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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Product Introduction - Chick One-Lok CNC Vise

I would say it is safe to say that the CNC machining center is an evolution of the manual milling machine ... bigger, better, faster and more efficient in many ways. The unfortunate fact regarding that evolution is that the ever popular vise for holding our work has not followed along very closely. As evidenced by our bruised and battered knuckles and the array of attachments on the market that cater to that piece of equipment.

But now ... after decades of trudging along and making due ... CHICK has finally brought a CNC designed vise to market. This CHICK One-Lok vise is not a traditional knee mill vise adapted for use on a CNC ... it is a vise specifically designed for the CNC machine.

The CHICK One-Lok Vise allows major advantages over the traditional vise in ways such as :
  • Enabling dramatically faster set-ups and part changes
  • Eliminate fixed jaw deflection and movable jaw lift for greater part precision
  • Greater versatility with features like multiple location features ... moveable toe clamps ... and an integrated repeatable jaw system.
We don't have any affiliation with CHICK or this product ... just thought it was is a real nice product and we we wanted to make sure to bring it to your attention in our Blog. We've got some follow-up links below so you can get some additional information ... Be sure to check out the really cool jaw system !!

Click the image above to watch a video on the CHICK One-Lok Vise

Until next time ...
Happy Chip Making !!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

CNC Maintenance ... For The Not So Ordinary

Personnel who perform routine maintenance on their CNC equipment usually perform the same common checks and perform the same common tasks ... those that I refer to as the "no-brainers". Filling the way lube tank ... greasing the hydraulic chuck ... checking the spindle oil level ... the common checks and tasks. Unfortunately they are usually the ones where the machine will generate an alarm to remind you ... like when the way lube tank runs out.

In this MAKING CHIPS blog post we wanted to spend a post and remind you of the not-so-common checks and tasks that also need to be performed ... "stuff" you might either not be aware of or "stuff" you never really even think about. So we encourage all to jot these down on your CNC maintenance TO-DO LIST. What !!! What do you mean you don't have a TO-DO LIST !!

One really good thing to do in regards to CNC maintenance and insuring your CNC machine is accurate and running at it's top condition is to at least post a note on the machine that lists checks and tasks to be performed and at what interval they should be performed. Every day ... once a week ... once a month ... etc, etc. The best method is to supply a log book at the machine that makes your personnel responsible for these tasks by requiring them to sign-in and confirm which tasks were completed and when. This will insure that the tasks are completed ... handing responsibility off to either the operator or the programmer.

Here is our list of the not-so-common tasks and checks that should also be included in your routine maintenance :

  1. Check the hydraulic pressure to make sure it is at the manufacturers recommended setting.
  2. Check the hydraulic oil to make sure it is filled to the manufacturers recommended level.
  3. If your spindle to machine tool has a cooling system ... check the cooling oil to make sure it is filled to the manufacturers recommended level.
  4. Clean the chips out of the chip pan on a daily basis ... not just when it's overfilled. Oftentime an overflowing chip bin will push the chips into areas such as the ball screw cavity and cause those chips to be forced into the ball screw covers. So while you think there is still room left in the chip bin ... actually the chips are being forced into areas you do not want them to go.
  5. If your machine has a chip conveyor ... grease the chain at least once a month.
  6. Clean the glass on the window of the door and the light inside the machine every morning. Waiting till you can't see only makes the job that much tougher ... and causes excessive downtime because the job takes twice as long.
  7. Wipe down the stainless steel way covers at the end of the shift ... and lubricate them with hydraulic oil. In the long run ... this is a huge maintenance cost avoided.
  8. Check the electrical cabinet fans and filters ... these should be cleaned at least once a month.
These are a few of the checks and tasks that should be performed frequently. In the next post ... we will cover the items and tasks that should be performed as part of a yearly Preventative Maintenance program.

Happy Chip Making !!