Large Part Machining

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CNC machining for large parts

Challenges of Machining Large Parts

Struggling with Large Part Machining? We’ve Got You Covered!

When machining large parts, several difficulties are commonly encountered, including difficulty in maintaining dimensions, poor material stability, improper clamping methods, and vibration and deformation during the machining process. Here are some specific challenges and corresponding solutions:

For large parts, especially the machining of large holes in disc parts, achieving dimensional accuracy can be challenging. High precision is required, and the thin wall thickness surrounding the hole can lead to poor material stability, affecting dimensional stability.

Solution:

  • Analyze Machining Difficulties and Optimize Processes: Leave an appropriate amount of excess material for subsequent CNC turning to achieve the required high precision.
  • Specialized Fixtures: Use dedicated fixtures to improve stability and reduce material movement.

Improper clamping methods can cause deformation of parts during machining. For instance, using conventional methods to clamp the outer circumference of a part can apply radial force, leading to radial deformation. This deformation can cause the inner hole dimension to change due to springback after removing the external force once machining is completed and the part is taken out.

Solution:

  • Design Specialized Fixtures: Create dedicated fixtures to optimize clamping methods, reduce radial forces, increase part rigidity, and prevent part rotation and deformation.
  • Adjust Clamping Techniques: Use techniques that distribute clamping forces more evenly and reduce the risk of deformation.

When turning small holes, if the tool position is too low or the minor cutting edge angle is too small, chips can break and jam the tool holder, affecting machining quality and posing safety risks. Additionally, the larger the cross-section of the tool holder in the hole, the less likely it is to vibrate.

Solution:

  • Proper Adjustment of Tools and Parameters: Properly adjust the tool position, cutting edge angle, depth of cut, and feed rate to ensure continuous chip curling and removal, reducing the issues of chip breaking and jamming.
  • Increase Tool Holder Cross-Section: Increase the cross-section of the tool holder or use strong rubber bands to reduce vibration.
  • Use Appropriate Cutting Tools: Select tools designed to minimize vibration and improve chip evacuation.

For certain materials, such as copper, chips can jam when machining tapers, requiring an appropriately larger tool nose radius to suit the material characteristics.

Solution:

  • Select Suitable Tools: Choose appropriate tools and cutting parameters based on the material characteristics, such as increasing the tool nose radius when turning copper holes.
  • Adjust Cutting Parameters: Modify cutting speeds, feeds, and depths of cut to better handle the material properties.

Vertical lathes are specifically designed for machining large, heavy, or complex-shaped parts, especially those with larger diameters and lengths. The types of parts typically requiring vertical lathe machining include:

  • Large Shaft Parts These parts often have significant diameter and length, such as large generator shafts and ship propeller shafts. Vertical lathes can effectively machine the outer diameter, inner bore, end face, and complex contours of these parts.
  • Heavy Disc Parts Heavy disc parts, like large flywheels, automotive hubs, and large bearing rings, require high rigidity and precision turning, which vertical lathes can provide.
  • Precision Rotating Parts For rotating parts needing high precision and surface finish, such as precision machinery rotors and aerospace components, vertical lathes offer the necessary machining accuracy.
  • Large Molds and Templates In the mold manufacturing industry, large molds and templates often need machining by large lathes. Vertical lathes can machine complex three-dimensional shapes and fine surface textures.
vertical lathe services
  • Parts Made of Special Materials Certain special materials, such as high-temperature alloys and titanium alloys, may require specific machining conditions. Vertical lathes can provide the necessary environment for machining these special materials.
  • Large Pipes and Flanges In the oil, chemical, and energy industries, the machining of large pipes and flanges often requires vertical lathes to ensure dimensional accuracy and surface quality.
  • Custom Parts For parts with unique shapes and non-standard dimensions, vertical lathes offer flexible machining solutions, enabling customized production based on customer requirements.

Gantry milling machines are large-scale machines with the following characteristics:

  1. Wide Range of Applications: Gantry milling machines can be used for machining large castings, steel parts, molds, and other workpieces.
  2. High Precision: These machines offer excellent power performance and rigidity, ensuring high-precision machining.
  3. High Efficiency: Due to their large machining range, gantry milling machines can process multiple workpieces in a single clamping, improving efficiency.
  4. Reliability: The stable structure of gantry milling machines provides high reliability and durability, making them suitable for continuous long-term machining.

Types of Workpieces Suitable for Gantry Milling Machines

Gantry milling machines are suitable for machining the following types of workpieces:

  1. Large Parts: The large length and width of gantry milling machines make them ideal for machining large parts, such as machine tool bases.
  2. Plate Workpieces: With the use of interchangeable fixtures, gantry milling machines can clamp large plates for extensive milling, making it an efficient processing method.
  3. Complex Workpieces: Gantry milling machines can use vertical milling heads or rotary heads to machine three-dimensional, curved, inclined, and various helical surfaces of complex workpieces with high precision.
  4. Mold Workpieces: Mold workpieces are typically large and complex, requiring high precision machining. Gantry milling machines are well-suited for this type of work.

Horizontal Boring and Milling Machines (HBM)

Horizontal Boring and Milling Machines (HBM)

What is a Horizontal Boring and Milling Machine (HBM)?

Horizontal boring and milling machines (HBM) are versatile machine tools designed for precision machining of large parts. These machines can bore holes, mill surfaces, and perform various other machining operations in a horizontal direction. There are three main types of HBM: table type, planer type, and floor type, with the table type being the most common and versatile.

HBMs operate with the work spindle parallel to the ground. Typically, the machine’s setup includes four linear axes:

  • X-axis: Cross-traversing
  • Y-axis: Vertical traversing
  • Z-axis: Main axis driving the part towards the spindle
  • W-axis: Spindle quill used to reach difficult areas

Advantages of Using HBMs

  • Capacity to Handle Large Parts: HBMs can accommodate very large workpieces, sometimes weighing several tons, which makes them ideal for heavy-duty tasks.
  • Precision and Accuracy: These machines offer high precision, crucial for creating complex geometries and ensuring the dimensional accuracy of large parts.
  • Versatility: HBMs can perform a variety of operations including boring, milling, drilling, and threading, providing a comprehensive solution for machining large components.

Commonly Used Materials for Large Parts

  • Applications: Construction (beams, girders), Automotive (chassis, engine blocks), Heavy Equipment (frames, structural components).
  • Industries: Construction, Automotive, Heavy Machinery.
  • Applications: Food Processing Equipment, Medical Devices, Aerospace Components.
  • Industries: Food & Beverage, Medical, Aerospace.
  • Applications: Aircraft Parts, Automotive Components (engine parts, frames), Marine Equipment.
  • Industries: Aerospace, Automotive, Marine.
  • Applications: Aircraft Components, Medical Implants, High-performance Engine Parts.
  • Industries: Aerospace, Medical, Automotive.
  • Applications: Engine Blocks, Machinery Bases, Heavy Equipment Parts.
  • Industries: Automotive, Industrial Machinery, Construction Equipment.

Applications: Valve Components, Plumbing Fixtures, Marine Hardware.

Industries: Plumbing, Marine, Electrical.

  • Applications: Bearings, Bushings, Pump Components.
  • Industries: Industrial Machinery, Marine, Construction.
  • Applications: Turbine Blades, Chemical Processing Equipment, Marine Components.
  • Industries: Aerospace, Chemical Processing, Marine.
  • Applications: High-temperature Engine Parts, Chemical Processing Vessels, Marine Applications.
  • Industries: Aerospace, Chemical Processing, Marine.
  • Applications: Cutting Tools, Bearings, Electrical Insulators.
  • Industries: Manufacturing, Electronics, Aerospace.

Key Considerations in Large Part Design

  • Material Properties: Ensure the chosen material meets the required strength, durability, and resistance characteristics needed for the application.
  • Size and Tolerance: Large parts need precise measurements and tolerances to ensure proper fit and function in their final application.
  • Manufacturing Process: Select a manufacturing process (e.g., CNC machining, casting, forging) that suits the material and design specifications.
  • Cost Efficiency: Consider materials and processes that balance performance with cost to stay within budget.
  • Supply Chain: Ensure the availability and timely delivery of materials to avoid production delays.

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