Reconditioning vs. Standard Sharpening

Reconditioning vs. Standard Sharpening

There are two main terms that people use to describe the sharpening of CNC machine tools – reconditioning and standard sharpening. In some cases both methods have their own advantages and disadvantages, so it can be difficult to decide which one is best for your business. In other cases, the two terms can mean the exact same thing. In this article, we’ll discuss reconditioning vs. standard sharpening your tools, as well as the pros and cons of each method. This will help you decide which sharpening method is right for you!

What is Reconditioning?

Reconditioning is the process of restoring a CNC machine tool to its original condition. This can be done by replacing worn parts and repairing damage. In addition to sharpening the edge of the tool, other components may or may not be replaced including bearings, grease zerks, toolholders, etc. Other reconditioning operations may occur like honing of bores, rebalancing, resetting of tips, and returning the tool to the original cutting diameters.

What is Standard Sharpening?

Standard sharpening is the process of honing the cutting edges of CNC machine tools. This method is less expensive than reconditioning, but it does not restore the tool to its original condition. The main advantage of standard sharpening is that it can be completed in a shorter amount of time than reconditioning. It is the more traditional method and generally involves using a grinding wheel to remove material from the cutting edge of the tool. This can be an effective way to restore the sharpness of your tool, but it can also lead to a change in diameter of your cutting tool. Standard sharpening will extend the life of your machine tool, but it will not make it run like new again.

Pros of Reconditioning:

Many times, when your tool is serviced it may be “reconditioned” by default. For example, if you have a requirement that your diamond tools are serviced to the same small diameter, then the service that is performed will likely be a recondition. Tips will be replaced or reset and shaped to the original specification. The tool may have a renewal of plating or surface treatment of the tool body. When you receive the tool back, it should look and run like new or at least very close to new.

However, in the case of a standard sharpening, the diameter of the tool could change at the effective clearance angles on the cutting edges could change somewhat. This may result in the tool being sharp but not running quite like new.

Cons of Reconditioning:

There are a few potential drawbacks to reconditioning your CNC machine tools. First, it can be expensive to hire a professional to do the work. Secondly, the time it takes to recondition a tool can be much more than a standard sharpening. And you need to understand your manufacturing process to know whether the cost and time of reconditioning is justified.

Also, keep in mind that in certain situations, a reconditioning of the cutting tool is really the only viable option. An example of this would be a cell of CNC machines with a lot of automation. Perhaps you have an automatic robotic tool changer and the tools need to maintain a constant diameter. In that case the service of these tools will be more like a reconditioning each time.

Pros of Standard Sharpening:

Sharpening involves removing a small amount of material from the tool in order to create a new, sharp edge. This is typically a quick and easy process, and it can be done on a regular basis to keep your tools in top condition. This process can extend the life of the tools and improve the quality of the cuts. dull blades put unnecessary strain on the motor, which can lead to premature wear and tear. Regular sharpening will also improve the overall quality of your finished products. With sharper blades, you’ll be able to achieve a cleaner cut, which can make all the difference when it comes to the final look of your project.

Cons of Standard Sharpening:

Standard sharpening may require the operator to perform additional setup when they use a sharpening tool due to the change in diameter of the tool. Also, sharpened tools may not run as long after they are sharpened vs. when they are brand new or fully reconditioned.

Should I sharpen or Recondition my CNC Machine Tools in House or Hire a Professional?

There is no easy answer when it comes to deciding whether to sharpen your CNC machine in-house or to hire a professional. The key factor to consider is the level of experience and expertise that you and your team have with sharpening tools. If you have a lot of experience and are confident in your abilities, then sharpening your CNC machine tools in-house may be the right choice for you. However, if you are not as experienced or confident, then it may be better to hire a professional. 

When sharpening tools in-house, using specialized equipment is a great way to go. This can be a cost-effective option, and it also allows for more control over the process. However, it does require a significant investment of time and money to set up the necessary equipment. Additionally, sharpening tools is a delicate process, and it takes a great deal of experience to do it correctly. Choosing to hire a professional will provide you with state-of-the-art equipment and highly skilled operators, which results in a superior edge on the cutting tool. While professional sharpening services may cost more than sharpening in-house, many machinists find that the improved performance and efficiency of their CNC machine is well worth the investment.

So you may be asking yourself, which sharpening method is right for me? If you have the budget for it, reconditioning is the best option. However, if you need to get your machine back up and running quickly and spend less money, standard sharpening is the way to go.

If you have any questions about reconditioning vs. standard sharpening, please contact us. We would be happy to help you decide which method is best for your business!

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