Mini mill tool changer adjustment/repair
A few weeks ago I was working on my mini mill and a long tool that was in the tool changer came in contact with a large piece I had in my vice. At first it looked like there wasn't any damage. Anyway, on the next tool change when the spindle came down over the tool the tool dropped out and the tool changer was bent down about 1/4 inch. Now when I do a tool change in that pocket or the ones just before or after, it doesn't work right. The little fingers that grab the holder, grab just above the groove instead in the groove of the tool holder.
Is this a something I can fix by myself? Would it be expensive to have a repair guy do? Frankly, I'm still paying off my mill and I can do without the three pockets for a while if I need to.
You should be able to remove the bottom of the carousel and look at the aluminum plate.
Likely all is needed is to straighten it out. If you have a press, just gently nudge it back into a fairly straight and flat plate.
Done it once, really not all that difficult ( assuming it isn't in the shape of a pretzel )
The serviceguy would likely just be replacing it. Again, not a big deal but you gotta wait. Also, not terribly expensive part either as I understand.
I agree. Nothing really hard about working on these things. Maybe a bit of a PITA, but nothing you can't handle. It sounds like the tool got popped up and out of the fingers so that when the tool was to be loaded into the spindle, it pushed down on the carousel due to being above the fingers and misaligned with the spindle orientation. It very well could be bent a little. Any time a tool gets knocked around, it is a good idea to remove it from the carousel. Call a tool change to the pocket just before the "loose" tool and immediately hit feed hold when Z axis moves up to allow the carousel to rotate. It will sit there with air blasting until you cycle start. Now grab that "loose" tool out of there. Cycle start. call tool change to empty pocket. Place the tool you removed back into the spindle.
For starters, empty all the pockets. Next index to the "bad" pocket. Now here comes the fun part... Call a tool change to the pocket exactly opposite the "bad" pocket and immediately hit feed hold as the carousel starts toward the spindle. It will sit there beneath the spindle with air blasting until you cycle start. While you have it under the spindle, use a scale or caliper to get some sort of reference measurement from carousel to spindle. Now cycle start and let it index. At this point call another change about 3 pockets from the "good" side and hit that feed hold once again as the carousel comes to the spindle. Take another measurement. Repeat this again calling another 180 degree index. When you have established four good points of reference, you can then better determine if or how the plate may bent.
If in fact you determine it necessary to pull the thing apart, call a tool change and immediately hit E-stop when the carousel starts moving. I believe you can then reset the E-stop and raise Z axis all the way up. Turn off power. You can now move the carousel toward the spindle by hand quite easily. Don't go all the way though. It may lock into place. Not sure.
Been a while since I've had to tinker around with ours. We had to replace the micro switches in it a year or so ago. The one that is triggered when loading or going past tool 1 would randomly stick which caused the machine to grab the wrong tool on occasion. NOT a good thing. Trust me. LOL
Hope some of this helps. Good luck!
Yep, definitely sounds like you bent the plate. SDI-Gary has some good info for you to follow to check it out.
The only thing I will add at this point is to check the tool chang height after you finish straightening things out.
With the plate back in place, command a tool change with a tool in spindle. E-Stop the machine before it reaches the tool. Manually pull the tool changer so the carousel fingers are next to the tool holder. Visually check to see that the fingers lined up with the groove in the holder. If yes, then check at least 3 more places around the carousel, more for larger capacity machines. To move carousel back into proper position after the visual check, press ZERO RET mode key and then press SINGLE or SINGLE AXIS key. (Kind of a shortcut tool changer recovery method, but only works for this scenario)
If they are not lined up then you will need to adjust the tool change height parameter. It's not to hard, so post back if you need to go that route.