27 February 2019
27 February 2019,

Do you speak micromachining? Every trade uses its own special language, jargon, and lingo. CNC machining is the same.  And micromachining has it’s own dialect. Technically, micromachining is defined as work in one-millionth of a meter. CNC machinists use the berm; but not always literally. They use words that have other meanings too. It can be confusing if you aren’t familiar with the terms.

Machinists that micromachine speak feeds and speeds like other CNC’ers. But if you want to talk  like a micromachining pro, learn these terms.

Accu-Feeds and Micro Drill Adapters

Micro drill adapters or accu-feeds modify large equipment to drill small holes. Use a micro drill adapter for work at spindle speeds between 2000 and 4000 rpm. By the way, pros know micro drilling is done at low spindle speeds, especially if you are drilling plastic. Run too fast and you’ll heat up the work and melt the plastic.

Peck Cycles

Micro drilling is a different than running a standard drill press. With micro drilling, you use a process referred to as the “peck cycle”. Have you ever seen a pigeon or chicken pecking at seeds? If so, know you know where this form of drilling gets its name. Just act like a chicken or sparrow pecking seed. No, you don’t use your mouth. But you do  insert and remove the micro drill from the work over and over again. This keeps the chips clear. With standard drilling, you may linger at the bottom of the cycle. Don’t do this with micro drilling. If you do, the material will become hardened and your work will be ruined.  Keep the drill bit in the work at the top of the peck cycle as well. If you completely remove the drill at the top of the peck cycle you will create a slight taper. Start the down portion of the peck cycle before the bit leaves the work.

Air Fluid

Air fluid is so amazing it’s like duct tape and WD40 combined into one fabulous product. It’s the most incredible super lubricant you will ever see.  You’ll want to use it on everything. Well, that’s an exaggeration, but air fluid is spectacular. It’s an incredible mixture of cutting fluid and air you apply during the peck cycle. It clears the chips as you work. You can’t use straight fluid because it will pool and foul the bit. That’s no help.  Straight fluid is not going to do the job! Here’s what happened when tapping oil was used for microdrilling.


You may play spades at a card table or use one in the garden. But those aren’t what micro machinists have in mind when they call a spade a spade. In micromachinging, a spade refers to the  unique shape of the drill bit. Keeping chips clear is always a problem with micromachining. Improve chip removal by using a bit without a very pointed or chiseled end. If you look at the tip of a microdrill bit you will see the cutting edge is created by two intersecting planes. The cutting edge removes material by extrusion. So, the cutting energy along the edge is relatively large in relation to the drill’s cutting edge. Anything on the surface can cause the drill to walk. That’s another term for another time.

Sierra American Multi-Systems Speaks Your Language

Sierra American knows your lingo. Whether you are into micromachining or work at normal scale, you are understood. Count on Sierra American for your home and work machining needs. We make products in the USA.  We’re proud of it. We back every product with a five year warranty. From micro drill adapters to custom arbors, we speak your language. Ask for your Sierra American micro drill adapter, tool tray, fly cutter or arbor by name.

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