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A Tale of Two Crankshafts: 4th Axis Machining Videos

Oct 15, 2011   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Cool, Techniques  //  No Comments

I came across these two videos by accident while researching something else, but they’re interesting. Crankshafts seem like the poster children of less-than-obvious machining work, so here are two different examples at radically different scales and costs of how to go about it.

First up is a German Golmatic CNC mill being used to machine the crankshaft for a model of a Boxer 6 cylinder engine:

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Machining a crankshaft with a 4th axis…

I couldn’t find any more information on this interesting project, so I don’t know if the engine was ever completed or not. Perhaps a reader knows and can pass along a link to the overall project. I really enjoyed this 4th axis work, and found several intriguing aspects to the video. Perhaps the most interesting was how the throws were done via eccentric workholding rather than by g-code. I’m very curious whether this was thought to have some advantage or whether the CAM software being used was just not up to the task otherwise.

While looking at the video of a hobbyist’s project for a model engine, I thought it would be fun to see a professional’s job for a real engine. Here is a Mazak Integrex (awesome machine) making a NASCAR crank. Apparently it is a 3 hour job which is very short for such a complex part:

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Mazak Integrex machining a NASCAR crankshaft…

First thing is that the Integrex itself is quite an interesting machine, isn’t it? It’s part turning center and part machining center, with a big does of sophistication thrown on top. I was fascinated to see the use of lathe tooling on milling-like moves and vice versa. I wonder how many 4th axis users on mills have tried that sort of thing and what the trade offs are when deciding whether to use the lathe tool or mill tools?

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