Non contact centering tool

Castings are designed to minimize the amount of metal removal in machining operations. However, if the cutting tool is not precisely aligned relative to the part being machined, a non cleanup condition could result. This is shown in Figure 1 in which a honing operation has failed to remove residual fine boring marks from the previous machining operation.

Figure 1. Scanned image of a honed combustion cylinder with residual fine boring marks

While IOMS laser scanning probes were developed to inspect the surfaces of manufactured parts they can also be employed as a centering tool for the alignment of cutting tools. Dedicated inspection system spindles are designed with a hollow rotor to transmit probe signals through the spindle to a slip ring that transmits data to a data acquisition system. For a centering tool the slip ring would be mounted on the same shaft as the probe so that the IOMS probe could be used interchangeably with other tools. In this configuration the IOMS probe could be used to center the machine tool on a cylindrical feature and then be replaced by a cutting or assembly tool to perform the desired operation. Alignment accuracy depends on the precision with which the machine on which the probe is mounted can be adjusted. A photo of a probe configured for centering is shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. IOMS probe in centering tool configuration