01202 680600 [email protected]

CNC Service

Our advice for anyone establishing their own CNC service

• Our pros and cons for anyone establishing a CNC service •

Based in Poole, Dorset, Entech is a Precision Engineering company that has provided a quality CNC service since 1989. Our team has an extensive range of machinery that allows us to complete our engineering projects. We supply certification for all work and have experience in producing and project managing work for . . .

Aerospace | MOD | Leisure | Motor Trade Industries | and more

Our Modern Machine Shop is fully stocked with manual and CNC turning and milling equipment. This way, we offer the most appropriate CNC service for our clients. Yet, to enhance our CNC service, we can also organise any necessary welding, fabrication, sheet metal treatments or finishes. With this said, we’re fully aware of the years of hard work it’s taken to reach this position – which is why we want to list the pros and cons of establishing a CNC service.

When you first start working for someone as a machinist, you begin somewhat judgementally. You might question why CNC services are handled in a certain way. Yet, having successfully run a responsive precision engineering company for over thirty years, we now know why. Our team have worn every hat in the book. Thanks to this, we are open to what’s fully involved in the everyday running of a shop. From logistics to tooling, to machine tools, to customers – to just making the CNC service run smoothly.

At the end of the day, you purchase machines that cost more than your first house. That’s the price of quality.

Our biggest slice of advice to anyone wanting to start a CNC service is this – just go for it. However, you must be prepared to sacrifice a lot. It takes plenty of time and financial discipline. In addition to this, prioritise a good network of professionals and clients alike. Fortunately, machining is a very tight-knit family. Everyone seems to know everyone. That solid connection at one place might lead you to five more – and they can help you out when you need them most. This might be getting into a place or simply sending you overflow work. If they have anything they can send you, that is!

The pros of running a CNC service

The chief benefit of facilitating CNC services is having seen our business grow. That’s one of the most satisfactory things you can do as a business owner – to just look back and see what was a struggle years ago is now a distant memory. The very same thing could no longer even be a struggle; instead, it might well be something we can laugh about. In addition to this, we enjoy the connection we’ve established with our customers. We maintain a personal connection and take care of them as if they’re a lifeline. After all, they are.

The cons of running a CNC service

On the other hand, a challenging aspect of first establishing a CNC service is the cash flow. That’s the number one killer for start-ups businesses everywhere – especially on the job shop market – because work is what comes in the door that week. You don’t know what’s coming in, nor what will come in a month from now. Therefore, outfitting a shop with machine tools is a double-edged sword. As far as shopping around and seeing what new technology is out there – it is nothing short of awesome. Technology is advancing at an incredible rate, and it’s somewhat outlandish to see what’s out there and what machines are now capable of. Yet, at the same time, it can be very stressful, especially if you run a smaller shop.

Behind the scenes: Monthly maintenance of our CNC service

• Maintenance ensures machines run correctly and make good, high-quality parts •

To help you establish your CNC service, we’ll delve into some simple steps for maintaining your CNC mill every month. Yet, we recommend daily and weekly maintenance tasks too. For now, we’ll outline some of our monthly tasks.
CNC Service

#1 | The Umbrella Tool Changer

Anyone with an umbrella tool changer knows it’s best to clean away any excess chips saturating the tool changer. We remove all the tools from the carousel, clean any chip build-up on the carousel plate and grease the extractor fingers. While doing so, we look for any wear or sharp edges on the extractor’s fingers. These indicate if they need replacing or whether the carousel plate has become misaligned with the spindle.

#2 | The Tool Doors & Tool Changer

While there, we check if the tool doors of the tool changer slide easily and do not get stuck in the open position. If stuck, chips may also wedge between the sheet metal, or the spring may be out of the track or broken and needs to be fixed or replaced. To access the doors, we remove the number plate and the sheet metal covering the stuck door. We lightly grease the v-rail guide rails and check for wear on the wheels and rails. We also ensure we clear away any chips on the rails that might interfere with the rollers as they roll along with the trap.

CNC Service

#3 | Mechanical & Proximity Sensors

Next, we inspect the motor’s mechanical sensors and proximity sensors. We check for frayed or damaged wires and remove chip build-up around the proximity centres. Then, we reinstall our tools and double-check to ensure they are secure. For side-mounted tool changers, we ensure no tools are loaded or commanded to change in MDI. We do this by pressing either ATC forward or reverse. When the tool changer has hit the bottom of the travel press, we stop the arm where it’s at. Then, with the arm lowered – and no tools loaded – we check the straightness of the tool changer arm. We place a straight edge level on both ends of the arm to verify that it is straight and there are no bends or twists. We check the V-groove and finger for wear, ensuring tools are held securely in the double arm. If worn or the tool holder is loose, we note whether these components may need replacing. If everything looks good, lightly grease the V-groove plungers and slider cap.

#4 | Sheet Metal & Wipers

Clear away any chips and check for damage to the sheet metal or wipers. It’s also worth doing the same for anywhere coolant might potentially leak into the machine and damage components. If the weight covers are good, we spray a light coat of rust preventative and run the axes back and forth to apply the preventative evenly. Opening up the loop panel, we check the spindle lubrication tank level. If the level has dropped below the recommendation, we refill the tank using the correct oil for our machines.

CNC Service

#5 | The Filters

Now, while we’re at the back of the machine, we turn off the power and ensure the red led light on the vector drive is off. For newer machines, we remove the air filter and clean away any dust particles with compressed air. For older vector drives, there are no filters to remove, so we simply use a rag or duster when cleaning the vents.

#6 | The Coolant Tank

Next, we check the cleanliness of the coolant tank by dredging the bottom of the tank. If there is excessive chip build-up, we dredge the remainder of the tank until it is clean. Otherwise, we leave the tank as is. For machines with ball screws and linear guides – such as the tool room mill – we use two or four strokes of grease to lubricate components. While we recommend doing this every month, this is dependent on the usage of the machine. On machines with counterbalances, we check the gauge reading and verify it against the recommended value for our machine. We are careful not to touch the pressure tank and only check the gauge. We allow the pressure reading to be up to 50 psi or 3 bars higher than the recommended reading. However, if at any point the pressure drops below the recommended value – or is more than 50 psi or 3 bars higher than the recommended value – we stop operation.

Such maintenance tasks are crucial to maintaining our CNC service. It keeps our machines performing and ensures our shop stays running.

Contact Entech about our CNC service

• Quality precision engineering services •

You will find a warm welcome at Entech. Based in Poole, we are ideally placed to offer CNC Milling and CNC Turning services in Devon, Dorset and Hampshire. We have a vibrant client base that we care passionately about – so why not join them? We offer clear, jargon-free advice, consistent personal support and our valuable expertise. We will be happy to hear from you and are always looking for new ways to help local businesses. So, if you need our help, don’t delay. Simply get in touch today. We are open Monday to Thursday: 8am-5pm, and Friday: 8am-1pm. You can arrange to visit us if you wish to discuss your project in more detail at:

9 Virage Business Park
132-134 Stanley Green Road
Poole, Dorset
BH15 3AP

Looking into our CNC service? The easiest way to discuss your engineering requirements is to phone us on 01202 680600 or email us on [email protected]