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Hacking Our CNC Machine Past Its Tooling Limit

Our machine shop was being challenged by a complex machining job that took a lot of time to create. The piece required a lot of various tooling that was beyond the machine’s typical capacity, and hand-loading in tools just wasn’t cutting it. With a little bit of ingenuity and a TON of research, our machinists were able to create a solution for speeding up this complex job! See how Kremin solved the situation for yourself.

Video Transcript:

“I’m about to show you one of the great designs that our engineering team and machinists concocted as an “outside-of-the-box” way to increase efficiency and reduce scrap. Check this out!

What do you do when the part you’re machining requires more cutting tools than the number of tool positions in your machine carousel? Great question, right? We were stumped by this question too, and here’s what we did.

We had a part. In order to machine the entire part, it required 31 cutting tools.

The machine could only hold 24 cutting tools in the carousel. We thought, “What can we change to be able to make this part complete in one operation without changing things over?”

To start, we just simply went and took our tools and hand-loaded them into the spindle. The risk of that is if someone puts the wrong tool in the machine, if they load in the wrong order = crash, boom you have a scrap part. You might have something messed up with the machine.

So we put our heads together and said, “How can we change this? How can we make this part run complete from start to finish?”

We came up with two ways: #1 we reduced the number of tools that we needed to create the part. Custom tooling, form tooling, whatever it was to reduce those numbers. We got that down to where we still needed three tools to complete this part.

It works. We were able to use it simply by hand-loading the last three tools into the machine for the final part of the program. The risk was if someone misloaded a tool, or loaded the wrong tool in, you could crash, scrap the part out, or do some other type of significant damage to machine.

This is where the idea of a tool holder nest mounted right to the table and machine was created.

*angelic music*

What we found was the design and the creation of the tool nest in this was the easy part. What we had to figure out is how to teach the machine to actually change the tool here, rather than the carousel.

After many hours of trying to program and create code, we finally talked to the guy. The guy that had the code, and the program, to be able to teach it to do this. Tucked away nice and neat in his email that he so nicely shared with us.

Using word coordinates, macros, and sub program routines, we’re now able to run a part complete using all the tools we need with this tool nest.

Brian can now watch Martha Stewart & Snoop Dogg’s Potluck Dinner Party uninterrupted. That’s a win-win to me.

If you want to see a demonstration of some other cool, out-of-the-box stuff that we do at Kremin Inc, go to our Youtube channel, subscribe, and check those videos out!”