Process of Micro Machining Hard Materials

At Integral Machining Ltd., we love a good challenge… and few things are more challenging than working with tough, brittle, and just downright hard metals. It’s obvious why an engineer would want parts made from seriously hard materials like 4130 alloy steel or 17-4 stainless steel, but that still requires a process that can handle such substances.

It’s made all the more difficult when micro-machining services are called for. When we’re talking about parts that need to hold to tolerances far thinner than a human hair, the difficulty level goes up by orders of magnitude.

The Challenges When Machining Hard Materials

When working with hard metals, the difficulty comes from two basic areas – having the right tools, and having the right level of precision to create the necessary parts.

For starters, we need the right cutting heads for chewing through hard metals, as well as precise positioning of the feeds as well as the rotational speeds. Getting anything wrong wouldn’t just wreck the part being made, it would also quickly dull our parts or even break them outright!

Likewise, we must ensure there’s a correct depth of cut at all times, to get the proper pressure on the material for a cut to actually happen. Too little pressure means simply rubbing rather than cutting, which won’t do much of anything to a material that’s 60Rc on the Rockwell scale. Too much pressure, again, means broken parts or machinery.

Plus, there’s the brittleness of the materials to keep in mind. On high-tolerance jobs, that’s not a major issue… but if we’re machining a part that needs micron-level precision, even a single unintended flake means a ruined part.

What this means is that shops capable of working on high-hardness materials with low levels of tolerance are few and far between.

The Integral Machining Difference for Micro Machining Services

Our Swiss turning system can overcome all these challenges in theory, but one thing even the best piece of equipment can’t provide is experience. That’s where Integral Machining truly shines.

We are family-owned, and we’ve been in business for decades. Further, we were the first shop on the continent to adopt a Swiss machining system. While there are other North American alternatives today who have Swiss-style lathes in-house, there are none who have anything like our experience working with and programming these machines.

That means we have direct hands-on experience with pretty much every hard material you might ask us to work with. We know what micro machining services and approaches do and don’t work from our own past projects, and that experience benefits every client we service.

Contact Integral Machining, and we’ll make your next project happen with the materials you need.

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