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Is 3D Printing The FUTURE of Manufacturing?

November 25, 2017, 11:36 am by Eldar Gerfanov (Admin)

3D Prining is about to to take over traditional machining the same way CNC Machining took over manual machining.
Eventually 3D printing will replace casting too.

Since 3D Printing does not require complicated setup and programming, this in turn will lead to massive loss of machining-related jobs.

Read more to see if this is true!

There is an interesting topic over at Practical Machinist forums that I took a small part in.

The topic itself is quite a long read, so I decided to compile different opinions into one small article.

First of all. For those who are not familiar with the term....

What is 3D Printing.

(Valve block Courtesy of

3D Printing (later in this article as printing) is a process of producing a part by adding layers of material (contrary to machining) from bottom to top.
It is also known by a broader term as additive manufacturing.

What are PRO's of Printing and why do we need it at all?
Since very few people make a living machining plastics, we will discuss relatively new Metal 3D Printing.

Why Print

One of the main benefits of Printing is ability to create shapes that are not otherwise possible to create by other means.

High-performance car manufacturers and aerospace companies (NASA 3D Printed rocket engine in the thumbnail) manufacture parts that have internal support structures that are near impossible to cast or machine by other means.

Medical prosthetics companies manufacture artificial titanium and plastic custom-made limbs that and light and strong at the same time.

You must have noticed the trend: Printing is great very small volume manufacturing, where complex shape of parts and design complexity make other forms of manufacturing not viable.

But that is not it!


Lately several companies are making headway in increasing the scalability of production metal Printing.

Scalability is the ability to quickly increase the number of produced parts with minimal increases in production equipment.
Injection molding, for example, scales great. Molding machine can pop out multiple parts per cycle with each cycle taking very short time. (depending on many parameters like size, material, cooling etc. but measured in seconds).
Want to produce more parts per cycle? Simply add more mold cavities!

CNC Machining, on the other hand does not scale well. A single spindle can produce only one part any any given time. If you want to make double the number of parts you need to double the number of spindles. And there are 2 spindle machines for that.

So where is Printing on scalability? 

Not surprisingly Printing does not scale well.
Not only parts take longer time (hours not minutes) to produce. But you also get the same issue as CNC machining - one machine can produce only one part at any given time

And this is where some companies are promising huge advancements lately.
Check out this one for example:

They claim to be close to providing technology, that really looks like traditional inkjet printing. This allows the carriage that deposits the material (and also applies binder and dries) layer by layer to print multiple parts per pass. So printing 10 parts versus one part will not take that much more time.

(Image courtesy of


So just how strong the Printed parts are? Are they able to withstand high pressures, vibrations and all kinds of loads that parts in demanding applications face?

Well, apparently they are.
Check out this promo page showing the characteristics of the materials they can print: Direct Metal Laser Sintering Materials
These numbers are indeed very close to normal bar stock, that is provided by a foundry.

Also check out this article in MMS Online (page 70) about CIMP-3D using laser fusion 3d printing in manufacturing flight-critical part for a Navy helicopter.
If you check the article, however, you will notice that in this particular case the printed part almost defeats the whole purpose of printing:

(Before and after machining. Image Courtesy of MMS Online)

It is easy to see that the printed part has only rough features and requires considerable after-machining to get all the surface finishes and sizes just right. The as-printed part is no where near the condition that would let in anywhere near a helicopter engine!
To be fair this part was just a proof of concept that a 3D printed part can be approved to be used in such a high-demand application.


The elephant in the room that Printing companies do not want to talk about is the subsequent after-machining, that many printed parts require in order to get them ready for shipping to customer.

This is the reason that not some machine manufacturers (Mazak, Mori, Matsuura) produce printers that combine traditional machining and 3D printing.

Health Hazards

It is no secret that inhaling fine metallic dust used by most printers may not be very good for ones health.
Yet there will be need for someone to handle such dust.
And there will be a lot of that need on many stages of producing the part. From preparing the raw material, to subsequent sanding and machining to recycling.

So considerable investments in developing a safe workplace will need to be made.

In conclusion

After research this topic I believe 3D Printing has its place in a machine shop. But it is nowhere near the point where it is going to cost machinists their jobs an masse.

Just like Investment Casting for example.

Role of Amazon in the race to the bottom.

November 7, 2017, 9:33 pm by Eldar Gerfanov (Admin)

I try to not comment on things outside of my immediate area of knowledge or specialization.
But this one caught my eye and I thought it would be interesting to share with you guys.

So the news in a nutshell is Amazon applying discounts to products that third-party vendors are selling on its platform.

For example. Company "A" is selling its smartphone for $1000.
That is the price of the product on their online store and brick-and-mortar stores and other platforms like for example Amazon.

It is obvious $1000 is pretty steep. But company A does not want to devalue its brand and wants its customers feel special when they part with their hard-earned money.

Along comes Amazon and decides that it wants to compete with everybody for the lowest possible price for this particular phone.

So Amazon applies a 10% discount to the phone in our example.
Customer gets the product cheaper and Amazon pays the difference, so that the 3-rd party seller gets the full price for its product.

Everyone should be happy ... EXCEPT!

Many vendors do not want to provide discounts.
Or when they do they want to control when and how the discount happens.

What those vendors are saying is that this Amazon's tactic devalues their brand and draws customers away from their stores in favor of amazon.

Once people get used to the fact that "Phone A costs $900", they will not be willing to shell out $1000 ever again. That price will seem like unjustified increase in price and an attempt to gouge the customers.
Besides when people learn that "everything is cheaper at Amazon" nobody will go to the producer's own stores any more!

I think this story tells a lot about dangers of relying (or even using at all) selling platforms like Amazon.

Not only this applies to Amazon, but also things like Google Play, iTunes and many others.
Nothing is stopping them to one day decide to adjust your pricing policy.

I am glad I did not jump into Amazon's App store idea and I kind of questioned my involvement with iTunes and Google Play.

This is the reason (and the fact that I pay 30% of my revenue to said stores) I will try to keep the new FSWizard calculator a web app that can be used on any device without the need for any store.

I can handle the hosting and selling on my own.

Here is one of the news story on the subject.

Mayday !

April 30, 2017, 11:35 pm by Eldar Gerfanov (Admin)

Well not the bad mayday. It is the good one.

Today is the International Worker's day.

My best wishers go to all machinists and cnc programmers out there.

Keep it safe.

Btw. HSMAdvisor v1.509 has been released just yesterday. It is a big release which has lots of improvements. So we updated the Mastercam x9 and 2017 hooks as well.

Btw2. User's feedback has been plenty and steady recently. Please keep it up!  We really like making HSMAdvisor even better by adding stuff that you actually need!


Uninstall Feedback

March 23, 2017, 8:22 pm by Eldar Gerfanov (Admin)

Out of all kinds of feedback forms on HSMAdvisor (we have Forums, User Feedback and Unistall Feedback) web site the only one I dread opening is the "Uninstall Feedback".

When someone uninstalls HSMAdvisor, on the last step the program asks to provide the final feedback to maybe help us make HSMAdvisor better.

I do not like reading this form very much because it means that would-be users left in some way dissatisfied with the program.

And that really breaks my heart!

Among the most common answers is stuff like "does not support metric" even though IT VERY MUCH SUPPORTS METRIC.
We have, without a doubt, one of the most flexible units system of all machining-related software products.
I guess I have to improve in helping people learn how to use many unit switches within the program.

But the one that stood out is this one:

Your software is AWESOME. I'm just uninstalling so I can reinstall on another machine. Thanks for making a great product!

Thank you Jeremy! Really made my day!

Just a heads-up.

Another update is coming this weekend.
I am adding some materials and this threads specification drawing:

Requested by one of the users, I am sure it will be a big help.

Fight SPAM!

March 21, 2017, 8:15 am by Eldar Gerfanov (Admin)
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This website has recently become a target of relentless spam attacks.
Some dumbasses (probably bots or worse Russian hackers) post unrelated messages and such. Possibly looking for exploits in the security system.

I pride my self in openness to any meaningful content and do not want to pre-moderate comments or make registration (with email verification) mandatory.
So I subscribed to free API service that checks user's IP address before allowing to post any comments.

If you by any chance are wrongfully denied access, just let me know and i will clear the block.

On my part i will ban and report spammers with extreme prejudice. Let's make internet spam free one IP at a time!

For webmasters here is plain PHP code i used to enable IP checking and reporting:


<?php function httpCheckAbuse($ip){ $key="[secret API key]"; $url = "".$ip."/json"; $ret=httpRequest($url,'GET',['key'=>$key,'days'=>60],$status); if ($status==200) return json_decode($ret); else return false; } function httpReportAbuse($ip,$comment){ $key="[secret API key]"; $url = ""; $ret=httpRequest($url,'GET', [ 'key'=>$key, 'category'=>10, 'comment'=>$comment, 'ip'=>$ip, ],$status); if ($status==200) return json_decode($ret); else return false; } function httpRequest($url,$method,$queryArray,&$status=null){ $request = curl_init(); // Set request options try{ switch ($method){ case 'POST': curl_setopt_array($request, array ( CURLOPT_URL => $url, CURLOPT_POST => true, CURLOPT_POSTFIELDS => http_build_query($queryArray), )); break; case 'GET': default: curl_setopt_array($request, array ( CURLOPT_URL => $url."?".http_build_query($queryArray), )); } curl_setopt($request,CURLOPT_RETURNTRANSFER , true); curl_setopt($request,CURLOPT_HEADER, false); // Execute request and get response and status code $response = curl_exec($request); $status = curl_getinfo($request, CURLINFO_HTTP_CODE); curl_close($request); if($status == 200) return $response; }catch (Exception $ex){ return null; } return null; }

Best Regards.

HSM Machining Website Updates

September 3, 2016, 11:02 pm by Eldar Gerfanov (Admin)

As you may have noticed there have been changes in the look of his very web site.

Here is what has been changed and improved:

  • I got tired of it's old appearance, improved layout and changed styles.
  • Improved and updated social buttons throughout the website.
  • Redesigned Reference page and added GD&T Interactive Reference

GD&T Reference has been available in our FSWizard Mobile app and HSMAdvisor Speed and Feed Calculator for some time now and adding it to this website was a next logical step.

There is more changes coming. But i will not tell you what those are because competition is watching :)

By the way...

When you find useful information on this website, please help others too and share it with your peers using the new social buttons!

This mainstream "social" thing has been overlooked by me in the past and not many people are aware of our great software and resources for machinists.

Spread the word and help this project do even better!

True 5 Axis Machining

September 1, 2016, 7:50 pm by Eldar Gerfanov (Admin)

Just saw this very impressive machining video on Practical Machinist forums.

A very nice example of using machine and the tools to their full potential.

List of Free Features in New HSMAdvisor

July 26, 2016, 6:57 am by Eldar Gerfanov (Admin)

Hello Frends,

After the latest changes in HSMAdvisor and addition of free features lots of people ask me to clarify (repeat?) what those are.

So those include:

  1. Thread Reference.
  2. All Geometry Calculators (Bolt Hole, Triangle, etc)
  3. Screw Reference.
  4. All Tool Database functions including access to Speeds and Feeds page where you can edit parameters of the tool.
  5. Full Acess to Speeds and Feeds for One material (1018 steel)

Basically ALL functions except Speeds and Feeds calculations are included for Free.

Check it out here, if you haven't already :

5 Ways HSMAdvisor Uses Internt for the Benefit of Machinists

July 24, 2016, 11:41 pm by Eldar Gerfanov (Admin)

This is 21st century and we all live in the age of the Internet.

While some software developers claim to use it for the benefit of the customers they in fact only care about license protection benefits it can provide.

Here is how HSMAdvisor Speed and Feed Calculator uses the big WWW for the benefit of its users:

  1. Tool Database and Cutting Data Sharing
    Not many users realise that simply placing the Tool Data Base file on a shared network drive or service like DropBox or Google Drive will keep their Tool DB in sync on all of their computers running HSMAdvisor.
    Oh, regarding the "running on multiple computers" thing.....
  2. Floating License allows users to run a single seat of HSMAdvisor on multiple computers non concurrently.
    All you need is internet connection! Permanent Licenses do not even need internet connection at all.
  3. Cloud-Hosted Machine Profiles.
    Machine Profiles are important part of out calculator tool. Among other things they allow to prevent machine stalls and resulting machine damage and tool breakage.
    You can upload your Machine Profiles to HSMAdvisor Cloud for Public or Private access.
    Or you can request a machine profile to be added and I will upload it for you to easily download.
    All within the HSMAdvisor Machine Definition dialog!
  4. Cut Cloud. The place to get other Machinist's experience at your fingertips.
    Another great feature that we are actively developing right now is the Cut Cloud.
    It allows Machinists to share their cutting experience with other HSMAdvisor users.
    It is still in development but shortly we are going to populate out public online library (Cut Cloud) with cutting data from popular tool manufacturers.
    Anyone running HSMAdvisor will be able to just dial in their cutting tool, connect to the Cloud and see how others run their tools in similar cutting conditions on similar machines.
  5. Immediate and Accurate Licensing.
    A few times I got emails from disappointed machinists who were not aware of HSMAdvisor and thus chose a competing software product.
    They all were complaining about misleading Licensing schemes some software developers were using that hindered their work. Things ranged from not being able to register their seats for hours after completing the purchase to having to keep their computers online almost uninterruptedly (despite claims it could run offline for weeks) to keep their software running.
    HSMAdvisor uses transparent Permanent and Floating Licensing scheme that will not leave you hanging.
    All purchases are handled automatically and our new customers do not need to wait for a next business day to get their purchase functioning.
    We constantly work on making your experience as flawless as possible and do not linger on past achievements.

There is a lot more work planned and already in progress.

In the age when everyone is talking about how internet is turning the world around we are doing our small part in making it happen!

Thank you, everybody for your support and feedback!

Happy Canada Day!

July 1, 2016, 3:39 pm by Eldar Gerfanov (Admin)

I would like to congratulate all Canadians and all our Canadain users in particular today.

Wishing peace and prosperity to us all.
Have a nice and safe long weekend!

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