Iowa State University

College of Engineering

Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering

Module 1.1 - Main Components of a CNC Mill

The primary components are described in this section. The descriptions are based on a HAAS VFO 3-axis vertical milling machine, which is similar but not exactly like the machines located in the laboratory.

Once you have completed reading Module 1, take the time to visit the lab and walk around the machine to get a better perspective. As you will see, we do not cover everything, so please refer to the equipment manual to read more.

Coolant Tray
The coolant tray rolls under the left side of this particular machine. The pump delivers coolant (a tan liquid) to the coolant nozzles and the hose used to clean the machine. This pump can be turned on manually at the controller keypad, or can be turned on automatically in your NC program.

Note the two hoses coming out of the pump on this machine. Each hose has a separate shutoff valve. One hose sends coolant to the nozzles at the spindle. The other hose sends coolant to the cleaning hose. For the coolant nozzles by the spindle, there are additional shutoff valves. Coolant is reused after it is sprayed onto the tool or out of the hose.

Remember, don't use a hose from another machine to clean yours (or vice versa) since you will be emptying one coolant tray and overfilling another one. This will not be a fun mess to clean up!
Hose Nozzle
Okay, this part is pretty simple. You guessed it...a hose nozzle. Keeping the inside of the machine clean is very important so this hose can be used to spray the inside of the machine with the same coolant you use for machining. The inside of the machine should only be cleaned with coolant since other cleaners can destroy the coolant or damage parts of the machine. (NOTE: Do not spray the tool carousel since you could damage it.)
Front Doors
Here is a view through the front doors of the machine. The doors have sensors in them that will not allow a program to start if they are not closed.
Rear view
Here is a view from the back of the machine.
Main power switch
The main power switch is located in the upper right area on the back of the machine.
Here is a view of the spindle with a tool loaded in it. On the upper right you can see a blue flexible coolant line that can be aimed at the tool in order to spray coolant. The orange valve is used to turn it on or off.
Above the spindle and to the right is a button marked "TOOL RELEASE". In order to remove a tool, first grab the tool by its holder, and THEN push the tool release button. You'll hear a rush of air and the tool will be released. NOTE: If you are not holding the tool holder when you push the tool release button, the tool will fall to the table and will most likely be damaged, or hurt you.

Inside this machine is an auger, which is used to remove the chips from the inside of the machine.

Chips are carried into a waste bucket through the chute on the left side.

There is an air gun hanging on the front of the machine. You'll need this to blow away any chips or coolant from your vise so that your stock material is fixtured properly. It is also useful for clearing debris from the part after it is finished, and is used during cleanup.