By Guy Hanson
For a quick, down-and-dirty setup (I know none of you ever do that), remember that some of the old, manual machining tricks still work on CNC. There are times when our best practices of setting up tools against a master and recording the offsets just don’t happen. When the preset tool breaks or an odd one is needed, remember how it used to be done and you can save time and frustration.
A rule or feeler gauge placed between the tool tip and the work can locate the center of the shaft (in this case, the Y-axis zero point) surprisingly accurately by observing whether it is level and then jogging the axis to make it level.
This example, shown on a Duality lathe, will help to set the Y-axis to zero and can also verify that the lathe bed is parallel with the Y-axis very quickly and is reasonably accurate for most work. Once the Y-axis has been established near the chuck, move the X-axis control to the end of the shaft and check again. The ruler should be level there as well.
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