Lathe Canned “Drilling” Cycle

Summary of video: This ten-minute video focuses in on the CNC Lathe Drilling Canned Cycle. The easy-to-follow tutorial goes into more detail about configuring and customizing the “drilling” canned cycle. Several examples for changing the cycle are provided to help you better understand the drilling cycle. You’ll see how simple it is to use and modify the programmed cycles within MachMotion’s control software (the MachMotion Lathe Canned Cycle Wizard is included with MachMotion’s control software, and is built on Mach 4).

Video Transcript:

0:01 Welcome to MachMotion Lathe Canned Cycles. This video will give you an overview of the drilling canned cycle. We will do a quick overview of all the information and then walk through a couple of examples. For more information about the other cycles available or the overall structure, please watch our other videos.

0:20 To start a new drilling cycle, click the button labeled “Drilling.” This will open the drilling cycle editor. If in your settings you selected “Load Last Cycles,” you will see that the data is identical to the last drilling cycle you created. If you have not made a drilling cycle or your settings are set to “Use Defaults,” then you will see your default values filled in.

0:43 We have three elements that form the heading of the editor. We have the cycle type listed here. If we double-click it, the editor will collapse into a smaller frame so that it does not block as much of the screen. We can double-click it again, to expand the editor to its full size. Next to it, we have the status bar. The editor will use this to communicate to us any problems it finds in our data. On the far right, is the name of our cycle. The editor will supply a name for us, but we can change it if we like. All names within a job must be unique.

1:23 There are three main sections to the drilling editor. We have a coordinates section, a spindle section, and a visualizer. Included in the visualizer is a drop down where we can select which type of drilling we want to do. Our options are face drilling, face boring, and face tapping. It is recommended that this selection be made first in all drilling cycles, as not all fields are applicable for all types of drilling.

1:54 Our coordinates section is where we will define the dimensions of our cycle. We should begin by filling in the point where our drilling should start. These yields are labeled here as Xi and Zi, for “x initial” and “z initial.” You can see in the visualizer that they are labeled the same way. Be aware that at this time the control does not include live tooling, so all drilling cycles must be done on the face and along centerline. Do not put any value other than zero in for x initial. Next, we have a field for where the drill should stop. Because we do not have live tooling, this field must be less than the value we entered for our starting z point. This field, labeled “Retract Plane,” is a point on the z axis that we will bring the tool to, when we need to clear chips. We will assume that this is a safe point to move from when we are done, so be sure that you choose a point that is outside of the drilled hole.

2:56 Your peck depth is the distance that the drill will move down into the part at a time. After each peck it will retract all the way back to our retract plane to allow chips to clear. If you leave this field blank, it will drill the entire hole in one motion. Peck depth is not applicable for face boring or face tapping, and you can see that if we change it, it will disable. Your dwell time will be read in from your settings, and you can modify it here. Once the drill has reached its final depth, it will stay there for the number of seconds entered here. To have it retract immediately, you can enter a zero here. Dwells are used to help smooth the bottom of the hole. Your pitch is only used for face tapping. Because tapping requires precision, your feed rate and pitch values are tied together. A change in either of them will recalculate the other one. You can see that as we change our pitch, our feed rate also changes. And now, if we change our feed rate, our pitch changes as well. If you are face tapping, it is recommended to set the desired pitch and allow the editor to calculate your feed rate.

4:25 That brings us to our spindle group. This field is where we enter our spindle speed. For drilling operations, it will always be measured in RPMs. We can change our spindle direction from clockwise to counter-clockwise using these radio buttons. Keep in mind that this will change the direction of your thread if you are face tapping. We can input our feed rate in this field here, but our feed rate will always be measured in feed per minute. You need to tell the editor which tool and offset to use for the drilling cycle with these two fields. We also have the option of turning on our flood and mist outputs for the cycle.

5:18 There are five buttons that make up the foot of the editor. We have an arrow on the left and right side that are currently disabled. Once we add this cycle to our job, we can reopen it to edit it. These buttons will then allow us to jump to the next or previous cycle in the job. This button, labeled “Add to Job,” will check the data we have entered for errors, and then save the cycle to the job if everything is correct. If the editor finds errors, it will use the status bar to alert us. The “Cancel” button will exit the editor without saving any of our values. Clicking on “View Toolpath” will also check our field for errors, but instead of saving the cycle to the job, the editor will write G-code for the cycle and show us the toolpath, so we can verify that everything is correct. It is recommended to always view the toolpath before adding the cycle to the job.

6:21 Now that we have an overview of the drilling cycle, let’s work through an example. We will start with a face drilling. Remember, we don’t have live tooling, so we will leave our starting x point at zero, and we’ll go ahead and keep our starting z at zero also. Let’s drill down to -6, and set our retract plane to 1. This way we know we will be completely out of the hole when we finish drilling. We’ll set our peck depth to 1 inch, so that we can really see the action that it will do. Remember, if you want to change your units to metric, you can set them in your settings page. Let’s set a dwell of 2 seconds for this cycle. Now that we have our drilling defined, let’s view our toolpath. We can see this doesn’t look like much. Let’s add it to the job, and import another cycle for reference.

7:26 To import a cycle, we can use this import button. And then select the cycle we wish to import. Now that we have a way to compare, let’s watch the drilling cycle. We can post, and it will ask us to save. And now that we have G-code, we can tell the machine to run.

8:03 We can see how after every peck, we pull back to the retract plane, and then plunge in again. There’s our two-second dwell at the bottom, and then a full retract back out. Let’s go back to our cycle and remove the peck depth. Now when we post, it looks the same, but if we cycle start to watch, we can see that it makes one smooth pass.

9:28 We’ll do one more example for face tapping. We’ll change our selection to face tapping, and you can see that our pitch has opened up for us. Let’s change our tapping depth to -3, and remove the dwell. For our tap, we’ll go ahead and keep our pitch at fifty thousandths. If we look at our feed rate, we can see that it is updated for our pitch, and that we are put in feed per minute mode. With all of our information in now, let’s view our toolpath. It looks correct, so let’s update it in the job. We can now re-post, and let’s watch the path it takes.

10:45 This has been an overview of the MachMotion lathe canned cycles drilling cycle. We hope you enjoyed it, and if you want more information, please watch our other videos.