Primary Operations

Which of the following best describes the bulk of your metalworking operations?

 
 
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Grinding or Light Duty Machining

Grinding is an abrasive machining process that uses a grinding wheel as the cutting tool.

A wide variety of machines are used for grinding:

 
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Medium to Heavy Duty Machining

New Guinea in 1943. Mobile machine shop truck of the US Army with machinists working on automotive parts

Machining is any of various processes in which a piece of raw material is cut into a desired final shape and size by a controlled material-removal process. The processes that have this common theme, controlled material removal, are today collectively known as subtractive manufacturing,[1] in distinction from processes of controlled material addition, which are known as additive manufacturing. Exactly what the "controlled" part of the definition implies can vary, but it almost always implies the use of machine tools (in addition to just power tools and hand tools).

 
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Extreme Duty Machining, Broaching, Or Tapping

Taps and dies are tools used to create screw threads, which is called threading. Many are cutting tools; others are forming tools. A tap is used to cut or form the female portion of the mating pair (e.g. a nut). A die is used to cut or form the male portion of the mating pair (e.g. a bolt). The process of cutting or forming threads using a tap is called tapping, whereas the process using a die is called threading.

Both tools can be used to clean up a thread, which is called chasing. However, using an ordinary tap or die to clean threads will generally result in the removal of some material, which will result in looser and weaker threads. Because of this, threads are typically cleaned using special taps and dies made for this purpose, which are known as chasers. Chasers are made of softer materials and are not capable of cutting new threads, however they are still tighter fitting than actual fasteners and are fluted like regular taps and dies (to provide a means for debris like dirt and rust to escape). One particularly common use is for automotive spark plug threads, which often suffer from corrosion and a buildup of carbon.