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Buying new mill with Acu-Rite Mill Pwr G2; Clausing, Sharp, Kent, Lagun, or...?

mvmmachine

Plastic
Joined
Aug 31, 2022
Hello all, long-time lurker, first time poster. I own a small machine shop, with a few late-model Hurco CNCs (mills and lathe), 70's Bridgeport knee mills, and a recent Hwacheon (Mori-Seiki clone) manual lathe. We have been discussing upgrading manual milling by adding another mill, but something beefier/more rigid than a 2000lb Bport. There are a lot of things we run through the CNC that we probably shouldn't, just for some arc cuts, or multiples, or what have you. We predominantly build one or two-off parts. The manual cell also spends a bit of time squaring tool steel ahead of the CNC.
I started looking at power-fed machines, but decided I wanted some CNC capability to reduce load on the Hurcos. My manual guys are NOT CNC guys. More than one or two added bells/whistles, they just shy away. After a lot of research I fell in love with the Acu-Rite Mill Pwr G2. It's simple enough my 12yo daughter could run it, so I'm sure my manual guys will give it a go.
I have a local rep for Clausing and Sharp Industries. He claims he sells way more Clausing mills than Sharps, and thinks the Clausing is a better machine. I am also looking at Kent and Lagun, and would entertain others. Most of these machines are in the 3600+ lb range. Clausing 4VSQCNC, Sharp TMV-I/MP-3, Kent 5VKF-E, Lagun MVM-4 (though it's a larger travel machine, so not quite apples to apples). I like the idea of something with square ways, am looking at 40 taper spindles, auto-drawbar, the works.
Money is not really a concern; I would rather spend an extra $10k on a machine and be very happy, than to wish I had done something different. This comes from years of experience on both sides of that coin.
After a lot of research, I have seen quite a bit on Kent and Lagun, even some opinion on Sharp. Not a lot on Clausing. I feel like I have scoured this forum. I am tempted by the close support and have a relationship with this dealer, but want the best machine regardless. I looked hard at Wells-Index (love American-made!), but there's no way my guys would touch a Centurion control.
If there is anyone with experience on late-model versions of these or similar machines, please weigh in! I love Practical Machinist for the info, experience, and opinions I see here. Thanks in advance!
 

Mtndew

Diamond
Joined
Jun 7, 2012
Location
Michigan
There are a lot of things we run through the CNC that we probably shouldn't, just for some arc cuts, or multiples, or what have you. We predominantly build one or two-off parts. The manual cell also spends a bit of time squaring tool steel ahead of the CNC.

Why?
We do one-offs all day everyday on our cnc mills.

Also, why have the manual machines square up the stock for the cnc's? Have the cnc do it. And if can, buy thicker stock so you can cut 5 sides of your parts on the 1st operation in the cnc.
Without knowing what parts you're making that's my advice.

As for what machine to get? Personally I'd get a "normal" cnc mill like another Hurco to match the ones you have. As for the guys that won't touch a cnc... normally I'd give them an ultimatum. But in times like these where finding a body to work for you is harder than chinese arithmetic maybe a knee mill is better suited for your shop.
 

mvmmachine

Plastic
Joined
Aug 31, 2022
Why?
We do one-offs all day everyday on our cnc mills.

Also, why have the manual machines square up the stock for the cnc's? Have the cnc do it. And if can, buy thicker stock so you can cut 5 sides of your parts on the 1st operation in the cnc.
Without knowing what parts you're making that's my advice.

As for what machine to get? Personally I'd get a "normal" cnc mill like another Hurco to match the ones you have. As for the guys that won't touch a cnc... normally I'd give them an ultimatum. But in times like these where finding a body to work for you is harder than chinese arithmetic maybe a knee mill is better suited for your shop.
I agree on the one-offs in the CNCs (one of the reasons we love the Hurcos - easy programming at the machine), but bodies in front of machines is my biggest problem. CNC is a bottleneck here, and nobody in the area wants to work. I can add another CNC and it will just sit with no operator. Same problem with your ultimatum idea, lol. I just can't afford to have anyone here leave, and it's made it impossible to discipline poor attendance, etc. So I'm reduced to coddling the employees I have and trying to optimize the equipment to match them. I miss the way things were not so many years ago, when people were eager to earn a living!
 

Mtndew

Diamond
Joined
Jun 7, 2012
Location
Michigan
I agree on the one-offs in the CNCs (one of the reasons we love the Hurcos - easy programming at the machine), but bodies in front of machines is my biggest problem. CNC is a bottleneck here, and nobody in the area wants to work. I can add another CNC and it will just sit with no operator. Same problem with your ultimatum idea, lol. I just can't afford to have anyone here leave, and it's made it impossible to discipline poor attendance, etc. So I'm reduced to coddling the employees I have and trying to optimize the equipment to match them. I miss the way things were not so many years ago, when people were eager to earn a living!
I hear that! Nobody wants to work, and the ones that have experience are already working. We have on average 3 cnc lathes and 2 cnc mills just sitting because we can't find people.
 

bosmos_j

Hot Rolled
Joined
Jun 9, 2015
ProtoTrak might be a good option too. A step up in complexity from a Accurite machine, but should be approachable for guys coming from more manual stuff.

 

mkd

Stainless
Joined
Jun 8, 2013
Accu_rite is a Heidenhain property, so i'd be surprised if they couldn't take on all. I know they have a host of lower-end controls. I only deal with 530/620/640 so grain of salt.
 

Freedommachine

Hot Rolled
Joined
May 13, 2020
Hello all, long-time lurker, first time poster. I own a small machine shop, with a few late-model Hurco CNCs (mills and lathe), 70's Bridgeport knee mills, and a recent Hwacheon (Mori-Seiki clone) manual lathe. We have been discussing upgrading manual milling by adding another mill, but something beefier/more rigid than a 2000lb Bport. There are a lot of things we run through the CNC that we probably shouldn't, just for some arc cuts, or multiples, or what have you. We predominantly build one or two-off parts. The manual cell also spends a bit of time squaring tool steel ahead of the CNC.
I started looking at power-fed machines, but decided I wanted some CNC capability to reduce load on the Hurcos. My manual guys are NOT CNC guys. More than one or two added bells/whistles, they just shy away. After a lot of research I fell in love with the Acu-Rite Mill Pwr G2. It's simple enough my 12yo daughter could run it, so I'm sure my manual guys will give it a go.
I have a local rep for Clausing and Sharp Industries. He claims he sells way more Clausing mills than Sharps, and thinks the Clausing is a better machine. I am also looking at Kent and Lagun, and would entertain others. Most of these machines are in the 3600+ lb range. Clausing 4VSQCNC, Sharp TMV-I/MP-3, Kent 5VKF-E, Lagun MVM-4 (though it's a larger travel machine, so not quite apples to apples). I like the idea of something with square ways, am looking at 40 taper spindles, auto-drawbar, the works.
Money is not really a concern; I would rather spend an extra $10k on a machine and be very happy, than to wish I had done something different. This comes from years of experience on both sides of that coin.
After a lot of research, I have seen quite a bit on Kent and Lagun, even some opinion on Sharp. Not a lot on Clausing. I feel like I have scoured this forum. I am tempted by the close support and have a relationship with this dealer, but want the best machine regardless. I looked hard at Wells-Index (love American-made!), but there's no way my guys would touch a Centurion control.
If there is anyone with experience on late-model versions of these or similar machines, please weigh in! I love Practical Machinist for the info, experience, and opinions I see here. Thanks in advance!

The shop I work for bought a brand new Wells-Index with all the bells and whistles, power feed on all axis, ect. It is the most beautiful knee mill I have ever seen. The ball screws are like 1-1/8" diameter.

If budget isn't the main concern, maybe call up Wells-Index and ask if they will fit the machine with a millpwr control. If not, it wouldn't be hard to find someone who will. This would be a great combination!
 

EndlessWaltz

Cast Iron
Joined
Jun 18, 2016
Location
Midwest
Ironically enough I just emailed Wells-Index about this very issue pretty much. Great mill and American made...just needs an easy to use control and servos that aren't to huge and in the way. Either rate I hope they listen to my pitch ;)

The way I approached it was making it an affordable NEW machine for garage types starting out. Pick it up with a trailer, no rigging cost etc.
 

EndlessWaltz

Cast Iron
Joined
Jun 18, 2016
Location
Midwest
Ps- always wondered about having some pros rebuild an older Bridgeport Boss with a new control system. Know nothing about them but they seem beefier..
 

Nmbmxer

Hot Rolled
Joined
Jun 22, 2008
Location
VA
I wouldn’t buy an knee mill unless you absolutely have to have the ability to swivel/transverse the ram. We are shopping at work for a (used) bed mill that have a quill. I ran a Trak bed mill years ago and really liked it.
 








 
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