The Latest Cutting Tool Trends in Manufacturing with Tom Senger

Episode 177 | Challenges: Technology

The team at MakingChips knows how important it is for the Metalworking Nation to optimize efficiency and productivity. Having the right tools for the job is at the foundation of a leading manufacturing business. Guest speaker, Tom Senger, gives the run-down on the latest and greatest tools to utilize on the shop floor. Tom is the manager of the Vending, Integration, and Productivity (VIP) program at Zenger’s. Helping customers integrate new operations, realize new levels of productivity, and bring in greater revenue is his specialty. Manufacturing runs in his blood, and he understands what tools to use to get the job done.


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The latest trends in cutting tools can help you make more chips...and more money

The tools you use can make or break the impact of your manufacturing business. Hosts Jim Carr and Jason Zenger know you need to be making chips. Being on the cutting edge of cutting tools is imperative to saving money. Tom gives several suggestions for what tools to use for what job and explains that several improvements are being made throughout the manufacturing tool spectrum. Consistency is one of them.

Small diameter, multi-functioning drilling tools have seen huge improvements in all-around consistency. It’s no longer the case that you need specialized tools for each part of the job. Not only do multi-functional drilling tools save you a ton of space in your collection storage, but they also get the job done with consistent quality and efficiency. Invest in one tool that can serve multiple functions.

Coolant through is the new buzzword

Coolant through is being implemented across the tool board. This quality helps reduce wear and tear on your drill bits, improves lubricity, and saves you time and money on maintenance, especially with solid carbide spindles and bits. It also improves consistency. Tom shares about some of the utilizations of coolant through on the shop floor.

Flat-bottom drills are excellent because they don’t have to be followed up by an end mill. They have replaceable tips and a myriad of products that you can place on the high-speed, coolant through, steel body. The flexibility of this tool enables you to save on carbide costs, and it is incredibly precise with diameters down to a millimeter and a half.

Coolant through is also improving the performance of turning and cutting tools, cut-off and groove tools, and milling tools. Fast and high-speed milling tools are seeing smaller diameters, indexable end mills, and dynamic milling processes with the help of CAD CAM software. Different high feed cutters are being utilized to create more corners, even up to 6, 12, and 16 corners with repeatable functions. Turning and cutting tools are being improved with higher feeds and a greater depth of cut. The coolant through allows for less load on the spindle. It’s much the same story with cut-off and groove tools. Tom explains that the coolant through allows for a cooler cutting zone, cutting the cutting time by almost half.

Be sure to listen to the full episode for all the details on how and why these improved tools need to become your next investment!

Coating, and tolerance improvements

As Tom points out, coating is king. Products and tools are no longer simply coated in a layer of tin. Now, there are several layers of different materials being applied for improved performance. Post-treatment coating is especially valuable, coming over the top insert and applying a clear, shining, polished surface. The polish protects and preserves carbide function and strength, improving the shelf-life of the tool up to 25%.

Tolerancing is also an obvious ingredient of a great tool. Improved molding technology paired with coolant through enables tools such as the solid carbide spindle coolant drill to function with consistent quality up to a thousand repeatability.

Slim the carbide and save on cash

Carbide is expensive, and the more you can save on the life of your carbide tools and bits, the better. Solid carbide end mills have been a staple, but Tom explains that many are moving away from solid carbide and choosing steel shanks instead. Different types of end mill heads can be applied to the shank, and many of them have been made smaller for improved performance. Investing in coolant through application and the right coating can have a huge, positive impact on the shelf-life of your carbide collection, allowing you to work harder, longer, and better without the constant maintenance costs.

For more insight into the latest cutting tool trends, be sure to listen to the entire episode!

Here’s The Good Stuff!

  • To make chips you need the right tools.
  • Manufacturing news: exciting award nomination for Carr Machine & Tool, and sales summit for Zenger’s.
  • Tom Senger, manager of Zenger VIP program.
  • The latest and great cutting tool trends.
  • Coolant through, small diameter, multi-functioning drills.
  • The power of the flat-bottom drill.
  • Holding tolerance levels.
  • Yes, the coating does mean everything.
  • High feed milling tools and dynamic processing software.
  • Turning and cutting tool trends.
  • Cut off and groove improvements
  • Shrink fitting tools is the way to go.

Tools & Takeaways

Related Content

This Week’s Superstar Guest: Tom Senger

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Jason Zenger: Welcome to MakingChips. We believe that manufacturing is challenging, but if you are connected to a community of leaders, you can elevate your skills, solve your problems and grow your business. I'm your host, Jason Zenger, and I'm joined by my cohost, one of the kings of MakingChips, Jim Carr.

Jim Carr: Thank you Jason. I appreciate that. You didn't say "My friend." I guess you're not my friend anymore.

Jason Zenger: No, no, you're okay.

Jim Carr: You don't like me today right? Well it feels good to be in our new northwest suburb studio today. I didn't have to go very far. I didn't even have to put my shoes on.

Jason Zenger: Yeah, right in your house-

Jim Carr: I didn't even have to put my shoes on.

Jason Zenger: You actually do have a studio and this is a legit studio in your house. So I mean it's kind of nice to have this here.

Jim Carr: We used to record here when we were infants in the podcasting world. Remember that?

Jason Zenger: Baby podcasters.

Jim Carr: Baby podcasters, and we used to drink a lot of wine while we did it too.

Jason Zenger: Yeah. Those days are gone.

Jim Carr: Nick was like an embryo podcaster at that time.

Jason Zenger: Now we're pros.

Jim Carr: Well speak for yourself. I'm not a pro yet.

Jason Zenger: So anyway, we're going to do some technique podcast episodes. I'm really excited about that. I know you are too.

Jim Carr: I am too because what do you know? I've been in the industry for over 40 years, I got a little bit of knowledge with regard to cutting tools, workholding tools-

Jason Zenger: Yeah I mean what's our mantra, Jim? What's our mantra?

Jim Carr: Equip and inspire, or manufacture-

Jason Zenger: No I mean our other mantra.

Jim Carr: I don't know [crosstalk 00:01:25].

Jason Zenger: If you're not MakingChips-

Jim Carr: You're not making money.

Jason Zenger: Yeah, and how do you make chips? You need a cutting tool.

Jim Carr: You make chips by using a cutting tool.

Jason Zenger: Exactly.

Jim Carr: But you need a machine tool and you need workholding-

Jason Zenger: Well yeah, because you need all that stuff.

Jim Carr: ... and you need skill-

Jason Zenger: I guess in my brain as a cutting tool distributor, it's all I think about.

Jim Carr: Yeah. Well, you're very narrow-minded. You're very narrow-minded.

Jason Zenger: I'm focused, Jim. I'm focused.

Jim Carr: Oh is that what it is?

Jason Zenger: Yes. I'm very focused.

Jim Carr: Thank you. Thank you for letting the Metalworking Nation know that. But no. You need all those things. To be successful in this industry, you need a machine tool. You need a cutting tool. You need a workholding process and you need skilled people that are going to be able to have the knowledge and the fundamental skills to take that cutting tool, put it in the appropriate size holder, or run it at the appropriate RPM and feed rate according to the type of material that you are cutting and that's when the magic happens.

Jason Zenger: Yes.

Jim Carr: The thing that I'm looking for-

Jason Zenger: What is the magic? The magic is when you see those chips flying right?

Jim Carr: I tell you, I remember 20 years ago when ISCAR came into my shop and they handed me a variable pitch end mill and the salesman said "Here. Take this. Run it at ..." I don't know "4000 RPM, 160 inches a minute and don't use coolant." My dad literally had a freaking heart attack because he thought "Oh my God, that end mill is going to break in two seconds. Or else, the end mill is just going to get burned up and turn to mush in two seconds."

Jason Zenger: Yeah and not only was that ISCAR, but that was also Zenger's and our guest today that was there during that revolution in your business.

Jim Carr: It was a revolution and quite frankly I have not seen anything that profound in 20 years. Well, maybe there is.

Jason Zenger: Well we're going to go there. But before we go there, why don't we talk about what's new at MakingChips and some manufacturing news, or do you want to talk about what's new at Carr Machine & Tool?

Jim Carr: Well, we're looking forward to the Valley Industrial Association, we're going to be there, we're up for two awards and that's kind of exciting for culture and workforce development. We've already been nominated in two out of six categories. We'll see. Fingers crossed. We're excited. We're taking the whole team, it's going to be a dinner gala right on the Fox River in Geneva, Illinois. Yeah. I'll let you know.

Jason Zenger: That's good. We had some exciting stuff happen and I think you asked me because I know you're only concerned about what you have going on. I know. I know, but that's all just-

Jim Carr: Yeah he doesn't care. Yeah. Very narrow-minded.

Jason Zenger: ... I'll just break it. As the business has grown, we've gotten more complicated and complications are not fun, and we had a little bit of a sale summit yesterday in order to kind of redirect ourselves as a company and it was great to have some of my sales leaders in the room where we're kind of hashing out some issues and figuring out what is our structure going to be going forward because we're not the same old tool store that we were 20 or 30 years ago, things have gotten very complicated. We've got vending machines all over the place and people out in the field, and we just used to be ... We started out as a store selling end mills and drills and carbide inserts and now, business has just gotten complicated and we need to simplify it and really go to the market in a very impactful way.

Jason Zenger: So we had this kind of exciting leadership sales summit yesterday that I'm kind of jacked up about.

Jim Carr: Good. So, good luck.

Jason Zenger: Yeah. Thank you.

Jim Carr: Yeah.

Jason Zenger: And why don't we go to Nick for what's new at MakingChips.

Jim Carr: Nick's here!

Nick Goellner: Hey guys!

Jim Carr: Hey Nick.

Nick Goellner: How is it going?

Jason Zenger: Good Nick, [crosstalk 00:04:35].

Jim Carr: I hope you've got some good manufacturing, something we can really sink our teeth into today.

Nick Goellner: We got four pieces of content this week, so obviously this podcast is one of them, cutting chips and cutting tools 2019 trends. We've got an article kind of derived from the podcast that Jason actually wrote. It's about how carbide has changed, the grades of carbide have changed and how cutting tool trends have changed with it.

Jim Carr: I can't wait to read that one.

Nick Goellner: You know you're not going to read that Jim. I almost took that seriously.

Jason Zenger: Yeah, and if you are a new listener to MakingChips, you'll soon come to realize that Jim doesn't actually know how to read, so he can't read that one. That's the inside joke here.

Nick Goellner: He only looks at the picture.

Jim Carr: I'm very visual.

Nick Goellner: So we've got a new program called the Chip-In Program where leaders from Metalworking Nation can contribute content that we publish on our platform, and we tag them. Tony Schmitz we had on the podcast recently. He's a doctor of mechanical engineering. He wrote a great article about how a simple tap test can dramatically improve your machining operation.

Jim Carr: What's a tap test?

Nick Goellner: It's like an impact test with an instrumented hammer.

Jason Zenger: And it has to do with the harmonics in the machine process right?

Nick Goellner: Yeah. All the different dynamics between the spindle, the tool holder, the machine tool itself, the workholding equipment, the workpiece. You do a tap test and it helps you optimize the dynamics of your machining operation to get better tool life, better surfacing-

Jim Carr: Where can the Metalworking Nation get that information?

Nick Goellner: All at, if you subscribe, we'll send it directly to your inbox. The news this week though, been a real buzz about this Foxconn.

Jim Carr: Huge. Well, people outside of the Chicagoland area may or may not know about that.

Jason Zenger: I think this is pretty big national news though. I mean this is a huge facility-

Jim Carr: Was it on the national news?

Jason Zenger: I think it was, yeah.

Jim Carr: Oh. Okay.

Nick Goellner: This is the big story about how manufacturing is supposed to be coming back to the U.S. and the article-

Jason Zenger: Yeah because we're finally manufacturing LCD screens here.

Jim Carr: That's awesome.

Nick Goellner: Well we're supposed to be. But the article is-

Jason Zenger: But we're not now.

Nick Goellner: ...from Bloomberg, about inside Wisconsin's disastrous 4.5 billion dollar deal with Foxconn and it talks about how a huge tax break was supposed to create a manufacturing paradise, but interviews with 49 people familiar with the project depict the chaotic operation unlikely to ever employ 13,000 workers. So I'm conflicted here. I don't really know what's the news.

Jim Carr: Well, first of all, let's back up. B, with a B, 4.5 billion dollars?

Nick Goellner: Billion, yeah.

Jim Carr: Yeah, so that's pretty major. So don't tell me that the politicians of Illinois and Wisconsin were not somehow involved in that process.

Jason Zenger: Yeah. I agree with you, Jim.

Jim Carr: I know.

Jason Zenger: My understanding is that they backed out of the manufacturing jobs. So what they're talking about is it going from a manufacturing facility to be a research facility and my understanding is that Wisconsin kind of flipped their political environment, and because of that, it spooked the business investment in the state. That's my understanding.

Jim Carr: Interesting.

Jason Zenger: And it could be spin from the other side but-

Nick Goellner: There's all sorts of angles on this. What's the status of this "Trade war" with China-

Jason Zenger: This should be better if there's tariffs, you're manufacturing the stuff here. So-

Nick Goellner: Right. There's all sorts of angles on this and we'll cover it in the curated piece that we published on

Jim Carr: So you are to keep us posted on the real ... because here at MakingChips, we don't do fake news.

Nick Goellner: That's right.

Jim Carr: No, just so I know real quick because I did not read the article obviously, but I want to know a little bit more about what happened, maybe somebody that has not heard about this Foxconn deal and Southeastern Wisconsin. What was the whole impetus behind them coming to Southeastern Wisconsin? They were going to set up a manufacturing plant to manufacture-

Jason Zenger: LCD screen, so the whole notion is that-

Jim Carr: Okay, and then who could put the kabbash on it?

Jason Zenger: Well we don't know the truth yet. The notion is that manufacturing costs have started to converge between the U.S. and some of the Asian countries and they found that it would be just as effective to manufacture onshore as it was to effective offshore. You know we've talked about that whole near-shoring, it's different than off-shoring-

Jim Carr: And re-shoring.

Jason Zenger: Well re-shoring is just bringing those back to United States, near-shoring is when you say "Okay, I'm going to produce in the United States for the North American Market and I'm going to produce in China for the Asian Market or North Korea, and I'm going to produce in Germany for the European Market, or just wherever it might be across those big platforms.

Nick Goellner: But another big dynamic here is there were supposed to be blue collar jobs that were coming to us. Now we're talking about how it's more this R&D center with a lot less jobs overall, so it would be interesting if some of us plays out-

Jim Carr: So the price tag isn't going to be 4.5 billion anymore, it's going to be a lot less or what?

Jason Zenger: Jim the whole truth is not out yet, so we don't know. My biggest issue is that if they were given these tax incentives and now they're not bringing the jobs, I'm going to be pissed because that's not fair.

Jim Carr: Yeah. Oh, okay.

Jason Zenger: No it's not because small business owners like you and I, and the Metalworking Nation for the most part, we got to pay the full boat in our taxes and it's just not fair if these companies get promised these tax incentives and then they don't fulfill on their promises because the politicians just capitulate on whatever it was that they promised to them in order to bring them into the state.

Nick Goellner: And this isn't the first time Foxconn has done something like this.

Jim Carr: I didn't know that. No.

Nick Goellner: So they've done stuff like this in South American as well.

Jim Carr: Oh really? Interesting.

Nick Goellner: Where they had big plans that didn't pan out.

Jason Zenger: And we're definitely getting in over my head from a knowledge basis. I don't really understand that. But you know what I do know Jim?

Jim Carr: What?

Jason Zenger: End mills and drills.

Jim Carr: Yeah. I know them too.

Jason Zenger: And carbide inserts.

Jim Carr: I've been using it my whole life.

Jason Zenger: You do know you can't make chips without those.

Jim Carr: You cannot make chips without those. So let's talk about them.

Jason Zenger: Yeah. Can I introduce our guest?

Jim Carr: Do you have a bio on him? Do you [crosstalk 00:09:58].

Jason Zenger: I have the bio in my head. He's one of my right-hand men and so I know all about him. His name is Tom Senger and he's been on my team for many, many years. His last name is actually very similar to Zenger. He's a long-distant cousin. So instead of Z-E-N-G-E-R, he is S-E-N-G-E-R, so-

Jim Carr: Wait, are you serious? Is he really-

Jason Zenger: We don't know, but when you think back in the family tree somewhere, we are related.

Jim Carr: Oh come on. I never knew that.

Tom Senger: My brother from a different mother.

Jason Zenger: Exactly.

Jim Carr: That's a fun fact.

Jason Zenger: So Tom Senger is the manager of our VIP program, which is our Vending Integration and Productivity Program. So what Tom and I work on together and Tom really leads is the vending operations at our clients, the integration into their operations and helping our customers to be more productive. So make more parts per hour, make parts at a lower cost and really just produce more money, put more money on the bottom line for our manufacturing leaders. So Tom, welcome to MakingChips.

Tom Senger: Thank you, Jason. Good afternoon Metalworking Nation.

Jim Carr: Hey Tom, good to have you here.

Tom Senger: Jim, Nick, nice to be here everybody.

Jim Carr: Yeah.

Jason Zenger: And if you've been listening for a while, Tom has actually been on the show before for a little five-minute excerpt when Jim and I-

Jim Carr: He has?

Jason Zenger: Yeah. We actually called him. We didn't even tell him we were calling and we-

Jim Carr: Oh that's right. Yeah.

Jason Zenger: And we got his feedback on something that ... Do you remember what it was Tom?

Tom Senger: Oh boy. Deep hole drilling maybe.

Jason Zenger: What is that maybe? Who knows? Who knows?

Jim Carr: Oh that's a thing.

Tom Senger: Sure, sure.

Jason Zenger: So Tom, you're involved in cutting tools on just a daily basis. I mean you live it, you breathe it, you love it don't you?

Tom Senger: I do. It's who I am. It's my identity and I spent most of my working moments thinking about it or talking to customers.

Jason Zenger: It kind of goes in your blood. Your dad was in the manufacturing industry right?

Tom Senger: Yes. My dad spent his whole life working in a screw machine shop. He was a standout in his own right back on the manual machines and he retired about the time when CNC started coming around, but prior to that, I was cleaning off round stock and just hanging out around oil.

Jim Carr: Okay. So you worked a little bit with your dad?

Tom Senger: Oh just hanging out with him on the weekends and stuff. Absolutely.

Jim Carr: Okay, where you a shop floor guy?

Tom Senger: I was not a shop floor guy. I went to school and after college, I migrated towards manufacturing and here I am today almost 30 years later.

Jim Carr: You've been with the Zenger's for a long time right?

Tom Senger: 15 years, coming up on 15 years now.

Jim Carr: Awesome. That's what I thought.

Jason Zenger: That's a long time to tolerate me.

Jim Carr: Yeah.

Tom Senger: It really is.

Jason Zenger: No kidding.

Tom Senger: Thank God I don't have to see him every day so-

Nick Goellner: How many times has he been on time?

Tom Senger: I can't recall once.

Jim Carr: Thanks, Tom. At least you're honest.

Tom Senger: No problem.

Jason Zenger: So, Tom, we're talking about cutting tool trends and you and I, we talk about applications at our clients all the time because we're driven to save our customer's money and so being on the cutting edge of the manufacturing process, choosing the right cutting tools is just imperative and when we talked about how we were going to approach this episode, we are going to break it down into different product categories for the most part and just talk about what the trends are, not only in cutting tools, but also just the trends in the manufacturing world. I assume 30 years ago that jobs were easier. Would you agree with that Jim?

Jim Carr: Not necessarily. Well, it was just different. The way we approach the job.

Jason Zenger: There are tighter tolerances, they had [crosstalk 00:12:49].

Jim Carr: Yeah. Well, the machine tools and the cutting tools can cut tighter tolerances more consistently than they could years ago. Of course, when you had the manual equipment, you are reliant on the dial of the quill or the X and the Y axis of the bridgeport or the lathe. So yeah. The consistency that we can maintain tolerance nowadays is a lot better.

Tom Senger: Right.

Jason Zenger: So the first thing that we're going to talk about is drilling. Where is the manufacturing world going to mostly as it relates to drilling and what are cutting tool manufacturers doing in order to meet those demands?

Tom Senger: Well what we're seeing a lot of in the last several years is everybody is making very small-diameter drills with very long lengths, so our length to diameters have gotten very long and very small diameters, coolant through is the buzz word. Everybody, all the machines builders are going more and more to coolant through and the cutting tool people are following suit, and what we're seeing also in the drilling are tools that are more multifunctional, maybe a tool that will also drill, countersink, chamfering, things like that.

Jim Carr: Ramping.

Jason Zenger: So you're talking about like a lathe operation or doing just multiple operations.

Tom Senger: Sure. Trying to do more with that tool when the door closes on that part every time.

Jason Zenger: How does that help a manufacturer to have that multifunctional tool?

Tom Senger: With the multifunctional tool, if he's limited on the number of spots in his machine cabinet or on his turret, if he has one tool that I can say for example drill, turn in OD, face an end of a bar, he saves considerable amount of room in his cabinet.

Jason Zenger: It's not necessarily optimal to have the best tool for that exact operation because I would imagine in my head that a multifunctional tool wouldn't be as fast as say like a single-use tool.

Tom Senger: No.

Jim Carr: No.

Jason Zenger: Not necessarily true?

Jim Carr: No. Not true.

Tom Senger: Not anymore. Back in the day, maybe that was true but nowadays, no. We very commonly use tools that are multifunctional and you see a big difference in throughput every day.

Jim Carr: So for instance, correct me if I'm wrong Tom, but I think I can elaborate on this. Let's say you have a piece of three-quarter inch aluminum, three-quarter wide by four inches long and there's five, eight-seventy-five plus 1000 minus zero holes in that part. Years ago, you used to have to go with a center drill, with a drill, with another-

Jason Zenger: Yeah you spot the hole, and then drill a hole, yeah.

Jim Carr: Spot the hole, drill a hole of this diameter, then drill a bigger hole and then drill another bigger hole and then come back with the reamer-

Jason Zenger: You countersink it-

Jim Carr: No. But come back with a reamer.

Jason Zenger: Yeah. Reamer for it. Yeah.

Jim Carr: Now I would just take maybe a 3/8 diameter solid carbide through the spindle coolant and mill, that's got a really high-pressure coolant on that cutting tool, get the chip out, extract it from the flutes of the end mill, get it out of the material and just ramp in and start circular interpolating that hole. I would probably come down, I would ramp in, I would get it to about maybe 850,000ths in diameters and then I come back out and go right back in, and I just skim and finish it. One tool. That's it.

Jim Carr: Your center distance is going to be there because you're using end mill and you've got it in the CNC machine tool, and you've got the advantage of using the cutting tool diameter and the parameters of the machine to control the diameter of the hole. Whether or not the end mill is 3/8 or 437 or 393,000ths, you're going to be able to control the diameter of the hole with the parameters of the diameter in the CNC machine.

Jason Zenger: And what we're talking about here mostly is probably drilling operations on a lathe right?

Tom Senger: Drilling on a lathe or a mill for that matter. We can use a lot of the same technology on either platform, big thing that we're seeing also in drilling now is flat-bottom drills. A lot of our customer parts call out for a flat bottom and there are now a lot of flat bottom indexable drill inserts, replaceable tip inserts.

Jason Zenger: Is that so you don't have to follow up with an end mill.

Tom Senger: You don't have to follow up with an end mill. You can drill the size, you don't have to center drill because the drill, a lot of these tips have built-in center points on them and you can drill from a solid with a flat-bottom drill up to a very large diameters now with replaceable tip.

Jason Zenger: For the Metalworking Nation who is not familiar with like replaceable-tip drills, tell us a little bit more about that. Are you guys using a replaceable tip?

Jim Carr: We are.

Jason Zenger: Okay [crosstalk 00:16:59].

Tom Senger: Basically what it is, it's a high-speed steel-drill body, usually coolant through and on the end of that steel body, you can put a whole bunch of different drill choices. Usually, one drill body will hold a range of say 40,000ths, different diameters and you can put drill points, flat-bottom drill points on there, chamfering tools, just a myriad of different products.

Jim Carr: And you could even now ... just to move on the milling, you could even do it on the milling tools now as well.

Tom Senger: Absolutely. And the whole concept behind it is most of our customers in the nation are job shops where they want to be able to use that tool on many different jobs that come through the door and it just lends itself well to many different setups.

Jim Carr: And you're not using as much carbide, so that helps to [crosstalk 00:17:40].

Tom Senger: Exactly. Carbide is sold by the gram, so the least amount that we can use are we'll have a lower cost.

Jason Zenger: Great. What's-

Jim Carr: The only disadvantage to that, there's a lot of advantages to that, but if you are drilling in with a solid carbide replaceable tip, flat bottom or maybe they're typically 140 degrees, include an angle on those type of coolant through indexable carbides is if you miss it with the speed and feed, or you happen to get a chip in there and it breaks, you can break the carbide tip and then you break the body and now you got some big expense.

Tom Senger: That's entirely possible, but I got to tell you though Jim, that very rarely happens in our world. If the customer is using enough coolant through the drill-

Jim Carr: Right. The coolant is important.

Tom Senger: ... and they're using our feed rates and surface footage, they work great. They really, really work good. Very efficient tool.

Jason Zenger: And that's where you need to have somebody there that has that expertise who can drive you in the right direction in order to not make those kinds of mistakes.

Tom Senger: Absolutely. All the manufacturers put recommended speeds and feeds and chip loads and everything on their packaging, but in the real world, it's always nice to have somebody stand in there the first time around. Hold your hand and hit cycle start.

Nick Goellner: Actually, Tony Schmitz's article that he chipped in this week actually talks about the manufacturer's recommended speeds and feeds and that's one of the reasons why you have to do that tap test is because once you add all the different variables, it may not meet that recommendations.

Jason Zenger: Right, right. It could be more, it could be less.

Jim Carr: Well I think Tony said that those speeds and feeds recommendations that the manufacturers ... the cutting tools are generating are under ... he said you could typically go over.

Tom Senger: Very, very conservative.

Jason Zenger: Tom could probably comment on that. Yeah.

Tom Senger: Very, very, very conservative.

Jim Carr: And I would think it would just be the opposite because they're trying to sell a tool right?

Jason Zenger: Yeah, you would think so Jim from a market ... You are thinking as a marketer, but there are-

Tom Senger: It will appeal to a wider market and use it on all your different sorts of materials and they don't want you to blow it up so they always start really, really conservative.

Jason Zenger: Yeah and then you could always just ramp it up from there, but yeah you would think ... what about the size? What are the smallest diameters that you are seeing with coolant through ... Sometimes it's kind of mind-boggling to me when I see these drills and you're pulling holes in them-

Tom Senger: You know we're seeing a millimeter-and-a-half coolant through drills, eight times diameters long and just crazy. Things that we couldn't have thought about 10 years ago.

Jim Carr: That's a Swiss application technically isn't it?

Tom Senger: It's a lot of Swiss applications, a lot of aerospace applications now that we're seeing ... We're seeing more and more of it everywhere.

Jim Carr: What about tolerancing, Tom? I know that the big thing for us is, again, if we can reduce the amount of tools in the tool carousel and down from ... well typically you need three or four tools down to one or two is significantly going to be more efficient for us. What kind of tolerances can those new solid carbide to the spindle coolant drills hole with regard to whole tolerance, just by blasting through? I know it's a lot better than it used to be in the days of high-speed steel.

Tom Senger: It's probably a lot better than it used to be. Like for example, one drill body that I know, they make a drill tip every four thou for that and I would say that it's better than a 1000ths repeatability or tolerance on there.

Jim Carr: That's awesome.

Tom Senger: Yeah. And it's consistent, carbide manufacturers have learned really how to make great molds now and their molding technology is awesome and so they can do that with a high degree of repeatability from box to box or even from lot to lot, month to month.

Jason Zenger: It used to be back in the day when you probably started using carbide inserts for the first time, everything was ground and now they have molding technology in order to make those inserts into some exotic shapes.

Tom Senger: Absolutely.

Jim Carr: What about the coatings that are on them, how important is the coating?

Tom Senger: Coatings are everything. What we're seeing now in all the different higher-temperature alloys and strange materials that we're seeing and even these poorer quality materials that we're getting in from some parts of the world.

Jason Zenger: Yeah ... poorer quality materials.

Tom Senger: Poor quality materials, but the coating means everything. There are all several layers of coatings now, TIALNs, TICN, TIN, multiple layers-

Jason Zenger: It's not just tin coated, it's 17 layers of different-

Tom Senger: Oh yeah, for heat dissipation and for lubricity and then the big thing has been lately the last couple of years is the post-treatment coating. What they do is they come over the top of the insert and they apply a sheer, a sheen to it if you will.

Jason Zenger: Yeah we're talking about the polish right?

Tom Senger: It's almost a polished surface.

Jason Zenger: We've had some applications where that polish really made a huge difference right?

Tom Senger: Tremendous difference. Maybe an increase of 20, 25% in tool life and the reason being carbide is very porous. If you look at it under magnification, it looks like the pores of your skin and what will happen is the material that you are cutting and the elements will get into those pores and the carbide is going break down. By doing the post-treatment coating over it, it seals it up, makes it very lubricious and shiny and it would get much better chip flow.

Jim Carr: What about carbide quality Tom? What's the difference between buying cheap or a lower-value solid carbide end mill that has a ... substrate was the word I was searching for that has a different substrate than some of the higher-quality carbides out there. Tell me about that.

Tom Senger: The higher quality carbides out there, the really high-performance end mills that we're seeing. Everybody makes a pretty good one now. We're going into more smaller-grain carbides into nano-grain carbides and as the grain structure gets smaller, the tool life will go up and your performance stays longer and it's going to give you a lot longer predictable tool life. Combined with the coating, everybody is making really good tools out there now.

Jason Zenger: Well how about we move on the milling Jim, that's really your environment and I know you know, you want to hear about that. We've got solid and we've got indexable milling. Tell us what the trends are right now in that arena.

Tom Senger: The big thing in milling right now that you hear and see everywhere is fast-feed or high-feed milling.

Jason Zenger: And high feed has been around for a while though.

Tom Senger: High feed had been around for a long time, 10 years. It's been evolving. It just keeps getting better year after year and the machine tool guys again are pushing the carbide builders, you know carbide tool builders to get better and what we're seeing is a lot of smaller diameter, high-feed cutters now.

Jason Zenger: Yeah that's amazing.

Jim Carr: Are you talking about like a three-quarter inch indexable end mill?

Jason Zenger: No smaller than that.

Tom Senger: We're even going down to an indexable end mills even like three-eighths and half-inch now, the big thing is-

Jim Carr: Really? That can ramp in-

Tom Senger: That can ramp in 4-5 degrees, [crosstalk 00:23:55] in and they just really have done a good job of matching the CAD software to the tool now.

Jason Zenger: Is that the big difference nowadays?

Tom Senger: That's it. The CAD software people have teamed with the manufacturers, the carbide tool manufacturers and together now, they really got it. They've got it nailed. So you can optimize any process, just say you go into a CAD/CAM system and go into their dynamic milling section let's say. They have libraries already built from manufacturers, tools that are on the market right now and it's night and day the productivity increases when using the correct tool and the dynamic program.

Jason Zenger: And Jim, I think that you are talking about that event that happened 20 years ago when you got that-

Jim Carr: When I had my aha moment?

Jason Zenger: When you had your aha moment and you got that variable helix end mill and it just started producing way more and I think that what Tom is talking about with the CAD/CAM software makers partnering up with the manufacturers, I think that's the aha moment nowadays.

Tom Senger: It really is. We all started learning about radial chip thinning and high-speed machining. It was a big game changer.

Jason Zenger: So what is it about that's making such a difference in the high feed? One of the things that I've seen is that there's now, instead of there being a high-feed end mill, there's 10 choices of high-feed end mills, like depending on what material you are cutting.

Tom Senger: All the big guys out there right now, they have a portfolio, probably 10 to 12 to 15 different high-feed cutters depending upon the material that you are working in, or the diameter you are working in. If you want four effective corners or six effective corners, they'll just keep pushing that envelope with their molding technology to put more corners on any given insert.

Jason Zenger: Yeah because it used to be, you got four corners right? And now you can get one like-

Tom Senger: Four corners, three corners-

Jason Zenger: What's the max corners that you're connecting customers [crosstalk 00:25:38].

Jim Carr: Right now, 16-

Tom Senger: You know we've seen like six on some of the heavier hog in high feed cutters, but then if you want to go to a strictly like a face milling cutter, a 45-degree cutter-

Jason Zenger: Yeah, the standard face mill.

Tom Senger: ... we see 12 to 16 corners on there and-

Jason Zenger: Yeah and that really brings the cost of that insert-

Jim Carr: Positive high shear.

Tom Senger: Positive high shear, maybe the inserts that I'm thinking of, a couple of them, they always have, or they will have a built-in wiper flat on it. So we're seeing them through surface finishes and with the wiper you can kick up your feed rate a little bit more, it's just a win-win for the shop owner.

Jason Zenger: And so what's the cost per corner, something like that?

Tom Senger: A dollar or less.

Jason Zenger: That's amazing.

Jim Carr: Yeah it used to be years ago where you had to do a secondary operation of grinding, but now we can control the tolerances and the microfinish, both with the cutting tools that are out there. So years ago, I remember in the mid-'80s, all the secondary operations that would use to go through the Mattison Grinder, they're gone. We don't use that anymore. We can hold the tolerance and the machine tool, it repeats, the cutting tools are just moving the material off so quickly and then of course like Tom said, the wipers are just generating these awesome ground microfinishes.

Jason Zenger: One of the things that I happen to know, this is MakingChips breaking news, is that there's a major ... if we could move on to solid carbide end mills, there's a major solid carbide end mill manufacturer who's actually transitioning all of their general purpose end mills from a standard end mill to variable helix because they feel like that's the new general purpose.

Jim Carr: That's the new norm.

Jason Zenger: So the new norm is going to be variable helix for the price of a normal end mill and I think that that's where we need to go.

Jim Carr: And this is a secret?

Jason Zenger: Well it's not a secret anymore. It's a major carbide end mill-

Jim Carr: Manufacturer?

Jason Zenger: Manufacturer. Yes. So that will be an interesting break news.

Jim Carr: Do I know them?

Jason Zenger: Yes you do. Yeah.

Jim Carr: Okay.

Jason Zenger: What else are you seeing in solid-carbide end mills?

Tom Senger: Solid carbides, they just keep getting smaller and very material-specific geometries-

Jason Zenger: I know Jim you cut a lot of aluminums, you're aluminum cutters-

Jim Carr: It changes.

Jason Zenger: But they've had aluminum cutters for a long time.

Jim Carr: 10 years ago we were 80% cast iron. Now, we're 80% aluminum so-

Jason Zenger: So like material specific, how specific are we getting here?

Tom Senger: Well just expanding upon if you are doing steel, stainless steels, exotic alloys, inconels, or what have you, there's-

Jason Zenger: There's an end mill for that material.

Tom Senger: There's geometry specific, material specifics for all that. Yes. Absolutely.

Jason Zenger: That's great.

Tom Senger: And another big trend that we are seeing in end milling is customers are moving away from buying that solid carbide tool again, and they're going into options that allow you to have a steel shank and put many different types of end mill heads onto the end of that shank, screw-on shanks.

Jason Zenger: I mean because if you are not using-

Jim Carr: Oh I see, like a mini [crosstalk 00:28:12] or something.

Tom Senger: Exactly.

Jason Zenger: Yeah if you are not using the whole [crosstalk 00:28:15].

Tom Senger: A lot of variations like that. And again the whole thought is carbide is sold by the gram, by weight, and so we can usually save some money there, but we can also mold a lot of complex geometries into these tools and we use ... or a lot of that manufacture we use in sub or nanograin-style carbide, and what that means for the shop owner is that if he's running a job or he has an operator running a job and the tool is getting worn, just simply stop the cycle, use a wrench, remove it, replace it, hit cycle start. You don't have to touch off anymore, you don't have to preset that tool anymore, and your insert change over is usually less than a minute versus the other old school way, the guy takes the tool out, goes to the tool crib, and it takes considerably longer time.

Jason Zenger: That's great. Are you seeing a transition from people using general purpose geometries to more formed application job specific?

Tom Senger: Yeah and we look at what we're selling and the general purpose business is going away. Everybody wants to optimize every moment in the shop. It's all about minutes. Every minute cost a dollar or more and that's what we got to think about.

Jason Zenger: Okay, let's move on to turning. So, Jim, I know you are not a turning guy.

Jim Carr: We're not a turning shop. No.

Jason Zenger: You're not a turning shop. I know you've kind of hinted around about maybe buying a lathe in the future but you know, it may or may not happen. So what do you see in turning cutting tool trends?

Tom Senger: Again, what we are starting to see now a lot is again, more high feed. Every part needs-

Jason Zenger: And high feed never used to be - that term never used to be used in turning before.

Tom Senger: No. And we really used to think about it in terms of lathe machines. But nowadays, we can apply the same principles as we do in high-feed milling to the lathe machines. So if you are cutting off, whatever you are cutting off, if it's a little bit larger diameter, say two or three inches, we can very rapidly accomplish that now.

Jason Zenger: So it less passes-

Jim Carr: In a cut-off tool?

Tom Senger: In cut-off tools. Over the years, the materials have changed, but a lot of them have stayed the same and we're still running similar surface footage and RPMs as we would have over the years, but what we can really make a big difference on is the feed rate. Depth of cut and feed rate. It's really amazing what we're starting to see in the lathe arena now.

Jason Zenger: So does that mean gone as the old CNMG and WNMG and DNMG?

Tom Senger: Well what's happening is that the CNMG, WNMGs are also ... those are becoming ... the reiterations of those, we have high-feed versions of those now where they're making those inserts, the same geometries, but maybe a little bit thicker to take more heat-

Jim Carr: And maybe the angle, the way that they're articulated on the tool-

Tom Senger: ... and the inclination in the pocket, they want a more positive geometry.

Jason Zenger: So you can push them harder.

Tom Senger: Push them harder.

Jim Carr: Like sheering, like I always think ... if you take a soft piece of butter and you take the butter knife and you stand it 90 degrees and you push the butter that, it's going to be pretty hard to do that, but if you angle the butter knife at like a 45-degree angle and you just shear the top of the butter off, it's going to come off a lot faster, easier, and smoother. That's how I articulate that process.

Jason Zenger: Is that how you butter your bagel, Jim?

Jim Carr: It's not. I don't put butter on my bagel. I put cream cheese on it.

Tom Senger: Less spindle load and-

Jason Zenger: Yeah. Right, the spindle load too because it's not creating a lot of torque.

Tom Senger: And it's not dragging, it's not negative, it helps dramatically.

Jason Zenger: And a lot of that goes back to Tom, just the molding technology again right? It's allowed you to be able to make those kinds of geometries.

Tom Senger: A lot of complex geometries. Yeah.

Jason Zenger: How about cut off and groove? What do we see in that arena?

Tom Senger: Especially in a cut off is where we're starting to see a lot of high feed applications also where we can get through that bar quickly and get on to the next operation facing the next bar.

Jim Carr: Well the problem is, is if you have a big diameter maybe a four-inch that you need to cut off, how are you going to actually get in there with a grooving tool that cut that off because you've got to bury that cut-off tool in, two inches on a diameter if it's a four-inch diameter, two inches on the radius, you got to have a lot of coolant in there. You got to make sure that the chip is coming off and out of that.

Tom Senger: Absolutely and the manufacturers have gotten good at that, utilizing like maybe a blade-style cut-off tool for a four to six or an eight-inch diameter, coolant through, a lot of delays we're having-

Jim Carr: Coolant through and cut-off tools-

Tom Senger: Oh yeah, coolant through, cut-off tools-

Jason Zenger: Yeah, the coolant is coming off-

Jim Carr: I can imagine what that looks like. I've never seen it, but I can imagine it.

Tom Senger: Well you can kick up your feed rate another 10 or 15% just for the [crosstalk 00:32:27] of higher pressure coolant going through. It really helps a lot keeping that cutting zone cooler, extended insert life, and a cut off on a six-inch that may take you eight or nine seconds previously, you can do it in four seconds now.

Jim Carr: And what are the wits of those ... let's say I had a four-inch diameter, 12L14 material that I needed to cut off completely, what would be the best application for thickness?

Tom Senger: I would probably stir it into like maybe a three millimeter, 118 wide cut off, it seems like most of the manufacturers, they spend a lot of time around that diameter or that width with a lot of different choices and chip breakers and grades and left-handed, right-handed or...

Jim Carr: Coolant through-

Jason Zenger: Neutral-

Tom Senger: Neutral style, coolant through. So yeah, they're progressing as fast as the milling guys are.

Jim Carr: Now what about the material? I don't know this because I don't live in this world day by day, where do you position the top of the tool, just below center-line? I mean it's certainly not above center-line.

Tom Senger: No. We want that thing as close as center as possible and maybe just a hair low, but definitely not above.

Jim Carr: A hair is 4000ths of an inch. So-

Tom Senger: Less than that.

Jim Carr: Seriously? I mean I thought maybe 50,000 to 100,000. No.

Tom Senger: No. We want to keep them real close.

Jim Carr: Okay, interesting. I did not know that.

Nick Goellner: I did not realize he was talking about a literal hair.

Jason Zenger: Yeah. Well, he said hair. During our episode with Tony Schmitz, one of the last things I want to talk about. It's not necessarily cutting tools, but during our episode with Tony Schmitz when we talked about harmonics, which I would absolutely encourage the Metalworking Nation to go check that episode out was Tony told us, and I don't know if he told us this on microphone, nothing is better than shrink. He said, "Hands down if you could shrink fit your tools, you shrink fit your tools". Would you agree?

Tom Senger: I totally agree with him. Shrink is the-

Jason Zenger: And it's always nice when you agree with a Ph.D., a doctor [crosstalk 00:34:14].

Tom Senger: That's right, exactly. I'm not going to pick that fight. It is by far the best way to hold a carbide round tool is 360-degree engagement with the shank. You want to be pulling that cutter out under an aggressive milling cut, you have the less TIR than any other way of holding it.

Jason Zenger: We have a client who, you and I have talked about this that we would love to upgrade them to shrink fit for their entire shop-

Tom Senger: Absolutely.

Jason Zenger: But-

Jim Carr: Don't say Carr Machine.

Jason Zenger: No I wasn't even ... Well, we could talk about that at a later time, but this particular client, it will cost him six figures to make an upgrade.

Tom Senger: It would be a big six-figure, for sure.

Jason Zenger: But what would it actually do for them if they were to make that type of an upgrade?

Tom Senger: The Die and Mold Industry has realized this years ago. They run a lot of small cutters-

Jason Zenger: They're always very progressive.

Tom Senger: Very progressive, they want the latest and the greatest and the fastest. There's not a lot of extra time or money in their jobs, so they have to do it right the first time as quickly as possible. A lot of long reaches, cavity work, reaching around vises, fixtures or what have you, the shrink system allows you to have various Lang holders and not compromise your TIR.

Jason Zenger: So if a shop were to make this kind of investment, are they going to see longer tool life? Are they going to see-

Tom Senger: Absolutely.

Jason Zenger: Okay. Is that the biggest factor?

Tom Senger: Absolutely.

Jason Zenger: Okay because [crosstalk 00:35:23] harmonics and-

Tom Senger: You can see longer tool life especially on your smaller diameter cutters, and you are going to see improved surface finishes.

Jason Zenger: Right.

Jim Carr: What is the interference on a shrink fit application, do you know?

Tom Senger: What is the interference fit?

Jim Carr: Interference fit, so if you have a three-quarter inch solid carbide end mill, and a three-quarter inch end mill holder that's going to shrink fit, the end mill diameter is going to be larger than the tool holder bor, so you heat that up, the bor expands oversized to the end mill OD, you put the end mill in and then as it cools, it shrinks down. What is that, do you happen to know what that interference is? Is that 1000, 2000, 4000, 5000?

Tom Senger: Off the top of my head, I'm not really sure.

Jim Carr: Okay I'm just curious, because when you-

Tom Senger: I know it's not much.

Jim Carr: Because you are not holding it with a set screw like on a Weldon Shank right?

Tom Senger: No it's just you're simply heating it, sliding the tool in and as it cools, you get 360-degree engagement-

Jim Carr: Yeah I understand that concept, but when you say you can get really aggressive with the cutting parameters, I think "Man, I hope that doesn't pull out the end mill holder" and that's why I wonder what the interference was.

Tom Senger: Yeah. You're less amped to have a tool pull out of shrink holder than say-

Jason Zenger: Hydraulic or a standard screw.

Tom Senger: Or say an ER32. Back in the day-

Jim Carr: Yeah, right because there's nothing holding it in. But with a Weldon Shank, you've got the set screw that's got the flat and it's not going to pull off.

Tom Senger: Yeah and then what happens is you knock it off centerline by a thousand or two so-

Jim Carr: Yeah I understand.

Jason Zenger: So Tom, thank you. We appreciate you coming in and give us some insight and once again, I'm glad that you are on my team and it's a pleasure to work with you and-

Tom Senger: Well thanks, Jason. Thanks for having me. I appreciate it. Jim, Nick.

Jason Zenger: Yeah.

Jim Carr: You're welcome.

Kaleb Mertz: Hey Metalworking Nation, this is Kaleb, the team lead at MakingChips. If you like what you've heard today and want to learn more, go to That's

Jason Zenger: So Jim, what changes, what trends that Tom talked about kind of get you a little bit excited to try out the carbide sheet tool?

Jim Carr: Well definitely those indexable end mills for sure because we're going to be cutting a lot of aluminum this year and we want to be able to spin that spindle as fast as we can and we want to be able to remove the metal as fast as we can. We don't want to have to replace a lot of carbide, and we certainly don't want to send the solid carbide end mills out for resharpening, (a) It degradates the diameter. I'm still not sold on those re-sharpeners getting the cutting tool geometry exactly what the manufacturers-

Tom Senger: Jim, don't worry about that. The software with the new grinders, they are [crosstalk 00:38:07] they are using, we can duplicate just about any manufacturer's edge.

Jim Carr: You know that, and I know that, but you try and sell a veteran machinist in my shop that the third party cutting tool guy is going to do it as good as the manufacturer? I'm just saying-

Nick Goellner: Facts are facts. It is. They make special CNC grinding machine that are just for regrinding tools.

Jim Carr: Yeah. I'm sure you know what you are talking about and I'm sure you're right. It's just where you are and where the shop floor machinist is, there's a big disparity.

Nick Goellner: It takes some time to overcome those perceptions.

Jim Carr: It does. It does, but the indexable smaller-diameter tools is probably something that we should think about for the new year.

Jason Zenger: Well Tom and I will get one in there for you to try out-

Jim Carr: Samples are always good.

Tom Senger: We'll probably send about 20-

Jason Zenger: The cheapskate-

Jim Carr: No I just ... I want to know. You know?

Tom Senger: We'll probably resharpen $25,000 or $30,000 worth of solid carbide round tools every single month.

Jim Carr: Okay.

Jason Zenger: That's a big part of our business.

Tom Senger: It's a huge business for us.

Jason Zenger: And we have to make sure that that is up to the standards of some major production manufacturing companies.

Jim Carr: Their OEM.

Jason Zenger: Yes. Absolutely.

Jim Carr: Right. Absolutely.

Jason Zenger: Well once again-

Tom Senger: Thank you, gentlemen.

Jason Zenger: I appreciate it.

Jim Carr: Thanks, Tom.

Jason Zenger: And Jim, if you are not making chips with cutting tools, you are not making money. Bam!

Jim Carr: Bam!

Speaker 6: As always, thank you for listening to the MakingChips podcast. You need to increase the speed and feed of your business. If you're not elevating your manufacturing leadership, you're going to get left behind. The Metalworking Nation is committed to a new way, to stay ahead of the competition. We have more content to help you make and elevate at Gain access to exclusive content, as well as videos, blogs, show notes, and more resources designed to equip and inspire you. We'll see you next time.

Jason Zenger: So ask me what's going on with my business Jim.

Jim Carr: Do I have to? Well, you're going to go on for 10 minutes. What's new with Zenger's [inaudible 00:40:02]? Wait, let me go get a cigarette.

Nick Goellner: He's going to start smoking-


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