This is a 4 axis CNC mill capable of doing both indexed and continuous rotation paths. It’s primary intention is for prototyping so it’s designed around cutting foams, plastic, wax, and other softer milling materials.
We have several options for software depending on the type of object being cut. Because of the 4th axis this is a more complicated setup than the Othermill.
In general we will help you generate toolpaths and set the machine up. Bring all source files. We can work with both STL and CAD files.
Emergency Stop (E-Stop):
Large red button on the front of the machine. Do not rely on the “Stop Cutting” button through software controls. Always err on the side of saving a tool.
(this list will expand as we work with more materials – contact us with questions):
- High Density Urethane foam – 30 lb/ft^3
- HDPE (lot of stringing if feeds and speeds are not managed) – Light, fast cuts work best.
- Not aluminum. The machine certainly could cut aluminum with the right tools and conservative feeds but it’s not designed for it.
- Clickmill – basic milling operations without using a CAD model.
- SRP Player – basic 3-axis and indexed 4-axis milling. Generates safe toolpaths at the expense of time and fine control.
- DeskProto – advanced CAM software with support for multiaxis milling. Can easily break tools if careless settings are used.
- Inventor (or Fusion 360) supports 3+1 axis milling.
- VPanel – main control software for the machine.
Pausing during cutting:
Pressing the “View” button on the front of the machine will cause the tool to lift, stop, and will move the model forward. Wait until the movement is complete before opening the cover. From here you can clear chips during a job.
To resume close the cover and hold “View” until the part moves back to the cutting area.
Running a job:
The general steps are as follows:
- Generate Gcode and post-process for the Roland MDX40A – General MDX40 postprocessors won’t work without care due to the rotary axis.
- Pay special attention to speeds and feeds — especially cutting depth. Do not use the full height of the tool without good reason (and milling time is not a good reason)
- We highly recommend some form of Gcode simulation.
- Load the correct tool and zero it.
- Load the material and set the X, Y, and Z origins using either the User Work Offset for DeskProto or the G54 offset for Inventor. Origin selection is CRITICAL. Double and triple check.
- Use VPlayer to send the code.
The mill needs to be watched fairly actively while cutting. Especially during critical parts of cutting.
Save operations for different tools as different files. Be very mindful of how you have chaining setup. Despite what the mill says it MAY NOT PAUSE when it needs a new tool. It depends on your gcode.
For indexed milling it is critically important that you move the stock in Y BEFORE ROTATING. In DeskProto this is not done automatically and is done in the advanced settings for a particular operation. It needs to be done on EACH operation and affects how your chaining is set up. If you don’t the stock will just turn in place and will snap a tool.
For full rotary a cylindrical workpiece is assumed in DeskProto. If using square stock simply use the diagonal of the square as the diameter of a cylinder. Your roughing operation will have some air milling but that’s really not a problem.
Cleaning the machine:
Use the shop vac to remove dust from cutting after every job. Make sure to vacuum all areas, taking great care around the tool.
- Cutting area and part.
- Chuck and tailstock.
- Tailstock rails.
- Y axis motion area.
- Excess dust around the spindle – mind the tool.
Wrenches are kept on the left side of the machine. Do not allow the tool to fall – use a towel to catch it if necessary.
The locating cycle for the Z axis needs to be performed after each change. Use the wizard in VPanel.
We have both 1/8″ and 1/4″ shank tools, be sure to use the correct one.