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    I understand, but I need to make CAM work. I can't keep that kind of logic for my product in a controller that might fail, especially if it's old.
    You are really hung up on this CAM thing.. And who cares if you lose the program in the machine, the program
    is really nothing, the information is in your print..

    2 axis lathe.. Conversational is your buddy.. In 15 years I have never CAMed a lathe program, either
    conversational, or finger banging.. Like OX said, generally there is nothing to it unless you have
    a ton of oddball intersecting arcs or splines.

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    Buying a reliable used CNC lathe is one thing...but do you know how to run it?

    YOU get to decide how to hold the parts, how to machine the parts, what workholding you will need, what tooling you will need, how to measure the parts, etc. etc....

    It takes A LOT of experience to be a decent CNC process engineer/programmer/machinist.

    CNC machining looks easy on the outside looking in, but so does brain surgery. Miss one little thing, one decimal point, one tool hanging out too much, one wrong feed/speed/d-o-c, there's just too many little details that have to be right to have a successful outcome.

    If you are trying to grow a product-line business, I can't see having enough time in the day to learn CNC machining on-the-fly.

    Sub out the work until you can hire a skilled CNC machinist...then let him take the reins when your new/used machine comes in.

    ToolCat Greg

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    Quote Originally Posted by cnctoolcat View Post
    Buying a reliable used CNC lathe is one thing...but do you know how to run it?
    Details...

    I just came back from fixing a machine that I used to own. The customer has gone through a slug of $12/hr operators who know how to push the green button and tighten the vise. They have no machinists or programmers. I wrote all of the programs and made the fixtures before I sold them the machine.

    When things are working, it's OK. As soon as they have the slightest problem, they are totally lost. 2 years on and I still have to tell them how to set the tools about once a month. I even typed out a procedure.

    There is no replacement for experience. But, there's also no excuse for ignorance. You can learn machining. It's not magic. The question is if it makes sense for you to dedicate the time and money it will take to get up to speed.

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    To the OP,

    Unless you really are looking at long term high end production WTF are you trying to part off that large of diameter unless it needs parallelism to the front face? I would want that too, but the cost of the machine just went way up.

    What you do is you get a small used HAAS SL-10 or something that size. Flip the jaw or get custom to face and turn slug,, flip and mount in soft jaws and grip on o.d you turned to face to length.

    Also in fusion360 unless you buy the processor package you still have no way of getting it to the machine. So it will generate basic g-code with standard version. You copy and paste that into code you do at the control or just write all in note pad then load into controller. Bang zoom done.

    I think you are outside your realm to be honest.

    Ps- I have worked on a part VERY similar to what you are describing for the food industry and i did it this way. Hole was done on mill.

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    Yep, we all started at the top don't'cha know?



    -------------------

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    Ox

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    I do appreciate the advice, it's good to get an idea of where everyone is coming from, and I know this will still come at every stage that I should be subbing out the parts. And while I understand it, I won't be doing it anymore. You can say that your shop is better and I just need to specify everything, that's fine, but only 1 shop was really willing to do what it took to work with me, and they went out of business (not on my project)....wonder why! I don't expect the world to be different or unrealistic, this is why I want to do it myself, mostly because I can, but also because in the end I will have a better product. I CARE more about my product than anyone else, and I don't need to do it, I just do it for fun and to make a little side income.

    I know everyone may think I don't need CAM, and maybe I don't "need" it, but I won't buy a machine that can't handle code direct from Fusion 360 (with some tweaking is fine), there's just more risk than I want at that point, not knowing if something can be done before buying. Yes I have milled features that will not be straight forward in conversational...can I do them on a mill if I were to buy one as well? Maybe, but at this point I'd really like to stick with just a lathe if it is possible.

    To those saying I'm outside my realm, for sure...but I can guarantee you I'll get it done, I just don't have a timeline on when it needs to be up and rolling, so I don't see the problem. I'm not planning on making payments on the machine, so it can sit and I can learn what I need to. I also don't expect that 30k will be my only costs, just that is what I want the machine to be at or under because I KNOW there'll be many other associated costs to get a fully functional shop going.

    Right now I have the main suggestions for going with anything with a Fanuc or maybe some versions of Mazak's controller. Anything else to add to the list? Are lightly used Romi lathes worth looking at and are they available?

    I may still have to look at new rebranded Chinese machines as well, I know they aren't favored here, but unless I can find a good condition used machine (and a person to evaluate said machine), it's looking more complex than I had hoped. Especially since a new retrofit control system doesn't seem like a good idea, which I was somewhat planning to be my backup plan.

    Again, appreciate all suggestions, even ones I'm not taking!

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    Good machines are not hard to find.

    If you buy china junk or a low end off brand machine with no support you will regret it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by droshi View Post
    I do appreciate the advice, it's good to get an idea of where everyone is coming from, and I know this will still come at every stage that I should be subbing out the parts. And while I understand it, I won't be doing it anymore. You can say that your shop is better and I just need to specify everything, that's fine, but only 1 shop was really willing to do what it took to work with me, and they went out of business (not on my project)....wonder why! I don't expect the world to be different or unrealistic, this is why I want to do it myself, mostly because I can, but also because in the end I will have a better product. I CARE more about my product than anyone else, and I don't need to do it, I just do it for fun and to make a little side income.

    I know everyone may think I don't need CAM, and maybe I don't "need" it, but I won't buy a machine that can't handle code direct from Fusion 360 (with some tweaking is fine), there's just more risk than I want at that point, not knowing if something can be done before buying. Yes I have milled features that will not be straight forward in conversational...can I do them on a mill if I were to buy one as well? Maybe, but at this point I'd really like to stick with just a lathe if it is possible.

    To those saying I'm outside my realm, for sure...but I can guarantee you I'll get it done, I just don't have a timeline on when it needs to be up and rolling, so I don't see the problem. I'm not planning on making payments on the machine, so it can sit and I can learn what I need to. I also don't expect that 30k will be my only costs, just that is what I want the machine to be at or under because I KNOW there'll be many other associated costs to get a fully functional shop going.

    Right now I have the main suggestions for going with anything with a Fanuc or maybe some versions of Mazak's controller. Anything else to add to the list? Are lightly used Romi lathes worth looking at and are they available?

    I may still have to look at new rebranded Chinese machines as well, I know they aren't favored here, but unless I can find a good condition used machine (and a person to evaluate said machine), it's looking more complex than I had hoped. Especially since a new retrofit control system doesn't seem like a good idea, which I was somewhat planning to be my backup plan.

    Again, appreciate all suggestions, even ones I'm not taking!
    I'd encourage you to go for your dream. Having the 'power to do' can pay off big dividends in the future. How do people even live without their own machine tools?

    I use OneCNC for my lathe programming. It is overkill for what little I need to do with it, turns out I rerun many of my old programs, and barely fire up the CAM enough to stay acquainted with it. I think the biggest danger of CAM for lathe is what happens before and after each operation. The toolpath is easy: making sure the tool clears the work and returns to a safe place is most important. Generally, this makes lathe programs bulkier than necessary with safe moves galore written in. It doesn't necessarily make parts in the fastest way possible. For that, you need to understand gcode pretty well yourself, so you can edit out what doesn't need to be there, even joining operations safely without unnecessary moves to home, etc.

    I bought a junk American Tool lathe back in 1996 and had a Mitsubishi retrofit done professionally to it. I paid $6k for the junk machine, and spent around $50k more to get it running. It has a 3.125" spindle bore capacity, and I get full use of that bore diameter because it has an air operated chuck on the front, so no drawtube. Back then, that's what you paid to get something decent, as new stuff was $100k or better. But a lot of good used cnc has been on the market since then. As for the age of the control, hell 1996 is practically brand new so far as lathes go.

    I've no complaints with it, it runs standard gcode, there is no conversational on it. Good? Bad? I dunno and don't care. I think the few programs you are going to run makes pretty near any sort of programming feasible.

    For 1/2" thick parts, I'd sure think hard about getting blanks laser cut, pop the hole in and turn on a mandrel if the OD is important. You lose 20% of your stock on every part off, plus the grief of getting a perfectly consistent part off. If the part isn't flat when parted, you haven't accomplished much because a secondary op is required anyway. And scrap turnings aren't worth squat, but the laser guys can probably get a fair return for the scrap plate left over, so they can process and sell you the material pretty cheap.

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    Thanks, I do think the key to finding a good machine will be a local or other expert who can evaluate a machine for me. Again I wouldn't know what I'm looking for to see how good something is at the moment. I'm sure after buying my first lathe I'll become familiar. I'm also relatively confident I can fix the machine myself for the electronic/control side as I've worked in that area on the industrial side, but the time it takes to get going is what concerns me as if I had to rebuild a control system from the ground up I know I would be at that project for many months.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EndlessWaltz View Post
    To the OP,

    Unless you really are looking at long term high end production WTF are you trying to part off that large of diameter unless it needs parallelism to the front face? I would want that too, but the cost of the machine just went way up.

    What you do is you get a small used HAAS SL-10 or something that size. Flip the jaw or get custom to face and turn slug,, flip and mount in soft jaws and grip on o.d you turned to face to length.

    Also in fusion360 unless you buy the processor package you still have no way of getting it to the machine. So it will generate basic g-code with standard version. You copy and paste that into code you do at the control or just write all in note pad then load into controller. Bang zoom done.

    I think you are outside your realm to be honest.

    Ps- I have worked on a part VERY similar to what you are describing for the food industry and i did it this way. Hole was done on mill.
    I suppose you would have to see the design to know how it can be done, but I would like to avoid flipping if possible, 3-jaw chuck won't be able to grip it on one of the jaws on the outside, though I have another feature maybe I can grip from after face grooving is done. Still since the whole amount isn't going to be parted off, I was hoping that going from 2" to 0.75" part off would be possible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by droshi View Post
    Thanks for the links, it is hard to find out exactly what to look at, there are a lot available, but checking out Mazak for example, looks like I should find an EIA ready controller, which no guarantees which ones have it? Maybe wouldn't be expensive to add, so I don't know if it should break a deal.

    Fanuc also looks like it's more or less ready to go with g-code from what others have said here, but will have to see. Maybe I can keep a program with me to load and test on potential machines.
    Waiting for one of the Mazak guys to chime in on this. I forget the exact year but there's a point where Mazak started putting EIA on all of their controllers - I think it might have started on the T-Plus which was sometime around '95. Also, via RS and proper software you'd be able to transfer any and all Mazatrol programs that you write to be backed up onto your computer. I don't mean to keep beating the topic as it seems you're set on g-code, but thought you ought to know.

    I've programmed and run quite a few lathes with Fanuc controllers, all the way from late 70s vintage machines with 5 $ 6T up to brand new ones with Fanuc 31i. It doesn't seem likely to me that you're just going to plug in a stock program and run it off any Fanuc controlled machine you might be looking at. Fanuc gives the legos to the MTB, but there's no instructions per se, and they're going to put that shit together however they want.
    Last edited by dodgin; 12-21-2017 at 11:53 AM. Reason: Missed an entire page of posts, sorry if information already covered.

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    I wouldn't want to part that piece off, especially if your new to running a lathe.

    I would get a decent saw, saw off blanks.

    machine one side of the blank, put the hole in and chamfer the edge, turn around, machine other side and chamfer the hole. After the facing ops are finished, I'd put a piece od aluminum in the chuck, machine it leaving a boss in the middle with a tapped hole in the center. Put the faced off blank on using a large washer and bolt, then finish the OD and chamfer the edges.

    I used to do that on disks I made for a printing company. Worked out OK. Doing it this way you could use any small CNC lathe that could handle that diameter of part, you wouldn't then need to be concerned with bore diameter.

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    Let's review what you want to do and figure out how to do this.

    First the product requirements:

    1/2" thick disk of 3" round 304 ss, off center tapped hole(s) among other features. Let's make the disk and figure out the details later.

    You want to load a 3+ inch round to 304 in a lathe chuck and without support cut off 1/2" thick pieces. How long a piece can you hold before the stickout becomes dangerous from a broken/grabbed parting tool? What do you do with the drop left in the chuck? On the plus side, accurate OD, thickness and finish. On the minus, a lot of scrap drops. Still have secondary operation to drill and tap hole(s).

    Another option, saw cutoff disks, then finish in the lathe or other machine. Pluses, safer, little or no drops. Minus, a lot of handling, might require finished OD on raw stock. Alternate, double disk ground blanks.

    Tom

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    Quote Originally Posted by droshi View Post
    It's not impossible, I could also just pay more and buy a new machine. However with my current product and sales, it just doesn't make financial sense to do that. In a year or so it might and I may be flipping this current machine and buying something awesome new in cash. But currently I don't want to take that risk, either with cash or credit.

    Resell value also means some to me because of that, but in a year a $30k machine would have paid itself off a few times and I should have a mill as well by the end of the year...assuming all goes well. If things don't then no huge debt problems for me.
    My last comments on this subject. first I'm near 100% sure that if you bought the Mazak I suggested (assuming it’s in good shape and it seems to be) in my first post you would not need to 'flip' that machine in a year and if your successful it would still be around many years later. That means less overhead and more profit. Critical in a new business. I've started two successfully.

    Resell? Yes, on the Mazak they are in demand. However, as I said it likely would not be necessary.

    Programming as others have said is a snap. One week of practice and you’re a near expert. EIA (full G code option) is available. When I bought my new Mazak (years ago) EIA option at that time was 3 or 4K more to the machine cost but you could add later if you wanted it. Everyone I have ever talked to that was going to add it later did not. No reason to...absolutely the fastest programming system you can get on a lathe.

    I've setup, programmed, and had running some pretty complex turned parts in less time than you can post your G-code and down load to the machine. I bet there are at least a half dozen other Mazak lathe owners reading this post that would agree with me.

    Good luck on whatever you decide to do.
    Last edited by scadvice; 12-21-2017 at 07:34 PM.

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    I think you will find you will be making these from blanks and flipping for a second op. No parting involved at all.

    I make parts that are 14" diameter and 2" thick. I use step jaws to hold the rough blanks then I flip in the same jaws to hold the finished side. Easily hold .0015 parallelism with removing and installing the jaws. I have to recut them a couple times a year or if I have a crash.

    A lot of guys recommend cutting from plate. I find that is expensive for most materials and having blanks sawed from barstock is much lower cost/faster. It depends on your resources I guess.

    Another reason to do the part in 2 ops is how do you catch the part when you part it off? If it is held in the chuck you just pull it out. Parting can work, but if you're new to CNC lathe stuff this is not for beginners.

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    Quote Originally Posted by droshi View Post
    Thanks, I do think the key to finding a good machine will be a local or other expert who can evaluate a machine for me.
    My checklist for a used machine.

    1) Did they make a lot of them?
    2) can I get parts... EASILY.
    3) Can I get support?

    secondary...

    Its always nice when you have a problem at 2am on a Sunday and you can
    come here(PM) and ask a question and have an answer by 2:15, 3 more answers
    by 2:45, and back up and running by 3am..

    Its also nice that when you do have to buy a part, that its sitting on the shelf
    and will be in your hands Tuesday.. Double bonus if it doesn't cost an arm
    and a leg...

    If there weren't a lot made, odds are parts and support are going
    to be difficult to get.. If everybody and their grandmother has one, you know
    you can get support and parts and they should be supported for a good long while.




    what concerns me as if I had to rebuild a control system from the ground up I know I would be at that project for many months.
    Don't even think that route.. Machine tools aren't PC's, they run for damn near ever.. I'm
    still running an '84 Mazak out here.. And she may be a bit slow, but she's reliable.. Besides
    right now 15-20 year old machines are going dirt cheap..

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ox View Post
    You are WAY too concerned about using your CAM on a 2 axis lathe, especially one that you are going to run dedicated work on, instead of creating new prog's every day.

    Most 2 axis lathe programs can be written on 4 pages of hand written code or less. Unless you have intertwined arc's all over the place, it is very easy stuff. Ox
    ^^^^
    What he said. And regarding using the spindle bore without the draw tube, if you can't use the machine completely automatically there is no point in programmed operation.

    If you expect to stand there with a chuck wrench you don't need a CNC.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oldwrench View Post
    ^^^^
    What he said. And regarding using the spindle bore without the draw tube, if you can't use the machine completely automatically there is no point in programmed operation.

    If you expect to stand there with a chuck wrench you don't need a CNC.

    Well then, I guess we need to find him a barfeeder then too eh?

    I don't think that his volumes dictate that just yet....



    Also note that you may not get the surface finish that you are hoping for on the cut-off in 304.
    You may need to flip it over and re-chuck it later for a clean-up pass anyhow.

    If you go with the smaller machine and saw blanks, you will get into a cheaper machine, and less power consumption. Maybe not enough to matter tho...


    ------------------

    Think Snow Eh!
    Ox

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobw View Post
    My checklist for a used machine.

    1) Did they make a lot of them?
    2) can I get parts... EASILY.
    3) Can I get support?

    secondary...

    Its always nice when you have a problem at 2am on a Sunday and you can
    come here(PM) and ask a question and have an answer by 2:15, 3 more answers
    by 2:45, and back up and running by 3am..

    Its also nice that when you do have to buy a part, that its sitting on the shelf
    and will be in your hands Tuesday.. Double bonus if it doesn't cost an arm
    and a leg...

    If there weren't a lot made, odds are parts and support are going
    to be difficult to get.. If everybody and their grandmother has one, you know
    you can get support and parts and they should be supported for a good long while.
    It's a pity Fadal never made a lathe (at least past the prototype stage)

    Using you criteria it's pretty much Mori and mazak

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    Quote Originally Posted by triumph406 View Post
    I wouldn't want to part that piece off, especially if your new to running a lathe.

    I would get a decent saw, saw off blanks.

    machine one side of the blank, put the hole in and chamfer the edge, turn around, machine other side and chamfer the hole. After the facing ops are finished, I'd put a piece od aluminum in the chuck, machine it leaving a boss in the middle with a tapped hole in the center. Put the faced off blank on using a large washer and bolt, then finish the OD and chamfer the edges.

    I used to do that on disks I made for a printing company. Worked out OK. Doing it this way you could use any small CNC lathe that could handle that diameter of part, you wouldn't then need to be concerned with bore diameter.
    Thank you! This does give me another option, and may be the route I would have to go.

    Quote Originally Posted by TDegenhart View Post
    Let's review what you want to do and figure out how to do this.

    First the product requirements:

    1/2" thick disk of 3" round 304 ss, off center tapped hole(s) among other features. Let's make the disk and figure out the details later.

    You want to load a 3+ inch round to 304 in a lathe chuck and without support cut off 1/2" thick pieces. How long a piece can you hold before the stickout becomes dangerous from a broken/grabbed parting tool? What do you do with the drop left in the chuck? On the plus side, accurate OD, thickness and finish. On the minus, a lot of scrap drops. Still have secondary operation to drill and tap hole(s).

    Another option, saw cutoff disks, then finish in the lathe or other machine. Pluses, safer, little or no drops. Minus, a lot of handling, might require finished OD on raw stock. Alternate, double disk ground blanks.

    Tom
    Yes that was basically the plan, saw up 3-6" lengths and machine them down that way, parting off. Drops aren't as much of a concern to me. Handling seems like more work if I can avoid it. But certainly may be my only choice if it means a bigger machine I can't afford. Would love to have a sub spindle and all that fancy stuff too and never touch the part! But I get that it's just not realistic.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ox View Post
    Well then, I guess we need to find him a barfeeder then too eh?

    I don't think that his volumes dictate that just yet....



    Also note that you may not get the surface finish that you are hoping for on the cut-off in 304.
    You may need to flip it over and re-chuck it later for a clean-up pass anyhow.

    If you go with the smaller machine and saw blanks, you will get into a cheaper machine, and less power consumption. Maybe not enough to matter tho...


    ------------------

    Think Snow Eh!
    Ox
    I don't think that I need through spindle bore size or a bar feeder, but maybe someday I hope to need it!

    At the moment volume just isn't high enough and I can handle the parts to feed the machine some.

    Surface finish isn't my biggest concern, at the moment my product is pretty industrial and really that part of it gets covered half way by a silicone sleeve. That is if I had to pick. I could certainly offer polished or other finished units at a higher cost, but I think most of my customers likely wouldn't pay that price difference.


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