Tormach PCNC Maintenance!

Maintenance Tools:

Spring Scale

Dial Indicator

NogaFlex Arm for Indicator

Tormach Hook Spanner Wrench

Updated Maintenance Video

Old Maintenance Video

CNC Machine maintenance in older and well used machines is the key to ensuring that you maximize your machine’s lifespan and keeping your cuts sharp and precise. Depending on the state of your machine, maintenance can be as light as a simple cleaning to as intensive as replacing key components, but the better maintained the machine the less frequently these large component swaps need to be made.

Preventative Maintenance

Preventive machine maintenance ensures that your CNC mill does not receive any unnecessary wear-and-tear, and can run as cleanly and efficiently as possible day to day. Important frequent cleaning includes:

  • Cleaning out the chips from the machine
  • Ensuring everything that needs lubrication is greased
  • Wiping down and lubricating way covers
  • Keeping any and all filters clean, and replacing them when necessary

Adjusting Mill Head Tram

It is also imperative that you are adjusting tram and adjusting your gibs for your machine when it is new or if it has had excessive wear or wear over many years. Mill Head Tram refers to how level the spindle is in relation to the X & Y axes and the table assembly. You can use a dial indicator to measure the height difference between two points on an axis (the higher the difference the less flat your mill will be cutting.) If you want to be even more accurate, we like using the Edge ProTram dual dial indicator for the best precision.

Adjusting Gibs

Adjusting gibs allows you to fine tune the machine and minimize any movement and looseness in the table, and if over tightened can stall the stepper motor and throw off movement. When fine-tuning your gibs, it is important to find the sweet spot where the table is just tight enough to remain in place and not too loose. Once you pass the “tight enough” threshold, the resistance on the stepper increases exponentially and will wear your motor significantly more quickly if over tightened, significantly decreasing the lifespan of your CNC.

Drawbar and Spindle Cartridge Replacement

Another important maintenance step to ensure machine longevity and functionality is to replace the drawbar and Belleville washers. Over time the washers, which act as springs in the drawbar, wear out or break. This mechanism clamps the tool holder in place, so replacing this is imperative to guarantee tool life, consistency, and quality.

If you fail to replace your drawbar (or just in cases of extreme wear) you may find yourself needing to replace the tool holding mechanism. When we last did maintenance on our Tormach PCNC 1100, we had to replace both the spindle and R8 Collet, due to flaws on the internals of the parts.

Belt Replacement

Just like in any other machine, moving parts are due to eventually wear out. One such component that handles almost constant strain is the belt, which provides motion and reduction to the spindle. Replacing the belt ensures you have smooth spindle revolutions, and will reduce the chance your machine slips while cutting.

Way Covers

One final maintenance point we looked at when working on our Tormach was replacing the way cover sets. This was more of a cosmetic repair for our machine, and most you should not have to replace; way covers can however become worn over time and ultimately it is up to the user to determine if new sets are necessary.

Tormach Warmup Program!

Warming your Tormach CNC Mill with a Warmup Program is important for maintaining the quality and condition of your machine AND for helping make accurate parts!  Click HERE for our article, video and sample Tormach CNC Warmup Routine!