Metal Dust, Chips, and Turnings from Machining

The project in this article was simply to turn a piece of a solid magnesium ingot into a precise cylinder to compare its density to that of tungsten. Because the metal being machined was magnesium, the waste was carefully collected to avoid starting a magnesium fire. I took the following photographs to show how different machining processes result in different sizes and shapes of scrap. (All photos were taken from the same distance to the subject, so the sizes are approximately relative.)

Hacksaws produce a fine-grained power.

Hacksaw powder

Hacksaw powder.

A milling machine produces various sizes of chips when face milling (machining with the tip of the end mill). But, the same machine and cutting tool can produce long twisted wires when scraping a long section using side milling.

Face milling chips and side milling shavings

Face milling chips and side milling shavings.

Lastly, a lathe creates curly ribbons of different thicknesses depending on the depth of the cut and the angle of the cutting tool.

Lathe turnings of magnesium

Lathe turnings of magnesium.

While I doubt any of this has any practical value, it is one of the things you notice when relaxing in your machine shop.