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The TAIG CNC mill is a computer controlled milling machine that can precisely cut parts from almost any material, it is an extremely versatile tool. With some research and a lot of patience you can make anything!

Getting Started

Safety and Training Requirements

This tool does require training by the above listed members. The TAIG CNC may be small but it is by far one of the most complex tools at DIYode. As such you are expected to complete several readings prior to using it. It is very easy to damage the mill. It may seem daunting at first but the CNC mill is also the most sophisticated tool at DIYode (You are only limited by your imagination and time allowance).

  • Read this entire entry in the tool tracker and the "important notes" section in this article.
  • If you are new to machining, get familiar with the basics (You should know what speed, feed, tooth load, g-code etc are). Here is a link to a useful text: http://www.hsmworks.com/docs/cncbook/en/ (Mainly Ch:1-5, you do not need to be thorough with this, just skim through). Ask an instructor if you are unsure of anything.
  • Get familiar with any CAD and (Computer aided design) program of your choice. DIYode recommends Fusion360, but use what you are comfortable with.
  • Get trained by an instructor.

PPE Requirements

Safety glasses are required for this tool. Hearing protection is recommended for long milling processes.

Instruction Manual

The official instruction manual for the tool can be found at: http://www.soigeneris.com/Document/Taig/MicroMill_DSLS_Manual.pdf

Important Notes on Use (Essential to use tool)

The TAIG CNC mill is very picky and there are several "tricks" involved in its proper use.

Using Appropriate Feed Rates and Depth of Cut

The secret to using this machine is to use a proper feed, speed, and depth of cut. In order to have a successful job you must use a slow feed rate, the TAIG is a small machine that cannot handle much. Unfortunately, this leads to long run times but that is the price to pay. Below are some tried and tested parameters for milling aluminum:

Cutter Size Speed Feed Max. Depth of Cut
0.25"-0.125" (Carbide) 10500 RPM 139.7mm/min (5.5 IPM)

These settings are meant for helical ramping.
This does not include plunge ramping.
Go extremely slow for direct plunging (30mm/min)

1 mm

These are guidelines to help you get started. You should always calculate the proper spindle speed before cutting. Once you become familiar with the machines you can start to experiment. From experience this machine starts to “crash” around 20 IPM so your maximum cutting rate should be no more than 10 IPM. Furthermore, if you start taking larger depths of cut you begin to run the risk of chattering (tool vibration). It is up to you, the operator, to ensure that your job is safe and non destructive.

The spindle speeds for the TAIG CNC (Slightly inaccurate since motor operates at 3450 RPM but you can use these values)

Improper Referencing of Home Location in G-Code

The machine does not have any end stops installed on it. This means that mill will keep moving the bed until it crashes into something or the lead screw comes out of the gibb. As the operator it is your responsibility to make sure this doesn’t happen. When creating your g-code must make sure not to use any codes that reference a home location (G28). Below is a comparison of two codes, one with a G28 and one without.

Notice the long red line on the code with a G28, the mill will keep moving in that direction until it crashes.

Inserting Collet Properly

In order to make sure your tool is perfectly perpendicular to the bed of the mill you must insert the collet properly. Notice, the spindle nut has an elliptical groove at the bottom, this is used to shove the collet in properly when tightening the nut. To load a tool properly:

  • Place your collet inside the nut until you feel a faint click.
  • Very lightly screw the nut and collet into the spindle
  • Once the nut and collet are in the spindle insert your tool into the collet
  • Finally, tighten the nut
How the collet should sit in the nut prior to loading.

Aligning the Spindle Belt

Make sure that the belt on the spindle is aligned otherwise there will be excessive friction which could cause the belt to break during a job (This will result in a broken end mill and wasted time).

Image on the right is improperly aligned, this will cause the belt to wear and possible break during an operation.

Proper Use of Mach3

The default rapid movement is far too high and it risks crashing. You must make sure that the rapid speed is set to a reasonable speed (16 IPM). Make sure 16 IPM is placed in the appropriate input box under the settings tab and that the green light is blinking.

Make sure to override the default rapid feed rate.

Ensuring work piece is placed properly

A CNC machine is not capable of thinking and it can destroy itself if you set up your job incorrectly. Make sure the part you hope to mill is clear of the vise and not protruding outside of the bed of the mill.

Setup on the left is incorrect, the stock material is below the vise and it is sticking out of the vise (it will collide with the z-axis of the mill). The setup on the right is correct, parallels are used to raise the part and it is not protruding outside of the mill.

Machine Parameters and Replacement Parts

Type of Collet: ER-16 (Max tool size: 3/8”)
Type of Belt for Spindle: 3M315 length of 12.4 inches (official). Can use a 12.5 inch 1/8” O-ring if proper belt is unavailable.
Type of Stepper Motor: Model #: 20120525
Lead Screw and Gibbs: 1/2 inch 20 pitch Cr-Mo lead screws with adjustable split bronze nuts.
Motor: Bluffton ¼ HP, 3450 RPM, Model #: 1613007401

Additional Links

Mach3 HowTo's