What is a CNC machine? CNC stands for computerized numerical control, which allows you to model your object with specialized software and have it sent to a manual lathe that cuts material using automatically generated tool paths.
Milling and drilling machines are two of the many types of CNC machines. Milling machines use an end mill that moves perpendicular to the tool axis so that most of the cutting occurs at the circumference and bottom end of the end mill. Drills use drill bits that move up and down along the axis of the rotating tool.
For whichever CNC machine, here are 10 tips for new CNC machine users like you!
- 1 1: Purchase Some High-Quality Cutters
- 2 2: Purchase a Nice Vise and Clamping Kit
- 3 3: Apply Coolant Misting for Chip Prevention
- 4 4: Use Manual Data Input
- 5 5: Buy a Speed Calculator to Increase Accuracy
- 6 6: Use the Vise and Mill for Accurate Cuts
- 7 7: Stay Away from Stainless Steel
- 8 8: Use Aluminum Material to Make Vice Jaws
- 9 9: Get a Touch Tool Measuring Device
- 10 10: Utilize Advanced CNC
- 11 Be Competent!
1: Purchase Some High-Quality Cutters
You get what you pay for. Therefore, avoid getting cheap, low-quality cutters. You don’t necessarily have to spend an arm and a leg for top-of-the-line cutters.
Simply acquire some nice cutters from a well-known brand at cheap costs. This will make a tremendous difference in making excellent components and will save loads of unneeded difficulties that might emerge by utilizing inferior equipment.
For example, carbide cutters will last longer. You’ll want to pick up a couple of various sizes, such as ½” and ¼”, etc. It’s also a good idea to acquire a comprehensive drill assortment.
Be cautious to use your safety goggles since these cutters will break.
2: Purchase a Nice Vise and Clamping Kit
Workholding is crucial to keep an element in place. You’ll want an excellent quality vise that will endure for years. You don’t want your portion to slip out of place. A suitable clamping kit will attach your vise to the T-slots of your table.
Lastly, obtain a solid pair of parallels to maintain your workpiece parallel or elevated equally for the cutting tool/spindle to pass over.
3: Apply Coolant Misting for Chip Prevention
There are two types of mist coolant system: the siphon-based and micro-drop. The siphon mechanism totally atomizes the coolant into an aerosol, which may be untidy.
The micro-drop mechanism pressurizes the coolant, keeping the coolant and air in separate chambers until they touch the tip of the tool. With the micro-drop technology, the coolant vaporizes as it strikes the workpiece. It’s considerably more efficient and not as messy.
A good misting system will assist to reduce chip formation.
4: Use Manual Data Input
Using manual data input (MDI) in a manual lathe saves time and boosts production. You may access this option using the machine’s MDI keypad located on the control panel. The MDI keypad enables you to specify numerous parameters such as fundamental G-codes, X, Y, and Z coordinates.
5: Buy a Speed Calculator to Increase Accuracy
The manual lathe is a different ballgame from manual machining, and it’s extremely vital to have your feeds and speeds precise right from the very first cut. Accuracy is a key concern while making your cuts. To guarantee this, you’ll want to utilize a feeds and speeds calculator.
6: Use the Vise and Mill for Accurate Cuts
Tram is squaring up the Z axis motor/spindle, making it perpendicular to the X axis and Y axis. There is a tram parallel to the x-axis and another tram parallel to the y-axis. It’s crucial to inspect the tram on your mill anytime you begin a new project.
If you want precise cuts and the greatest finishing, your mill has to be in the tram. It’s a fundamental technique any machinist has to master. Also, make sure to set your vise so the jaws are aligned correctly with one axis or the other.
7: Stay Away from Stainless Steel
Make some cutbacks. When initially starting out, you want to avoid utilizing tougher materials like stainless steel for your first cuts. It’s crucial to feel secure in utilizing the softer materials and perfecting cuts while decreasing the possibility of breaking or causing early wear on your cutters. You also want beautiful finishing. You can find several sources on the web for “mild steel.”
8: Use Aluminum Material to Make Vice Jaws
To make vice jaws, follow these steps.
- Using your saw, cut several pieces of material that are somewhat bigger.
- Cut the stock slightly larger.
- Square the material. Once these blocks are squared, they are ready. Squaring implies you’ll make a sequence of milling cuts until all sides are equal or perpendicular to one other, making the workpiece square.
- Trim it to size by continuing to mill it until it fits the vise jaws exactly.
- Drill and countersink the mounting holes. (You will need two square pieces for each jaw.)
- Mill a step along each jaw. If you like, you may utilize this step instead of parallels while inserting the material into the vice.
9: Get a Touch Tool Measuring Device
Using a touch tool measurement device increases accuracy. Keep in mind that the manual lathe must indicate where the tool’s tip is in Z. It would also be helpful if you purchase an edge finder for putting up X and Y locations.
10: Utilize Advanced CNC
You’ve done the fundamentals. It’s time to learn and utilize G-code on your manual lathe. First, you’ll need to study and become adept in CAD/CAM. It’s not an easy software to learn, but it’s worth the time and work you spend.
You may take classes at a community college, or maybe obtain support from someone you know. There is also support from the internet with plenty of videos accessible to learn from. There are also online forums where individuals go to receive support with these apps.
You may start by studying CAD. Once you get to the stage where you’ve sketched a lot of pieces, you may then start studying CAM. It will be simpler and less intimidating to handle one of these programs at a time.
As a newbie, you’ll want to discover the shortest approach to constructing various pieces. Then, as time goes by, you might contemplate upgrading as your requirements warrant.
In addition to gaining experience from a trusted partner, you may enroll in a CNC milling course. After learning the basics of manual lathe milling, you may progress to advanced programming that involves utilizing G-codes and CAD/CAM applications.
Now you’ve learned some of the essentials to begin your tasks with confidence. And after you’ve studied and mastered CAD/CAM, you may become competent in all your machining chores.