One of the more exciting innovations in CNC machining in the recent past has been the incorporation of finishing tools that can operate simultaneously with the other CNC processes. This speeds up cycle times and allows for a wider range of consolidated operations, which lowers overall production costs in the end. Who doesn’t like being able to replace two machines with one, after all? Unfortunately, like any relatively new addition to a well-accepted piece of technology, there are a lot of misconceptions and myths that cause some people to hold back from investing in CNC machine finishing tools.
- Grit Production and Hazards
The biggest myth and the one that underlies all the others is that the amount of grit and dust produced by finishing processes inside a CNC machine is prohibitive. Some claims even go so far as to say it can clog lines or damage tools and parts.
Fine Abrasives vs. Coarse
This is simply false, because it conflates the grit produced by coarse abrasives designed for mass removal and the fine products used in surface finishing. Finishing abrasives use a very fine product for a brushed, polished, or textured surface. They produce minimal dust and debris, and what is produced is no more dangerous to the equipment than the chips and shavings that are already a byproduct of CNC operations
- Filtration Requirements and Costs
Alongside the myth that the waste output is prohibitive and possibly bad for the equipment or product, there’s a myth that preventing the damage requires expensive upgrades. Typically cited are the filtration and dust control features, as well as the cleaning tools and processes. Filtration for the byproduct of finishing tool use is not any more difficult to handle than existing process byproduct you would see in any generation of used CNC machines. There is no need for an upgrade, and it does not cost more to replace filters or to keep things cleaned up.
- Overall Process Costs
Some claim that the first two myths increase process costs and make it a bad idea for those trying to save money through investments like used vertical CNC rigs. The fact is, finishing tools used in the CNC process reduces costs. It is true that there is a cost to buying the tool and keeping it stocked with the right finishing abrasives. Since you do not have to upgrade the cleaning or filtering equipment, though, the additional cost is negligible and likely to be about the same as supplies for a separate tool.
Additional Tool or Machine?
It’s nowhere near the cost of running a separate machine for finishing or even investing in multiple machines for brushing, sanding, or polish shining when you consider machine and power costs. This myth is not just false, it is exactly the opposite of what you should expect when you buy CNC machine finishing tools. In fact, when you consider the decreased labor costs on top of the savings you get by consolidating equipment, the savings start to really add up.
- Finishing Tools & Machine Lifespan
Sometimes the myths about CNC machines and finishing products do not escalate to clogged filter bags or ruined parts. Some less incendiary and more plausible myths simply claim the long term use of abrasives introduces wear and tear that shortens the CNC’s lifespan. This is simply false, these expensive machines have been thoroughly tested and manufacturers have no reason to cause problems that could lead to service under their own warranties. Selling them used or buying used CNC machines with these tools does not require you to adjust lifespan estimates at all.
Shop for Your Next CNC Machine
Premier Equipment has an ever-changing lineup of used machines because clients buy, sell, and trade in equipment every day. Whether you are looking to purchase an entire shop or just upgrade one tool, you will find a great selection with competitive prices that help you save money by investing in used equipment. Check out your options today.