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An aggregate or angle head is a device that is attached to the spindle drive of a CNC to allow the user to rout or drill at differ- ent angles other than where the spindle is orientated. They are almost always used in conjunction with a tool change format like HSK, ISO or BT.
The use of aggregates on
CNC machining centers greatly
increases the versatility, capability
and the overall value of an already
very expensive machine.
CNC spindles in most all cases
are always mounted at a right angle
to the machine table so there are
two distinct reasons to add aggre-
gates to your machine – to change
the direction of the spindle (mean-
ing the way the tool is orientated to
the workpiece) and to add a new op-
eration to the machine, like mortis-
ing, tenoning, sawing or cutting soft
materials with a reciprocating knife.
Aggregates and the C Axis-
Having a C or a fourth axis on a
CNC machine is not necessarily a
requirement for the use of aggregates. A three-axis machine could
make very good use of a four-way,
90-degree aggregate. This would
allow the user to machine in X+
and X-, also Y+ and Y-. However,
many aggregates are relatively useless without a C axis.
Take, for instance, a moulder
unit. This is an aggregate that can
accept profile ground knives to
produce curved mouldings such as
elliptical or round window casings.
This operation absolutely requires
an interpolating C axis, allowing
you to “steer” the aggregate around
the curve of the casing. If a machine does not have a C axis, it will
need an aggregate anti-rotation
ring or a stop block. This is the device that the torque pin of the aggregate fits into, preventing it from
spinning around like a Whirling
Dervish on caffeine when you start
the spindle motor. If you are not
sure if you have the anti-rotation
device, call your manufacturer.
But getting back to productivity,
let’s take the example of a standard
15-piece stile and rail door. Every
operation — raising the panels,
doweling or mortising the joints,
CUTTING & GRINDING
The forgotten tool
Get to know all the angles.
By Bob Barone
Cutting Tool Chart
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