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Modern Machining Techniques

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Machining techniques for the removal of material have evolved into specialized techniques allowing for processes that would be technically difficult or too expensive to achieve using traditional methods.

Some of the newest techniques:

  •  Electrical discharge machining (EDM) is a process in which the tool (an electrode) and the workpiece are oppositely charged with a nonconductive dielectric fluid between them. A spark arcs across the fluid from the electrode to the workpiece, melting an area of the surface of the workpiece, which is then flushed away in the fluid.
  • Laser machining involves the optical focusing of a laser beam, producing high temperatures, vaporizing the metal to be removed.
  • Electrochemical machining (ECM) is similar to traditional electroplating, but in reverse. The process uses an electrically conductive fluid and direct current to remove material.
  • Chemical machining or etching involves the masking or protecting of areas not to be machined, then exposing the remaining areas to a chemical etchant.
  • Hydrodynamic machining uses a water jet combined with abrasives that can cut complex patterns without the generation of heat.
  • Ultrasonic machining is a technique that combines ultrasonic sound waves with a slurry of abrasive material for the controlled machining of a surface.
  • Electron beam machining (EBM) is a technique used in the aerospace industry to cut any metal or nonmetal with a high level of precision. It requires a vacuum and shielding due to the x-rays produced by the electron beam.

Click here to view an animation on ultrasonic machining

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