10 CNC Must Haves Before Making Your First Cuts

May 6, 2015 Blog

Ok! You have purchased your new CNC machine from Ellison AZ and you are ready to make your first cuts…right? Well, maybe not, considering that you might not have some of the integral additions that make your CC machine run smoothly and get you the results you are looking for the first time. This article takes a look at some simple additions that a beginner CNC operator might like to have when starting his CNC duties.

Let’s assume you have a working CNC machine that you’ve just
acquired, but that you know very little about CNC.  Let’s further assume
it is a mill and that you will primarily be focused on cutting metal.
 You’re probably ready to start milling custom chopper parts, build a
tool changer, or maybe scratch build a Colt 1911 handgun.  With CNC, you
can build almost anything and you’re chomping at the bit to get started
on your pet projects.

Not so fast!  Remember, you just got the machine and you’re a beginner.  You’re not ready for those projects yet.

Here are 10 things you should focus on to maximize your chances of becoming quickly successful:

1.  Buy Some Decent Cutters

Don’t get the package of assorted sizes of imported Chinese cutters
of indeterminate quality.  You don’t need the solid green unobtanium
aerospace cutters from Men-In-Black-Cutter-Supply, just get some decent
cutters from a reliable source that has reasonable prices like Maritool.com.
 Try for a name brand, perhaps one that’s on sale at a supplier like
Enco.  Knowing you have a reasonable cutter eliminates a whole bunch of
variables that govern your success or failure.  I would also go with HSS
when you’re just starting out.  You’ll eventually want carbide for a
lot of uses, but HSS is cheaper and more forgiving.  Get yourself a few
sizes:

–  1/2?

–  1/4?

– 3/16?

Nothing smaller at this stage until you’ve learned on less delicate
cutters.  Buy 2 or 3 flutes for aluminum and some 4 flutes for steel.
 I’d get 3 of each in each size to start.  You are going to break some
cutters, so just get over it and be used to the idea.  It’s a good thing
at this stage to remind you to wear your safety glasses because you
will break some cutters!

While you’re at it, buy a full twist drill assortment.  HSS from a
decent brand on sale will work fine.  I like the idea of replacing the
ones I break with cobalt over time.

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