Useful Terminology You May Come Across…

Alongside maths and drawing (including CAD) skills, technical literacy is crucial to understand and apply practical skills. This glossary hopefully will allow you to look up key words in our manufacturing world.

Add value – Building in additional value into a product through machining, processing and fabrication of raw materials and components

Additive processes – Using software and Rapid prototype (RP) to build products in layers(slices) see FDM, SLS, SLA

Alloys – Metal alloys are two or more chemical elements, at least one of which is a metal. Alloys are created to combine and improve properties of materials

Anodised – Hard aluminium oxide layer created on aluminium alloy products dyed in a range of colours

Artificial Intelligence (AI) – The use of machines and computers to replace human intelligence and control manufacturing

Assembly/Assembling – Either manual or automated (robotised), assembly is about fitting and attaching components together to make products

Automated – Automation – is where computer controlled mechanical and electrical systems of machining, making and assembling replace humans and reduce cost and increase productivity

Bars – A round or flat form of stock supplied to manufacturers

Between Centres – When a workpiece is held, rotated and/or machined between two aligned points

Bits – A common name to describe drills and cutting tools

Blanking – The process of creating (punching) flat die-cut sheet metal parts prior to drawing or press forming

Blind Hole – Is a hole that is only partly through a material

Boring – A way of cutting long length large diameter precision holes in materials

Broaching – To create long flat cuts inside and outside materials with a good surface finish
Carbides – Also known as sintered or cemented carbides. With high hardness, low expansion and heat conductivity they are ideal for dies and cutting tools

Cast Cobalt (Stellite) – Introduced in 1915, it is a low cost heavy duty cutting steel, much improved over HSS

Centre Drills – Essential accurate tooling to start a hole or centre for drilling and turning

Chip Breaker – Continuous swarf is undesirable so a flat feature behind the rake face of the tool breaks the scrolling swarf into short pieces

CNC – Computer Numerical Control. To automate and control machining operations and tool paths.
CO2 – Metal cutting using CO2 with Lasers and MIGs utilises the inert gas shroud to minimise oxidation. Other gases like Nitrogen and Helium are used too

Coated Tooling – Gives tooling a longer life and with lower cutting friction and improved heat hardness. Titanium Carbide, Titanium Nitride and Aluminium Oxides are used

Cold Working – As it suggests is when steels are blanked, formed pressed, spun, drawn at room temperature

Compound Slide – Is a machine slide that has two or more moving axes to create compound surfaces when cutting eg: a taper or curve

Computer Integrated Manufacture (CIM) – Where computer software and hardware are integrated across manufacture from design to distribution

Co-ordinate Measuring Machines (CMM) – Accurate bed or platform with probes and sensors to visually inspect, size, scan complex parts

Counterboring – Machining concentric (stepped) holes for components and fasteners

Countersinking – Common angled edge finish to holes for screwheads and deburring

Cutting Fluid – Using oils, emulsions and synthetic fluids reduces tool wear, cools cutting edge and improves finish and higher speed cutting

Deburring – Removal of ridges and edges on machined edges.  This can be done with a file or wire brush and in production with a belts, vibration, polishing or abrasive blasting 

Dial Gauge Indicator –  Important micro measuring of tooling and workpiece to check flatness or alignment

Die – To forge, stamp, draw and punch dies are used that are pre-formed in tool steels. They are tough, hard, wear and resistant steels to withstand the forces and continuous operation

Down Milling – Or climb milling is where the rotating tool starts at the top of the workpiece. Helps push the workpiece onto the machine table. Hard forgings and scaly surfaces are less suitable for down milling
Drawing – 3D Sheet metal forming from a flat surface which stretches the metal using a punch/die 

Drill Press – A bench, pillar or radial arm drill and table for drilling, reaming, tapping operations

DXF – Data exchange format is a CAD data file format to swap between CAD and CAM.  Now less useful as more powerful CAD processes interact with DWG

Extrusion – Pushing or drawing material through a die to give a continuous piece with a constant cross section

Fabrication – The process of cutting, shaping and assembling parts

Face Plate – Circular plates with slots to hold castings, forgings and odd components on a lathe headstock when machining

Facing Off – Finishing end of bar or component with a flat face

FDM – Fused deposition modelling is an additive process. Used for rapid prototyping and modelling

FEA – Finite element Analysis. Where surface and wire modelling enables designers to predict and analyse loads, stresses and predict failure in parts

Forging – Shaping of metals by compressing and squeezing into moulds and using high forces often with hot metals

Form Tools – Preshaped tool with inverse shape ground on. As the tool is cut or pressed into raw material finished shape or form is created

G and M Codes – Machining instructions for CNC machines that are predetermined tool paths and routines. Other coding also exists

Galvanised – Useful zinc based surface finish to reduce corrosion, either electroplated or hot dipped

Go and No Go – Gauges to check tolerance/sizes of simple components and parts quickly

Group Technology – Where companies ‘group’ together components and technologies to share parts, processing and reduce costs

Heat Treatment – Using a range of temperatures to alter the properties and behaviour of metals before, during and after working. Eg: annealling, normalising, hardening

Helix Angle – The tip angle of drills and cutters measured from the face of the material

High Speed Steels – Are a subset of tool steel and are used in tool bits and drills now being replaced with coated and tipped tools
Honeycombs – Use of metal to create hollow cell, lightweight strong structures in press formed sheet metals sandwiched together

Hot Working – Where metals are plastically deformed so that recrystallisation can take place at reduce stresses and strain hardening

Inspection – Measuring and precision evaluation of parts and components. See ultrasonic and CCM.

Inserts – Are the hard ceramic or carbide tool bits attached to tool holders to improve metal cutting

Jigs and Templates – Control the position of parts being machined. They ensure repeatable, accurate positioning and interchangeability of parts

Just in Time (JIT)  – Just in Time is a strategy to improve production, reducing costs by limiting carried stock and ensuring parts and materials arrive to be processed or dispatched ‘JIT’  See KANBAN

KANBAN – Is a LEAN scheduling system related to JIT to ensure parts are produced when needed

Keyway – Rotating parts and shafts often require keyways (slots) for keys to engage and drive other components round. Cut using milling machines

Knurling – A grip cut or formed onto metal to create finger grips on circular parts

Laser – Laser cutting, welding and engrave (etch) materials. Works by directing and moving the output of a high-power laser, using a computer, at the material to be cut. The material melts, burns, or vaporizes away and is blown away by a jet of gas leaving a precision edge. Laser cutters are used to cut flat-sheet material as well as structural and tubular materials

Lathe – The first ‘self’ replicating machine and the start of the machine tool industry.  Holds and rotates the workpiece along its axis allowing cutting, forming and drilling operations with various tools

Leadscrew(s) – Heavy duty screw threads to transmit rotary motion in machines and convert rotary motion to linear motion for tooling, tool paths

Limits, Fits and Tolerances – A system of specified sizes and sizing limits to ensure components and parts fit together. Checks are made during production to ensure parts are sized

LOM – Laminated Object Manufacture – Successive thin slices of metal, plastic or paper are cut to shape with a knife or laser and glued together creating a complex 3D shape.  See Rapid Prototyping. 

Metal Matrix Materials (MMC) – are material composites. Typically a reinforced aluminium matrix with reinforced carbon fibres. These anisotropic materials have enormous strength and low weight

Metrology – Is the scientific accurate measurement of components

Micrometer – A calibrated device for measuring small incremental difference in size, length

Milling – A machine tool in horizontal and vertical form.  Work piece and cutter movement is controlled either manually or automated.  They perform the widest number of operations including slots, planing, drilling and contouring

Parametric Drawing – or solid (digital) modelling using computer graphics to wire frame, render, animate and visualise objects

Pick and Place – Where components and parts are moved by grippers, suction cups and arms to different manufacturing locations as part of a production process

Piercing – Is a shearing process where a punch and die close on sheet metal to form blanks

Plasma Cutting – A process used to cuts metals using an electric arc with a high speed inert gas blown across the cutting face

Powder Metallurgy – Where fine powdered metals are compressed in a mould and heated (sintered) to create precision finished parts.

Pre-Coated Metals – Pre finished sheet metal is often supplied pre coated before forming into products. Plastics, laminates, galvanising are typical and reduce post production cost

Punching – Metal forming where a press is used to force a punch and die together(shearing) to create a hole in sheet metal

Rapid Prototyping (RP) – Is a family of processes for creating one off, complex 3D parts and prototypes using 3D software.  See SLS, SLA, 3DP, FDM, additive process.

Reaming – The process of creating accurate holes after drilling or boring

Ring Gauges – Used to check diameters and tolerance of turned parts

Scanners – For 3D data to be collected on products (dot cloud)  to recreate 3D visualisation and metrology checks
Shadow Gauges – An optical system for checking, measuring and comparing profiles of components

Shearing – Where sheet metals are cut by punching, lancing or using a guillotine

Sheet Metal Folding – Basic deformation process with sheet metal to add value and create forms for additional components to be fabricated with

SLA – Stereolithography is an additive process using UV curable resins. A laser selectively cures successive layers of resin into a complex solid.

Slab Milling (Up Milling) – The milling cutter rotates up through the workpiece with less force and less vibration than down milling  

SLS – Selective Laser Sintering is an additive process where small particles of plastic or (glass and ceramic) metal are fused using a high power laser. Complex shapes and prototypes are built up in layers using CNC

Tail Stock – Opposite end of lathe axially in line with headstock and supports tooling, toolholders

Taper Shank – Drive flank of larger tools and drills allowing rapid fitting and location of tools and larger drills
Taper Turning – Short and long taper on round bar are done on a centre lathe and either moving the tool at an angle to the workpiece or offsetting the workpiece so it rotates at an angle to the tool

Threading – Where internal and external threads are cut or rolled. Fastening parts together using threads means they can be disassembled or adjusted
Touch Trigger Probe – Featuring a stylus that allows accurate probing and measuring of parts and products. See CMM   

Transducers – Accurate CNC machining relies on precision transducers that send (feedback) digital and analogue data to the computer of tool position

Water Jetting – Is the process of slicing through metals (and stone) with a water jet at high pressure. The water caries an abrasive powder that erodes the metal