Saw this one on the latest installment of the Tormach blog. It’s an auto-loading setup for a machinist vise built by machinist Joe Gerad:
Auto-Loading a Milling Vise…
We’ve featured vise auto-loaders before, but this one is so cheap and cheerful, I just had to run it here. There’s a pneumatic gripper mounted on the side of the spindle, and the vise is set up to be air-actuated as well. The rest is just a matter of some g-code programming once you get the air cylinders connected to M-codes that operate solenoid valves.
Joe’s got a lot of interesting projects on his YouTube channel. He’s also built a chip conveyor for the Tormach:
Chip conveyor for a Tormach…
Evidently he’s cranking through enough parts to need one. I really liked his custom speed handles for his vise’s too:
Custom vise speed handles: nice!
I know I’ll be subscribing to Joe’s YouTube channel. For more on what he’s been up to, check out the Tormach Blog Post. They’re talking about Hot Rodding Tormachs there. I’ve got a couple of Hot Rodding moves in mind for my Tormach Lathe and Mill for sure.
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1 Any pro level CNC will knock those blocks all over the table with the first rapid move. Sometimes even in cutting motion of 200ipm that stack would fall.
2 The shape of the jaws needs to be different when removing a cut part in most cases.
3 Cool idea none the less. A little refinement and I might be able to use it some day.
Ken, You are 100% right, this was the first test of the system, the parts need to be in an enclosed box as there is an air blast system that blows the jaws clean. As for removing parts
A. use the new part to push the old part, down a slide.
B. second gripper with the correct jaws.
C. configure the jaws or the part so it can do the job.
When I designed this proto type Tormach did not have the I/O interface to do some of the extra things like, open the lid of an enclosed area of the parts, a second gripper or pallet changer.
As for a pro level CNC they would not have the parts on the bed and would use a robotic arm.
Ken, I agree about knocking the blocks over, but that’s just a function of the dispenser. Not that hard to design around.
Likewise, I would think some negative image soft jaws would be ideal for removing the cut parts.
If the part blanks are pushed out Pez candy style with another cylinder, then the gripper returns to the same place every time to pick up. A sensor mounted there could tell when the queue is empty. Easy to wire to optional stop. Needs to have small blast nozzles to clean jaws before the blank is placed in them.