Large part machining can feel like a daunting task, but it can give your business a competitive edge against your competitors. If you are the only company with large part handling capability, you have the upper hand hands down. Even if you do not have a large machine, you can machine more significant parts by:
Open up your machine by opening windows on the sides of the enclosure, enabling the parts’ protrusion, or getting rid of the pen completely. You may have to modify the machine to create room for larger components.
Check for Collisions
It is hard to set a heavy and large part in your machine, especially if a collision happens. Ensure no collisions are possible before you run the program. It helps if you have your machine model and the enclosure’s interior to assist in checking using CAD.
Try every Angle
By human design, we are predisposed to line straight lines with straight lines. On a rectangle, the diagonal line between the two corners is longer than the edge. Put the part at such an angle that does not line the edges, but instead gets the parts’ features in line with the machines’ path of travel and fit appropriately in the space available.
Support the Weight
The bigger the parts, the heavier they are. Ensure the weight that is off the table is supported using a form of outriggers. You might need rollers for the machine to move around freely. Ensure you get the proper equipment to help you load and offload heavy and for large part machining.
Slide Rectangular Components
When machining rectangular components that are too big for your machine involves sliding fixtures, the fixture is pushed along to let holes be drilled long its full length. The enclosure is disassembled partially, with the square tubing used as a framework for supporting the bar stock. Utilize several round pins on the table’s T-slots to double as stops for your parts to slide against. Ensure the parts have straight edges along its length that is enough to maintain the squareness and avoid machining the edge.
Spin Round Parts that Cannot Slide
Most of the time, you need to spin around parts to access all the machine work envelope features as they cannot slide. Every time the round part is rotated, there is some overlap with the previous set up so you can easily indicate the features to familiarize the machine to this part.
Use a Large Fly Cutter
It would help if you used a large fly cutter with an arm that is long enough to reach the plate’s edges.
Use Your Mill
If your mill is a 4-axis, it is capable of doing lathe-like tasks. The 4th-axis sits on the table with a vertical axis. You need a large work envelope to have the part sit on the table and spin at the same time.
To machine large parts, you need to eliminate a few problems and be creative as well. If you can get the part that is larger than your machine’s enclosure to fit physically, you can cut large parts without a larger machine.