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Bought a Millac 4VA, have questions.

greenbuggy

Stainless
Joined
Oct 6, 2005
Location
Firestone, CO
Bought an Okuma & Howa Millac 4VA on eBay, wasn't seriously expecting to win the auction for what I bid, but now I'm working on getting it from just outside Chicago to my place near Denver. So I haven't actually seen the thing in person yet, but I'm excited to get it here.

I've got a Hartwig office in Denver that was able to send me the operators manual and is working on some parts manuals for me.

As far as I can tell from the pictures and manual I have so far this unit has a Fanuc 11M control on it. Guy selling says it runs but he doesn't know much about machining. From what I'm to understand he rents out commercial buildings and someone left it and some other stuff there, he just wants it gone. I've got a CNC knee mill but this is a much more serious machine and I've got a few questions on it.

Curious about a few things...
When did the various names shake out for what we all now know as Okuma? I already have a Howa Sangyo lathe so I'm aware that things transitioned from Howa Sangyo, to Okuma & Howa then eventually just Okuma. Curious when exactly these transitions happened.

Also wondering if color changes were also part of the transition? The one I just bought is a dark brown/red on the front around the enclosure and toolchanger and tan around the base, control panel and backside.

What are the naming conventions on the 4VA series mills? I.E. whats difference between an MC-4VA and an MC-4VAE? Whats difference between a 4VA and a 7VA?

When were the 4VA mills made (year range)?

Any problem areas these mills are known for that I should be on the lookout for?

Whats this thing going to like to see for way oil? My current machines use Vistac #68 waylube and I'd like to keep using it, but don't see an oil spec in the manual.

Guessing that this thing hasn't run in a while, any preferred startup procedure for spindle? Any lubrication I should worry about doing or changing on the spindle?

How to test the spindle cooling unit?

How much air will this machine need/use?

From manual it looks like the ballscrews are greased not flushed with waylube. What grease should I be using?

New to having an ATC and tool retainers. Have seen some info here about replacing bellevue washers and other spindle wear components....any idea what cost on that is like?

Is there a free/online guide for what G-code commands a Fanuc 11M will recognize/respond to on this machine? Some googling says there's no 11M user guides available in PDF so I'd be stuck buying one from eBay or Hartwig. Are all 11M's the same? I see books on eBay that are labeled with different brands as well as some that appear to be factory GE, is the content the same?
 
Last edited:

mkd

Stainless
Joined
Jun 8, 2013
Okuma & Howa stopped selling withing the last 10 years, I guess. sure someone will correct me. I think they were a separate entity from Okuma. There have been some good post on this subject within the last year, so maybe search will find it.
They were frequently (primarily?) conf with Fanuc controls.
must be a late 80's machine.
Parts and knowledgeable service help are going to be the primary trouble spot with something that old. Might need to buy another just like to be able to scavenge parts.
 

greenbuggy

Stainless
Joined
Oct 6, 2005
Location
Firestone, CO
Okuma & Howa stopped selling withing the last 10 years, I guess. sure someone will correct me. I think they were a separate entity from Okuma. There have been some good post on this subject within the last year, so maybe search will find it.

According to the "history" section of the website here: OKUMA HISTORY | ABOUT OKUMA | OKUMA CORPORATION
Okuma, Okuma & Howa, Okuma engineering were all combined in 2005 and put under the "Okuma holdings" umbrella in 2006. While the company may have been consolidated into Okuma in 2005, I'm pretty sure they stopped labelling them "Okuma & Howa" long before that, I can find early 90's 4VA's on eBay that just say "Okuma Machine Works LTD" those are all green instead of red/tan like the machine I just bought
 








 
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