CNC Machine Resources: New HaasPlus.com, Manufacturing, and More

A new week is upon us, and hopefully you’re as busy as I have been!  As we all know the manufacturing environment has it’s share of ups and downs and at times it feels like it’s either feast or famine.  As we head into the dog days of summer here in the US I hope it’s nothing but feast for you all.

Today I have a few useful tidbits I scrapped together from the inter-webs that you all may find of interest.

All New HaasPlus.com: Haas CNC Machine Repair & Replacement Parts

Image via HaasPlus.com

Image via HaasPlus.com

As I wrote in an earlier post, all signs seem to be pointing to better days ahead when it comes to CNC machine manufacturing.  Many of us are already seeing upticks in our business, and that includes myself as well.  Due to my own shops production increases, and wanting to stay up on my equipment’s maintenance, I was on the hunt for some CNC replacement parts and upgrades.  As the name of this blog implies, I’m a Haas guy, so I pointed my cursor to HaasPlus.com to take a look around.  Imagine my surprise when I found a totally new and re-vamped site.  I’ll be keeping my eye on the new site and blog for further updates…

Color me impressed!  I was particularly shopping around for a ball bearings replacement kit and valve control and found the new site set-up smooth, well organized, and friendly.  Some great pricing here folks.  Whether you’re a lone ranger running a used CNC, a shop owner, or a DIY CNC enthusiast, I highly recommend checking them out!

Cerasis: Top 4 Manufacturing Issues in America – Part 1 & 2

If you’re like me you try your best to keep up with manufacturing news and trends.  As a member of the CNC Machining and Manufacturing community on G+ I often come across great community news and postings.  Cerasis recently posted a pair of articles highlighting the top 8 manufacturing issues in America.  Stay educated on the news and trends in your field and take some time to check them out; well worth the time.  You’ll notice that mention of additive manufacturing in that list…pay attention folks, it’s going to impact us all!

Cerasis: Part 1: Top 4 Manufacturing Issues in America

Cerasis: Part 2: Manufacturing Industry Trends in America: The Final Four of 8

The CNC Cookbook: Lights Out Manufacturing

Continuing with trends and manufacturing news: The CNC Cookbook continues to post great articles and resources for your g-code and CNC machine needs.  Bob Warfield has posted a great introduction to Lights Out Manufacturing.   Increase your performance and productivity gains!  Whether you run your own shop or manage a full-scale CNC machine production floor, you’ll want to read this and consider implementation!  We’re all looking for ways to increase productivity and income, and this may well be an approach for many of you out there!

Your Turn

Have a new resource you’d like to share?  Know of a great online shop like HaasPlus.com that has CNC machine repair and replacment parts at competitive prices?  How about a great article on CNC machine manufacturing?  We’re all on the lookout for great deals and valuable resources so let me know in the comments and I’ll be sure to share!

CNC Machine Training

If you’re like me, you’ve often taken some of your free time pandering around the internet for CNC machine related topics and information.  Maybe you own your own shop and are searching for CNC replacement parts or used CNC machines?  Maybe you’re looking for a quick tip on some g code, or even some help on a troublesome alarm?  No matter what it is you are looking for, if you start Google-ing around you’ll eventually encounter links for CNC crash videos.

About once a week I’ll find myself watching a CNC crash video while getting the sleep out of my eyes and slurping down a couple cups of coffee.  These video’s make it easy for one to sit behind their screen, laugh and shake their head, and mumble to themselves about all the morons in the world.  I’m guilty of it myself.  But I’ve been thinking about these video’s a little different lately.

CNC Crash Video’s: What Are They Really Showing Us?

We’ve all had our bad days, am I right?  Made some rookie mistake and cost ourselves, or the company we work for, time and money.  Replacement parts add up fast, and while it’s a fact of life that things are going to break from time to time, it always hurts when it’s the outcome of a preventable mistake.   

So, when you see one of these crash video’s, do you see yourself at some distant point in the past?  If not, count yourself lucky.  

What I’ve started thinking when watch these crash videos is the importance of training.  Yeah, like we all need another CNC Machine and safety training meeting, right?

Yes, we do.

The Importance of CNC Machine Training

Periodic training sessions carry a number of positives.  First and foremost it puts information at the forefront of our minds.  Yes, a session may cover a topic most of the shop already knows, but it may just brush the dust off of it as well.  We carry a lot of knowledge in our heads, and it’s often that some of that is used only on rare occasions.  Nothing wrong with brushing it up, giving it a nice new mental veneer.  It’s simple refreshment that can often save yourself time and money.  It’s easy to forget the small things…and often that is where refreshment training saves us time and money.

Also, sessions like these often lead to related topics and discussion that open the door for the whole shop to learn and benefit.  

 

Let us not forget the newbies  in our shops.  No matter how industrious and sharp and driven, he/she is going to make some blunders.  Hopefully of the less expensive kind.  Added training and mentorship is where my thinking lay when it comes to the young-in’s in our industry.  By taking the time (and yes, short-tern expense) to aid and mentor them in their learning, we all benefit.  Not only do we save ourselves money in the long term, we help craft better CNC machinists and operators.  

That benefits everyone in the CNC manufacturing industry.

Whether you’re clocking hours in a Haas CNC machine shop or a DIY CNC enthusiast experimenting in your garage, periodic training and discussion pay’s dividends in the long-term.  

Your Turn:

Do you believe that periodic training sessions, say, once per month, are a benefit to your shop?  Let me know in the comments!

 

 

 

 

CNC Machine Documentation

English: An example of a 5-Axis waterjet cutti...

English: An example of a 5-Axis waterjet cutting head used to cut complex 3-Dimensional parts on a CNC waterjet cutting machine. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m sure most of the more seasoned CNC machinists and operators out there have their go to places when looking for CNC machine manuals and the like.  We’ve all encountered a situation where we needed a quick reference after the shop brings in a used CNC, or that “new guy” misplaced the manual.  Though if you’re relatively new to the field, just starting out, or simply doing some investigating after being inspired by a DIY CNC project, you may not yet know where to go.

You’d think these companies, especially in this day and age, would make their manuals readily available on-line, but they seem to be few and far between.  Sure, there are plenty of shady looking websites where you can pay but we know we don’t want to do that.  Really, what good is a manual if you don’t own the machine.  Here are two places that are a sure fire bet  that’ll give you up to date information, specs, manuals, you name it.

CNC Machine Manuals and More

Just as the name say’s, I’m a Haas guy even though this site has a broad reach.  So naturally I’ll often drop into Haas Automation’s site.  You’ve got to be impressed with a company that has this much coverage.  YouTube channels, manuals, News, Facebook pages, etc.  More than I care to parse myself but I’m sure it’s all very useful.  What I wanted to specifically point out are the : Haas Automation Manual Updates. Great resource for our Haas folks out there.

Keeping with the broad reach of this site:  FadalCNC.com has a huge collection of Fadal manuals on line for your convenience   Fadal CNC machine parts manuals, operator and quick reference manuals, maintanence manuals, and more.  Hey, for our CNC brothers in Mexico they have manuals available in Spanish as well.

Forums.  Don’t forget to check the CNC forums.  There are a lot of persons looking for and sharing manuals on just about all of the CNC machine and DIY CNC hobby forums.

Your Turn

How about yourself, do have a favorite place to locate CNC machine manuals?  Let us know in the comments below!  To all my stateside brothers and sisters, have a great Memorial Weekend and remember to take some time to observe those that have made the ultimate sacrifice for our well-being.

 

Update:  From the G+ CNC Machining and Manufacturing Community I’ve an addition to the list:  CNC Alarms.com where you can look up  CNC Machine Alarms and error Codes for Fanuc, Mitsubishi, Yasnac and more.

New to CNC Machining? Haas CNC Mill and Lathe Training Manuals

As part of the CNC machine community I often see threads in forums and  groups from fresh CNC upstarts.  These are young guys and gals just starting out in school, or an on-the-job training situation and they typically ask something along the lines of : “Hey, advice for someone new to CNC…”, or ” Help!  I need to understand this g-code…”.  I mention this not as something derogatory, but as something great!  These are persons with the drive and due-diligence to seek out help and advice from a knowledgeable community.  It’s also a sign of a person who is passionate about their learning and driven to excel!  Below I’ve jotted down some quick advice and linked some training manuals I came across.

DIY CNC: It’s An Attitude That Starts On Day One!

Computer Numerical Controls (CNC)To me, DIY CNC is not only about hobby CNC machining, or installing your replacement parts on that used CNC machine…it’s an attitude.  It’s a git-r-done, all-in, results driven attitude.  So you’re new to CNC, you’re taking courses at the local college, and you love what you are learning.  Are you hanging up your hat at the end of class and calling it a day?  No! You’re taking the extra step of immersing yourself in CNC machining.

So what does that mean?  You’re joining communities and forums and you’re asking questions.  You’re learning about the industry and machine operation: reading articles, watching training video’s, and devouring news related to CNC machining.  You’re finding out how CNC machine shops run their businesses.  You’re learning G code and M code before you even begin those classes!  You’re reading up on how to repair and replace parts on a CNC machine.  And as you gain the knowledge and the expertise YOU GIVE BACK to the community that helped and inspired you!

Haas CNC Mill and Lathe Training Manuals

Today I came across a couple of Haas training manuals from Productivity Inc.  I wasn’t particularly looking for Haas manuals, but hey, I like Haas so it doesn’t hurt.  If you’re a student, or someone looking to learn more, or even expand on what you already know, these manuals just may well come in handy.

Haas CNC Mill Programming:  This training manual is specific to programming a Haas CNC Mill.  A great resource for any student out there learning G and M code, or looking to get a head start.

Haas CNC Lathe Operator:  This training manual is specific to running a Haas CNC Lathe.  Another great resource for a student or anyone looking for a refresher.

Do you have suggestions or advice for those men and women new to the CNC machining industry?  If so, let them know in the comments!

DIY CNC: Using SketchUp

I’ve been thinking about DIY CNC for quite some time, and it seems the more I dig into it, the more interested I become.  The DIY/Maker movement is  fascinating, and once you start down the DIY rabbit hole you discover there is a whole world of useful and exciting possibilities out there.  One of the great things about DIY is the community and the sharing of knowledge, tips, and CNC hobby tutorials.  I was digging around over my lunch break the other day and started thinking about software.  Free software (free as in beer!).

Image viaSketchUp.com

Image viaSketchUp.com

Enter SketchUp (previously known as Google SketchUp).  The FREE download of SketchUp allows you to create 3-d images with a highly intuitive interface.  Think AutoCad but stripped down and simplified.  I’ve known about SketchUp for a time but never toyed around with it, though I began wondering if the DIY CNC hobby machinist might be able to put this piece of software to good use.  A bit more investigation revealed that with a bit of fortitude you most certainly can.

DIY CNC: SketchUp to CNC

This tutorial, while looking a little dated, will give you the general break down on how you can utilize SketchUp for your own DIY CNC machine projects.  A basic summary: You export your SketchUp file, which uses the same file type as Google Earth, and you upload it into another free software package: Blender.  Blender is a powerful, and free (free as in beer) 3-d creation software package which will then allow you to export your file in DXF or STL format.  According to the author, “Once created, these files can be loaded into MeshCam or CAMBAM Plus (or another similar program) and used to generate 3D G-code for your CNC.”

The article is a bit older, and looking at Blender.org leaves me to the conclusion that you no longer have to separately download the Python file.  DIY made somewhat simpler.

Now since we have the software down, tomorrow I’ll be digging into building your own CNC machine.  While we can often find good prices on used CNC machines and parts, some may be limited by financial and space constraints.  We’ll look at that tomorrow, in the meantime, how about you?  What software do you use for your DIY CNC projects?

Haas CNC Machine Operation Tutorial

As I was traversing the web this morning looking for CNC machine resources I came across an interesting site.  This falls perfectly into the DIY movement and involves building a robot. Yep, I’m not joking, building a robot. The Society of Robots covers all the angles to build a small robot: parts and hardware needed, tools, and tutorials (though it appears he charges 50$…looks legit to me but do so at your own discretion). Best of all, there is a section dedicated to creating robotic parts with a Haas CNC machine.

 

DIY CNC Machining: A Quick Boilerplate Intro

 

Now, I can’t say I completely agree with the persons assessment that you can only find a Haas CNC mill for 100k (a quick jump over to All-Haas proves that you can find a used CNC machine for about half that) but this little no-frills intro could be interesting for someone just starting to get the itch for a little homegrown DIY CNC.  All you need is the inspiration (albeit the robot) and a person can be on their way to learning a whole host of new skills.

I have to admit, after perusing the site I’m interested in building a little robot of my own.  Maybe something that could grab me a Bud Light from the fridge and bring it to me when I’m watching a ball game.  Hmmm….

 

Bonus: 2007 Haas Mill Operators Manual

 

Okay, so maybe you’re not interested in buying a used CNC machine or building beer wielding robots, but I’m constantly hearing calls for operators manuals.  If you do have a used CNC mill resources like this can be very handy.  I came across this today as well and thought I’d toss in a link. I hope you might get some use out of it.  How about yourself: do you have any CNC operators manuals you’d like to share?  They don’t have to be Haas specific.  In the end, I’m trying to build a CNC resource location.

 

 

DIY CNC Hobbyists: Blogs and Resources

diy3dprinter

image via Make

For a lot of CNC machine operators the love of CNC machining doesn’t end once we clock out at the end of the day.  Many of us go home to personal shops where we’ve mottled together used CNC machines and parts over the course of a number of years (some of us even buy new!).  Maybe it’s for the simple pleasure of doing it yourself, making money on the side, or maybe your daily job is somewhat of a grind (pun intended) and you’ve a creative streak that needs more expression.  Whatever it is, for those of us with home shops there is a vibrant and thriving DIY CNC community out there.

DIY CNC: It’s Not Just Machine Repair

 

For some, DIY means repair and replacement. It means learning about your machine and saving yourself time and money knowing how to maintain it’s upkeep and to repair it when it breaks down.  They would be correct, but DIY doesn’t end there.  DIY also means awesome projects, creating stuff for the sake of creating, or even hacking existing products to Make something new.

As Bob Warfield said recently over at his CNC Cookbook blog, manufacturing IS cool again.  We owe some big thanks to the push of the DIY/Maker community for sparking a whole new generations imagination…and some older ones as well.

If you’re new to DIY CNC than take a look at some of the links above: they’re a great place to start and should lead you further along.  If you’re already familiar, or actively engaged, why not share where you find great DIY related information and reading?