MEAM.Design - Machining - TL-1 CNC Lathe

TL-1 CNC Lathe Guide


Welcome to a quick start guide to the TL-1 lathe. This will help you through start up, setting offsets, and loading your program into the machine.

1. Obtaining permission

You will need to have a Machining Work Permit signed by a full-time member of the shop staff prior to working on the TL-1.


2. Starting the machine

Before turning the TL-1 on, you must move the tailstock and carriage out of the way, both for your own safety and convenience. Both should be moved as far to the right as possible, with about two inches left between the tailstock and carriage. To start the machine, push the big green button located on the upper left hand side of the control panel that reads <POWER ON>. The machine will take a few seconds to boot up, and then you will be presented with the main user interface. There will most likely be a message displayed that warns "ALARM - SERVOS OFF". To fix this, simply press the red RESET button a few times until the message goes away.
Because our door sensor is broken you must navigate to the machine settings page and turn on the door override. To do this, press <SETNG/GRAPH>, then <WRITE/ENTER> into the "PROGRAM" tab, then use the downward cursor arrow to scroll to option 51, the Door Hold Override. Use the right arrow to switch this option to on, and push <WRITE/ENTER>, at which point the display will prompt you that you're entering a less safe work mode; press <Y>. Now you can move on to zeroing your parts.


3. Setting zeros and offsets

Now that you have that off, press <MDI/DNC>, then <PRGRM CONVRS>, then <POWER UP/RESTART>. The machine will now start to move and zero itself. When it has finished, the carriage will be in the lower right corner nearest the control panel and the machine will start to beep. Press <RESET>. Now it is time to set up your part and work offsets.
Press <OFFSET> once to enter the tool geometry page. From here you will zero your parts in the X- and Z-axes. To control the axes via the scroll wheel, push <HAND JOG> and the corresponding X+ or Z+ directional button. The resolution of the axes' movements can be set using the buttons on the right side of the control panel. A single click on the wheel can move an axis 0.1 to 0.0001 inches. To control the axes via the hand wheels, push <HAND JOG>, <SHIFT>, and then the corresponding X+ or Z+ button; the screen will now display "XZ MANUAL JOG". Note that the spindle can be turned on at any time while in the offset page by typing a number and pushing the spindle <FWD> button; press <STOP> to turn it off.
To zero the each tool, you first have to make sure that the tools are cutting at the correct height. Put a piece of sacrificial stock into the chuck, and face a small section. Change the tool height if necessary, and repeat until the tool is on center. The left handed cutters can be checked using the point of the tailstock. Next, load the TL-1 fixture (found here?) into the machine such that the 2.000" OD section sits flush against the chuck jaws. With the spindle OFF, put a piece of paper between the tool and the desired face of the fixture and slowly bring the tool closer. Stop when the piece of paper becomes difficult to move. If you are setting a Z coordinate, push <Z FACE MESUR>, then add/subtract the thickness of the piece of paper, depending on which face you are working on. Then subtract the length of the fixture so that your tools are in reference to the chuck face. Using a piece of paper again, bring the tool into contact with the outer diameter of the fixture. Press <X DIA MESUR>, and enter the diameter (remember to add twice the thickness of the piece of paper!). Repeat this with all of your tools. Remember that the X readings on the machine are in diameter.
The final step is to zero your work coordinates. Press <OFFSET> until the lower pane is highlighted. Use the cursor keys to highlight your coordinate system. Unless you have a reason to do otherwise, use the G54 coordinate system; this is the default for our machine. This is the coordinate system that the machine will use to run your CAM file; if this is incorrect then your part will be completely wrong and you risk breaking the machine. Work coordinates essentially move your entire frame of reference, and are very useful. A simple way to deal with them is to use an initial Z offset of +5.000, command the tool to go to Z0.0, measure how far you are from the chuck, subtract your intended stock length from that value, and then change the coordinate offset by that amount. An X offset of 0.000 is generally recommended. To move the head easily to that position, press <MDI DNC>, and enter the code below:
 G54 T1 X0. Z0.;


4. Opening and Editing CAM Files

Now that you have your zeros set properly you will want to import your G-code into the machine. Insert your thumb drive into the side of the control panel and press <LIST PROG>. You will see two tabs, one that says "Memory" and the one that says "USB"; select USB and press enter. Navigate to your file, press <WRITE/ENTER>, and then <F2>. A dialogue will appear that asks whether you want to save the file to memory, hit <Y> and <WRITE/ENTER>. Now your program is saved to the TL-1's memory.
To navigate to your file, hit <MEM> and you should see your program in the left side pane. The first thing you will want to check is that you are not moving to a ridiculous X,Z position at the start of your program, which seems to happen on occasion depending on how you made your CAM file. I'd suggest using (X0.0, Z10.0) as your starting point, as well as your tool change location. If you need to edit anything press <EDIT> and navigate down to the proper line and enter the correct code using the keypad. A useful technique is the ability to simulate your G-code; simply press <CYCLE START> while in the editing pane. This is useful for debugging your code.


5. Running Your Code

You may not operate the Haas without supervision from an authorized individual. This individual will tell you everything you need to know. Before you run your code it is always good practice to offset the G54 work coordinates by a few inches in the positive Z direction and test your code to make sure unexpected happens.
Once you have done this, run your code by pushing <MEM> and then the green <CYCLE START>. The spindle will start and the tool post will begin moving. The TL-1 has been known to attack its operator if it is not shown enough respect, so beware!
KEEP YOUR HAND ON THE RED <FEED HOLD> BUTTON AT ALL TIMES