BK: Why did Eltool decide to develop this angle head?
EC: We identified a need, and filled it. For over 15 years, Eltool has marketed its Titespot coolant driven angle heads designed to machine in bores and cavities not generally accessible to spindle driven heads. Our smallest head could machine in bores down to 1 in. in diameter. However, as time went on, we encountered a demand for even smaller profile heads. Customers complained that the air-driven products available for this type of application did not have the torque necessary to get the job done.
BK: How is the Mini-Angle Head different from similar products?
EC: The Mini-Angle Head has two distinct advantages over the spindle-driven variety. In addition to its compact profile, the head is indexable, allowing multiposition machining with one head and one set-up. Because the head is driven by the machine’s high-pressure coolant system, not spindle rotation, the spindle can be programmed as an indexer, eliminating the need for multiple heads or an expensive index table. You can drill six holes 60 degrees apart, mill three keyways 120 degrees apart, or whatever odd angle you need.
BK: What problems did you encounter during the development process?
EC: The main problem was simply to manufacture or source key components (gears, bearings, spindles, etc.) small enough yet sturdy enough to fit the profile we were trying to achieve. The Mini-Angle Head can machine radially in bores down to 5⁄8 in. in diameter. It can also machine within 1⁄4 in. of a floor or wall.
BK: How long did it take from conception to final production?
EC: It took approximately one year from concept through prototype testing to final design and production. There was a bit of trial and error required to integrate the various components required.
BK: Did cost factors play a role in changing the final design of this product?
EC: Cost was not really a consideration in the final design. In the end, we were fortunately able to offer the head at a price commensurate with our existing product line.
BK: Who do you consider your target audience to be and what benefits will they achieve from using the Mini-Angle Head?
EC: Any company needing to machine at right angles can benefit from the use of the Mini-Angle Head. However, we’ve identified in particular manufacturers of bushings (oil and grease grooves), electrical connectors (bayonet slots), firearms, and aerospace components.
BK: Please add any other interesting sidelights that you think our readers would enjoy knowing.
EC: The Mini-Angle Head like all other Eltool heads can also be used on live tool lathes in tandem with our Live Lathe Tool Module. It is interchangeable with all other Eltool angle heads.