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  1. #1
    Spencer in NH is offline Hot Rolled
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    Default Adding a fourth axis - Sharp 2412 VMC

    I am a happy owner of a Sharp 2412S VMC (Fanuc MC 0i). It is used primarily for prototype work, and occasionally light production. Recently, I started thinking about adding a fourth axis. I purchased the machine new, prewired for a fourth. I called my sales guy (who I really like) to ask him to put together some options for me.

    I received a proposal for installation of a Koma Precision RNA-160R, 100mm diam. spindle, addition of the FANUC servo amp, transformer (if req'd), and axis servo.

    The price tag made me sit down and clutch my chest... about $23K.

    Are there other options I should be looking at? I have the luxury of not needing this right now, I am just investigating.

    Ideas?

  2. #2
    PMT
    PMT is offline Cast Iron
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    Unfortunatly that looks to be in the ballpark pricewise for full forth + interface/ setup.

    An indexer is your other option, probable about half that cost but then you get positioning only.

    I would think if the machine is "pre-wired" it would have the drive installed, no?

    Reason being is that the Power module must be sized for all axis and spindle. Plus panel must be cut out to accept heat sink. That is the way I have seen pre-wired fourth anyway.

  3. #3
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    Bobw is offline Diamond
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    You gotta love the "pre-wired" selling point.

    How much of that is the actual 4th itself?

    What I would guess the price breakdown would or should be.

    4th axis unit, $7k
    Driver board $2.5k
    Turn on the options in the controller $13.5k

    Maybe a controller card or an e-prom or something.

  4. #4
    metlmunchr is offline Diamond
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    Tsudakoma 4th's are about as expensive as any you'd find. A friend of mine bought a Fadal 8" dia 4th for his Fadal about 10 yrs ago for something a little less than half that price including axis drive, etc. According to him, the Fadal 4th has given good service in intermittent use. His intermittent use would mean they install the rotary and run it continuously for several days until a particular run of parts is done. Since Fadal now uses Fanuc controls it might be worthwhile to check with them to see if they can supply their rotary as a bolt on for your Fanuc based system.

    One thing he did mention when we were talking about the 4th is that they don't leave it sitting at the end of the table getting showered with coolant when they don't need it. If they need it, they put it on and plug it in. If not, its off the table.

  5. #5
    toolmaker96 is offline Hot Rolled
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    There is a big difference between 4th wired & 4th ready. 4th wired just means that all the cabling is run. 4th ready means that you have the drives, cards, etc.

  6. #6
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    ARB
    ARB is offline Titanium
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    Nearly 2/3 the price of the complete machine is a little hard to swallow for 1 more axis of movement.

    Another solution is a Haas with a control box. They work well for indexing that way and if you hold your mouth just right you can do some multiaxis contouring.

  7. #7
    Tonytn36 is offline Diamond
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    The indexer itself is going to run in the $15k range for about any brand out there, save for haas as I don't know what they run. The ones I've priced are Sankyo, Tsudakoma, Nikken, Yaskawa and one other I can't think of right now. All were in the $15-17k range. Add in the drive and option for Fanuc and yup, right about $23k (maybe gouging just a little on that number, but not a great lot)

  8. #8
    Mebfab is offline Diamond
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    I understand production quantity difference and such. But for the price of a couple hundred pounds of indexer you can buy a 3 axis bolt on kit with a knee mill, all new.

  9. #9
    Mebfab is offline Diamond
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    Of course you cant use a 3 axis mill as a fourth axis indexer. But there seems to be a price discrepancy.

  10. #10
    Tom3197 is offline Hot Rolled
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    As someone said above, that its not the best idea to leave the indexer on the table when not in use so it doesn't get showered in coolant and chips. We fab'd up a sheetmetal enclosure for ours when it is not in use, and we pretty much leave on the table most of the year since we don't need the extra space.

  11. #11
    metaltech is offline Hot Rolled
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    Quote Originally Posted by metlmunchr View Post
    Tsudakoma 4th's are about as expensive as any you'd find. A friend of mine bought a Fadal 8" dia 4th for his Fadal about 10 yrs ago for something a little less than half that price including axis drive, etc.
    As usual, you get what you pay for. The Fadal is a lot cheaper because it should be. The Tsuakoma units are on the higher end of the price scale, as is their quality. I haven't seen a brand more rugged. One of my customers has several of them on VMCs, they are rarely off the machine, and they just keep going. Idiots crash the head into the covers, rip cables off, but the table itself doesn't quit. The oldest of theirs has been in service 25 years.


    If you don't need a true 4th axis, where the CNC program has control of it and you do interpolation with other axes, you could get a rotary table. These are one-axis CNCs. They have their own controller and drive. The better ones are programmable in .001 degrees. The interfacing isn't too complex, in fact, most are rather simple. This type of unit can also be moved to other machines, even a knee mill, if the need arises. An indexer is cheaper yet, because it might index in 5 or 15 minimum increments. They're not programmable, you set stop pins or other mechanical stroke-adjusters.

  12. #12
    metlmunchr is offline Diamond
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    Quote Originally Posted by metaltech View Post
    As usual, you get what you pay for. The Fadal is a lot cheaper because it should be. The Tsuakoma units are on the higher end of the price scale, as is their quality. I haven't seen a brand more rugged. One of my customers has several of them on VMCs, they are rarely off the machine, and they just keep going. Idiots crash the head into the covers, rip cables off, but the table itself doesn't quit. The oldest of theirs has been in service 25 years.
    I know they're built like tanks. I own a THNC-301. Nowhere did I say the Fadal unit is the equal of a Tsudakoma. But Spencer didn't say he needed something that'd run 24/7 production for the next 15 years, so he has options a shop with that requirement might not consider.

    One of the problems with an accessory like this is the fact that you've got several different people handling them prior to end user purchase, with each marking them up along the way. Even in good times, you could pay $23K for this setup and you'd have a tough time getting half that much back out of it a month later. IMO this is the type of device that's well worth looking for in the used market simply because they do depreciate so fast as compared to the machines they're used on.

    Here's a 9" SMW complete with Yaskawa servo and drive that looks new for $7K on Ebay. SMW CNC ROTARY TABLE WITH DRIVE AND TAIL STOCK - eBay (item 280435347980 end time Mar-07-10 09:11:39 PST)
    Can Spencer's Fanuc control talk to the Yaskawa servo drive? I don't know, but based on the price and apparent condition, it'd certainly be worth finding out if it would.

  13. #13
    FP4NC_Finster is offline Cast Iron
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    7k for used!!??!! why not try this-

    Product Display

    FWIW, I bought on sale and paid just under 6K with a Foot Stock. It's been used on our 2 Deckel FP4NCs for over a year and has performed flawlessly, accurate and repeatable.

    Spencer, it's George in N.Y., I sent Steve up to you with the Darex. I put one of these on my Deckels, it was easy to integrate, although I had the Deckel Doctor in doing PMs at the time. We Used the stand alone box to program the indexer and an unassigned M Code slaved to a small ice cube relay that signals the Indexer's box to execute the next line in it's program. Put the relay on multiple machines and put a DB9 bulkhead mounted somewhere convenient on the control enclosure, for the Box's signal line, and use it on all your machines. It took a couple hours tops to install on two machines. If you still have my phone # and would like to talk feel free to call. If you want to call but can't find the # shoot me a PM and I"ll call.

    Missed the "Pre-wired for a Fourth" part, DOH! For a few more $$ but still way less than 20K-

    http://www.shophardinge.com/product....(1)%20RTB1000A

  14. #14
    metlmunchr is offline Diamond
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    Believe you missed the part where he didn't say indexer too.

  15. #15
    Spencer in NH is offline Hot Rolled
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    Thanks everyone for your replies. Yes, if I did it, it would be a full fourth axis and not an indexer. Good thing I am not in a rush, I have lots to learn. I'm a EE so wiring, cables and connectors don't scare me a bit. I'll keep studying.

  16. #16
    3t3d is offline Titanium
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    I found a brand new, in the crate Troyke 4th on ebay for $1100.
    The servo motor turned up, for about $100.
    Made cables, and found a driver for about $150.

    It is possible, if you keep looking.

    The trick was, I bought it when I didn't need it, but it was a bargain.
    If I waited till I needed it, there would be no way to afford it.

  17. #17
    metaltech is offline Hot Rolled
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    metlmunchr -

    My comment wasn't to find fault with what you said, so sorry if it came across that way. In fact, it wasn't intended for you, just trying to elaborate a little for Spencer on why there could be such a difference in price on two similar units.

    As far as a Yaskawa motor in the SMW working with his 0iMC, I won't say absolutely not, but I'll say I doubt it. Older controls, drives and motors that used analog were usually pretty adaptable. This 0 is digital, communicates with the drive that way, and expects certain feedback signals from the encoder. Some Fanuc and Yaskawa encoders are much alike, but others are not compatible, so the answer is, it depends. I believe the drive really needs to match the CNC due to the parameters that configure the servo system. Newer Fanucs have a param for a motor code, and when that is entered, the control then sets up pre-defined values for other params. It's also possible that there could be a difference as basic as the Fanuc drive putting out a voltage other than what the Yaskawa motor is designed for. Personally, I would opt for the proper motor, rather than trying to adapt. I guess it's too many years of trying to make one device play nice with another when they weren't intended to originally.

    Spencer -

    Making the cabling won't scare you, indeed. Getting the parameters right is the big challenge. Especially with the digital control. As an EE, you'll appreciate that in a digital world, if it's not right, it's wrong. The old analog stuff could sometimes be tweaked enough for things to work. This is actually one of the advantages of buying a package from the machine tool builder. Yes, it costs more, but they've already optimized the setup for your machine and control. That means it should be close to plug and play. That's one of the reasons that the package can carry a higher price: there is a fair amount of labor in there to determine the best params for that setup. You could buy a table on the open market for less, no doubt, but then it's up to you to make the params work. I'm sure you've seen the situation where the bulk of the work in a project was the research, planning and engineering, more than the actual implementation.

    mt

  18. #18
    Spencer in NH is offline Hot Rolled
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    MT: Very thoughtful and well said. Thank you.

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