Setting up the Fadal

A quick test piece (circle diamond test, I guess, although the standard is usually circle diamond square, with some counterbores and other features in there).

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For setting fixtures and tools, nothing beats Aaron Gough’s macros: https://www.practicalmachinist.com/vb/cnc-machining/fadal-toolsetting-system-doesnt-suck-304132/

The 88HS control is pretty straightforward, and while it may not be the prettiest or quickest interface, it’s definitely easy to pick up and navigate through quickly. The fixture and tool setting utilities are great (and that much better with Aaron’s macros), and the onboard Gcode editor is decent as well. Get used to hitting the space bar.

If you’re using Fusion 360, the post is set to output in Format 2 (Fanuc compatible), so make sure your machine is set right (guess how I realized that…).

I’m trying out  lots of new tooling, and as part of that I ran side by side comparison of SK16 holders from Maritool and Shars. I measured 0.0004″ runout on the Maritool holder and 0.0005″ on the Shars holder (both using a Maritool collet, and a 1/4″ carbide blank). Given that the Shars holders are 2/3 the price of the Maritool ones, the difference seems worthwhile. The collets themselves are the same price from Maritool or Shars — I’ll keep buying them from Frank. One thing that is different is the size of the tightening slots in the collet nuts. The Shar’s ones are pretty small, and required modification of my wrenches with a grinder.

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So far I’ve been running exclusively Maritool carbide tools (mostly AlTiN coated) on mild steel. The 3″ face mill seems nice (MSAP series), although I haven’t pushed it very hard yet. I’ve been using Maritool solid carbide tools for years, and I’m very happy with the 1/8-1/2″ roughers and finishers. Everything runs so much quieter in the Fadal than on my old mill, which is great. I’m looking forward to using the two larger (1″ and 2″) Korloy Pro-X mills I’ve picked up for aluminum, and have a project cooking for them now. I’ve started to wear gloves 100% of the time because I have super sweaty hands and even putting oil on some of the tool holders didn’t prevent my hands from wiping enough away and depositing enough sweat to start some rusting.

Despite my previous assertion that the machine has rigid tap, it was in fact not set up to use it — it was missing the two EEPROMs on the spindle control board, but everything else was there and ready to go (spindle encoder, rigid tapping capable inverter, encoder cable back to the rigid tapping capable spindle control board). This machine came out of a shop with at least four other Fadals, and it looks like someone grabbed those EEPROMs or even the whole board and swapped it out with another machine. I was really stumped when it just wouldn’t run a G84.1 cycle — the machine would get to the line shown below, sit there, and then crash out of auto to manual without any errors.