Buying your first CNC machine


Important things you need to consider

Things to think about... On your machine​


POWER: Be sure to check how much power your machine requires. Most Haas machines operate on three-phase power. Although some of our smaller machines can operate on single-phase power.  If you are installing multiple machines, or plan to have multiple machines in the future, make sure your workshop has enough incoming power to support your needs.  You will need to have an electrician properly run power to the Haas machine prior to installation.
PROGRAMMING: Basic programming can be done directly on the Haas control. Since its inception, the Haas control has been designed for easy shop-floor programming. If you are looking for a more advanced programming system on the Haas control, check out our Visual Programming System. For more complex programming, and for 4th- and 5th-axis applications, you will need to find a desktop CAM system. Autodesk and Mastercam are the leaders in this software.
COOLANT: Coolant will become a big part of your machine shop operation. Supplying coolant, mixing coolant, checking coolant, and disposing of coolant will become a weekly part of running your workshop. There are many types of coolant available, and your selection will be influenced by the types of materials you plan to cut, and by which products your local coolant supplier supports. You’ll need at least a 20-litre starter container of concentrate to get your machine operational.

Things to think about... In your workshop​


SPACE: Machine tools are big and heavy, and once in place, they aren’t easy to move around. A Machine Layout Drawing is available for all Haas machines, which includes all of the necessary exterior and interior dimensions of the machine. Use this to help lay out your shop and decide machine placement. The general rule of thumb is to make sure you have about a metre of space behind the machine, and at least 1.25 m of space on all other sides.

The space behind the machine is critical, so that the electrical cabinet can be opened fully. This is also the location for the incoming power. Your electrician will need to know this location to properly run the electrical supply to the machine. The location of the chip discharge will vary by machine. You definitely want to take this into consideration for machine placement.

Other things to consider for machine placement are the locations of the doorways into your shop. Most machine shops have large roll-up doors to the outside. Be careful where your machine is placed in relation to these doors, as they can allow large temperature swings in the shop. While the Haas machine has built-in thermal compensation to adjust for normal temperature effects, large thermal changes are not easily compensated for.
If your machine accommodates large workpieces, you’ll need to consider a location with additional space for loading material into and out of the machine. A lift device such as a fork lift may be necessary to load and unload the machine. Tip: Use tape marks on the floor to “see” how different machine locations and orientations will fit in your workshop.
FOUNDATION: For the most part, standard industrial floors with 100mm – 150mm of properly reinforced concrete are sufficient for most Haas machines. A few larger (EC-1600) or faster (DT-1) machines may require anchoring, or a thicker foundation. Refer to the installation requirements for each machine for accurate details.

If at all possible, the machine should be positioned on a single uninterrupted piece of concrete.
WATER: If you are using coolant, you will need a water supply. Preferably, as close to the machine as you can get. Coolant is supplied as a concentrate, and then mixed with water. As the machine operates, some of that water evaporates, which changes the coolant concentration.  A good refractometer will help you monitor and maintain the proper coolant concentration for optimal performance. Maintaining coolant typically means adding water to the existing coolant in the tank, mixing it up, and then measuring the concentration.
RAW MATERIAL: This will vary widely, depending on the parts you are making. We can recommend material suppliers to work with. In addition, you will need a means to store your raw material, such as a material rack, and most likely, a means to cut your raw material, such as a horizontal band saw.  Many suppliers will offer to cut your raw material for you for an additional fee, usually a charge per-cut. You can offset these fees over time by investing in a good horizontal band saw.
AIR: All Haas machines require compressed air to operate. Air is used for tool changes, turret clamping and unclamping, and other machine operations. The air must be clean and dry, and there must be sufficient volume and pressure for proper machine operation. It is very important to have a high-quality air compressor for machine operation. A screw-style compressor with an air dryer is preferable, but a multi-stage piston-style compressor will work.  While the Haas machine has a built-in system for removing water from the incoming air, the cleaner and dryer the air is before getting to the machine, the better off you will be.

Things to think about... Tooling and Workholding


WORKHOLDING:  As with raw material, workholding will vary a great deal, depending on the parts you are machining. For a vertical machining centre, you should at least have a 150mm fixed-jaw vice, a few sets of soft jaws, a toe clamp kit, and some basic hand tools.

As your collection grows, you will want to consider different sized vices, and maybe even dual-station vices. For lathes, a collet chuck may be in order, if you find yourself consistently doing bar work.

CUTTING TOOLS:  Cutting tools also vary wildly, based on the work you are doing. For a mill and a lathe, a good selection of cobalt drills is a requirement. A set of taps will be needed, as well, as most parts typically have threaded features.

For mills: a selection of end mills is generally needed; make sure to have a set for cutting steel and a set for cutting aluminium. For lathes: some OD turning tools, part-off tools, and a boring bar are a good starter selection.

TOOLHOLDING:  Again, this will vary, but here are the basic toolholders to consider for a mill: assorted side lock holders, and ER32 collet chucks and a collet set. A full suite of toolholders would include multiple ER16, ER25, and ER32 collet chucks, along with the corresponding collet sets. Most collet sets come with the necessary wrenches. Pull studs will also be required. A tool-tightening fixture is included on most Haas mills, but a good bench-mounted version is also handy to have. Haas lathes come with a basic set of toolholders.

MEASURING TOOLS:  For measuring parts, you will want a good 0-150mm caliper, a steel machinist’s scale, and a set of micrometers. A good magnetic base with a dial test indicator is useful for setting up machines. And an edge finder is a necessity for a mill, unless you add Wireless Probing (WIPS) to your mill.

Things to think about... When you're expecting


SWARF BARREL:  It’s good to have at least one barrel for dumping swarf/chips into. A 200 litre (55-gallon) swarf barrel on wheels is great for Haas lathes with a swarf conveyor, or a Haas mill with the chip lift option. Machines with only chip augers need a smaller bin to fit under the chip chute. Having a swarf barrel of some sort will make cleaning out your machine infinitely easier.
TOOL TROLLEY:  A trolley for tools and for storing finished parts will help keep things organised. There is a variety of trolleys and wheeled cabinets available, some specific for toolholders, some for parts, and some for a combination of the two. Even starting with a simple Machine Mart or Halfords style tool trolley will help you figure out the best way for things to flow in your workshop.

TRAINING: Talk to us if you need training. We typically provide basic onsite training at machine installation. We can give more advanced training either onsite, or at one of our facilities. Our Haas Tip Of The Day YouTube channel is another great resource.
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