Every metalworking application presents its own set of variables that can create big challenges and potentially even bigger headaches. All too often, the true solutions lay just beyond the reach of today’s stocked tooling. Insert GWS!

The Challenge
A manufacturer of small commercial private aircraft had been having extreme concentricity issues when drilling and reaming two mating components for their front and rear cabin assembly. This specific application is unique because it features a 6-inch gap between the T6-6061 Aluminum cabin and the body frame of the plane. Due to the large size and shape of the parts, manual pneumatic drills were the machining method of choice, used with chuck and guide bushings, to process the two holes so they could ultimately be bolted together. The original application consisted of three separate drills to complete the finished part. Attempt after attempt was made, with repeated failure of pin gage testing. Simply put, the two mating holes were never quite right. This led to cycle times of over an hour and consistent frustration on every level. After Ray Gavin, an MSC Metalworking Specialist heard their cries, they were introduced to GWS Tool Group.

The GWS Plan
Like any application, GWS starts the process with our Application Specialists listening to the customer, their problem, and experience with their test results. Taking these points into consideration, GWS specialists and engineers got together to discuss finding a solution. 

The first thought is that a standard tool would not be the solution to this difficult application. Because of the issues with concentricity and alignment, GWS knew this drill had to be tailor-made to them. Our Applications Specialist, Tyler Hall, looked to Rich Rogers at our newly acquired Arizona facility, for his expertise in aerospace solutions. With Rich’s extensive experience in aerospace applications, this custom brainchild came to life. The custom GWS take on a dreamer (drill/reamer) ended up being the perfect solution to their problem. A 3-flute right-hand helix drill at the front, morphing to a 2-step, 6-flute reamer on the back to produce the perfect hole in one shot.

The Results
This tool brought the application from three separate tools down to two by combining the two drilling applications into one progressive 2-step reamer. The beauty of custom comes standard is that GWS did not bat an eye at the problem. The new combination tool eliminated variances between tool changes and guide bushings while improving finish, reducing cutting resistance, and eliminating concentricity issues. It is also noteworthy that more than a few massive headaches were also cured. 

This application dropped the cycle time more than 50%, from 1 hour per piece to 25 minutes. With a comprehensive regrind program, overall tool costs and consumptions were also greatly reduced. This success, accompanied by the relative ease and speed of delivery from GWS, opened this customer’s eyes to the possibilities of custom. Several more headaches on other applications are now being examined. If you’re working on a tough project, contact us, we’d be happy to help!