10 Things a CNC Milling Beginner Needs to Be Successful


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Thread: 10 Things a CNC Milling Beginner Needs to Be Successful

  1. #1
    Gold Member BobWarfield's Avatar
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    Default 10 Things a CNC Milling Beginner Needs to Be Successful

    Check out my blog post:

    10 Things Beginning CNC Milling Machine Users Need to Succeed « « CNCCookbook CNC Blog CNCCookbook CNC Blog

    I'm interested in feedback on some of the other things that will help a beginner come up to speed more quickly. It should make a good thread if you make suggestions along those lines.

    Best,

    BW

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    Try G-Wizard Machinist's Calculator for free:
    http://www.cnccookbook.com/CCGWizard.html


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    1) Get a copy of Machinery's Handbook
    2) Read Machinery's Handbook
    3) Refer to Machinery's Handbook often
    4) Don't be cheap and then complain about it
    5) Learn manual milling before CNC
    6) DON'T keep doing the same things over and over and expect different results
    7) If any way possible, be in face to face contact with other machinist and learn from them

    That is all I got for now.



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    Purchase and read Smid's CNC books, including the Fanuc Macros book, even if you are using Mach. You'll think differently afterwards. If you have any computer programming background, this will provide the 'missing link', and stop the grumbling about what Mach 'can't do' . Yes it can, you just need to learn how.



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    The two most dangerous words in CNC machining....

    "Watch this."

    ....I do have a recommendation about the Z height gizmo...
    for years I've used a gage block, one I've dedicated to the machine.

    Bring the tool down to slightly BELOW the gage block, then using the handwheel, slowly, and by .0001" increments, bring the cutter UP till the gage
    block just barely clears your desired Z-zero. Add the gage block thickness (or subtract, depending on your control and method) to the offset value.

    MAJOR CAVEAT!!! Before you attempt to slide the gage block under the tool...TAKE YOUR HAND OFF OF THE HANDWHEEL!!!!!!!
    Using carbide tools, a tenth the wrong way can crack a tool, and you won't know it. Using HSS tools doesn't do anything any good either.

    Using gage blocks will also help in establishing a Z when none exists and you need a known reference, like the table, for instance.

    ...btw.... did I mention TAKE YOUR HAND OFF OF THE HANDWHEEL!!!!!!!



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    Registered fizzissist's Avatar
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    Default Worth Repeating!!

    1) Get a copy of Machinery's Handbook
    2) Read Machinery's Handbook
    3) Refer to Machinery's Handbook often
    4) Don't be cheap and then complain about it
    5) Learn manual milling before CNC
    6) DON'T keep doing the same things over and over and expect different results
    7) If any way possible, be in face to face contact with other machinist and learn from them



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    Gold Member BobWarfield's Avatar
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    Great replies, thanks! I'll definitely include most of this in the follow up post.

    While I will recommend Machinery's Handbook (and I do own not just that one but several others and more than one edition of Machinery's), I'm not so much a fan that I would list it as #1, 2, and 3. A lot of the information in it is either not very up to date or much easier to come by elsewhere. It has feeds and speeds for example but it suffers from both problems. I mostly use my Handbook for specs on things like threads or fasteners.

    What are some other books people like for beginners to have on hand? I mentioned Machine Shop Trade Secrets. Metalworking Sink or Swim is one I liked even better and will mention in the follow up post.

    Smid's books are great, but I ultimately concluded after reading all of Smid's work plus a whole ton of controller programmer guides from the manufacturers that there is a LOT Mach is missing, LOL. It all had to be written into my G-Wizard g-code simulator.

    OTOH, there are some things you can do in Mach but not in the commercial controllers that are quite nice too, largely in the area of UI work. A friend just spent thousands on a new probe package for his Fadal and has the pleasure of sifting through tons of macros on the machine and trying to remember what does what and which arguments to pass to make it do what he wants. The nice screens people have put together for probing are just not there unless there is some conversational option I haven't seen yet.

    One of the areas I struggle with is how to help beginners with CAD/CAM. The problem is that it's hard, and all the software is different. I haven't found too many rules of thumb that seem like they apply across most of the packages to help the beginners. Any ideas there would be much appreciated.

    Cheers,

    BW

    Try G-Wizard Machinist's Calculator for free:
    http://www.cnccookbook.com/CCGWizard.html


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    I like to use a precision 6mm roller as a gauge block - using the same "moving away until it fits" system. You can flick it against the tool tip and it gives a good sense of progession as you get closer and closer until it flies underneath. It can also tell you how even are the teeth on your cutter if it sticks under only one.

    Since I'm into smaller machining rather than larger, my constant guide is Tubal Cain's "Model Engineer's Handbook".

    Manual milling is very useful. You learn to listen to the cut, to see the character of the swarf change as you vary the feed. If you're sure of the grade of material you're cutting you can use and trust a feeds and speeds calculator. But most of my stuff is rather uncertain so you just get a sort of instinct for it.

    Decent tools - I'm for that!

    Decent vice and/or clamping - definitely.

    I'm not so sure I'd start with Aluminium. It can get sticky. Brass is fine as long as your tools are gripped in well (I've had a few dig-ins in the past, before I learned that you also need good chucks). I like steel, I love cast iron.

    Somone to watch, to learn from. You know you're getting somewhere if they start to listen to what you have to say.



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    My main emphasis on Machinery's Handbook is not just speeds and feeds. It has a whole wealth of information including math skills, tool making, technical data on gears, and on and on. Even some of the reasoning behind various cutting techniques is discussed.



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    #1 Buy the simplest CAM software you can afford to get away with. Buying top-line software because "someday you might need to do that" sentences you to years of fighting with the complicated software, when you instead need to "just get it done".
    #2 Get G-Wizard, and back the setting down to turtle to start with. PAY ATTENTION to tool deflection on small bits!
    3. Cut in foam first



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    People have missed the obvious need, access to a CNC machine. Reading books is very valuable but sometimes having hardware right in front of you makes learning easier and quicker.



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    Quote Originally Posted by txcncman View Post
    6) DON'T keep doing the same things over and over and expect different results.
    Don't do things differently everytime and expect the same results...

    DP



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    I love Machinery's Handbook, it' heavy enough to be a reliable doorstop
    Seriously it is a bible of sorts and I do own a copy. In the workshop 'Machinist's Ready Reference' comes in handy and you don't feel as guilty about the greasy fingerprints.
    Of course if Bob's software is used only the keyboard gets dirty

    An important thing for any cnc user is understand your machine control . For example: the concept of offsets, the coordinate systems (world and local), how the offsets relate to each other, where the offsets are stored. G&M code varies between controls as well. Your list is aimed at Mach users but understanding the workings of Mach can't be over emphasized,

    #4 MDI
    Yes. IMBO using cnc without G code knowledge is like working with the lights out
    (in my biased opinion)


    #6 height gauge/edgefinder
    Nice stuff to have. Like a previous poster I get by without.

    Anyone who says "It only goes together one way" has no imagination.


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10 Things a CNC Milling Beginner Needs to Be Successful
10 Things a CNC Milling Beginner Needs to Be Successful