This paper reports the development of an original design of chip breaker in a metal-matrix polycrystalline diamond (MMPCD) insert brazed into a milling tool. The research entailed finite element (FE) design, laser simulation, laser fabrication, and machining tests. FE analysis was performed to evaluate the effectiveness of different designs of chip breaker, under specified conditions when milling aluminum alloy (Al A356). Then, the ablation performance of an MMPCD workpiece was characterized by ablating single trenches under different conditions. The profiles of the generated trenches were analyzed and fed into a simulation tool to examine the resultant thickness of ablated layers for different process conditions, and to predict the obtainable shape when ablating multilayers. Next, the geometry of the designated chip breaker was sliced into a number of layers to be ablated sequentially. Different ablation scenarios were experimentally investigated to identify the optimum processing conditions. The results showed that an ns laser utilized in a controllable manner successfully produced the necessary three-dimensional feature of an intricate chip breaker with high surface quality (Ra in the submicron range), tight dimensional accuracy (maximum dimensional error was less than 4%), and in an acceptable processing time (≈51 s). Finally, two different inserts brazed in milling tools, with and without the chip breaker, were tested in real milling trials. Superior performance of the insert with chip breaker was demonstrated by the curled chips formed and the significant reduction of obtained surface roughness compared to the surface produced by the insert without chip breaker.

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