Multi-Axis Finishers: The Key to Amazing Surface Finish

A Key to Improving Surface Finish

In today’s Manufacturing Industry, part finish and machining efficiency are key to a successful machine shop. It’s no surprise, therefore, that the popularity Multi-Axis Finishers has never been greater. Helical Solutions is a leader in the manufacturing of Multi-Axis Finishers, and its customers utilize this impressive tool when faced with extremely high surface finish requirements, oftentimes swapping out a traditional Ball End Mill to dramatically improve finish while minimizing cycle times.

Multi-Axis Finisher Basic Principles

A Multi-Axis Finisher can be easily recognized by its large radius included in the profile of the tool. With a larger radius, a far greater stepover can be used pass-to-pass while keeping the same cusp height as a Ball End Mill. This decreases the cycle time by a known value called the Benefit Multiple.

A Multi-Axis Finisher with a Benefit Multiple of 8 will reduce the cycle time to 1/8 of the cycle time for a Ball End Mill of the same shank diameter – an 87.5% time savings! If a Multi-Axis Finisher is used with the same pass-to-pass stepover as a Ball End Mill, the finish will be drastically improved due to exponentially smaller cusp heights. Most situations allow both reduced cycle time and improved surface finish to be achieved.

The images below show the comparison of a ball end mill to an Oval Shape Multi-Axis Finisher with a benefit multiple of 4.

Due to their large radii, Multi-Axis Finishers are best suited for wide open, flowing, and somewhat flat surfaces. Smaller spaces, especially tight corners, will generally not see as much benefit from these tools due to limited use of the major radius.

Multi-Axis Finisher Tool Selection

The Manufacturing Industry’s leader in Multi-Axis Finishers, Helical Solutions offers 3 distinct profiles, each fully stocked and available to ship the day of purchase.

Oval Form Multi-Axis Finishers

The oval form includes 2 tangential radii and offers the most versatility in smaller spaces where a slightly varied approach angle is required, such as impellers or fan blades.

Taper Form Multi-Axis Finishers

The taper form includes 3 tangential radii and a taper angle. It allows for the largest radius, and therefore greatest potential improvement of finish and reduction of cycle time. They are best used where a specific approach angle is needed and where maximum performance gain is desired.

Lens Form Multi-Axis Finishers

The lens form includes 2 tangential radii on the end of the tool and is used for work mostly on the face of a part. Tilt angles of approximately 5 degrees are recommended for these tools to avoid working on-center.

Programming Multi-Axis Finishers

Programming Multi-Axis Finishers requires some additional consideration compared to a typical end mill. Luckily, many modern CAM packages offer support for these unique profiles, including many of Helical’s CAM partners. Each software has their own name for these toolpaths, so reach out to your CAM or Helical sales rep to find how you can program yours!

For more information on Multi-Axis Finishers, and to learn if this advantageous tool is right for you, read our Multi-Axis Finishers Q&A.

Maximizing Tool Life with Helical’s Dplus Coating

Choosing the correct tool coating is extremely important when machining highly abrasive materials like composites, graphite, aluminum alloys, and other non-ferrous materials. Proper coating selection will result in maximized tool life and a higher quality final part. When searching for a coating, it is imperative to find one that has high hardness and maintains a sharp cutting edge, like Helical Solutions’ Dplus coating. This post will explore what Dplus coating is (and isn’t), and when it might help you gain a competitive edge at the spindle.

What is Helical Solutions’ Dplus Coating?

Helical’s Dplus is a premium coating, specially engineered to extend tool life when machining materials ranging from aerospace aluminums to graphite or abrasive composites. It has a Tetrahedral Amorphous Carbon (taC) bond structure, which delivers remarkable enhancements in tool life compared to traditional DLC coatings.

Helical’s Dplus coating is applied by a Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) process. This method of coating takes place in a near-vacuum and distributes micron-thick layers evenly onto a properly prepared tool. Since this coating is applied via a PVD process, it is inherently different than true diamond created through Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) processes. While this means it can be outlasted by CVD diamond, Dplus is a thinner coating allowing it to have a sharper cutting edge.

For more information on the PVD coating process, read PVD Coating vs. CVD: Two Common Coating Application Methods.

When Should a Machinist Use Dplus Coating?

When Machining Highly Abrasive Materials

Dplus is an excellent choice when working in abrasive non-ferrous materials like graphite and high-silicon aluminums. It is an extremely hard coating (50 Gpa), which enables it to remain strong against abrasive materials. It also has a very low coefficient of friction, allowing for optimal lubricity. This reduces the risk of built-up edge and ensures chips can be easily evacuated out of the flute valleys.

In Production Runs

The combination of Dplus being an extremely hard and sharp coating, makes it a true winner when it comes to tool life. Using a Dplus coated tool in extended production runs can pay dividends at the spindle, especially when working in highly abrasive non-ferrous materials.  

Although Dplus takes the spot as Helical’s highest performing coating for non-ferrous materials, it may not be needed in certain applications. Its high hardness and abrasion resistance may be necessary for long production jobs, but may not be necessary for shorter jobs and one-off parts.

When Should a Machinist NOT Use Dplus Coating?

In High Temperature Applications

Although Dplus coating provides outstanding tool life and sharpness, it can’t be run at extremely high temperatures. This coating should not be run in any ferrous material or high temperature aerospace alloys.

Key Takeaways

Featuring an exceptionally low coefficient of friction and extremely high hardness, Helical’s Dplus coating maintains a sharp cutting edge, while still resisting abrasion, making it an excellent choice in low temperature applications of highly abrasive non-ferrous materials.

For more information on Helical Solutions’ coatings, visit https://www.helicaltool.com/resources/tool-coatings.

10 CNC Drill Geometries Every Machinist Must Know

A CNC drill has many different features and geometries that directly impact the tool’s performance, productivity, and tool life in the specific material it’s machining. It is important to understand the different geometries of a drill to ensure you’re not only recognizing how they affect an application, but also which geometries you should be looking for when selecting your next drill.

1.    Point Angle

This drill geometry refers to the angle of the cutting edge of the drill. As the point angle increases on a drill, the radial forces decrease, making the angle size a huge factor in what type of material the drill is optimized for and what types of applications should be run. The smaller the point angle, the better it will perform in through hole applications. This is because the smaller angle reduces the axial forces, allowing less of the chip to be pushed out and more cutting to occur.

118° & 120° Point Angle

Many machinists opt for this angle when machining soft gummy materials.

135° Point Angle

This point angle size is an excellent choice for machining aluminum and stainless steels.

140° Point Angle

This larger point angle size is great for machining steels.

150° Point Angle

Large angles are often used for spot drilling applications, but the optimal spot drill angle is determined by the size of the angle of the final drill being used. Selecting the proper spot drill is essential to eliminating the chance of drill walking and ensuring a more accurate final product. Learn which spot angle should be used for your next drilling job in this in-depth guide.

2.    Chisel and Cutting Edges


Although the chisel edge of a CNC drill does not provide any cutting action, it is responsible for the centering of the drill, as it extrudes the material towards the cutting edges. The cutting edges are then able to start the process of producing chips, which then travel up the flutes of the drill.

3.    Flutes

The most recognizable part of a drill is its flutes. They are the deep grooves that allow for chip evacuation to occur. When one thinks of a drill, they are likely imagining a spiral flute drill. These spiral flutes complement the point angle, chisel edge, and the cutting edges. They work like an elevator system to lift the chips out of the hole, allowing them to provide excellent chip evacuation. They work great in most material types and provide good hole quality.

4.    Helix Angle

The helix angle is the angle formed by the leading edge of the land with a plane containing the axis of the drill. The main function of the helix angle is to transfer the chips out of the hole and a specific angle is relevant to the type of material that is being machined in and the particular application being run.

Low Helix

A low helix of 12° – 22° is recommended for materials like cast iron, brass, and hardened steels. In these “short chipping” materials, the chips move more freely, and the coolant provides enough assistance to properly evacuate the chips out of the hole.

Medium Helix

The most widely used helix angles are medium as they provide optimal chip evacuation and strength to the drill. Medium helix angles range from 28° – 32° and are recommended for any general purpose drilling applications.

High Helix

A high helix angle of 34° – 38° is recommended for long chipping material such as softer non-ferrous materials like brass, aluminum, and plastics. Drills with a high helix are also beneficial in deep hole applications as the chips can evacuate more easily.

5.    Web Thickness (Core)

The web is the core section of the drill body, which connects the two flutes. The thickness of the web determines the torsional strength of a drill. A drill with a larger web diameter will have more torsional strength than a drill with a smaller web diameter.

The proper web thickness is determined by the material type to be machined. Long chipping materials will require a drill with a smaller web thickness to provide adequate clearance for chip removal. When drilling short chipping materials such as cast iron, the drill web can be increased for additional strength.

6.    Corner Chamfer


A corner chamfer or radius is often added to eliminate the sharp edge at the intersection of the flutes and the outside diameter of a drill. This helps to eliminate material breakout when exiting a hole, while also helping to reduce the size of the entrance and exit burrs. This feature is also widely known to significantly extend tool life.

7.    Drill Margin

Margin(s) are the surfaces along the outer diameter of the drill which provide stability to the hole as they support the radial forces that are directed radially by the drill point.

Size of Drill Margin

The size of the margin will determine the overall quality of the hole. Wide marginswill stabilize the drill better, hold a tighter hole diameter tolerance, and improve the circularity of the hole. Narrow margins reduce friction and heat, eliminate work hardening, mitigate built-up edge, and provide better tool life.

Number of Drill Margins

The number of margins on a drill is usually determined by the type of hole being machined. Single margin drills are very common in non-interrupted holes. Double or triple margin drills are common in interrupted or intersecting holes. The more margins there are, the better the guidance is to help the drill stay straight through interrupted cuts, cross holes, and irregular or angled surfaces on exit. While adding margins does provide these benefits for irregular style cuts, they also increase friction, which causes the drill to produce more heat. This causes wear to be accelerated, reducing the life of the tool.

8.    Land of a Drill

The land is the outer portion of the body of the drill between two adjacent flutes. Land width will determine how much torsional force a drill can withstand before catastrophic failure. The smaller the land is, the more chip space there is, producing less torsional strength. The larger the land is, the less chip space there is, providing more torsional strength.

9.    Coolant-Through Channels


Not only do coolant-through channels offer any drilling application a multitude of benefits, but they are also highly recommended for hole depths that exceed 4XD (4 times diameter). Coolant-Through Drills allow for higher speed and feed rate capabilities, increased lubricity, better chip control, improved surface finish, and enhanced tool life.

10.  Shank

The shank is a very important yet overlooked drill geometry as it is the drive mechanism and is what is mounted into a Tool Holder. It is essential that the shank is held to proper diameter tolerance and considerations are being made depending on the holder being used. For example, a shank with an h6 tolerance is essential when a shrink fit style tool holder is being used.

Learning the different geometries of a CNC drill can greatly assist you in ensuring you are selecting the right drill for your next job, while understanding the functions of these features will allow you to trouble shoot any potential machining hiccups you may encounter in your future CNC drilling applications.

3 Tips for Avoiding Misaligned Holes


One of the most common issues machinists face during a drilling operation is hole misalignment. Hole alignment is an essential step in any assembly or while mating cylindrical parts. When holes are properly aligned, the mating parts fit easily in each other. When one of the pieces to the puzzle is inaccurate, however, machinists run into issues and parts can be scrapped. The two types of common misalignment woes are Angular Misalignment and Offset Misalignment.

Angular Misalignment

Angular misalignment is the difference in slope of the centerlines of the holes. When the centerlines are not parallel, a shaft will not be able to fit through the hole properly.

Offset Misalignment

Offset misalignment is the distance between the centerlines of the hole. This is the position of the hole from its true position or mating part. Many CAD software programs will help to identify if holes are misaligned, but proper technique is still paramount to creating perfect holes.

1.    Utilize a Spotting Drill

Using a spotting drill is a common way to eliminate the chance of the drill walking when it makes contact with the material. A spotting drill is designed to mark a precise location for a drill to follow, minimizing the drill’s ability to walk from a specific area.

valor holemaking high performance spotting drill

Valor Holemaking High Performance Spotting Drill

Although using a spotting drill would require an additional tool change during a job, the time spent in a tool change is far less than the time required to redo a project due to a misaligned hole. A misaligned hole can result in scrapping the entire part, costing time and money.

Do you know how to choose the perfect spot drill angle? Learn how in this in-depth guide so you can eliminate the chance of drill walking and ensure a more accurate final product.

2.    Be Mindful of Web Thickness

A machinist should also consider the web thickness of the drill when experiencing hole misalignment. A drill’s web is the first part of the drill to make contact with the workpiece material.

Essentially, the web thickness is the same as the core diameter of an end mill. A larger core will provide a more rigid drill and a larger web. A larger web, however, can increase the risk of walking, and may contribute to hole misalignment. To overcome this machining dilemma, machinists will oftentimes choose to use a drill that has a thinned web.

Web Thinning

Also known as a split point drill, web thinning is a drill with a thinned web at the point, which helps to decrease thrust force and increase point accuracy. There are many different thinning methods, but the result allows a drill to have a thinner web at the point while having the benefit of a standard web through­out the rest of the drill body.

A thinner web will:

  1. Be less susceptible to walking
  2. Need less cutting resistance
  3. Create less cutting force

3.    Select a Material Specific Drill

Choosing a material specific drill is one of the easiest ways to avoid hole misalignment. A material specific drill design has geometries that will mitigate the specific challenges that each unique material presents. Further, material specific drills fea­ture tool coatings that are proven to succeed in the specific material a machinist is working in.

Valor Holemaking High Performance Drills for Steels and High Performance Drills for Aluminum

Spot Drilling: The First Step to Precision Drilling

Drilling an ultra-precise hole can be tough. Material behavior, surface irregularities, and drill point geometry can all be factors leading to inaccurate holes. A Spot Drill, if used properly, will eliminate the chance of drill walking and will help to ensure a more accurate final product.

Choosing a Spot Drill

Ideally, the center of a carbide drill should always be the first point to contact your part. Therefore, a spotting drill should have a slightly larger point angle than that of your drill. Common drill point angles range from 118° to 140° and larger. Shallower drill angles are better suited to harder materials like steels due to increased engagement on the cutting edges. Aluminums can also benefit from these shallower angles through increased drill life. While these drills wear less and more evenly, they are more prone to walking, therefore creating a need for a proper high performance spot drill in a shallow angle to best match the chosen drill.

Five Valor holemaking high performance spot drills displayed on top of a workpiece with a purple product packaging container in front

If a spotting drill with a smaller point angle than your drill is used, your drill may be damaged due to shock loading when the outer portion of its cutting surface contacts the workpiece before the center. Using a drill angle equal to the drill angle is also an acceptable situation. Figure 1 illustrates the desired effect. On the left, a drill is entering a previously drilled spot with a slightly larger angle than its point. On the right, a drill is approaching an area with an angle that is far too small for its point.

Proper Spot Angle Diagram

Marking Your Spot

A Spotting Drill’s purpose is to create a small divot to correctly locate the center of a drill when initiating a plunge. However, some machinists choose to use these tools for a different reason – using it to chamfer the top of drilled holes. By leaving a chamfer, screw heads sit flush with the part once inserted.

Spot Drill

What Happens if I Use a Spot Drill with an Improper Angle?

Using a larger angle drill will allow the drill to find the correct location by guiding the tip of the drill to the center. If the outer diameter of a carbide drill were to contact the workpiece first, the tool could chip. This would damage the workpiece and result in a defective tool. If the two flutes of the drill were slightly different from one another, one could come into contact before the other. This could lead to an inaccurate hole, and even counteract the purpose of spot drilling in the first place.

Avoiding CNC Drill Walking With a Spotting Drill

Few CNC machining applications demand precision like drilling. The diameter hole size, hole depth, part location, and finish are all important and provide little recourse if not up to specifications. That said, accuracy is paramount – and nothing leads to inaccurate final parts faster than drill walking, or the inadvertent straying from a drill’s intended location during the machining process. So how does drill walking occur, and how can one prevent it?

To understand drill walking, think about the act of striking a nail with a hammer, into a piece of wood. Firm contact to a sharp nail into an appropriate wood surface can result in an accurate, straight impact. But if other variables come into play – an uneven surface, a dull nail, an improper impact – that nail could enter a material at an angle, at an inaccurate location, or not at all. With CNC Drilling, the drill is obviously a critical element to a successful operation – a sharp, unworn cutting tool – when used properly, will go a long way toward an efficient and accurate final part.

To mitigate any variables working against you, such as an uneven part surface or a slightly used drill, a simple way to avoid “walking” is to utilize a Spotting Drill. This tool is engineered to leave a divot on the face of the part for a drill to engage during the holemaking process, keeping it properly aligned to avoid a drill from slipping off course.

When Won’t a Spot Drill Work for My Application?

When drilling into an extremely irregular surface, such as the side of a cylinder or an inclined plane, this tool may not be sufficient to keep holes in the correct position. For these applications, flat bottom versions or Flat Bottom Counterbores may be needed to creating accurate features.

Harvey tool spot drill zoomed in on the tip of the drill
Harvey Tool Spot Drill

The Advantageous Qualities of Helical Solutions’ Nplus Coating

When it comes to machining difficult materials like high-silicon aluminums, abrasive copper alloys, and other non-ferrous and aluminum alloys, finding a coating that improves performance and increases tool life can be difficult. When machining in aluminum-based materials, machinists often opt for an uncoated tool due to the sharp cutting edge needed. Uncoated tools may give you the sharpest edge possible, but Helical’s Nplus coating helps combat wear and keep your edge sharp for longer, allowing you to win at the spindle and gain a competitive edge.  

What is Helical Solutions’ Nplus Coating?

Helical’s Nplus coating is applied by a Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) process. This method of coating takes place in a near-vacuum and distributes micron-thick layers evenly onto a properly prepared tool.

For more information on the PVD coating process, read PVD Coating vs. CVD: Two Common Coating Application Methods.

Nplus is a premium coating, specially engineered to extend tool life when machining non-ferrous and aluminum alloys. 

nplus coating chart
The above image was taken from Helical Solutions’ Coating Chart.

When Should a Machinist Use Nplus Coating?

When Machining Non-ferrous and Aluminum Alloys

Helical’s Nplus coating is optimized for machining difficult aluminum alloys and other abrasive non-ferrous materials, as its composition doesn’t react with aluminum as some other coatings do. This coating possesses many advantageous qualities, including its high hardness (40 GPa), which provides excellent edge retention to ensure that your tool stays sharp for longer. Also, its high working temperatures (2,012°) and its thickness (1-4 µm) provide further wear resistance when tackling these difficult-to-machine materials.

Nplus coated Helical end mills

When Working in High Temperature Non-Ferrous Applications

When machining in many non-ferrous and aluminum alloys, high temperatures can become an issue. Nplus is specially designed to withstand temperatures up to 2,012°, allowing tooling to run at the high temperatures these abrasive materials require, without degrading them.

When Machining Large Production Runs

Machining materials like wrought aluminum, cast aluminum, graphite, and other non-ferrous alloys can quickly end the life of your tool, costing time and money. Nplus coating is specially engineered to extend tool life in these materials, allowing your tool to stay in the spindle for longer. This calls for less tool changes, creating a more efficient process flow in your large production runs.

Helical’s Nplus Coated Tooling

Helical’s 5 Flute End Mills for Aluminum

Introduced in Helical’s Spring 2022 Catalog, Helical’s 5 Flute End Mills for Aluminum are specially engineered for optimal performance in High Efficiency Milling (HEM) of aerospace aluminum alloys and other non-ferrous alloys. They’re offered in two unique styles, both fully stocked in Helical’s Nplus coating:

5 Flute – Corner Radius  – Variable Pitch – Chipbreaker Rougher

5 Flute – Corner Radius – Variable Pitch – End Mill

Helical’s Multi-Axis Finishers for Aluminum

Also introduced in Helical’s Spring 2022 catalog, this offering of Multi-Axis Finishers feature a specially defined profile for massive reductions in cycle times and vastly improved surface finish when machining aluminum.  They’re offered in 3 styles, all fully stocked in Helical’s Nplus coating to ensure excellent finish in abrasive aluminums and extended tool life in a wide variety of non-ferrous materials.

Multi-Axis Finishers – 3 Flute – Lens Form

Multi-Axis Finishers – 4 Flute – Taper Form

Multi-Axis Finishers – 4 Flute – Oval Form

For more information on Helical Solutions’ coatings, visit https://www.helicaltool.com/resources/tool-coatings.

Harvey Tool Coatings: Maximizing Tool Performance

Proper tool coating plays a large role during the selection of a CNC cutting tool. At Harvey Tool, coatings are optimized for specific materials and alloys to ensure the highest tooling performance, possible. Each coating offers a unique benefit for the cutting tool: increased strength, enhanced lubricity, heat resistance, and wear mitigation, just to name a few.  

In Benefits of Tool Coatings, the method of applying coatings to tools is examined. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at each Harvey Tool coating to examine its key properties, and to help you decide if it might add a boost to your next CNC application.

Harvey Tool offers a wide range of tool coating options for both ferrous and exotic materials, as well as non-ferrous and non-metallic materials. In the Harvey Tool catalog, coatings are often denoted in a -C# at the end of the product part number.

Harvey Tool Coating Gallery

Harvey Tool Coatings for Ferrous and Exotic Materials

TiN

TiN, or Titanium Nitride (-C1), is a mono-layer coating meant for general purpose machining in ferrous materials. TiN improves wear resistance over uncoated tools and aids in decreasing built-up edge during machining. This coating, however, is not recommended for applications that generate extreme heat as its max working temperature is 1,000 °F. TiN is also not as hard as AlTiN and AlTiN Nano, meaning its less durable and may have a shorter tool life.

Harvey Tool 46062 Tin Tool Coating

Harvey Tool 46062-C1

AlTiN

AlTiN, or Aluminum Titanium Nitride (-C3), is a common choice for machinists aiming to boost their tool performance in ferrous materials. This coating has a high working temperature of 1,400 °F, and features increased hardness. AlTiN excels in not only dry machining, due to its increased lubricity, but also in machining titanium alloys, Inconel, stainless alloys, and cast iron. To aid in its high heat threshold, the aluminum in this coating coverts to aluminum oxide at high temperatures which helps insulate the tool and transfer its heat into the formed chips.

altin tool coating 823816-C3

Harvey Tool 823816-C3

AlTiN Nano

AlTiN Nano or Aluminum Titanium Nitride Nano (-C6) is Harvey Tool’s premium coating for ferrous applications. This coating improves upon AlTiN by adding silicon to further increase the max working temperature to 2,100 °F while also increasing its hardness for increased tool life during demanding applications. Due to its penchant for demanding applications, AlTiN is recommended for hardened steels, hardened stainless, tool steels, titanium alloys, and aerospace materials. These applications often create high levels of heat that AlTiN Nano was designed to combat.

altin nano tool coating

Harvey Tool 843508-C6

harvey tool coating zoomed in

Tool Coatings for Non-Ferrous and Non-Metallic Materials

TiB2

TiB2, or Titanium Diboride (-C8), is Harvey Tool’s “bread and butter” coating for non-abrasive aluminum alloys and magnesium alloys, as it has an extremely low affinity to aluminum as compared to other coatings. Aluminum creates lower working temperatures than ferrous materials, so this coating has a max working temperature of of a suitable 900 °F. TiB2 prevents built-up edge and chip packing, further extending its impressive tool life. TiB2 is not recommended for abrasive materials as the carbide is slightly weakened during the coating process. These materials can cause micro fractures that may damage the tool at high RPMs.

TiB2 can be found on a wide variety of Harvey Tool 2 and 3 flute tools as the premium option for high performance in aluminum alloys.

tib2 tool coating

Harvey Tool 820654-C8

ZrN

ZrN, or Zirconium Nitride (-C7), is a general-purpose coating for a wide variety of non-ferrous materials, including abrasive aluminum alloys. This tool coating is a lower cost alternative to diamond coatings, while still boasting impressive performance through its high hardness levels and overall abrasion resistance. ZrN has a max working temperature of 1,110 °F with strong lubricity in abrasive alloys. This coating is best suited for abrasives, such as brass, bronze, and copper, as well as abrasive aluminum alloys that should not be used with TiB2.

zrn tool coating

Harvey Tool 27912-C7

CVD Diamond Tool Coatings

CVD Diamond, or Crystalline CVD Diamond, is a process where the coating is grown directly onto the carbide end mill. This process dramatically improves hardness over other coatings, improving tool life and abrasion resistance while also allowing for higher feed rates. The trade-off for increased wear resistance is a slight rounding of the cutting edge due to the coating application. Due to its increased wear resistance, CVD is best suited for highly abrasive materials such as graphite, composites, green carbide, and green ceramics. Similarly, these tool coatings have a max working temperature of 1,100 °F, meaning they are not well suited for ferrous applications.

Harvey Tool’s CVD Diamond Coating Options:

diamond tool coatings
Amorphous, CVD 4 μm, CVD 9 μm, PCD Diamond

CVD Diamond (4 μm)

The 4 μm is thinner than the 9 μm allowing for a sharper cutting edge, which in effect leaves a smoother finish.

CVD Diamond 9 μm)

The 9 μm CVD tool coating offers improved wear resistance over the 4 μm CVD and Amorphous coatings due to its increased coating thickness.

Amorphous Diamond

Amorphous Diamond (-C4) is a PVD diamond coating which creates an exceptionally sharp edge as compared to CVD. This coating aids in performance and finish in abrasive non-ferrous applications, as it allows for greatly improved abrasion resistance during machining, while still maintaining a sharp cutting edge necessary for certain abrasives. Due to the thinness of the coating, edge rounding is prevented in relation to CVD diamond tooling. Amorphous Diamond is best suited for use in abrasive plastics, graphite, and carbon fiber, as well as aluminum and aluminum alloys with high silica content, due to their abrasiveness. The max working temp is only 750 °F, so it is not suited for use in ferrous machining applications.

Harvey Tool 809362-C4

PCD Diamond

PCD Diamond, or Polycrystalline Diamond, is a tool coating that is brazed onto the carbide body. In comparison to the other diamond coatings, PCD does not face the same challenges of other coatings as it pertains to rounded cutting edges, as these edges are ground sharp. PCD has the edge benefits of Amorphous Diamond with the abrasion resistance of CVD Diamond. PCD is the thickest diamond layer offered by Harvey Tool, and excels due to its incredible hardness and abrasion resistance. This tool is best suited for all forms of abrasive, non-ferrous materials including abrasive plastics, graphite, carbon fiber, and composites. Similar to the other non-ferrous tool coatings, PCD is not suited for ferrous applications due to its working temperature of 1,100 °F.

pcd diamond

Harvey Tool 12120

Tool Coating Summary

When deciding on a coating for your application there are many factors to be considered. Different coatings often cross several applications with performance trade-offs between all of them. Harvey Tool offers a “Material Specific Selection” that allows users to choose tooling based upon what materials they are working with. Further, Harvey Tool’s technical team is always a phone call away to help in finding the right tool for your specific applications at 1-800-645-5609. Also, you can contact Harvey Tool via e-mail.

Titan USA Carbide Drills: Jobber, Stub, & Straight Flutes

When navigating Titan USA’s offering of carbide drills, it is imperative to understand the key differences among the three carbide drill styles: Jobber Length, Stub Length, and Straight Flute Drills. The right drill for your application depends on, among other factors, the material you are working in, the job requirements, and the required accuracy.

PRO TIP:

Chip evacuation can be an obstacle for hole making. Pecking cycles can be used to aid in chip removal. Peck cycles are when the drill is brought in and out of the hole location, increasing depth each time until the desired depth is reached. However, pecking cycles should only be used when necessary; this process increases cycle time and subjects the tool to added wear from the repeated engaging and disengaging.

Jobber Length Drills

Titan USA jobber length drill

A carbide Jobber Length Drill is the standard general-purpose drill within Titan USA’s offering. It has a long flute length and an included angle of 118o. These drills are great for general purpose drilling where the tolerances are not as tight as the Stub Drill or Straight Flute Drill. Due to the length of these drills, however, they will be more affected by any lack of rigidity in the set up and can have higher runout, or straying from a desired location, during the drilling operation.

PRO TIP:

To achieve high accuracy and great finish, consider utilizing a Reamer. Reamers are designed to remove a finite amount of material but bring a hole to a very specific size. To do this, first drill 90% – 94% of the desired hole diameter with a Jobber Drill. After 90% – 94% of the material is removed, go in for a finishing pass with a Reamer. Reaming tools are highly accurate and leave a beautiful finish.

Stub Length Drills

Titan USA stub length drill

Titan USA carbide Stub Length Drills have a shorter flute length, wider included point angle, and a significant drop in helix angle, when compared to Jobber Length Drills. The shorter length and wider tip create for a more rigid tool and, in turn, more accurate holes. The stub drill is the best option when drilling with tight tolerances on shallower holes.

Straight Flute Drills

Titan USA straight flute drill

Carbide Straight Flute Drills have the smallest core of the three drill types mentioned within this post. Titan USA offers Straight Flute Drills with 2 flutes and a 140o included angle. These drills are designed for hole making in materials that create short chips. Materials in which the Straight Flute Drill typically performs best include cast aluminums and cast irons, as well as copper. In addition, this type of drill can work very well in high hardness materials, but the core diameter should first be adjusted to accommodate the increased hardness. For these difficult to machine materials, casting the part with a core hole and then opening it up with the Straight Flute is a great option. This removes some of the stress caused by chip removal and allows for the drill to do what it does best.

Chip removal can be more difficult in this style of carbide drill because the chips are not guided along a helix. With helix flutes, the motion of chip removal is mostly continuous from their initiation point, through the flute valleys, and finally out of the flute valleys. The helix creates a wedge which helps push the chips along, but the straight flute does not have that. It interrupts that natural turning motion created by the drill face which can affect chip evacuation. Due to the interruption in motion this type of drill is better suited for applications involving chips of smaller size.

PRO TIP:

Helix drills create multiple different forces on the part, which can create micro imperfections. The Straight Flute Drills do not create those forces, so the finish is much more consistent down to the micro level. The margins of the Straight Flute Drill also burnish the inside of the hole as they spin, which improves the finish as well. When comparing the Straight Flute Drill to a helix drill, the length of the overall contact point is much shorter in the Straight Flute Drill, and has less heat generation. The decreased heat will also reduce the probability of work hardening.

Selecting Your Perfect Titan USA Carbide Drill

Selecting the correct carbide drill for your application is a crucial step in hole making. The Jobber Drill is a great general-purpose drill and should be utilized in applications requiring long reach. The Stub Drill increases the rigidity with its shorter length of flute, allowing it to drill with higher accuracy. Applications which involve tight tolerances and more shallow holes can be done with the Stub Drill for high-quality results. Lastly, for difficult to machine and hard materials, the Straight Flute Drill is the perfect solution. When the core diameter and chip evacuation is properly addressed, the Straight Flute Drill produces beautifully consistent surface finish and extremely tight tolerances. Similarly, Titan USA offers its carbide drills in both an uncoated option, and AlTiN coating. Traditionally, uncoated tools are general purpose workhorses in a wide variety of materials both ferrous and non-ferrous. AlTiN or Aluminum Titanium Nitride is an enhanced coating specifically made for ferrous materials that extends tool life and performance across a wide range of steels and their alloys.

For more information on Titan USA Drills, and to view its full selection, click here.

Understanding Key Qualities in Micro 100’s Offering of Micro-Quik Quick Change Tool Holders

Did you know that, along with supplying the machining industry with premier turning tools, Micro 100 also fully stocks tool holders for its proprietary Micro-Quik Quick Change Tool Holder System? In fact, Micro 100’s Spring 2021 Product Catalog introduced new “headless” style tool holders, which are revolutionizing the machine setup process for turning operations.

This “In the Loupe” guide is designed to provide you with insight for navigating Micro 100’s offering, and to help you select the optimal holder style for your operation.

Micro 100 ad showing four different tool holders

Understanding Micro 100’s Micro-Quik

Micro 100’s Micro-Quik is unlike any other tool change system you may have seen from other tool manufacturers because of its incredible axial and radial repeatability and its ease of use. This foolproof system delivers impressive repeatability, tip-to-tip consistency, and part-to-part accuracy, all the while resulting in tool changes that are 90 % faster than conventional methods.

In all, a tool change that would regularly take more than 5 minutes is accomplished in fewer than 30 seconds.

Micro 100 Quick Change Tool Holder Selection

Straight Style, Headless Tool Holders

When using a straight style tool holder, you will enjoy significantly enhanced versatility during the machine set up process. These holders are engineered specifically for use in any Swiss, standard lathe, or multi-function lathe, and allow for adjustable holder depth in a tooling block. Radial coolant access ports provide easier access to coolant and the ability to utilize coolant through functionality in tooling blocks that share a static and live tool function, and cannot be plumbed through the back of the holder. Further, their headless design allows for installation through the backside of the tooling block in machines where the work envelope is limited, allowing for a simplified installation process.

Created by Harvey Performance Company Application Engineers, the following videos outline the simple process for inserting each style of Micro 100 Straight Tool Holder into a tooling block.

Micro 100 Straight Holder, Plumbed Style (QTS / QTSL)

In the video, you’ll notice that the first step is to place your Micro-Quik tool in this quick change holder, and align it with the locating pin. Then, tighten the locating and locking screw into the whistle notch. This forces the tool against the locking pin, and allows for repeatable accuracy, every time. From there, the quick change tool holder can be installed as a unit into a tooling block. When desired tool position is achieved, set screws can be tightened to lock the holder in place.

Micro 100 Straight Holder, Plumbed & Ported Style (QTSP / QTSPL)

This unique Micro 100 quick change tool holder style is plumbed and ported, allowing for enhanced versatility and coolant delivery efficiency. The setup process using this style of holder is also simple. First, place your Micro 100 quick change tool into the holder, and align it with the locating pin. From there, tighten the locating and locking screw into the whistle notch, forcing the tool against the locating pin and allowing for repeatable accuracy, every time. When plumbed coolant is being used, remove the plumbed plug in the back of the holder, and connect the appropriate coolant adapter and line. Then, the holder can be installed as a unit into the tooling block and locked into place with set screws.

When using ported coolant, make sure that the coolant plug in the back of the holder is tightly installed. Then, be sure to only use one of the radial ports. Simply plug the two that aren’t in use. Install the provided porting adapter to allow for coolant access. Porting options allow for coolant capabilities in machine areas where coolant is not easily accessible.

Headed Tool Holders

headed quick change tool holder

Micro 100’s original quick change tool holder for its Micro-Quik system, this style of tool holder for lathe applications features a unique “3 point” locking and locating system to ensure repeatability. When conducting a tool change with this tool holder style, you must follow a simple, 3-step process:

  1. Loosen the tool holder’s set screw
  2. Remove the used tool from the holder
  3. Insert the new tool and retighten the set screw

These headed holders are plumbed through the back of the holder for NPT coolant connection and are available in standard length and long length styles.

Try Micro 100’s “Headless” Tool Holders for Incredible Flexibility

Double-Ended Modular Tool Holder System

double ended quick change tool holder

For twin spindle and Y-axis tooling block locations, Micro 100 fully stocks a double-ended modular system. Similar to its single-ended counterparts, this modular is headless, meaning it enhances machine access during the tool block installation process, and the holder depth can be adjusted while in the block. Because this system is double-ended, however, there is obviously no plumbed coolant option through the end of the tool. Instead, coolant is delivered via an external coolant port, the adapter for which is included in the purchase of the modular system. Right hand and left hand tool holders are designed so the set screws are facing the operator for easy access. Both right and left hand styles are designed for right hand turning.

Enjoy Quick Change Tool Holding Confidence & Ease of Use

When opting for a quick change system, machinists long for simplicity, versatility, and consistency. Though many manufacturers have a system of their own, Micro 100’s Micro-Quik sets itself apart with axial and radial repeatability, and tip-to-tip consistency. Further, Micro 100 fully stocks several quick change tool holder options, allowing a machinist to select the style that best fits their application.

Micro100 also manufactures and stocks a wide variety of boring tools for the Micro-Quik. Click here to learn more.

For more information on selecting the appropriate quick change tool holder for your job, view our selection chart or call an experienced Micro 100 technical engineer at 800-421-8065.

quick change tool holder selection chart for Micro100

8 Unique Facts About Thread Forming Taps

Unlike most CNC cutting tools, Thread Forming Taps, otherwise known as Form Taps, Forming Taps, or Roll Taps, work by molding the workpiece rather than cutting it. Because of this, Form Taps do not contain any flutes, as there is no cutting action taking place, nor are there any chips to evacuate. Below are 8 unique facts of Thread Forming Taps (and some may surprise you).

1. Chips Aren’t Formed

When using a Form Tap, chips are not formed, nor is any part material evacuated (Yes, you read that right). With thread forming, the tool is void of any flutes, as chip evacuation is not a concern. Form Taps quite literally mold the workpiece, rather than cut it, to produce threads. Material is displaced within a hole to make way for the threads being formed.

Increase Your Tapping Efficiency 20x With Titan USA’s Thread Form Taps

2. Cutting Oils Allow for Reduced Friction & Heat Generation

Did you know that Thread Forming Taps require good lubrication? But why is that the case if chips are not being evacuated, and how does lubrication enter the part with such a limited area between the tool and the perimeter of the hole being threaded? Despite the fact that chips aren’t being formed or evacuated, cutting oils aid the Form Tap as it interacts with the part material, and reduces friction and heat generation. Lube vent grooves are narrow channels engineered into the side of Forming Taps that are designed to provide just enough room for lubricant to make its way into – and out of – a part.

titan usa thread forming tool

Not all materials are well suited for Thread Forming Taps. In fact, attempting to use a tap in the wrong material can result in significant part and tool damage. The best materials for this unique type of operation include aluminum, brass, copper, 300 stainless steel, and leaded steel. In other words, any material that leaves a stringy chip is a good candidate for cold forming threads. Materials that leave a powdery chip, such as cast iron, are likely too brittle, resulting in ineffective, porous threads.

4. Threads Produced Are Stronger Than Conventional Tapping Threads

Thread forming produces much stronger threads than conventional tapping methods, due to the displacements of the grain of the metal in the workpiece. Further, cutting taps produce chips, which may interfere with the tapping process.

5. Chip Evacuation is Never a Concern With Thread Forming

In conventional tapping applications, as with most machining applications, chip evacuation is a concern. This is especially true in blind holes, or holes with a bottom, as chips created at the very bottom of the hole oftentimes have a long distance to travel before being efficiently evacuated. With form taps, however, chip removal is never a concern.

6. Form Taps Offer Extended Tool Life

Thread Forming Taps are incredibly efficient, as their tool life is substantial (Up to 20x longer than cutting taps), as they have no cutting edges to dull. Further, Thread Forms can be run at faster speeds (Up to 2x faster than Cutting Taps).

Pro Tip: To prolong tool life even further, opt for a coated tool. Titan USA Form Taps, for example, are fully stocked in both uncoated and TiN coated styles.

titan usa thread forming tool on stack of red product packaging containers

7. A Simple Formula Will Help You Find the Right Drill Size

When selecting a Tap, you must be familiar with the following formula, which will help a machinist determine the proper drill size needed for creating the starter hole, before a Thread Forming Tap is used to finish the application:

Drill Size = Major Diameter – [(0.0068 x desired % of thread) / Threads Per Inch]
Drill Size (mm) = Major Diameter – [(0.0068 x desired % of thread x pitch (mm)]

two titan usa thread form taps

8. Thread Forming Taps Need a Larger Hole Size

  1. Thread Form Taps require a larger pre-tap hole size than a cutting tap. This is because these tools impact the sides of the hole consistently during the thread forming process. If the pre-tap hole size is too small, the tool would have to work too hard to perform its job, resulting in excessive tool wear, torque, and possible breakage.

As an example, a ¼-20 cut tap requires a #7 drill size for the starter hole, whereas a ¼-20 roll tap requires a #1 drill size for 65% thread.