Machine-tools are used to shape metals and other materials. The material to be shaped is called the workpiece. Most machine-tools are now electrically driven. Machine-tools with electrical drive are faster and more accurate than hand tools: they were an important element in the development of mass-production processes, as they allowed individual parts to be made in large numbers so as to be interchangeable.
All machine-tools have facilities for holding both the workpiece and the tool, and for accurately controlling the movement of the cutting tool relatively to the workpiece. Most machining operations generate large amounts of heat, and cooling fluids (usually a mixture of water and oils) must be used for cooling and lubrication.
Machine-tools usually work materials mechanically but other machining methods have been developed lately. They include chemical machining, spark erosion to machine very hard materials to any shape by means of a continuous high-voltage spark (discharge) between an electrode and a workpiece. Other machining methods include drilling using ultrasound, and cutting by means of a laser beam. Numerical control of machine-tools and flexible manufacturing systems has made it possible for complete systems of machine-tools to be used flexibly for the manufacture of a range of products.
Lathe is still the most important machine-tool. It produces parts of circular cross-section by turning the workpiece on its axis and cutting its surface with a sharp stationary tool. The tool may be moved sideways to produce a cylindrical part and moved towards the workpiece to control the depth of cut. Nowadays all lathes are power-driven by electric motors. That allows continuous rotation of the workpiece at a variety of speeds. The modern lathe is driven by means of a headstock supporting a hollow spindle on accurate bearings and carrying either a chuck or a faceplate, to which the workpiece is clamped. The movement of the tool, both along the lathe bed and at right angle to it, can be accurately controlled, so enabling a part to be machined to close tolerances. Modern lathes are often under numerical control.
In a milling machine the cutter (lõikur) is a circular device with a series of cutting edges on its circumference. The workpiece is mounted (fastened) on a table that controls the feed against the cutter. The table has three possible movements: longitudinal, horizontal, and vertical; in some cases in can also rotate. Milling machines are the most versatile of all machine tools. Flat or contoured surfaces (konturipind voi profiilpind) may be machined with excellent finish and accuracy. Angles, slots, gear teeth and cuts can be made by using various shapes of cutters.
Drilling and Boring Machines
To drill a hole usually hole-making machine-tools are used. They can drill a hole according to some specification, they can enlarge it, or they can cut threads for a screw or to create a smooth hole.
Drilling machines (puurpingid) are different in size and function, from portable drills to radial drilling machines, multispindle units, automatic production machines, and deep-hole-drilling machines.
Boring (puurimine) is a process that enlarges holes previously drilled, usually with a rotating single-point cutter held on a boring bar and fed against a stationary workpiece.
Shapers and Planers
The shaper (freespink) is used mainly to produce different flat surfaces. The tool slides against the stationary workpiece and cuts on one stroke, returns to its starting position, and then cuts on the next stroke after a slight lateral displacement. In general, the shaper can make any surface having straight-line elements. It uses only one cutting-tool and is relatively slow, because the return stroke is idle. That is why the shaper is seldom found on a mass production line. It is, however, valuable for tool production and for workshops where flexibility is important and relative slowness is unimportant.
The planer (pikifreespink) is the largest of the reciprocating machine tools. It differs from the shaper, which moves a tool past a fixed workpiece because the planer moves the workpiece to expose a new section to the tool. Like the shaper, the planer is intended to produce vertical, horizontal, or diagonal cuts. It is also possible to mount several tools at one time in any or all tool holders of a planer to execute multiple simultaneous cuts.
Grinders (lihvpingid) remove metal by a rotating abrasive wheel. The wheel is composed of many small grains of abrasive, bonded together, with each grain acting as a miniature cutting tool. The process gives very smooth and accurate finishes. Only a small amount of material is removed at each pass of the wheel, so grinding machines require fine wheel regulation. The pressure of the wheel against the workpiece is usually very light, so that grinding can be carried out on fragile materials that cannot be machined by other conventional devices.
Dies are tools used for the shaping of solid materials, especially those employed in the press
working of cold metals.
In presswork, dies are used in pairs. The smaller die, or punch, fits inside the larger die, called the matrix or, simply, the die. The metal to be formed, usually a sheet, is placed over the matrix on the press. The punch is mounted on the press and moves down by hydraulic or mechanical force.
A number of different forms of dies are employed for different operations. The simplest are piercing die (avalõikestants), used for punching holes. Bending and folding dies (painutusstants) are designed to make single or compound bends. A combination die is designed to perform more than one of the above operations in one stroke of the press. A progressive die (jadatoimestants) permits successive forming operations with the same die.
In coining, metal is forced to flow into two matching dies, each of which bears an engraved design (graveeritud joonis).
In the manufacture of wire, a drawplate (tõmbelaud) is usually employed. This tool is a metal plate containing a number of holes, successively less in diameter and known as wire dies. A piece of metal is pulled through the largest die to make a coarse wire. This wire is then drawn through the smaller hole, and then the next, until the wire is reduced to the desired measurement. Wiredrawing dies are made from extremely hard materials, such as tungsten carbide or diamonds.
For cutting threads on bolts or on the outside of pipes, a thread-cutting die (keermelõikur) is used. It is usually made of hardened steel in the form of a round plate with a hole in the center. The hole has a thread. To cut an outside thread, the die is lubricated with oil and simply screwed onto an unthreaded bolt or piece of pipe, the same way a nut is screwed onto a bolt. The corresponding tool for cutting an inside thread, such as that inside a nut, is called a tap (keermepuur).
English for Students of Mechanical Engineering
Compiler Galina Kubõškina
Layout by Ingrid Baumeister
Edited by Tallinn College of Engineering, 2005