What's new
What's new

how to automate my lathe

fatstig

Plastic
Joined
Sep 3, 2022
Hello all, I'm a new member here.
I've been running my own shop for almost a year now.
And it is looking to take off this year, I get a lot of work for my lathe's, an Okuma LB15W & Haas DS30Y.

I'm getting a lot of jobs turning longer shafts, nothing fancy, just both ends have to be machined.
So it make sense to do the second operation on the subspindle.
but here's my problem, both lathe have a parts catcher, but none of them can handle long parts, lets say 75mm and longer.
off course a robot would make sense, but my bank account is against it ;). Does any one have a clever idea how I can automate the unloading of the subspindle ?

I found a LNS bar unloader, which could work, but is has to be inline with the subspindle and Haas has a chip conveyor on that side and the Okuma doesn't have a open tube style spindle.

cheers, Peter
 

Ox

Diamond
Joined
Aug 27, 2002
Location
West Unity, Ohio
Well, to run it out the back door of your sub, you need to have a through hole in your sub.
Many collet closers on subs don't have through holes.

If you doo, then you could rig sumpthing up, but it's a LOT easier if the machine had that option in mind when designing. Don't need anything fancy. Just some tubing and a catch pan on the other end.

I have one that we run through about 1/2 the time.
Have a cpl others that came in recently that will likely be made to make that work as well.


----------------------

Think Snow Eh!
Ox
 
Last edited:

Orange Vise

Titanium
Joined
Feb 10, 2012
Location
California
Went through this dilemma for many years. Finally got a robot and the increase in productivity was unbelievable. Something to the tune of 10X on shaft work.

Our robots are triggered by the autodoor. Some of our machines have factory autodoors that open on M30. Others we had to install ourselves DIY with rodless air cylinders controlled by Arduinos. Under $1K per single autodoor, under $2K per double autodoor. Autodoors trigger prox switches which trigger the robot.

off course a robot would make sense, but my bank account is against it ;)

Figure out a way. Everything else is a waste of time, IMHO.

A Yaskawa HC20DTP cobot runs just under 100K all in. Finance it for roughly 1500-2K per month. About half the price of a decent employee.

It'll easily run four machines, so call it $500-700 per machine per month. Can't beat that. You've got two lathes that need it. Move one of your mills close by and have the robot act as a pallet changer. The HC20DTP has nearly a 2 meter reach.
 

Chips Everywhere

Aluminum
Joined
Apr 29, 2021
Went through this dilemma for many years. Finally got a robot and the increase in productivity was unbelievable. Something to the tune of 10X on shaft work.

Our robots are triggered by the autodoor. Some of our machines have factory autodoors that open on M30. Others we had to install ourselves DIY with rodless air cylinders controlled by Arduinos. Under $1K per single autodoor, under $2K per double autodoor. Autodoors trigger prox switches which trigger the robot.



Figure out a way. Everything else is a waste of time, IMHO.

A Yaskawa HC20DTP cobot runs just under 100K all in. Finance it for roughly 1500-2K per month. About half the price of a decent employee.

It'll easily run four machines, so call it $500-700 per machine per month. Can't beat that. You've got two lathes that need it. Move one of your mills close by and have the robot act as a pallet changer. The HC20DTP has nearly a 2 meter reach.

I'm researching how to use a robot as a pallet changer, would you share how you made your DIY Auto Doors?

Any thoughts on the used robot market? Lots of Fanuc arms out there.
 

Orange Vise

Titanium
Joined
Feb 10, 2012
Location
California
I'm researching how to use a robot as a pallet changer, would you share how you made your DIY Auto Doors?

Any thoughts on the used robot market? Lots of Fanuc arms out there.
Screen Shot 2023-01-22 at 5.23.17 PM.png

Screen Shot 2023-01-22 at 5.23.38 PM.png

I used a rodless cylinder from McMaster-Carr, actuated by a 5-way valve with adjustable exhausts to soften the motion and a regulator to limit the max force. Didn't even bother tying the shuttle directly to the door. Those are M8 studs screwed right into existing welded-on nuts in the sheet metal, covered with some rubber hose. Provides a little bit of "float".

First time install took about an hour. Subsequent installs take 15 minutes.

When I disconnect the air source, the door can be opened and closed manually, so minimally invasive.

As for Fanucs or any other used industrial robot, I think they're fine down the road, but not for beginners. The beauty of a Cobot in a machine tending environment is that they're crash-proof. If they can crash into a human without causing injury, they can crash into just about anything else without causing damage. When proving out new automation systems initially, you're going to be crashing a lot, and being able to confidently tweak and run your programs without worrying about damage significantly speeds up the iterative process.
 
Last edited:

GiroDyno

Aluminum
Joined
Apr 19, 2021
Location
PNW
View attachment 384762

View attachment 384763

I used a rodless cylinder from McMaster-Carr, actuated by a 5-way valve with adjustable exhausts to soften the motion and a regulator to limit the max force. Didn't even bother tying the shuttle directly to the door. Those are M8 studs screwed right into existing welded-on nuts in the sheet metal, covered with some rubber hose. Provides a little bit of "float".

First time install took about an hour. Subsequent installs take 15 minutes.

When I disconnect the air source, the door can be opened and closed manually, so minimally invasive.

As for Fanucs or any other used industrial robot, I think they're fine down the road, but not for beginners. The beauty of a Cobot in a machine tending environment is that they're crash-proof. If they can crash into a human without causing injury, they can crash into just about anything else without causing damage. When proving out new automation systems initially, you're going to be crashing a lot, and being able to confidently tweak and run your programs without worrying about damage significantly speeds up the iterative process.
How do you trigger your arduino, M-code relay as in input, or stacklight and photosensor? I fire an M-code right before M30 and have a 5 second delay on the relay for the valve to give the door time to unlock, would like to switch to Arduino to add some bonus functions tho...

Try an exhaust center valve and threaded/adjustable exhaust on the other two ports next time. It will keep you from having to unhook air for manual operation, thats how my homebrew doors work...
I also wired in a buzzer that the operators can't mute from the controller for those days they can't seem to notice the door is open :D
 
Last edited:

CarbideBob

Diamond
Joined
Jan 14, 2007
Location
Flushing/Flint, Michigan
Many years in building automation robots and vision.
I like people. Those brain dead, full of personal problems people that do things they should not.
Yet no matter how bad or not up to 100% production rate I love them and for sure at times I hate them.
Wait until the time a guy comes in with his deer rifle after you. Will the robots stand in his way? This day was a wake-up call for me.
I automate things so that my people can do it better, faster and easier.
Bob
 

Orange Vise

Titanium
Joined
Feb 10, 2012
Location
California
How do you trigger your arduino, M-code relay as in input, or stacklight and photosensor?

Simple timer or M-codes depending on the machine.

Haven't decided if I like the idea of using a photosensor on the stacklight. I have to delve into a bit more but I think on some machines, the stacklight doesn't discern between M30 and M00/M01.

Thinking about trying an IP68 piezo button in the machine and hitting it with a plastic stick mounted in a tension-compression ER holder. This could go way beyond sending a single discrete signal. The machine could "double click" or "triple click" the button for additional functionality. Could also use multiple buttons and take it even further.
 
Last edited:

GiroDyno

Aluminum
Joined
Apr 19, 2021
Location
PNW
Simple timer or M-codes depending on the machine.

Haven't decided if I like the idea of using a photosensor on the stacklight. I have to delve into a bit more but I think on some machines, the stacklight doesn't discern between M30 and M00/M01.

Thinking about trying an IP68 piezo button in the machine and hitting it with a plastic stick mounted in a tension-compression ER holder. This could go way beyond sending a single discrete signal. The machine could "double click" or "triple click" the button for additional functionality. Could also use multiple buttons and take it even further.
Maybe an entire waterproof keyboard?
 

Milling man

Cast Iron
Joined
Aug 6, 2021
Location
Moscow, Russia
Does any one have a clever idea how I can automate the unloading of the subspindle ?
Did i understend you correctly - do you need some kind of "robot" that will take the finished part from the subspindle and put this part on the "table" next to the mashine? If you choose a solution only for this task, a conventional 2-axis manipulator with a pneumatic gripper will do.
Like this:
You can connect it to the machine via M-codes - if they are active and/or you can edit the ladder (this is not difficult, there are probably unused outputs in the maсhine). Or you can connect to a traffic light as suggested earlier. There is also an option with a button inside the working area, which is pressed by the spindle - I have seen such a solution for discrete rotation of the 4th axis.
 
Last edited:

YoDoug

Plastic
Joined
Jun 29, 2022
I'm researching how to use a robot as a pallet changer, would you share how you made your DIY Auto Doors?

Any thoughts on the used robot market? Lots of Fanuc arms out there.
I made our own auto doors on four of our mills. Three of them have robots loading pallets, the fourth loads parts into pneumatic vises. I bought cylinders off McMasterCarr. The brains in each machine is an AD P1000 PLC that monitors the door locks, in-cycle, etc. There are two buttons for dual hand close and a single button to open. There is also a switch to put the machine in robot control, then the robot sends signal to the AD PLC to open/close the door. Two of the machine have single doors with one cylinder, the other two have dual telescoping style doors that required two cylinders with one of the cylinders riding along a slide with the inside door.
 

YoDoug

Plastic
Joined
Jun 29, 2022
We run 12 machines, 6 lathes and 6 mills, up to 16 hours a day unattended cutting 6061 aluminum. We have robot air blow, in machine air blow, aux coolant tanks, aux coolant pumps, custom wash down piping and nozzles, and more. And that is just to get the chips out of the machine. We have also spent a lot of time and money getting reliable cutting processes to make sure chips break and don't nest or ball up. IMO, chip issues are probably as much work as designing and building the automation cells.
 

Chips Everywhere

Aluminum
Joined
Apr 29, 2021
We run 12 machines, 6 lathes and 6 mills, up to 16 hours a day unattended cutting 6061 aluminum. We have robot air blow, in machine air blow, aux coolant tanks, aux coolant pumps, custom wash down piping and nozzles, and more. And that is just to get the chips out of the machine. We have also spent a lot of time and money getting reliable cutting processes to make sure chips break and don't nest or ball up. IMO, chip issues are probably as much work as designing and building the automation cells.

I agree, chips can easily create a bottle neck and can contribute to machine down time while they are removed.

I’m far from being unattended, but it’s up there on my list. Chip management is a small job of it own on each machine and it’s something that I would like to tackle before adding a robot.

I too mainly process 6061.

How do you process fine chips in your coolant return to prevent the following:

1. Small chips overflowing into the coolant tank.
2. Removing chips from the pre filter as they pile up on the filter.
3. Prevent chips from clogging the return drain.
4. Remove chips while they are in the coolant tank.
 

GiroDyno

Aluminum
Joined
Apr 19, 2021
Location
PNW
We're in the same boat with stringy 6061 turnings, been trying to find a solution for 20 years...
Chip management has proven a more difficult problem to solve than pretty much anything else in our process.
 

YoDoug

Plastic
Joined
Jun 29, 2022
I agree, chips can easily create a bottle neck and can contribute to machine down time while they are removed.

I’m far from being unattended, but it’s up there on my list. Chip management is a small job of it own on each machine and it’s something that I would like to tackle before adding a robot.

I too mainly process 6061.

How do you process fine chips in your coolant return to prevent the following:

1. Small chips overflowing into the coolant tank.
2. Removing chips from the pre filter as they pile up on the filter.
3. Prevent chips from clogging the return drain.
4. Remove chips while they are in the coolant tank.
We have either LNS or Mayfran microfine conveyors in all our machines. The standard hinge belt conveyors that come stock are crap for processing aluminum. We also have 5 micron bag filters on both the high and low pressure pumps to keep from sucking up fines into the coolant lines. We also have Keller systems skimmers on all machines, they remove most of the tramp oil and a lot of the fines. We have a sump shark that we use to clean out the tanks about every 6 months or so depending on how fast chips get in the tank. We do a quick, what I call a 90% clean, when we do it. We just pull the coolant tank our far enough to get most of the covers off, then use a stick or other to break up the clumps, then suck out as much as we can. Then refill. We have a coolant recycling setup we use to recondition the coolant before it goes back in the mix.
 

Orange Vise

Titanium
Joined
Feb 10, 2012
Location
California
Chip management is a small job of it own on each machine and it’s something that I would like to tackle before adding a robot.

You'll gain so much production time from automation that you can you relax your cycle times quite a bit and throw in a lot of contingencies to help with chips.

For example, you can segment your roughing, machine grooves, finish turn backwards to kick off a birds nest, etc.
 
Last edited:

J Gilles

Cast Iron
Joined
Feb 19, 2016
Location
PNW
If you have the RPM to support it, PCD inserts can do great things for chip control. 5k-7k sfm finishing and the chips are tiny. Surface finishes are amazing as well. Up front cost can scare folks away, but not too hard to justify if you are running production.
 








 
Top