Bar Stock

Bar stock, also colloquially known as billet, is a common form of raw purified metal, used by industry to manufacture metal parts and products.

Most metal produced by a steel mill or aluminium plant is formed (via rolling or extrusion) into long continuous strips of various size and shape. These strips are cut at regular intervals and allowed to cool, each segment becoming a piece of bar stock. A good analogy is pasta-making, in which lumps of dough are extruded into various cross-sectional shapes; cut into lengths; and then dried in that form. The cross-sectional shapes of pasta vary from simple bar or tube shapes (such as linguine or penne) to more elaborate extrusions (such as rotelle, fiori, or rotini). The same is true of metal bar stock. The most common shapes are round bar (also called rod), rectangular bar (including square bar, the special case of equal sides), and hexagonal bar (usually called hex bar for short). Tubing and pipe are similar, but have hollow centers and are not called "bar" in industrial usage. Also similar in concept, but not called "bar", are the common structural shapes such as angle stock and channel stock. These are commonly available in steel and aluminum; the names "angle iron" and "channel iron" are still commonly used (informally) even though their literal namesake, wrought iron, has been replaced by steel and aluminum for most uses.

A machine shop typically has a storage area containing a large variety of bar stock. To create a metal component, a bar of sufficient volume is selected from storage and brought to the machining area. This piece may then be sawed, milled, drilled, turned, or ground to remove material and create the final shape. In turning, for large-diameter work (typically more than 100 millimetres (3.9 in), although there is no universal threshold), a piece of the bar is cut off using a horizontal bandsaw to create a blank for each part. The blanks are then fed into a chucking lathe (chucker) which chucks each one in turn. For smaller-diameter work, the entire length of bar stock is more often fed through the spindle of the lathe. The entire bar rotates with the spindle during the part-machining cycle. When the cycle ends and one part is done, the chuck opens, the bar is pulled or pushed forward ("fed") by any of various automatic means, the chuck closes, and the next cycle begins. The last step of the cycle is to cut off the machined part from the bar, which is called "parting it off" and is achieved with a "cutoff" or "part-off" tool, a tool bit that grooves the bar all the way down to the centreline, causing the part to fall off. Then the cycle repeats.

The not-yet-cut bar protruding from the back of the spindle, rotating quickly, can present a safety hazard if it is sticking out too far and unconstrained from bending. Thus sometimes long bars must be sawn into shorter bars before being fed as "bar work" (which is the term for such work).

CNC lathes and screw machines have accessories called "bar feeders", which hold, guide, and feed the bar as commanded by the CNC control. More advanced machines may have a "bar loader" which holds multiple bars and feeds them one at a time into the bar feeder. Bar loaders are like magazines for part blanks (or pallets for milling work) in that they allow lights-out machining. The bar loader is filled with bars (or the magazine or pallet with part blanks) during working hours, and then it runs during the night unattended. Given that there is no human around to detect if something went wrong and the machine should stop, there are various kinds of sensors that are used to detect this, such as load meters, infrared beams, and, in recent years, webcams, which are placed inside the machine tool's enclosure and allow remote viewing of the cutting action.

Read more about Bar Stock:  Standard Sizes Throughout A Supply Chain, Drill Rod, Ground Flat Stock

Other articles related to "bar, bar stock, stock":

Lathe (metal) - Feed Mechanisms
... Bar feeder A bar feeder feeds a single piece of bar stock into the cutting machine ... each part is machined, the cutting tool creates a final cut to separate the part from the bar stock, and the feeder continues to feed the bar for the next part, allowing for continual operation of the ... Bar loader A bar loader is a variation on the bar feeder concept in that multiple pieces of bar stock may be fed into a hopper, and the loader feeds each piece ...
Bar Stock - Ground Flat Stock
... Ground flat stock is annealed steel that has been ground to close tolerances (compare to drill rod) ...

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