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If you are working in mold-making, prototyping or even in a job shop you have had to use unusual form tooling before in your life.

Form tooling is often used to machine undercuts and other features on regular 3 axis machines that would otherwise require a multi axis machining centre or are not machinable o at all.

The classical example of a form tool is a tear-drop ball mil, also known as a "lollipop". It has a tip with a certain diameter and a much smaller shank that produces enough clearance to machine undercuts on straight walls. It can also be used to regular surface finishing and 2d milling.

Another example is a T-slot cutter that is used to produce key-ways and t- slots

The main thing to consider when machining with reduced shank end mils is deflection and torque.

While deflection is especially dangerous for long tools, torque becomes much more important for tools with severely reduced shank.

Torque required to break a tool is directly proportional to the diameter of its shank.

And when shank diameter is much smaller than the tip diameter it does not matter how short that weak portion is: unless you compensate for it you will snap the tool.

The first thing that crosses the mind in many such cases is "I gotta run this tool very slow". It may take forever, but in many cases job gets somewhat done.

Contrary to that many experienced machinists have been proponents of different approach. Instead of reducing feed rate to the point of rubbing and below, it is much more productive to reduce cutter engagement if possible and leave feed rate settings largely unchanged.

Trying to keep proper chip load is even more important when machining work-hardenable materials like stainless steel and titanium. In those cases rubbing is not just unproductive, it leads to a very premature, in many cases instantaneous tool failure.

Just how much of a cut is possible to take in each particular case is the black magic that separates beginners from seasoned pros.

Not to worry though

Here is an example

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Tormach is about to introduce their first CNC grinder

September 10, 2013, 11:58 am by Eldar Gerfanov

This video was uploaded a couple of days ago and has sparked fierce debates on PM forums about its feasibility.

There is no official information yet, but some are already wondering how accurate and cheap it is going to be.

And this is why you have safety doors on cnc lathes.....

August 31, 2013, 4:07 pm by Eldar Gerfanov

.....and this is why they are so heavy.

I have stumbled upon this video the other day.

It shows a very good reason to keep those doors closed at all times when runing your machine.

HSMAdvisor "Get It For FREE" program has ended

August 29, 2013, 8:24 pm by Eldar Gerfanov

Hello gentleman,

This has been a great run.
Many of suggested features were implemented.
All of the reported bugs fixed and still there is so much to do left.

Out "get it for free" program however has ended.

Here is a list of people who qualified for a free license.






bevinp 1 1 2
spooq 1   1
jason.t 1 1 2
Kennis   2 2
rlockwood   2 2
Bruce 1   1
RotoRob 1   1
alloutmx 2   2
Scott_M   2 2
cschaffter 1   1
Blue_Chips 4(too many to count) 2 6
rem300wm 1   1
mike   2 2
rloncohen   1 1
xthump 1   1
ChristopherSims   1 1

Users who earned at least 2 points got qualified!

Pleaase send me email at with your:

Last Name
email address
Computer ID key

Those are users who gave suggestions on support forums.

If you wrote me emails, please get in touch with me anyway. Most of my email contacts who was involved into beta-testing have already gotten their keys.

Qualified users who suggested by email are:

  • Stan stanmc@****.net
  • David C. Allen

If you feel left out please get in touch with me. i could have forgotten somebody.

Time on great HSMAdvisor deal is running out!!

August 29, 2013, 8:10 pm by Eldar Gerfanov

HSMAdvisor is going fully commercial.

After September the 1st 30th, three seat license for HSMAdvisor currently available for just 75$ will cost 249$

Here are final prices for different packages that will be available:



Basic Individual License

  • Single Seat  ___________99$
  • Three Seat   ___________249$ (15% savings over single seat)
  • Five Seat     ___________349$ (30% savings over single seat)

Special Company-Wide License

  • Unlimited number of seats within company premise ___________email Quote


Hurry UP you only have few days left!!


For the list of people whos suggestions and feedback were deemed valuable and who will get a free license please read here.


An old trick to reduce or prevent chatter in extension holders

August 23, 2013, 11:36 am by Eldar Gerfanov

Shrink fit holders and extensions often come with a big through hole.

Its primary use is to allow the shank be knoked out from he back should the tool ever snap off. It is also used to supply coolant for CTS machines.

Unfortunately said hole affects rigidity of the holder making it more likely to chatter leaving bad surface finish and badly affecting tool life.

There is however an old trick to prevent or minimize the chatter.

All you have to do is pack that hole with some thick grease.

Don't forget to cap off the oppening so that grease does not escape when the tool is spinning.

Here are several photos of surface finish before and after grease application. All cutting parameters were exactly the same in both cases.

before. deep chatter marks 13772750243945.jpg after. surface finish is ideal 13772750375326.jpg tool in extension holder 13772748879991.jpg showing capped hole 13772749147372.jpg

Latest FSWizard for Android update!

August 23, 2013, 7:42 am by Eldar Gerfanov

I have just published a latest update to our FSWizard for android platform.

Starting from version 1.1 calculations will be persistent. Which means that app will remeber all input fields when its shut down and re-instate them on launch.

Program functions are now accessed through a drop down menu located in the header.

Also tool data is now resetting to default when tool type is changed.

There is a new addition too.

We now have triangle calc

material section 2013-08-18_22-09-46.png drop down menu 2013-08-18_22-10-12.png triangle calc 2013-08-18_22-11-18.png

HSMAdvisor 0.500 has been released.

August 5, 2013, 8:06 pm by Eldar Gerfanov

HSMAdvisor version 0.5 has just become available on downloads page.

There are many improvements and fixes in there.

But the most noticable one is improved Circular Compensation Calculator.


Located on FSWizard page and only available for milling tools it allows to calculate with of cut by stock or pilot hole diameter.

Also helical angle calculator hels converting degrees to pitch and vise-verse.

Check it out!

helical_interpolation.png helical_interpolation.png

We all have manufacturer speed & feed charts and have used their recommendations.

But sometimes those charts just don't apply.

For example manufacturer charts assume you are using their endmills at a certain stickout length, flute length and at a certain depth of cut.

But in the real life you rarely match all these conditions.
Sometimes you need to use longer endmill. Sometimes your flute is longer than what manufacturer gave you speeds and feed for.

What i am trying to say is that whenever your real life conditions differ from "normal" you "need to adjust accordingly".
In fact this is what is printed below many charts.

Too bad not many sources tell you how and what to adjust.

While failure to adjust cutting parameters often leads to chatter, poor surface finish and even tool breakage, one of the biggest mistakes people do when machining is

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TiAlN coating is NOT for Aluminum!

July 13, 2013, 12:03 am by Eldar Gerfanov

I often read how somebody is suggesting other people to use TiAlN coated tooling for machining aluminum alloys.

I even see that coming from developers of other cnc speed and feed calculators who should know better.

Wake up people and stop misinforming your users.

TiAlN coating is NOT FOR Aluminum!

HarveyTool application chart CoatingsGuide_2010.pdf
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