Establishing your CNC maintenance schedule
CNC machines go through a lot in their lifetime, executing heavy-duty jobs and working with materials that can cause more than the typical wear and tear if not properly cared for on an ongoing basis.
Because of this, setting and sticking to a regular maintenance schedule for your CNC router or plasma is especially critical. Without it, parts and components can quickly begin to suffer and negatively impact the performance of your machine and the quality of your work.
When it comes to setting a CNC maintenance schedule, there are steps operators should take on both a short- and long-term basis to achieve the best results. Here is a closer look at some maintenance checks and tasks that should be performed on a daily, biannual, and annual basis.
Daily CNC maintenance
Performing daily maintenance checks on your CNC machine usually only takes a few minutes but can end up saving you hours and thousands of dollars in the long run by getting ahead of and preventing more serious issues from mounting over time.
Among other things, daily routine maintenance helps ensure production is unaffected by easily avoidable issues such as blockages, poor air supply, and a failure to maintain lubrication levels.
Daily CNC maintenance tasks include:
- Checking hydraulic fluid levels
- Checking hydraulic pressure
- Checking cooling system’s cooling unit level
- Checking lube level or bearing grease
- Cleaning/removing debris from system
- Wiping down and lubricating moving parts
- Checking critical force bolts (spindles, bearing trucks)
- Inspecting your consumables (bits, electrodes, optics, etc.)
Note: Some of the above tasks may or may not apply to your equipment.
For recommended fluids, levels, or questions, consult your machine’s owner’s manual. It is never recommended to skip fluid checks or to use improper fluids, as improper grease and fluid is the same as or worse than no fluid or grease. If you have any questions or concerns regarding daily maintenance, the ShopSabre team is here to help.
Biannual CNC maintenance
Beyond routine maintenance to be performed on a daily basis, there are also several more intensive tasks that should be taken care of every few months to six months depending on the equipment. Checking and cleaning air reservoirs, pumps, coolant tanks, and oil drainages are all important to maintain effective operation.
Biannual CNC maintenance tasks include:
- Cleaning coolant tank of sludge, oil, and chips
- Cleaning radiator and ensuring fins are straight and undamaged
- Removing and cleaning chuck and jaws
- Checking leveling and adjusting if needed
- Performing a full system bolt check (tightening any that may have loosened from vibration/harmonics)
- Draining and cleaning lubrication unit and adding fresh lubricant
- Draining hydraulic tank and replacing oil with fresh hydraulic oil
- Changing/cleaning suction filter and line suction filter
- Draining and refilling cooling unit
- Adjusting for pinion wear on rack and pinion machines and replace components as necessary
Annual CNC maintenance
The primary goal of annual CNC maintenance checks is to ensure the machine’s alignment and calibration are intact. This is especially important if working with a 4- or 5-axis CNC machine. For more complex machines like a 5-axis CNC router, you should check machine beds, spindle lubrication systems, and hydraulic systems every year.
By and large, these annual checks are performed to ensure appropriate leveling, functionality, and accuracy. In many cases, these checks should be done by a CNC professional. If you’re strictly a hobbyist not working out of a professional shop, the ShopSabre team of experts is here and ready to help answer any questions regarding more involved maintenance tasks.
Annual CNC maintenance tasks include:
- Checking spindle for radial and end play issues
- Checking tailstock for quill function and misalignments
- Checking chuck cylinder for runout
- Checking headstock for damage or misalignment
- Checking turret parallelism and inclination
- Inspecting the entire machine for oil and air leakages
- Performing a full system cleaning
- Checking bearings for wear and replacing only as necessary
- Checking head alignment and realigning as necessary
- Cleaning computer/control cabinet(s) and changing filter(s) as needed
Ramp up production and precision with ShopSabre CNC
ShopSabre’s industry-best CNC routers and plasmas are designed to help shop owners grow their production through unmatched precision, repeatability, and automation – all at an affordable price.
ShopSabre machines largely require less maintenance than the competition thanks to user-friendly designs and advanced technology. Contact one of our sales consultants today to see just how little maintenance our machines require.
Our machines are easy to get up and running and to learn how to operate, even without any formal training. Our team of dedicated experts offers one-on-one support to help find the right machine for you and to make sure it works the way you and your business need it to.
Here are a few of the reasons ShopSabre is able to develop and produce such revolutionary CNC technology:
- Experienced in-house engineering talent
- The ability to totally fabricate and test designs onsite
- The ability to place the designs into production in-house