Adding Roll Up Way Covers to HAAS TM1 CNC Milling Machine
The HAAS TM1 is commonly sold without way covers. The Y-axis linear rails are exposed, and the Y-axis ball screw has a spring cover that can still allow chips and coolant through. The exposed linear rails can get damaged, and they collect a lot of debris, which can get through the ball-bearing block wipers and contaminate the ball bearings. HAAS does sell metal front and rear covers for the linear rails, but they are expensive and still don't cover the ballscrew.
TM-1 Y-axis front way cover costs $1,195, and it's not clear if that's for one or a pair of them. Regardless, it is expensive to add way covers from HAAS. I don't believe that a rear way cover is available because there's not enough clearance at the rear when the table is all the way back.
Y axis travel is 16 in.
Z axis travel is 16 in.
The Y axis linear rail spacing outer width is 17.5 in. A 24in wide cover will give plenty of coverage.
FRONT WAY COVER DESIGN
The front has an easy solution. Use a piece of heavy duty rubber, attach it to the front of the table (Y axis motion area only), install a roller over the area above the front Y axis bearing, hang the rubber over the roller, and add a weight to the end of the rubber. This mod will be a lot easier if the front handle is removed. The front handle won't be accessible anyways, so it doesn't matter. However, the servo motor parameters will need to be modified due to the lower rotating mass, and this is how to change that.
REAR WAY COVER DESIGN
The rear is more difficult, and will require a cover that collapses or rolls up. The easiest could be a spring retract rubber cover that rolls up. Here's a concept of how to use a spring loaded roller cover that only covers the Y axis ways and ball screw. The roller is on the underside of the cover, so the chips dump over the edge as the table moves back in Y. A brush should be installed on the underside of the roller to prevent stuck chips from being rolled up into the layers.
It's possible to protect both the Y axis and Z axis simultaneously with the same rubber roll up cover. The roller can be mounted on the Z axis, right under the underside of the spindle neck. The rubber cover decends down towards the intersection of the Y axis rails and the rear wall of the machine. It goes under a roller (made from several narrow rollers to prevent smashing chips into the cover), and turns horizontally to cover the Y axis rails and ballscrew. The cover attaches to the back of the table (Y axis motion only).
SPRING ROLLER COVER
This company, AKON Skirting and Bellows, makes retractable way covers designed for CNC and industrial equipment. Unfortunately, they are quite expensive, starting at close to $1000. That's still less expensive than the HAAS way covers and covers the ball screw also. The $955 price is just the roller, no cover. The cover with front brush doubles the cost.
ALTERNATIVE SPRING ROLL UP COVER SOURCES
I haven't found any alternative spring rollers (only the roller) that could work for this. Everything is sold with the fabric. Fabric baby gates could provide a decent spring roller, but the life cycle on these is probably very low. Remove the fabric it comes with and install the neoprene coated nylon. It's so cheap, it's worth a try.
The simplest way to protect the linear ways and ball screw from the direct stream of chips is the following design. The chips will flow down to the rear gutter which redirects the chips to the sides. The downside is that the linear rails are not well protected from the sides.
Here's a list of materials that AKON has available for roll-up covers. Since machining steel can make very hot chips, it seems that the 40 oz neoprene-coated nylon or the 60 oz hypalon coated nylon are the minimum acceptable covers.
McMaster sells 40 oz neoprene-coated nylon (0.040" thick). This could easily be used to cover the front ways using the roller and weight.
40oz neoprene covered nylon is also sold by the yard at other websites for much less expensive than Mcmaster
It may also be possible to cover the rear ways by using a roller under the spindle neck, a roller weight hanging the fabric with the fabric tied back up under the neck. This would require a piece of material about 5 ft in length.
The blue roller is mounted to the head of the mill. The white roller under the head is a weight, and is free to move up and down with the cover. It pulls the cover (orange) tight, removing slack from the cover as the table or Z-axis moves.
The problem will be chips accumulating in the bottom roller area. Most chips will reach the roller when the Y axis is moving towards the rear of the machine. Chips can also enter the roller when the are thrown above the roller, and the Y axis is moving forward.
An air or coolant blast could be used to remove the chips before they reach the roller.
Adding a brush before the roller to prevent chips getting into the roller
A segmented roller will reduce the amount of chips getting smashed into the cover fabric, but make it more difficult to blast off the chips.
Raising the roller, such that the cover fabric is angled forward towards the table will make the chips collect closer to the table, where they can be air/coolant blasted away. The downside of this is that the cover fabric will be moved further away from the rails, exposing them more to chips from the side. Although, at 2 ft wide, the cover has a large coverage over the rails.
Using a brush style roller could reduce chip damage to the cover, but will also catch chips and be more difficult to clean or blast out. The brush doesn't need to be continuous across the whole length. It could be cut into short sections. Example of a brush roller.
Having a spring-loaded roller at the rear would solve most of the potential chip accumulation issues, because the roller could be on the underside of the cover fabric, and the chips would roll off the edge. A brush on the underside would remove stuck-on chips, before they enter between the layers of cover on the roller.
MEASUREMENTS OF THE REAR Y AXIS RAIL AREA TO COVER
The rail to rail outer width is 17.5in.
A cover should be at least 24in wide. This leaves some width for aluminum side guards to go under the cover.
The max table to rear wall distance is 16in.
The max Z distance is 32in.
The total extended length of the cover should be about 48in + a few more inches for tolerance.
The roller needs to be mounted high up under the neck, otherwise it could interfere with stuff on the table, like vises.