THESE MACHINE TUTORIAL PAGES ARE NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR MACHINE TRAINING AND PRACTICE - THEY ARE MEANT AS A BACKUP REFERENCE
ONLY. ALL SHOP USERS MUST GET ADEQUATE MACHINE TRAINING IN OUR SPACES TO OPERATE ANY MACHINERY OR POWER TOOLS
OMAX machine setup - for approved operators only
Make sure water valve is open - parallel to pipe (yellow handle, by sink - near floor. The sign on wall points to this)
Push green power button and also black/white pump switch on the pump cabinet
Turn on computer with red/yellow toggle switch on monitor cabinet - you'll also need to open the flap and push the
computer's power button. Turn the plastic red/yellow switch GENTLY - twisting too hard will break it
Log into your profile on computer
Open OMAX MAKE, read pop up message - machine needs to be 'homed'.
Before autohome X/Y, first make sure nozzle is within about a foot of the corner closest to you (front left)
Go to dropdown menu - 'homes' -> 'autohome XY'. it will warn you that pause buttons don't work during autohome.
Type in Z retract distance (look at nozzle; raise fully in z, whatever distance that is).
Nozzle will move up in z, and then very slowly find its X/Y limits in that corner.
When it finishes, click 'ok' and jog nozzle back out in positive x/y, AWAY from the corner.
Jog nozzle far enough out of the way to make plenty of space to safely put sheet material on bed.
Carefully lay down sheet of material on slats, making absolutely sure it is NOT overlapping with the
square or bracket along the edges.
If front left corner of machine bed is very chewed up and out of flat from use* see end of doc
Open your .ORD file, and set material type/thickness in open window (you shouldn't normally
need to change any other settings for basic metal/plastic cutting).
And then set X Y 0,0 by jogging the nozzle to the spot where your start point will need to be,
and zero both the user home and the path start home.
Note - Left clicking moves the nozzle quickly - right clicking moves it slowly. if you push the
arrow keys on the keyboard it moves it in x or y, slowly.
Make sure the location of the 0,0 that you set on the machine matches the start point in the file ~ meaning
- if it's at the bottom left, you must also set your origin at the bottom left of the area you want to cut.
If it is at the TOP LEFT, set it up at the TOP LEFT of the area that you're using. You absolutely must be sure of
this when you set up the file, so you can set the machine to match.
You must set the path start/ user home 0,0 to match file setup in Layout - 0,0 is the start point,
and the position of your cut is referenced off of that point. In file setup (see corresponding tutorial page),
you must take note of the start point in relation to the parts in the toolpath, and keep it in mind when setting
start point on the machine bed. In the autopath setup it will almost always be perfectly in line with the X/Y bounds
of the toolpath,
so set the start point set in, away from the edges of the material - give yourself a margin of at least .125".
Don't be confused by the machine's absolute home, which is the absolute limits of negative X/Y travel found during
the 'autohome' function - you can use this as a reference against other relative locations on the bed, but it is out
of the workable area, and so you cannot use it as a start point. Use the 'user home/path start
home' to set your own start point origin. We almost always set these two origins to match each other, because the machine is
off between jobs. Keep in mind that other shop spaces may not use their OMAX user homes this way.
Be very careful never to set your start point (or any part of the toolpath) outside the margins of the cutting area -
if the nozzle needs to travel outside of the cuttable area, it will cause
an error and/or also possibly a collision with the side of the machine, or the lead bricks,
which can badly damage the machine and/or ruin your sheet material.
Once X/Y zero is set (don't forget to re-zero both the user and path start home to be identical) -
then you can check your placement of the toolpath in order to put the lead
weights in safe locations on the sheet.
Even heavy, thick steel sheets will shift during a cut, so you need to use as many of the
weights as you reasonably can - you want to prevent the sheet from shifting
at all during the cut.
BUT - you also need to make sure the nozzle never
travels too close to them during the job.
Checking the toolpath location can help ensure this. with the nozzle at
0,0, right-click on 'start machining', then click 'go to spot on path'.
Then click carefully somewhere on your toolpath - the opposite corner, or the farthest reaches
of the path often end up being necessary to check. You want to make
sure the tool path doesn't extend past the edge of the sheet, or off the edge into a space
that has already been cut out, etc.
Check several places if necessary, especially when your job covers a large surface area -
and only place bricks down where they will not get in the
way of the nozzle (with the sponge attached - remember, the sponge widens its diameter, and will shift bricks when
dragged against them!).
- then CAREFULLY set Z height -
The z location and jog buttons are in the floating windows on the screen, separate from the x/y buttons.
You must find the highest point on the sheet for reference to set z zero.
The sheet metal is probably not perfectly flat, and the bricks can also make the sheet distort slightly, and change
the location of the highest spot.
Usually, placing sheet material with the concave side down is easier to control/stabilize.
Carefully jog the nozzle around every part of the sheet that will be cut, never getting close
enough to drag or collide with anything.
The nozzle must never come into contact with bricks or the sheet metal.
Find correct Z focus height using one of the tabs kept in the computer cabinet - the nozzle wants
to be as far away from the sheet as the thickness of that tab.
Double-check multiple places to ensure you have found the highest spot, and then remember to zero out Z
in that spot. It's okay if there are places where the nozzle is slightly further away from the sheet -
what you cannot do is set Z zero in a low spot, and then have the nozzle get too close to the
sheet somewhere during the job.
If Z is zeroed too low, the nozzle can easily catch and drag the sheet, or at least clog when
it gets too close, backing water up into the garnet tube. If the
sheet is dragged during a cut, part or all of the job may be ruined.
Even worse, the nozzle can also be forced out of alignment with the table, which is an expensive
and time/labor intensive fix for us - so it's really
important to make sure this does not happen.
Setting the sheets correctly on the bed, setting X, Y, and Z accurately, and then placing
bricks in safe places (never near the walls of the tank!)
will help prevent that from happening.
Once you've set X Y and Z, the bricks are all down in safe spots, check the garnet in the clear plastic
container (this must be kept relatively full throughout a job-
make sure you refill when it gets low).
Make sure water temperature is below 60F (readout on pump cabinet) - and of course, that
pump has been running and cooling the water.
And then with the sponge on, and the water raised 1 inch above the top of the material,
start the job (having made sure the nozzle was already moved to 0,0,0).
It's important to pause the job every time any piece is cut loose, in order to take it out -
they can fall in, but can also catch between the nozzle and the
sheet and clog the tube, or jam and possibly drag the sheet, or even jamming everything against
one of the tank walls and forcing the nozzle out of alignment.
NEVER, EVER stick your hands in the water while the machine is running. EVER.
Water jet injuries can and do happen, despite the tiny focal distance, and are always severe/life threatening,
needing to be treated like gunshot wounds. Feel free to ask if you'd like us to elaborate on that.
The easy way to make sure injury/damage won't happen is to just always keep your hands out of the bed
until the machine is paused, and to always make sure the nozzle will never collide with anything in X, Y, or Z.
When multiple people are near the machine, never move or power up any part of it without telling the others first
and making sure their limbs are clear of the machine, and when cutting/testing, that everyone has safety glasses on.
Shifting a brick by its handle during cut is possible, but not a good idea, because it's easy
to shift the sheet accidentally when doing that.
Remember to pause each time a piece gets cut loose, and remove it . You can set pauses ahead
of time by right-clicking on the pause
button and choosing to pause before or after the next traverse.
- when the job is done, clean everything up with the hose and squeegee- do not leave garnet
all over the rim of the tank - do not rinse parts out in the sink!
Move bricks back to left side of tank, near computer. do not leave them on the right side,
where they can fall into the tank.
Shut down the computer with the start menu rather than the machine buttons/switches.
Turn off the black/white pump switch.
When the computer has shut down, push the red button on the pump cabinet, and turn off the
yellow water shutoff valve in the corner of the room. Please do not forget to turn it off - the pump cabinet can potentially
leak if this is left on overnight, and the puddle will spread under the wall towards the laser cutters!
*an alternate square is available under the tank which can be bolted to the tank, closer
to the center. The original square will need to be removed to make space. if you need to
switch them out, carefully remove/replace with hex keys, make sure they're flat on the bed,
and make sure not to drop bolts or washers in the tank.