It's inevitable: Your Desktop CNC Milling Machine is going to get dirty. This is why it's important to take the time to clean your machine after running a job and perform routine maintenance checks on your Desktop CNC Milling Machine. Doing so will help prolong the lifespan of this high-performance digital fabrication tool.
In this guide, we'll show you:
- Best practices for keeping your Desktop CNC Milling Machine clean.
- How to perform routine maintenance on your Desktop CNC Milling Machine.
If you are experience issues with your machine and are unsure how to proceed, reach out to us at email@example.com.
Cleaning Your Desktop CNC Milling Machine
Cleaning your Desktop CNC Milling Machine regularly ensures peak precision and performance. To clean your CNC machine you will need the following supplies:
- Safety glasses
- Disposable gloves
- Vacuum cleaner with narrow wand attachment
- Soap and water
- Lint-free wipes
- Isopropyl alcohol, 91%
- Source of compressed or canned air
Let's get cleaning!
Maintaining Your Desktop CNC Milling Machine
The Bantam Tools Desktop CNC Milling Machine is designed to be robust and cut accurately with minimum maintenance. These basic maintenance tips will help your machine run smoothly.
Each Time You Mill a Project
- Make sure your machine is clean. Use a good vacuum after each milling job to remove as much of the resulting material debris (aka swarf, which is one of the best words ever) in and around the machine as possible. Use a small brush to loosen any debris that accrues around the inside of the spindle housing.
Warning: To clean metal debris, use a brush, as vacuuming metal shavings could cause a fire in the vacuum cleaner. A vacuum may be used to clean other material debris.
- Inspect the six metal rods before and after milling. These rods, also called rails or ways, hold up the carriages in the CNC machine. Make sure the rails and the bed are clear of dust, tape, and glue, and make sure you have a tidy working environment. Sticky substances on the rails can cause the machining bed to dislodge the rails from the frame and will impact your milling project.
- Before you start machining, make sure there are no loose items on the bottom of the milling machine. Loose tools, wrenches, and large pieces of material can be caught in the rails or under the machining bed and can cause damage to your machine.
- For longer milling jobs, pause the job and vacuum out the machine every 30 minutes. To pause the job, you can either press the pause icon in the software or lift the front window of the machine.
Use a small brush to loosen the debris, and then use the vacuum to remove the debris. (Do not use a vacuum for metal debris.) Focus on the rails, the limit switches, and the linear bearings. The linear bearings are the circular pieces that the rails pass through. There are linear bearings in each axis, 10 in total in the milling machine.
- Keep track of all cutting tools in order to know how long you’ve been using them. A dull end mill will make jagged cuts and can cause the machine to cut incorrectly. Old tools are also more likely to break while cutting.
There are three limit switches in the Bantam Tools Desktop CNC Milling Machine, one for each axis. These switches are a calibration sensor that use a pressure switch to detect moving parts of the mill. As a result, they play a crucial role in the homing process, probing routines, and more.
After you finish machining a job check the limit switches to make sure there is no debris built up around the switches. You can vacuum out the debris or in some cases, you may need to use compressed air.
Pictured above is the Y-axis limit switch.
The windows on the Desktop CNC Milling Machine are made from polycarbonate. While the front window swings open, the windows on either side of the machine's frame are not meant to be removed. These windows are durable and were made with your safety in mind. Through regular use the windows may get nicks from debris and finger print smudge from touching them.
If you would like to clean your windows we recommend using:
- Water and soap
- 91% isopropyl alcohol
- Lint-free wipes
Note: If you're using soapy water or 91% isopropyl alcohol make sure that the towel or cloth you're using is not sopping wet. You want to avoid dripping water in the machine.
On the other hand, you'll want to avoid the follow cleaning products:
- Any cleaning products with ammonia
- Scented cleaning products
Using these products on the polycarbonate windows will tarnish them and cause them to no longer be transparent.
If you need to replace any of the windows on your Bantam Tools Desktop CNC Milling Machine, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Regularly inspect the spindle belt and collet for visible wear. If the collet looks dirty, clean it by unscrewing the collet nut and gently tapping it on a hard surface to dislodge debris.
- If the machine sounds rough or uneven, inspect the spindle:
- Use the Z-axis jogging arrows in the software to lower the spindle so the belts are in reach.
- Power the machine down.
- With your finger, grasp the end of the spindle that holds the tool and wiggle it gently to make sure the spindle doesn't move side to side or up and down.
- Make sure that the spindle spins freely.
If you feel horizontal or vertical movement in the spindle, let us know at email@example.com.
Additional Maintenance Tips
- If the metal rods in your milling machine get sticky with tape or glue, carefully remove the adhesive with 91% rubbing alcohol.
- You should apply Break-Free CLP lubricant to the metal rods. This solution will help keep the rails from corroding and will lubricate the bearings. Apply 1-2 small drops of Break-Free CLP to the top of the rails near the linear bearings. The bearings are the part of the X, Y, and Z carriages that make contact with the rails.
- After applying the lubricant, use the jogging arrows in the Bantam Tools software window to move the machine back and forth along each axis, which will spread the substance over the surface of the metal rods.
- Store your Desktop CNC Milling Machine in a cool, dry place to avoid damage to the electronics and corrosion on the rails.
Warning: Storing your Desktop CNC Milling Machine in damp places can cause corrosion.