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.