Haas VF-3 CNC Mill

From i3Detroit
Jump to: navigation, search

Haas VF-3 CNC Mill
[[Image:I3 HAAS.jpg|175px| ]]
Name HAAS VF-3
Owner i3Detroit (100%)
Make Model HAAS VF-3
Part Number
Date Acquired
Storage Location In the back corner of the shop - You can't miss it. It is practically the only thing in that corner of the space.
Authorization Required
Other References Travels - 40" x 20" x 25"

Spindle Motor - 15 HP

Spindle RPM - 7500 RPM

Tool type - CAT40

Number of Positions on Tool Changer: 20

Max. Cutting Feed Rates: 200 IPM

Rapid Feed Rate: 450 IPM

Machine Weight

   - Mill Approx 12000 Lbs. 
   - Pallet Changer 4000 Lbs.


A vertical CNC machining center with 40" travel.


Must be on the list of operators to actually run the machine, but anyone can request a part to be cut.


Users can follow this flowchart on the overall process.

Torq Cut Process Flowchart

Maintenance Info

Maintenance is performed by the operators


See below for a growing list of questions and answers.


  1. A pricing structure needs to be established. This is to cover consumables used in making parts for members.


Operator Name Trained By
Brian Wennberg *
John Anderson *
James Kemp *
Paul Kerchen *
Allen Majorovic *
Brian McPherson N/A
Jacob Runyan JK, BW
  • Operators of the Torq-cut are also operators of the Haas and vice versa.

References for Operators

------- Work in Procress -------


What types of files does the CNC support?

The CNC itself only takes G-Code from a generic text file. These need to be transferred to the machine via a serial link.

What are the Pallet Changer locations?

  1. The following locations line up the HAAS table with the pallet changer. Since the pallet changer can hold two pallets there are two possible positions.
    • The West location (closest to the operator) is at X-40.00 Y-0.11 using absolute machine coordinates.
    • The East location (closest to the back wall) is at X-40.00 Y-19.88 using absolute machine coordinates.

What is the procedure to exchange pallets on the HAAS?

  1. WARNING #1: If, at any time, the pallet changer is NOT doing what you want, quickly push the ESTOP on the pallet changer. The ESTOP will VERY QUICKLY dump the pneumatic air pressure to deactivate the pallet changer. There are two ESTOP buttons on the pallet changer - make sure you know where they are before operating the pallet changer!
  2. WARNING #2: Make absolutely sure you know which load / unload location the HAAS is aligned with. As an example, it is VERY EASY to have the HAAS aligned with location #2 and push a pallet off location #1. The pallet will fall inside the machine and is VERY DIFFICULT to lift back into place. You HAVE BEEN WARNED.
  3. NOTE, inside the HAAS, the pallet rests on a part called a receiver. The receiver locates and locks the pallet into position on the HAAS bed. The receiver operates using pneumatic air pressure which is supplied from the pallet changer.
    • Aligned the HAAS table with the pallet changer where the pallet is to be stored. The HAAS machine coordinates are listed in the FAQ above.
    • Plug the 110Vac electrical cord from the pallet changer into an open outlet.
    • Using the pallet changer's control panel, set the "DOOR OPEN" to "ON" to open the sliding window / door.
    • Next, set "UNCLAMP" to "ON" to use pneumatic air pressure to unlock and raise the pallet in the HAAS.
      • If the pallet does nice raise evenly, use the 4x4 stick to nudge the pallet to raise.
    • Extend the rails from the pallet changer by setting either "EXT #1" or "EXT #2" to "ON" depending on which location the HAAS is aligned with.
      • Make sure you use the correct "Ext #x" here! This is where it's easy to dump a pallet inside the HAAS by accident!
    • With the rails extended and the pallet raised, push the pallet off the HAAS and onto the pallet changer.
    • Set "EXT #x" to "OFF" (note, nothing will happen yet). Now, set "HOME #x" to "ON" to have the rails retract. While the rails are retracting keep the pallet centered on the rails.
    • Once the rails are retracted, set "HOME #x" to "OFF".
    • Move the HAAS table so it now aligns with the pallet you wish to load. The HAAS machine coordinates are listed in the FAQ above.
    • Set "EXT #x" to "ON" depending on which location the HAAS is aligned with. Again, be very careful which "EXT #x" you select!
    • Slowly push the new pallet onto the receiver inside the HAAS.
    • Once the pallet has been pushed past the end of the pallet changer's extended rails, set "EXT #x" to "OFF" and "HOME #x" to "ON".
    • With the rails retracted, set "HOME #x" to "OFF".
    • Now, inspect the pallet on the receiver inside the HAAS.
      • Using a flashlight, check that the pallet is slid correctly so that the locater pins on the receiver will engage the locater holes in the bottom of the pallet.
    • With the pallet ready to drop onto the receiver locater pins, set "UNCLAMP" to "OFF" and "CLAMP" to "ON".
      • Verify the pallet drops and locks onto the receiver evenly.
    • Set "CLAMP" to "OFF". Also set "DOOR OPEN" to "OFF" and "DOOR CLOSE" to "ON". With the door closed, set "DOOR CLOSE" to "OFF".
    • Finally, scroll through all the menu options and make sure they are set to "OFF".
    • Unplug the electrical cord from the pallet changer.
    • Done

How can I transfer my G-Code file to the HAAS?

  1. Use TeraTerm (a free open-source serial program) to send / receive your G-Code text file(s).
    • Find the USB-to-Serial converter hanging inside the HAAS rolling tool cabinet.
    • Plug the USB-to-Serial converter onto the end of the grey DB-9 cable.
      • Verify the other end of the cable is plugged into the back of the HAAS on Comm-1.
    • Set TeraTerm to 38,400 baud, 8 bits, no parity. This is the max speed the HAAS can handle.
    • Use TeraTerm's ability to handle XMODEM to either send or receive text files to your computer.
      • Note, the XMODEM protocol will ensure the transfer is error free.
  2. Setup your G-Code text file.
    • On the HAAS, press "List Prog" to bring up a listing of all programs. Make sure your "O1234" program is not listed on the HAAS or you will overwrite someone's existing program.
    • The G-Code text file's first and last line must be a single '%' character. This is just a requirement of the Fanuc G-Code dialect the HAAS (and most CNC machines) use.
    • The second line of your text file must be in the form of "O1234 (Some Comment)" where "O" in "O1234" is the capital letter 'O' (Not a Zero) followed by a four digit number.
    • The comment, which is the text inside the parenthesis, will appear next to your "O1234" program on the HAAS so pick something informative.
  3. Transfer the File
    • Using TeraTerm, select the menu option "File > Transfer > XMODEM > Send". Use the TeraTerm pop-up dialog box to select your text file on your PC.
      • TeraTerm will open the file and then, using the XMODEM protocol, wait for the HAAS to respond.
    • On the HAAS, after pressing "List Prog", scroll/page-down to the bottom and get the cursor highlighting the word "All".
    • Press the HAAS button "RS-232 Recv.". The bottom of the HAAS display will show messages indicating percent complete as the transfer takes place.
      • The HAAS message might just be a flash if the program is short.
  4. Verify the transfer.
    • After the transfer is complete the HAAS places an "*" in front of the new "O1234" program name indicating it is the selected active program.
    • Press "Edit" to open the file on the HAAS for inspection.

A couple of notes, TeraTerm is already loaded on the Design Workstation near the HAAS. Using a thumb drive, you can use copy your G-Code file to the Design Workstation for xfer to the HAAS. The Design Workstation is also connected to the internet so you can use some internet cloud storage (think Dropbox) instead of a thumb drive.

How do I set the offset for my tool lengths?

  1. Decide on a tool number. The quickest and easiest way is to find an open slot in the tool changer.
  2. Press the "MDI" button. With NO tool loaded in the spindle, enter "T5" (assuming your using tool #5).
    • With "T5" entered on the bottom of the MDI screen, press the button "ATC FWD".
      • The HAAS will perform a tool change to tool #5.
      • Note, if the HAAS was just powered up it will first home the tool changer to T1. Just enter "T5"/"ATC FWD" again and the HAAS will tool change to #5.
  3. Enter the following couple of line in the MDI window.
    • "G43 H05 (Use tool offsets / Select Tool #5);"
    • "M00 (Stop / Pause);"
  4. Press the "Home" key to jump the cursor to the top right corner on the MDI screen.
  5. Press the large green "Cycle Start" button.
    • There might be a slight delay as the coolant nozzle moves to the correct position.
    • After the two line program stops, press the "POSIT" button. Look in the upper right corner for G54 locations.
  6. Press the "Handle Jog" button to start jogging the machine.
  7. Load your tool #5 in the spindle at this point.
  8. Press one of the axis buttons to select jogging on that axis.
    • Press the ".01" button for medium jogging speed.
  9. Jog your tool so that it is just touching the top of the work surface.
    • Note, there is a piece of brass shim stock that can be inserted between the tool tip and the work surface.
    • The brass shim stock is machined to be 0.0015" thick.
    • As the tool is lowered, wiggle the shim until the tool just sticks and stop the shim from wiggling.
  10. Press the "Offset" button and move the cursor to tool #5's row.
    • Might have to use a combo of page up/down and cursor keys to get to the right screen and row.
  11. With the cursor on row #5 and the field under the "Geometry" column highlighted, press the "Tool Ofset Mesur" button.
    • Pressing this button will overwrite the current setting with the current Z axis value.
  12. Adjust for the 0.0015 shim by typing "-0.0015" and then pressing the "Write" button.
    • The value in the "Geometry" field will adjust down by 0.0015 inches.
  13. The tool length for #5 is now set.
    • Press the "MDI" button again and then press "Home" and "Cycle Start" again.
      • This set get the machine to reset to the new G54 coordinate values.
    • Press the "POSIT" button and notice the G54 locations are now set to your tool.
  14. Done.

How do I generate G-Code for the CNC?

There are a couple of different ways.

  1. Create a text file with the appropriate G & M Codes.
    • There is a program reference guide on the shelves back by the machine.
  2. Use a wizard to create the g-code for you.
    • There are a couple of g-code generators listed in the useful links on the main page for the CNC Shop.
  3. Use CAM software to create g-code from a 3D model.

What tips would you give in designing a part?

Design your part with the knowledge that you will need to hold in some fashion while it is being cut. Without proper hold downs it will be very hard to cut you part accurately.