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Insitu machining fault diagnosis for portable milling machines

At Mirage Machines we understand the common frustrations faced by field service engineers. When you're working to tight deadlines, the last thing you need is a portable machine tool that causes more headaches than it solves.

To help cure your headaches, this is our guide to diagnosing some of the common problems faced when performing insitu milling using portable machine tools.

Fault 1: The spindle will not rotate

Most of the time this is easily rectified as the problem has usually been caused by an incorrect machine setup.

Step 1: Begin by checking the air supply to the machine. As obvious as it sounds, it is common to find the air supply has not been turned on following installation. If the air supply is on, check the air pressure and refer to the machine manual to make sure it is set high enough.

Step 2: Assuming air supply to the milling machine is set correctly, you should then check that the motor is working. Repair and replace as necessary if a fault is found.

Step 3: The final check is to make sure the drive gear train is rotating freely. If it is jammed then you should repair and replace if possible. Alternatively, you may need to get the milling machine serviced.

Fault 2: The machine does not traverse in auto-feed

Step 1: Check the position of auto-feed selector. The most common diagnosis for this fault is that the feed selector is not set properly meaning the feed gears are not engaged resulting in no movement in the milling machine.

Step 2: Remove the gearbox assembly and check the gearbox operation. There may be a problem with the milling machine's drive key.

Step 3: Check that the lead screw nut and screw are correctly engaged. The carriage may have run off the lead screw meaning the carriage will not move. 

Fault 3: Milling produces poor surface finish

The most common faults in this regard are caused by incorrect installation so it is important that every step of the installation has been carried out correctly. There are some other causes for a poor surface finish though which are often caused by feeds and speeds.

Step 1: Double check all of the installation bolts. If these are not sufficiently tightened there will be too much play in the machine when it is operating which will cause a poor finish on the milled surface.

Step 2: Check the carriage itself.  If there is too much play here you will need to adjust the carriage milling rail to reduce play and provide a better surface finish.

Step 3: Check the feed rates, milling speed and cutting depth. If the milling machine is cutting too deep into the material, adjust the cutting height.

Step 4: Remove the milling head and check the cutting tool is not worn out. Replace them if necessary.

Step 5: If all else fails, you may find your linear milling tool has been poorly maintained and needs a full service to restore it back to working condition. If that is the case, contact us and our team of engineers can service portable machine tools regardless of make or model.

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