Lapping Machines Process Description
Lapping machines are a type of precision finishing machine. Lapping is a loose abrasive machining process that differs from honing or grinding because the abrasive action comes not from a solid abrasive (like a grinding wheel) but from a slurry--abrasive particles mixed with oil or water. The slurry forms an abrasive film between the underlying lapping plate and the parts to be lapped. The part stock is gradually removed through the rolling and sliding action of the abrasive grains between the lapping wheel and the workpiece. The slurry, along with the removed stock, drains away from the table.
Lapping machines create truly flat surfaces--normally up to 0.001mm, with surface finishes of better than Ra.01. Overall, lapping produces extreme dimensional accuracy, corrects minor imperfections of shape, refines surface finish, and produces close fit between mating surfaces.
Lapping machines may be beneficial whenever absolute flatness, parallelism, or surface finish is essential. Since it is a loose abrasive process, irregularly-shaped or non-magnetic parts can be easily accommodated. Lapping removes stock quickly, with no clamping or heat distortion, no expensive tooling required, and virtually no maintenance. Inspection and production costs are also lower, since the machine can be run by semi-skilled operators. Parts can be run as easily in small batches as in production processes.
The process eliminates warping, since parts are not clamped and very little heat is generated. Lapping produces no burrs and actually removes light burrs. Any part the machine can accommodate can be lapped, regardless of thickness or shape. However, lapping requires a level of experience and skill, and trial and error may still be needed to get the optimum results.
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