< All Topics
Print

CNC Commissioning Guide

CNC Commissioning Guide

The CNC Commissioning Guide is the Step between having your machine built and having it running its first job.  

It is important to read carefully through this guide to avoid machine inaccuracy, poor performance, damaged parts and the most important, your time trying to troubleshoot all possible issues just mentioned. 

We recommend that you go through the
Commissioning Index below and jump to the sections that will suit you according to your machine configuration. For example, if you own a machine with a Gear rack on the X and Y-Axis, you do not need to read the Lead Screw Tensioning Guide, however, you still need to Square your machine

If you are unsure of what sections you should go to, please send us an email at sales@makerstore.com.au. Please provide us with your machine type or order number and we will recommend which sections you should perform before running your machine for the first time. 

Commissioning Index

1.0 Lead Screw Tensioning Guide

1.1 Introduction

Lead Screw transmission systems are designed to achieve high-resolution levels and great repeatability. It also requires little ongoing maintenance, with nut-blocks often having a functional life of longer than 3 years if the machine is taken care of.  A Lead Screw transmission System combined with a bipolar stepper motor has a resolution of 0.04mm without any microstepping settings. Considering 1/4 set in your microstepping settings, the same Lead Screw can provide 0.01mm resolution.

One undesirable downside of using a Lead Screw System is that it whips depending on how fast your Axes are moving. The whipping effect can cause your Lead Screw to have an excess of vibration, making your machine lose accuracy and repeatability, and it will also reduce the Lead Screw lifetime. All these consequences will directly influence your workpiece producing an undesirable final product.

This Guide will help you to adjust your Lead Screw Tension mitigating the whipping effect. 

1.2 Tools Required

You will need the following tools:

  • 2.5mm Allen Key
  • 13mm Spanner/Wrench

1.3 Understanding the Terms

Before the journey starts, it is important to define some terms that will be used in this document. We will divide the actuator into quarter sections for easy understanding. Please see the side image to understand where each section is located. 

  • Stepper Motor Outer
  • Stepper Motor Inner
  • Tensioner Inner
  • Tensioner Outer
Click to expand

1.4 Components of a Lead Screw Transmission System

Item NumberDescriptionSKUQuantity
1Nema 23 Stepper MotorELEC-NEMA231
2Metric Aluminum SpacersSHIM-SPAC4
3Aluminium CouplerHARD-COUP1
4Lead Screw Tensioning NutHARD-ACME-8-LSTNUT2
5Thrust BearingsBEAR-F8-16M2
6C-BeamLR-C-S1
78mm Metric Lead Screw / ACMEHARD-ACME-81
8Lock CollarHARD-COLL-8MM2
9688ZZ Ball Bearing – 8x16x5BEAR-688Z2
10C-Beam End MountPLATE-C-END2
Click to expand

The image above is a representation of a generic Lead Screws Transmission System for Axes Longer than 1000mm. This design is slightly different on 1000mm Axes and over, to mitigate the whipping effect caused when the leadscrew turns. 

The main difference between Axes shorter and longer than 1000mm is that longer Axes have tensioning parts located on the Stepper Motor Outer and Tensioner Outer sections. Please see below components added on 1000mm Axes and over. 

  1. Lead Screw Tensioning Nut 
  2. Thrust Bearings

The function of the Lead Screw Tensioning Nut on this system is: 

While the Lead Screw Tensioning Nut is fundamental to tension, and hold the Lead Screw under tension, the Thrust Bearings are used to keep a smooth motion when the Lead Screw is under tension. 

1.5 Preparation

1.5.1 Tightenning Lead Screw Tensioning Nut

Important: Perform the Lead Screw Tensioning according to this guide, after the machine is assembled, the electronic system is complete, and the machine can jog using the software. You need the stepper motors to be energised (powered up) in order to tension the Lead Screw.

Starting Position: Jog the machine so that the gantry is closest to the end of the axis where the NEMA23 Stepper Motor is fixed. (Note) this process will be completed for all leadscrews on each of the Axis X and Y-Axis(Both). For best results have the gantry approximately 50mm away from the Plate.

Item NumberDescriptionSKUQuantity
1Lead Screw Tensioning NutHARD-ACME-8-LSTNUT1
2Allen Key 2.5mm TOOL-ALLEN-2.51

Step 1: On the Stepper Motor Outer Section, ensure to have the Lead Screw Tensioning Nut pushed against the Thrust Bearing. 

Step 2: By using an Allen Key 2.5mm, tighten the Lead Screw Tensioning Nut located on the Stepper Motor Outer Section.

Click to expand

1.5.2 Lock Collars

Item NumberDescriptionSKUQuantity
1Lock CollarHARD-COLL-8MM2
2Allen Key 2.5mm TOOL-ALLEN-2.51

Step 3: By Turning the Allen Key 2.5mm anti-clockwise, untighten the grub screws on the Lock Collars located on the Stepper Motor Inner section.

Step 4: Repeat Step 2 for the Lock Collars located on the Tensioner Inner section.

Click to expand
Click to expand
Click to expand

Example of an actuator with loosen lock collars.

1.6 Lead Screw Tensioning Act.

1.6.1 13mm Spanner

Item NumberDescriptionSKUQuantity
113mm Spanner/WrenchTOOL-SPANNER-131
2Lead Screw Tensioning NutHARD-ACME-8-LSTNUT1

Step 5: On the Tensioner Outer section, insert the 13mm Spanner on the Lead Screw Tensioning Nut.

Step 6: Slowly turn the spanner clockwise until the NEMA23 Stepper Motor clicks over. Once the NEMA23 Stepper Motor clicks over it relieves the tension placed on it. The point just before the NEMA23 Stepper Motor clicks over is the correct tension for the Lead Screw.

1.3.1 13mm Spanner
Click to expand

1.6.2 Locking Tensioning Nut

Item NumberDescriptionSKUQuantity
113mm Spanner/WrenchTOOL-SPANNER-131
2Lead Screw Tensioning NutHARD-ACME-8-LSTNUT1
3Allen Key 2.5mm TOOL-ALLEN-2.51

Step 7: With a 2.5mm Allen Key, tighten the grub screw located on the Tensioning Nut. 

Ensure to keep the Lead Screw tensioned when tightening the Grub Screw on the Lead Screw Tensioning Nut.

Click to expand
Click to expand

1.7 Finalising

1.7.1 Packing up

 

Item NumberDescriptionSKUQuantity
1Lead Screw Tensioning NutHARD-ACME-8-LSTNUT2
2Allen Key 2.5mm TOOL-ALLEN-2.581

Step 8: Once the tension is held by the outer Tensioning Nuts, push the respective inner lock collars against the C-Beam End Plate.

Please ensure to perform step 8 on the Lock Collars located on the Stepper Motor Inner and Tensioner Inner sections. 

Click to expand
Click to expand

1.8 Complete

Click to expand

Repeat this chapter to assemble all actuators 1000mm and over in your machine. Click on the link below to go back to the Commissioning Guide Index and select a suitable section for your machine.  

Commissioning Index – Click HERE

2.0 Machine Squaring

2.1 Introduction

CNC Machines mitigate the wobble on the X and Z-Axis by using double Y-Axis, which increases the strength by supporting the X-Axis on both ends. 
Squaring your machine is important to ensure that your double Y-Axis are parallel to each other. It also guarantees that the X-Axis isn’t twisted. 

The consequences of not having parallel Y-Axis and not perpendicular X-Axis related to the Y-Axis are: 

  • Reduced the life span of parts, such as Nutblocks and Lead Screws. 
  • Increased Backlash as a consequence of worn Nutblocks. 
  • Unaligned Workpieces. 
  • Modified Travelling Area.

This document will guide you through the process of squaring your machine. Please note that squaring a Lead Screw/Ball Screw Machine can be slightly more tedious than Rack and Pinion or Belt Machines. However, once you have your machine squared you will not need to repeat this process. Please follow this document thoroughly and if you have any questions do not hesitate to contact us.   

2.2 Tools Required

You will need the following tools:

  • 3mm Allen Key
  • Measuring Tape
  • Builders Square

2.3 Understanding the Terms

It is important that you are familiar with some terms used in this document in order to fully understand this process. 

  1. Rear  – See the image on the side for its location. 
  2. Front – See the image on the side for its location.
  3. Easy Movable Gantry  –  Gantries that can easily be moved by hand due to their transmission system.  Example: Rack and Pinion and Belt.
  4. Hard Movable Gantry – Gantries that can’t be moved by hand. Example: Lead Screw Transmission or Ball Screw System.  
Click to expand

2.4 Preparation

Step 1: Ensure to have the Y-Axis in your machine unattached from the Spoiler board. Please note that you do NOT need to remove the brackets that connect the spoiler board to your Y-Axes. You will only need to loosen the screws up and ensure that your Y-Axis can freely move as you during the Squaring Process. 

Click to expand

2.5 Squaring Act - Easy Movable Gantries

  • Please note that this step is suitable for Rack and Pinion and Belt Gantries. For Lead Screw or Ball Screw Actuator, please Click HERE.
  • You can also skip to step 6. 

2.5.1 Front

Click to expand
Item NumberDescriptionSKUQuantity
1Y-Axis Plate – Left/Right2
2C-Beam End PlatePLATE-C-END2

Tip: If you have already installed your Limit switches, you can remove them for the Squaring process and attach it back once your machine is perfectly square.

Step 2: By using your hand, move the Y-Axis Plates towards the front of your machine. Only stop when both Y-Plates are touching the C-Beam End Plate. 

The simple act of only moving your Y-Gantry to the front of your machine when the Y-Axis is Loose, will auto-align your machine.

Step 3:  By using a 3mm Allen Key, secure the Y-Axis Extrusions to the spoiler board. 

2.5.1 Squaring Act. - Easy Movable Gantries - Front-Distance
Click to expand

2.5.2 Rear

Click to expand
Item NumberDescriptionSKUQuantity
1Y-Axis Plate – Left/Right2
2C-Beam End PlatePLATE-C-END2

Tip: If you have already installed your Limit switches, you can remove them for the Squaring process and attach it back once your machine is perfectly square. 

Step 4: By using your hand, move the Y-Axis Plates towards the rear of your machine. Only stop when both Y-Plates are touching the C-Beam End Plate.  

The simple act of only moving your Y-Gantry to the front of your machine when the Y-Axis is Loose, will auto-align your machine.

Step 5:  By using a 3mm Allen Key, secure the Y-Axis Extrusions to the spoiler board. 

2.5.1 Squaring Act. - Easy Movable Gantries - Rear-Distance
Click to expand

Once you finish the steps above, we recommend skipping to Chapter 2.7 Measuring Step to check how well your machine is squared. 

Please Click HERE to go to Chapter 2.7.

2.6 Squaring Act - Hard Movable Gantries

  • Please note that this step is suitable for Lead Screws and Ball Screws. For Rack and Pinion and Belt actuators please Click HERE.
  • You can also move back to step 2.

2.6.1 Front

Click to expand
Item NumberDescriptionSKUQuantity
1Y-Axis Plate – Left/Right2
2C-Beam End PlatePLATE-C-END2

Before You Start:  At this stage, you will need to have your stepper motors turned on, and the controller connected to the software. This will allow you to Jog your machine via software. If your machine is binding during this process, it means that your machine isn’t square and you will need to skip step 6. If you have to turn the lead screw without the software to help.

Please note you might need an extra pair of hands to help you turn the lead screw on the Y-Axis.

Tip: If you have already installed your Limit switches, you can remove them for the Squaring process and attach it back once your machine is perfectly square.

Step 6: By using the Software, jog your machine towards the front to approximately 10mm from the C-Beam End Plate.

Step 7: Disconnect your computer from the software and turn the electronics off, guaranteeing that the motors aren’t energised.

Step 8: By using your hand, move the Y-Axis Plates towards the front of your machine and only stop when both Y-Plates are touching the C-Beam End Plate. In order to move the lead screw by hand, you will need to turn the Coupler that connects the Lead Screw to the Motor.  

The simple act of only moving your Y-Gantry to the front of your machine when the Y-Axis is Loose, will auto-align your machine.

Step 9:  By using a 3mm Allen Key, secure the Y-Axis Extrusions to the spoiler board.

2.6.1 Squaring Act. - Hard Movable Gantries - Front - Distance
Click to expand

2.6.2 Rear

Click to expand
Item NumberDescriptionSKUQuantity
1Y-Axis Plate – Left/Right2
2C-Beam End PlatePLATE-C-END2

Before You Start:  At this stage, you will need to have your stepper motors turned on, and the controller connected to the software. This will allow you to Jog your machine via software. If your machine is binding during this process, it means that your machine isn’t square and you will need to skip step 10. If you have to turn the lead screw without the software to help.

Please note you might need an extra pair of hands to help you turn the lead screw on the Y-Axis.

Tip: If you have already installed your Limit switches, you can remove them for the Squaring process and attach it back once your machine is perfectly square.

Step 10: By using the Software, jog your machine towards the Rear to approximately 10mm from the C-Beam End Plate.

Step 11: Disconnect your computer from the software and turn the electronics off, guaranteeing that the motors aren’t energised.

Step 12By using your hand, move the Y-Axis Plates towards the front of your machine and only stop when both Y-Plates are touching the C-Beam End Plate. In order to move the lead screw by hand, you will need to turn the Coupler that connects the Lead Screw to the Motor.  

The simple act of only moving your Y-Gantry to the front of your machine when the Y-Axis is Loose, will auto-align your machine.

Step 13:  By using a 3mm Allen Key, secure the Y-Axis Extrusions to the spoiler board.

Click to expand

Once you finish the steps above, we recommend skipping to Chapter 2.7 Measuring Step to check how well your machine is squared. 

Please Click HERE to go to Chapter 2.7.

2.7 Measuring

Click to expand

Step 14: Using a Measuring tape, measure the distance between A and C and compare it with the distance between B and D. 

Step 15: Using a Measuring tape, measure the distance between A and D and compare it with the distance between B and C

The Judgement:  The measurements found on Step 14 should be quite similar, as well as the ones found on Step 15

 

Please note that you will rarely encounter the same measurement on both lengths. What you will obtain is around a 1mm deviation.
This deviation can be found because of many reasons and the main reason is the inaccurate transmission pitch. Inaccuracy on the pitch is unavoidable, however, it will only become an issue if you measure a large deviation
. Furthermore, at this stage, if you have followed the squaring guide thoroughly you will avoid excessive wear on your transmission system. 

2.8 Complete

Congratulations, You have finished the Squaring Guide. 

If you have any questions, suggestions or recommendations, please contact us at sales@makerstore.com.au.

Click on the link below to go back to the Commissioning Guide Index and select a suitable section for your machine.  

Commissioning Index – Click HERE

Maker Store, By Makers, For Makers! 

Next OutBack CNC V1
Table of Contents