I have found a small (10 x 42) 3 axis Hurco CNC mill for sale that is only 30 miles from home. I'm looking to have CNC capability in my current all manual epuipment home machine shop. If this machine works out I can upgrade later.
The machine is a mid 80's vintage and appears to be clean and in good running condition. Some may think the machine is small but is about right for my garage shop, for now.
I have some questions about the controller.
First, the owner claims the Hurco controllers are very reliable.
However, when I arrived to see the machine the owner was downloading software to the machine from a laptop computer.
I don't understand what that was all about. Can someone explane??
Next, the contoller uses conversational programming. The owner gave me a quick demo and the machine ran the program. However, at this point I'm only familiar with G-code programming. The owner claims the G-code could be downloaded but he never has tried it. All they used was the conversational programming.
The machine is located in Northern Illinois. The owner is asking $3500 for the machine and has the owners manuals for it.
Hey, tell me what you guys think??? Will I regret buying this machine instead of something more modern?
The cost and time to upgrade later would make it worth while to just buy a more modern machine now. I know a shop that has 2 of these and they don't use them anymore. I can't remember the details but after chatting with the owner I wouldn't buy one that old. Hurco's from what I have been told are good machines but those are a bit to old for my taste. The shop bought a new Hurco VMC and like it alot.
There is nothing wrong with downloading the program from a laptop. The older Hurco machines had microcassette tapes.. the little door on the right hand side of the control head. They don't make the cassette players anymore. They were not the best way to store data and most of the old machines have been upgraded to a floppy drive or pc download. The BX controllers have eproms on the motherboard for the master program eliminating downloading anything but data files. Do you know if this one has been? Ask the owner if it will read in .001 or .0001. If it is in .0001 then the controller has been upgraded to a bx machine and should be a more modern controller.
Look at the ways... take the way covers off...look under the skirts... if they are rough or rusted, move on. if the machine looks like it has been taken care of.. It may be a good machine.
how many hours on the hourmeter? on Hurco's, the hour meter either ran on runtime or power ON time... either way you can quiz the owner and get an idea of how much use the machine got... hence wear.
run the spindle in all rpm's.. is it smooth? is it quiet?
If you get positive nods from the hardware part of the machine, then ask about tooling.. how much goes with the machine? vises? collets?
Why is the seller selling? Quiz him on this thoroughly to ask why he would be selling if it were productive?
Hurco conversational programming is pretty cool. I bought my first Hurco in 1980 new. I made a lot of money on it running complex parts and for its' day was an incredible machine. Yes, there are bigger, badder, mills out there. but IMHO Hurco is a great machine. It is EASY. and you can make some pretty intricate parts just by answering the block questions. The BX controller upgrade allows you to program in either conversational or G code.
I just recently bought a 1983 MB1 30x16x16 with a tool changer, the BX upgrade and a full compliment of toolholders for $800.00....and it runs! I am getting it dialed in but it seems to be pretty accurate for what I am doing.
With the Manuals that should include the electrical diagrams, you should be able to troubleshoot just about anything on it yourself. If you need parts, I know of two companies, one outside of Indianapolis and one in Tampa that can fix anything.
In this day and age, 30 miles shipping is a BIG plus. you could load that on a jerr dan wrecker and deliver it in the same day. Just block the X,Y and Z axis so you don't load the screws in transit.
Also, is the seller willing to help you get started with the programming and setup? Advice at your fingertips is always another BIG plus. If you make that part of the negotiations, it would be to your advantage... as long as you don't aggravate him with the "you should already know this" stuff. If I were you living so close to the seller, I would ask to spend a Saturday in his shop playing with it... and let him familiarize you with Hurco programming.
As for the "get a newer one" arguement.... speed costs money... how fast do you want to go? You are a hobbyist just like me... I am very happy with mine.
Just a thought....
I have, basically, the same machine. And I agree with most everything that reefcruiser is saying except for one small point. Even a BX control needs to have the "master" loaded into it. Unless it has an aftermarket board, there are no EPROMs that have the master loaded. But this is a very minor point. So long as the owner was loading the machine with a computer, he must have a tape eumulator in there and hence you are set.
Conversational programming is very easy to learn. It shouldn't be a problem for you if you only know G-code. In fact, I can find several people that would argue that the conversational format is perfect for the one-off and prototype guys. Basically you go from print to input.
I can help you out with training material for conversational. I also have manuals and schematics for the machines... even chip level stuff if you are competent at working on a machine at that level.
Please be aware that this *is* an older control. The control box is much more of a rat's nest than more modern, highly integrated, setups. But with that comes the benefit of components that you can get off the street still... if you know how to do your own repair. I can keep my Hurco going indefinitely, I think. Generally the only problem with the machines is in the tape drive (not an issue for your one) and with the myriad of connectors (a downside of the equipment that old). Beyond that, they are pretty reliable... or you can always retrofit.
You should also be aware that this is a 2.5D machine, not 3D. I have been told, however, that running in drip mode (G-code) it is a 3D machine. I haven't verified that though. Personally, 2.5D is more than enough for 99% of the hobbiests out there, I think.
Price. I think that $3500 is on the high side. Of course, you could buy it for $1500 and have to pay $1500 to ship the bugger too. As such, it is a tough call... Local is certainly nice!
Jim, I have followed your quest for buying/ retrofitting to get a CNC mill; I even thought about offering mine to you (obviously I decided to keep it). I have a similar machine as does a friend of mine. The price does eem a little high, if it is just for the mill. I paid $1,000 for mine as is, where is. I spent about $150 to move it home (18 miles) and about $1500 in tooling (including a new Kurt vise [img]smile.gif[/img] ). I replaced the vari-sheave bushings and a bearing to quieten the head a bit and put a Cedarberg static phase converter in the main electricl box. I discovered that I had an upgraded MPU board and that it has the master programs for both conversational and G-code on an Eprom. Also has the 64k of memory on board, so that the three memory boards could be disposed with. The MPU board alone is about $1,100 so I sort of got a great deal here.
My point is: There are deals out there, you just have to look. I personally like the Hurco as it seems to be rather straight-forward, and underneath it is a Kondia vertical mill. Mine had 15,000 hours on the clock and my friend's had 10,000 hours.
Go back and look at some of the threads regarding Hurco's. Particularly the one I started back in December. I got a lot of good advice and learned a lot in that thread alone. If you do buy it, there seems to be a lot of expertise on this board, and between us, I'm sure we have most every bit of available documentation. I use Buddy Maughon of Accurate Machine Tool Svc in Lawrencville, Ga for circuit board repair and trouble shooting advice. My friend had a thermally unstable Servo Drive board, and we both had our MPU boards updated by Buddy.
You might take a look at this KMB1 Hurco on ebay.
If the link doesn't work, it's item # 7546012950. I'll guess it goes for near the opening bid amount.
You guys are a wealth of information.
Jim C,: Yep, I have seen that mill on Ebay. In fact, I have probably seen every CNC mill listed on Ebay for the last 6 months. I'm starting dream about all these dam machines in my sleep!
I used to have four of em withthe tool chucker tool changer... The one that would throw tools across the shop. Never did get those tool changers to work right.
I have a KM1, which is a hurco worked over bp series 1.
I replaced the encoders with us digital
stuck on some geckos
mach2 (now mach3)
and have been cutting parts since.
3500 is WAY too much for what is essentially, in today's terms for a production shop, scrap iron. These had a .001 resolution from the factory, and you can bet it's out of that since.
I would say to the guy "look, you are far closer to my house, and it's only going to cost me about 250-400 to have it delivered, so I would like to hear, from you, what the least you would take without being insulted..." -he'll say something - "Well, I hope this doesn't piss you off, as it will insult you, what do you think of 1500?" (1500? because I think it's work 1000-1500 and shipping saves
If you are looking for a hobby machine, something to learn on, play with and learn to do some repairs and make some parts, then I'd look to get the price down a bit and take a dive.
Now if you want to make money in you "Hobby" shop instead of learning to deal with a machines short comings, I'd look into a newwer machine. I still have my first CNC. A Bridgeport/Centroid retrofit, made me money and still works well.
However, by the time it takes me to download a program and set up the retrofit machine. I could write a program, set up and run some jobs in my new machines.
Its all about your needs.