5 High-Speed CNC Machining Tips for Beginners
Machining the perfect part is a journey of trial and error, especially as CNC technology evolves. With so many factors influencing your machining process, it’s hard for a new machinist to know where to start. We’ve put together 5 high-speed CNC machining tips to help you achieve the part perfection you’ve been aiming for.
Tip #1 – Invest In Quality Tooling
Save yourself a headache and some money by avoiding cheap cutters that quickly wear out and easily break. High-quality tooling is made to withstand the forces of high-speed machining, providing better quality and consistency in your production. DATRON experts recommend carbide tooling because it’s 3x more rigid than high-speed steel tools. Plus, carbide is known for handling higher SFPM (surface feet per minute) rates, and it maintains a longer tool life. For parts that need an extra superior finish, it’s worth checking out balanced CNC tools. This type of CNC tool is designed to mitigate vibration and reduce chatter marks, so your parts have cleaner cuts and smoother finishes. DATRON carbide cutters are engineered for precision, performance, and extended tool life; you can order them online at our tool store.
Tip #2 – Warm Up Your Spindle and Machine
Warming up a spindle to spread the grease and prevent premature bearing wear is standard practice for CNC machining. But it’s equally important to ensure that internal machine components reach a steady operating temperature before you start milling. By combining the spindle warmup with machine movement in all axes, you mitigate the effects of thermal expansion during milling. So, doing a 10-20 minute spindle and machine warmup can actually help you hold tight tolerances and deliver consistent quality parts.
Tip #3 – Pair Small Tools with High-Speed Spindles
The smaller the tools, the higher the spindle speed you need for milling quality parts. Micro tools don’t need spindles with a ton of power. Using lower machining forces helps avoid tool breakage, while the high speeds move the tool fast enough to efficiently remove the chips and prevent a lot of heat from building up. DATRON CNC machines are ideal for micro tooling applications because they use high RPM rates and take small stepovers with fast feed rates.
Tip #4 – Use Dynamic Tool Paths
While dynamic strategies are not a new concept, CNC machining software has greatly evolved, making it much easier for CNC beginners to use now. Each CAM software may have its own name for dynamic milling, but the principle is always the same; to maintain a constant chip load throughout the whole cut by utilizing a full depth (axial) cut and a very light side (radial) cut. Using shallower stepovers with deeper step downs will achieve the perfect balance between material removal rate and tool life. Dynamic tool paths offer improved surface finishes, reduced cycle times, and longer tool and spindle life.
Tip #5 – Outfit Your Machine with Reliable Workholding
We all know it’s important to keep a part in place, but sometimes that’s easier said than done. Especially when dealing with delicate materials and difficult shapes. Good CNC machining means producing repeatable results, which is a challenge when you’re switching between jobs.
Do some research, check out machining forums, and read product reviews to see which workholding will be the best fit for your machine and application. With the proper workholding accessories, your production quality will be greatly improved and your set-up times will be greatly reduced. Fortunately, there are tons of resources available that can help you improve your CNC machining skills. A few of our favorites are: CNC Cookbook, Titans of CNC Academy, Proven Cut, and Autodesk’s Fusion 360 courses.
DATRON offers a variety of module clamping technology (even for odd shapes and soft materials) that provide precise positioning, fast set-up times, and make it easy to switch between jobs. If you’re interested in learning more CNC machining tips from the DATRON Dynamics’ team, check out more CNC machining blog posts.