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How to Lock up a CNC Lathe for 20 minutes

Dan from Oakland

Sep 15, 2005
Oakland, CA
So I'm happily running a part, load a new blank, hit cycle start and nada. Locked up, all the lights on, no error messages. Control is up and running, scratch head a few times, manual jog works, turret indexes manually. Cycle start does not work. Tried power down, rehome etc, same deal. This was a job where I'm using the tailstock to push a casting into a fixture mounted on the chuck. Started to think back about what I did, and it seems I had mistakenly adjusted the chuck pressure down instead of backing off the tailstock pressure at some point. When I removed the last part, I went brain dead and hit the chuck pedal rather than retracting the tailstock to remove the part. I thought it was odd at the time that the chuck did not open, but just assumed it was interlocked with the quill extended. Retracted the quill, removed the part, loaded a new part, hit cycle start and nothing!
Finally figured it all out- when i hit the chuck unclamp pedal, the machine was waiting for the unclamp signal, never got it because some dummy had turned the chuck pressure down too far for the chuck to ever open. Just posting this for others, as digging thru a ladder to determine the problem of a locked up control would be like looking for a needle in a haystack. It all made sense, once I retraced everything I had done, but I was about 5 minutes away from calling my repair guy.