5 Reasons You Would Need a Speed and Feed Calculator

Perhaps you’ve heard that machining calculators only supply theoretical values. While this is true, you shouldn’t discount these calculators’ advantages. When you use speed and feed calculators, the resulting values can guide in planning your operations. This short guide reveals how these calculators can help you make the most of the metalworking tools in your production environment. 

Benefits of Speed and Feed Calculators

As mentioned earlier, engineering calculators offer theoretical values. Yet once you have these starting values, you can tweak them to achieve your desired part quality. You enjoy several benefits when you use speed and feed calculators to plan your production setup:

  • Extended tool lifespans
  • Proper machining speeds
  • Optimal material removal rates
  • Ideal cycle times
  • High-quality surface finishes

Calculating Surface Feet Per Minute

Simply put, surface feet per minute is a measurement of velocity. SFM expresses how quickly a tool can cut through a piece of metal material: It’s the number of linear feet the tool can travel within one minute. Two key factors affect any SFM measurement: the material’s machinability and the hardness of the cutting tool itself. 

Surface feet per minute can be calculated by plugging the appropriate values into a formula. However, you could make it easier on yourself by letting a speed and feed calculator do the work for you. If you’re looking for a simple SFM measurement, you only need your tool’s diameter and the revolutions per minute. 

Measuring Revolutions Per Minute

Kennametal’s speed and feed calculators also include inches per minute, revolutions per minute and conversions between metric and imperial measurements. To find your RPM, you only need your tool’s diameter and its SFM value. Your tools’ diameters are probably listed in metric, so you’ll find the metric-imperial converters helpful. On each Kennametal engineering calculator page, you should also notice a handy “metric/inch” toggle switch. Use this switch to get your calculations in either metric or imperial measurements. 

A Quick Word About Turning Applications

As you probably know, turning is just another method of cutting metal in CNC machining. Instead of allowing the tool to move across the metal’s surface or through the piece itself, turning uses chucks to hold metal pieces. The machine rotates each piece as it contacts the cutting tool, which removes the appropriate amount of metal. 

So how do engineering calculators impact turning applications? You’ll need other types of measurements for these processes. Force, torque and horsepower remain important. You may require other values such as corner radius and inches per revolution.

You can also find surface finish values measured in micrometers. This is especially important considering the machined part’s intended use: The higher the surface finish number, the rougher its surface is. Lower numbers reflect a finer surface, critical for items that will bear a lot of stress or tension. 

Planning Your Operations

Engineering calculators provide useful starting values that you can modify to get the highest quality results. Speed and feed calculators are most useful for cutting, while turning calculators are specifically designed for turning applications. Achieving your desired results depends on having both correct values and proper equipment such as superior-grade turning inserts. Working with a trusted metalworking tool vendor can help you set up successful CNC operations.


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