Chamfer: What You Need To Know

chamfer

Although it’s one of the major aims, avoiding sharp corners isn’t the only reason why machinists perform chamfering, beveling and filleting operations on a workpiece. Machinists often smoothen the edges of machine parts in order to minimize the damage that may bay be caused due to the sharp edge of the workpiece and to give the piece an aesthetic appeal.

Chamfering involves the cutting away of a corner or right-angled edge to make a sloping symmetrical edge. Chamfers are usually cut at an angle of 45 degrees and have been used in several fields like carpentry and furniture manufacturing, CAD designs, Architecture amongst others.

It can be for functional purposes-for instance, chamfering the edges of a child’s toy box or collection of building blocks can help avoid any damage incurred by sharp corners or sides, or it can be for aesthetic reasons. Decorative chamfered edges are also seen on newel posts or legs of the furniture on stairs.

Why Edges are Chamfered

Chamfering has come to play an important role in product design and manufacturing. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why the edges of the parts are chamfered.

  • To avoid waste or dirt from piling up in internal corners.
  • It reduces tension accumulation and decreases corner load.
  • It gives an aesthetic appeal to the piece.
  • It makes it easy for a press forged part to be easily produced.
  • To protect exterior edges from splitting.
  • Chamfered edges are safer and cause fewer injuries than unchamfered edges.
  • It makes it easy to fit the two components together. A very important factor to consider when designing two machine parts.
chamfered box
A chamfered box

What’s The Difference between Chamfer and Bevel

There’s been a lot of confusion around the topic. A lot of engineers and technicians are still divided when it comes to agreeing on the true definition of a chamfer and a bevel since both of them are aimed at transforming the sharp edge of a material into a sloping edge.

Let’s try to clear up this topic a bit.

A chamfer is a sloping edge connecting a horizontal surface to a vertical one. A bevel refers to a slope extending all the way down from the top edge of a piece of material to the bottom edge.

But sadly, throughout the retail and general DIY community the word ‘bevel’ is also used to describe all bevels and chamfers.

Bevels are also used to build joints with the miter. Miter joints are commonly used in picture frames or box construction. There are bevel cutters with varying angles so you can render boxes with varying side numbers. Bevel cutters may also be used for chamfering, but keep in mind that specialized chamfer cutters can have a particular cutting edge angle.

The Difference between Chamfer and Fillet

The decision of working with either a chamfered bottom or a filleted bottom would always depend on things like your budget, available tools, and time limitations of your project. Many of these factors are listed in the table below:

 ChamferFillet
CostLess expensive if the part is being machined manuallyIf the part is being milled, the cost will be equal to that of a chamfer
TimeIt is usually faster to apply a chamferUsually, less time effective unless a round mill is already being used to mill complex, curved surfaces
Tooling“Within reason, one tool can create chamfers of different sizes” – KENAT on Eng-Tips ForumsFillets require specific size tools to produce different fillet sizes.
CoatingsDue to the sharpness of chamfer corners, paint or protective coatings will draw back from the edge. This means that the coating near the edges will wear more quickly.For a smooth, even application of the paint or coating, a fillet is a better option.
Courtesy: engineering.com

Fillets give a better flow and less resistance to the part. Using a fillet also eliminates any sharp edges that can easily be damaged, or that might cause injury when handling the part. It ensures there is little risk of getting a burr or sharp point missing an inspection. Also, filets have a lower stress concentration factor, which means they distribute stress over a wider area. This makes filleted sections longer-lasting and able to endure greater loads.

Chamfers are more forgiving when designing mating parts, but overall, designs using fillets are generally parts without hard edges are preferred by senior managers, industrial designers, and customers.

The Industrial Application of Chamfering

Chamfering has been applied to several fields of engineering, and it hasn’t failed to produce impressive results. Some of the major fields where they’ve been applied include:

In Woodworking

You’ve probably seen unfinished timber. It has a very straight corner edge at the true square. Woodworkers take the edge off, chamfer for greater protection in handling and in everyday life. There are also indications that fires arise and capture a chamfered edge more gradually relative to a straight, pointed point. And chamfering is one of the major highlights in a beautiful piece of furniture, much like the details on a Greek column.

In Architecture

A chamfered edge on a block of concrete is a sloping or angled corner intended to enhance the visual look, protection, and simple removal of concrete formwork. It is technically difficult to shape a straight, pleasant corner and the concrete at corners is easily chipped, so having a chamfered edge might shield the corner from chipping.

Urban Planning

Chamfering plays an important role in city planning by helping city planners address the problem of traffic visibility, something that has curbed the sheer volume of vehicle-to-pedestrian accidents. And although chamfers go a long way in increasing visibility and security on the roads, mostly at intersections, it’s still not prevalent in most regions of the world.

Other Applications of Chamfering

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Machining
  • In Circuit Board Designs
  • In Glass Mirror Designs

How To Chamfer a Material Manually

Although chamfers can be easily performed on CAD designs, it’s not always so easy to replicate realistically. Mostly in the construction industry, so here are a few ways we can get it done.

Using Chamfer Strips

This process of chamfering concrete edges is achieved before concrete is poured. The formwork construct for concrete lying is set at the edge with the chamfer row. Chamfer strips are available in the sizes 1/2, 3/4, and 1 inches, based on the chamfered edge thickness criteria. It is either made of plastic or wood.

Such chamfered strips are built and are placed in concrete utilizing traditional methods. Concrete compression needs to be maintained for smoothness and even completion. After 24 hours the formwork is gradually withdrawn. For this system, no more finishing interventions are needed.

Using Edging Tools

Chamfer edging methods are used in this process to render the chamfered edges. In comparison to the above process, this is achieved after the concrete has been poured and the surface water has dried off, say, half an hour after the concrete was poured in. The tops of the concrete are cut off with the aid of chamfer devices.

On the concrete bottom, the same type of chamfer pattern and scale is obtained according to the form of the chamfered instrument used. To render this as even and smooth edge it takes professional labor.

SolidFace: Chamfer

Long before the entrance of CAD designs and advanced manufacturing techniques, chamfering operations were always performed with the use of manual tools. Suffice it to say that it was a very slow and demanding process. Thankfully with the introduction of modern technology, chamfering operations can now be performed quickly and easily, and one of the fastest ways to get it done is through SolidFace.

Chamfering has been a tool on SolidFace and allows CAD technicians to create sloping edges around a material just by specifying the desired distance or angle.

One thing we really love is that the tool is very easy to locate on the Toolbox.

The Chamfer construction follows the same rules as those defined by the Concordance (Fillet) function. Upon activation of the command, the system requests the distance of the chamfer 1 and 2. When executing this function, the values defined in the previous action would appear as usual.

To execute the instruction, the line with reference 1 must be indicated, then hit Enter, point straight line 2, and hit Enter again.

How to Chamfer A Material With SolidFace

The steps involved in chamfering a model in SolidFace are very easy to replicate.

  • First, open SolidFace. If you don’t have it, then click here to download it for free.
  • Create a square cube or any shape of your choice on SolidFace.
  • On the toolbar, click on the chamfer tool.
solidface chamfer

You’ll see two tabs, ‘Edge Face,’ and ‘Propagate Face,’ and ‘Reverse Chamfer’. Select any of them.

  • Next, input values for distance-angle or distance-distance, depending on your preference.
  • Click ‘Apply’.
  • Identify the edges you want to be chamfered and click ‘OK’.
solidface chamfer
A chamfered square cube