Tool Guides

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This page is the central link for learning about the tools at SSD and how to use them safely. This page serves as the core curriculum definition for the Tool Learning Saturday.

CnC Machines

CnC Milling Fundamentals


Linux CnC is the control software used to run all the Mills and CnC machine at the Solid State Depot. Linux CnC handles real time step generation and monitoring for CnC machines over the parallel port. This guide will be tailored to using Axis GUI for Linux CnC which provides a convenient front end for interface with the low level Linux CnC software.

Basic Operation

All of the machines at SSD will have a Linux CnC shortcut on their desktops. This shortcut will launch the Axis GUI and the Linux CnC backend with correct configurations for that specific machine. When initially launch this screen will be presented:


When started the machine will default to E-Stopped and Disabled. The F1 key controls the E-Stop, pressing the key will toggle the E-Stop and allow the machine to function. The F2 key controls the status of the machine, pressing the key will toggle between disabled and enabled. When operating the machines, the F1 and F2 keys are your friends. When ever something bad happens your first reaction should be to press the F2 key, this will nicely disable the machine and attempt to stop operation smoothly. If that doesn't work and bad things keep happening, hit F1 this will do everything possible in software to stop the machine. If that doesn't work pull the plug.

After having cleared the E-stop and enabling the machines the main machine controls will be enabled:


The interface has two major panes the "Manual Control Page" and the "MDI Page." While Manual Control is selected, the arrow keys and page up/down will control the mill. While MDI is open the keys will not work, but G-Code can be manually entered into the machine.


Taig Mill


The Taig mill is a small CnC that is capable of high precision milling. It is a fairly stiff machine and capable of machining materials as hard as steel with low material removal rates. The manufacturers page has information about the mill here.

Basic Info

  • Travel: X=12" Y=5.5" Z=6"
  • Spindle Speeds: 1100-10,000 RPM
  • Mechanical Resolution: 0.0005" (1/2 Thou)

Mill Operation Rules

  • The machine must have its screws and ways oiled once per use (preferably before)
  • The mill bits, collets, clamps, etc. are all shop owned, if you break something while using the mill you are expected to replace it
  • Chips should be vacuumed up after each use
  • Floss the machine screws if any chips end up on them

The machine is powered on via the switch below the left of the table surface. This switch controls power to the stepper axes of the mill, but *not* the spindle. This switch is the primary e-stop of the system.


This switch should only be turned on when you are fully prepared for the machine to move. While this switch is on, be prepared for unexpected movement of the machine.

Using the Collets

The Taig mill uses ER16 collets. We have a full set of collets, and a chart for shank size to collet size. Do not exceed the minimum or maximum shank size for a collet or you can damage a collet. The collet nut is 1", two 1" wrenches are kept with the mill at all times. Firmly tighten the collet in with the wrenches.

ER16ColletNut.jpg ColletandSpindle.jpg ChuckedCollet.jpg

Oiling the Ways and Screws

Before each use of the machine the ways and machine screws need to be oiled. The machine uses automatic transmission fluid for oil. A bottle of transmission fluid and a brush are kept in a cabinet underneath the machine. Follow this checklist to make sure you get each needed surface:



  • Y left way
  • Y Right Way
  • Y Screw


  • X Front dovetail
  • X Back dovetail
  • X Screw


  • Z Left way
  • Z Right way
  • Z Screw

Here are the photos:


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Metal Shop Machine Tools


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Chop Saw

Horizontal Band Saw

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Band Saw

Table Saw

Table Router

Disc Sander


Miter Saw

Coping Saws

Drill Press