Machine tools have been relied upon for centuries, and many of those that were initially created long ago are still in use, albeit with some updates. Machine tools are essentially shaping tools. They are used not only to shape metal, but other types of rigid materials. What this means is that, as strong and durable as most machining tools are, they can potentially sustain some damage or erosion. Machining tools must be kept in the best possible shape, as a damaged machining tool can result in poorly shaped products. Nonetheless, the damage sustained by some of these tools is not always immediately apparent. This is why many machining professionals work with machining services in order to keep their tools as up to date as possible.
Fortunately, machine shop services are readily available, and therefore qualified machining professionals can have their tools repaired when necessary. When machining tools are not regularly repaired or refinished, the machinist may have to replace them eventually. The financial impact of replacing a set of tools, versus repairing them, is not small; this is why it’s important for machinists to not only take advantage of machining services, but to keep an eye on the conditions of their tools. Specific signs can let machinists know that it’s time to take advantage of machine tool services. Let’s explore them below.
1. Product Inconsistencies
Ideally, a machinist will notice the issues with a tool before creating a product that is less than perfect. However, this isn’t always the case, and a faulty can product can be an indication of issues with the tool itself. Many machinists may assume at first that a user error was the problem. This could lead to more faulty products being made before the actual problem is determined. Therefore, machinists should first examine the products they’re creating before assuming that the problem has to do with the technique versus the quality of the tool.
2. Strange Noises
This may seem obvious; however, many would be surprised to know how often odd noises are initially dismissed by machinists. Even one strange noise could be a sign of a serious problem with a machining tool. The simpler the tool, the more likely it is that the noise could be indicative of a real problem. While experienced machinists can usually recognize a significant issue fairly easily, if the noise continues to occur it’s important to visit a machining services shop. Machinists are experts in using the tools, but machining services shops host experts in repairing and rebuilding tools. While machine shop repair costs can vary, if a tool is inspected prematurely and lacks significant issues, the costs will be worth the peace of mind and knowledge that the tools are being properly cared for.
3. Faulty Prior Practices
Whether a machinist themselves unknowingly used the wrong techniques when using or caring for their tools, or simply received tools secondhand, a history of faulty practice is definitely a cause for concern. Proper maintenance and care is certainly key to ensuring that your tools last for the long term. For example, if tools have not been stored in dry conditions, they could very well be more susceptible to serious damage. If you’ve been cleaning your tools with high pressure air, you should immediately stop. The issue with high pressure air cleanings is that they can actually cause damage and erosion to the tools, making them less durable. Tools can also be bettered maintained if they are properly lubricated during use. This will ensure that tools with parts that rub together do not weaken. In this same sense, tools need to be wiped down and cleaned after use. The fact is that if these steps are not taken in advance, the tools will degrade more quickly. Therefore, if you feel that you haven’t been properly caring for your tools or received them secondhand, you should have them inspected at a repair shop to be safe.
There are many ways in which machining tools can be damaged over time, simply because they sustain a lot of stress during the machining process. However, if these tools are cared for by their owners and are inspected regularly at a good repair shop, they can last for the long term.