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How to use a VF-2 CNC Machine

Author’s Note! This article has been imported from my previous website. I wanted to preserve all of the old content as many people have found some value in it. There may be some broken links and or formating issues. If something isn’t right, please let me know and I’ll do my best to make an update.

Some years ago, I ventured north to visit my friend, his company and shop. My goal was to make some parts for a now defunct CNC conversion project, as well as the XS1100 Special triple tree clamp that I sell from time to time. I recall that the Haas VF-2 wasn’t even working when I got there and I had to do a bunch of maintenance and teach myself how to use the thing. I took a ton of video but didn’t get around to pulling it together into something useful till now. I guess sifting through all my old files when I upgraded my computer reminded me that I should either delete the footage or make a video.

Getting Started with the Haas VF-2

Though the machine is a little dated, the information is still relevant and I use basically the same process outlined in the video when setting up the Mini Mill 2 over at The Foundery. Here is a summary of the steps (and timestamps) I detail in the video below:

  • 0:27 - Things you will need + safety
  • 2:10 - Turning on the power
  • 3:00 - Overview of the control panel
  • 3:30 - Starting up the machine and clearing alarms
  • 4:25 - Reset and homing the machine
  • 6:53 - Setup of the work coordinate system
  • 9:10 - How to Jog the head around and tool change
  • 11:24 - Program to turn the spindle on for edge finding
  • 13:43 - Entering a work offset after edge finding
  • 14:55 - Measuring the tool offset
  • 16:03 - Future me comments on a better way to set the z offset
  • 17:19 - Discussion of method to use gauge block to set tool offset
  • 18:40 - Using a tool height dial indicator to set tool offset
  • 24:00 - Finding the Z offset with a height gauge
  • 27:13 - Loading a program from disk
  • 30:00 - Cycle Start (money shot)

Feel free to drop me a line if you have questions about CNC operation. I’ll try to update this page with relevant info!

Jason Fox