Qsine CNC Tricks

Here are a few tricks we used to increase the capability of our Okuma vertical machining center. Most machine shops will be able to replicate what we have done.

We put in our first CNC machine tool in May 2002. It is an Okuma, 40x20x20 vertical machining center with a small 4th axis. Our main objective was (and still is) to produce prototype and short-run hydraulic integrated circuits using cartridge style valves. It seemed simple enough... We have been designing integrated circuits for years and accumulated a lot of tooling while contracting out the manufacturing. While we knew it was going to take more than just a big mill for driving the tools to make us manifold makers, the details that tripped us up were somewhat humbling. Like many things, it is taking care of the finer details that takes the real work. 98-99% of the job can be done with off the shelf tools and known methods. To finish the job completely (and efficiently) requires either hand work or custom tools and processes... and I'm not a big fan of hand work on CNC parts

The neat thing about developing machinery (or sometimes the frustrating thing) is that even with a very specialized product in mind and a very specific set of needs to fill, by the time the development is complete a better way to do things may reveal itself. So the thing that is being developed would be obsolete except that in developing it, new applications for it are also revealed. This type of exploring/discovery is always fun and even if it doesn't pay the bills immediately, I feel certain that it will contribute in the end.

Since we put our machine in, we have been having a ball with these little innovations. Maybe some of them have been done before, maybe some of them are useless but then again maybe some of them are truly unique too. If you would like to contribute ideas or comment on the ones you see here, please e-mail me: .

I hope you find the following links useful:

  • Click here to see the simplest engraving tool for CNC that we've been able to find... and it was an accident!
  • ...here to learn how we put compressed air through our spindle and why we we would do such a thing. There is probably enough information here that you can do it too, if you want.
  • ...here to see a 22,000 RPM, air powered, high speed, Cat 40 spindle.

From time to time we will be adding to this page. We already have three or four other projects in the skunk-works, so please check back!