Certain materials and design features are more prone to the creation of burrs, especially ductile materials, intersections of machined features, and sometimes threads.

Can you really afford to remove these by hand from 50,000 parts produced?

Burrs are unwanted raised material remaining on a machined part as a result of prior manufacturing operations.

Burr removal is important because burrs can:

  • Prevent proper assembly of components;
  • Create a safety hazard (Cuts) for employees handling the parts;
  • Interfere with or prevent proper functionality  of parts after assembly;
  • Contaminate systems when they break off after assembly and in use.
PMPA member Vectron Deburring uses thermal or electrochemical processes to assure burr removal.

Thermal deburring is a batch process involving very intense heat in very short durations. It’s like being inside an explosion.

Electrochemical deburring applies an electrical current to the areas where the burrs are located. The current carried by the electrolyte actually dissolves the burr material. This process can actually create a controlled radius on the workpiece by its action.

At 5:45 P.M. on February 7, a  PMPA member posted a question about how to to get rid of burrs on the threads of his 304 stainless parts on PMPA’s members only Quality Listserve.

By 8:00 A.M. on February 8th, he had received 4 responses from companies located in three states and one province in Canada- all naming Vectron Deburring as their preferred source.

The pictures we’ve included above show why.

Vectron Deburring deburrs.

PMPA Listserves- Quality, Manufacturing and Technical, Corporate, Human Resources and others- connect members with solutions to problems and tools they can use.

Vectron loves to deburr.

PMPA would love to connect you with the answers that you need to stay sustainable and successful.

The mechanical  properties of 17-4 PH  must be fully developed by age hardening from Condition A in order to reduce risk of failure and to take full advantage of the material’s capabilities.

Dodge Viper Throttles made by Bouchillon feature 17-4 PH shafts

17-4 PH  is a martensitic precipitation hardening (age hardening) stainless steel that can provide both high strength and excellent corrosion resistance.

In the annealed (solution treated condition- Condition A) the density of this material is 0.280 lb/in^3.

H 900 density is 0.282 lb/in^3.

H 1075 density is 0.283 lb/in^3.

H 1150 density is 0.284 lb/in^3.

These changes in density values show that this alloy undergoes a volume contraction when it is hardened. This volume contraction is predictable and must be taken into account if you are trying to hold close tolerances.

The contraction factor for the change from Condition A  to Condition H 900 ranges from 0.0004 to 0.0006 in/in or (mm/mm).

Hardening  from Condition A to Condition H 1150  contracts in the range of approximately 0.0009 to 0.0012 in/ in or (mm/mm).

Here are three reasons to NOT use 17-4 PH  in the Condition A  state:

  • The structure is untempered martensite. This means low fracture toughness.
  • The structure is untempered martensite. This means low ductility.
  • Without age hardening, this material is more susceptible to stress corrosion cracking.

17-4 PH  martensitic stainless steel can achieve high strength and superior corrosion resistance when precipitation hardened from Condition A to one of the Condition H tempers. It is used in many high performance applications made by our industry including valve parts for oilfield and chemical plant use; Fittings for aerospace and aircraft use; Jet engine componentry; Fasteners; Shafts for pumps; Dodge Viper carburetors! Many others.

In applications where high performance is mandatory, it is also mandatory to follow needed thermal treatment practices to assure the development of the full range of material properties that the material can provide.

For the savvy machinist, that also means understanding the pootential effect of that thermal treatment on final size due to dimensional contraction when hardened.

Thanks to Bouchillon for the throttle photo.

Material on Dimensional Contraction was taken from Schmolz + Bickenbach 17-4 Datasheet.

Density and European Equivalency data from  Rolled Alloys data sheet.

European designation note: Officially 17-4 PH is designated as UNS S17400. It is the US available nominal equivalent to DIN 1.4548, X5CrNiCuNb 17-4-4

No training at all!

The money saved by not training won’t begin to cover the direct and indirect costs of failing to train, let alone actual damages, consequential damages, potential liability, and possible loss of customers or even the business itself.

What is your training budget this year?

How does it compare to your cost of claims last year?

Your cost of expedited shipping?

Photo courtesy FlightGlobal

Authoritative. Comprehensive. Invaluable. Practical. Updated.


29th Edition of Machinery's Handbook now available.

I have relied on my 20th Edition copy since I entered the metalworking industry as a supervisor in the early 1980’s. It has served me well through the years, and while respectfully used, is showing evidence of ‘serious use’- missing thumb tabs, dust jacket in tatters, a host of bookmarks…

Here are 5 reasons why I’ll probably upgrade to the new 29th Edition:

  • New sections added on Micromachining, Statistics, and Calculating Thread Dimensions;
  • Expanded Metric content. The jobs we see in our shops today are increasingly metric as we serve a growing global market;
  • Easier to use- they have added tables of contents at the beginning of each section;
  • Extensive revisions to key sections including Mathematics, Gaging and  Dimensioning,  and Machining Operations
  • It has been re-typeset (including tables and equations) and many figures redrawn.

Now the problem for me is choice: Do I get the ‘regular edition’ to replace augment my current 20th edition handbook? Do I jump into the electronic age with the CD version? Or do I acknowledge I no longer have the eyes of a younger man and buy the “larger print” edition?

It’s time for me to buy. My investment in the 20th Edition sure paid off. How about you?

Which  would you  choose? What other books have you found critical to your practice in our precision metalworking field?

Machinery’s Handbook 29th Edition can be purchased direct from Industrial Press.

The FMCSA has posted an FAQ page about the ban on hand held cellular phones by commercial motor vehicle  (CMV) drivers.

Multitasking is against the law.

When you are at the wheel, driving safely should be your only focus.”

Here are some highlights:

Are holders of a commercial driver’s license (CDL) subject to the regulation only when driving a CMV, as defined in 49 CFR 383.5, or any vehicle?

CDL holders are subject to the Federal rule only when driving a CMV.

What is required of the employer in terms of company policy or training?

The rule does not require motor carriers to establish written policies in terms of company policy or training programs for their drivers.   However, employers are prohibited from allowing or requiring their drivers to use hand-held mobile phones.  A motor carrier may establish policies or practices that make it clear that the employer does not require or allow hand-held mobile telephone use while driving a CMV in interstate commerce.   The carrier is responsible for its drivers’ conduct.

“In the minutes before the 5:14 a.m. crash, the driver made three phone calls, the last one at 5:14.”

Is dialing a phone number allowed under this rule?

No. Dialing a mobile telephone while operating a CMV in interstate commerce is prohibited by the rule.  A driver can initiate, answer, or terminate a call by touching a single button on a mobile telephone, earpiece, steering wheel, or instrument panel – comparable to using vehicle controls or instrument panel functions, such as the radio or climate control system.

Can a driver reach for a mobile telephone even if he/she intends to use the hands-free function?

No. In order to comply with this rule, a driver must have his or her mobile telephone located where the driver is able to initiate, answer, or terminate a call by touching a single button while the driver is in the seated driving position and properly restrained by a seat belt.  If the mobile telephone is not close to the driver and operable while the driver is restrained by properly installed and adjusted seat belts, then the driver is considered to be reaching for the mobile phone, which is prohibited by the rule.

For all the FAQ’s click FMCSA_FAQ

Here is the  Mobile Phone Ban final rule (PDF)

11 People Killed Truck Crash Photo

In order to machine precision parts, you need to first hold the workpiece securely, accurately and precisely. 5C collets do just that.

5C collets are the result of 100 years of continuous improvement.

Work can be held using methods other than collets- 3 and 4 jaw chucks come to mind, as well as vises-  but for continuous high volume work with barstock, collets are ideal.

Here are 7 reasons Somma Tool says 5C collets are cool:

  • Collets are easier (and faster!) to set up than chucks.
  • Collets are more concentric. With chucks, tolerances stack up degrading concentricity.
  • Collets more affordably provide higher precision.
  • Collets more affordably provide higher accuracy.
  • Collets provide high holding force. As the collet is pulled axially into the bushing, the tapered sides compress radially generating static friction (holding force).
  • Collets are versatile- they can be made to hold over capacity stock; they can have steps built in; come in extra long sizes as well as have internal stops.
  • Emergency collets are available that can be custom bored to your exact need.

Hardinge invented the 5C collet back in 1901. It became a preferred choice for precision workholding in lathes, mills and grinders. Exacting standards, special alloy steel, heat treatment and spring tempering combine to assure accuracy and durability at low cost. The 5C collet became an industry standard. 5C collets range from 0.5 mm (thats 0.0196″ ) capacity to 1-1/16″  round; 5C collets hold up to 3/4″ square and and 29/32″ hex.

PMPA member Somma Tool sells 5C collets from Hardinge.

Thanks to Matt at Somma and Tom at Hardinge  for teaching this ‘steel guy’  7 reasons why 5C collets are cool.

Here’s what the precision machinists back in the day at Veste Coburg put together for when their cupids went hunting.

If cupid had a muzzleloader...

We encountered this muzzleloading longarm at Veste Coburg a splendidly grand castle in Germany on our visit last year. Veste Coburg was known as the Frankische Krone (Franconian Crown) and in its day hosted Martin Luther as well as the husband of Queen Victoria- Albert of Saxe- Gotha.

I probably took a thousand photos there. Many in the museum’s castle’s armory. It is an exquisite collection.

No word on how accurate this longarm was, but as you can see from my photo, its a pretty piece of metalworking. This photo is proof that the metalsmiths at Veste Coburg knew how to put their “heart” in their work.

And that is our Precision Machining Valentine message to you.

Shot Through the Heart is not You Give Love a Bad Name– but this just might be the “loaded gun” of the Bob Jovi Song?

The NRC concluded mandatory hearings on the request for licenses at the Vogtle site  26 miles southeast of Augusta Georgia. The NRC has approved issuance of combined operating licenses to the Southern Nuclear Operating Company.

Having witnessed all the argument, debate and climategate regarding CO2 emissions and climate change,  as well as the EPA’s recent stand down on the boiler rule, we couldn’t help but think that the environmentalists would be opening sodas and singing Kum By Ya over these new non- fossil fuel, non CO2 emitting, sources of energy.

Maybe its a bit early for the singing...

However, something tells me that it may be a bit early for Kum By Ya- Here are a couple of stickers that we think tells what the environmentalist are thinking:

At least they are polite...
Fukushima is everywhere,.. turn them off now!

We are pleased to see that the NRC’s Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards independently reviewed aspects of the application that concern safety, as well as the draft  of the Staff’s Final Safety Evaluation Report.

We are even more pleased that the reactor design includes passive safety features that would cool down the reactor after an accident without need for electricity or human intervention.

But until our nation has a serious discussion about how to intelligently manage ALL RISKS- and develops a policy to intelligently manage them, we will be subjected to more fear mongering and pseudo-science from all sides.

How do we properly evaluate the risks (and costs) of our continued burn of fossil fuels versus those associated with Nuclear energy?

I’d like your answer to this, what is the proper lens to evaluate the risk rewards of these decisions?


In the precision machining business, nobody sets up their machines based on the quality or price of your barstock. They set up their machines based on your delivery (service).

We don't set them up because of your price.

Ability to provide your product on time and to specification is the true determinant in the real world of execution. Thats why there is a gap between the dream world of  business plans (what we think we can get) and the real world of monthly operating statements (what we got).

The delta (difference) between the two is a failure of some supplier to service (provide what needed as needed as planned.)

  • Quality: Either the quality of the product meets requirements, or else you will get claim/return and won’t get the order (again).
  • Price: You will meet the market price for whatever comparables exist for the same requirements- or else the lowest priced comparable product will be selected.
  • Service is the only differentiator in my experience;

 Therefore it is only your ability to serve the customer with immediate delivery/ provision as needed that is a differentiator.

PS.:  Consumers consider service to be part of the landed cost, and don’t want to pay extra for it. In the industrial sector, service  is a given.

PPS.:  Everything else is Marketing B.S.