Honing is the process used to create precision surfaces and achieve tighter tolerances than is achievable with conventional machining methods. When metal is bored or cut, the drilling process often leaves a rough, uneven texture.
Honing evens out the surface texture at a microscopic level. This is crucial in many sectors of precision engineering, including aerospace, oil and gas, motorsports, and medical equipment.
The honing process works via a rotating mandrel with a central cone which expands via a feed shaft. During the honing cycle, pressure is increased to facilitate material removal. The best way or remembering the crucial factors for performing a successful honing operation is SMOPS: Stone, Mandrel, Oil, Pressure and Speed.
Various different stones are used for different metals and precision requirements. The most familiar are:
An aluminium oxide valued for its intense hardness, corundum can make a scratch on pretty much anything, including other minerals. We also know corundum as the ‘sand’ part of sandpaper.
2) Silicon Carbide
Almost identical to corundum, but with much greater endurance. You’ll find silicon carbide in car breaks and bulletproof vests.
3) Cubic Boron Nitride
An abrasive valued for its extremely high melting point. This means that cubic boron nitride stones, often referred to as Borozon stones, are the ideal choice for honing a wide variety of materials.
Valued as an extremely strong stone, diamonds have been used throughout history to hone other metals. Usually, diamond is used to hone metals that are harder than steel such as carbide or glass.
Which Tools And Machinery Should Be Used?
Bespoke honing machines are required. The abrasive must consistently follow a precise path, making the machines one of the most complex types used in engineering. The pathways are so precise that CNC bore honing machines have two stones following two different paths at the same time.
The most important factors are achieving geometry and the required surface finish, so that when the metal is looked at under an endoscope, no trace of previous machining operations is visible.
How Can Hone-All Help?
Hone-All started life as a company dedicated to the precision art of honing, and it’s still a key element of what we do. Quality standards are crucial in precision engineering. This is because surface texture can make a dramatic difference to performance, whether it’s the smoothness of a hypodermic needle or a cylinder in an aeroplane component.
One of the best ways to get a feel for our specialist equipment, knowledge, and facilities, is to visit our workshop and have a chat with one of our experts. In precision honing, it’s all about the detail, and sometimes that’s best seen in-action.
CNC honing is at the heart of many engineering projects. Nature has given us some amazing materials to work with, and engineers have created some powerful equipment to keep pushing the boundaries of performance and here at Hone-All, we’ve worked with the greatest variety.
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