Need and purpose of chip-breaking

Continuous machining like turning of ductile metals, unlike brittle metals like grey cast iron, produce continuous chips, which leads to their handling and disposal problems. The problems become acute when ductile but strong metals like steels are machined at high cutting velocity for high MRR by flat rake face type carbide or ceramic inserts. The sharp edged hot continuous chip that comes out at very high speed
• becomes dangerous to the operator and the other people working in the vicinity
• may impair the finished surface by entangling with the rotating job
• creates difficulties in chip disposal.

Therefore it is essentially needed to break such continuous chips into small regular pieces for
• safety of the working people
• prevention of damage of the product
• easy collection and disposal of chips.

Chip breaking is done in proper way also for the additional purpose of improving machinability by reducing the chip-tool contact area, cutting forces and crater wear of the cutting tool.

Principles of chip-breaking

In respect of convenience and safety, closed coil type chips of short length and ‘coma’ shaped broken-to-half turn chips are ideal in machining of ductile metals and alloys at high speed.

The principles and methods of chip breaking are generally classified as follows :
• Self breaking: This is accomplished without using a separate chip-breaker either as an attachment or an additional geometrical modification of the tool.
• Forced chip breaking by additional tool geometrical features or devices.

(a) Self breaking of chips

Ductile chips usually become curled or tend to curl (like clock spring) even in machining by tools with flat rake surface due to unequal speed of flow of the chip at its free and generated (rubbed) surfaces and unequal temperature and cooling rate at those two surfaces. With the increase in cutting velocity and rake angle (positive) the radius of curvature increases, which is more dangerous. In case of oblique cutting due to presence of inclination angle, restricted cutting effect etc. the curled chips deviate laterally resulting helical coiling of the chips.

The curled chips may self break :
• By natural fracturing of the strain hardened outgoing chip after sufficient cooling and spring back as indicated in Fig. Principles of self breaking of chips (a). This kind of chip breaking is generally observed under the condition close to that which favours formation of jointed or segmented chips
• By striking against the cutting surface of the job, as shown in Fig. Principles of self breaking of chips (b), mostly under pure orthogonal cutting
• By striking against the tool flank after each half to full turn as indicated in Fig. Principles of self breaking of chips (c).

Figure: Principles of self breaking of chips

The possibility and pattern of self chip-breaking depend upon the work material, tool material and tool geometry (γ, λ, φ and r), levels of the process parameters (V_C and S_o) and the machining environment (cutting fluid application) which are generally selected keeping in view the overall machinability.

(b) Forced chip-breaking

The hot continuous chip becomes hard and brittle at a distance from its origin due to work hardening and cooling. If the running chip does not become enough curled and work hardened, it may not break. In that case the running chip is forced to bend or closely curl so that it breaks into pieces at regular intervals. Such broken chips are of regular size and shape depending upon the configuration of the chip breaker.

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Chip breakers are basically of two types :
• In-built type
• Clamped or attachment type

In-built breakers are in the form of step or groove at the rake surface near the cutting edges of the tools. Such chip breakers are provided either
Δ after their manufacture – in case of HSS tools like drills, milling cutters, broaches etc and brazed type carbide inserts
Δ during their manufacture by powder metallurgical process – e.g., throw away type inserts of carbides, ceramics and cermets.

The basic principle of forced chip breaking is schematically shown in Fig. ‘Principle of forced chip breaking’ when the strain hardened and brittle running chip strikes the heel, the cantilever chip gets forcibly bent and then breaks.

Figure: Principle of forced chip breaking

Fig. ‘Step type in-built chip breaker (a) parallel step (b) parallel and radiused (c) positive angular (d) negative angular’ schematically shows some commonly used step type chip breakers :
• Parallel step
• Angular step; positive and negative type
• Parallel step with nose radius – for heavy cuts.

Figure: Step type in-built chip breaker

Groove type in-built chip breaker may be of
• Circular groove or
• Tilted Vee groove
as schematically shown in Fig. ‘Groove type in-built chip breaker’

Figure: Groove type in-built chip breaker

The unique characteristics of in-built chip breakers are :
• The outer end of the step or groove acts as the heel that forcibly bend and fracture the running chip
• Simple in configuration, easy manufacture and inexpensive
• The geometry of the chip-breaking features are fixed once made (i.e., cannot be controlled)
• Effective only for fixed range of speed and feed for any given tool-work combination.

(c) clamped type chip-breaker

Clamped type chip breakers work basically in the principle of stepped type chip-breaker but have the provision of varying the width of the step and / or the angle of the heel.
Fig. ‘Clamped type chip breakers’ schematically shows three such chip breakers of common use :
• With fixed distance and angle of the additional strip – effective only for a limited domain of parametric combination
• With variable width (W) only – little versatile
• With variable width (W), height (H) and angle (β) – quite versatile but less rugged and more expensive.

Figure: Clamped type chip breakers

Design principle of simple step type chip breaker

• Parallel step type in-built chip breaker

In machining like turning of ductile material the chip first leaves the hot plastic zone and then comes out as an elastic cantilever beam. The chip breaker (heel) forcibly bends the chip to shorter radius of curvature and raises the strain, resulting chip breaking as shown in Fig. ‘Principle of forced chip breaking’.

Lot of study had been done on chip breaking and the results, briefly shown in Fig. ‘Critical radius of curvature for chip breaking’ indicates that for a given value of uncut chip thickness, a_1, the chip effectively breaks when the radius of curvature (ρ) is brought to or slightly below some critical value.

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From Fig. ‘Principle of forced chip breaking’,

figure: Critical radius of curvature for chip breaking

• Clamped type chip breaker

From the geometry of Fig. ‘Design of clamped type chip breaker’,

figure: Design of clamped type chip breaker

Previous researchers prepared a chart recommending the dimensions of step type chip breaker for different conditions under the following assumptions :
• ideally plastic chip, i.e., no work hardening
• chip flows straight if chip breaker does not exist
• plane sections remain plane
• heel of breaker exerts bending force on chip.

Table 1 In-built chip breaker design

Configuration and working principle of some chip breakers in practice

In-built type chip breakers once made are of fixed geometry and hence are effectively applicable for particular situations or materials but are very simple in construction and easy to handle. While designing the overall geometry of the tool inserts, several factors, in addition to chip-breaking, need to be considered, such as ;
• imparting mechanical strength to the cutting edge by its rounding and / or bevelling
• reduction of cutting forces having favourable (positive) rake
• controlled contact (chip-tool) cutting effect for lesser friction and wear
• better heat dissipation

Incorporation of all such aspects through integrated tool geometry require proper design and manufacture which fortunately have become now-a-days, quite easy and fast due to advent of CAD and processes like EDM, ECM etc. for manufacturing complex shaped die and punch. In-built type chip breakers with integrated tool geometry have been much popular and are getting widely used.

Fig. ‘Schematic view of the typical form of inserts (cutting edge) with integrated chip-breaker’ shows the typical form of the modern cutting tool inserts with in-built chip-breaker. The curved portion BC is the edge radiusing, CD is the land with negative rake, DEF is the groove with positive rake and the point F acts as the heel to break the chip by fracturing. The actual length and angle of those features and their apportionment are decided and some special features are further incorporated to that geometry (Fig. Schematic view of the typical form of inserts (cutting edge) with integrated chip-breaker) depending upon the operations like bulk machining or finishing and the characteristics of the work materials.

figure: Schematic view of the typical form of inserts (cutting edge) with integrated chip-breaker

The configurations of some industrially used uncoated and coated carbide tool inserts with compound rake including chip-breaking feature are typically shown in Fig. ‘Various groove type inserts’. [Cutting Tools for Productive Machining – T.A.Sadanivan and D. Sarathy, WIDIA (I) Ltd.]

figure: Various groove type inserts

Throw away type indexable tool inserts are also widely used for drilling, milling, broaching etc. where the inserts of suitable geometry are mechanically clamped in the steel shank of the tools. The geometry of some of those uncoated and coated carbide inserts also essentially incorporates the chip-breaking feature.

Chip breakers in solid HSS tools

Despite advent of several modern cutting tool materials, HSS is still used for its excellent TRS (transverse rupture strength) and toughness, formability, grindability and low cost.

The cutting tools made of solid HSS blanks, such as form tools, twist drills, slab milling cutters, broaches etc, are also often used with suitable chip breakers for breaking the long or wide continuous chips.

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The handling of wide and long chips often become difficult particularly while drilling large diameter and deep holes. Grooves, either on the rake faces or on the flanks as shown in Fig. ‘Chip breaking grooves’ help break the chips both along the length and breadth in drilling ductile metals. The locations of the grooves are offset in the two cutting edges.

figure: Chip breaking grooves

Fig. ‘Designs of chip-breaking drill’ schematically shows another principle of chip-breaking when the drilling chips are forced to tighter curling followed by breaking of the strain hardened chips into pieces.

figure: Designs of chip-breaking drill

Plain milling and end milling inherently produces discontinuous ‘coma’ shaped chips of favourably shorter length. But the chips become very wide while milling wide surfaces and may offer problem of chip disposal. To reduce this problem, the milling cutters are provided with small peripheral grooves on the cutting edges as shown in Fig. ‘Chip breaking grooves on a plain helical milling cutter’. Such in-built type chip breakers break the wide chips into a number of chips of much shorter width. Similar groove type chip-breakers are also often provided along the teeth of broaches, for breaking the chips to shorter width and ease of disposal.

figure: Chip breaking grooves on a plain helical milling cutter

Dynamic chip breaker

Dynamic turning is a special technique, where the cutting tool is deliberately vibrated along the direction of feed as indicated in Fig. ‘Self chip breaking in dynamic turning’ at suitable frequency and amplitude. Such additional controlled tool oscillation caused by mechanical, hydraulic or electro-magnetic (solenoid) shaker improves surface finish. This also reduces the cutting forces and enhances the tool life due to more effective cooling and lubrication at the chip tool and work tool interfaces for intermittent break of the tool-work contact. Such technique, if further slightly adjusted, can also help breaking the chips. When the two surfaces of the chip will be waved by phase difference of about 90o, the chip will either break immediately or will come out in the form of bids, which will also break with slight bending or pressure as indicated in Fig. 7.13. This technique of chip breaking can also be accomplished in dynamic drilling and dynamic boring.

figure: Self chip breaking in dynamic turning

Fig. ‘Dynamic chip breaking in in radial operations in lathe’ schematically shows another possible dynamic chip-breaking device suitable for radially fed type lathe operations, e.g., facing, grooving and parting.

figure: Dynamic chip breaking in in radial operations in lathe

Overall effects of chip breaking

• Favourable effects
o safety of the operator(s) from the hot, sharp continuous chip flowing out at high speed

o convenience of collection and disposal of chips

o chances of damage of the finished surface by entangling or rubbing with the chip is eliminated

o more effective cutting fluid action due to shorter and varying chip tool contact length.

• Unfavourable effects
o chances of harmful vibration due to frequent chip breaking and hitting at the heel or flank of the tool bit

o more heat and stress concentration near the sharp cutting edge and hence chances of its rapid failure.

o surface finish may deteriorate

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