Large parts milling can seem intimidating, but it can offer a competitive advantage for your business. When you are the only shop that makes large parts in the area, you’ll be glad that you offer more than the competition. However, it is not always good to buy machines big enough to handle these large tasks. The good news is that you don’t need to buy a bigger machine. Here is how you can mill parts that are bigger than your machines are designed for.
Before trying to place large parts on your machines, have your milling technicians remove the enclosures. This can give you the space you need to fit larger parts onto your machines. Use oil-based coolants because machines will not sling them far like water-based coolants during the process. You may need to remove other unnecessary parts or features to get a piece to fit on your machine in some cases.
Check for Collisions
Setting up a heavy and bulky part in your machine is difficult enough. Just imagine how tough this will be if you have collisions. Check carefully that none can occur before turning your machines on. The best way to do this is to have a 3D model of the part and your machine so that you can check for collisions via CAD.
Try Multiple Angles
Most machinists want to line up the straight edges with the straight edges. Keep in mind that on a rectangle, the diagonal is the longest line. When working with a rectangle, you can try turning the part and working it down the diagonal, which can give you more working space.
Support the Weight
Bigger parts are usually heavier. Make sure that another stand supports the weight that hangs off the table. You may want to attach it to a homemade stand with wheels so it can move during the machining process.
Adding large parts machining to your shop’s capabilities will give you a competitive advantage. With a little ingenuity, you can do this without purchasing larger machines.