Technical Tip of the Week: How to maintain your CNC Router

AXYZ CNC routers are built to be accurate and reliable. We use the best quality parts and take pride in assembling, shipping, and installing them. However, AXYZ CNC routers work hard! They need to be taken care of, or their accuracy will deteriorate and your probability of failure increases dramatically.

Maintenance is fast and easy, and if done every day, you’ll get much better performance, less unplanned downtime and prolong your machine’s overall life. Following the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance guidelines allows you to track and perform regular preventative maintenance tasks on your machine.

At AXYZ, we offer a user-friendly maintenance log which will help you keep your machine finely tuned and running every day. This also helps AXYZ keep a log of your routines to see if you have any problems, allowing us to respond and get you back up and running much faster. Download your CNC router maintenance log today.

General machine housekeeping guidelines

Maintenance details vary by machine, however, there are general guidelines that apply to all machines:

  • Cleanliness. Machines work hard and get dirty very fast. They are designed to work in heavy industrial environments but they do need to be cleaned each day to avoid any build-ups of chips or fluids that will get sucked into bearings and controls. Sweeping the machine by hand is always the best but if you are cleaning with an air gun, put the gantry to the back and blow the chips forward and away from the controls and bearings. Reduce the air pressure!
  • Change Filters. The control box and vacuum pumps have air filters that need to be changed. There are also pneumatic filters to trap oil and water in the pneumatic lines. How often they need to be changed varies by what materials are being cut and other environmental factors. Each machine needs to have a filter changing schedule designed for that machine. Generally, all filters should be checked weekly and replaced as necessary.
  • Lubricate. A machine has a lot of moving parts. They don’t need a lot of lubrication but the machine will breakdown and warranties will be voided if there is no lubrication. Generally, bearings, pumps, and oscillating knives need regular and correct lubrication. Again, the lubrication schedule will vary significantly by length and type of use. Generally lubrication is done monthly.
  • Clean and Reliable Air Supply. Most machines require pneumatic air to operate. It needs to be clean and dry and maintain a steady pressure greater than 80 PSI or 6 bar. Although the air system is not directly part of the machine, it needs to be maintained at the correct specifications to avoid damage to the machine.
  • Proper and Safe Electrical Power. Power must be sufficient and correctly and safely connected in accordance with local power regulations. The machine is run by a computer and power spikes will cause serious damage, as will lighting strikes. Low voltage or insufficient capacity will cause the machine to fail frequently. Poor electrical grounding will also cause the machine to fail.

Eight easy steps to machine housekeeping:

  1. Keep your machine clean. After the end of every shift, inspect the rack and pinion, ball screws and linear bearings, cleaning off any chip surrounding the sensors.
  2. Replace worn tooling. Damaged or worn collets, covernuts and tools affect your cut quality. AXYZ recommends changing collets every 3-6 months. AXYZ offers ER, Perske and floating tap collets at CNCshop.
  3. Inspect your machine. Check for broken parts that affect your machine’s ability or the safety of your employees, such as emergency stops.
  4. Turn off your machine at the end of the day. Avoid having your CNC machine on all year long, as electronics get extremely hot. By turning off your machine, you will reduce the chance of burning the connectors and keep you and your employees safe from unexpected power surges.
  5. Delete old files. Making your machine efficient should be your #1 priority. Make sure old files are backed up on an external drive.
  6. Grease your bearings on time. It’s recommended to check your bearings at the end of every shift and grease where appropriate. Need grease? We sell it at our online store.
  7. Change your vacuum pump oil. AXYZ recommends changing your vacuum pump oil after 20,000 hours of use. You can purchase pump oil at CNCshop.
  8. Change your belts. On machines with drive belts on transmission assemblies, ensure you change your belts once every two years. You can purchase new belts at CNCshop.

For any CNC tooling, parts or consumable needs CNCshop is your one-stop shop. Don’t forget to download your CNC router maintenance log today!

Author: Kevin Recinos is an Application Specialist for AXYZ, a global manufacturer of CNC router and knife systems. Kevin has covered many areas during his spell at AXYZ to ensure he has gained holistic exposure to both the needs of customers and the functionality of our CNC machines.