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Choose reaming for the highest accuracy, smoothest finish hole geometry for precision applications: dreaming of reaming

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ANCA Product Manager, Andreas Sommer highlights the machining expertise required for reaming, made easy with ANCA’s Toolroom software

Reamers play an integral part in today’s machine shops and are fundamental to a machinists’ tooling arsenal, so it’s good to remember - if you want a precise hole, start dreaming of reaming.

In a high-quality machine shop if an operator drills a precision hole there is a good chance that hole will require a reamer to finish the job. But, what is a reamer and why is it an important tool?

Reamers come in many types including taper pin and hand reamers; the following refers to high precision machine reamers used with lubricant on lathes and in machining centres. Irrespective of the application, a reamer is a precision tool and successful operation depends on the machinery and operator as much as the tool itself. Reamers are produced using solid round carbide, HSS and cermet materials.

Essentially, the process of enlarging a hole is called reaming. Reamers by design are used to enlarge the size of a drilled hole by a small amount but with a high accuracy, ensuring the sides of the hole are left with a smooth surface finish. When applied correctly a reamer can ream thousands of holes to a high accuracy without any significant loss of performance.

A reamer is the most accurate hole forming tool available. If a reamer is used in metalworking it is commonly applied to high precision tolerances of H6/H7 according to ISO. Both the ISO and ANSI Metric Standards refer to a tight fit for locating stationary parts; but can be freely assembled and disassembled.

A reamer does not remove a large amount of stock. However, the amount of stock removed is dependent on several factors including the material to be machined along with the size and quality of the pre-drilled holed. For the machinist this is careful a balancing act. For the reamer to work as expected it is critical that the correct amount of stock is left in the hole. Too much stock the reamer may struggle, and the hole could be deformed. Not enough stock and the reamer will rub and wear leading to poor quality holes. 

Reamers must combine both hardness in the cutting edges, for long life; and toughness, so that the tool does not fail under the normal forces of use. Used correctly, they should only remove small amounts of material, ensuring a long life for the reamer and a superior finish to the hole.

In addition, if the workpiece is not rigidly secured when reaming, the result could mean chatter, poor finish on the part and severe dulling of the cutting edge. During the process of reaming, friction and extreme heat can cause problems which means correct lubrication is essential not only to cool the tool but increase the life of the reamer. Lubrication also leads to higher cutting speeds and shorter cycle times. Lubrication also removes chips and contributes to a better workpiece finish.

Manufacturers cannot take any shortcuts as reamers must be absolutely straight with minimum run out, to create holes of precise circularity and size, for example with tolerances of -0/+0.002mm (.0008").

ANCA ToolRoom software and peel grinding package

Reamers are an intricate cutting tool application, however ANCA’s range of tool grinders can produce accurate reamers using our standard ToolRoom software. ANCA grinding machines using ToolRoom software enable the user to produce a wide range of reamers to very close tolerances and high accuracy. Making reamers using ToolRoom is easy and there is a wide range of different geometries available for different flutes for left-hand spiral, right-hand spiral or straight. Spiral flutes are better for clearing chips, but straight flutes are suitable as well because the amount of chips generated during a reaming operation is small.

The ANCA peel grinding package supports manufacturers with easy to use software and an advanced grinding process. Combined this with high-end tool and cutter grinders to achieve the best possible results.

ANCA offers various tool grinding solutions to produce high-end reamers. In summary ANCA’s Toolroom software enables peel grinding, fluting, OD back off, i.e. the primary and secondary relief as well as front chamfer with primary and secondary cylindrical land.


Reamer Regrinding

If reamers need regrinding, ANCA software can also cater for this application. Accurate regrinding is important for hole quality and the tool life of the reamer and our machines can ensure this precision on a consistent basis.

Before a reamer is reground, check concentricity between centres. In most instances only the bevel lead will need regrinding. Keep reamers sharp. Frequent regrinding is cost efficient, but it is important to understand that reamers cut only on the bevel and taper leads and not on the lands. Consequently, only these leads need regrinding. Accurate regrinding is important to hole quality and tool life.


28 January 2020