To achieve a desired finish, the precise activity of honing is often required. Honing is used for components where a very accurate, specific finish is required. It’s a specialist activity and its high level of accuracy demands expert machinery which can guarantee results. Honing is most commonly required to the inside of cylinders, known as bores, and honing machines will measure their capabilities based on the bores they can hone.
Hand honing machines are used for small parts, usually providing accurate results for components up to 50mm in diameter. Hand honing is commonly used in the motor industry but for larger items, bigger machines are required to get the job done.
Automatic honing machines are commonly employed. These allow dimensions to be set up on an easy to use computerised control panel. After set up, the machine can simply be left to carry out the honing on multiple pieces, providing accurate results time and time again. Different spindle drive powers are available with these machines, often ranging from 1 to 10 HP, or Horse Power. The HP required will depend upon the material being honed, with tougher materials requiring more horse power. Varying speeds, measured in RPM, are also possible. Again, the material and bore being honed will determine the choice.
Both horizontal and vertical machines are available. Horizontal machines cover bore sizes from around 1 inch whereas vertical machines can cover bore diameters from 0.25 inches. Vertical machines do however struggle with larger bore sizes, struggling to cover diameters over 24 inches. This is where horizontal machines excel, offering excellent performance for bore sizes of over 40 inches.
Honing accessories will be required to assist the machines. Honing oil is a must-have accessory, lubricating the machine and ensuring a smooth process. Coolant is another popular choice, reducing temperature build up, protecting against rust and helping to carry chips away from the cutting area.
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