Powder metallurgy is a near-net shape process capable of producing complex parts with little or no need for secondary operations such as machining, joining, or assembly. However, the inability to produce certain geometrical figures such as transverse holes, undercuts, and threads frequently necessitates some machining, particularly drilling. This article provides a discussion on the measures that can optimize the machining of P/M materials. It reviews the factors influencing machinability of P/M components, including workpiece and tool material properties, cutting conditions, machine and cutting tool parameters as well as some P/M material and production process parameters. These parameters discussed include the particle size, part geometry, porosity, compaction and sintering methods. In addition, the article presents guidelines for the various machining processes, namely, turning and boring, milling, drilling, grinding, reaming, burnishing, tapping, and honing and lapping.
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