Saturday, May 21, 2016

CNC Machine – Support Infrastructure 1

6:54 AM Comments 2

When I placed the order for our Profit H08, I knew the machine itself was going to be the most expensive piece to the puzzle, but there were other pieces to be considered in order to make it the functional powerhouse we needed it to bE.


We do not have the benefit of unlimited 3-phase power in our shop. All of our current 3-phase machines run via a Kay Industries 40HP rotary phase converter that I purchased used off Craigslist in 2009. The capacity of that converter is maxed out, plus I did not want the CNC machine to have to compete with any other machines for its power, so it was off to purchase another phase converter.


I have been very happy with our current converter…meaning it starts up every time we flip the switch and runs all day with no complaints. I also met Greg Schroff from Kay Industries at AWFS last summer, and he was extremely helpful with my preliminary questions, so I did not hesitate to call him when I needed a new converter.

My electrician ran a new service panel to the CNC’s location, wired up the converter, the breaker panel, and the transformer prior to the Felder tech arriving.


Our shop is not set up with one large dust collector, but rather 4 smaller dust collectors. Therfore, I was on the hunt for a dust collector specifically for the CNC machine. As is an issue for many shop owners, I was limited on the space and funds available. I focused my search on the traditional over-under bag dust collector and was unable to find any used machines in my area, so I went into the local Woodcraft store and purchased a Powermatic PM1900TX-BK1. It is a 3HP model with 1700CFM out of the single 8″ port. I immediately upgraded the stock top bags with 96″ tall 1 micron aftermarket bags from American Fabric Filter.


These extra tall bags increase the square footage of exhaust, allowing the dust collector to provide maximaum suction for longer periods of time. We picked up the 8″ galvanized duct work from the local HVAC store and a 12′ long section of 8″ flexible hose from an online dealer. I skipped the swivelling dust collection ball valve, in favor of an extra long length of flexible hose, mostly due to cost savings.


With everything installed, we found out that the dust collection is barely adequate. I think we need to double the CFM to really collect the chips. I would estimate that the collector gathers 40% of the waste created. The remaining 60% is left on the table. There are several issues conspiring against the dust collector. The compression bit is pushing the chips down towards the table as it cuts and, at the same time, the vacuum pump is pulling the chips down to the table. Once a sheet is cut, we use a shop vac to clean off the table before loading the next sheet. This process takes up quite a lot of time and is something I need to address in order to increase efficiency.


From everything I had read, clean compressed air is critical to a well functioning CNC machine. Contaminated air will wreak havoc on the inner workings. To that end, we purchased an air dryer, which removes water from all the air lines in the shop, and a dessicant filter immediately before the inlet on the CNC machine. While the air dryer wasn’t purchased just for the CNC machine (we had water issues in air lines throughout the shop), I am including it in the overall cost because if you buy a CNC, you will need one.