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7 Tips for Choosing the Right End Mill for the Job

M&M Sales and Equipment is a cutting tool specialist, offering end mills and other cutting tools and accessories from Sandvik, Guhring, Drillco and other leading brands in West Texas, including Odessa, Lubbock, Amarillo and Ft. Worth. Here’s a guide on end mills, and how to choose the right ones for the job:

It’s no secret that machinists tend to speak their own language — even in something as simple as basic math. The rest of the world starts counting at the number 1. But ask a machinist to explain how they measure, and they’ll tell you that it all begins at one-thousandth of an inch (0.001”).

When we talk about cutting tools, it’s very much the same thing. Machining terminology is not the same to a layman. To the outside world, the terms drill bit and end mill are often used interchangeably, but that can create confusion when referring to the specific tooling required in CNC machines. Industrial CNC (Computer Numeric Control) machines use rotational cutting tools called end mills to remove material.

What are end mills and how do they differ from drill bits? Drill bits plunge vertically into material to create holes while end mills typically cut horizontally and laterally, but most mills can actually cut vertically as well.

Here’s a good visual that shows the difference between a regular drill bit and an end mill:

(Source: Make: Magazine)

Choosing the Right End Mill for Your Job

End mills are designed with purpose and each tip shape offers a unique clearing path for various applications. Deciphering what end mill to choose is largely based on the project, what kind of material needs to be cut and the desired surface finish. Choosing the wrong cutting tool can quickly damage a work piece, causing you to scrap an entire batch. Not only is that a huge waste of time, but also a significant cost to your organization.

Related post: 5 Ways to Reduce Scrap in Your Metal Cutting Operations

There’s a lot to consider when choosing the right end mill for your CNC operation. We’ve pared down a few important tips from Machining News to help you select the right end mill:

  1. End Mill Length
    First, decide the depth your end mill must cut. Choose the shortest length end mill that can still make the cut. The reason? Choosing the shortest length greatly increases the stability of the tool. This will allow for more aggressive feeds and speeds, while reducing the tendency for the tool to chatter.

  2. End Mill Materials
    Two of the most common materials used in the manufacturing of end mills are high speed steel (HSS) and carbide. HSS is useful in older, slower, or less rigid machines as well as one off or very short run production. It will run slower, but is less expensive, less brittle and more forgiving of unstable conditions. Carbide is preferred in CNC machine tools where higher speeds, fewer tooling changes and increased productivity are required. In these applications, the higher cost is easily justified by longer tool life and shorter cycle times.

  3. Flute Count
    Flutes are the helical grooves that wrap around the sides of an end mill. A smaller number of flutes (2-3 flute tools) will offer more flute space for long chipping materials such as aluminum.   A larger number of flutes reduces the flute space, but can offer increased productivity in shorter chipping materials such as medium to high carbon steel and iron. For steel, stainless steel, high temp alloys and iron, a four flute endmill is preferred for slotting applications and can be a great general-purpose tool. Higher flute counts should be reserved for applications with a low radial depth of cut to allow for chip evacuation.

    Note: Proper chip evacuation is important because re-cutting chips will lead to significantly reduced tool life

  4. End Geometry
    Choosing the right end mill geometry is critical to the tool’s success. Paying close attention to the materials that the manufacturer recommends for a given tool can help to ensure your success. Of equal importance are the speeds and feeds the manufacturer recommends for that material.

  5. End Mill Coatings
    Coatings are helpful in reducing friction and protecting the carbide from the heat that is generated in cutting. Some coatings are more suitable for certain materials. Once again, paying attention to the manufacturer’s recommendations is the easiest way to make sure you are using the correct coating.

  6. Tool Life
    Cheaper isn’t better. If you have high production and heavy workloads, it’s critical to invest in the right tooling that can keep up with the volume of work. Choosing inexpensive or inadequate tooling costs time and money on wasted material, scrap, wasted tool spend and added wear and tear on your CNC machines.

Whatever the job, we are proud to carry a wide range of Guhring end mills designed to give you an edge over the competition. If you have questions about selecting the right end mills or other cutting tools for your operation in West Texas, we’re here to help. Just ask your local M&M Sales & Equipment representative or call one of our locations for information on end mills in Odessa, Amarillo, Lubbock, Ft. Worth and surrounding areas.

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How Machine Shops Can Save Money: Is it Time to Recondition Your Tools?

Machine Tool Reconditioning: When It’s Right for Your Shop

If you’re looking to reduce costs and improve efficiency in your facility, machine tool reconditioning may be the cost-effective solution you’ve been looking for. To help you decide if tool reconditioning is right for you, we talked to our friends over at Guhring for more details on the tool reconditioning program available for M&M Sales & Equipment customers. 

What is Machine Tool Reconditioning?

Tool reconditioning and re-sharpening is a process of rejuvenating existing tooling such as carbide drills, reamers, end mills and milling cutters and returning them to a factory cutting edge. As you know, good quality cutting tools are not cheap and tend to wear down over time. The cost of replacing them is often steep, especially for smaller machine shops with tight budgets.

For many high-performance cutting tools, re-sharpening is a viable option for extending tooling life — often at a fraction of the cost associated with buying brand new.

How Does Machine Tool Reconditioning Work?

Manufacturers like Guhring offer reconditioning services on drills, step drills, carbide end mills and reamers on both Guhring tools and competitor tooling. These reconditioning services can bring your cutting tools back to factory quality, condition and performance. Examples of tool modifications that are possible include reconditioning of chamfer, radius, neck relief, shank flats and more.

How does it work?

Your M&M Sales & Equipment representative arrives on-site to assess both your standard and special Carbide and PCD tooling and can identify areas of potential savings. You’ll then discuss whether or not it is more cost-effective to recondition your tools or purchase new ones. Once you decide on your course of action, your sales rep takes care of the rest; including building a quote, sending out your tooling for service, monitoring lead time and ensuring quality upon delivery.

What Should You Look for in a Machine Tool Reconditioning Service?

The truth is, the better the original quality of the tooling, the better the result you’ll achieve from re-sharpening and reconditioning services. Companies hoping to cut costs are surprised when lower quality tools end up costing them much more down the road when they go to recondition or re-sharpen them.  There are often more errors in the original manufacturing of lower quality tooling that make it difficult to recondition them. Far too often, the result is a shorter tool life and higher reconditioning costs.

The solution?

Purchase quality cutting tools from a manufacturer that also offers reconditioning and re-sharpening capability, saving you time and money.

Guhring not only manufacturers cutting tools, but they design and build the equipment that creates them. That means when you send in your tool for servicing, you’re not just sharpening the tool, you’re getting the original point, proper geometries, edge preps, honing and the original coating for a complete reconditioning back to factory specs.

Another thing to consider when reconditioning your cutting tools is traceability. An added benefit of having your tools reconditioned with Guhring is the batch number that is etched on to every order. If you ever encounter a problem with a particular tool, you can trace its origins the same way that you would with a brand-new tool. This helps to not only troubleshoot existing operational defects, but also identify potentially expensive problems in the future.

Related: 4 Ways to Save Money, Extend Tooling Life and Get More from Your Tools

How Do I Know It’s Time to Recondition My Tools?

Other than the clear-cut signs of dulling cutting edges, there are a few things machinists can look for to help them identify when their tooling may be due for reconditioning. Pay attention to these factors:

  • Diminished cutting ability
  • Excessive tool wear
  • Higher machine and spindle loads
  • Equipment run time
  • Signs of different chip formation
  • Longer chip sizes
  • Bird nesting on the drill

When Is Tooling Not Worth Reconditioning?

There are no definitive answers on when tooling isn’t worth reconditioning. Instead, there are several factors to consider including the cost of the tool, the number of tools to be reconditioned, freight charges and more. Ask your sales rep to run a quote on the costs associated with reconditioning your tooling and ask for specific quantity breaks. A good rule of thumb is when you send in more of the same type and brand of tool for reconditioning, it is more cost-effective than sending in just one or two.

Looking for more ways to save?

We have almost 60 years of experience serving the industrial supply needs of machine shops, oil companies and manufacturing facilities throughout Texas. We understand the challenges associated with operating during a difficult economy. That’s why we offer several different services that can help you operate for higher profits and lower costs.

These are just a few of our services that can help you save: 

  1. Recondition and Re-Sharpen Tools
    Revive existing tooling and restore them to original factory quality condition and performance with reconditioning and re-sharpening services available through M&M Sales & Equipment.
  2. Perform a Tool Evaluation
    Spec out the right tools and supplies to minimize scrap and reduce excessive wear on your machines with an onsite tool evaluation.
  3. Perform a Process Evaluation
    Assess your manufacturing processes, identify inefficiencies and areas of waste with an onsite process evaluation.
  4. Assess Operational Costs
    Assess your cost per hour to run equipment, identify output rate per part and approximate your scrap rate to lower your operations costs.

Right now, you’re trying to get the most out of every dollar you spend. We can help. Contact M&M Sales & Equipment to learn more about how we can help you improve operations and increase your profitability. Call one of our four Texas locations today.

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Speeds and Feeds: Identifying the Best Ways to Run Your Cutting Tools

Speeds and Feeds: Identifying the Best Ways to Run Your Cutting Tools

Running your CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machines to make a profit takes some serious consideration on the materials, the cutting tools and the approach you use when running your equipment. Not running your cutting tools in the recommended performance ranges can lead to poor performance and downtime, making it impossible to run at high levels of productivity. Finding the right combination that works for your machine shop’s needs can be challenging.

Fortunately, M&M Sales & Equipment is here to help with four convenient Texas locations in Odessa, Lubbock, Amarillo and Fort Worth. Need answers right now? Call us directly at 800-592-4516 or browse product offerings here.

Related: Best Practices for West Texas Machine Shops: Machine Parts Right the First Time

What Speed Should I Run My Cutting Tools?

Faster is not always better. Neither is running your cutting tool too slow. In fact, it’s a dance that depends on several variables if you want to get good results like extended tool life, optimum machining time and excellent surface finish. Running a cutting tool too fast can result in tool breakage. Too slow, and it can result in excessive heat and premature cutting edge failure. Other effects that can occur when operating outside of recommended ranges can include build-up edge, cratering, edge wear, chipping, and inferior surface finish.

So how do you calculate your feeds and speeds?

We came across a survey performed by CNC Cookbook that asked readers, “How do you calculate your feeds and speeds?” These were the top responses:

  • Feeds & Speeds Calculator
  • Standard Cuts or Rule of Thumb
  • Tooling Catalog
  • By Sound or Feel
  • CAM Software
  • Spreadsheet
  • Machinery Handbook

For the most accurate answers to your cutting tool’s capabilities, your best bet is to check with the manufacturer’s recommendations. There you can learn more about the proper feeds and speeds to run cutting tools like milling cutters. To help you on your way, we’ve gathered the following best practices from a great article over at Modern Machine Shop:

Tips on Determining the Best Cutting Speeds for Your Machine’s Performance

First and foremost, you need to identify and understand the material to be cut, otherwise known as your workpiece. Steel, cast iron, aluminum, stainless steel, titanium and high temperature alloys all have different properties which impact the efficiency and accuracy of the cutting tools you use. These are referred to as machinability ratings and are expressed by a percentage as defined by the American Iron and Steel Institute.

Cutting Tools
Choosing the right cutting tool is dependent on knowing the material of the workpiece. With regards to milling cutters, face mills, end mills, drills and other cutting tools they all have certain criteria they must follow to ensure optimum performance. The tool’s diameter, the arrangement of cutting inserts, the material removal rate, and the depth and width of the required cut all play a major role in how well your workpiece is machined.

Cutting Speed
Speed rates are also called surface speeds and are measured in Surface Feet per Minute (sfm). This measures how fast a tooth, otherwise known as a flute, will move as it cuts through material. Cutting speeds is the speed difference between the cutting tool and the surface of the workpiece it is cutting. Smaller diameter cutters generally require higher revolutions per minute (rpm) and larger cutters need less rpm to propel the cutting edges at their desired sfm.

Pro Tip: Our friends over at Sandvik Coromant have a great Cutting Speed Calculator that can help you specify the cutting speeds and feeds for your application. Check out the Cutting Speed Calculator here!

Feed Rates
Feed rates are the relative velocity at which the cutter is advanced along the workpiece. In other words, it is the rate the cutter enters into the workpiece. Chip loads are an impact factor to consider here because the better chip removal, the less wear on the cutter and the better result on the workpiece. For example, face mills can often take heavier chip loads than end mills in the same application.

Insert Arrangement
Along with choosing the cutter that can provide optimum feed rates, you should consider how the cutting inserts are arranged. How many effective inserts are in the cutter? How are they arranged? The way these inserts are arranged can have a tremendous impact on feed rates, the required horsepower, and material removal rates.

Remember these are just guidelines; refer to the cutting tool manufacturer for specific formulas and calculations. Often it comes down to trial and error and simply getting to know your machine, your material, and your desired result. However, by following some best practices and becoming more familiar with your cutting tools, you can start seeing better results and better profits.

M&M Sales & Equipment is your cutting tool specialist and has been since 1962. If you need help finding the right cutting tools like milling cutters, end mills, and inserts, we have you covered. Or, if you’re looking for shop supplies, safety equipment, or other tooling needs, we’ve got that, too. Reach us at 800-592-4516 or stop into one of our four convenient Texas locations.

How do you calculate the speeds you need to run your cutting tools? We want to hear from you. Share your thoughts or reach out to us directly.

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4 Ways to Save Money, Extend Tooling Life and Get More from Your Tools

4 Ways to Save Money, Extend Tooling Life and Get More from Your Tools

Machine shops around the country are competing to take your business. So, what can you do to gain a competitive edge?

Your company’s profitability is directly related to its level of productivity and efficiency. While much of that is dependent on the efficacy of your employees and your processes, it’s important to remember that in the world of manufacturing, a worker is only as good as his or her tools. An idle machine becomes overhead when tooling components must be changed out due to early wear and tear or damage to the equipment itself.

Whether the tools of the trade include power tools, lathes or CNC machines, their effectiveness depends on proper usage and regular maintenance of cutting tools such as end mills, annular cutters and saw blades. If you’re experiencing premature tool failure, we have some tips on how you can save money by getting the most out of your tooling and machinery.

Related: The Guide to Choosing the Right Saw Blades for Optimum Productivity.

1. Maintain Your Tools and Equipment Regularly

Don’t wait until your tools require servicing to make repairs. Similarly, don’t rely on your advanced tooling to remind you to perform routine maintenance. Doing so leads to unnecessary downtime that can cost your company thousands, and oftentimes the servicing is performed too late. Instead, create a maintenance schedule that outlines change-out schedules, lubrication schedules or replacement timelines. Be sure to document these activities so that all employees, regardless of shift, know exactly where each tool or machine is on their maintenance schedule requirements. Additionally, these documents can identify recurrent machine failures or needs, helping you improve future machine and tooling reliability.
Check out these tips from industry leading cutting tools suppliers on getting more out of your cutting tools.

a. Stop band saw blade breakage
New band saw blades have razor sharp tooth tips. To withstand the cutting pressures used in band sawing and avoid microscopic damage, the tooth tip must be honed to a micro-fine radius. To avoid blade failure and get the most out of your new band saw blade, follow these blade break-in tips from Lenox Tools:

  • Choose the proper band speed for material to be cut
  • Reduce the feed rate/force control to 20-50% of normal cutting rate
  • Begin the first cut, and once teeth form a chip you can slightly increase feed rate
  • Make gradual increases in feed rate/force until normal cutting rate is established
  • If chatter or vibration occur, make slight adjustments
  • Once blade is broken in, feel free to use recommended band speed

b. Use tool reconditioning services
For getting more life out of your standard and special Carbide and PCD tooling, Guhring has an entire Reconditioning Division committed to bringing your cutting tools back to factory quality, condition and performance. They offer reconditioning services for drills, step drills, carbide end mills and reamers on both Guhring tools and competitor tooling.

c. Take advantage of cutter remanufacturer programs
The Slugger Cutter Remanufacturing Program through FEIN allows annular cutters to be sharpened up to 6 times (excludes Carbide cutters). Getting reground on the same CNC machines they were manufactured on ensures they are just as true and just as sharp as the day they were made. They also offer recoating services at an additional cost.

If you’re interested in saving money and want information on programs like these, reach out to your local M&M Sales & Equipment rep or call 800-592-4516.

2. Get Organized

One of the fastest ways to damage or lose frequently used tools and tooling components is by failing to return them to their proper place when not in use. How often have you heard the complaint, “I can’t find the grinding wheels” or “Has anyone ordered new drill bits? I’m all out.

Organizational problems like these are so common in industrial facilities that an entire lean management strategy has been developed to cut down on the time employees spend searching for items. 5S is a lean management process that increases productivity and transforms workplaces from one of disorder and clutter to one that is organized and efficient. The 5S methodology includes Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain. Set in Order is one of the 5S’s designated for organization. Some methods of Set in Order are simple and straightforward like labeling bins, shadow boards and peg boards for power tools, cutting tools, and accessories like grinding wheels and drill bits.

Other methods require a more strategic approach, such as industrial vending machines. Whatever method you choose, you can greatly reduce lost production time due to lost, missing or damaged tools. Another advantage to better organization is that you can keep a closer eye on the replacement parts you need to repair or service your tools and equipment.

3. Train Employees Regularly

Every facility has its own unique roadmap to optimum production, one that is guided by the CNC machinery and tooling needed to do the job. Cycle time, metal removal rates and material costs are just a few of the considerations that vary from one shop to another. That’s why it’s critical to train both new hires and veteran workers on your machines and your policies. Pay attention to areas that employees are struggling with, as well as recurrent tooling issues. Then, devise specialized training on those procedures. By educating your staff on the processes specific to your shop, you can help them do their jobs safer and more efficiently, while cutting down on unnecessary wear and tear on your equipment.

4. Say Goodbye to Outdated Tools and Machinery

As difficult as it may feel, retiring old and inefficient tooling and equipment is essential to your productivity and profitability. Regularly assess the performance and reliability of your equipment and tooling. Old or obsolete equipment should be swapped out for advanced versions that are more accurate, faster and more reliable, ultimately providing faster payback on your investment.

Related: What’s Machine Downtime Really Costing You?

By following these tips, you can not only get more life out of your tooling and equipment, but also increase production. According to an article in American Machinist, businesses spend about 80% of their time reacting to maintenance issues instead of preventing them. Consistently monitoring tooling and equipment usage, as well as keeping regular maintenance schedules can reduce unplanned downtime and lead to longer tool life. Which, as we all know, means bigger profit and less wasteful spending.

We’re always on the lookout for ways you can improve operations and increase your profitability. From cutting tools, abrasives and cutting fluid to safety and MRO supplies, we are your full line distributor. If you have questions on how M&M Sales & Equipment can help you, please call one of our four Texas locations.

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Sandvik Coromant Spotlight: How to Get the Best Machining Result with Milling Cutters and Tools

Sandvik Coromant Spotlight: How to Get the Best Machining Result with Milling Cutters and Tools

Everything these days seems to be moving at lightning speed, with many folks thinking the quicker the better. From procurement to delivery, we want it done, and we want it done yesterday. However, when it comes to machining applications, these speed and feed rates can make or break the reliability of your milling cutters and cause damage to your expensive machines. Some of the top things to consider in tough and demanding milling operations are heat, vibration, stability, functionality and adequate metal and chip removal rates, as well as good process security.

That’s why it’s critical that you understand the fundamentals of the cutting tools and equipment you use daily. Without the right milling cutters, cutter bodies and cutting tool technology, those high speeds can not only slow or stop your shop’s productivity, but also eat away at your profits.

Fortunately, our partnership with the industry’s most innovative manufacturer in tooling technology, Sandvik Coromant, has provided us with helpful advice and tips to help you get the most out of your machining operation. Need answers right now? Call us directly at 800-592-4516.

Let’s begin by explaining the 7 basic features of your milling cutters:

The Shank is the cylindrical shaped part of the tool that is used to hold and locate it in the tool holder. It can be round and held by friction or held in place with a set screw.

The Flute of a milling bit are the deep helical grooves running up the cutter.

The Tooth is the sharp blade along the edge of the flute that cuts the material. The flute, with the help of the rotation of the cutter itself, helps to expel the material up and away from the cutting surface.

The Helix Angle describes the flutes of a milling cutter. Usually flutes are helical to allow gradual entry into the workpiece. If flutes were straight, they would enter the workpiece at the same time, causing vibration and potential damage. Tighter helix angles with higher rake angles often provide a better finish.

The Milling Cutter Materials are often high-speed steel (HSS) or carbide. As a rule of thumb, softer materials can be machined with HSS and harder materials require carbide. But note that while HSS is less expensive than carbide, it does wear out faster, requiring more frequent changeouts.

Coatings are helpful in improving the hardness of a cutting edge and to reduce friction on materials that have low thermal conductivity, or are unable to control heat-build up on both the milling cutter and the work piece.

The Tool Life of your milling cutter is critical. If you have high production and heavy workloads, it’s critical to invest in the right tooling that can keep up with the volume of work. Choosing inexpensive or inadequate tooling costs time and money on wasted material, scrap, wasted tool spend and added wear and tear on your machines.

It’s not enough to just choose the right milling cutter for the job. You also need to understand how the milling cutter, the workpiece, and the machine all work together to get the best machining results.

Understanding the ABCs of Milling Cutters and Milling Operations

The following is from Sandvik Coromant:

A. The Milling Cutter
Milling isn’t a one-size-fits-all operation. Milling cutters cover a wide range of traditional operations that remove metal from workpieces, but milling cutters can be also be used in alternative ways to produce holes, threads, cavities or pocketing. The features to be milled require careful consideration as milling cutters come in many shapes, sizes, coatings and cutting surfaces. Does the milling depth require extended tooling or does the feature to be milled contain interruptions or inclusions? These are common questions you should ask yourself.

B. The Workpiece
Consider the workpiece and its machinability. The size part to be milled is limited by the machine’s capabilities and depth of cut required. Additionally, the material’s characteristics will determine the overall functionality. Characteristics like hardness, thickness, rigidity, chemical resistance, heat treatability and thermal stability all play a critical role, so special attention must be paid to choosing dedicated tooling and milling strategies.

C. The Machine
The milling method you choose will impact the type of machine you need. Typically, there are two configurations, vertical milling machines and horizontal milling machines. There are multitasking machines (MTM) that can handle a variety of operations including milling and lathing, but there are limitations. Choosing the right machine for the job will save you money on equipment repair and replacement, as well as saving on scrap costs.

Related: Improve Your Machine Shop’s Burden Rate

We’ve been partnering with Sandvik Coromant in Odessa, Lubbock, Amarillo and Fort Worth, Texas, for years. M&M Sales & Equipment proudly offers the entire line of Sandvik Coromant Milling Tools, including: 

  • Shoulder Milling Tools
  • End Milling Tools
  • Face Milling Tools
  • Profile Milling Tools
  • Disc Milling Tools
  • Groove Milling Tools
  • Thread Milling Tools
  • Chamfer Milling Tools

M&M Sales & Equipment is your cutting tool specialist and we’re proud to be a Gold Tier Sandvik Coromant distributor. For more information on these and other milling cutters, tools and accessories available through M&M Sales & Equipment, stop into one of our four convenient Texas locations or give us a call at 800-592-4516.

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Discover Jet-Stream­™ Turning, Boring and Threading Tool Solutions from Dorian Tool

Discover Jet-Stream­™ Turning, Boring and Threading Tool Solutions from Dorian Tool

You may think you know Dorian Tool for their line of cost-effective and reliable metal cutting tools, but there’s an entire side of them you may have never seen.

Since their Quadra Index Tool Post hit the scene in 1982, Dorian Tool has been innovating and exploring new technologies designed to help you improve quality and productivity in your precision machine shop. Today, they offer a wide selection of tools for both manual and CNC machines that include:

  • Carbide inserts
  • Toolholders
  • Knurling tools
  • Marking tools
  • Machine tool accessories
  • Rotary setters
  • Tool setters

Over the last several years, Dorian Tool has doubled down in research and development to come up with innovative new ways to improve their tooling options for the metalworking world.

Meet the Jet-Stream™ Thru Coolant System from Dorian Tools

Looking for a better CNC machine coolant option? For better surface finish, work quality and tolerance, the Jet-Stream™ Thru Coolant System turning, boring and threading tools have coolant exits, one above the insert cutting edge and one below. Having two exit points for coolant to be injected helps to reduce friction on the cutting edge and keep temperature constant, rather than spiking up and down. This offers better edge wear, reduces insert chipping and results in higher speeds and feeds. They’re available in a variety of options which include:

  • Jet-Stream™ Thru Coolant Turning and Boring
  • Jet-Stream™ Thru Coolant, API, Grooving
  • Jet-Stream™ Thru Coolant Hardware and Inserts

A Lesson in the Double Jet Coolant System from Dorian Tool

Source: Dorian Tool

Check out this video from Dorian Tool to see how it works!

Why Temperature Can be Detrimental to Machining Processes

Any time you activate a cutting tool on metal, you generate heat. If that heat isn’t carefully controlled and begins to accumulate, the cutting surface can become deformed and damaged. Damaged workpieces then become expensive scrap.

Related: 5 Ways to Reduce Scrap in Your Metal Cutting Operations

CNC machine coolants are used to bring down the temperature at the point of contact. High pressure cooling like that offered by Dorian Tool’s Jet-Stream™ tooling is introduced at the exact point of contact to remove heat at high rates and pressures, eliminating the vapor barrier common with standard coolant systems. That barrier typically blocks standard low-pressure coolant, limits the amount of lubrication to the cutting edge and actually causes chips to fall back into the tool. That’s why standard coolant systems often result in damage to the workpiece or lead to an inferior finished product.

Learn why Dorian Tool may be the best choice for your machining operations. Talk to your local rep today!

From cutting tools, abrasives and cutting fluid to safety and MRO supplies, we are your full-line distributor. If you have questions or need help on your machining processes, we are just a phone call away. Whether you’re a machine shop in Odessa, Lubbock, Amarillo, Fort Worth or surrounding areas, M&M Sales & Equipment has four convenient Texas locations to serve you. Give us a call and we’ll get you the assistance you need with a specific product, application or order inquiry today.

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Score Big on JET® Metalworking Saws with our March 2020 Promotion

We are excited to extend some big-time savings to you on the metalworking saws you depend on for precision cutting results. From bandsaws to cold saws and more, we can get you the metalworking saws you need.

From now until March 29, 2020, save on metalworking saws from the industry leader JET®. Save up to 10% on select saws:


Watch JET in action now!

Don’t miss out on these limited time savings! Promotion ends March 29, 2020. Talk to your local M&M Sales & Equipment representative today!

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Lessons in Commonly Used Commercial Valves from Apollo Valves

A valve is a valve, right? That may be true to the rest of the world, but out here valves are as complicated as they are necessary. The ordinary person probably doesn’t know there’s a different valve for almost every need, and choosing the right valve can quickly become confusing in an industrial setting. Valves can be categorized in several ways, including how they operate, how they function, and in which applications they are to be used.

Fortunately, we have some helpful tips on understanding the six main types of valves from industry-leading valve manufacturer, Apollo Valves.

We’ve been partnering with Apollo Valves in Odessa, Lubbock, Amarillo and Ft. Worth, Texas, for many years. You may be familiar with Conbraco Industries, leading manufacturer of American Made flow control products. Today, they are housed under the Apollo name and together blaze the trail to create the innovative products that drive American industry, one valve at a time.

Understanding 6 Types of Valves and their Applications

  1. Gate Valves
    Industrial and residential piping applications, as well as sewage pipes and water distribution pipe systems commonly use gate valves because they have the capability for more substance flow and lower pressure drops within the valve. The new Apollo International™ cast iron gate, globe and check valves provide full flow capabilities.

  2. Ball Valves
    Otherwise known as quarter-turn operation valves, ball valves are designed with a spherical ball with a hole that goes through it. When the valve is open, the substance passes through. When the valve is closed, the hole becomes perpendicular to the opening and stops flow. The Apollo® 70 Series is the most widely used and trusted bronze ball valve in the industry.

  3. Butterfly Valves
    Butterfly valves are similar to ball valves in that they are also quarter-turn operation valves, but have a butterfly disc that allows the substance to flow aerodynamically around it. They are ideal for regulating flow and can handle thicker slurries or suspended solids because there are no open cavities where particles can settle. The large diameter Apollo International™ LD141 Series Ductile Iron Butterfly Valves are ideal for use in Industrial and Commercial/HVAC/Mechanical applications.

  4. Globe Valves
    When you need to control the flow of fluids that are more viscous in nature such as oil, globe valves are often your best bet. They can control both on and off operations, as well as flow rate control. Just remember that the S-shaped nature of the passageway often leads to more high pressure drops than other valves.

  5. Needle Valves
    For fine adjustments in regulation and control of flow rate, needle valves use their tapered, needle-like valve stem to act as a control mechanism. They are often used in pressure pump governors, automatic combustion systems and instrumentation controls. The Apollo® 60A Series Steel & Stainless Steel Barstock Globe Valves are ideally suited for use in instrumentation, sampling lines and flow control applications.

  6. Check Valves
    What is a check valve? Check valves are used to prevent backflow in piping systems and activated by the pressures of what is running through the system. When fluid flows in a certain direction, the value opens; but if the fluid were to reverse direction, the valve would close.

View the Apollo’s Commercial Product Lineup here.

Match the Valve Type to the Function It Performs 

If you’re looking to get the most out your equipment (and who isn’t?), there’s three things you need to know when choosing a valve. First, you need to match the valve type to the function it performs. Not doing so will lead to leaks, damage and subprime performance.

Second, you must evaluate the material flowing through the valve. What temperature is the material? What is the pressure? Is the valve in an open or closed position? Do you need a shut-off valve or regulator?

Lastly, consider the pipe size, operating flow and piping material and match it to the valve that not only fits, but performs. For instance, the size of a copper pipe is different than a PVC pipe. An adapter may be required if you want to use a copper valve on a PVC pipe rather than a PVC valve.

Have more questions about selecting the right valves for your needs? M&M Sales & Equipment is here to help in West Texas, with locations in Odessa, Amarillo, Lubbock and Ft. Worth. Reach out to our knowledgeable sales representatives and they’ll be happy to discuss your needs and help you find the best solution. Contact us online, by phone or stop in and say hello.

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New Product Alert: TRIM® E923 Metalworking Fluid from Master Fluid Solutions®

If you’ve been following us for a while, you would know we are always talking about how to get the most out of your metal cutting operations. We’re big on efficiency and maximizing productivity. Maybe it’s because we’ve been in your shoes. Many of our own team members have worked in the metal cutting industry and that experience drives us to find solutions that helps you operate at peak performance.

So, when we came across a new product from Master Fluid Solutions® we knew our friends in the automotive, energy sectors and the manufacturing industry at large needed to know about it. The TRIM® E923 is their proprietary blend of new vegetable-based technology and very high levels of chlorine-free extreme-pressure (EP) additives.

Earlier this year, UK-based publisher, Manufacturing Machinery World, ran an article about the release of TRIM® E923, No Compromise Coolant For The Toughest Of Applications. In it, they said that TRIM® E923 is in a class of its own as a complete coolant package for harsh applications.

What’s so great about it? It’s designed to extend tool life in your most difficult metal cutting operations like Inconel®, titanium and high-tensile-strength steel. TRIM® E923  is designed especially for applications such as boring, broaching, deep-hole drilling, down the hole work, drilling, heavy-duty machining center work, screw machine operations and much more. Plus, it offers extreme lubricity for clean and accurate cuts without the need for costly additives.

TRIM® E923 helps in the following ways:

  • Delivers exceptional lubricity and EP performance
  • Has the necessary performance to replace neat oils in certain applications
  • Very long sump life
  • Low foam even in soft water areas
  • Hard water tolerant
  • Compatible with all materials excluding magnesium
  • Easily recycled or disposed of without special handling or equipment
  • Will run effectively for long periods without the need for costly additives

Learn more about TRIM® E923 from Master Fluid Solutions.

Have questions on this new product from Master Fluid Solutions®? The team at M&M Sales & Equipment would love to help you find the solutions you need to work more efficiency and profitability in your facility. Contact us, give us a call or stop in.

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The Guide to Choosing the Right Saw Blades for Optimum Productivity

Choosing the right saw blade is critical to a manufacturing facility or machine shop’s profitability and productivity. Not doing so can lead to shorter blade life or complete blade failure diminishing any potential for efficiency. So, we created a handy guide that can help break down the terminology surrounding saw blade selection, as well as provide tips on extending blade life and how to properly break in your new blade. Whether you are sawing large workpieces or difficult to cut materials, knowing your blade can mean the difference between making money or losing it.

Common Saw Blades

Source: Lenox Tools

Circular Saw Blades: For use with miter saws, table saws, radial arm saws, cut-off saws and standard circular saws, these blades come in a variety of materials that can cut metal, wood, cement, glass or laminates. We sell a variety of metal circular saw blades from names like Lenox, Fein and Evolution! Be sure to ask about our Fiber cut-off wheels from Pferd and United Abrasives/SAIT.

Carbide Tipped Band Saw Blades: Designed to cut composites, metal and wood. High-performance steel and optimized carbide grades cut faster and last longer in a wide variety of sawing applications. For band saw blades, we offer a wide selection of blades from Lenox, Starrett and Arntz.

Bi-Metal Band Saw Blades: Bi-metal band saw blades are among the most versatile choice for most metal sawing applications involving a wide variety of materials such as aluminum and non-ferrous metals, carbon and structural steel. They’re cost effective, perform well and have long blade life with high-speed tooth tips and flexible alloy steel back.

Carbon Band Saw Blades: Economical and reliable, carbon band saw blades are great for general purpose and utility sawing. They are used to cut a variety of materials from carbon steels and aluminum to abrasive materials such as wood and fiberglass. Ideal for small maintenance and light-production shops.

Reciprocating Saw Blades: Whether it’s tile, clay, wood, cast iron, bricks or metals there’s a reciprocating saw blade for the job. Reciprocating saws are versatile in that you can swap out different blades for different materials. Ideal for maintenance, demo or repair applications.

Cold Saw Blades: High-speed steel cold saw blades are often used for cutting pipes, tubes and other solid steel materials. Many types of cold saw blades can be re-sharpened and used several times before replacing. The name comes from the transfer of heat energy during the cutting process. The blade and work material stay cold and the heat is expelled in the chip.

Grit Edge Saw Blades: Carbide Grit Edge Blades offer a seamless cut into abrasive and hardened materials, fiberglass, steel belted radial tires and other composites.

Hole Saws: Hole saw blades cut clean and accurate holes in a variety of materials from metals, woods or plastics.

Annular Cutters: Similar to a hole saw but runs in a magnetic drill. We offer a variety of premium annular cutters from FEIN.

Did you know? M&M Sales & Equipment can weld ¼-inch to 1 ½ inch wide saw blade material to any length on site; we also have the most popular lengths in stock from our supplier partners.

Understanding the Parts of Your Saw Blade

The Gullet is the space between each saw tooth that allows for efficient chip removal. The larger the material or the faster the feed rate, the deeper the gullet (such as in a 2/3 variable tooth blade that has a much bigger gullet than an 8/12 variable tooth’s gullet) and the more chips that are expelled.

Tooth Construction is another critical part of how your saw blades are made. Different tooth constructions offer different advantages. For instance, a carbide tipped tooth offers a longer lasting and smoother cutting blade.

Tooth Form refers to the shape of the tooth. The shape impacts how a blade cuts through material and can extend blade life, control noise level and provide a smoother cut and chip capacity.

  • Variable Positive shape offers variable tooth spacing and gullet capacity for less noise and vibration, while simultaneously allowing for faster cuts, longer blade life and smoother cuts.
  • Variable shape is similar to Variable Positive, but can be used for slower cutting rates.
  • Standard is a good multipurpose shape that can be used in many various applications.
  • Skip shape has a wide gullet ideal for non-metallic applications.
  • Hook shape is similar to the Skip, but can be used on metal and non-metal applications.

Tooth Set refers to the number of teeth and the angle that they are offset. Different tooth sets impact cutting efficiency and chip carrying ability. For a clear visual on how tooth set can differ, refer to this guide from Lenox Tools.

Kerf Width is the width of the cut made by the blade into the desired material. Full kerf blades remove about 1/8” of material, while thin kerfs generally remove about 3/32” of material. Because the full kerf removes more material, it’s best to use with a more powerful saw. Thin kerf blades can be used with saws that use less horsepower.

Other consumables that can help or hinder cutting conditions are choices of hydraulic oil and cutting fluids. But it always comes down to blade selection. Choosing a better crafted blade designed for an application results in better wear and heat-resistance, fewer changeouts, better accuracy and less waste.

Learn more about blade maintenance in “How Do I Choose the Right Saw Blade for My Project? 

To avoid blade failure and get the most out of your new saw blade, remember these blade break-in tips:

  1. Choose the proper band speed for material to be cut.
  2. Set the beginning band feed rate at 50% of normal/recommended feed rate.
  3. Begin the first cut and once 50-70 in2  of material has been cut, gradually increase feed rate to normal.
  4. If chatter/noise occurs, adjust cutting speed.

To learn more about the different types and brands of saw blades we offer, reach out to M&M Sales & Equipment representatives or stop in at one of our four locations in Texas.

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