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Basic Machine Shop Processes


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This is business advice from an experienced business owner and entrepreneur of over twenty years.

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Basic Machine Shop Processes

  1. 1. Basic Machine Shop Processes<br />Machines, what do they really do?<br />
  2. 2. A machine shop is a workshop where powerful machine tools are used to cut, shape, drill, and finish metals, plastics, glass, and wood. Machining refers to the creation of a useful component (such as an engine block) from raw materials (such as a block of aluminum).<br />The processes carried out in machine shops are some of the fundamental processes necessary for the functioning of an industrialized society.<br />While there are a number of more specialized machine shop processes that are specific to certain industries, there are a few fundamental machine shop processes that are common to most machine shops. Here are descriptions of some of those basic machine shop processes.<br />
  3. 3. Turning<br />Turning is done on a machine called a lathe. A lathe has a revolving spindle on which the raw material is placed. <br />As the raw material rotates on the spindle, various tools are used to cut and shape the material. <br />A lathe is the machine that turns a plain cylinder of wood into a tapered and shaped table leg.<br />The finished pieces may turn out to be straight, conical, grooved, or curved. <br />Lathes are perhaps the oldest machine tools, having been used as far back as the ancient Egyptian period. While once lathes were foot powered, today they are powered by electricity and a series of belts.<br />
  4. 4. Grinding<br />Grinding is one of the final processes in machining of materials. Grinding improves the surface of the material being machined, smoothing the rough edges, and ensuring uniformity of surface. Grinding is used to guarantee tolerances on machined parts and to ensure uniformity of the parts that are machined.<br />
  5. 5. Drilling<br />Drilling with a drill press is a similar process to the drilling done during home DIY projects. <br />But while drilling a hole at home usually involves moving the drill to the surface that needs a hole, drilling in a machine shop usually means using a drill press, where the material to be drilled is placed in a vise and secured underneath a drill head that moves up and down and uses different bits. <br />In addition to making holes, drilling can influence the mechanical characteristics of a machined part by lowering residual stress around an opening.<br />
  6. 6. Milling<br />Milling of solid materials may involve a horizontal or a vertical milling machine, depending on the position of the cutting tool. In milling machines, the work piece moves against a rotating slicer. <br />Milling machines are used for slot and key cutting, drilling, die sinking, routing, planing, and rabbeting.<br />
  7. 7. The basic machining functions carried out in a machine shop may seem ordinary, but they have had an enormous influence on the development of modern society.<br />Machining was one of the keys to the progress of the industrial revolution in the 19th century.Whereas once machinery was made one-at-a-time, the introduction of machining had a huge effect on the creation and use of interchangeable parts and the ability of industries to use assembly line methods.Good machine shops are everywhere nowadays, but it is safe to say that modern society could not function without the type of work done in machine shops.<br />
  8. 8. About the Author:<br />Whitney is a career machine shop worker who likes to get others involved in learning skills used in modern machine shops and related businesses.<br /><ul><li>Read more:
  9. 9. Under Creative Commons License: Attribution No Derivatives</li>