Beginning milling projects
I have 2.5 years experience running cnc lathes and mills. I am now venturing into manual machining which I have no experience with.
I was wondering if anyone had some good ideas for simple and maybe even useful projects (tools etc) I could work on to start getting some skills
Thanks in advance
Someone asked almost the exact same question on another forum. Main difference is there was no indication of experience of running any sort of machine tool. So... not all of this will apply to you. I answered thus:
Very first thing on a mill (or any tool) is read the manual. Cover to cover. Make sure you understand what everything does.
Next thing, on a vertical mill, is tram the head.
Next, inspect and lube machine: check axis locks, is there a collet in the spindle? belt tensions OK? T-slots clean? all the oil reservoirs have adequate oil or grease? lube all lube points in the chart, clean and lube ways, inspect safety covers.
Run all axes full length of travel, everything smooth? check and adjust gibs.
Check condition of table: With nothing mounted on it run your hand over it lightly checking for burrs and bings and raised edges. If you find any stone them off.
Using a ground bar of about 1" diameter and length at least the width of the table, roll it along the surface. As it rolls along does it clunk along or roll smooth from one end to the other. If the rod bumps or hesitates there is a raised spot, probably from a dropped tool, part or clumsily handled fixture or vise. Stone off the bump or it will throw off the alignment of the vise or fixture.
Mount the vise: make sure the bottom of the vise is clean and there are no chips stuck to it, no burrs or raised edges. Stone off any burrs. Make sure the mounting hardware for the vise is sized properly. A bolt that is too long (or washer too thin) and the bolt can pass through the bottom of the T-nut and, when tightened, can crack the T-slot by jacking it up.
Get the vise square or parallel to the ways (depending on the cuts you are going to do.)
Clean out any crud that may be in the spindle bore.
Inspect the drawbar threads for wear and "ramping."
Now you are ready to start cutting... check speeds and feeds for the material and cutters you will be using. Use sharp cutters of the right type for the job.
First projects/exercises should be:
Learn to square up a piece of work.
Learn how to find an edge.
Learn how to center the spindle over a layout line or center mark.
Make some extra T-nuts for your mill, drill press, rotary table. Sure it is easier to buy them (and you should have a full set for the mill at least) but it is a good simple exercise.
Make a work stop for the vise.
Get a copy of Machine Shop Trade Secrets by James Harvey Amazon.com: Machine Shop Trade Secrets: A Guide to Manufacturing Machine Shop Practices (9780831132279): James A Harvey: Books He has a lot of good tips on milling and a well described procedures for squaring up different kinds of work.
Thanks David that's very helpful and I agree some T-nuts would be a great place to start