Grooving is a type of machining process that creates grooves or narrow cavities of a certain depth on the surface of a work piece. The grooves can be drilled on both the external and internal surfaces of a work piece. Cutting a groove on the face of a part is called face grooving. To carry out a grooving operation, a machining center and the grooving tool is required. In the modern manufacturing industry, grooving as well as other types of turning operations is performed on a CNC turning center. The selection of grooving tool is essential because the shape of the grooves has to do with the tool.
The cutting tools applied for grooving operations can be external or internal. The key difference between grooving and other types of turning operations is the direction of cut. Turning tools such as a regular drill bit can be used in several directions while the grooving tools are typically used to cut in only one direction. As a result, grooving is considered a type of single point machining operation. The only exception is relief grooving; it can be performed at forty five degrees. Relief grooving is also known as necking. The grooving tools are also called grooving inserts.
Both slot and groove are the narrow cavity that is cut onto the surface of a work piece. They may sometimes be referred interchangeably, but they are distinguishable from each other. To begin with, a groove is usually blind but a slot can be through. Grooves are normally created on the surface of round work pieces while slots are cut on rectangular or square work pieces. A groove has a cylindrical cutout but a slot has is a flat with straight edges. A slot stretches through the axis of the work piece but a groove usually does not pass through the axis of the work pieces.
Facing grooving refers to the grooving operation that creates an axial groove on the surface of a work piece. The choice of grooving tools is extra important because the chip evacuation may be a concern during the process. Face grooving can be done internally or externally to the work piece. The internal grooving refers to the operation that creates grooves on the inner surface of a work piece and the external grooving cuts grooves on the outer surface of a work piece. Chips are the tiny shreds that are removed from the work piece. Since the groove is curved, the chips may not be evacuated efficiently. When the jamming of chips takes place, it can lead to unwanted damage or excessive wear out of the grooving tools. This issue is even more of a concern when it comes to internal grooving.
When creating internal grooves inside a work piece, the chip jamming is more likely to occur comparing to external grooving. If the chips are not evacuated efficiently during the operation, there is a chance the tool breaks apart. The chip jamming happens more easily when grooving in small diameters. Besides chip jamming, another common concern that issues here is the vibration. The level of vibration has to do with how deep the tool advances into the work piece. With larger tool holder, the vibration can be reduced. The best internal grooving is carried out when the vibration is minimized and chip evacuation is optimized.
During an external grooving operation, the chip evacuation is less of a concern since the chips fall naturally away as the work piece rotates. In addition, it is easier to cut wider grooves on the external surface of a work piece than it is on the internal surface. However, the chip evacuation and vibration can be a problem to external grooving as well when a deeper groove is to be machined. When choosing the grooving tools for external grooving and internal grooving, there are some factors that should be put into consideration.
The cutting diameter, cutting depth and cutting widths of the grooving tools are crucial. The first factor is the diameter range of the grooving tools. It is recommended to choose the tool with largest diameter that fits the groove. Grooving tools with larger diameter are more rigid and stable. They give a better chip control as well. The cutting depth of the insert should be as short as possible so that the overhang and vibration can be minimized. As for the insert width, it is better to use the widest insert and tool as well. The reason is that, the wider the tool is, the more stable and stiffer it is.
Besides the diameter, depth and width, the hand and the curve of the tool are also important. The curve of the grooving tool should be chosen based on the operation the tool is involved. Based on the setup of the grooving machine, the tool may be right handed tools or left handed. The right handed tool is used when the machine rotates in the counter clockwise direction, and left handed tool is used when the spindle rotates in clockwise direction.
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