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6 Common Issues Related to the Setup & Maintenance of CNC Machines

June 22, 2021

 by Peter Jacobs

cnc machine

Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines have become a popular choice amongst manufacturers, owing to their precision, flexibility, and efficiency. However, even CNC machines struggle with operational issues and malfunctions, especially due to the lack of routine maintenance.

By ensuring the proper setup and functioning of your tabletop CNC machine, you can improve manufacturing operations and establish quality control. Here are some typical malfunctions and maintenance issues that CNC machines might encounter during operation:

1. Machine Vibration

Excessive vibration of CNC machinery while running, and the force exerted from the constant shaking, can impact the durability of the parts. It can also affect the tool quality and truncate its lifespan. 

Chatter often occurs from the workpiece or tool, making it crucial to recognize its source to make relevant adjustments. You can lower the RPM of the spindle and allow the machinist to test different speeds to determine an ideal setting.

2. Output Imperfections

If the final product has rough edges, outer edge burns, or cutter marks, you need to identify the exact reason. A deteriorated machine tool, improper feed and speed ratios, and choosing the incorrect tool size can all lead to impaired output quality.

It is imperative to let a machinist analyze the tool’s sharpness, feed speed, and coolant levels because a high operation temperature can cause burn marks. 

3. Programming Errors

Programming errors arise when the setup is incorrect, the codes (G and M) employed for programming are not well understood, or the CNC data is unreliable.

To counter the errors in G-Code, you must hire a well-trained worker with a shrewd knowledge of the codes and diverse functions. Besides this, you can also provide manuals or workshops and training around CNC programming.

4. Overheating

Since most CNC machines operate with no downtime, overheating is typical. Unfortunately, this results in inferior output quality, degraded tools, and impaired machines.

That's why it is imperative to schedule regular cleanings to dispose of waste buildup like dirt, metal shavings, and cutting coolant present in the equipment. You must also ensure adequate ventilation around the machine because improper airflow leads to temperature instability. 

5. Improper Material Selection

A crucial stage in custom CNC machining is the proper selection of the material according to the nature of the job. Machining conditions, material stiffness, and types of tools required must get accounted for before initiating the process.

You must use durable, machinable, and non-corrosive material to manufacture CNC machinery and use coolant where necessary. Plastic provides machinability, and metal adds strength while also providing resistance to high temperatures.

6. Incorrect Power Supply  

Due to their immense complexity, the efficiency of CNC machines can be compromised with incorrect power supply, such as using an incompatible socket.

CNC machines must operate on compatible power supplies with appropriate voltage settings for the input side. Any power supply issues beyond that demand the intervention of certified electricians to look for errors in the power supply and ensure proper rectification.  

Final Words

CNC machines encounter several operational hindrances, which is why you must exercise precautions and regular inspections to prevent any damage. From incorrect programming and poor material selection to overheating - several aspects can curtail the average lifespan of a CNC machine.

To avoid impairment and ensure a high-quality product finish, preventive maintenance must be carried out on a regular basis. This step helps review the software and the hardware of each machine to compare the obtained figures with the results on the control charts.

Over the years, we have helped numerous factories optimise their production facilities, and improve their profitability.


Want to learn more about factory maintenance in general? Read our guide on how to create preventive maintenance systems to keep operations efficient and cost-adverse.


How A Preventive Maintenance System Cuts Costs In Chinese Factories guide

Topics: Production Planning, Mistake-Proofing, New Factory Setup, Process Improvement, Preventive Maintenance

Peter Jacobs

Peter Jacobs

Peter Jacobs is the Senior Director of Marketing at CNC Masters. He is actively involved in manufacturing processes and regularly contributes his insights for various blogs in CNC machining, 3D printing, rapid tooling, injection molding, metal casting, and manufacturing in general.

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