Machinist Training

I'd ask this on alt.machine.cnc, but that group's too scary. We are not a machine shop (although we do have a Delta drill press) but I've been begging for a shop lathe for years. So now we're buying a really large Haas "router", 5 axis with a 24" extension raising the gantry.

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Our number one use for the machine is to use it like a laser, for cutting and drilling sheet metal. Our second use is to make rapid prototypes and master patterns for tooling and fiberglass molds. Our third use is for machining aluminum aircraft parts.

We're going to hire a guy to run it, but I'd like to learn how to use it too-- y'know for home projects and such. I'll get about a week of training on the machine, will that be enough to get going with it? We'll be using Camworks. Any tips on hiring a machinist? We may have it going by the end of July.


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WOW !!

Jumping from zero to five axis in one shot,,, Waters pretty deep and cold at that end of the pool.

You need a "VERY" experienced CNC person to even set it up. I wouldn't hire anyone that didn't already have 5 axis experience ( can you say CRA$$$$$H). That being said, you can learn everything you need to know from him.

Programming in five axes is pretty hairy as well. You'll "NEED" a good CAM system, those that can do acceptable 5 axis programming are not cheap.


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Didn't see that bit at the end (was to blown away by what I read at the beginning)

I don't know of anyone who uses Camworks for 5 axis simultaneous. In fact, I don't know anyone who uses Camworks. I did evaluate it once, I wasn't impressed. In fact I was horrified at the possibilities. The version I tried, and this was several years ago, would "verify" good on the screen, but destroy the part on the machine. I'm sure they've gotten much better since, but five axes is a huge jump from three.

I would write several programs that contained lots of skewed, face normal, entry-exit vectors, and some others where you're surfacing with the radiused edge of a bull nose cutter. Send these to Haas or hire a consultant to evaluate the output for errors. If you send them to the machine, even for a dry run, you'll probably only find the first error because it will be very loud. In fact, I would program representative examples of everything your likely to do.

The degrees of freedom, in five axes, make the possibilties for error almost infinite.


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A GR-512 5axis??? Is this some sort of custom model?

That aside, 5ax programming is all in the software and verification. If they are set up right, things are pretty smooth.

-- Bill

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"Cuius testiculos habes, habeas cardia et cerebellum." - When you have their full attention in your grip, their hearts and minds will follow.

This is a bit off t> I'd ask this on alt.machine.cnc, but that group's too scary. We are not

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John Wayne, supposedly, only not in Latin, and a more accurate translation.

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Any tips on hiring a machinist? We may have

It's not custom, I think it's just the first one. I think that Haas is going to make an extra effort to make sure it works properly for us.

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Tips on hiring a machinist:

  1. Have someone at your company who isn't afraid of posting in alt.machine.cnc take care of this, while you watch from a safe distance.
  2. Advertise free doughnuts on Thursdays. The best machinists will expect this.
  3. Post the ad for the job in G-code. Only those who qualify will answer.
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What a jerk you are, the guy specifically states he didn't want to post to alt.machines.cnc and you take it upon yourself to cross post it for him.


Cliff wrote:

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Pussycats all of em are over there.

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This isn't my area of expertise but here are some thoughts. The shop that machines most of my designs has a Haas and really loves it. However, part of their success is because thy also use MasterCam. MasterCam has a free module for reading SW files directly, which really helps. As far as the 5 axis, I'm not sure why you need so many axis and it may be helpful to view the machine as only a 3 axis model for a while.

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Since Cliff has been using alt.machines.cnc as his own personal cesspool for several years now, the OP has a point.

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Black Dragon

I don't know if I'd try to find someone from alt.machine.cnc at all. From the looks of the NG you would end up with an employee that would be arguing political beliefs while the machine sat idle. I can see it now.

You: "How does this work?"

employee: "That's not important right now what about that Tom Accoustie?"

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Just set your BS filter on high and ignore the political rants.

The group is very knowledgable in CNC and general machining, with people from all levels of the CNC community including the computer analysts, the cnc programmers, repair people and lots of people with diverse hands on experience making their living running cnc machines.

(so why didn't management buy you a nice 3k$ Chinese engine lathe?)

A qualified programmer/operator to do what you indicate (prototype /formsmolds and aircraft parts) won't be cheap and will most likely make more than you do. This is very definitely a "pay me now or pay me later proposition" One crash will more than wipe out any savings your company may have made by hiring a "Manpower" temp.

Remember this machine costs at least 100k$US with the 2 axis tilt table and tool changer option and is a tool for a professional.

Just as you would not expect to jump in a Peterbuilt after reading the manual and drive down the interstate, you should

*NOT* expect to operate this machine after a 5 day class. In many cases, preventative maintenance, trouble shooting, and the fine points of the particular controller are (or at should be) stressed more than introductory G/M coding. I don't know how many people you are going to be able to send to the Haas class, but I suggest that you make every effort to send the new hire that will be expected to run it.

If you want to run this machine, your best bet is to take one or more CNC classes at your local community college for the basics of CNC. Then depending on how much you already know about machining, if you understand cartesian coordinates and some trig, and have done a little computer programming you most likely can write some *SIMPLE* cnc programs to engrave signs, etc. that *DO NOT* use the tool changer or table tilt.

Remember that CNC simply amplifies an operators' competencies and abilities and ==>it cannot create mechanical aptitudes where none exists.

=========== Does anyone at your shop know Camworks? What cad programs are you using? How well does Camworks interface with these cad programs? Who at your shop has been to Camworks classes? Do you have a Haas GR post for your Cam works? Who in your shop has experience on prototype mold/form design? Who in your shop understands the documentation requirements for aircraft parts? [This is beginning to seem more like a troll all the time...]

======================== Tips on hiring machinists. Are you sure you want a machinist or are you looking for a CNC operator/technician?

Old but valid observation:

There are good machinists, and there are cheap machinists, but there are no good cheap machinists.

(Is your management expecting the computer genie to come out at night and program/run the parts?)


Who were the company and salesman for this machine?

Unka George (George McDuffee)

There is something to be said for government by a great aristocracy which has furnished leaders to the nation in peace and war for generations; even a democrat like myself must admit this. But there is absolutely nothing to be said for government by a plutocracy, for government by men very powerful in certain lines and gifted with the "money touch," but with ideals which in their essence are merely those of so many glorified pawnbrokers.

Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), U.S. Republican (later Progressive) politician, president. Letter, 15 Nov. 1913.

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F. George McDuffee

I haven't seen a note about the toolpath animation that some CNC packages can do to help the programmer/cnc operator (usually one and the same in a small shop) verify what the tool is going to do VIRTUALLY on screen prior to sticking a tool into real metal and watching (yes I've seen coding errors & tools snap, though a long time back).

I got out of machining with our Fadal and Gibbs software 15 years ago, but I've seen their toolpath animation in MDDI convention demonstrations in recent times and wondered if other code generating CAM packages now do the same?


Ed wrote:

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What about Teksoft, are they going to work with Haas to get the post processer to work the way you need it to?

The 5 axis pp is an added charge, btw.

You may want to attend the Haas training and the Camworks training together with whomever you hire, two heads are better than they say.

The Camworks training will focus mostly on the technology database, so between the two of you, you could have the system working well enough in a few months.

I was searching for a soildworks or cnc post from a few years ago. Jim Peyton, Kinemetrix Industrial Deisgn & Mfg, posted his experiences with Camworks.

The current version of Camworks is 2006EX SP2. I've used Camworks since version 2000 or 2001. The 2006EX version is the best so far, IMHO.

Hiring a machinist? hmmm.... that's a tough one.

Of course someone with experience, but mostly... someone you can get along with.

Hope this helps,

email me if you have any questions.


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