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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Posts
    10

    Measurement tool recommendations

    After years of dreaming, I finally bought ChinaCNCzone 9060 Steel router (four axis, servo motors, 2.2kW spindle, linear rails). As I don't have previous experience of CNC milling or any milling, I'm not sure, what kind of measurement tools I need to get. I'm planning to make mostly aluminium parts. If I can do some soft steel, it would be great.

    I have basic digital caliper and micrometer. I believe I would need at least some kind of dial indicator to check Z-axis height. I think I would need also tool called lever indicator to check XY position of my part. Or is it possible to perform these measurements with one tool? Then I have seen tool called "mill tramming tool", which seems to be two dial indicators connected together to check spindle alignment. I'm not sure if that is too relevant?

    So, I wonder what are most useful and recommended measurement tools besides basic caliber and micrometer to start learning CNC milling?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    1230

    Re: Measurement tool recommendations

    The "mill tramming tool" is something you don't need.Nor does anybody else actually as a single dial gauge is just as effective if you can rotate the spindle with it in place and it is a technique for checking that the alignment of the spindle is precisely square to the table of the machine-or square enough for the user to be satisfied.If you have a large enough piece of stock to allow for a cut of the outline to take place,say 1.5mm all round and the alignment of the longest edge is parallel to the desired direction,you can use an edge finder to establish the position in machine coordinates and thus the values for the G54 fixture offset.Things get more complicated if you need to use a second setup but I'm guessing from the nature of this question that you may be a while graduating to that kind of job.It may be a good idea to use wood or some similar material to make some practice parts with before making the progression to aluminium.For height you can carefully use a very thin piece of paper or a feeler gauge to establish a Z axis datum.There are touch off pads out there but it may require some tinkering inside the controller to automate the process.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Posts
    10

    Re: Measurement tool recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by routalot View Post
    The "mill tramming tool" is something you don't need.Nor does anybody else actually as a single dial gauge is just as effective if you can rotate the spindle with it in place and it is a technique for checking that the alignment of the spindle is precisely square to the table of the machine-or square enough for the user to be satisfied.If you have a large enough piece of stock to allow for a cut of the outline to take place,say 1.5mm all round and the alignment of the longest edge is parallel to the desired direction,you can use an edge finder to establish the position in machine coordinates and thus the values for the G54 fixture offset.Things get more complicated if you need to use a second setup but I'm guessing from the nature of this question that you may be a while graduating to that kind of job.It may be a good idea to use wood or some similar material to make some practice parts with before making the progression to aluminium.For height you can carefully use a very thin piece of paper or a feeler gauge to establish a Z axis datum.There are touch off pads out there but it may require some tinkering inside the controller to automate the process.
    Ok. It seems that dial gauge would be sufficient for the beginning. My machine has Z probe. I have not tested it yet (I don't have proper table yet for 200kg machine). I'm not sure how well it works for checking Z axis?

    Once I have solid table for my machine, I'm planning to start with soft materials like wood and then go towards aluminium and maybe steel.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    3120
    Quote Originally Posted by matti-laser View Post
    Ok. It seems that dial gauge would be sufficient for the beginning. My machine has Z probe. I have not tested it yet (I don't have proper table yet for 200kg machine). I'm not sure how well it works for checking Z axis?

    Once I have solid table for my machine, I'm planning to start with soft materials like wood and then go towards aluminium and maybe steel.
    Before you think about how you will measure things....
    What have you in the way tooling ? (cutters, holders, drills etc) & the knowledge to apply them.

    Tooling is not cheap, and the knowledge/methods are diverse to what medium you want to cut
    Ie aluminium cutters/tips shouldn't be used on steel, wood cutters are designed for wood, not metals.
    Coolant &/or air for removing waste from cutting area.
    Generally, heat is your enemy, cutting edges need to be kept sharp, and dull edges make heat.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    4465

    Re: Measurement tool recommendations

    Hi,
    time and time and time again I reach for my Mityutoyo calipers. I couldn't possibly count the number of times I've used them over the twenty years I've had this set....

    I have a set of micrometers that I use....sometimes. I have a dial gauge and I use it....sometimes. I borrow a dial indicator that I use it...sometimes. I have a granite surface plate and a granite square that sees the light of day once or twice a year.

    Superman is right, tooling is where you'll spend most of your money. I use flood coolant and it is night and day better than air alone or even air/oil.

    Other things that will help you is a set (or more) of parallels, a decent anglelok vice, a pair of Vee blocks and an angle plate, and a set (or more) of toe clamps.

    Workholding and tooling is a worthwhile investment and will get used again and again and again!!!

    Craig

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2024
    Posts
    22

    Re: Measurement tool recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by matti-laser View Post
    After years of dreaming, I finally bought ChinaCNCzone 9060 Steel router (four axis, servo motors, 2.2kW spindle, linear rails). As I don't have previous experience of CNC milling or any milling, I'm not sure, what kind of measurement tools I need to get. I'm planning to make mostly aluminium parts. If I can do some soft steel, it would be great.

    I have basic digital caliper and micrometer. I believe I would need at least some kind of dial indicator to check Z-axis height. I think I would need also tool called lever indicator to check XY position of my part. Or is it possible to perform these measurements with one tool? Then I have seen tool called "mill tramming tool", which seems to be two dial indicators connected together to check spindle alignment. I'm not sure if that is too relevant?

    So, I wonder what are most useful and recommended measurement tools besides basic caliber and micrometer to start learning CNC milling?
    If your machine is with Syntec controller, then contact me at [email protected]

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    4465

    Re: Measurement tool recommendations

    Hi,
    another thing you will need, and its not something you have to buy, is some spoil boards.

    I have a couple. They are just a squares of acrylic. They get pretty scarred up after a while so replacing them with something cheap like acrylic is good. What may not be apparent
    is that they clamp directly into my vice and that there is a stop on it so that you can remove the spoil board, including the part or PCB which is screwed, clamped or even taped to it,
    alter it, turn it over,or put a fresh piece of material then put it back in the vice and by virtue of the stop it goes back in exactly the same spot....so you don't lose your zero reference.

    So simple. As you can see I make circuit boards this way and many small parts....like the little piece of white acetal I'm working on for a customer.

    Craig

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