Cutters and Abrasives Bozeman MT
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Advanced Machine Tooling – Cutters and Abrasives
High speed milling machines, boring machines and sophisticated CNC machining centers are found in many machine shops today. Faster cutting speeds and automated controls have boosted productivity as well as precision. But to get the most out of these machines, the proper tooling inserts must be used.
The key to boosting productivity is to remove more metal in less time. However, faster cutting speeds and feeds require tooling inserts that can take the heat and abuse without dulling. To achieve these goals, tooling suppliers have come up with various cutter shapes, edge geometries and surface coatings that significantly improve tool performance and life.
The angle at which an insert is held with respect to the work surface affects how efficiently it cuts. Positive rake tooling holds the insert at a slight angle so the edge of the insert cuts into the surface of the metal, sort of like a plow digging into soil. Positive rake tooling generally requires less cutting force and pressure, runs cooler and provides longer insert life.
But it can also increase edge chipping on inserts, so it typically works best with shallow cuts and lower speeds and feeds. Also, a positive rake only allows the upper edge of the insert to be used, preventing the insert from being flipped over when the edge becomes dull. Thus, a four-sided positive rake insert would have only four cutting edges (each side of the square on the top side).
Negative rake tooling, by comparison, holds the tool perpendicular or at a slight negative angle to the work piece so the edge of the insert drags across the surface with more of a scraping action as it cuts. This requires more pressure and horsepower to machine the metal, and it produces more heat. But a negative rake also provides more support for the insert and allows deeper cuts and high stock removal rates at higher speeds.
A negative rake also doubles the number of available cutting edges that can be used on a single insert, thus doubling tool life. A square insert can provide eight cutting edges, and a triangular insert can provide six edges. When all of the edges on one side of the insert become dull, it can be flipped over so the edges on the opposite side can be put to work. Negative rake tooling works well for machining hard, brittle metals.