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Thread: Fadal Mill

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    flathead's Avatar
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    Default Fadal Mill

    Hi,
    I am, thinking about purchasing a 1998 Fadal mill. Model 4020 . It's local and the price seems pretty good. I am told that I can have a tech guy survey the machine. If it checks out O.K. can I rely on it being dependable ? I would appreciate some opinions ASAP, as I have a need for the machine right now!


    Thanks, Jim

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    Edster is online now Titanium
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    The two fadals I've owned have been dependable. They needed a little work but didn't break down on me. Their a little flimsy but a box way 4020 is probably a lot better than the linear way machines I owned. The good part is there pretty simple and parts arent super expensive.
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    Its a Fadal, a 14 year old one at that. you can have a tech survey it, probably won't tell you much. Fadal's are sold for mostly one reason... They weren't maintained, which leads to lack of position and it can't take a cut.

    Which means you are out a few hundred dollars and a few days bringing that sucker back to new.

    Fadal's do break, they probably break more than most good Japanese machines, BUT.. they are cheap and easy to fix. I've found they break a lot less when ham fisted monkey's aren't crashing them all the time.

    A Fadal is what it is. Its the Fisher-Price of machine tools, its not a rocket, tool changes are so slow you will consider suicide. Rapids aren't crazy, though modestly respectable. They are dead stupid simple, it does not take a rocket scientist to keep them running. Parts are everywhere(and cheap compared to a lot of machines), as is support, pretty much the same machine from the 80's up into the 2000's.

    They can be very accurate and pretty damn rigid.... When maintained, which is really not a big deal and its cheap to bring them back to snuff.

    A Fadal is what it is. Its a low cost commodity machine.

    I like 'em because I can fix 'em. They break, they break a lot less when showered with 'love' (and code that doesn't crash them). A '98 should have a 15hp continuous spindle, 22.5k at 5 minutes, and the machine can take that kind of cut(IF MAINTAINED). 8k rpm continuous, 10k for 30 minutes, a bit over $3k to put in a 12k rpm spindle.

    They can be insanely accurate when tuned properly, which is really easy to do, though it may take a bit of time.

    Dollars to doughnuts.. I don't think you can beat them for getting into the mid-low-end side of the machining game at a low price with a reliable, easy to fix, well supported, mostly accurate, fairly rigid machine.

    I think they're good stuff. I bought an entire Fadal for less than we spent at my old shop for a Mazak spindle... and I loved that machine, but the $13k spindle, not something I really needed to worry about out on my own, a $3k spindle, I can live with that.
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    Thumbs up Hear! Hear!

    ...I second that Bobw... They can make you cry at first but...smile all the way to the bank later.

    Steve

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    I think he is generalizing way too much about Fadal machines. If you buy a small Fadal you arent taking huge hogging cuts because ti is a linear way machine however the boxed way machine can last decades spinning fast and taking huge cuts while maintaining accuracy. Great machines for the money.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedie View Post
    I think he is generalizing way too much about Fadal machines. If you buy a small Fadal you arent taking huge hogging cuts because ti is a linear way machine however the boxed way machine can last decades spinning fast and taking huge cuts while maintaining accuracy. Great machines for the money.
    I've never played with one of the linear machines, those would be all the VMC15's and anything with an 'A' on the end of it, I think.

    The 4020 he's asking about should be a box way machine, unless its a 4020A, which is a fairly rare duck, I'd run from that.
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    GBeaman is offline Cast Iron
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    I remembers seeing the 12k spindle cartridge replacement. I found it at FadalCNC.com. Is this the one you are talking about?
    SPN-0336A
    It is $5k. I am really not splitting hairs or trying to start a fight. I thought that maybe you were sourcing them somewhere else. I need to put a new cartridge in my 1992 VMC 20 and was debating to myself if the 12k spindle was worth the extra 2 grand. I am leaning towards the rebuilt cartridges for $2800 on ebay. The guys seems competent and friendly on the phone. What would your recommendations be?
    To the original question, I am shocked at how cheap it is to put all new thrust bearings and gibs straps in the machine. If the box ways aren't damaged and the turcite is OK, that will bring back a ton of repeatability, and make it quiet. Attend to the way lube system to prevent failures and the drawbar washers and plate.
    My machine had problems with the spindle drive pulley/belt system wearing out. The Previous Owner said they spent some serious coin on replacing the pulleys and belts with a better flat belt system. When I say serious he is probably talking $2k. Ok maybe not too serious.
    I remember thinking that around $200 would cover a set of angular contact bearing for each axis and maybe even a support bearing for the other end of the screw.
    Here is the spindle on ebay for $2700.
    FADAL Rebuilt Spindle 10,000RPM | eBay
    -Greg

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobw View Post
    I've never played with one of the linear machines, those would be all the VMC15's and anything with an 'A' on the end of it, I think.

    The 4020 he's asking about should be a box way machine, unless its a 4020A, which is a fairly rare duck, I'd run from that.
    The VMC15's are linear. The VMC3016L are linear. The L at the end means linear. The 4020A's had linear guides on the x and y and the z was boxed way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by flathead View Post
    Hi,
    I am, thinking about purchasing a 1998 Fadal mill. Model 4020 . It's local and the price seems pretty good. I am told that I can have a tech guy survey the machine. If it checks out O.K. can I rely on it being dependable ? I would appreciate some opinions ASAP, as I have a need for the machine right now!


    Thanks, Jim
    What was the price?

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    Quote Originally Posted by GBeaman View Post
    I remembers seeing the 12k spindle cartridge replacement. I found it at FadalCNC.com. Is this the one you are talking about?
    WOW!!! they went up in price, the first time I saw that 12k spindle it was only a tick over $3k. Doesn't seem like that was all that long ago, time flies when your having fun/getting old.

    Still beats $11.5k for a fricken Mazak spindle, $11.5k core charge, and $2700 to have it installed so the warranty would be valid, and the damn thing puked its guts 3 days out of warranty. That machine, an FJV was sweet though.

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    Default Fadal

    Thanks to everyone for the replies. I am planning to look at the machine Monday.
    I was told a good way to check them out is to cut a circle and check for roundness.
    Is there anything else I should look for?


    Thanks, Jim

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    Checking Fadal


    1. Go to Command mode and type in "BL" this is your backlash setting. It is in tenths to if its 20 or more thats .002" backlash...not a deal breaker. Once you get over 30 or .003 in backlash its a fast move to .040..ect and you'll most likely be putting in ballscrews and thrust bearings.

    2. Listen to all the axis's movement. Listen for growls, howls...this will tell you the condition of the Ball screw and Thrust bearings and the condition of the bearings in the servo motors. Pay good attention to the Z axis and if you hear a crackle on its way down then your looking at a new counter weight support chain...easy to install but still a $500-600 fix by a trained person.

    3. Spindle should sound and shift well. Crank it up to 10,000rpm after running it lower. The Fadal if it is a 10,000rpm machine will have a 2 ratio option. The first ratio is at 45-2500 and from 2501-10000rpm. When you go from say 2000rpm to 3000rpm by typing in M3S3500 from MDI mode you will hear the air valves farting and the shifter in the head activate. Listen closely to any squeeks and sounds. Just because it may sound a litle rough doesnt necessarily mean its a bad spindle...could be a bad shift wheel bearing.

    4. Ask them about crashes and do a cold start on the machine. Push in Estop and power up the machine by flipping the breaker box lever, waiting 5 seconds and hold in the green button in the back for 5 seconds. Then go to the front and release the estop. Once you release the estop if you hear and banging you could be looking at a new coupler or a new mount. This indicates a crash happened. Not a deal breaker but definately something you'll want to know.

    5. Check to see what power they have the machine setup for. Fadals if they are hooked to 3 phase came with a multitap transformer. This means you can hook it to any 3 phase power by following the schematic on the back cabinet door and swapping wires.
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    Default Fadal

    Speedie,

    Thank you for your reply, I really appreciate the advice!

    Best regards, Jim.

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    jdj
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edster View Post
    The VMC15's are linear. The VMC3016L are linear. The L at the end means linear. The 4020A's had linear guides on the x and y and the z was boxed way.

    Yep. I've got a 3016L and a 4020A. That is the jist of it.

    Jeff

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    MBG
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    Nice seeing you are getting into cnc jim. It's been to long you been on the manuals.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scadvice View Post
    ...I second that Bobw... They can make you cry at first but...smile all the way to the bank later.

    Steve
    Agree here. Shop I worked at bought a '91 model 4020 a few years ago.
    I got madder than a wet hen trying to figure some of it out. Once I did, it
    ran well. Agreed on the slow rapids and tool changes.

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