CNC Alignment and Upgrading Tips for Operators
CNC machines need to be upgraded occasionally to ensure productivity. However, they should only be upgraded when the mechanical is properly aligned. While all the components of a CNC machine need aligning for proper functioning, the slide-way is the most important part that requires adjustment because it determines the accuracy and rigidity of the equipment. While it is possible to outsource slide-way alignment, you carry out the slide-way alignment yourself. The following steps should make it easy for you.
Look for Signs of Slide-Way Wear -- The first step is to find any evidence of existing wear signs. To do this, remove the slide-way's cover and move the slide as much as possible to reveal its surface. While tear and wear on the face of a slide-way would be visible to the naked eye, some will not. If your CNC machine is fitted with box ways, you could detect wear using a pair of the micrometer. That is, with the help of the micrometer, measure the thickness of the way bars at different points along the entire length of the bars. If you record variations of more than 0.0005 inches, then it is an indication that the slide-way is wearing out. Do not upgrade the CNC machine until you take care of any possible wear.
Determine if Machine is Level -- The best piece of equipment to determine whether a CNC machine is level is the precision spirit. The tool works by taking two significant level readings. One of the measurements is read along the horizontal axis of the machine, whereas the second one is done across the horizontal axis. Readings from the two axes help reveal possible twists within the machine's slides. If you record discrepancies, you could level the CNC machine by adjusting the levelers. However, if you feel uncomfortable making such adjustments, report the findings to your supervisor.
Check for Squareness -- CNC machines operate on both the horizontal and vertical axes, which are supposed to be perpendicular to each other. When the equipment stops working, the axes automatically square the machine by homing to their respective axes sensors. However, with time, the device loses its squareness; therefore, before any upgrade, you should determine the equipment's squareness. To check for squareness let the machine's spindle draw a line along the vertical axis and another one along the horizontal axis on the slide-way. Repeat the process on both sides of the slide-way until you have a square. Once you are done, draw two diagonal lines to join each corner of the square to its opposite end. After that, measure the diagonal lines using a construction square. If the diagonals have the same length, the machine's squareness is adequate.