A machine shop has two features: a place where the products are designed and a place where these designs are actually produced. In a machine workshop, several processes occur, some require more precision, planning, and accuracy, while others can exist in a free form with no real caution.
For every material and processes, the proper machine tool must be used. Although you might have to use different machines, you can easily work with them as they are guided by the same principles. Machine shops are filled with various machining tools, however, you have to aware of the limitation and strength if you are to produce a quality metal or plastic parts.
The main process that every machine shop undergoes is machining. The process has to do with the continual removal of metals or any other materials until you achieve your aimed shape. The machining process requires the use of machine tools to carry out different techniques on the workpiece. These machines always come with a gripping device that holds the workpiece in place while certain processes are performed on it.
Most tools being used in the different manufacturing industry are of two types: retrofitted and computer-numerical control machine.
Retrofitted Machines: these are machines that are operated manually, and have been in existence before the creation of computer-numerical control (CNC) by the U.S. Airforce mechanics. Although they appear obsolete some machines can be updated to respond to computer-numerical control programming. Examples of retrofitted machines are lathes, milling machines, and grinders.
Computer-Numerical Control (CNC) Machines: these machines are quite different from retrofitted machines. They are automated to be controlled from a computer console unit using a programming language called G-Code. This programming language differs from the PCs software like Windows 7, Windows 8 and many more. This language can only be understood by machine tool with the interface. G-Code makes it easy to instruct the machine to cut, grind, shape, mold or melt a material for the work piece.
Example of computer-numerical control machines is laser and plasma cutters, CNC routers and many more.
Types of Retrofitted Machines
Although these machines now, have been retrofitted so it can interact and respond to G-Code. A milling machine is primarily used to make drills and turns on the workpiece. These machines can respond to inputted g-codes to perform functions like operating cutters and any other tools.
Milling machines are also addressed as universal because it can perform a lot of manufacturing processes: drilling, milling, and reaming. These processes regardless of the material of the workpiece: steel or non-steel. The mill is easily suitable for any scale of production –individual, low, medium or high series production.
Milling machines are sometimes confused with the lathe. There is quite a difference – lathe machine has the workpiece moving as the cutting or shaping process continues and only stops if the desired product is achieved. One of the common process, which mill is used for is cutting metals into shapes of even or uneven dimension.
Lathes are machines used in the manufacturing industries to produce rotatory parts. It is used to perform drilling and cut threads both inner and outer. The workpiece is usually attached to a chuck or between two centers. The spindle provides the workpiece with a rotation where the lathe knife can work on it, until your desired product. The lathe machine is capable of performing the following process – cutting, sanding, drilling, knurling, facing, turning, and deformation. These process can only be performed on the work piece that is spherical, conical or cylindrical in shape.
Grinders are easily retrofitted as programming this machine isn’t as difficult as lathe where high precision is needed. These machines are usually found in sections where final technical operations are done on the work piece. Grinders are big machine and stationary that grind metals, aluminum, steel and other materials. The main tool on the machine is used in the final technical operation is the grinding disc which is made up of Silicon Carbide or Artificial Carborundum to remove materials from the workpiece. Whenever the grinding disc turns, it removes materials from the face or along its circumference.
Types of CNC Machines
This machine isn’t controlled manually but controlled using the G-Code. Routers are used in manufacturing industries to produces products in larger amounts. They cut through wood, plastic, and metals in any 3-dim (X, Y, Z axis). Although three-dimension routers are the most common, you can also find routers with higher dimensions like 4-, 5-, or 6-axis. Routers with higher dimensions are not easily found and are only used for extremely complex design.
Prior to now, creating a 3D replicate seems impossible but now thanks to advancing technology. Using 3D printer we can easily achieve this. The design prototype drawn with Computer-aided design (CAD) is inputted into the computer console unit. The 3D printer tries to produce a 3D of the image in the console while hot plastic is gradually pushed into it via a small hole.
When it comes to 3D printer it quite different from all other CNC machine tools discussed. Others use cutting and removal process to get the desired product, however 3D printer mud the product by gradually combining the hot plastic together bit by bit until the desired product is formed.
Laser and Plasma Cutters
These machines are used when other machines or cutting tools seems incapable of cutting the material. Lasers and plasma touch are both capable of producing hot burns that cut through any material proving hard to cut to other cutting tools.
Plasma touch is perfect for cutting out 2D shapes from a metal sheet. Plasma, the fourth state of matter, is what actually melts the metals and give the desired shape.
Lasers cutters also follow almost the same principle as plasma cutters. Lasers have much more power than plasma cutter, which is why it is preferred over it. These cutters are both good for cutting stubborn metals, wood, and plastics.
You can also get your Cancam laser engravers here.
Conclusively, in a machine workshop there a lot more of machine tools not discussed at all, they are either manually operated or automated. Note, do not forget to be extra careful while using these materials.