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Machining vibrations, also called chatter, correspond to the relative movement between the

workpiece and the cutting tool. The vibrations result in waves on the machined surface.
This affects typical machining processes, such as turning, milling and drilling, and
atypical machining processes, such as grinding.

Machining vibrations
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Machining vibrations, also called chatter, correspond to the relative movement between the
workpiece and the cutting tool. The vibrations result in waves on the machined surface. This affects
typical machining processes, such as turning, milling and drilling, and atypical machining processes,
such as grinding.
A chatter mark is an irregular surface flaw left by a wheel that is out of true in grinding [1] or regular
mark left when turning a long piece on a lathe, due to machining vibrations.
As early as 1907, Frederick W. Taylor described machining vibrations as the most obscure and
delicate of all the problems facing the machinist, an observation still true today, as shown in many
publications on machining.
Mathematical models make it possible to simulate machining vibration quite accurately, but in
practice it is always difficult to avoid vibrations and there are basic rules for the machinist:

Rigidify the workpiece, the tool and the machine as much as possible
Choose the tool that will excite vibrations as little as possible (modifying angles, dimensions,
surface treatment, etc.)
Choose exciting frequencies that best limit the vibrations of the machining system (spindle
speed, number of teeth and relative positions, etc.)
Choose tools that incorporate vibration-damping technology.


1Industrial context
o 1.1Link between high-speed machining and vibrations
o 1.2Different kinds of problems and their sources
2Laboratory research
o 2.1High-speed strategies
o 2.2Modeling
2.2.1Stability lobe theory
2.2.2Time domain numerical model
o 2.3Paths
3Industrial methods used to limit machining vibrations
o 3.1The classic approach
o 3.2Limitations of the available methods
4See also
6External links

Industrial context[edit]
Link between high-speed machining and vibrations[edit]
The use of high speed machining (HSM) has enabled an increase in productivity and the realization
of workpieces that were impossible before, such as thin walled parts. Unfortunately, machine centers
are less rigid because of the very high dynamic movements. In many applications, i.e. long tools,
thin workpieces, the appearance of vibrations is the most limiting factor and compels the machinist
to reduce cutting speeds and feeds well below the capacities of machines or tools.
Different kinds of problems and their sources[edit]
Vibration problems generally result in noise, bad surface quality and sometimes tool breakage. The
main sources are of two types: forced vibrations and self-generated vibrations.

Forced vibrations are mainly generated by interrupted cutting (inherent to milling), runout, or
vibrations from outside the machine.
Self generated vibrations are related to the fact that the actual chip thickness depends also on
the relative position between tool and workpiece during the previous tooth passage. Thus
increasing vibrations may appear up to levels which can seriously degrade the machined
surface quality.

Laboratory research[edit]
High-speed strategies[edit]
Industrial and academic researchers [2][3][4][5] have widely studied machining vibration. Specific
strategies have been developed, especially for thin-walled work pieces, by alternating small
machining passes in order to avoid static and dynamic flexion of the walls. The length of the cutting
edge in contact with the workpiece is also often reduced in order to limit self-generated vibrations.
The modeling of the cutting forces and vibrations, although not totally accurate, makes it possible to
simulate problematic machining and reduce unwanted effects of vibration.
Stability lobe theory[edit]
Multiplication of the models based on stability lobe theory, which makes it possible to find the best
spindle speed for machining, gives robust models for any kind of machining.
Time domain numerical model[edit]
Time domain simulations compute workpiece and tool position on very small time scales without
great sacrifice in accuracy of the instability process and of the surface modeled. These models need
more computing resources than stability lobe models, but give greater freedom (cutting laws, runout,
ploughing, finite element models). Time domain simulations are quite difficult to robustify, but a lot of
work is being done in this direction in the research laboratories.
In addition to stability lobe theory, the use of variable tool pitch often gives good results, at a
relatively low cost. These tools are increasingly proposed by tool manufacturers, although this is not
really compatible with a reduction in the number of tools used. Other research leads are also
promising, but often need major modifications to be practical in machining centers. Two kinds of
software are very promising: Time domain simulations which give not yet reliable prediction but
should progress, and vibration machining expert software, pragmatically based on knowledge and

Industrial methods used to limit machining vibrations[edit]

The classic approach[edit]
The usual method for setting up a machining process is still mainly based on historical
technical knowhow and on trial and error method to determine the best parameters. According to the
particular skills of a company, various parameters are studied in priority, such as depth of cut, tool
path, workpiece set-up, and geometrical definition of the tool. When a vibration problem occurs,
information is usually sought from the tool manufacturer or the CAM (Computer-aided
manufacturing) software retailer, and they may give a better strategy for machining the workpiece.
Sometimes, when vibration problems are too much of a financial prejudice, experts can be called
upon to prescribe, after measurement and calculation, spindle speeds or tool modifications.
Limitations of the available methods[edit]
Compared to the industrial stakes, commercial solutions are rare. To analyse the problems and to
propose solutions, only few experts propose their services. Computational software for stability lobes
and measurement devices are proposed but, in spite of widespread publicity, they remain relatively
rarely used. Lastly, vibration sensors are often integrated into machining centers but they are used
mainly for wear diagnosis of the tools or the spindle. New Generation Tool Holders and especially
the Hydraulic Expansion Tool Holders minimise the undesirable effects of vibration to a large extent.
First of all, the precise control of total indicator reading to less than 3 micrometres helps reduce
vibrations due to balanced load on cutting edges and the little vibration created thereon is absorbed
largely by the oil inside the chambers of the Hydraulic Expansion Tool Holder.

See also[edit]
Balancing machine
Shock Pulse Method

1. Jump up^
2. Jump up^ Altintas, Yusuf. Manufacturing Automation: Metal Cutting Mechanics, Machine Tool
Vibrations, and CNC Design. Cambridge University Press, 2000, ISBN 978-0-521-65973-4
3. Jump up^ Cheng, Kai. Machining Dynamics: Fundamentals, Applications and Practices. Springer,
2008, ISBN 978-1-84628-367-3
4. Jump up^ Schmitz, Tony L., Smith, Scott K. Machining Dynamics: Frequency Response to Improved
Productivity. Springer, 2008, ISBN 978-0-387-09644-5
5. Jump up^ Maekawa, Obikawa. Metal Machining: Theory and Applications. Butterworth-Heinemann,
2000, ISBN 978-0-340-69159-5
8.41 Describe the adverse effects of vibrations and chatter in machining.
The adverse effects of chatter are discussed in Section 8.11 and are summarized briefly below:
Poor surface finish, as shown in the right central region of Fig. 8.72 on p. 501.
Loss of dimensional accuracy of the workpiece.
Premature tool wear, chipping, and failure, a critical consideration with brittle tool materials,
such as ceramics, some carbides, and diamond.
Possible damage to the machine-tool components from excessive vibration and chatter.
Objectionable noise, particularly if it is of high frequency, such as the squeal heard when
turning brass on a lathe with a less rigid setup.

Chatter in Machining: Milling & Lathe Vibration

I Need to Solve a Chatter Problem Right Now!
If you found this page because you have a problem with chatter in machining right now
and not because youre reading through our Cookbook or are just curious to learn, scroll
down the page. Well tell you what to do!
What is Chatter in Machining?
Chatter is a resonant phenomenon where the machine or workpiece vibrate. It can
become quite violent and generate a distinctive loud noise. Its almost never a good
idea to keep machine in the face of strong chatterchatter in machining is very bad for
your tool life, interferes with the accuracy of the machining operation, and will shorten
the life of your machine too. On the other hand, many jobs run just fine with a little touch
of chatter here or there. Weve all seen milling jobs that have a little chatter at certain
points in the toolpathoften youll hear a little squeak as the cutter makes its way
through a corner, for example.
Chatter can feed on itself, much like the feedback on a loudspeaker PA system that
creates those terrible screeching noises. For that reason, it is sometimes called
regenerative chatter. The regenerative phenomenon is key to understanding how
chatter works. A vibration in the tool leads to a wave in the workpiece, constant vibration
creates a steady series of these waves.
Now imagine what happens if you make a second pass over a surface that is already
wavy from chatterthe forces on your cutter vary with the peaks and troughs of the
waves. This is the feedback phenomenon which intensifies chatter by making more
waves of the same frequency on your workpiece.
Two Kinds of Chatter in Machining: Tool Chatter and Workpiece
There are two kinds of chatter to be aware oftool chatter and workpiece chatter. With
Tool Chatter, your machine and tool are doing the vibrating, which is then transmitted to
the workpiece. With Workpiece Chatter, the wall of the workpiece is vibrating. The latter
usually only happens when dealing with thin walls, but it can be just as much or more of
a problem than Tool Chatter. Well be focusing on Tool Chatter for this article, but you
can try these same techniques to reduce Workpiece Chatter. Before we move on, there
are two good tips for Workpiece Chatter.
First, maximize the beef in the workpiece through toolpaths that dont strip away too
much material too soon. Well have more detail on that on the Long Reach and Thin
Wall article. Second, you may have to change the frequency of the workpiece through
various measures. One way to increase its rigidity is to support the walls with a filling
material thats easy to remove when youre done machining. Wax, low melting point
tooling materials (both > special plasticsand metal alloys are available for this purpose),
and even the strategy of filling the void with a mixture of vaseline and lead shot have
been suggested. For the latter, melt the vaseline over low heat, add the lead shot, pour
it in, and let cool.
Two Kinds of Chatter: Tool Chatter and Workpiece Chatter
Lets say youre not trying to eek out the maximum material removal rate to shave some
pennies off a job. How can you avoid even getting started with chatter in machining?
Imagine that your spindle is pumping horsepower into the tool, and in the process of
making chips, that horsepower creates forces that act on the tool and the workpiece.
With enough force, the tool deflects. Remember, chatter is a resonance phenomenon.
Imagine applying force to one tine of a tuning fork, thus deflecting it. If you release that
force, the tine vibrates at its resonant frequency. Same thing with your tool. When the
flute on the cutter hits air, the force on that tine is released.
Now lets say you minimized the deflection on the tine. Below some critical value, youd
hardly hear it vibrate at all. Thats the point of controlling tool deflection. The big tooling
manufacturers tell us that chatter can start to cause problems when tool deflection
exceeds 0.001. Thats not to say you wont have a few problems with deflection short of
that, but the more you exceed 0.001, the more chatter becomes a certainty.
Using our G-Wizard softwares Cut Optimizer, you can optimize your cut width or depth
of cut to keep deflection below that critical 0.001 value.

Ten Questions About Chatter

If you want to use a high speed milling spindle to machine aggressively, then
information about chatter should be more than just background noise. Here are some

Article Post: 9/9/2005

Editor-in-Chief, Modern Machine Shop
This graph illustrates the frequency response for a particular combination of tool,
toolholder and spindle. Stable milling is possible everywhere below the line. While the
spindle simulated here is capable of 24,000 rpm, the graph suggests that the most
productive cutting would actually occur somewhere around 17,000 rpm. Illustration
courtesy of

Related Topics:

High Speed Machining

If you want to use a high speed milling spindle to machine aggressively, then
information about chatter should be more than just background noise.

Here are some basics:

What is chatter?

It's not just vibration. In machining, chatter is the vibration that feeds on itself as the tool
moves across the part.

Chatter "feeds on itself" what does that mean?

The tool, toolholder and spindle together will vibrate at some natural frequencya
frequency at which this assembly "naturally" wants to vibrate. In fact, the assembly is
likely to vibrate at more than one such natural frequency at the same time.
At the tool tip, this vibration leaves waves in the machined surface. The waviness can
cause the next cutting edge to experience a variable load. When that happens, this
variable load feeds the vibration that already exists, making it worse.

"Self-excited vibration" is one term for this phenomenon. "Regeneration of waviness" is


Why is chatter bad?

The finish of the part is affected; you might be able to see the chatter marks clearly. If
chatter persists, the life of the spindle may also be affected.

However, the more immediate and serious consequence relates to efficiency. Most
shops deal with chatter by setting their machining parameters low. Therefore, instead of
tool strength and spindle horsepower defining the metal removal rate, chatter becomes
the limiting factor that keeps the process from reaching its potential.

What can be done?

Increasing rigidity is one option. Use a shorter tool or toolholder, or switch to a

toolholder that clamps the tool more rigidlythese are examples of changes that might
make the process less apt to vibrate.

When milling at high spindle speeds, there is a potentially more promising option.
Certain limited ranges of spindle speed may be stable zones. Within these ranges, the
rate of cutting edge impacts synchronizes with a natural frequency of the system. The
chip load becomes level, so the cut is smooth. The depth of cut can therefore be
increased, and sometimes it can be dramatically increased.

Is there just one stable speed range for every spindle?

A stable value of spindle rpm applies only to a particular combination of spindle, tool,
toolholder and tool overhang length. These four factors make up a complete assembly.
Every different assembly has to be evaluated separately; evaluating just the spindle is
not enough.

However, any particular spindle and tooling assembly is likely to have more than one
stable zone. Therefore, finding just one stable speed zone might not be enough.
Another, much faster speed may also be stable.

Why does this discussion focus on high speed spindles?

In general, milling at a lower speedsay, in the neighborhood of 4,000 rpmis not

going to offer the opportunity to find an rpm value that permits dramatically greater
metal removal. The threshold of chatter will vary by only a small amount throughout this
region. This chatter can be addressed by increasing rigidity. It might also be addressed
by using a cutter design with variable edge spacing, so that waves in the surface don't
appear at such regular intervals.

However, on a spindle that has a maximum speed of 10,000 rpm or more, the
potentially more effective solution becomes possible. It is likely that the chatter can be
addressed by finding some optimal speed that permits a much greater depth of cut.

How do I find this optimal speed?

It can be done experimentally, through test cutting. (See "Chatter Control for the Rest of
Us" for an example.) It also can be found through measurement, using a tap test. This
test involves tapping the tool with a delicate hammer and measuring the frequency
response with electronic equipment. The resulting graph of frequency response will
suggest the system's various stable speeds. There is even software available that
accomplishes something similar by listening to the cut with a microphone. (See "Sweet,
Sweet Spot .")

How do I put this information to use?

For every spindle, tool, toolholder and tool overhang combination that you want to use
effectively at high speeds, you should find the optimum spindle speed, along with the
corresponding depths of cut you have been able to achieve in the various materials your
shop runs.

Feed rate is not included here, because feed rate has less effect on chatter.

Make all of this speed and depth-of-cut data available to programmers. They should
then refer to this matrix of optimal cutting parameters whenever they use a particular
combination of machine, tooling and workpiece material.

If the cut is stable, has vibration stopped?

No. The cut is stable because the cutting edge impacts are timed with the vibration. The
tool is still vibrating. Therefore, accuracy needs to be watched; the vibrating tool might
not place a machined surface precisely where expected. The phenomenon is called
"surface location error" (see "Understanding Surface Location Error ").

What is tool tuning?

Tool tuning (see "The Overhang Effect ") might be thought of as the next step. The shop
that has mastered finding and using its optimal speeds might then consider modifying
those optimal speeds.

One way to do this is through the tool overhang length. By playing with this length, the
stable speed zones might be changed. It might even be possible to use all of a
machine's available spindle rpm effectively, by manipulating the tool overhang so that a
stable speed zone coincides with the spindle's maximum rpm.

Causes of Machine Vibration

Feb 14, 2013

Machinery vibration leads to shortened machinery life,

poor product outputs, and eventually emergency
shutdowns. To avoid unscheduled product production
watch for these four causes of machine vibration.
Imbalance In the case of rotating equipment, the axis (or
shaft) must be equally balanced. An imbalanced axis will
create a centrifugal force which causes the machine to vibrate. In some
situations the imbalanced can be as simple as manufacturing defects or
maintenance issues like missing balance weights or dirty machinery parts.
Misalignment A very common cause of vibration is due to misalignment
of rotating shafts. The motor and shaft must be parallel in order for the
machine to run effectively. Small degrees of angular misalignment have only
minor vibration effects on machinery, but large angular differences can cause
significant damage to equipment. Thermal expansion is a big factor in
Wear When components become overly worn they can cause vibration in
machinery. Damaged areas of roller bearings or chipped gears can cause a
machine to vibrate.
Loose Connections If a worn part does not become damaged over time it
can easily become loose, thus causing vibration. The loose connections can
become destructive very quickly, like loose mounts or anchors.
As the winter season draws to a close around the nation we want to take this
time to remind our readers that seasonal highs for the power industry is
expected with the upcoming hot summer season. Small vibration issues can
quickly lead to major outages as production is increased. A big cause of
major machinery damage is in misalignment. As quotas rise to meet demand
misaligned machines can experience high vibration issues.
Avoid expensive repairs to critical machinery and call Schaeffer Precision
Alignmenttoday to learn how we can diagnose misaligned machines. No
matter the industry, we have the tools needed to get the job done quickly to
get your machinery back online fast.