You may have just heard of micromachining, but it is far from new.Machinists have been working in miniature for years. What is amazing is what was once used in just a few applications is now necessary in regular manufacturing. While academics and eggheads refer to micromachining as work in one-millionth of a meter, machinists aren't so literal. Micromachining is a highly-specialized niche in machining, and like most niches it has it's own lingo. Machinists that work at the micro level still talk about feeds, speeds, and runout but they also have terms that are specific to the work they do. If you want to talk micromachining like a pro, add these terms to your shop vocabulary.

Micro Drill Adapters or Accu Feeds

micro drill adapterMicro drill adapters or accu-feeds modify your equipment for micro drilling. Accu-feeds are perfect for occasional micro drilling. They work with equipment that has spindle speeds in the 2000 to 4000 rpm range. Most micro drilling runs better with lower spindle speeds, especially if you are drilling plastic. Run too high and your plastic will melt.

Peck Cycles

Microdrilling uses a process referred to as a “peck cycle”. If you think of the way a chicken pecks at food and you understand how the process gets its name. The microdrill is connected with an accu-feed ad then it is repeatedly inserted and removed from the work. This motion is what keeps the chips clear. Stay too long at the bottom of the cycle and your material will be hardened by the work and ruined. No bueno. Remove the drill is completely at the top of the cycle, and you get a slight taper. No bueno also. Avoid both by beginning the down cycle before the drill leaves the hole.


What the heck? Is it air or is it fluid? Sure! Air-fluid is a mix of cutting fluid and air. It's the lubricant used to help remove chips during the peck cycle. If you try to use straight fluid with micro-drilling, it will pool and instead of removing chips it will actually foul the drill. Here’s a great picture of the bad stuff that happens when you microdrill with fluid only. Ain't pretty.


Some people think “spades” is a card game. Others think it is a garden tool. Those people aremicro drill bits for accu-feedsn't into microdrilling. A micro machinist refers to “spades” as the unique shape of a microdrill. Remember, chip removal is a real problem with micromachining. One way to counteract this is by use of a drill that does not have a pointed or chiseled end. The end of the microdrill consists of a cutting edge that is created by two intersecting planes. The cutting edge removes material primarily by extrusion. The cutting energy along the edge is relatively large compared to the drill's cutting edge. But watch out! As the rotating cutting edge first contacts your work, anything on the surface can cause the drill to walk. No matter what type of machinist you are, you know walking is a bad thing.

Talk to The Tool Company - We Speak Your Language

flag.fwWhether you work in full size or microsize, you can always find someone to talk to intelligently at The Tool Company. That's because The Tool Company speaks your language and is ready to help with all your machining needs. Everything we sell is proudly made in the USA and backed by a full manufacturer’s warranty. From accu-feeds to saw arbors, we’ve got you covered. When you shop at The Tool Company you will always find quality tools and supplies and a company that speaks your language. Order your accu-feed today.
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