Special Operations


    The Versa-Mil mounted on the compound rest of a lathe will duplicate the full range of tool and cutter grinding offered by conventional tool grinders. For successful results, the lathe should be in excellent operating condition and preferably small in size to permit the close setting of feeds and angles. Versa-Mil spindles use precision, spring-loaded duplex bearings to eliminate play in the grinding wheel for successful tool grinding. The Versa-Mil tool rest is solidly constructed to provide rigid support with a tip that is designed for smooth, solid contact under the teeth or flutes of the tool being ground. The operator familiar with tool grinding and

the use of the Versa-Mil soon develops methods for grinding the various types and forms of cutters. Tool grinding cannot be completely covered in this manual, and it is suggested that reference material covering tool grinding be consulted for complete detailed instructions.

Selection of Grinding Wheels

   Grinding wheels should be in the medium grit range for tool and cutter grinding. The shape of the cutting tool will determine which wheel design to use. Abrasive manufacturers' catalogs should be referred to for proper wheel selection.

Depth of Cut

    Light traversed cuts should be used to avoid overheating and burning the cutting edge of the tool. Dry grinding is recommended for sharpening high speed steel because coolant removes heat from the cutting edge too quickly causing cracking.

Direction of Wheel Rotation

    It is generally safer to have the wheel rotate off and away from the tool cutting edge. This allows the tooth rest to position the tooth and prevent the cutter from turning. This method, however, has some drawbacks, in that the heat from grinding is directed toward the tool cutting edge and leaves a burr which must be removed with an oil stone.


    The efficiency of a cutter is determined by the sharpness of its cutting edge. Therefore, it is important to sharpen a cutter at the first sign of dullness. A dull cutter not only produces a poorly finished surface, but if used continuously, the cutter will need excessive sharpening to restore it to its original efficiency.

   Certain types of cutting tools, such as reamers and plain milling cutters, are ground cylindrically to remove warpage from heat treating, to remove nicks, to obtain a specific diameter, or to produce a cutting edge with a slight clearance. When grinding tools or cutters, the work rotates in the opposite direction from that used in conventional grinding. This allows movement in the same direction at the point of contact. Mount the cutter so that the heel of the tooth makes contact with the grinding wheel first, allowing the heel of the tooth to be ground slightly lower than the cutting edge. This clearance will vary slightly depending on the rigidity of the tool being ground and the job setup. The tool to be ground can be held in one of three ways: between centers, on a mandrel, or on a short arbor mounted in the lathe headstock spindle. There are actually two methods of sharpening the cutting edges of individual teeth or flutes found on cutters.

Down Method

    In this method, the rotation of the wheel is from the body of the tooth off and away from the cutting edge. The direction of wheel rotation holds the cutter on the tooth but will raise a burr on the cutting edge, which must be removed by stoning. This method has a tendency to draw temper from the metal. See Figure 5-43.


Figure 5-43. Down method.

Up Method

    In this method, the wheel rotation is from the cutting edge towards the body of the tooth. With this method, there is less danger of burning the tooth. However, the operator must ensure that the cutter is held firmly against the tool rest. If the cutter turns during grinding, the cutter will be ruined.


Figure 5-44. Up method.

Cutting Tool Clearance

    Correct clearance on the cutting edge of any tool is essential for heat distribution, resistance to wear, and cutting efficiency. Not enough clearance will cause the teeth on the cutter to drag, producing heat caused by friction, and slow cutting. Too much clearance produces chatter and dulls the teeth rapidly. Primary clearance angles are determined by the type of material the cutter wil1 be used on. Secondary clearance angles are usually 3° to 5° more than primary clearance angles. This produces a strong tooth that provides easy control over the width of the cutting land. The width of the land depends on the diameter of the cutter and varies between 1/64 inch to 1/16 inch. When the width of the land becomes too wide after several sharpening, the secondary clearance angle must be ground to restore the land to its original width.

  Clearance angles are produced by positioning the wheel, cutter, and tooth rest in different locations. When using the Versa-Mil, it is easier to reposition the wheel by raising or lowering the basic unit. To determine the distance in thousands of an inch, multiply the desired clearance angle by the diameter of the cutter times the constant 0.0088. The constant 0.0088 is the decimal equivalent of the distance moved 10 on the circumference of a l-inch-diameter circle.

EXAMPLE: Using the following formula clearance angle x cutter diameter x 0.0088, a clearance angle of 7° on a 11/2-inch-diameter cutter would be 7 x 1.5 x 0.0088, or a movement of 0.0924 of an inch.

Grinding Form Cutters

    Formed or eccentricity relieved cutters (such as gear cutters) and concave and convex cutters cannot be sharpened in the same manner as profile cutters. Form cutters have a definite shape that must be retained, even after several sharpening. To retain this shape, only the face of the cutter is ground. Increasing or decreasing the rake on these cutters alters the final shape of the cutter, so care must be taken to ensure that the rake remains at the original angle. The indexing head may be used to assure even spacing of the teeth faces.


Figurer 5-45. Grinding form cutters.


    The Versa-Mil with the universal head will enable a lathe to mill threads to full depth and complete profile in a single pass (Figure 5-46). Milling threads saves time and reduces the chance for error over single pointing. USS threads may be cut with standard 60° included angle cutters.

   Acme and special form threads are cut with cutters designed for the pitch diameter required. The Versa-Mil will cut internal, external, right-handed, or left-handed threads. Square threads can be cut with an end mill mounted in either the basic or the milling and drilling head.


Figure 5-46. Thread millng.

Lathe Preparation

  Thread milling speeds and feeds are approximately the same as those used for keyway millillg and slotting. The lathe spindle speeds needed for thread milling are generally lower than those available on standard lathes. It is usually necessary to use a reduction unit mounted to the lathe to obtain the required lathe spindle speed. Large diameter workplaces may require speeds as low as 1/2 or 1/3 RPM. Other than lathe spindle reduction, no other modification of the lathe is needed for thread milling. The quick change gearbox and lead screw are set the same as for single point threading. The indexing head may be mounted to the lathe and used to rotate the lathe spindle when a reduction unit is not available.

Mounting the Versa-Mil

   Even though the cutter is at or below the centerline of the work when the basic unit is mounted on the compound rest, it is advisable to mount the unit directly to the cross slide for rigidity.

Supporting the Work

    Work of sufficient diameter and rigidity may be supported easily between centers. For long or small diameter work, a steady rest or follower should be used to prevent the work from bending away from the cutter thereby reducing the depth of cut

Depth of Cut

    For external threads, the cutter is fed into the work with the cross feed lead screw. For internal threads, the cutter is fed into the work with the basic unit lead screw. Because thread milling with the Versa-Mil is a one-pass operation, total depth of cut is calculated and set before cutting the thread.

Cutter Rotation

   Consideration should be taken when mounting the cutter and selecting the spindle rotation. Conventional milling should be used to put pressure downward onto the carriage. A key may have to be inserted in the arbor to prevent the cutter from loosening the spindle nut.

Accessibility to Work

    Because the universal head spindle may be operated in either direction and mounted on either side of the basic unit, threads may be milled at either end of the work and very close to shoulders and flanges.

Helix Angles

    The graduations on the basic unit faceplate and the mounting plate of the universal head are used to set the approximate helix angle. Refer to the Versa-Mil operator's manual for helix angles of different threads.

Thread Milling Cutters

   Cutters as small as 2 3/4-inches in diameter may be used with the universal head for external thread milling. The cutter diameter for internal threads is governed by the internal diameter of the work. Standard 60° included angle cutters may be modified for use for American Standard Threads by grinding a flat on the point. The width of the flat equals 1/8 the thread pitch and must have relief clearance the same as other cutting tools.

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