Tuesday, July 28, 2015

National Women Owned Business Certified

Congratulations to CountyLine-Tool owner Vonda Jones! After a 2 years of striving and hard work she has received the honor of being nationally certified as a women owned business! Komet of America has sent a press release on her behalf and  you can read it at the link below:  http://www.komet.com/navigation-top/press-room/press-releases/countyline-tool-americas-first-komet-service-partner-wbenc.html

Monday, June 8, 2015

A Fox in the Henhouse.

In the ever changing world of machine tooling, we have seen many things shift. Everyone is looking for an edge. We have also seen in the re-sharpening industry quite a bit of change. Due to many advances in technology, the regrind industry has gone from any John with a bench grinder being able to “re-sharpen” tools, to the ability to match original geometries of the tools.  With this said, we have seen another interesting trend….

This trend is to use the manufacturer as the source for re-sharpening the tools. I know, it kind of makes sense, the manufacturers obviously know how to sharpen their own tools, the question is what benefit is it to them?  The manufacturer isn’t purely interested in prolonging the life of each individual tool; that would be a conflict of interest. They want to get you a new tool. It is, however, in the best interests of the end user to extend the life of all of their tools. It just so happens to be in our best interests too.

As a regrind shop, our business model  is set up to regrind each individual tool as many times as we can before being scrapped out. We want to see that tool as many times as humanly possible to maximize that tools’ life and, in doing so, it saves our customers money along the way.

We at CountyLine-Tool have a very unique set up and advantage of being a Komet service provider. What it means to be a Komet service partner is that Komet has approved of our quality standards and has agreed that they will work with us with their customers so while we can help you get new tooling it is still in our best interests to make the tools you currently have last as long as possible.

I’ll use the example of a standard 4 fluted ½” endmill. At CountyLine-Tool, we say that we can sharpen this until it is down to .435”. That means, under normal wear conditions, we will be able to sharpen that endmill 4 to 5 times before we have to scrap it. A manufacturer does not have the same incentive to prolong the tool use before saying it should be replaced.
If the above situation is followed you can expect to pay about $150 for a new endmill, and under $20 to resharpen it. To put it in perspective: buying 1 tool and sharpening it 4 times vs. buying a tool, sharpening it once and buying a new tool you can expect to spend $260 more ($490 to buy new and re-sharpen 1x then new again vs. $230 to buy 1 new and sharpen it 4 times). That is just for 1 tool! Imagine how much you could save overall if you were using a quality sharpening house and maximizing the life of your tools.

Edge Prep Part II

Last month we covered a simple overview of what edge preparations are, plus we went into a little bit of detail about the main types. In this installment, we are going to delve deeper into the details of each edge; we will cover some of the what's and why’s and give  a bit of insight into how to tell what is on your tools currently.

The first edge we are going to talk about is a simple razors edge. The “sharpest of the sharp.” Great for slicing and dicing but is it really what you want on a tool? According to the Oxford dictionary the term razor comes from the French word “raser” which means; to shave closely.  We in the tooling industry need a definition that is more…descriptive. In order to “shave” or take a little off you need to have a small thin edge. You see, an edge is when two angles come together to form a point. A razor edge would imply that the angles involved are very steep, creating a sharper edge, but the material to reinforce it would naturally be thinner. Below, is a picture of a razor edge taken with our Walters Helicheck Pro at 1000x magnification. As you can see, the line running diagonally across the photo is the actual edge. All the areas that go from light to dark are chips along the edge. Your naked eye would never see these, but they exist. This is where edge prepping becomes important: if you leave a straight razor edge with little reinforcement, depending on the material that you are trying to cut, the results could be catastrophic. Blown out tool, scrapped workpiece, and possibly damaging the work holding device. All those micro chips in sharp cutting edge can fracture to create larger chips, which of course result in poor performance of the tool.

                                                            (Razor Edge 100x mag)

                                                           (Razor Edge 1000x Mag)     

So, if you are cutting plastic, rubber or wood with a carbide drill, a razor edge should be acceptable with proper chip evacuation. Generally speaking, if you are cutting any form of metal or any material that is 40 or higher hardness on the Rockwell B scale, then we recommend using an edge preparation of some sort.
                                                               (Razor Edge Chart)

The above chart comes from our Helicheck Pro. What you are seeing is the measurement of the edge from the tool previously pictured. In this chart, we see that the edge radius on a “sharp” tool is an incredibly small 0.0003”.

Before we delve into the two other types of edge preps, it should be mentioned that the size of various edge preps have a wide range - from as small as 2 or 3 tenths of a thousandth (0.0002” or 0.0003”) up to 4 thousandths (0.004”). The size of edge prep you need will depend on the application and feed rate being used. You will want to speak with your tooling representative concerning the specifics for your application. We as Komet Service providers know that the reps at Komet are required to go through extensive training on edge preparations and their applications. Knowing this information will also help to increase tool life in the regrinding arena. Not all regrind shops can match a specific edge preparation, and even fewer can check them. CountyLine-Tool is one of the few regrind service providers in North America that have the ability to check specific edge preparations.

The most common edge prep, and probably the easiest to understand, is referred to as a hone. This style of prep creates a radius at the edge that serves two primary purposes. First, it strengthens the edge. In reference to the image of a “sharp” tool, non-honed edge looks like a miniature mountain, very jagged. These jagged features are micro chips in the cutting edge, and grow exponentially upon impact with a work piece. By smoothing the edge, the problems created by micro-chipping are reduced dramatically. This smooth, solid surface has major advantages in increasing the ability of a coating to adhere to the cutting edge, thus retaining the properties and benefits of the coating. The hone is going to be the edge preparation with the most structural integrity. Hones are recommended for most general-purpose machining - especially in non-production shop environments where job types and materials may vary between uses.

                                                                    (Hone at 1000k) 

                                                          (3d Image of the same hone)

As we discussed about the razor edge the hone is much more smooth. This allows for better adhesion by coatings that are applied. Another advantage this smoothness offers is that the work material is less prone to stick to the edge, allowing for greater feeds. So if you are cutting a gummy type of material a hone combined with a chip breaker on your tool would help with chip evacuation and allow for better cuts. You will also notice that the edge is rounded very much like the razor edge, the difference is the thickness of the material. This thickness is the reinforcement that was discussed before, with additional material backing the edge, it is able to handle more abuse before succumbing to chipping.

(Hone Chart)

You may notice that the shape of the edges are very similar from the razor edge to the hone but the SIZE is the factor to look at. In this hone, the radius is .0012 – four times thicker than the razor edge. While not always noticeable to the naked eye, this micro detail makes a big difference in the life of your tools.

Finally, we have a K-land – completely different in size and shape. The intent of a K-land is also completely different. When you are new to tooling we all think that drills are the same, they are not…at all. To put it in perspective when dealing with the geometries of these tools vs. something you buy at a big box store and even the standard tool steel drills, it is like comparing a Focus to a Caddy, to an F-1 Racer. High performance drills with a K-land are basically your F-1 racer, they are intended for high production, high volume. They have been specifically designed for the material they are recommended with.

K-lands have a very specific use: to breakup chips into smaller pieces to aid evacuation. This will allow for more efficient cuts and faster feeds. Obviously, this style of edge prep is designed specifically for production environments. Not only do you get the benefits of reinforcement of the edge but you still get the smooth surface to adhere coating to plus there is that final benefit of extra chip removal making it the prime candidate in a production environment.

                                                                  (K-land at 1000k)

                                                               (3d Image of a K-land)

If you look at the shape of a K-land it is obviously different from the other two, K-lands have a specific “flat” this acts as a mini chip breaker and is what gives the K-land its advantage over the competition. Now unlike the hone it is very important to know the material you are cutting and what speed/feed you will be using in determining the size of a K-land you need.

K-lands obviously range in size but your tooling expert should know what size should be used based on what you are trying to do. With just a little information that specialist will be able to hone down and determine what size will be most helpful for your use. In the chart below you can see the K-land is 0.0028” this size of a K-land would likely be a general purpose usage, to cut into gray iron or steel. When you are talking to your tooling rep make sure you have all the pertinent information ready and available so they can best assist you in what will give you the best results. But how do you identify if there is an edge prep on the tools you are currently using?
                                                                  (Chart of K-land)

All of this information is pretty useful but unless you can tell what your tooling has it really does you no real good. So you need to be able to identify what type of edge your tools have. You will want to purchase a loop of some sort, doesn’t have to be super fancy but a light and small magnifying glass. From there you can look and see a general shape. IF there is a flat you may be able to see the light reflect off the tool with out a loop. For a hone it will be rounded and thicker than if you have a razor edge. Now go get your loop and take a look!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Gun Drills

Gun drills require specific geometries and reliefs in order to work properly, CountyLine-Tool has the right machines to sharpen gun drills for peak performance!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Case Study: Coating Team Up

A couple years ago we at CountyLine-Tool had a unique opportunity to assist one of our partners (Oerlikon Balzers) in a case study for a popular auto maker. In this study the auto maker was using a different company for their regrinding needs and using a standard coating. Our partner Oerlikon asked us to assist them in properly sharpening these tools for them before they added their specialty coating. Below are some of the guidelines of the study:
1. Scope: Drill 6 holes each part piece
2. Tool Type: Step Drill
3. New tool originally were getting 200 pieces then 120 after a regrind.
4. Peck feed method for drilling
With the combination of our precise geometry and Balzers' coating we took them from 120 pieces per regrind to over 300 pieces per regrind. We even performed better than a brand new tool which was getting 200 pieces. They no longer had to peck-feed each hole giving them a 20% faster feed rate.
Previous method = 1 new tool with TiALN Coating + regrind x 1 = Total of 6612 Linear Inches
New Method  = Refurbishing 1 used tool + Petura Coating = Total of 9918 Linear Inches.
What does all this mean?
It means that the myth of reground tools being inferior to a new tool is busted. It means they saved time. It means they had less tooling costs. It means we saved that auto maker money; a lot of it! They saw a $71,372.92 cost savings on tooling over 50,000 parts (roughly a year).

Friday, January 23, 2015


As a part of our marketing initiative here at CountyLine-Tool we are going to be sending out a monthly newsletter. Please read and let me know what you would LIKE to see included in the future.