Computer numerical control machinery combines power and precision. By taking detailed instructions from computer programs, mills and lathes can shape raw material to exact specifications. But CNC machines contain many moving parts, and when sharp blades at high speeds work with hard materials such as wood, plastic, and metal, those parts can wear down, compromising the integrity of the entire machine.
CNC machines take a lot of hard work out of our hands, but keeping them in working order is a task that remains very much in our hands. By explaining what can go wrong under a lack of oversight, we hope to make clear the importance of regularly maintaining a CNC machine in your shop.
Avoid Grinding to a Screeching Halt
When it comes to those moving parts, not even CNC technology can transcend the need for lubrication. There are many grease points along a mill or lathe, and it’s important to keep them well-lubricated to keep everything moving smoothly. The same goes for hydraulic fluid—don’t let this important liquid run low. Failing to keep a machine lubricated will cause wear and eventual breakdown. If you find that you’re replenishing hydraulic fluid too often, this could indicate a leak, which will require a visit from the pros.
(Don’t) Eat My Dust
Wiping down surfaces to rid them of shavings isn’t just a matter of keeping up appearances for visitors. It’s common-sense maintenance. Sawdust and shavings can accumulate around the CNC machine and eventually infiltrate the cracks and crevices of your equipment, where they can do damage to delicate internal areas. Clear off the grime, dust, and larger shavings as you work so that it doesn’t get out of control.
Beyond the Daily Tasks
Though you can put the importance of regularly maintaining a CNC machine into action by doing daily maintenance tasks, you’ll need to defer some jobs. About once each year—maybe sooner if you’re running a high-output shop—you’ll need to bring in a specialist to run some highly necessary calibration checks on your CNC machinery. This CNC expert will adjust your gibs, check your spindle and headstock, and look into what else may need repairs. This could include your vector drive, which powers your very important spindle motor. For Haas vector drive repair, turn to CNC Service Company for expert repairs with quick turnarounds.