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Let me start out by going on record as saying I don’t think manual is ever better than CNC except in certain special circumstances that are really not a test of manual vs CNC, but of other factors. I’ll walk through the three special circumstances in a moment.
I’ll be the first to admit it is a controversial viewpoint. Machinists will spend hours debating the whole manual versus CNC thing and every related issue. For example, they will debate whether you can be a decent CNC machinist without having trained extensively on manual machines first. … Read the rest
I’m fascinated by pre-CNC technology. A lot of parts got made and they got made to good tolerances when need be. The older machines are not really a match for CNC competitively, but they’re still fun and interesting to learn a little bit about. Here is a little Hardinge Turret Lathe being put through its paces so you can see the point of the turret in increasing productivity:
He gets through that pipe thread pretty fast, doesn’t he? Gotta keep fingers away from chips though!… Read the rest
This article is the newest chapter from our Feeds and Speeds Cookbook. The original is in the Cookbook here.
I got an email from a customer the other day who wondered if there wasn’t some way to make G-Wizard more focused to the needs of manual machinists. He felt that it was overly “CNC specific”, and wanted some sort of “CNC versus Manual” switch to make it easier. I need to cogitate more on the idea of a switch, but it is certainly true that if you start dialing up modern tooling in G-Wizard and cutting softer materials, you will end up with feeds and speeds that are impossible–the manual machinist just can’t crank the handwheel fast enough.… Read the rest
It turns out to be a function of the capabilities of the machine and the machinist. Simply put, the CNC can do all sorts of things a manual Bridgeport never was in the running for. Learn more in my latest article about CNC Cutting Speeds.… Read the rest
It’s time for a survey. Let us know what size manual lathe you use most often (swing and distance between centers, plus spindle bore optionally).
What size manual lathe do you use most often?
Click Here for the Survey or to See Results… Read the rest
If you’re a manual machinist, you’ve probably wondered about CNC. Maybe you’ve heard others talking about how CNC is only good for producing lots of copies of the same part, and prototyping is much faster on a manual machine. That just isn’t true! In fact, once you get the hang of it, you can make a CNC act just like a manual machine that has power feeds on every axis and a DRO. You’ve got to admit, you really could do some wicked cool prototypes on a machine like that.
Gotta love those old tracer machines!… Read the rest
I’m a firm believer that you can never have too many boring bars. If nothing else, this is an application where rigidity is always a problem as you reach down a hole with that long skinny boring bar. Shorter bars and fatter bars are more rigid, but they don’t work for every case. So you wind up needing a big enough selection so that when you go to find the shortest fattest bar that will work, you’re in luck.
With those random thoughts in mind, I enjoyed seeing this photo over on Chaski of Frank Ford’s set of boring bar holders for the QCTP lathe:
They look like they’ll hold the bars with less chatter than the usual cheezy stick-the-bar in a square slot holders…
And while we’re on the topic of boring, though not of QCTP boring, how about Glenn Wegman’s horizontal boring setup on his lathe from the same Chaski thread:
Notice he built a table to sit on the cross slide to hold the work…
With machinists, where there is a will, there is a way!… Read the rest