Lapping Machines Process Description: How Does It Work?

Lapping machines consist of 5 parts: the rotating table (called a lapping plate), several conditioning rings, the topweight, the slurry, and the machine itself.


The machine houses the controls, engine, coolant, filter, and other subsidiary components for proper operation of the mechanism.


The lapping plate is the only thing that is turned by the motor--the conditioning rings turn automatically as the plate itself turns. The plate is usually made of high-quality soft cast iron, though copper and other soft metals may also be used. It may be anywhere from 12 to 144 inches in diameter and feature spirals, cross-hatches, rings, or other shapes.


The conditioning rings function as the workholding device. These rings distribute the wear evenly across the lapping plate increasing its life, while also holding the workpiece in place. Special rings may be fitted for cylindrical or especially long pieces.


A top plate presses the pieces down in order to ensure abrasion occurs. These may be simple lids or mechanically operated piston-like covers.


A slurry made by combining various abrasive materials such as diamond or carbon with a liquid base like oil or water is fed between the lapping plate and the top plate, and distributed evenly across the surface by the plate's rotation. The tiny abrasives suspended in the liquid drag and tumble across the surface of the held pieces, grinding away at any micro-irregularities in the part's surface.


When using lapping techniques it is possible to remove as little as 0.000002" of stock. Typical stock removal after grinding is 0.002-0.0005".


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