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AsCNCroutertechnologyhasemergedinthewoodindustry,therehavebeenmanyquestions

surroundingparametersoffeedrateandRPMoftooling.Theconceptsarefairlysimple,butitisnot
surprisingthatmanyoperationsstrugglewiththesequestionsonceweconsiderallthevariablesin
machines,materialsandtools.
Inthemetalworkingindustry,toolingmanufacturersareabletosupplyexactchipload
recommendationsforeverytool.However,steelmillingapplicationsareperformedwithfarfewer
variablestoconsider.Materialpropertiesarerelativelysimilarandgenerallymoreconsistent
throughoutthepart.Fixturingandholddownofpartsisusuallyreliableandconsistent,resultingin
minimalvibrationorpartmovement.Theexistenceoffloodormistedcoolantsalsoprovidesacritical
advantageforcuttingtoolperformanceandlongevity.
Bycomparison,woodmachiningapplicationsareperformedunderfarlessconsistentcutting
conditions.Extremevariationinmaterialdensityandconsistencymakedecisionsregardingcutting
parametersverydifficult.Furthermore,fixturingandholddownmethodsarelessconsistent,whichcan
leadtoincreasedpart/toolvibrationorpartmovement.Veryfewwoodcuttingapplicationsallowfor
anytypeofcoolantormistingtobeused,whichmakescuttingspeedsacriticalfactorinpreventing
heatgenerationatthecuttingedge.Therearethreeimportantvariablesthatmustbemanagedto
preventheatgenerationresultinginreducedtoollife.

Theimageaboveillustratesthreevariablesthatmustbeconsidered.
1)Numberorflutes(wings)
2)FeedRate(feedspeed)
3)RPM(spindlespeed)

Therelationshipbetweenthesethreevariablesdetermineschipload,whichreferstotheactual
physicalsizeofchipbeingcutbyeachflute.Chiploadisacriticalfactorthatwilldictatethequalityof
cutandthelifeofthecuttingtool.

IMPORTANTFORMULAS:
4)ChipLoad=FeedRate/(RPMx#offlutes)
5)FeedRate(IMP)=RPMx#offlutesxchipload
6)Speed(RPM)=FeedRate/(#ofcuttingedgesxchipload).
Therearenumerouschiploadcalculatorsavailableonline,whichareausefultoolformachine
programmersandoperators.However,notallcalculatorsconsiderallthevariablesrequiredtomake
thedecision.
AnExcelversionofachiploadcalculatorDedicatedtoCNCSpiraltoolingcanbedownloaded
from:www.woodworkingcanada.com/spiralchip.

Thiscalculatorconsidersvariablessuchas,depthofcut,toolgeometry,andmaterialdensityand
providesamoderatestartingpointforaCNCoperator.
Obviouslyallthewoodmachininginconsistencieslistedabovemakedecisionsaboutfeedrateand
RPMmoredifficultthanmetalworking.Wehaveestablishedthatthereisntalwaysablackandwhite
recommendation,butratherasetofguidelinesthatcanhelpamachineoperatororprogrammerto
makeaninformeddecision.Alogicalprocessshouldinvolvethefollowingprocedures:
1)Assessholddownandmachinecapabilities
Differentmachines/vacuumsystemscanachievevariouslevelsofCFMandspoilboardleakagecan
varydependingondesignandsetup.Ofcourseallthesefactorsconstantlychangewithage,sothere
isalottoconsider.
2)Considersizeofpart
Smallerpartsthatcommonlymoveundercuttingpressurecanbeskincutormultipassed,toreduce
theamountofpressureonthepart.
3)Selectpropertoolgeometry
Upsheartoolsalthoughpreferablefortoollifereasons,cancausethevacuumtofailasupward
pressureinfluencesthepart.Useofalowerhelixordownsheargeometrymaybetheonlyoptionin
somesituations.
4)Decideondepthofcutandnumberofpasses
Aruleofmachiningatadepthnogreaterthanthediameterofthetoolisrecommended,butthisrule
isoftenbrokendependingonmaterialdensityandrequiredcycletime.However,feedratesmustbe
lowerbasedoncuttingdepth,whichcanbedetrimentaltotoollife.Itisoftenbettertodomultiple
passesatahigherfeedratetogeneratelessheatonthecuttingtool.
5)Start@lowestrecommendedfeedrateincreaseincrementally
Extremelylowfeedrateswillcauseexcessiveheatgenerationandprematuretoolfailure,butan
attempttorunatooltoofast,cancausedeflectionoreventualtoolbreakage.Startingslowerfora
SHORTtestingperiodisrecommendedespeciallyforsmallerdiametertools.Increasefeedrateby10
percentuntilcutqualitydeteriorates,partsmove,ortooldeflectionoccurswhichindicatesafeedrate
istoofast.
6)Reducefeedrateapproximately10%oruntilcutqualityissatisfactory,andnowyouhaveachieved
youroptimalfeedrate.
ItisimportanttonotethattoolmanufacturesprovideMAXIMUMfeedratesthatappearoncustom
drawingsandtooletchingthatshouldnotbeexceededforsafetyreasonshoweverthisRPMvalue
shouldnotbeassumedtobetheoptimalfeedrateofthetool.Theprocessexplainedabovewill
providebetterresultsonceallthefactorsareconsidered.
Ifthereareanyquestionsregardingtheseconcepts,contactyourtoolingormachinesupplierto
ensureyourmachineryandtoolsarerunningatoptimalfeedratesandRPM.Ifyourequireacopyof
thechiploadcalculatordiscussedinthisarticle,feelfreetoemailmeat:sburton@royceayr.com

ScottBurtonistheSalesandMarketingManagerforRoyce//AyrCuttingTools.Hecanbereachedat
sburton@royceayr.com