CNC Machine/Intermediate documentation

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This page details information for users who want to do things with the CNC Machine beyond that covered in the induction. There is also an Advanded documentation page containing additional information for more advanced topics.


Fusion 360

Fusion 360 contains an inbuilt CAM suite.

Files containing the basic machine definition and processor are available on Google Drive. Theses can be imported into fusion360 in the Mchine window in the Manufacture workspace.

Recomended Guides.

There are a lot of options in the manufacture section of Fusion 360, the pages and videos below are a good place to start when working out how to use the software

Advanced machine settings

Reading feeds and speeds from G code input

The controller can be configured to read the speeds and feeds from the Gcode file. This option can be found in the AutoProSetup menu under G Code Setup. The options there are F Read and S Read for the feeds and speeds respectivleu which can be set to ignore or read independantly.

Style CNC have a video detailing how to configure this but information can also be found in the A1X controller manual under section 4.2.2

If changing this setting it should be set back to the skip setting when finished in order to ensure expected opperation for other users.

Guidance for cutting aluminium

The CNC can cut aluminium fairly well with a bit of care. If you have already used the CNC for other materials then the process is very much the same, aluminium is less forgiving than wood or other similar materials but if you stay within the tool parameters then you shouldnt have any issues even on fairly large and complicated parts. It is best to use aluminium specific tooling and reference speeds and feeds will usualy be provided by the manufacturer (you may want to down rate some of them a bit to give a bit more of a buffer). Fusion360 may be best for toolpath generation as it adds things like using slower feed speeds during lead in and ramping into the part automatically, you will need to enable feeds from gcode as detailed above to benifit from this.

Some other tips that may help.

  • For mounting aluminium pieces either clamping to a block of wood or using painters tape and super glue works well (there is a metal plate in the baseboard area which works well to stick parts to).
  • The mist coolant system will help keep the part and tooling cool, you dont need to spray lots of coolant on, inital tests show that keeping the coolant on a very low setting and a enougth air so that you can just see the coolant spraying onto the part works well.
  • The tool setter wont work if there is a conductive path from where it is placed to the machine bed (this can be caused by the clamps touching it or metal chips once you have done the first pass) so these need to be cleared between each tool change.
  • Adaptive clearing toolpaths are recommended for most stages as this will keep a constant tool load, if you leave some stock after this opperation 0.3mm worked well for me then you can finish up with other toolpaths to get a good surface finish. .
  • Use only climb cutting if possible, (if using fusion it will default to this in most places but steps like facing need to have this selected manualy).
  • The air blow gun by the lathe is useful to clear chips while cutting

Tooling suppliers

If needing tools beyond those in the communinual set the following list contains information on tooling suppliers that have been used by other members.

APT (Associated Production Tools Ltd)

Apt largley sell tools for machining metals which includes a good range of tools for aluminium, they also sell a range of tooling for use on wood under the Milling/Routing-Engraving tools category. The tools usualy contain a set of recomended speeds and feeds however these may need adjusting to work well on the machine.