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Common CNC Machine Problems

Common CNC Machine Problems

CNC machines are most often durable, long lasting pieces of equipment that can be relied upon for their redundancy. But despite their reliability, programming complexity and other components contained in the CNC machine often lead to small, but frustrating problems.

These issues are compounded by the fact that the most common CNC machining problems are caused by either user error or poor maintenance. While seasoned users will often recognize errors and know how to fix them, newer trainees and those who have recently replaced old machinery with updated models may not be able to identify challenges so easily.

When it comes to common CNC machine problems, the roots causes can often be traced back to one of three issues:

Improper Tools/Settings

If the user is noticing burn marks on the material’s edges or corners, it is likely the result of a blunt tool, cutting coolant/ lube, or an improper feed speed. When feed speeds are too slow, the material remains in the path of the cutting tool for longer than it needs to be, resulting in burns to the material.

If the user notices that the tool itself is burnt, settings will have to be adjusted to the proper specification for that particular cutting tool. It could also be that the tool itself is no longer sharp enough to adequately cut and must be replaced.

Other visual signs are rough edges, raised marks, or visible cutter marks, all of which are usually the result of a feed speed that is too fast or a tool that needs to be replaced.

Improper Maintenance

When CNC machines aren’t cleaned and lubricated properly, a variety of problems may occur.

If the material is sliding around during the cut, there may be debris preventing proper location and part fixturing. Over time, material and particulate can build up creating challenges for holding and locating parts creating issues with accuracy and redundancy. Simply put, CNC machines should be kept as clean as possible.

Material movement can also be the result of a lack of air going through the machine. Users should be sure to maintain a continuous flow of air and check coolant levels in order to ensure clean, uninterrupted cuts.

Improper Programming

Improper programming causes most other CNC part cutting issues. Programming issues can be hard to remedy with newer employees, as they may not be aware of the part cutting errors introduced by their program. In rare cases, simply powering the machine down and rebooting the system can resolve programming errors. This may cause operators to overlook their mistakes and blame the machine for the interrupted performance.

To avoid programming errors, make sure that employees fully understand the proper set of G and M codes for the particular controller on the machine and best practices for implementing. Once a machine is properly setup and aligned mechanically, all motion sequencing and operation is based on proper programming, calibration data, compensation data, and offset information captured and input in software.

It all Starts with a good CNC Controller

The heart of a CNC machine is the control system. Fitting the correct controller for the CNC application is vital as parameters and programming are often very specific to the task. Minimizing variables and unused parameters also helps to minimize setup and programming challenges. At AMMC, we provide CNC machining solutions to companies in a variety of industries. Contact us today, we’d be happy to look at your machine and help you choose an appropriate control system.