How sturdy is the Flycutter?

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Damon Nabors
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How sturdy is the Flycutter?

Postby Damon Nabors » Fri, Jan 11 2008, 8:42AM

Just currious and its kind of embarrising (spelling???) but should the fly cutter just fold over if for some reason you entered and incorrect flycut depth for the spoilboard? I would think it would just hog out the material, but no, it will fold that thing over like a tin can. I know the error is on our part from operator error but I would much rather replace the spoil board and not have to spend another $400 on a new cutter. :wall: :wall: :wall:
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Re: How sturdy is the Flycutter?

Postby Grady Robertson » Fri, Jan 11 2008, 11:02AM

Damon,

We actually cut into the corner of our table one time (the alluminum part) and all it did was destroy the inserts on the flycutter. No actual damage to the rest of the tool.

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Re: How sturdy is the Flycutter?

Postby Michael S Murray » Fri, Jan 11 2008, 11:21AM

Damon, that is one beefy cutter other than the inserts, where did it Bend? Post a pic....
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Re: How sturdy is the Flycutter?

Postby Damon Nabors » Fri, Jan 11 2008, 5:14PM

Mike here is a picture of this thing. We loaded the wrong amoung to flycut off the waistboard and this is what happened.
The bad thing is, this is the second one that has bent. The first one was a different situation that I can understand (we will not talk about it :? ), but I would have thought it would have just hogged out the material in this case.
Last edited by Damon Nabors on Sun, Jan 13 2008, 12:18PM, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How sturdy is the Flycutter?

Postby Michael S Murray » Fri, Jan 11 2008, 5:34PM

WOW!!!

I cant imagine the force it took to bend that 1/2 steel.
I usualy fly cut about .020, but the other day I took .140 off a 5x10 of mdf in one pass and it cut like butter, did slow down the fpm a little.
I would consider myself lucky if you did not get some serious machine or spindle damage with the force it had to take to bend that flycutter. I would have thought that the shaft would have been hardened and snapped before it bent. I have ate up about 30 or so waist boards and used it for some planing, and I am stll on the one that came with the machine, think I have only rotated the cutters once........I have 4 different guys that can cut parts, but I am still the only one I trust to flycut, change tooling, measure tools or do any programming at the machine, and I dont really trust myself as I am very careful and cautious with that. You got to watch any fat fingering at that keyboard as it can cost you some money in a blink of the eye as your discovering.. You'll get over the hump, I gurantee you we have all had a crash or two even if we dont admit it :( :(
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Re: How sturdy is the Flycutter?

Postby DanEpps » Fri, Jan 11 2008, 6:18PM

Michael S Murray wrote:...but I am still the only one I trust to flycut, change tooling, measure tools or do any programming at the machine, and I dont really trust myself...


For sure don't trust Damon :joker:

Sorry Damon but I couldn't resist that one. :lol: What did the bit hit and just how fast was it moving (ipm, not rpm)? That must be one stubborn program (machine?) to just keep pushing when it hits resistance like that. :wink:

If that was just from the wasteboard, it must be made from some really hard stuff (ironwood?).

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Re: How sturdy is the Flycutter?

Postby Mark Taylor » Fri, Jan 11 2008, 7:31PM

sucks that the machine will do whatever you tell it to - eh? You'd think it would know better then the operator...

welcome to the club Damon...as Michael said, whether we'll all admit it or not - we've all made mistakes we wished we hadn't. I have several sitting close to the machine to to remind me of it's brutal strength! I bent a large 45° mitre bit once, running it too fast (imp) and next thing I knew it bounced and skipped down the length of wood. You couldn't actually see the bend in the shaft until you slowly rotated the spindle and then you could see a slight wobble to the head of the bit. I thought that was fairly impressive...but you certainly have me beat!

Here's to hoping I never catch up! :beer:

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Re: How sturdy is the Flycutter?

Postby Michael S Murray » Fri, Jan 11 2008, 7:40PM

Damon, I tell you what I do to this day and i have flycut hundreds of times,but it still makes me uneasy. I do all my entry on the flycut programming, then when I hit the button I use the overide to slow it way down until it drops and starts cutting, when I am happy its not going to go on down to China I crank it up and go do something else.Another hint, If you have the auto tool measure, dont punch in a bunch of tools and walk away, I had my sensor fail one time and that one cost me a couple bucks. Now I set on a stool with my hand on the big red button for the few minutes it takes to measure a half dozen tools..
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Re: How sturdy is the Flycutter?

Postby Damon Nabors » Fri, Jan 11 2008, 8:46PM

DanEpps wrote:
For sure don't trust Damon :joker:

Sorry Damon but I couldn't resist that one. :lol:

"Man, I can feel the twisting of the knife!"

We had just gotten through cutting the spoilboard and had measured off on the waistboard to surface it also. ( Just got through with a few days of constant rain and wasn't sure if the boards had swollen.)

A customer had come in and I stopped what I was doing and met with the customer and left the shop for an hour and came back and forgot where I was and looked at the wrong Z Axis numbers and typed in the wrong number and when it took off, it tried to take off a 1/4" at 75% speed rate and bent the tool over. The only thing that got damaged other than my tooling was my pride.

Mastercard:

Bent Flycutter = $400.00

Damaged spoil Board = $29.99

Lesson learned = Priceless :wall:

but I did talk to a guy the other day (no names mentioned) that I went to training class with and told him about a couple of the horrer stories and he was relieved that it wasn't just him that did things like that.

The learning curve on the router is a little steep, but as long as we are just cutting parts and not doing anything out of the ordinary, we are doing great with it. I am starting to learn that I need to flycut and program at the end of the day or early in the morning with no distractions like people, phones, etc.......
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Re: How sturdy is the Flycutter?

Postby Dave Burtchell » Sat, Jan 12 2008, 1:42AM

Looks to me like you ran the flycut program with the spindle off and it just bent when it hit the table.
I remember being at the training class a few years ago when a long bit took a 90* bend on the 5-axis router in the demo room. They spent the rest of the day changing out the spindle. I can't imagine that heavy flycutter spinning at 18000 rpm and your spindle is still OK. They must make 'em really tough!

Glad nobody got hurt,
Dave

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Re: How sturdy is the Flycutter?

Postby Rob Davis » Sat, Jan 12 2008, 9:07AM

Damon, I agree with Dave and it looks a lot like the flycutter wasn't spinning when it bent it like that. It would have put huge side stress on the cutters as it started to bend and maybe even ripped all the cutters off the tool once it started to swing into the table. Plus, the vibration on the head at 10000+ rpm with it hanging out like that would have shaken the place apart, not to mention beat the snot out of the table or whatever it was into. I've learned the hard way on this one too and I have created this problem and snapped cutters when one forgets to insert the tool spinning command or the verify tool is spinning command or try to block step in the middle somewhere and forget to turn spindle back on. Never bent one though, they snap on me!

Maybe I am all wet but at the least you need to make doubly certain that you have the tool on command (M03) and a speed verification check (M31) in this flycut program. And be VERY careful about starting in mid program as you can get crossed up (read: I have gotten crossed up) with G90 and G91 or tools not spinning or Zshift wrong. We tend to go back to beginning if stopped mid program just to reset our heading values, then jump down to the header info for the area we want to rerun. Learning a new piece of equipment sure is a new expereince every day.

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Re: How sturdy is the Flycutter?

Postby Damon Nabors » Sat, Jan 12 2008, 11:30AM

I didn't write the program, Thermwood did, it is the flycut program. It hogged into the waist board going in a forward motion and I guess it couldn't cut the material as fast as it was moving forward. As soon as the cutter bent, it went into e-stop automatically.

The only problems I have had with the machine is when flycutting. The first time there was some kind of glitch. I do wonder if I did in deed put the wrong number in there, but all I can assume is, I did.

The more I think about it and put the puzzle pieces together in my head, I have to wonder if I do have a problem with my flycut program. The only time this happens is if it is raining outside. I don't under stand it, but I have to wonder if maybe a power surge or something could cause it to screw up like that.

I have step by step print out sheet by the controller that we use every time to ensure that no steps are left out, but hey, I don't know and can't explain it.

I am cutting a production sharing job right now and we are on sheet 16 with no problems, so all is well for now. I guess when I flycut again, I will find out.
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Re: How sturdy is the Flycutter?

Postby Grady Robertson » Sat, Jan 12 2008, 12:45PM

Damon,

Don't know the answer to your problem, but here is what we have started doing. I have not used my fly cutter in about a year. We have a 5'X10' table. We use a sheet of .25" MDF as a waste board, one full sheet where we cut mainly and two outside fill pieces. When the full sheet gets too cut up on one side we flip it over and use the other side until it is used up. After that we just replace it. No need to re-set the switchspoil or re-measure tools. .25" MDF here is about $10.50 a sheet. I figuire I spend more than $10.50 in electricity and time to flycut.

I have a fly cutting program written in MasterCam if that will help you.

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Re: How sturdy is the Flycutter?

Postby Dave Burtchell » Sat, Jan 12 2008, 2:26PM

Grady,

The .25 MDF we've been getting here in Maryland is at least .030-.040 thicker at the edge of the sheet, so we always flycut a new sheet anyway. And the slightly roughed-up, fuzzy surface the flycutter leaves helps to keep small parts from moving around.
The flycut program we wrote is pretty simple. When it askes for the current wasteboard thickness, we just punch in the thickness we want it to end up. We then save the program so we can see next time what the thickness was last time we flycut so we don't even have to measure it. Just subtract .015 and hit the button.
Sure it takes a few minutes and watt-hours to do it, but so does getting the stack down with the forklift to get a new one.
I'm curious now. On Monday, I'm gonna time the flycut as opposed to a switch for a new one. Just to see which is more efficient for us. Thanks for your input.

Dave

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Re: How sturdy is the Flycutter?

Postby Grady Robertson » Sat, Jan 12 2008, 4:28PM

My fly cutting program runs 16 minutes and 19 seconds.

Standard cnc time rate is $ 125.00 per hour or $ .034 per second, so just in machine time I figure it cost me $ 33.28 to fly cut the table. I can get a sheet of .25 MDF off the rack without my forklift. We cut 100's of small (6"X6") parts every week with no hold down problems so the "fuzz" is not an issue. I realize that the MDF is not always a true thickness all the way around so we just set our cut through depth at .015 and let it go. We us Plum Creek MDF and have found it to be fairly consistent. I didn't mean to imply my way was the best or only way, just what works works for me. I have never been acused of being the sharpest knife in the drawer, this is just the method we use.

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