Since I put the program together yesterday for the new clamp piece that would fit on the side of the model truck, I was able to run through it and get my finished piece within about fifteen minutes! It fit perfectly, and I got the machine off and running with the final operation I needed to prove before getting these ready for production.
Since the truck is quite wide, I had to be very delicate with the contour cutoff operation after my initial failed attempt going too slow with too high RPMs. I initially ran the 0.25" square endmill at 9k RPM, 6 inches a minute, and 0.02" stepdowns; however that left a very marred surface finish, and it was squealing the whole time. After discussing it with my boss, he suggested running it at 4.5k RPM and 13 inches a minute, which worked much better, and I had to pause the machine because it was so silent!
I still feel very lost to the speeds and feeds side of machining, and I'm not sure what connection I'm missing. I really need to dedicate a few hours to this subject and put together my own formula and preset tools. My current notion of how things work is really messed up, and I'm constantly getting weird finishes on my parts.
I'm honestly shocked how well the external clamp piece worked for holding the vehicle on the base; it was easy to add an option stop command, add the plate, and run the final toolpath. Pulling the truck off the base was as simple as unscrewing the plate!
I made a massive mistake today and accidentally crashed the Haas VF2 5-axis trunnion.
The machine crash wasn't as serious as it could have been but really didn't do any good for my nerves! My boss wanted me to run through another piece of raw stock, and I was in the midst of the operation when the tool holder crashed into the truck's top hood. I forgot I had changed the toolpath operation from a 1/8" to a 1/16" and the tool stick out wasn't far enough for the endmill to reach. Thankfully there was no lasting damage to the machine, and after clearing the slag (aluminum that was pushed aside by the crash), probing the new tool, I was able to get up and running again!
Through this process, I tried fixing the swarf toolpath that was causing me so much headache before. And I thought I had found a solution; however, after testing the Haas built-in quality settings (P1-3), I had a very poor result. The problem is that the endmill stalls and stutters from point-to-point, instead of a fluid contour. I sent an email off to Autodesk and am awaiting a response :)