When you’re dealing with CNC, keeping things square is vital to the entire process. While you can get away with a crooked vise, it will eventually come back to bite you.
The old rule of thumb handed down from manual machinists is, “if you don’t start square, you won’t end square.” Even though you can get closer, the same still holds true for CNC.
Since the benefit is fairly straightforward, I won’t preach the importance of squaring, but there are a few hidden benefits to regularly squaring up your vise.
First off, it’s just a good maintenance workflow. The importance of a clean machine is multi-pronged – it keeps your machine running smooth, gives better visual checks for mechanical components, and it can help keep things precise.
Taking your vise off the table, cleaning all the chips and coolant off, and squaring things back up can do a lot to keep your machine performing its best. You’d be amazed at all the junk that can gather under your vise.
To that end, chips and coolant piled on your table can cause rusting, and nobody wants that.
Taking the time to square up your vise can be tedious. But, it can help teach, or remind a veteran, of a fundamental machining skill. Patience.
CNC makes cutting metal fast, which is great, but it can lead to a forgetting of basics. Even if you can set up and cut things fast, sometimes it’s valuable to take your time. Having patience and taking the time to set things up properly is important when you’re dealing with automation, and squaring up your vise can help bring you back to the basics.
A Good Foundation
The old adage about starting and ending square holds true in CNC. If your vise isn’t square, everything else will suffer. In some situations, the off-square issue could even get compounded by other issues down the line, which might not have an effect if your vise starts square.
What it all boils down to is that, while squaring up your vise is incredibly important, there are some side benefits that should make you feel better about taking the time to square things up properly.