4-Axes Taig Micro Mill Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Conversion
Last updated on Thursday, October 10, 2019 09:35:44 PM Mountain US Time Zone


4-Axes CNC Micro Mill, Pre-CNC Baseline, Mach3 Interface, Path Tracing Tool, Involute Gears, Z-Offset Gauge Animation, CNC Bench

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4-Axes CNC Micro Mill

Baseline configuration for the 4-axes, CNC-converted, Taig mill. A 25MB video of a circular pocket milled in machinable plastic.

There are different methods for measuring backlash. For the Taig mill, check the lead screw adjustable nuts for tightness.
The nuts that hold the couplers must also be snug but over tightening will damage the bearings. Sometimes, gently
tapping the coupler with a rubber mallet before tightening, helps. Loose couplers are a very common cause of
excessive backlash. Then, lubricate the lead screws, ways, & move the axes multiple times prior to the check.

For a CNC machine put a 0.0001" indicator in the spindle.
Using your controller, set the increment to 0.0001" & continue to bump it until you load the indicator 0.003.
 Then reverse the motion & bump it 0.0001" increments in the opposite direction until the indicator reads 0.002.
Count the total number of times you moved it 0.0001" to get the 0.002" reading & subtract 10.
The remaining number is your backlash in 0.0001.

For a manual machine, turn the crank until it reads zero on the dial & zero the indicator.
Then reverse the crank until the indicator moves. Reading the dial will give you the backlash.

Pre-CNC Baseline

Pre-CNC Taig Mill with a DRO, ER-16 spindle & 12" travel table. The DRO has since been
removed for the addition of the CNC system. The X-axis lead screw motor was removed.

Mach3 Interface

Original Mach3 Screen Set.

More books on CNC machining.

Mach3 main screen showing among many other things, the DROs. Mach3 setup tutorial.
Clean, high resolution screen sets & the MPG can remain displayed without covering the
Mach3 panel. Pressing the tab key toggles the Mach3 Mill Manual Pulse Generator or
MPG mode ON & OFF. There are several errors: Tab indicators not "lighted", spindle
spelled wrong in numerous locations, & the Simple Run tab has mirrored DRO information.








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Path Tracing Tool

Original spring-loaded 3/8" shank ink pen cartridge holder for tracing tool paths on paper. Its diameter &
length clears the spindle's through hole. The cartridge body is 7mm.

Cap held on using three, 2-56 set screws. The pen tip is tapered so it loosened slightly when depressed.
It worked better than expected but a new design is used that has a constant-diameter tip for greater accuracy.

These are traces of end mill radius off-set paths.

See the updated tracing tool design.

ABS plastic machines well using 2-flute carbide end mills at 5500 RPM.

Involute Gears

0.021" thick brass involute gears.

Involute gear animation.

A 4.000" height, Z-axis tool length setting gauge (USA).

Z-Offset Gauge Animation

Z-axis offset animation showing a " end mill being set at 4.000" above the vise bed.

A 3.000" height offset gauge.

An adjustable, brass, over-travel stop was added so the needle can only turn less than one revolution.
Needle-based, Z-offset gauges set the mill more quickly & accurately than illuminated or digital types.
All critical surfaces of the parts, including the round post ends, were precision surface ground for high accuracy.

Animation showing a 2.000" tool offset height being set on the Taig CNC Z-axis using the MPG in step mode.



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Circular pocket. See the Turner's Cube for an example of multiple circular pockets.

Hexagonal pocket for a die.

CNC produced 13 x 19.8mm cut-outs for five, front rack-mount (aluminum) panel snap-in rocker switches.

CNC Bench

Pre-CNC bench preparation (above). To reduce their exposure to swarf, the μATX computer, breakout board box, &
stepper motor controller are tucked up underneath the bench on a high shelf. The shelf has a 1.5-inch gap
 along the back for ventilation & cords. The bench's side & back have been closed off using " particle board.
The board makes a sturdy mounting surface for the shelf brackets & further stiffens the bench.
The large hole for the wires is below the shelf surface in case any debris enters from the back.
 Steel anchors attach the bench to the cement wall. The (blue) wired WAN from the house router is to the left.

The MPG added an additional E-stop. Its springy cord needed a strain relief clamp.
Both fans blow air outward. Have not seen any swarf on or inside of the electronics.
Everything is running at cool temperatures. Installed a green LED for the breakout box power.

The CPU, LCD, opto-isolation, safety charge pump, & pendant interfaces are protected by a computer monitored
 uninterruptable power supply (UPS) while the stepper motor control circuit is protected by a standard surge protector.



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An upgraded Back-UPS ES 550 having computer monitoring software connected via a USB.

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Rotate-to-unlock style E-stops were installed to the left & right of the mill. The pendant has an E-stop button, too.
A compact quartz halogen goose-neck magnetic-base lamp (manual) is attached to a metal plate screwed to the
bench. Stepper motor cable routings. To the right, they enter underneath the bench edge to reduce swarf entry.

Task Light

Halogen task light.
I used several electrical box covers to give the magnet a good base to grip.







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4-Axes CNC Micro Mill, Pre-CNC Baseline, Mach3 Interface, Path Tracing Tool, Involute Gears, Z-Offset Gauge Animation, CNC Bench