tag:buildsbygideon.com,2013:/posts BuildsByGideon 2020-07-09T21:24:53Z Gideon Harris tag:buildsbygideon.com,2013:Post/1571356 2020-07-09T21:24:53Z 2020-07-09T21:24:53Z Machinist Apprentice | Shipping Parts & Programming 101 Copper | Day 22

Today I finished up the second batch of larger pieces and got those packaged up. Since these are such small parts, Wayne had me put them in old plastic endmill boxes with a little bit of toilet paper to keep them from getting damaged. I think the issue with the weird height differences for the smaller parts was due to the slight radius in the bottom of the softjaw pockets, which allowed them to be moved around every so slightly, and so getting different measurements if the clamp position was changed. For the larger parts, the tolerance was within 0.0005" of the design, which isn't too bad at all!

The rest of the day, I spent working on the next set of parts using 101 Copper. I am just about finished with the programming for it and cut the soft jaws to hold it in place. I also got to use an edge finder for the first time, which I used to find the back wall of the vice to use as the origin in the CAM setup. The copper will be cut to width when putting it in the vice, so making sure it's perfectly aligned for repeating the process. 

I'm starting to get into a groove at the shop and feeling pretty comfortable with all the Haas mills! I know where all the tools are, how to program and set up one and two operation parts and get them ready to be shipped out! I'm still not as careful as I should be with freshly cut parts and accidentally brushed against the side of the soft jaws when taking them out.

Harris Family
tag:buildsbygideon.com,2013:Post/1571037 2020-07-09T03:23:45Z 2020-07-09T03:23:45Z Machinist Apprentice | Finishing up the Parts | Day 21

Today I finished up the second operation on the parts I was working on yesterday.

After finding the center of the hole and relocating the G54 to it, I was able to run the second program to finish up the parts. I had a few test pieces that I made before so I could toss these if they didn't turn out any good. It turned out alright, though the surface finish wasn't the greatest, and Wayne noticed the chamfer wasn't entirely centered on the part. As it turns out, I forgot to enter the new G54 home, and so was about six thou off. He also suggested surfacing the top and leave about 0.03" on top to connect the parts; this would allow the tension to be released and make the pieces easier to bend the bow out of it. 

I edited the code and reran it on my main piece, which turned out very nice. Unfortunately, while measuring it, I noticed that it was consistently five thou off on the height, and after discussing it with Wayne, I added that offset to the code to lower it by that amount. However, after putting the parts back in and running it once more, I must have miss measured the first time, and all the parts came in under four thou of the drawing. Since this is on a time limit, he said to use them as is, as the tolerance had to be within ten thou, though he would typically get it closer. I'm not sure how I miss measured it the first time, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the one I referenced wasn't flat against the bottom of the soft jaws. I finished up the rest of the smaller pieces and set up the jaws for the larger parts, which I'll be finishing up tomorrow. 

Overall a bit frustrating with the tolerance mishap, but I'm delighted with how their surface finish!

Harris Family
tag:buildsbygideon.com,2013:Post/1570552 2020-07-08T03:03:44Z 2020-07-08T03:03:44Z Machinist Apprentice | Finishing First Operation and Cutting Soft Jaws | Day 20

Today I got to finish up the rest of the parts on the first operation. There are two sizes of these parts and did all the first operation in one go before cutting the soft jaws since the location was a known one and easy to set the stock in place. 

My boss also solved the issue I had yesterday, where there would be a small cap on top of the part that should have been cut off when facing the material but wasn't. Wayne thinks it might be due to the released tension in the stainless stock, and rerunning the facing operation, that seemed to solve it. Each part I loaded ended up with the same small cap on top and had to rerun the first toolpath on each one. 

After making enough of the first operation parts, we moved over to the soft jaws. For that, Wayne had me put a 1/32" parallel to separate the two jaws, to give it some clamping force when the parts are in. I then faced the aluminum and located the center for the soft jaw milling operation. It came out a bit rough, and after consulting my boss, he reran the program after deburring the edges. From there, the parts fit in pretty nicely, though there was a slight radius in the crevises of the pockets which I didn't see on the used endmill I loaded. Thankfully it doesn't look like it will be an issue as the fillet on the part matches the radius on the inside pocket. From there, Wayne put a 1/16" pin in the locating hole, and I used a dial indicator to find the center to set the G54. I ran out of time for the day and will finish the final operation tomorrow!

In between runs, I started programming the other parts, which will be made in copper. I unfortunately, I won't be able to share any images of the elements themselves as they are proprietary, but I'll do what I can to share pieces of it. It's got a lot of nifty corners and crevices, which were a bit of a pain to figure out how to do because of interior radiuses done in metric.

Harris Family
tag:buildsbygideon.com,2013:Post/1570244 2020-07-07T03:26:59Z 2020-07-08T02:40:36Z Machinist Apprentice | My first Operation on the Haas Minimill | Day 19

Today I got to run the milling operation on the Haas minimill that I programmed last week!

I loaded the new soft jaws into the vice and faced it. I then used a couple of parallels to space the two apart so I could cut a groove down the center to fit the raw 1/4" stock in the middle. From there, I loaded all the tools and found the center to set as my G54 (work origin). While loading the endmills (each bit has to be manually measured in using a height gauge block), I accidentally sent the z-axis crashing down on the material, breaking the 1/16" ball endmill and leaving a small fragment in the stainless stock. Thankfully there was no lasting damage, but it made me jump when it happened and left me a bit on edge for a while after. 

After loading and setting the tool heights, I started the operation. Everything went according to plan and got through all the toolpaths without a hitch. I did set the peck-drilling process to take 0.0004" by accident, and so that took quite a bit longer than intended. Once the first operation was complete, I loosened the vice only to see the part practically spring out at me due to the released tension in the material. Right away you could see it didn't look the best, it has significant facets which the contouring toolpath should have cleared up, and you can see the top face somehow has a little cap on top of it from what I am guessing is a tool height issue. 

I edited the toolpaths to correct these issues by changing the tolerance and added smoothing (allows the toolpath to roll around instead of point to point), which I posted the code again and set the machine running. I also re-measured the tool height offsets on each of the tools to ensure everything was correctly aligned; this time, it ran much better and had an excellent surface finish (I forgot to take a photo). However, there was still a small cap on top, not as tall as it was before, but even noticeable, and I'll have to do some digging to figure that out. 

Harris Family
tag:buildsbygideon.com,2013:Post/1568505 2020-07-03T17:16:24Z 2020-07-03T17:17:16Z Home Workspace | New Vice Fixture | Pocket NC

My boss gave me the day off for independence day so I thought I'd write about my new Vice Fixture from @pocket_nc!

After talking a bit with a few different people about my old clamp system, I designed a couple of months ago; they pointed out a few flaws. The main flaw with it is the rigidity of the design, the only point of contact with the stock is the lower half maybe 1/2" in total, and the rest is free-floating; this causes vibrations to go through the stock and leaves imperfect surface finish quality. 

I talked with my boss about it and mentioned @pocket_nc had a circular stock fixture to hold round rods of material with an ER-40 collet. It's got sufficient clamping force to hold it securely in the vice and provides much more rigidity. I was convinced that it was worth it very quickly, especially since I didn't have to do as much work calculating where the stock was in the machine. My boss also mentioned that you could take 3" round stock and put it on a lathe to cut one end down to 1" (the largest diameter the clamp can hold). With a piece of circular stock cut down to 1" on one end means you can pretty much mill out whatever size part you like on the machine with relatively stable work-holding.

It came in on Tuesday, and I was dismayed to find the tool to tighten the fixture, not in the package. I contacted Pocket NC, and they responded within an hour, apologizing for the mistake, and shipped a new one right away. The next day I received it, not even 24 hours after I got the package. I love the people at @pocket_nc; they are always super friendly and have fantastic customer support!

Harris Family
tag:buildsbygideon.com,2013:Post/1568240 2020-07-02T23:54:02Z 2020-07-02T23:54:02Z 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. 

Harris Family
tag:buildsbygideon.com,2013:Post/1567769 2020-07-02T04:25:59Z 2020-07-02T04:26:50Z 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. 

Harris Family
tag:buildsbygideon.com,2013:Post/1567400 2020-07-01T03:13:30Z 2020-07-01T03:13:30Z 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. 

Harris Family
tag:buildsbygideon.com,2013:Post/1566899 2020-06-30T00:51:28Z 2020-07-01T02:56:56Z 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!

Harris Family
tag:buildsbygideon.com,2013:Post/1566910 2020-06-30T00:51:23Z 2020-06-30T00:51:24Z 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.

Harris Family
tag:buildsbygideon.com,2013:Post/1566787 2020-06-30T00:29:31Z 2020-07-01T02:56:51Z Machinist Apprentice | Tool Sorting & Production Setup | Day 14

Today (Friday) was a lot more focused on getting the endmills sorted and so there isn't much to write on.

Wayne ran his test operation with the finishing passes (see the last post), and they came out nicely, which means the issues he's been having with the VF 2ss is something related to the 5axis table and not the spindle. He had some surface finish issues with one of his 5axis parts and was trying to figure out where the problem originated.

I also got to set up a new clamp fixture for making small model rockets as a display/business card for potential clients. He had a unique bed he machined out just for this purpose, and so I got to set it all up in the machine. I forgot to take photos of it so I'll leave it up to your imagination

Harris Family
tag:buildsbygideon.com,2013:Post/1564935 2020-06-26T04:17:26Z 2020-06-26T04:17:27Z Machinist Apprentice | Calibrating the Haas VF2ss Part 2 | Day 13

Today I got to finish up the calibration system and learn how to square the vice and setup the workpiece.

To locate your workpiece to match the program, you use what's called G54. For instance, let's say you have a 4" square block of aluminum, and you want to find it in the jaws; you would use the probe to touch off each of the four faces to divide then and find the exact center (work origin). It sounds more complicated than it is, and there are preset programs to do it all for you after setting in some necessary information. 

I spent a frustrating 20 minutes trying to figure out why the probing would keep failing on the Y-axis direction until I found out that you had to be pretty close to the approximate center for it to work correctly (approx 0.25"). 

After I got the stock probed, Wayne set up a quick program to test how I did for the whole calibration system. The tool touch off probe wasn't working like it should and wouldn't bring the tools down low enough for the endmill to touch off. It turns out I just forgot to add the height of the ring gauge when setting it up yesterday. 

Once everything I got everything dialed in correctly, Wayne ran the operation he set up, and off it went! He did the blanket like form to test if there was an issue with finishing toolpaths in the Z direction (unrelated to what I did) which is why he sent off the 5-axis table. 

Harris Family
tag:buildsbygideon.com,2013:Post/1564956 2020-06-26T04:14:41Z 2020-06-26T04:14:41Z Machinist Apprentice | Calibrating the Haas VF2ss Part 1 | Day 12
Calibration time on the Haas VF-2SS!

Since taking off the five-axis table, we had to remove the tool probe to prevent potential damage while extracting it from the machine. Which meant it needed to recalibration after reinstalling it onto the table.

Wayne didn't know how to do this himself as he always had it calibrated when a Haas technician came to work on the machine. So I was on my own for the most part with this one. Thankfully Haas has amazing tutorials, both on their YouTube channel and forums, very clear and straightforward.

There are three major components to setting this all up, and they consist of the spindle touch probe, Renishaw OTS probe (for measuring tool length), and OMI receiver, which connects the two wirelessly.
The whole calibration system mostly consisted of using a dial indicator to adjust everything to make sure it's in as close alignment as possible. As you can see in the video, I got the runout on the probe to +-0.00002" which I'm delighted with!

I then adjusted the tool touch off probe and leveled that manually to get about +-0.00005" in both X and Y. After that, I used a pin Guage and followed the instructions on the setup tutorial. You can see in the last video where it did its calibration sequence after I put in all the information.

And lastly, I used a hole Guage to set the calibrate the spindle touch probe; this operation set the height on the of the table and ensured the probe was working correctly. 

Harris Family
tag:buildsbygideon.com,2013:Post/1564949 2020-06-26T03:34:06Z 2020-06-26T03:34:07Z Machinist Apprentice | Deep Shop Cleaning | Day 11

Shop cleaning time!

My boss was out today, so I was tasked with cleaning the place, primarily, the floors. It's been a minute since they had their last deep cleaning, and today is the day they get to shine again! I spent four hours sweeping, mopping, and sweeping once again. These chips, coupled with light coolant on the ground, are incredibly stubborn to clean up, and I had to switch from sweeping to mopping, then sweeping again to pick everything up.

Nothing too exciting today, but it's certainly nice to have a clean shop to work and learn from!

Harris Family
tag:buildsbygideon.com,2013:Post/1564948 2020-06-26T03:29:06Z 2020-06-26T03:29:07Z Machinist Apprentice | Shipping the 5-Axs Bed on the Haas VF2ss Back | Day 10
Today was focused on the VF2ss, cleaning, and sending the VF 2ss 5 axis table off to Haas to get it worked on. It had some issues a while back and hasn't been very operational.

My boss had a custom mini gantry crane made to slide next to the VF2, its got one leg bolted to the floor on one side, and the other leg is on wheels which pivots on the first; this allows for smooth movement and rigidity. It makes taking vices in and out very easy and safe. I believe he said this one weighs 500lbs, and he's tried lifting it with two other guys before, but it wasn't very reliable/safe.

I also spent a few hours deep cleaning the machine inside and out. The coolant is some nasty stuff, very sticky when it sits for an extended period of time and takes forever to cleanout. Somehow it got on the exterior of the machine and had to use a scraper to get the bulk of it, then wipe it down with a degreasing cleaner.

It's looking much better now and will be much easier to keep clean in the future.

Harris Family
tag:buildsbygideon.com,2013:Post/1564946 2020-06-26T03:17:45Z 2020-06-26T03:17:46Z Machinist Apprentice | Tapping and Tool Organization | Day 9

Today I was primarily working on sorting all the endmills in the shop with these new plastic bins.

Nothing too fancy, just labeling the different trays with the size and type and separating them into two rolling toolboxes. One with 2-3 flutes (for softer materials, like aluminum) and the other with 4-7 flutes (mostly for steels). I also threaded a bunch of holes for one of the client's parts, wash them down, and prepare it for shipment.

So far, enjoying the job, was a bit slow the first few days but now is getting more interesting with learning the machines and general machinist tips.

Harris Family
tag:buildsbygideon.com,2013:Post/1564942 2020-06-26T03:10:46Z 2020-06-26T03:10:46Z Machinist Apprentice | Workpiece Setup and Machining | Day 8

Today I got to set and pick out load and set all the tools for this operation by myself off of a worksheet. I'm starting to get the hang of some of the controls on the machine!

Also got to make soft Jaws for it as well, nothing too special, just a block of aluminum cut down with about a 0.25" square lip on both sides. Throughout all this, Wayne is sharing a lot of interesting tips he uses for making better quality parts. One is when making the soft long soft Jaws like this, if you put a piece of thick paper in at the edges when clamping it, it will leave a slight bow in the center after you cut out the outlines. Then when you load your stock, the outer edges will have some clamping force rather than just the center. Another is with milling groves where the material might be floating slightly on its own; he uses clay to pack into the air to prevent vibrations that could cause surface finish issues.

I'm unfortunately not allowed to show the part itself, so it's blurred. It's a large plate with a few holes in it, not entirely sure what it's purpose is—pretty essential two-part operation.

Another thing he taught me how to do was locate the part when flipping it over using the holes in the plate. Got to use a dial indicator and brought it down to about 0.0004" intolerance with the center of the tunnel. It took a bit to get the hang of as I wasn't entirely sure what I was looking for, but after I got it going, it was quite fun seeing how close I could get it.

Harris Family
tag:buildsbygideon.com,2013:Post/1564938 2020-06-26T03:02:03Z 2020-06-26T03:02:03Z Machinist Apprentice | Organizing Stock Shelves Part 2 | Day 7 Today I got to finish up the stock shelves and got them looking real pretty. 

I finished up the stock organization today. Nothing too special just sorted it by material and size. Got a real workout with the larger pieces there, the largest ones there I think it weighed about 100lbs and were an absolute pain to move.
On the end, closest to where I took the picture is a bunch of old tables/beds for clamping more significant parts to match their unique shape. Essentially a bed version of soft jaws. 

It mostly consisted of 6061 Aluminum, some, 7070, 7075, brass, copper, titanium, magnesium, bars of steel (not sure what grades), and a brass-aluminum compound.

Nothing too exciting today, but it helped me much with identifying different aluminum by their appearance and weight.

Harris Family
tag:buildsbygideon.com,2013:Post/1564937 2020-06-26T02:58:13Z 2020-06-26T02:58:13Z Machinist Apprentice | Organizing Stock Shelves Part 1 | Day 6
Today's project was working on reorganizing the old material stock shelf, mostly consisting of 6061 aluminum, with some steels, plastics, and titanium. 

It took me about 3.5 hours to do just the plastics shelf. A lot of the time, I had to figure out what the materials where. Jsut about all the black plastics were almost identical as far as looks and weight go, though there where slight differences in the texture and feel to them. Thankfully the metal one should be easier as most of it is marked by the manufacturer, and everything that's not is pretty significantly different.

I also got to startup the Minimill and load/unload the tools for the next operation on my own.

Wayne also asked if I would be interested in taking an in-person 2-day class at one of the Haas shops down in Union CA on operating the machines. The main reason he wants me to take it is not that he can't teach me it himself, but that he may not be the most efficient/effective with it and wants me to learn the right way. I have yet to find the date, but I'm pretty excited to be working on the machines!

Harris Family
tag:buildsbygideon.com,2013:Post/1563587 2020-06-23T03:46:42Z 2020-06-26T02:53:24Z Machinist Apprentice | Cleaning Manual Machines & Tool Sorting | Day 5

Today got much more exciting and got to learn some of the basics of Mastercam programming, plus part setup. Wayne got a basic contract to make a series of parts for a company mostly for teaching purposes as they aren't nearly as intricate as he usually takes on. The pieces we worked on today where small clamp fixtures for a larger project made in Delrin. He wanted to make six of them and had them all in a row in a piece of bar stock to minimize wastage. The whole programming side of it was very similar to Fusion360, and only requires a little more setup time for the tools.

Used a 3/8" 3 flute sq endmill to do the facing, then used a drill to peck down the center and cleaned up the walls with a smaller 1/4" tool. For the finishing passes, Wayne used a 1/8" ball parallel at 45° angle. He explained that it wasn't entirely necessary with such a simple part, but when you get into more complicated pieces, you would get a better finish and reach into areas that you couldn't usually get to.

The entire operation took approximately 30 minutes, which was a bit high for such small parts in Delrin. He said since he is a prototyping shop, it's not worth getting specialized tooling to save on a few minutes for something that he would never see again. He programmed the entire thing in under 30 minutes, and trying to optimize the toolpaths wouldn't have been worth the time.

The minimill didn't have a touch probe, so he showed me how to load and set the tool length offsets on the Haas. Used a 0.1" Guage block to place on top of the stock, then move the tools down until it could move freely with light pressure on it.

Overall the Haas machines are so much easier to use and interact with than I initially thought they were. The main thing with them is understanding that all the buttons mainly presets for speed and efficiency.

Another one of the side shop projects I've been working on is reorganizing and sorting the endmills and drill bits.

These are a set of micro drill bits for machining super small holes, going all the way down to 0.005". Wayne (shop owner, aka my boss) gets them from a guy who recycles them from other shops and grinds them down to then sell as complete sets. This one is horribly out of order and missing a bunch, so I'll be sorting through them a bit to make finding the right one easier.]]>
Harris Family
tag:buildsbygideon.com,2013:Post/1563585 2020-06-23T03:37:20Z 2020-06-23T03:37:20Z Machinist Apprentice | Cleaning Manual Machines & Tool Sorting | Day 4
Today I was tasked with cleaning some of the manual machines and sweeping the shop.
The manual machines consisted of Samson CNC, Hardinge lathe, and Clouding lathe. I got to learn how to jog the machines around and oil the joints. I have just about no knowledge or experience with lathe's (apart from the basics), so cleaning them helped me better understand how they work.

He also had a bunch of used endmills, drill bits, taps, counter boars, and center drills to sort through.

One of the bits I found interesting and never seen before was a three flute drill bit, I've never seen one with more than two before and almost mistook it for an endmill. They are used for more delicate and accurate work, mostly for steels due to the heat it builds up.

It was tedious but oddly calming going through the bunch. Some of the smaller ones got difficult to sort by flutes when they went down to 0.006" and smaller. I'm thrilled I spent as much time as I did watch random machining videos as it helped me much with quickly identifying each of the tools and their purpose, as well as general machining lingo around the shop.
Harris Family
tag:buildsbygideon.com,2013:Post/1563582 2020-06-23T03:30:47Z 2020-06-23T03:30:48Z Machinist Apprentice | Cleaning Haas VF2ss & Minimill | Day 3
My boss permitted me to post images and videos of some of the non-proprietary parts/machines, so I'll be able to explain and show a lot more of what I'm learning!

Today I was tasked with cleaning two more Haas machines, the VF 2ss and Minimill. These machines took much longer to wash as there were harder to reach places, and some tools loaded part of the time. It consisted of removing chips and coolant from the insides of the machines to have a clean workspace. 

Wayne (my boss) also showed me how to boot up, jog, and enable the coolant hose for washing things down. I got about three 5-gallon buckets full of chips that have been sitting there for some time. 

Overall though, these machines seem much less daunting to operate than they were when I watched videos online, and a lot of what I learned online is making sense with a real-life machine to practice them on. 

Harris Family
tag:buildsbygideon.com,2013:Post/1557659 2020-06-11T02:43:10Z 2020-06-11T02:43:16Z Machinist Apprentice | Cleaning the Haas TL1 Lathe | Day 2

Today I worked on cleaning out the Haas TL1 Lathe, which was full of chips leftover from previous operations. Unfortunately, I am not able to post images yet of the projects I am working on, and so will use pictures of the same machines from online.

It was pretty straightforward and didn't take long to remove the bulk of the chips (mostly consisting of acrylic and aluminum) through the output bin on the bottom right of the machine (see picture). I then blew out all the remains with an air compressor, then wiping everything down with a wet rag. He also showed me how to start up the machine and jog it around. I then took a grease gun and filled the ports around the Z-axis to keep them well lubricated. Cleaning the chips from the output bin wasn't too bad, but there were still some remains of milling lubricant, which made things slightly sticky. 

He then had me clean up and replace blades on both of his bandsaw's and wipe them down. He also showed me some tips throughout the day while he was working on his contracted parts. 

He is super open to teaching and is a fantastic boss thus far, and I'm very blessed to have this opportunity to work in his shop and one on one training with a guy that is willing and wants to teach! 

Harris Family
tag:buildsbygideon.com,2013:Post/1557658 2020-06-11T02:16:16Z 2020-06-11T02:17:56Z Machinist Apprentice | New Job and Setting Up a Display Case | Day 1

I just started a new job at a local prototyping CNC shop! Super excited and will get a ton of one on one experience, which is much more than what I could hope for in some of the larger shops! I've mentioned this guy briefly in my previous posts and have helped me quite a bit in my journey!

I'm starting part-time in the mornings for a while, then may move into more hours later on.

I'm not sure how much I'll be able to post about the work I do here, so there may be fewer posts due to NDA's.
Today I was tasked with reorganizing and setting up a display case for a lot of the parts he made over the past 30+ years. He also wants me to do some research in finding a laptop suitable for handing Fusion360 (he uses Mastercam but wants me to use Fusion360) and finding the best bang for the buck.

Harris Family
tag:buildsbygideon.com,2013:Post/1554540 2020-06-05T02:37:39Z 2020-06-05T02:37:39Z Home Workspace | Learning CNC Tips Through Videos | CNC Machining

I haven't had a ton of time recently to work on furthering my self-education on the Pocket NC, and that's mostly due to work and possible new job opportunities. 

One of the things I love doing in between projects is browsing Youtube for CNC related videos through suggested content and some of my favorite creators. I mostly do this for entertainment but also learning how things work and how different people solve problems they face. It's refreshing to see how machines work and the process behind making parts. I like to think of it as a memory bank where ideas tie into each other and help with quick problem solving and thinking outside the box. It also helps me get more familiar with the jargon of the machining world and the benefits of specific ways of doing things over others.

I've especially enjoyed @grimsmoknives videos that started as quarantine vlogs and now morphed into the life around his shop. He's super open with the processes behind his knife making and not afraid to show where he failed or messed up, and getting back up on the horse to try again. 

Another machinist that I love watching is @saundersmachineworks on his Youtube channel NYC CNC. I've logged countless hours from his videos alone and have gained so much knowledge from the tutorials and demo files. Quite a bit of the information I can't use right away, but I'm able to store that for future use, and it helps with a general understanding of the machines that I won't have access to for a while yet.

Harris Family
tag:buildsbygideon.com,2013:Post/1553318 2020-06-03T04:47:48Z 2020-06-03T04:47:48Z Home Workspace | Bandsaw Blades

The bandsaw blade finally came in from MSC Direct, and, unfortunately, I ordered the wrong size.

When I bought this craftsman bandsaw (picked it up on letgo), it didn't have a blade in which I could measure, so I had to figure it out on my own using a clothing measuring tape. It came out to 6 ft 2 inches, so I bought the closest one I could find to that size (6' 1-1/2"). When it came in, I was dismayed to discover that it was too large, and I couldn't tighten it correctly on the machine. I played around a bit and figured something out to get it to work for the time being, though I will order a new blade. 

While I was taking it apart, I spent a little time cleaning out the inside and adjusting everything the guides to a closer fit, basically preventing it from moving side to side while cutting. 

I did a few test cuts on wood and foam (I have yet to try aluminum) and so far no issues, though I did notice a spark or two where the guides are, though I think that may just be the teeth touching them when I put too much force on the machine. Overall though, I'm pretty pleased that I finally have a working bandsaw, and it will speed cutting stock up. 

Harris Family
tag:buildsbygideon.com,2013:Post/1551243 2020-05-29T04:05:50Z 2020-05-30T21:08:42Z Home Workspace | Tool Organization | Pocket NC

I haven't had too much time to work on the Pocket NC today, but I did want to get one thing done. And that is better organization, I would continuously have tools floating around my workspace and would often lose them. 

I saw a video by @saundersmachineworks, where he showed all his systems for organizing his tools using Kaizen foam. He's got a fantastic system, and I highly suggest watching it ("Ultimate Machine Shop Toolbox & Organization" on youtube). The basic idea is to lay your tools out on a piece of foam, then outline and cut out groves to fit each one snugly; this allows you to quickly look over and make sure you have all your tools in place and helps with putting them back in their proper spots. 

For mine, I've got calipers, both clamps, the setup Allen wrenches, a few files, the collets, and the metric screws that came with the Pocket NC. I also stopped by Wayne's shop (local machinist), and he graciously gave me an ER11 3/16" collet after talking to him about my difficulties with the 1/4" tooling. 

Harris Family
tag:buildsbygideon.com,2013:Post/1550810 2020-05-28T04:49:56Z 2020-05-30T16:34:49Z Home Workspace | Clamp Project v2 | Pocket NC

Finally getting the clamp piece finished up on the Pocket NC

I just got a new 0.25" 3 flute endmill, which I used to do the adaptive clearing on the central part of the clamp. Unfortunately, after setting it up with Pocket NC's recommended speeds and feeds, I found that it stalled quite a bit and even would stop spinning entirely. I had 10% of the tool diameter side load, 90% stepdown, and 0.0008" inch per tooth, which related to 12 in/min and 8,500 RPM. The above video shows what I kept running into, I played around a ton with the speeds and feeds and still got the same results. I then took it way down and cut at 0.0005" width of cut, 9,500 rpm, 25 in/min, and 0.2" stepdown, which finally worked. Overall I'm kind of disappointed that the 1/4" endmill can't do more than it does, and I'd say is equal with a 1/8" if not inferior. 

I then used the 1/8" endmill to do the rest of the pocketing and finishing, which only took about 20 minutes total. I'm so glad I had preset toolpaths ready to go, it sped things up, and I was able to get bunches of toolpaths sent off together. I wasted a considerable amount of time trying to figure out the proper settings for the 1/4" endmill that the project took about three times as long as I would have liked. 

I had a 1/4" chamfer bit, which I used for the first time to clean up the edges. I love 2D chamfer, it's so easy to program, and the finish quality is outstanding! After all the finishing passes where complete, I went back to the 1/8" square endmill to cut it off the base. I wasn't sure what toolpath I should use for this, and after looking around I found the 3D swarf was the best. I didn't want it to make a 3D motion, so I locked it in place by setting the tool orientation. I had it take 0.005" step-downs and leave 0.005" stock to leave so I would be able to come in later and part it off by hand. It worked out well, and I was left with a very thin onion skin that I could nudge the piece, and it would move side to side seemingly forever. There was virtually no cleanup necessary except to knock off the edge with a single sweep of a file. 

The quality difference between this and the first one is incredible, not to mention the speed and efficiency with having preset toolpaths ready to go. The main reason for redoing it was the bottom face of the clamp, which wasn't very flat on the first go. 

Harris Family
tag:buildsbygideon.com,2013:Post/1550691 2020-05-27T21:49:11Z 2020-05-30T16:35:02Z Home Workspace | Palette Knives

Huge thank you to @oakblades for sending me some handmade palette knives!

These are going to be useful for around my workspace for those small hard to reach places. They both look absolutely amazing and you can really see the care he put into these! Each one has a serial number, these are 3858 and 3859.

Harris Family
tag:buildsbygideon.com,2013:Post/1548069 2020-05-22T04:26:06Z 2020-05-30T16:35:36Z Home Workspace | New Endmills... Again | Pocket NC

I've been super busy with work these past few days and haven't had much time to continue my education on CNC machining.

Since the new 1/4" collet came in for the Pocket NC, I can now use more significant tooling. I don't have any endmills for cutting aluminum specifically, so I'm in the process of picking up some new ones. I've been talking to Wayne (the local CNC shop owner) and asking him about the different aspects of the bits I could get. The one thing he keeps stressing to me is rigidity, which I haven't heard other machinists talk about much, but it makes a lot of sense. 

His premise is that you only want to get enough cutting length for what you're going to use. In this case, I will only ever use 100% of the tool diameter in the length of the cut/stepdown. So if I have a 1/8" endmill, I only want to have 1/8" LOC (length of the cut, or flute length) to get the most rigidity I can from it. Similarly, the flutes are also super important; the fewer flutes you have, the less stable the tool is and can be prone to deflection; however, the more flutes you have, the less chip evacuation you will get. So there is a balance you want, and he uses and suggests three flute endmills. It provides enough space for chips to evacuate with air coolant properly, and still have enough rigidity to prevent deflection.

Harris Family