You just spent a whole bunch of money on a brand new, right-out-of-the-box, still with sawdust in the nooks and crannies CNC machine. You’re bursting at the seams with pride. Rightly so, but at the same time, you’re thinking about your future together. Think of it as a long-term relationship, and you’ve just gotten past the first date. How do you turn infatuation into lasting love? With CNC machines, to increase longevity, it’s all about communicating. You’ve got to look, listen, and understand what’s going on all the time if you want to have a long-lasting relationship. Think of it like being married, but for just 8 hours a day with weekends and holidays off.
Inspect CNC equipment and tools thoroughly
Gazing at your CNC machine casually isn’t going to make things work better. It’s going to take some intensive CNC inspection to make sure everything is functioning properly and within specifications. Safety concerns dictate inspecting moving parts but don’t forget to take a look at the less attractive places behind, underneath, and beside the CNC machine. You might be surprised what you’ll find there when the pressure washer makes its appearance. The manufacturer’s operator’s manual is another thing to look over – regularly. It’s always a good idea to have little reminders of proper procedures and potential problems to stay up on maintenance cycles.
Learn what a CNC issue sounds like
Like all mechanical devices, CNC machines talk to their operators. It might not be English, but it’s still communicating. The operating display panel might have lots of great numbers and icons running back and forth, but it’s the sound of what’s happening that’s just as important. An out-of-balance tool or failing spindle can cause noises that computers can’t hear. Despite all its high-tech guts, the machine can still have problems, and failure to eliminate those problems early on will decrease machine longevity significantly.
Know your CNC equipment inside and out
The idea here is to “understand” the CNC machine as a functioning entity much like a human body would look. Replace blood vessels with wires, faces with monitors, and bones with mechanical equipment. Each time the CNC machine performs a task, it requires complete harmony among its multitude of parts and pieces. Like a human, one problem can lead to another and then another. It’s always best to catch issues early and by doing so, keeping the machine up and running instead of down and out. Understanding what is happening, what components are involved, and how they work together provides additional insight into the CNC machine’s well-being.
Never skip CNC maintenance!
It’s easy to say “read the manual” or “keep it clean” for tips on machine longevity. But top-shelf CNC machine operators know they’ve got to do more than just read a book or take a class. Establishing routine CNC maintenance schedules and sticking to it is the best way to keep your machines up and running for years to come.