Machinist Apprentice | More Fusion360 Programing | Day 18

Nothing too special today, much the same as yesterday programming another similar part and double-checking my speeds and tool orders. 

I also figured out the issue I was having with post-processing to Haas machines. The error I was getting was related to the program name; it requires that you only have numbers, and a minimum amount (in this case 4) and no letters. However, you can change the name after generating the G-code when you save the file. 

I also started programming one of the parts that were to be made in Copper but didn't make too much progress due to some complicated features in the part I wasn't sure how to mill out. It had an interior pocket with the edges filleted to a metric value. I attempted just to use a metric ball endmill to get that corner, but I kept getting weird finishes in the simulation. 

Machinist Apprentice | Fusion360 Programing | Day 17

Today I was focused on finishing the CAM for the part I worked on yesterday. 

After talking with my boss, I decided to scrap what I did and start from scratch. I did it pretty messy and wasn't very easy to make quick changes. I also had oriented the part the wrong way and had the first operation on the underside of the piece instead of the top. The reason for doing the top of the piece first was purely for aesthetics, and if things didn't look quite right, it's better to have that on the underside where it wouldn't be as important. I figured that since this is such a small part and for the client, they would want accuracy over aesthetics he said it should be dead on regardless, and so work the side that would have the best finish. It would also make clamping these in soft jaws much easier as I wouldn't have to mill out a groove for the pin on the bottom.

Since this is a two operation part, I decided to make a solid model for the stock rather than try and create a box around it in the CAM setup section. Having a pre-designed object would help with locating the part after flipping it over by drilling a hole through the center, then probing it from the other side. 

I'm pretty pleased with what I came up with and need to double-check some of the toolpaths, but I think it's just about ready! I also did have some issues with the post-processor, giving me an error when I posted it to Haas. It wasn't very clear as to what this issue was, and so I'll have to play around with it a bit more to find out why. 


Machinist Apprentice | New Laptop and Fusion360 CAM Programing | Day 16

The new work laptop arrived yesterday, so I spent this morning setting it all up! The computer is a Dell laptop, not sure what make or model, but it runs well with Fusion360 thus far and is about twice as fast generating g-code as my Lenovo ThinkPad.

I also started programming one of the parts I mentioned yesterday. It proved to be a bit more complicated than I initially thought, as it requires two operations and flipping the piece over. I've never made or used soft jaws before, so I'm not entirely sure if I programmed it correctly (will be going over the CAM tomorrow with my boss) and had to do some research on how to make them. Huge thank you to @saundersmachineworks (NYC CNC) for the many videos on this subject!

The material is Stainless Steel, and after doing a bit of looking around online, it's relatively difficult to cut. Thankfully Fusion360 has some suggested speeds and feeds for them already, which are very handy. I'm not sure if its a recent update or not, but I don't recall seeing this library of preset S&F in the tool library before. I was able to get this whole part down to only three tools, a 1/2" 5fl sq endmill for facing, then a 1/8" 5fl sq endmill for the adaptive clearing, and finally, a 1/16" ball endmill for the fillets on the top face. 

The programing itself took much longer than I would have liked, but there was a slight learning curve to figure out how to locate the part, and what tools to use. 


Machinist Apprentice | Haas VF1 Cleaning & Tool Sorting | Day 15

Today I was mainly focused on cleaning the Haas VF1, inside and out to be ready for contract work. Pretty much the same process as the previous machines, spraying the inside down with the coolant hose, then removing the chips and wiping everything down. 

Wayne also got a couple of contract parts for me to work on using Fusion360, which I am incredibly excited for! The pieces are somewhat simple in design, so they shouldn't be too tricky to mill out. One will be in 301 stainless steel, small oval-shaped parts with very little geometry; need to make 16 of these in 1/4" square stock with each one side by side. I can't go into too many of the details as I am not sure how propriety the parts are and will leave it at that for the time being. The other job is a two-piece part, one lower and upper half to with somewhat complex shapes a box apes and requiring a two side operation using soft jaws. 

The computer arrived shortly after I left work today, so I'll be setting it up and programming the parts tomorrow, which I am very stoked for!

Machinist Apprentice | Gifts from the Boss!

I'm honestly so blessed with this fantastic job and wonderful boss. Wayne bought me a machinist toolbox, edge finder, and my pair of Mitutoyo digital calipers! He's been a remarkable mentor thus far and wants to see me succeed all the most as much as I do, it seems! He's shown me a lot of useful tips around the shop, how to machine delicate parts with ease, tool identification, machine operation, and has given me a lot of freedom to figure things out on my own as well with setting up the Haas edge and tool probes. I don't think I could have asked for a better boss than I have, and I'm looking forward to the months and years ahead!

I'm sure there aren't many Sixteen-year-Olds out there that have this kind of opportunity, and I thank the Lord every day for giving it to me.