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Advice needed on buying a new or used Tormach CNC Mill

F35Machinist

Plastic
Joined
Nov 3, 2021
Location
California
It’s tough for someone who hasn’t ever owned a machine to know what to look for. My first machine was a Fadal and it worked out great for me. I didn’t inspect it much before buying and all I knew was that it had been running before the shop I bought it from shut down. When I got it in my space, it wouldn’t tool change and threw an error code on startup. I fixed the issues by looking at the forums. Even if a machine is in worse shape than you thought, most things can be fixed if there is good support and spare parts. The most I ever had to pay for repairs on a new used machine was 4K for all new axis amps on a lathe.
 

JasHarvey

Plastic
Joined
Aug 13, 2022
AmericanMaker I just bought a used 2006 Haas Mini Mill for 20 grand with loads of tooling. That kind of deal will be hard but not impossible to find. Be patient, put some feelers out there and let people know you are looking for a machine. I was not able to see the machine or test it in person so it was quite a crapshoot. What made me decide to buy it was all the tooling that came with the machine. I was fortunate as the machine had very few issues. One of the issues it had was that tool changes were hit and miss. I took the spindle shroud off and cleaned out all the air lines and solenoids that had anything to do with tool changes. That did the trick. There were also some gaskets that were leaking. If you buy a used machine you will likely have to do some repairs and maintenance. If you're not comfortable doing that then it's probably best to avoid buying a used machine.
 

AmericanMaker

Aluminum
Joined
Nov 23, 2020
Location
Franklin, TN
AmericanMaker I just bought a used 2006 Haas Mini Mill for 20 grand with loads of tooling. That kind of deal will be hard but not impossible to find.
@JasHarvey that sounds like an amazing deal. Congrats.

Regarding the 2006 Haas ... I've been avoiding looking at any Haas mills older than 2008. It's my understanding that Haas no longer supports controllers from 2007 and earlier (the ones with the analog load meter). Meaning, any boards that fail in the old controllers can't be replaced, and Haas wont service them. The only option to get back up and running is to drop $20k on a replacement NGC controller.

Am I understanding this correctly, or am I missing something?
 
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BOB-OO

Aluminum
Joined
Dec 5, 2010
Location
NE PA
@JasHarvey that sounds like an amazing deal. Congrats.

Regarding the 2006 Haas ... I've been avoiding looking at any Haas mills older than 2008. It's my understanding that Haas no longer supports controllers from 2007 and earlier (the ones with the analog load meter). Meaning, any boards that fail in the old controllers can't be replaced, and Haas wont service them. The only option to get back up and running is to drop $20k on a replacement NGC controller.

Am I understanding this correctly, or am I missing something?
Any machine that is extremely prolific will have many 3rd party suppliers & scrapers who sell the parts required to fix machines and electronics which are no longer supported by the MFG. Hass makes a lot of machines.

You should 1st look into the independent "machine tool repair" companies in your area. Find on who has a great reputation and works on whatever machine tool you are looking to buy. They are also the exact resource your looking to ask - hay know anybody selling a good used machine? Be nice, make a few friends! They will be who you turn to for support likely more then factory Hass when buying older used equipment. They are all significantly less costly then factory support.
 

JasHarvey

Plastic
Joined
Aug 13, 2022
@JasHarvey that sounds like an amazing deal. Congrats.

Regarding the 2006 Haas ... I've been avoiding looking at any Haas mills older than 2008. It's my understanding that Haas no longer supports controllers from 2007 and earlier (the ones with the analog load meter). Meaning, any boards that fail in the old controllers can't be replaced, and Haas wont service them. The only option to get back up and running is to drop $20k on a replacement NGC controller.

Am I understanding this correctly, or am I missing something?
Bob had the perfect response to your question. We've even bought boards and parts on Ebay to get our machines at work up and running. The Haas Service technicians are slow to respond with wait times well over a month and expensive once they do the repairs. So I wouldn't worry about buying an older machine too much.
 

GiroDyno

Aluminum
Joined
Apr 19, 2021
Location
PNW
Fanuc service contracts are relatively inexpensive. We just resurrected two Hardinge VTLs from the early 90s; we got a contract for the machines knowing there would inevitably be some problem... We have fixed a few issues either via an actual tech visit or some phone support. Now that we have had two weeks of production out of those machines the contract has paid for itself and then some.
You may not get free parts out of it, but the labor and knowledge of the techs (at least in our area) is incredibly valuable.
 

AmericanMaker

Aluminum
Joined
Nov 23, 2020
Location
Franklin, TN
Since most everyone in this post has been helpful and given me some great advice, I wanted to give a quick update. It looks like I am moving forward with the 2011 Sharp SV-2412 SX VMC. I found an independent CNC machine repair company who is going to do a thorough machine inspection for me. We discussed what would be inspected and that I will meet him there to observe. Also I will be getting the service records for the machine from the original owner. It was owned by a local Aerospace company running mostly Okuma's, and this VMC was used to machine small, aluminum parts that they did not want to tie up the larger machines with. I contacted TIE here in Nashville and they can support the FANUC controller and electronics, and Sharp Industries confirmed parts are still available for that VNC. Hopefully I will wrap this up within the next 10 days. I'll post more later.

Also, I have never worked on any Fanuc controls. This VMC has a Series Oi-MD control. If anyone can direct me to some basic "get started" tutorials or information, I would appreciate it.
 
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LOTT

Hot Rolled
Joined
Nov 28, 2016
Since most everyone in this post has been helpful and given me some great advice, I wanted to give a quick update. It looks like I am moving forward with the 2011 Sharp SV-2412 SX VMC. I found an independent CNC machine repair company who is going to do a thorough machine inspection for me. We discussed what would be inspected and that I will meet him there to observe. Also I will be getting the service records for the machine from the original owner. It was owned by a local Aerospace company running mostly Okuma's, and this VMC was used to machine small, aluminum parts that they did not want to tie up the larger machines with. I contacted TIE here in Nashville and they can support the FANUC controller and electronics, and Sharp Industries confirmed parts are still available for that VNC. Hopefully I will wrap this up within the next 10 days. I'll post more later.

Also, I have never worked on any Fanuc controls. This VMC has a Series Oi-MD control. If anyone can direct me to some basic "get started" tutorials or information, I would appreciate it.
That should be a solid machine for you, as long as it's a decent deal.

There are plenty of Fanuc videos and they aren't that complicated, but there are enough weird archaic things like "punch tape" that having someone go over it in person is nice. At the very least get the machine inspector to show you loading a program, setting work coordinates, and tool lengths.
 

AmericanMaker

Aluminum
Joined
Nov 23, 2020
Location
Franklin, TN
That should be a solid machine for you, as long as it's a decent deal.

There are plenty of Fanuc videos and they aren't that complicated, but there are enough weird archaic things like "punch tape" that having someone go over it in person is nice. At the very least get the machine inspector to show you loading a program, setting work coordinates, and tool lengths.
The guy selling me the machine said he'll get me up and running with the Fanuc control. Thanks for suggesting loading a program, setting work coordinates, and tool lengths. Those are kind of important!
 

BOB-OO

Aluminum
Joined
Dec 5, 2010
Location
NE PA
Congratulations! very exciting, enjoy the ride. The manuals are extremely complete all 4k+ pages. You can find pdf online or buy from Fanuc. When your up and running I would run a local ad looking for a guy with Fanuc experience - he'll be able to help you learn to run the machine, teach you about machining, get you into some programs, setup some tooling procedures, etc- it will be the most bang for your buck you've ever spent.
 

AmericanMaker

Aluminum
Joined
Nov 23, 2020
Location
Franklin, TN
When your up and running I would run a local ad looking for a guy with Fanuc experience - he'll be able to help you learn to run the machine, teach you about machining, get you into some programs, setup some tooling procedures, etc- it will be the most bang for your buck you've ever spent.
That is a great idea, thank you!
 

JasHarvey

Plastic
Joined
Aug 13, 2022
Hello Lot, Congrats on the machine. Looks like a solid machine that should serve you well. Do you have any CAD/CAM experience? If not, that's something you are going to have to learn. Since you have the interest, it won't be difficult for you to learn. You'll want to learn some rules of thumb to avoid crashes with your new machine. May I suggest the book "CNC Trade Secrets." It's a very basic, hands on oriented book that'll help you get started.
 

AmericanMaker

Aluminum
Joined
Nov 23, 2020
Location
Franklin, TN
Do you have any CAD/CAM experience? If not, that's something you are going to have to learn.
May I suggest the book "CNC Trade Secrets." It's a very basic, hands on oriented book that'll help you get started.
I do have some CAD experience thanks to my 3D printer. However, I'm taking a really good online CAD/CAM course. It's a pretty intense deep dive. This weekend I will complete the CAD section and will start the CAM section. I just ordered the book "CNC Trade Secrets." I'll have it tomorrow. Thanks for the suggestions JasHarvey!
 

BT Fabrication

Stainless
Joined
Nov 3, 2019
Location
Ontario Canada
The guy selling me the machine said he'll get me up and running with the Fanuc control. Thanks for suggesting loading a program, setting work coordinates, and tool lengths. Those are kind of important!
Fanuc is fairly simple, even better being a newer " i " controller. I started on the older fanuc and learned by breaking a few end mills. its not all intuitive with the soft keys and the buttons to load programs, but at least it should have a built in data server in the controller for a memory card and not rs232 port like the older ones.

Just remember one thing EOB is end of block and needs to be there to finish a line command like this symbol >>>>> ;
and a tool change in MDI (Manual Data Input) is T01M06; then the input and start cycle button, and my older machine won't do it unless its at the home position to start.
T01 is tool one, T02 is tool 2 etc
M06 is the tool change command.


the other thing, ALWAYS back up an parameters for that specific machine before unhooking power. And always replace the memory battery before with the power on and everything. loose that and you loose alot of parameters.
 

AmericanMaker

Aluminum
Joined
Nov 23, 2020
Location
Franklin, TN
the other thing, ALWAYS back up an parameters for that specific machine before unhooking power. And always replace the memory battery before with the power on and everything. loose that and you loose alot of parameters.
Thanks BT Fabrication! You've given me hope! 😂
You've also raised a concern. The machine has been sitting on a resellers floor. I don't know if it's been hooked up to power. If the parameters have not been backed up, will that be a problem for me?
 

LOTT

Hot Rolled
Joined
Nov 28, 2016
Thanks BT Fabrication! You've given me hope! 😂
You've also raised a concern. The machine has been sitting on a resellers floor. I don't know if it's been hooked up to power. If the parameters have not been backed up, will that be a problem for me?
The batteries died on my Sharp, only thing it lost was the home position. Granted that was an older control.
 








 
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