I wonder if anybody makes an ultrasonic milling head, that could be
mounted on a standard CNC mill, much like laser scanner heads are.
If anyone out there has experience with ultrasonic milling, please
Hi, Andrew. Define experience… Maybe, maybe not. Maybe I’m the
only one here who’s actually used an ultrasonic drill - maybe. And
I’ve been intrigued and followed it fairly casually ever since.
First off, there are milling machines and milling heads out there,
yes. Of course, that also includes a controller/ultrasonic circuit.
There are actually two versions, in general. Pure ultrasonic and
rotary ultrasonics, which have pretty obvious differences in
application. The two vendors I know of- I think they are just about
it, for the business - are sonicmill:
http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/18f and DMG Sauer:
It’s no coincidence that Sonicmill is in Albuquerque, as it’s a
subsidiary of Rio Grande. Also, a Google of "ultrasonic milling"
brought up a couple if interesting papers…
As for finishing - those cameos come straight off the machines. If
you look close, you’ll see they are somewhat of a buff finish. It’s
standard lapidary abrasives: You can use 100 grit and cut this in
five minutes, but it will take 12 hours to finish it, or we can use
1000 grit (whatever) with ultrasonics, cut it in an hour and it’s out
the door. Penny wise or pound foolish, as the saying goes. Of
course, none of this is cheap…
For the uninitiated - you get yourself an ultrasonic milling
machine, which is MUCH higher power than an ultraonic drill - there
is a “cone of power” in such things. A drill’s cone is about 1mm -
outside of that it doesn’t cut. A mill might have 3 or 4 inches -
mucho power. You get yerself a piece of steel - I don’t know what
they use for dies, actually - and cut a wonderful horse into it in
negative relief. Mount it in the machine, put a slab under it, put
grit between the two, turn it on and the machine cuts the horse into
the slab, exactly and precisely. And the dies last longer than you
might think, because it’s not the die that cuts, it’s the
grit… Seriously cool stuff.