12/21/2011 | 1 MINUTE READ

The Smaller Side of Technology

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Working in the manufacturing field, I find that my personal conversations with friends and family often lead to the amazing technology I see on a regular basis. Understandably, it’s not uncommon for the topics to be “over their heads,” given that they’re not familiar with the fine details of metalworking. But when I can tie the subject matter in with products they’re familiar with, my audience stays much better connected.

One subject that garners a lot of interest in these conversations is the increasing ability to make things smaller. My friend, Alan, is forever tagged as the first in our group to have a wireless phone—a bag phone that probably weighed a couple of pounds and was tough to hold in one hand. Comparing that technology to the phones of today, and the personal computing capabilities that are now at so many people’s fingertips, is a topic about which most people have something to say.

On another topic of tiny proportion, I recently saw an article about the world’s smallest V12 engine, designed and hand-crafted by a Spanish engineer. My gearhead friends were excited to watch the video of the process as the engineer machined 261 pieces (but not the 222 screws) needed to bring together this educational tool that he dedicated to his grandchildren.

But when I want to talk about the beauty of true micromachining, I’m better served to save it for my colleagues and readers here at Production Machining. The average person doesn’t realize the science behind the ability to machine diameters measured in thousandths.

Choosing the right tools for such applications and matching them to the correct operations and process techniques is critical to success in this burgeoning market. A great discussion of this topic can be found at “Tooling up for Micromachining.” For a look at the inspection end of micromachining, read “Micro Measuring.” If you’re reading this newsletter, chances are, you’ll appreciate these articles far more than my friends and family will.


  • Cutting a Micron at a Time

    When the task is to remove very small amounts of material, this process may be the answer.

  • Micro Measuring

    Making micro sized parts is one thing; measuring them is another.

  • Making It Big In Small Parts

    This New Hampshire manufacturer is an expert in manufacturing small, complex parts. Having a niche is one solid strategy for survival, but it takes dedication, focus and technology to pull it off.