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Best machine for someone who really wants learn and become a machinist

alexprz

Plastic
Joined
Jun 11, 2022
Hey everyone, I’m currently looking into buying a cnc to produce some brackets for a product I am going to be selling soon. I currently have zero experience using a cnc mill and the only thing close enough to that type of machine I could compare it to is 3D printer(which I would say I’m fairly knowledgeable about m-code, g-code programming). I’m not certain what exact machine I’m going to need. The parts are max 10” x 10” x 4”, min 1/2” x 1/2” x 1/2” . I’d like to start a machine shop and having some work on the side to help pay off the machine, would be something I’d like to do eventually as well . My budget is roughly 60k and I would do this from my home garage initially. I was looking at a HAAS mini mill but the tm series looks like a good choice too. What would be some recommendations, as to what machine would best or what tooling will be needed. I’ll mainly cut 6061 aluminum but eventually be cutting harder materials.

Edit: My budget could extend to 75k if needed.

In advance thanks for the help and knowledge.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Apr 14, 2018
Location
Airstrip One, Oceania
Hey everyone, I’m currently looking into buying a cnc

I would buy a Fadal for ten and put five into it. Or buy one for five and put ten into it. Sixty is a lot for something you've never done, especially at this time economically. Fadal is plenty capable for a first machine. Forty-five thou may not be what it used to be but should still buy lunch for a while.
 

CEnsor

Plastic
Joined
Jun 29, 2020
Don’t blow your budget on the machine. There’s a lot more you’ll need as well. I spent about 40 on a used brother (love it. Highly recommend) and was a bout 70 down the rabbit hole by the time I finished buying a bandsaw, tooling, phase converter, and the million other things I needed to get started.
 

Kingbob

Hot Rolled
Joined
Dec 1, 2009
Location
Louisiana
A has TM is a great place to start but it really doesn't matter what you learn to "drive" on. I agree with the above but I will add some thoughts.
The best starter machine is the one you can get your hands on and get to work with as soon as possible.
Don't but something that needs work unless you want to be come a machine mechanic. Don't get something random either, it's fine to get something with a proprietary control as long as they still make and support them but stay away for odd ball machines.
 

alexprz

Plastic
Joined
Jun 11, 2022
I would buy a Fadal for ten and put five into it. Or buy one for five and put ten into it. Sixty is a lot for something you've never done, especially at this time economically. Fadal is plenty capable for a first machine. Forty-five thou may not be what it used to be but should still buy lunch for a while.
Thanks, for the advice. I did a quick overlook of fadal and may be a good option for me.
 
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alexprz

Plastic
Joined
Jun 11, 2022
Don’t blow your budget on the machine. There’s a lot more you’ll need as well. I spent about 40 on a used brother (love it. Highly recommend) and was a bout 70 down the rabbit hole by the time I finished buying a bandsaw, tooling, phase converter, and the million other things I needed to get started.
Any specific tooling I should look into to cut aluminum 6061(initially)?
 

alexprz

Plastic
Joined
Jun 11, 2022
A has TM is a great place to start but it really doesn't matter what you learn to "drive" on. I agree with the above but I will add some thoughts.
The best starter machine is the one you can get your hands on and get to work with as soon as possible.
Don't but something that needs work unless you want to be come a machine mechanic. Don't get something random either, it's fine to get something with a proprietary control as long as they still make and support them but stay away for odd ball machines.
Thanks for the advice. As you mentioned, I definitely don't want to be a machine mechanic. I prefer new because i don't have to focus too much on refurbishing anything but as others mentioned there's the cost factor.

If you were to get a tm-0p or a mini mill(perferably mini mill 2 or super mini mill 2 what would you suggest) what specific options would you consider, in a scenario you were buying new and starting off.
 

alexprz

Plastic
Joined
Jun 11, 2022
Get a job running a cnc mill first, then in 2 years time go shopping for a machine.

Diving head first into buying a mill and opening a machine shop when you have no idea what you're doing is just asking for disaster and a wallet full of regret.
appreciate the advice, Ill be taking classes at my local college. My brother might be able to get me an apprenticeship position with a machine shop he gets work done from. I'm hands on learner so that would be beneficial for me.
 

Kingbob

Hot Rolled
Joined
Dec 1, 2009
Location
Louisiana
Thanks for the advice. As you mentioned, I definitely don't want to be a machine mechanic. I prefer new because i don't have to focus too much on refurbishing anything but as others mentioned there's the cost factor.

If you were to get a tm-0p or a mini mill(perferably mini mill 2 or super mini mill 2 what would you suggest) what specific options would you consider, in a scenario you were buying new and starting off.
It's much more advantageous to fit the machine to the work it's going to be doing than to fit the work to the machine. I get the impression that you feel a bit overwhelmed by the options and tooling. Every option and every variation of endmill or drill bit is simply a solution to a specific problem. Any workpiece is just a collection of problems, define your problems first then select the appropriate solution.
What I am saying is that if you describe what kind of parts you wish to make (even pictures of things similar to what you want to make) the community will very readily help you spend your money.
 

alexprz

Plastic
Joined
Jun 11, 2022
It's much more advantageous to fit the machine to the work it's going to be doing than to fit the work to the machine. I get the impression that you feel a bit overwhelmed by the options and tooling. Every option and every variation of endmill or drill bit is simply a solution to a specific problem. Any workpiece is just a collection of problems, define your problems first then select the appropriate solution.
What I am saying is that if you describe what kind of parts you wish to make (even pictures of things similar to what you want to make) the community will very readily help you spend your money.
Here are some images of a part id like to machine.
 

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BT Fabrication

Stainless
Joined
Nov 3, 2019
Hey everyone, I’m currently looking into buying a cnc to produce some brackets for a product I am going to be selling soon. I currently have zero experience using a cnc mill and the only thing close enough to that type of machine I could compare it to is 3D printer(which I would say I’m fairly knowledgeable about m-code, g-code programming). I’m not certain what exact machine I’m going to need. The parts are max 10” x 10” x 4”, min 1/2” x 1/2” x 1/2” . I’d like to start a machine shop and having some work on the side to help pay off the machine, would be something I’d like to do eventually as well . My budget is roughly 60k and I would do this from my home garage initially. I was looking at a HAAS mini mill but the tm series looks like a good choice too. What would be some recommendations, as to what machine would best or what tooling will be needed. I’ll mainly cut 6061 aluminum but eventually be cutting harder materials.

Edit: My budget could extend to 75k if needed.

In advance thanks for the help and knowledge.
How much machining experience do you have? if zero, sub the work out....... $500 in labor is easier then $15000 in tooling...
 

gkoenig

Titanium
Joined
Mar 31, 2013
Location
Portland, OR
I say buy the machine and get to learning.

The critical thing here is that you are making your own parts. You are going to be designing them in materials you are comfortable with, with features you are confident in making, in tolerances your skill level can hold. The basics of machining are easy enough that kids are figuring it out off of YouTube videos. What makes someone a skilled machinist is the ability to take a 3D model or blueprint someone else made and, within the limits of the equipment they are qualified to run, turn it into a part efficiently enough to be profitable. Being able to do that confidently just takes lots of experience and seeing lots of parts flow through your hands.

The only trick is, as others have said, the mill is just the first expense... You need compressors, workbench, hand-tools, measuring tools, holders, cutters, vises, etc etc. The list gets extensive, though a lot of this stuff can be had quite cheaply these days - it isn't like you need to go buy a Kaeser compressor, Lista cabinets, and Snap-On hand tools right out of the gate. Don't cheap out on vises. Don't cheap out on the measuring stuff. Home Depot workbenches and Husky compressors are just fine to get going with.

Don't let the naysayers on here dissuade you. If you farm everything you want to do in life out, you aren't actually living, you are just project managing.
 

alexprz

Plastic
Joined
Jun 11, 2022
I say buy the machine and get to learning.

The critical thing here is that you are making your own parts. You are going to be designing them in materials you are comfortable with, with features you are confident in making, in tolerances your skill level can hold. The basics of machining are easy enough that kids are figuring it out off of YouTube videos. What makes someone a skilled machinist is the ability to take a 3D model or blueprint someone else made and, within the limits of the equipment they are qualified to run, turn it into a part efficiently enough to be profitable. Being able to do that confidently just takes lots of experience and seeing lots of parts flow through your hands.

The only trick is, as others have said, the mill is just the first expense... You need compressors, workbench, hand-tools, measuring tools, holders, cutters, vises, etc etc. The list gets extensive, though a lot of this stuff can be had quite cheaply these days - it isn't like you need to go buy a Kaeser compressor, Lista cabinets, and Snap-On hand tools right out of the gate. Don't cheap out on vises. Don't cheap out on the measuring stuff. Home Depot workbenches and Husky compressors are just fine to get going with.

Don't let the naysayers on here dissuade you. If you farm everything you want to do in life out, you aren't actually living, you are just project managing.
My family is in the contruction business and uncle is a mechanic as well as my other brother. So they have quite a few tools just laying around(literally) not being used at all and at my disposal. I have bench grinders, angle grinder, 60 gallon air compressor sitting in the garage, also snap-on tool box sitting there full of hand tools(sockets, ratchets, adjustable wrenches etc.) calipers also there, some other measuring devices aswell in the tool boxes. I have done a lot of work with them so I would add that to my abilities.

But non of that tooling is for cutting metal on mill or holding material. So that would be in order.

Really appreciate the advice. Please keep it coming.
 

EndlessWaltz

Cast Iron
Joined
Jun 18, 2016
Location
Midwest
To put this in prospective for you and you need to think long and hard.

You know all those slick youtubers or shops with instagram....guaranteed most of their income is not made by actual machining. That shop featured in a magazine etc....out of business in 5yrs or the main product they started the business for they cannot sell at market rate so they are a job shop. I have first hand experience with this.

So the truth is you are not a genius probably. You did not come up with a product that nobody had the idea for(probably)...so baby steps. Work with guys here with an RFQ to make prototypes and help with revisions and getting something to market.

But if you want machines sooner than later I would recommend Haas TM1 and TL2 lathe because I am sure they can be wired single phase. Tooling and phase convertors you will blow through your budget.

Technically and any true machinist here will second this...get manual machines and understand what proper chip load is and fixture design and datums are.
 

alexprz

Plastic
Joined
Jun 11, 2022
To put this in prospective for you and you need to think long and hard.

You know all those slick youtubers or shops with instagram....guaranteed most of their income is not made by actual machining. That shop featured in a magazine etc....out of business in 5yrs or the main product they started the business for they cannot sell at market rate so they are a job shop. I have first hand experience with this.

So the truth is you are not a genius probably. You did not come up with a product that nobody had the idea for(probably)...so baby steps. Work with guys here with an RFQ to make prototypes and help with revisions and getting something to market.

But if you want machines sooner than later I would recommend Haas TM1 and TL2 lathe because I am sure they can be wired single phase. Tooling and phase convertors you will blow through your budget.

Technically and any true machinist here will second this...get manual machines and understand what proper chip load is and fixture design and datums are.

I appreciate the advice. I'm still doing research and getting ideas on what could be coming if i go that route.
 
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mhajicek

Titanium
Joined
May 11, 2017
Location
Minneapolis, MN, USA
Hi, I've never ridden a motorcycle, but I've ridden a bicycle. I want to be a professional superbike racer. What bike should I buy?

Seriously, CNC machining is a very cut-throat and competitive market. You will not turn a profit machining until you have at least a few years experience in it, and even then, many don't. If you're doing this as part of a business plan, job the parts out and forget about making them at all. Guys with decades of experience and hundreds of thousands if not millions in equipment will easily beat your best price on those parts.

On the other hand, if your actual goal is to learn machining and start a shop, then go ahead, but first make sure you have enough in the bank or coming in from other sources that you don't have to turn a profit for at least three years.
 

Orange Vise

Stainless
Joined
Feb 10, 2012
Location
California
I’d like to start a machine shop and having some work on the side to help pay off the machine

The fastest way to absolutely hate CNC machining is to put yourself in a do-or-die situation with no experience to fall back on. That's not to say you can't take on any side jobs, just that you shouldn't count on them to make payments if you've never done it before.

Nothing wrong with keeping a day job and running the mill nights and weekends. That's how a lot of successful shop owners got started.

As for the machine, it's hard to go wrong with the entry level Haases. A Minimill or Minimill 2 with probing will do everything you need to get going. The ability to run these on single phase is a big deal, and resale value is high with these machines, if you decide to upgrade down the road or simply decide it's not for you.
 








 
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