behold, but don’t try it at home! In the next five minutes you’ll learn a bit more about what makes titanium and many of its alloys so difficult. You’ll see how to optimize your cuts, and above all, when to balance your aggression with caution. Milling Titanium: Primary concerns are… everything Titanium is used in a multitude of alloys, but the most common is Grade 5, just a hair’s breadth away from commercially pure titanium: 90% Ti and 6% Al and 4% V. Always be sure you understand what alloy you are using, as these vary considerably in their properties. Titanium Milling Tactics Ti makes amazing bloopers because it will crash your workholding attempts like an icepick through ice. That’s due to its flexibility. Instead of being cut it can bend, causing insane amounts of force on your workholding, as well as your cutting tool. Ti also tends to adhere, which ruins tools very quickly. These two characteristics lead to some cutting tactics that run 180 degrees counter to the norm. Always maintain uninterrupted contact between the tool and the block. Every entry point and exit carries the largest risks for failure, so you want to limit these as much as possible. Don’t attack the block head-on! Sliding the tool into cuts exposes much less of the tool surface to the block at any given time, which gives the tool less time to gain heat and more time to cool before the next rotation. Whenever possible, try to keep small arcs of the tool in active cutting. Climb-milling: Most metals require a thin-to-thick chip rate, meaning you start with a smaller chip rate and then increase after entry. But this strategy is absolutely wrong when applied to titanium. Instead, you want to start thick so that you break into the surface quickly, limiting the materials option for bending. On exit, you want to prevent adhesion with a thin chip. Another exit strategy is to mill a 45-degree chamfer at the end of the pass. This reduces the severity of the transition and avoids adhesion. Read Modern Machine Shop’s blog post on machining titanium for more great tips on how not to ruin your work or your tools while managing this upside-down metal. Read more. Read until your eyes bleed. It will take you more than five minutes, but the prep time will more than reward you come production. Find the right tool with more flutes. Titans of CNC used a 13-flute cutting tool because this keeps the chip rate low even with a fast surface speed. Generally you don’t want too many flutes, but if you can keep your radial depth low, then you can use more flutes. Finding the right cutting tool for titanium can be like finding a needle in a haystack because you want as many flutes as possible, but how many depends on the project. Use MachiningCloud App to save you time selecting the right tool. Good luck! 5/30/2019 Greatest Machining Fails of 2019 (AKA the best 15 minutes of your life!!) Nothing quite as refreshing as watching a machine break CNC machining is a delicate and calculating art. It is also one of the most unforgiving practices in the world. One mistake can cost hours of labor and thousands of dollars. Which is why every machinist has experienced that horrific moment first-hand when we sit helplessly as the CNC machine that we have poured our hard-earned sweat, time and money into follows our commands to the line, and yet goes totally off the rails. Like this: One fraction of an inch is all that lies between us and absolute failure — every second that a CNC machine runs. We normally know the cause instantly. We were rushing. We were too aggressive. We didn’t calculate heat correctly. Clearly a stronger tool was needed. But no matter what we deduce to be the problem, the shame still bites like Mike Tyson. Youtube videos, in general, can’t help mitigate shame. Because for some crazy reason every shop on Youtube publishes its best-of moments. Sometimes, you can’t stand to watch the perfection of others, especially after you have so recently failed. But there are exceptions to this rule, little diamonds in the rough. And we’re going to give them to you. We’ll give you the newest best failures on the web. Listen to German engineers as they fail at CNC Machining The world is still in awe of German manufacturing. Germany exports $262 Billion in cars and vehicle parts, $27 Billion in planes, helicopters, and spacecraft. That is about 10% of their total GDP. And German parts are known for being well-engineered. Well, it’s great to know that German engineers are still imperfect, and now we have proof! This first video is an 8+ minute compilation of German fails. You don’t need to speak auf deutsch to experience the full emotional palette of engineers as their machines break. Actually, come to think of it, the audio might be the best part! If you like that but you haven’t seen their initial compilation, then definitely check out their first video too. They did this back in 2017, so consider it bonus footage. Kudos to Gussepe and the team of machinists that put this hilarious compilation together. It takes a real man to cry, and it takes a true professional to publicize their biggest failures. Gussepe, if we make fun of you, know that we do so with the same heart that laughs at ourselves! NYC CNC messes up the introduction to their hilarious bloopers video The final seven minutes of glory we are giving you this week come straight out of the Big Apple. If they haven’t crossed your radar yet, NYC CNC is on our top list of CNC machinist vloggers. Four months ago they built their own Johnny 5 robot, so at this point they can DO NO WRONG. But oh yes, they can. The best thing about this video compilation is the team. Cinematography and editing are topnotch, with slow-motion replays and BLEEPED French, just in case your kid wants to watch with you. Just note, there is a LOT of bleeping, but the video still pulls out a G rating anyway. Watch for the scene when what looks like plexiglass catches fire. Meanwhile, the machine keeps cutting ornate designs, blind to what is quickly becoming a worthless piece of acrylic. Hope you enjoyed these CNC Machining Blooper videos! As always, thank you for visiting MachiningCloud. And if you haven’t checked out the MachiningCloud App, definitely take a look. It might not keep you from making your own bloopers during production, but it will help you to spend more time on production and less on tooling! 5/20/2019 Mini CNC Machine Buyer’s Guide: Avoid the duds! Mini CNC Machines, also known as micro CNC or desktop machines, are on fire in 2019. And why wouldn’t they be?! These devices can turn a hobbyist into a big-league machinist within thirty minutes of opening. Any questions? Just ask JohnnyQ90 who according to himself knows very little about 5-axis CNC machining, but who used this little beauty… Courtesy of JohnnyQ90: Check out the full video To make THIS part: Courtesy of JohnnyQ90: Check out the full video If you are in the market for a mini CNC machine, then you should be very excited about your production line for the next year. At the same time, and we hate to be the bearer of bad news, you need to PROCEED WITH CAUTION. You don’t want to buy an inferior product. And there are tons of them out there. We’ll help steer you in the right direction with a couple simple tips. Buying a Desktop CNC Machine: How to spot the bad ones The first thing we need to mention is that the price and size of these mini CNC machines have significantly lowered the barriers to becoming a manufacturer of small things. That is awesome because many more self-made hobbyists are joining the machining network. If this will be your first CNC purchase, then welcome! Get ready for one of the most exciting and fulfilling past times of your life! But there is a darkside too. Since many mini CNC buyers are relatively new to the field, there is a higher likelihood that a purchase will be less than the ideal match for the buyer’s needs. In some cases, it looks like vendors are even scamming customers! So tip number 1 is: don’t get scammed! Actual Tip 1: Remember that Kickstarter is like playing the lotto with a grand prize mini CNC Machine…be prepared to lose We’re not going to pull any punches here. Many of the worst reviews we’ve seen come from Kickstarter campaigns. That’s because projects will look great upfront. It seems like they have an amazing prototype already, so how hard could it be for them to develop the first batch of awesome mini CNC machines? Well, it turns out to be more difficult than you might expect. While some of these are outright scams, many of the worst cases are even more tragic because the innovators seem to be the real thing, but they just don’t know how to manage a complex project. Take a look at Goliath CNC, a project that initially looked to raise a humble $90k and instead pulled in a whopping $1,000,000. You’d think that would be enough to pull off the first set of orders without a hitch, right? Wrong. The project was amply funded in 2017, and as of April 2019, no one has received their promised CNC robot. To make matters worse, the group refuses to grant refund requests. Who knows if they will ever finish? Do you really want to buy a CNC machine that arrives in two years? Proceed at your own peril, but know that Kickstarter is for gamblers; plenty of existing manufacturers create, sell, and service working mini CNC machines. They are a surer bet. Tip 2: Know what you want to create Source: Giphy OK, so we said that a bunch of mini CNC machine buyers were unhappy. Unhappy is the result of having higher expectations of something than the real experience ultimately provides. Sometimes, as with many Kickstarter projects, the unhappiness is a result of false promises. In other cases, buyer expectations are not aligned with reality. We plugged a search for a “mini CNC machine” into Amazon. It turns out that Amazon is a much better place to look for your machine, but still not ideal. On the first page of results, we found some CNC machines but also a Micro Mill, which functions completely by hand. It’s a step up from a Dremel, a fine machine to be sure, but you would be very unhappy if you expected Computer Numeric Control (CNC). User expectations run subtler but no less important. Many of the poor experiences on Amazon result from complaints of “too much noise,” “not large enough for my project,” and other mismatches between project and machine. To avoid this, we suggest spending more time in the sourcing phase. Definitely draw, graph, or CAD an example of what you want to create. Know the material you want to work with. Will you need to create multiple pieces or just engrave on an existing material? The more you consider what the total manufacturing process will look like, the better you’ll know what you need. Final word of advice The best way to source CNC machines is MachiningCloud. Basically, we give you free access to a complete database of vendors and advanced tools that professional machinists use to save 3 out of every 4 minutes spent on sourcing. Depending on your experience, some of these tools might not make sense to you yet, but don’t let that stop you. Just looking at our application interface and running through our tutorials will help introduce you to the wonderful world of CNC machining. But whatever you do, good luck, and have fun out there! 4/23/2019 MachiningCloud Adds 114,424 Tool Product Data to the Cloud in One Year MachiningCloud is a is a one-stop, industry-wide resource that gives you the ability to fast-track the process of creating tool assemblies. In 2018, it counted 750,000+ tool product data in its database, saving users 75% of the time required to source tools. 750,000 sounds like a lot of tools, but there were still quite a few absentees. That would in some rare cases force users to go back to their prior hunt and peck methods. We are very happy and proud to tell you that the vast majority of those absences have been filled. Over the last year MachiningCloud database has grown by 114,424 tools. Partnerships have sprung up across the globe, increasing the total tool library by over 15%. Some of the world’s best tool manufacturers have uploaded libraries of CNC machines, holemaking products, cutting tools, and workholding products to the cloud. Brands like MasterCut Tool Corp, PROMAX, Mitsubishi Hitachi Tool Engineering, Walter, Kyocera SGS Precision Tools, Jergens, and Allied Machine & Engineering have uploaded documentation, giving MachiningCloud users the ability to source from an even larger database. Read the full list of added toolsets below. Company Toolset How many? Release Date MasterCut Tool Corp Solid Tools 17,500 4/2/19 PROMAX Solid Carbide End Mill 6,600 3/26/19 Fullerton Solid Tools 7,500 3/19/19 ATA Tools Carbide Burs And Router 1,800 3/12/19 Haas Automation CNC Machine Tools 24 3/5/19 Emuge Solid Tool Items 14,500 10/2/18 Mitsubishi Hitachi Tool Engineering Milling Tools Moldino Innovation toolset 9/25/19 Walter Cutting Tool 40,000 9/19/18 OSG Cutting Tool <100 7/16/19 Kyocera SGS Precision Tools (KSPT) Solid Carbide End Mills, Drills, Routers And Reamers 10,000 7/10/19 Jergens, Inc. Workholding Products 6,500 7/3/19 LMT Onsrud Cutting Tools 4,000 6/26/19 Allied Machine & Engineering Holemaking Products 6,000 6/21/19 TOTAL +114,424 The Amazon of Machining This is big news for the MachiningCloud user base. Imagine that in 2018, you could use MachiningCloud to source 80% of the tools in the world. Since for any tool type there are in many cases multiple vendors, this would mean you would be able to source much more than 80% of your tools through MachiningCloud’s CAD/CAM integrated application. (Consider what happens on Amazon when a product vendor does not upload their catalog. In most cases, this just means that Amazon users will select another vendor tool with the same specifications.) While machine tools are more precise than most vendors on Amazon, there is a lot of overlap between brands. So 80% of the tools in the world is still an incredibly useful catalog, much better than hunt & peck. But there would still be that one tool out of twenty that you might not be able to find, or it might not be the best price or the preferred brand. Well, in the last year the odds of this scenario actually happening just went from slim to almost 0%. The year’s additions will help to reduce sourcing time even more while increasing convenience. On average, users reduce sourcing time by 75% by using MachiningCloud, a time reduction that was last year still limited by absent vendors. Another 114k+ tools in the database should bump up the time savings a bit more, as well as the convenience factor of using the application. MachiningCloud Userbase Is Growing Quickly Already 55,000 people use MachiningCloud. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there are 378,320 machinists in the United States. This does not include hobbyists, so the real number of practitioners is much higher. There is plenty of room for growth. And with the product library reaching its potential limit, MachiningCloud user growth will likely accelerate over the next few years. MachiningCloud is potentially transformative for the machining community, which will be able to spend more time on production and less on sourcing. MachiningCloud Official Homepage and Free Download 4/9/2019