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Countersinks and Chamfers for CNC machining parts



Countersinks and Chamfers for CNC machining parts

Any machined part that has holes in it probably also has countersinks. Countersinks are used as a lead-in for threads, for flathead screws, and just as a general edge break or chamfer on any type of hole where a lead-in is necessary. In many cases, the diameter of a countersink is not very critical and can often be dimensioned at a lower tolerance than the standard tolerances for the part. Unfortunately, we see all too often that the diameter tolerance is left as a 3 decimal place dimension which would assign a higher tolerance than is needed - generally ±.005".
Normally that much tolerance is no problem for CNC machining. So why would this drive additional cost vs. a lower tolerance feature? There are a few reasons why this is a special case. Generally a countersink feature is specified as the diameter of the outer edge and the included angle. This feature is machined with a countersink tool and the Z-depth of the tool will determine how large the countersink is.
Even high quality countersink tools are notoriously unreliable on the dimension from their tip to X diameter along their cutting edge. This makes dialing in the tool more challenging the first time and after any tool replacement. Any additional time adds costs to the part. The higher tolerance that you need to hold the diameter to, the longer it will take to dial it in, and the more closely it will need to be watched while running the parts.
For machined chamfers that are not on holes, consider the use of the feature and tolerance it accordingly. Again, many engineers forget to loosen the tolerance and the shop is stuck dealing with a more challenging feature and overprocessing the manufacturing;ultimately, the customer is stuck paying for it.
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