A second alternative to steel casting design, aside from welded steel fabrications, is forming a component’s final net shape entirely by machining. The material is a wrought block, bar, or forged pre-form of steel… actually any metal, because this design alternative is not just for steel castings.
Today’s CNC machining centers with multi-axis tool paths combined with multi-axis fixture pallet movements can whittle out virtually any net shape with the exception of shapes having complex, narrow, curved interior passageways.
Fully machined from wrought stock is a design alternative especially attractive for military and aerospace components. Mechanical properties are known with high certainty, prototyping is easy to match with production reality, prototypes have very high probability of successful high cycle durability testing, and tooling up, getting through prototyping, testing, and into production is usually quickest.
So, why is it the “shortcut to the dead-end side track?” The answer is the high cost of fully machined production components. Being quick and capable was great, but the reality of lots of chips at the bottom of the machining center and not much net shape becomes a cost problem.
Why to choose NOT to get stuck in the first place is our subject in Webinar 8. Our target audience is OEM design engineers. In addition to the details of “why NOT take the shortcut,” there are two short, helpful “main-line tracks” for design engineers: 1) Why manufacturing engineering of a casting design… by the OEM Design Team… at the early design stage, is very powerful, and 2) Why to-scale, proportional, isometric pencil sketches are very efficient starting points for casting solid models… and HOW to make them.