Taper Shank Test Fixture

June 01, 2018
Taper Shank Test Fixture

Regardless of your CNC machining industrial focus, dealing with poor tooling performance and its impact on production and costs is something that can affect every shop.

An important part of CNC milling is the V-flange toolholder, which impacts the performance of the cutting tools and the machine itself. A critical factor in toolholder performance is the surface area contact between the large end of the toolholder and the spindle, which is essential for tool rigidity. A higher percentage of taper contact with the spindle at the large end and moving up the taper toward the small end results in improved cutting performance and over-all milling results. Less than 75 percent taper contact with the spindle results in poor TIR (runout), poor tool life, poor tolerances, vibration and chatter, poor finishes, and excessive spindle wear and tear.

In an effort to ensure optimal mill productivity and tooling performance, JM Performance Products Inc. developed its patented Taper Shank Test Fixture to check toolholders and test for taper deformation.

A growing area of concern with use of modern CNC machines with upwards of 500 tools, is tooling cost containment and optimal tooling performance. Unfortunately when a standard retention knob is installed into a toolholder, it can expand the small end of the taper of the toolholder. This expansion can reduce toolholder to spindle contact by 70% percent or more, resulting in loose tool situations.

The result is that it will no longer meet ISO 1947 angular taper tolerance (AT) specifications “AT3 or better” for toolholders. Retention knob expansion prevents toolholders from properly seating within the spindle, which can result in vibration and chatter issues that negatively impacts tool life, especially expensive carbide tools. It also impacts milling at the actual production level; most companies are running machines 20 to 40 percent slower than they should to preserve their tools and get required accuracy and finishes.

An often over-looked safety hazard also exists. As the tool is rotating in excess of 8,000 rpm, the movement of the holder within the spindle is applying enormous stress to the retention knob that is holding it in the spindle. What many shops don’t realize is that stress can cause failure of the retention knob, resulting in the toolholder and tool breaking loose from the spindle during a cutting operation.

Besides damage to the spindle, tool, holder and workpiece, the velocity of the tool when it breaks loose also represents a real injury threat to the operator.

Additional considerations for toolholder expansion include:
▪ Carbine tool life is diminished by 50 percent for every 0.0005” distance short of full engagement between the
toolholder and spindle.

▪ Toolholders may begin to expand with as little as 15 ft/lbs of torque.

▪ Toolholders showing more than 0.0002” growth have not been hardened adequately and should not be used.

JM Performance Products’ Taper Shank Test Fixture quickly checks toolholders for distortion caused by retention knob installation.

Development of the patented product was key to identifying the inherent flaw design in V-flange tooling. This discovery was ultimately the driving force for the creation of their patented High Torque retention knobs, which are longer than traditional knobs and feature a precision pilot to increase rigidity, and a relief below the flange that forces threads into a deeper cross section of the toolholder. This eliminates the toolholder expansion responsible for costly and ongoing CNC milling and boring issues.

Key integrated design features include:
▪ Precision gages that read in increments of 1/10,000 of an inch.

▪ Ground to mirror a machine spindle.

▪ Three top dial indicators read the height off the flange and two side dials read taper movement.

▪ Sizes: 30 / 40 / 45 / 50 / 60 Taper

Proper retention knob installation is crucial to toolholder performance. Overtightening the retention knob may damage and unnecessarily stress the knob leading to premature failure. It also exacerbates the effects of toolholder expansion. A quick, simple test using the Taper Shank Test Fixture can be performed on a toolholder with a retention knob already installed.

Following the manufacturer’s instructions to fit the fixture and zeroing out the indicators for a base reading, and then loosening the knob for a second reading, will return an immediate indication of whether or not the holder has experienced expansion. The good news is that an expanded toolholder does not need to be removed from service and scrapped. Once the retention knob has been removed, the toolholder should return to its original state and can be used with a High Torque knob tightened to the correct torque spec.

When the toolholder taper is deformed, it prevents the toolholder from properly seating within the spindle. The "elastic zone" at the small end makes contact with the spindle before the large end of the taper is engaged. This reversal of contact allows the toolholder to move at the gage line. Ultimately, this movement at the gage line is what produces fretting marks found on the toolholder and a laundry list of milling issues.

According to JMPP president, John Stoneback,” It’s important to note that all V-flange tooling is designed to fit the spindle taper within tolerances of twenty-nine-millionths (0.000029”) of an inch. Tests performed using the Taper Shank Test Fixture revealed a significant advantage for our High Torque retention knobs vs. standard knobs. In fact, most of our clients experience a 20 to 80 performance performance advantage.”

Related Glossary Terms

  • boring


    Enlarging a hole that already has been drilled or cored. Generally, it is an operation of truing the previously drilled hole with a single-point, lathe-type tool. Boring is essentially internal turning, in that usually a single-point cutting tool forms the internal shape. Some tools are available with two cutting edges to balance cutting forces.

  • chatter


    Condition of vibration involving the machine, workpiece and cutting tool. Once this condition arises, it is often self-sustaining until the problem is corrected. Chatter can be identified when lines or grooves appear at regular intervals in the workpiece. These lines or grooves are caused by the teeth of the cutter as they vibrate in and out of the workpiece and their spacing depends on the frequency of vibration.

  • computer numerical control ( CNC)

    computer numerical control ( CNC)

    Microprocessor-based controller dedicated to a machine tool that permits the creation or modification of parts. Programmed numerical control activates the machine’s servos and spindle drives and controls the various machining operations. See DNC, direct numerical control; NC, numerical control.

  • fixture


    Device, often made in-house, that holds a specific workpiece. See jig; modular fixturing.

  • gang cutting ( milling)

    gang cutting ( milling)

    Machining with several cutters mounted on a single arbor, generally for simultaneous cutting.

  • milling


    Machining operation in which metal or other material is removed by applying power to a rotating cutter. In vertical milling, the cutting tool is mounted vertically on the spindle. In horizontal milling, the cutting tool is mounted horizontally, either directly on the spindle or on an arbor. Horizontal milling is further broken down into conventional milling, where the cutter rotates opposite the direction of feed, or “up” into the workpiece; and climb milling, where the cutter rotates in the direction of feed, or “down” into the workpiece. Milling operations include plane or surface milling, endmilling, facemilling, angle milling, form milling and profiling.

  • milling machine ( mill)

    milling machine ( mill)

    Runs endmills and arbor-mounted milling cutters. Features include a head with a spindle that drives the cutters; a column, knee and table that provide motion in the three Cartesian axes; and a base that supports the components and houses the cutting-fluid pump and reservoir. The work is mounted on the table and fed into the rotating cutter or endmill to accomplish the milling steps; vertical milling machines also feed endmills into the work by means of a spindle-mounted quill. Models range from small manual machines to big bed-type and duplex mills. All take one of three basic forms: vertical, horizontal or convertible horizontal/vertical. Vertical machines may be knee-type (the table is mounted on a knee that can be elevated) or bed-type (the table is securely supported and only moves horizontally). In general, horizontal machines are bigger and more powerful, while vertical machines are lighter but more versatile and easier to set up and operate.

  • relief


    Space provided behind the cutting edges to prevent rubbing. Sometimes called primary relief. Secondary relief provides additional space behind primary relief. Relief on end teeth is axial relief; relief on side teeth is peripheral relief.

  • shank


    Main body of a tool; the portion of a drill or similar end-held tool that fits into a collet, chuck or similar mounting device.

  • tolerance


    Minimum and maximum amount a workpiece dimension is allowed to vary from a set standard and still be acceptable.

  • toolholder


    Secures a cutting tool during a machining operation. Basic types include block, cartridge, chuck, collet, fixed, modular, quick-change and rotating.

  • total indicator runout ( TIR)

    total indicator runout ( TIR)

    Combined variations of all dimensions of a workpiece, measured with an indicator, determined by rotating the part 360°.