High Speed Machining

Looking to learn about High Speed Machining? Here is what we cover on this page:

  • What is High Speed Machining
  • History of High Speed Machining
  • Conventional Machining Versus High-Speed Machining
  • Machines for High Speed Machining
  • CAM Systems for High Speed Machining
  • Tools for High Speed Machining
  • High Speed Machining Techniques

What is High Speed Machining

With the rapid advancements in manufacturing, what was once considered ‘High Speed’, has now become standard. Whether you run a job shop or work at a large corporation, you know the importance of getting things done faster. Increasing productivity and capacity while decreasing costs are important to everyone, and there is a way you can achieve all three. High Speed Machining.

High Speed Machining gets defined in different ways, by different people. Some define high-speed machining as heavy chip loads at speeds somewhat higher than would be suggested by conventional machining methodologies. Others define it as the use of a high spindle feed rate accompanied by a high RPM.

Although opinions on how to define high-speed machining differ, one thing remains consistent between both schools of thought. High speed machining allows for more material to be removed in less time, increasing efficiency.

This page will serve as a guide to high-speed machining, providing answers to the questions you may have. Whether you want to know the benefits of high speed machining or the techniques involved, we have you covered for that and everything in between.

History of High Speed Machining:

The first attempts at high speed machining occurred in the early 1920’s. About 10 years later Carl Solomon proposed his definition of high-speed machining: “At a certain cutting speed which is five to ten times higher than in conventional machining, the chip removal temperature at the cutting edge will start to decrease.” His now famous graph included to the right has become synonymous with learning about high-speed machining and illustrates what has been coined as the ‘Solomon Curve’.

Solomon Curve - High Speed Machining

It wasn’t until the late fifties when research into HSM began to take off. In the eighties Lockheed was an early adopter of HSM, they were then followed by others in aerospace manufacturing. It was at this point that high-speed machining became a feasible opposition to conventional machining.

Today, high-speed machining is gaining popularity, and it is becoming more and more common to see it being implemented in machine shops. The reason for the slow adoption can be attributed to a couple of factors.

The industry itself was cautious to the concept of high-speed machining, but what was arguably the largest factor was the state of manufacturing facilities. Many production facilities lacked the corresponding technology needed to successfully implement high-speed machining techniques. This is less common today as CNC Machines and CAM systems are designed with high speed machining in mind.

Conventional Versus High Speed Machining:

Conventional machining differs greatly from HSM in a lot of aspects. When using conventional machining techniques, the contact time between the tool and piece is much greater than it is with HSM. Conventional machining also involves a much greater cutting force.

Conventional Machining will typically lead to a less accurate workpiece and inferior surface finish than could be achieved through high-speed machining. Another major difference associated with high-speed machining is the material removal rate is much higher.

Machines for High Speed Machining:

High-speed machining is possible for everyone as many machines today, offer the required capabilities. Whether you are using a 3-Axis milling machine or working with a 5-Axis milling machine, you can increase efficiency through high-speed machining. Included below are just a couple machines available for high speed machining.

Matsuura LX-160

Matsuura LX-160 High Speed Machining

Matsuura’s LX-160 is one example of a machine designed with high-speed machining in mind. This linear machine allows its operators to achieve high levels of precision at a high speed. With the LX-160 cycle time can be reduced greatly due to a nearly 50 percent decrease in tool change time.

All axes are driven by linear motors to achieve high speed and rapid acceleration and deceleration. These factors combined with Intelligent Protection System and CAMplete TruePath, allow users to implement high-speed machining techniques, worry-free.

Mikron Mill S 400 U

GF Machining Solutions offers a wide range of high-speed milling centers; however, we will focus on the Mikron Mill S 400 U. Mikron HSM milling centers are 10 times faster than conventional milling machines regarding cutting speeds.

Mikron Mill S 400 U - High Speed Machining

From the control system to the axis mechanism, and everything else in between, the Mikron Mill S 400 U was designed with high speed machining in mind. It’s ability to adhere to specified tool paths at high feed rates enables these machines to achieve high precision and quality surface finishes.

Intelligent Temperature Management System allows the machine to stay precise, even at high milling speeds and running time. These features, the overall design and the use of CAMplete TruePath to verify your tool paths, gives users the peace of mind to operate their Mikron Mill without collisions.

CAM Systems for High Speed Machining

Many CAM systems exist for high speed machining, each offering different features, which they claim makes them the best. So, which CAM system is the best for high speed machining? That depends on what works best for you, and your shop.

It is important to note that CAMplete is not an actual CAM system, but instead a posting and simulation system for high speed machining. As mentioned above, high speed machining requires a powerful CAM system, that requirement remains the same when looking for a post processor. Your post processor should include high-speed codes specific to your machine, so your machine can run optimally during high-speed machining.

Ivan Mikesic, our Technical Support Manager at CAMplete Solutions was recently interviewed by Shop MetalWorking Technology on the topic of high speed machining, he had this to say:

“The goal of any CAM system should be to reduce cycle time while maintaining part accuracy. You want tool motions that avoid sudden changes in direction. This eliminates the need for repeated acceleration and deceleration when tools are forced to maneuver through sharp corners. You want gradual ramping transitions between cutting depths because if you stop, reposition and punch down again, you’re losing time. And you want to keep the tool engaged always while maintaining a constant depth of cut and chip load. This will provide the best tool life and productive part throughput overall.”

Tools for High Speed Machining

Proper tooling for high speed machining is equally as important as the machine and CAM System used. Although the specific job is the largest factor dictating which tool to use, there are some consistent factors that need to be considered when performing high-speed machining.

One obvious rule to remember when picking your high-speed milling tool is to keep it short. High-Speed Milling will push your machine tool to its limits, requiring a tool that can withstand the heavy loads. A tool that is lower in length will do a better job avoiding deflection or chatter.

Another factor to consider when choosing which tool to use for high-speed machining is coating of the tool. Again, this will differ based on the material being cut. The main reason why the coating of the tool is a factor is the level of heat that is generated. Too much heat and too little heat can both cause their own problems, so to maximize tool life it is important to select the right tool for the job.

The third and final factor we feel is noteworthy when picking tools for high-speed machining is to use different tools for the finishing and roughing process. With tighter tolerances becoming the new normal in the manufacturing industry, having tools specifically for each part of the process will allow you to achieve that.

High Speed Machining Techniques

Once you have the right tools in place, both figuratively and literally, you need to know what to do. The right tools are nothing with the wrong person driving them. There are many resources available online that dive deeper into the various High Speed Machining Techniques. These include:

  • Trochoidal Machining
  • Plunge Roughing
  • Radial Chip Thinning
  • Side Steps
  • Cornering
  • Smart Machining
  • Knowledge of Stock Remaining

To dive deeper into the different HSM Techniques, check out the link included here: https://www.mmsonline.com/articles/tool-path-strategies-for-high-speed-machining