Blogs for 05/2018

Bob Hudson of New South Whales, Australia, responded to my April 11 blog titled "Assisting manufacturers with augmented reality."
Florence, Ky.-based Mazak Corp. hosted the Midwest Technology + Education Event May 1-3 at its Midwest Regional Headquarters and Technology Center in Schaumburg, Ill. The machine tool builder exhibited and demonstrated an array of equipment, including milling, turning, 5-axis and multitask machines, and nine of the company’s Value Inspired Partners exhibited at the event.
BIG KAISER Precision Tooling Inc. held its Breakfast & Learn 2018 open house May 8-10 at its headquarters in Hoffman Estates, Ill. Each day include a technical presentation. On the third day, John Zaya, workholding product manager for BIG KAISER, covered multiple-axis, quick-change workholding systems.
I admit to some bias against school. From about fifth grade on, our educational system and I were rarely on speaking terms. Think oil and water rather than peas and carrots. Needless to say, I left at my earliest opportunity. Aside from that thing with my daughter pulling the fire alarm, my kids were far better students. So when it came time for them to make the big decisions, I kept my opinion to myself and did what most parents do these days: Encourage them to get their college degrees.
As discussed in the current issue of Cutting Tool Engineering magazine in the feature article “Specialization on tap,” material-specific taps continue to evolve. Sources anticipate increasing specialization of the materials used for taps across industries.
Seventy years ago when the Society of Carbide Engineers launched the trade magazine that eventually became Cutting Tool Engineering as its official publication, the articles primarily covered carbide cutting tools. After all, the association advertised that those who were engaged in studying, using, supervising the use of or furthering the use of carbides were eligible for membership.
I received an email from a reader letting me know that he disagreed with my recent article on tapping versus thread milling. In it, I stated, “There’s little chance of successfully thread milling metals much above 45 HRC. And if you’re going to try to tap them, be prepared to duck the flying shrapnel when the tap explodes!” We all make mistakes. So when Tom Fares, president of TNT Custom Equipment in Stow, Ohio, called me out on that section of the article, saying that he routinely taps holes in 45 HRC steel alloy and thread mills into “the low 60s,” I listened to what he had to say.
Some people say there is an art to machining. In some cases, there is actual artwork. Machinists Inc. in Seattle, the largest precision machining shop in the Northwest, has made big sculptures since the early 1990s. The first piece was a 17'×13'×3' steel sculpture that hangs in Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, and many more have followed. However, art accounts for only about 1 percent of the manufacturer’s work, said Weld Engineer Steve Pollard, who has been with the company for 30 years.