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If you could have one 5 axis as the only machine in your shop

riktit

Plastic
Joined
Oct 8, 2022
If you were setting up a shop for a small aviation company, and you could choose one five axis machine, with or without automation, what would you choose? Budget below 600k unless the value proposition exists for higher.

To name a few: Hermle C250 (HS Flex pallet pool), Matsuura MX-420 PC10 (10 pallet pool), GF Mikron E500u/700 with 7 pallet pool, Grob G350, Haas 750 with pallets (please no), Brother U500 (?), Makino D300-500, DN DVF5000, DMG DMU 40, Mazak VARIAXIS i-500,

Currently I like GF and Hermle's offering the most because I'm a sucker for Heidenhain, HSK, and German designed machines. The Mikron E series are made in Taiwan for whatever its worth, but still have the 36kw steptec spindle

additional considerations:
work will be a mix of prototype, 120 pieces/month (4 different part numbers in the range of 6x4x3"), assembly fixtures, and composite molds
tightest tolerances will include interpolated bores for bearings (+/- 0.0004") and significant surfacing requiring good blend lines and finish

The initial production parts aren't going to use the full work volume of the machines listed above, but tombstones would enable longer overnight run-times, and a machine with larger travels would give us more flexibility for molds and R&D/prototype.

No need to focus too much on the financial feasibility... what would you choose?

I get that similar questions have been asked before. I've read through all of them but just want more
 
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600k is nearing the territory of C22/P500 machines, maybe ~100k off or so, but something to consider. dont think you can get a G350 for 600k with automation, maybe 2PC. everything else you listed is sheite IMO, so between hermle and GF, i'd go with a very slight edge for GF due to oil/air cooled spindle vs grease pack. have used both hermle and GF before, absolute top notch machines, cant go wrong with either.
 
Yeah, I would take Haas off the list. Positional 5 axis is subpar, and your surfacing blend lines will be terrible. DVF is offered with Heidenhain control. Mine with Fanuc, I typically am blending surfaces but usually only 1 or 2 parts so I'm not spending time dialing in tools.

The Haas can interpolate bores to 4 tenths, but location will be off by 3 thou.

GF and Hermle would be top, maybe toss Grob in there too.
 
Yeah, I would take Haas off the list. Positional 5 axis is subpar, and your surfacing blend lines will be terrible. DVF is offered with Heidenhain control. Mine with Fanuc, I typically am blending surfaces but usually only 1 or 2 parts so I'm not spending time dialing in tools.

The Haas can interpolate bores to 4 tenths, but location will be off by 3 thou.

GF and Hermle would be top, maybe toss Grob in there too.
i would caution against getting a machine from a builder with a control that they 'rarely' use. proper integration is PARAMOUNT. the fact that 90+% of their machines come with fanuc, means that they dont have a lot of experience integrating HH properly, and their techs might not have the needed knowledge to troubleshoot them.

Grob is easily in the same group as GF/Hermle, just better aligned with the pricier versions of GF/Hermle, therefore higher price. better than the entry level machines, about equal to GF/Hermle top end machines and roughly same price level.
 
additional considerations:
work will be a mix of prototype, 120 pieces/month (4 different part numbers in the range of 6x4x3"), assembly fixtures, and composite molds
tightest tolerances will include interpolated bores for bearings (+/- 0.0004") and significant surfacing requiring good blend lines and finish
Get palletized automation from day one.

A flexible pallet pool that holds both big and small pallets is ideal. Avoid pyramid fixtures if you can. They make sense if you're stuck with a pallet pool that only holds big pallets, but pyramid clearance issues can be a pain. Better to just run small pallets with one part per pallet. Spindle/tool clearance becomes an afterthought.
 
If I could only have one machine, and it was 5x, I would prolly go with the SC-300II.


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I am Ox and I approve this post!
 
Off topic but related to @Ox post, GFs have turning options too... so do DVF, probably GROB, maybe the Hermle. I don't think they have tailstock options though. Interesting thought, with only 1 machine tool, would you want some kind of turning capability?? hmmm

People love comparing machines in totally different leagues. If you can consider the better machine, are going to be one running it, and are smart enough to figure out any control other than a Haas, then don't even bother looking at lower end machines at all.
 
I'm not sure why you limit yourself to one machine, if only for this discussion. With your budget you are far better off having 10 used 5 axis machines with a common zero point system put into the tables so you can swap jobs between machines and have 10 spindles running.

10x machines running, 10x productivity. Even a fancy machine that could somehow magically cut at twice the speed and have magical zero second tool changes and run lights out can't compete with 10x machines running. Just my thoughts.
 
for 600k i would buy 2 quasers with pallet pools. can be ordered with virtually any control and it would have a matsu spindle.
 
I'm not sure why you limit yourself to one machine, if only for this discussion. With your budget you are far better off having 10 used 5 axis machines with a common zero point system put into the tables so you can swap jobs between machines and have 10 spindles running.

10x machines running, 10x productivity. Even a fancy machine that could somehow magically cut at twice the speed and have magical zero second tool changes and run lights out can't compete with 10x machines running. Just my thoughts.
where you getting 10 5 axis machines for 600k?
 
I would go Grob because of the (Z) axis travel for long tools. Never used one but they seem good. We have 2 Hermles here and GF at last shop. The grease pack spindle for mold making is a big problem with Hermle. The GF was a Mikron 1350U. It was quirky. Not good for mold making as well but good with long tools and reaching 5 sides of a part.
 
I would go Grob because of the (Z) axis travel for long tools. Never used one but they seem good. We have 2 Hermles here and GF at last shop. The grease pack spindle for mold making is a big problem with Hermle. The GF was a Mikron 1350U. It was quirky. Not good for mold making as well but good with long tools and reaching 5 sides of a part.
curious what issues you had with the GF.
 
600k is nearing the territory of C22/P500 machines, maybe ~100k off or so, but something to consider. dont think you can get a G350 for 600k with automation, maybe 2PC. everything else you listed is sheite IMO, so between hermle and GF, i'd go with a very slight edge for GF due to oil/air cooled spindle vs grease pack. have used both hermle and GF before, absolute top notch machines, cant go wrong with either.
Initially was looking at C42/P800 and the prices ran a bit high. Given the expected size of parts, however, it is worthwhile to consider C22. Thanks for the suggestion. I also need to factor in tooling and CAM, so hoping to get a machine in under 520. Do you think 60 tools will be enough since the 5 standard parts should only take around 30 tools and that saves the other 30 for prototypes, or am I being too optimistic?
 
Yeah, I would take Haas off the list. Positional 5 axis is subpar, and your surfacing blend lines will be terrible. DVF is offered with Heidenhain control. Mine with Fanuc, I typically am blending surfaces but usually only 1 or 2 parts so I'm not spending time dialing in tools.

The Haas can interpolate bores to 4 tenths, but location will be off by 3 thou.

GF and Hermle would be top, maybe toss Grob in there too.
I'm glad to take Haas off the list. Always looking for different ways to frame the discussion around machine investments away from Haas. Its hard when talking to business people that only understand the difference in cost. I'll be framing it as a "total investment" rather than just upfront cost, considering how much the haas will cost us in downtime, scrapped parts, and incapability to hold tight tolerance.
 
Grob is easily in the same group as GF/Hermle, just better aligned with the pricier versions of GF/Hermle, therefore higher price. better than the entry level machines, about equal to GF/Hermle top end machines and roughly same price level.
I'd beg to differ on reliability and a weldment base structure as negatives on Grob line. But their youtube presence is great, as if that helps YOU make money. Not really in the same class as higher end offerings. YMMV.
 








 
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