We can come right out and say it: Helical boring techniques are hella-cool. Let’s say you have to design a part with multiple holes drilled into the metal, and each hole has a slightly different width. One is 1/4”, another is 5/16”, and a third is 3/8”. Some shops will look at your design and use three different end mills, each the precise size to create that individual hole. That works—job done. But there’s a different strategy you can use that makes a lot more sense and will save you time and money.
Using 3-axis or 5-axis CNC machining, you can work smarter. Instead of using three different end mills, why not use just one? That’s helical boring, and it adds considerable flexibility to the manufacturing process.
What’s the Advantage of Helical Boring?
With helical boring, an end mill can gradually spin outwards from the center of the hole. As it spins, it expands the hole’s diameter. In effect, you can use one end mill to create many different sized holes. Because no tool changes are necessary, your part’s labor costs are reduced. It also means that we have reduced your lead time because the same end mill is engaged with the part throughout the process.
Using the same end mill works great for two other reasons. It:
- Lessens the possibility of tool change errors
- Improves consistency/quality because a single tool is used throughout the machining process
What Else Can I Do With Helical Boring?
Helical boring techniques also work well on parts that have stepped levels. That same single end mill can create the floor of your part, then step up and expand the opening slightly. Ultimately you end up with a stairstep effect from floor to top edge.
If you want us to use helical boring to manufacture your part, request it in your quote to save time and money. Even if you don’t request it, we will automatically use the technique when appropriate.
For more great machining tips, download our CNC Machining Design Guide.