Stecker Machine Blog

CNC Machine Maintenance: Tips, Insights, and Preventative Maintenance Checklists

12/09/2021 | Paul Endries

“Don’t skimp on the maintenance!”

As far as manufacturing advice goes, that’s solid wisdom. Think about it: nothing gets done when CNC machines are down, and it takes proper machine maintenance to keep them up and running.

A machine breakdown can cost a business thousands of dollars in wasted hours, overnight shipping of replacement parts, and missed deliveries, not to mention a damaged reputation. With so much high-tech equipment in one area, breakdowns are inevitable. However, performing regular maintenance helps keep the machines running properly, eliminating the possibility of a costly shutdown.

Let’s explore CNC machine maintenance in more detail.


Awareness and Action: Promoting a Positive Work Environment

11/29/2021 | Matt Oswald

Happiness makes people about 12% more productive at work, according to the latest research from the University of Warwick. No surprise, right? Promoting a positive culture is crucial in retaining employees.

But, did you know that businesses with highly engaged employees enjoy 100% more job applications, according to research published in the Harvard Business Review? So, word gets around about a company’s solid culture and attracts great employees.

What is surprising is how some organizations fail at establishing, maintaining, and promoting a positive work environment. I’m happy to share what we’ve discovered at Stecker Machine, a high-end CNC machine shop that excels in teamwork, clear communication, and quality workmanship.


The KPIs You Should Really Care About

11/18/2021 | Brad Kurtzweil

CNC machine shops know the value of precise measuring. It’s what they do, often to less than .001” (¼ the width of a human hair) using computer numerical controlled machines and exact programming.

Yet, there’s more measuring going on — or at least there should be — within the walls of CNC machine shops: measuring performance. Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs, for the manufacturing industry are nothing new. They help businesses understand performance in order to make strategic adjustments to improve quality and efficiency.

As you’ll see, there are two main types of KPIs and dozens of metrics that can be used to measure performance. It can leave your head spinning faster than a PCD insert in a 90° square shoulder face mill (that’s a little CNC machining humor). So, this article is an attempt to simplify KPIs and provides an overview to them instead of a deep dive.


The Facts Behind Many CNC Machining Misconceptions

11/02/2021 | Ken Jones

A computer numerical controlled (CNC) machine controls tools, such as a lathe or mill, using a computer program to achieve incredible precision. Just about all industries rely on these custom machined parts and have been for decades. Yet, there are still some myths that give people the wrong impression about CNC machining.


How to Build Company Culture: Tips to Unite, Advance, and Succeed

10/28/2021 | Monica Askelson, SHRM-SCP

Culture is the soul of a company.

It’s what motivates people to do great work each day (no, it’s not money or health benefits or time off … although those are ALL very important). It’s true: Over 50% of workers said that company culture is more important than salary when it comes to job satisfaction.

Company culture is obviously a vital part of a successful organization, but it’s a tough thing to define and even tougher to create. But, it’s not impossible, so we’re going to tell you how to build a company culture that elevates company pride, boosts morale, lowers turnover, and inspires productivity.


What is a CNC Operator?

09/21/2021 | Rob Schmitt

The metalworking industry needs more CNC operators. This rewarding career appeals to people who have a broad skill set: a good eye for detail, math, mechanical design, and the ability to read technical drawings. CNC operators use a combination of brains and hands-on work to properly transform a metal casting into a valuable working machined part.


8 Important Considerations When Selecting CNC Machine Cutting Tools

09/07/2021 | Dan Karbon

What do you need out of a CNC machining metal cutting tool?

That’s simple, right?

  • Easy installation/adjustment
  • Reliable rigidity
  • Solid durability
  • High precision (of course)

How you want a tool to perform is cut and dried. What’s challenging for many engineers in CNC machine shops is how to select the right tool to make sure the job gets done properly. Of course, selecting a CNC machine cutting tool isn’t only about the performance of the tool. Cost is a huge factor, and we’ll address that in this article, too.


Tips for Using Industrial Robotics in a CNC Machine Shop

08/24/2021 | Matt Oswald

At some point, we all need some help with the heavy lifting.

In the world of CNC machining, that can mean robots to lift, position, and pack metal castings, some weighing hundreds of pounds. It also means less physical and mental stress on employees, the most valued asset of any machine shop.

Working alongside a robot can improve operator productivity by taking on repetitive, physically demanding work. Smart manufacturers use robots to increase speed, enhance efficiency, and drive repeatability, which leads to better quality.


A Career in CNC Machining Might Be Perfect For You.

08/10/2021 | Zane Mueller

At Stecker Machine, we talk to a lot of job hunters who aren’t sure about working in a CNC machine shop. The day-to-day responsibilities, the culture, the work environment … it can be intimidating.

That’s why we had a discussion with recent hire, Zane, to get his thoughts. He’s been a CNC machine operator for three months, and here’s what he’d like to share with people who may be interested in a career in CNC machining.


What is G-Code? What is M-Code? What Do They Mean in CNC Machining?

07/13/2021 | Dan Karbon and Tom Herr

As its name clearly states, CNC (computer numerical control) is automated control of machining tools using a computer. Yet, that doesn’t just happen; it requires the right coded programmed instruction.

So, what is G-code? What is M-code? And how do G-code and M-code programming actually work? This article explains each one, but first let’s touch on what programming actually is.