Line boring machine manufacturers usually explain the features of their products pretty clearly on their websites. But many fall short of the mark when it comes to offering guidance on how to choose the right machine for their specific needs.
To help those of you looking for a portable line boring machine, we asked our technical sales team to tell us the most frequently asked questions received from on-site machinists who are contemplating machine hire or purchase.
What size of line boring machine should I choose?
There are many different sized line boring machines available with the smallest models used being used to bore diameters as small as 1.5” and the largest ones capable of machining diameters of 12 feet and more!
No single machine will be capable of boring all of the above diameters accurately, so you'll need to consider the type of jobs you will be carrying out. If most of your work is on the refurbishment of construction vehicles (hinge pins etc), then a machine package such as the MLB610 will provide everything you need. Your package can be built around your requirements, with optional boring arms extending the capacity to bore larger diameters up to 24”.
For larger scale projects, such as on turbine casings in the power industries, a machine such as the LB150 Line Boring Machine will be a more suitable choice.
What boring bar length should I specify?
There are many different bar lengths available, and with the MLB610 range these can be interchanged to suit the job in hand. It's worth knowing though, that if you need lengths longer than 2 metres, to avoid risk of the bar from sagging you’ll need a larger bar diameter and therefore different machine such as the LB100, LB150, or the LB300.
What power type should I choose?
As with most on-site machine tools, you are restricted by the availability of a power source at your project’s location. With smaller line boring machines you have a number of options. You can choose from pneumatic, hydraulic and electric drive options or even configure a package that gives you all of the options.
When it comes to the larger machines, these normally require much more power, so will require a hydraulic motor and power pack.
What options and tooling are available?
There is a multitude of options and tooling to choose from:
- Facing heads – For machining outside faces 90 degrees to the bore
- Bore welders – For welding sleeves into oversize holes prior to boring
- Microbore tooling – For small diameters, these insert into the boring bar
- Facing arms / tooling heads - To reach various diameters
- Adaptor kits - For connecting a different power source
- Different bar and leadscrew lengths – To suit specific jobs
- Various mounting plate configurations – For bolting and tack welding to the job
- Adaptor collets – Used to attach different bar diameters to the drive unit
- Tool holders and tooling inserts – The actual cutting tools and carbide inserts
- Set up cones – To make the boring bar concentric with the bore
What is supplied as standard?
Line boring machines differ from other on-site machine by virtue of the number of options available. It could be argued there's no such thing as a 'standard line borer'. You should think of it as a kit of modules that you choose. However you can be confident that whatever machine you configure you'll get a storage/shipping box, CE certificate, packing list and an operators manual.
Should I buy or rent a line boring machine?
The answer to this one this simple. It depends upon how often you think a similar project will occur. It might pay to take the longer-term view and purchase a machine package to cover a wide range of jobs. That way you'll be able to react much quicker to future needs eliminating the need for new parts to arrive or for an ad-hoc rental.
Why don't I just choose the cheapest line boring machine?
When shortlisting your priorities, price is obviously a key consideration, but buying on price alone is a false economy. You may be able to find a cheaper brand or even a used model, but consider the following risks before committing to buy:
- Poor results. If it’s cheap will it be robust enough and up to the job? - If a machine is not stable it will move or vibrate during the boring process, causing damage and a poor surface finish.
- Limited customer service. What support is on offer during the buying process and afterwards? Is there someone available to guide you through your decision. Also, what warranty is on offer?
- Difficult to set-up. Ask the supplier for a typical set up time. A smaller line borer shouldn’t take much more than 30 minutes to set up.
- Lack of power. Will the machine have enough power? Not just for your immediate project, but for other applications.
- Limited scope. What else can you do with the machine? – e.g facing or welding?
- Limited mounting options. What mounting options are there for bolting, tack welding or clamping?
What are the lead times for line boring machine?
This varies depending upon size of machine and stock availability. With line boring machines it pays to think ahead as it can be several weeks from receipt of payment before your machine arrives. This is because each machine package is made to order from the many options available.
Can Mirage supply a machine in my area?
Yes, we have a global network of representatives and distributors who can organize what you need.
What about feed rates?
Feed rates can vary across the line boring machine range. It is worth mentioning that the MLB610 range features bi-directional and an easy to adjust variable auto-feed. An auto-stop feature is also included.
How are line boring machines installed?
The set-up procedure for a line borer will vary, depending upon type of job, the size of the work piece and the machine’s manufacturer. The fundamentals are pretty much the same. We recommend you read our previous blog article How to set up a line boring machine which explains one typical set up process.
What maintenance is needed?
If looked after correctly, the line boring machine will provide years of trouble free use, delivering accurate and consistent results every time. Simple cleaning, debris removal and oiling is mostly all that is needed.
Do you need equipment for an on-site machining project? Visit our resources section to download our buyers guides or get in touch with your regional contact here.