Monday, August 26, 2013

tormach tooling plate

I had a job coming up that required me to mill several pieces that were larger than the milling capacity of my Tormach mill. The job required milling two sides of the stock as well as splitting the model in half so I could mill the entire piece in two halves. I decided a new tooling plate was in order. I've been quite destructive and careless with the other plate, as I used it to machine various things and wouldn't worry about milling into it from time to time. A true machinist would probably freak at my neglect, but I've had students use my machine and once it had marks in it, I wouldn't be too particular with it. I've also used it to fixture several different jobs and done some registration milling to check alignment prior to putting stock down. I decided I wanted a large plate that would allow me a large surface for fixturing things. My Dad had brought this large piece of aluminum home from work many many years ago and I have been hauling it around for several years. Eric used it to build a frame jig for his titanium bicycle that he build while we lived in Champaign, but it was too large to move to Milwaukee, so the plate came with me and the rest of the jig stayed. I was going to save the large plate until I had something important to build with the impressive plate, but when I got the Tormach, I decided to cut it up. I cut another tooling plate for the DCRL Tormach, and saved a large piece for my new plate as well as getting the first tooling plate out of the large piece. I used Mach 3's pre-canned milling cycles to lay out the rectangular hole pattern. This worked really well and I need to remember to use these from time to time as they are really useful for creating code at the machine. I just center drilled the pattern on the machine and then took the plate off to finish drilling on the drill press. A breakchip drilling pattern works well, but with this many holes it just seems easier with the drill press. I still need to tap all of the holes and even add some more outside of the milling capacity area. I already cut the new jobs using the plate and I'm being very careful with the new plate and trying to keep it as nice as possible for as long as possible.

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