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HomeCNC LatheSetting Lathe Tool Offsets on Tormach CNC Lathe

Setting Lathe Tool Offsets on Tormach CNC Lathe


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Lathe Tooling took me a few tries to understand. This video walks through setting up three different turning tools in PathPilot for the Tormach Slant-Pro CNC Lathe and then we turn a quick test part!

Tormach video on Lathe Offsets: http://bit.ly/1DcdsYm
Aluminum Turning Inserts: http://bit.ly/1DazMBM

If you enjoy this NYC CNC video please hit the like button and share with a friend, it really goes a long way!

Recent Videos:
Fusion 360 Tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-GBpUZ3piY
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Music copyrighted by John Saunders 5 Reasons to Use a Fixture Plate on Your CNC Machine: https://bit.ly/3sNA4uH



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  1. Thanks for making this. Everyone thinks touch screens are so cool, but I feel like using a slider to control something like spindle speed takes longer and is more frustrating than a traditional knob. My Prototrak mill has the touch screen and I miss being able to look at the cut while dialing in the speed. I noticed you struggling to lower the speed with the slider. If you have oil or coolant on your fingers, it gets all over the screen and it has a hard time recognizing your touch. The plastic ones get all hazy. I hung one of those pens from the control with the tip on it and that helps.

  2. Hi John just bit the bullet and get me cash out,ordring up a Slant pro been playing with the Free software tormach have on PathPilot, but dont seem to be able to change the imperial to metric for use guys on this side of the pond any help would be good

  3. You have a 3D taster, you can use it on the lathe to set your tools also. Drive your tools in the X axis till it clocks around twice and set the diameter to zero. Drive all tools in the Z axis and create a relative Z zero and use work offset in your program to accommodate your stock.

  4. I'd be nice if you could show everyone how the 12c is actually used. As a finance professional moving into CNC myself. I find it extremely annoying using a regular calculator. Cheeers!.

  5. I did a conversational chamfer operation, and it made several passes before ever contacting the material. Is that typical? Or am I off in my offsets somehow? I think the chamfer turned out correct. Thanks.

  6. Nice job, John.
    I have been revisiting this myself several times over the past few weeks since receiving that lathe and have found there are several ways to set different tools and offsets. Videos like this one and others you have made certainly help. As you stated early, there are many ways to do it. It takes a different mindset than a mill to think it through.
    Thanks and keep up the great videos.

  7. Great video, good information for initial setup.  Perhaps Tormach could help a brother out and allow exporting of setup information so one could reload PathPilot but not have to restart.

  8. Hey John, have you had a chance to play with the new Turning CAM in Fusion 360 update?  I've been using Sprutcam Express (free) on my Tormach mill, but didn't have any CAM for lathe.  Still working on cleaning up the post processor to work with the Ah-ha controller on my lathe, but so far I'm loving it!

  9. Does that lathe have an X home switch?

    After setting up tools in Mach3 turn tool table and having to touch off every new part with my master tool I thought about it for a bit and promptly installed an X home switch. I tested its repeat-ability a lot and it was good to less then half a thousandth.

    I used the mach X axis dro, some test cuts and a mic to determine the distance from tool 1 to center line of the lathe. Now all my 14+ tools are set offset from tool 1 and I simply chuck up my part, home X, and I am good to go. So far everything is coming out with in 1-2 thousandths which I think for a simple stepper machine that's pretty except-able. Having to measure offsets for every new part seems excessive and a waste of time unless you need something super precise.

  10. Stop babying the damn thing! 😛

    Turning requires a firm hand. Increase all of your parameters, otherwise you get those stringers instead of chips. My baseline for roughing aluminum is 1000 SFM, .1 DoC and .01 IPR. Then go UP from there. If you do it right, very short chips will be flying across the shop with that door open lol. Here's a bit of video of an aluminum part I run. It goes from 1.000 to .835 in 1 pass with a feedrate of .015 IPR at 3000 RPM. We're making 1,000 of these and I have the cycle time down to 45 seconds now https://youtu.be/XA0pqyAwdzw?t=6m4s

    I also personally touch off the front flat of a threading insert. That way I never have to worry about crashing into a shoulder.

  11. John,  I don't use the paper method.  I have a manual lathe. I always do a test cut, measure and then set the micrometer to the desired diameter, and zero it.  Then when I re-measure, I know how far from the finished diameter I am.  Of course on a CNC, the way you did it is good.

  12. Why don't you zero your thread tool exactly at the shoulder of the insert and then program the thread length just a fraction from the turned shoulder? That would make things a lot easier and you wouldn't be worried about crashing your tool. Ok, you may miss the length of the cutting tip and the front of the tool but you could add a wider relief cut….

  13. I would recommend you to touch of Z of all threading tools on there thought edge of the triangle and not on the tip. This will prevent you from crashing into a shoulder. When I'm cutting close to a shoulder that is e. g. 10mm long I will just cut my thread until 9,8mm and have the peace of mind that there is no reason for the threading tool to crush into the shoulder.
    Except when you are in a hurry and quickly reduce the thread  and shoulder length in a program but forget to do so for the cleanup thread pass in the last unit… That's when you think you should have used the tool path simulation which costs you 30 seconds which is much less than the time it takes to realigning the turret or tool post… That's what my personal experience taught me…

  14. I've been enjoying your videos for about a week now and have seen the admiration you have for your grandfather.  Have you ever thought of doing an interview with him about his life and trades?

  15. On the threading tool touch the Z to the face of the insert than program your threading cycle to stop short of the face .005-.010 thou that way you know you won't hit the face. On the grooving tool I always touch the face of the part and set Z zero if the tool is used for parting I allow in the program for the tool width that way you could use it for both grooving and parting. Or you could run two offsets on the same tool witch works good for the finish pass to control the width of the groove. Than what about tip comp?
    Does your machine use this?

  16. Good job John. You mentioned inserts, I'm not sure if you've tried them but I can recommend cermet inserts for both the mill and lathe, though not for aluminium obviously. I use Kyocera brand and they leave an almost polished finish on pretty much any steel I can throw at them, up to and including hardened steels.

    I liked the cameo appearance of Grandpa … well, Grandpa's butt anyway 🙂

  17. Very interesting. I've just finished converting my lathe to cnc and I reckon most of this will relevant to us mach3 users. The concept is the same, just a little different on the interface side.

  18. Hmm did you check for run out in your check? If you use a very short piece it will reduce deflection and if you use a very wide piece it will minimize measuring errors.

  19. I have only watched a few minutes. So keep that in mind. On our lathes during setup I'll usually do the cut and take measurement method for setting x offsets on tooling. I was taught to use a caliper but use mics when I can as I've found more consistent results from initial programming vs having to adjust after the first part. With parting tool offsets I usually will drill the nipple if there is one on the face (usually very minor) and deburr that hole then use a gauge block and jog z+ till touch off much like using one in a machine center to set z offset for a tool. On threading tools I always zero the face of the insert not the centerline. This is just my method and ensures no crashing when I have a specific area threading is being done. I'm sure you're sick of my comments by now haha. We're all learning from each other, I know I am. Curious about why you said the mother tool method has it's disadvantages. I haven't found any but I also learned everything on my own without much input at the beginning.

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