Long gone are the days when a milling machine was manually operated. If you’re looking for speed and precision, then CNC machines are leading the way in the manufacturing industry.
CNC machines can be programmed to extremely high tolerances, creating a much more accurate finished product.
Using a CNC machine effectively requires a few basic steps. You can read about them here in this detailed and helpful guide.
What Is a CNC Machine?
A CNC machine stands for Computer Numerically Controlled Machine. It combines the versatility of a traditional manually operated mill, but with the accuracy of being programmed to incredibly high levels of precision.
Although a CNC router machine is an essential piece of equipment for any manufacturing company, they are fast becoming popular on the hobbyist scene.
6 Tips for Using a CNC Machine for Every User
Avoid Excessively Thin Walls
You will probably come across projects where thin walls are a design requirement. Wall thickness is directly proportional to the material you are CNC machining. If the material is too soft, then vibrations caused during the cuttings will skew the accuracy.
As a general rule, the standard minimum thickness for walls is 1.5 mm for plastics and 0.794 mm for metals, although this will change depending on the type of plastic or metal you are machining.
Where very thin walls are required, it might be better to fabricate these parts rather than try to mill them.
Design Cavities With the Tool in Mind
If you’re machining cavities into a part, then it’s important to take into consideration the depth compared to the tool you are using. Ideally, you want to avoid the tool hanging or at full extension. This can lead to chipping of the item you’re machining or tool fracture.
A general depth to width ratio should be used. If a cavity is more than six times deeper than the tool diameter, it’s too deep. The ideal depth should be no more than four times for problem-free machining.
Remember to Add Radii to Internal Edges
Any internal edges should be designed with radii in mind. Most cutting tools you will use with your mill are cylindrical. They will not cut a sharp right-angled edge.
When you’re planning your project, it’s important to take into account the curvature of the corners. If you’re not leaving enough of a radius, then it can put unnecessary stress on the tool.
A good rule to use is to add a radius of 130% of the milling tool radius. For example, if your tool has a radius of 5mm, then allow for a radius of 6.5mm to any internal angle. This helps to reduce any stress on the tool and can allow you to increase the cutting speed.
Avoid Designing Too Small and Intricate Parts
It’s important to understand the limitations of your machine. If your CNC machine has a minimum tool diameter of 2.5 mm, then you will struggle to cut anything smaller than this.
When you're designing the part to be cut, take into consideration any small and fiddly pieces. Ideally, avoid this. If they are necessary, then find a different technique or a specialist too for this particular job.
Make Holes With Standard Sizes
This is especially important if you’re using the part you’re milling on a larger project where the assembly is required. Make sure any hole you’re drilling that needs to be joined with a screw or bolt is made in a standard size.
If holes need to be tapped after, make sure you have allowed adequate material to accommodate this. By milling holes in a non-standard diameter, you can add a lot of extra work to your project when you realize this mistake later on.
Think About the Text and Lettering Style
If you’re milling a project that has text or lettering on it, for example, a door sign, be conscious of the style used.
The best way to add text is by engraving, whereas little material is removed as possible. If you’re worried about not seeing the text on the surface, then various paint and ink can be used to enhance the letters.
Choose a Sans Serif font. The serif is the little tails you might see, think Times New Roman font, where each letter has an additional little line. Opt for a font that doesn't have these.
When you’re choosing a size, anything less than 20 points will be challenging for a neat and crisp finish. It’s also worth thinking about letter spacing to help with the clarity of the lettering style.
8 Things to Get You Started With Your New SYIL Machine
These tips have been put together by our experienced team to help you get the most out of your machine. We aim to get you and your CNC milling machine up and running as smoothly as possible.
- SYIL mills us #2 Way Oil in the automatic oiler. You can find the oiler on the outside of the enclosure. The coolant oil tank holds approximately 30 gallons
- It doesn't matter which brand oil you use, what’s important is that the oil has the same viscosity as #2 Way Oil
- Our machines are shipped with minimal oil inside. When you switch your machine on, the alarm will sound. Have some oil handy for when your CNC machine arrives
- Tailor the oiler times between 5 minutes and 8 minutes. This will depend on how hard you’re running the machine An information sheet for programming time is provided with your SYIL CNC machine
- If you’re considering attaching an air hose to your machine, you will need a male type 3/8 air fitting
- The air pressure required is 90 psi. If it’s too high or low, you can crash the ATC unit
- SYIL Machines come with a one-year warranty
- We offer full technical support at no additional charge for the lifetime of your machine
Get the Most Out of Your CNC Machine
Whether you’re an established manufacturer, or just getting started, discover the endless application for your CNC machine as well as the best tips, accessories, and advice on SYIL.
If you have any questions, speak to one of the professional and knowledgeable team members. They can meet you online, in a virtual environment, give you a demonstration plus answer any troubleshooting questions you may have.
Book an appointment at a convenient time for you at your one-stop CNC machine shop, We’ll be happy to help.