What's new
What's new

Is a Brother the right choice?

Fal Grunt

Titanium
Joined
Aug 5, 2010
Location
Medina OH
I have several questions about Brother machines and was hoping to get some input from guys here who may have similar circumstances or experiences. I am also looking to get some clarification as to what exactly I would be or should be getting. First I will explain a bit about my circumstances and then go through what I had selected, then on to the questions. I apologize now, because it will likely be a LONG post.

I am self employed and own a small business (emphasis on SMALL). It is a multi faceted business, but primarily I would say the majority of the work I do is machining. I rarely do production or anything of volume, which is probably a part of my tool & die background. I did my largest part run ever earlier this year of about 120 pcs. My old CNC many times, will sit empty, for weeks, as I choose to machine parts on manual machines as it is faster for a 1 off part. Due to the complexity of the parts I typically machine, many from existing parts needing rework, I would have to model, then setup, then run all for one piece. My old CNC just takes TOO long to setup.

I have in the last 2 years started to develop a few products, items I keep stocked on the shelf for sale, they are not high volume, or high profit, but I try to keep the spindle running when I can to generate additional income. My hope with buying the new machine, is that with faster setup times, I can quickly setup for a one piece job. Additionally I want to be able to setup a machine to run short run batches to reduce inventory on the shelves. This means 20-30 pcs, of somewhat complex pieces, requiring diverse tooling, sometimes 3-4 pcs in an assembly. I currently have a customer requesting one of these products, 15pcs a month, every month.

In my research I have selected the Brother S700X1. The capacities of this machine cover 90% of the items I machine. If I were to get a subplate for the 4th axis, it would run 100% of the parts.

One concern I have is related to the probing options. When I was at my local Brother they did not have any machines on the floor with probing, so I was unable to see how it operated. This is a concern for me, in my experience, because I have the most comprehensive background with Renishaw. One company I worked I used Renishaw Spindle Probe and Tool Setting in the Mazaks, along with Macro programming, and really liked the setup. In the 5 axis Hermle I ran, we used a Renishaw probe and a Blum tool setter. Again, great systems. Interfaces were great. I also ran a Doosan with a Renishaw probe. MUCH more cumbersome. A pain to make alterations and deal with tricky odd parts, which the majority of mine are.

Which probing package do you recommend? Why? Have you done any macros with your probing or are there applications in the Brother to handle coordinate rotation, tool wear, measuring parts mid run, etc?

As I mentioned before, one of my primary concerns is setup time. I am trying to get better with faster, easier setups, coming up with creative ways to locate small, odd, difficult to setup parts. A spindle probe helps some of these issues, and complicates others. Can anyone that may use their Brother in a job shop type environment comment on setup times? Times to swap over tooling? Am I over thinking the probing options? Has anyone had experience with both available systems to comment on integration?

One of the concerns I have is related as well to electrical. When I met with the guys from Brother I spoke with their head of the maintenance department (that is not his title... but that is what I would call him) and he voiced a concern that I would be running my Brother on a Rotary Phase converter. He might have been CYA over the subject, just in case, but he made it sound like the Brother would have problems due to the Rotary. I run a bigger, ancient (1989) Bridgeport Interact 720 on my phase converter currently, without issue. I had them send over the electrical spec sheet which states plus minus 10%. Last I checked the Rotary (it has been awhile) the legs were 240, 240, 242. That is the RPC at idle with no load. I CAN see where when my 5hp air compressor kicks on it could be an issue?

Does anyone run their Brother on a Rotary? And before someone chimes in about getting 3-phase, I tried when I built my shop. It was something like $28,000-$36,000 to run it about 200 yds from the next street over.

To recap my concerns, am I buying too much of a machine? Are Brothers well suited for a job shop, one off, environment? I hope to have this machine for the next few DECADES until I am ready to retire. I am really not buying the Brother for the speed, it will sit unused at times unless I can pull in additional work (might explore that as well). But my hope IS to be able to have the machine running MORE while I am doing other aspects (3D modeling, programming, customer BS, quoting, shipping, customer BS, etc)and not need to babysit the machine.

Another aspect that I love about the Brother, my old CNC is LOUD, and I don't like having my children in the shop while it is running. With the Brother, it is quiet enough (and fully enclosed) where I would have no concerns about the little ones in the shop. One hope with tool break detect and probing would be un-attended run time and hopefully extended run time.

So that did not come out as clear cut with questions as I wanted, but without a lot of background I don't feel like anyone can give good input. I have been agonizing over these and many other issues for months and need the input of some fellow machinists who hopefully have been in the same place as I am. It is a helluva lot of money from where I sit... but its a helluva machine as well.
 
Probably somewhat apples/oranges but I have a Brother TC-S2A (older generation) running on a rotary converter. I also have a mazak QT15 that runs on the same converter at the same time. I seriously doubt this will be an issue but hopefully someone else with a speedio will chime in.
 
What about the probing on the Doosan didn't you like? I only have 1 Brother and it has the Renisha probe so I can't really comment on whether it's good or bad in relation to other machines.
 
Which probing package do you recommend? Why? Have you done any macros with your probing or are there applications in the Brother to handle coordinate rotation, tool wear, measuring parts mid run, etc?

Yamazen offers Renishaw, Blum, and Metrol. I have the Metrol and have been very satisfied with it, and it comes with macros created by Yamazen, including a nice manual that outlines all your macro options (and I know Yamazen has modified those macros for other Speedio owners if you require something special). Having said that, if sounds like you know your way around the Renishaw macros, so I might pay a little more for the Renishaw probe to get those (and access to Renishaw's excellent applications engineers for more specialized probing requirements). If you're comfortable with macro programming, this stuff is all easy to modify on your own. You can also run a Metrol probe with Renishaw macros - the software doesn't care about the hardware; it's all G31 skip signal inputs.

On the machine, the probing macros function exactly the same as they would on a Fanuc control. One frustration I had was an inability to call macros from the MDI, but that is being rectified soon in a firmware update that will likely be out when you take delivery.

Can anyone that may use their Brother in a job shop type environment comment on setup times? Times to swap over tooling? Am I over thinking the probing options? Has anyone had experience with both available systems to comment on integration?

Swapping tools on a Brother is actually very easy (far more so than on the other competing turret tool changing machines). You can put the spindle up in it's tool change position and hit a button to spin the turret around without performing a tool change. If you have your tools all set up, it's literally a minute to get 10 or tools in the turret. You do need to close the door to spin the turret (it only has one speed, and that speed is scary fast), but the Brother door is fantastic - it doesn't lock most of the time, and it basically hits Feed Hold when you open it. I was concerned about the control forcing the door closed all the time, but the way Brother implements it is super smart and I've had zero desire to make a "setup key" to run the machine door-open (I thought it would be the first part she made!).

Going back to the probing, most Speedio users are running tool length setters and not the Renishaw length/diameter setters. These machines have usually gone in that direction because production often requires very fast tool breakage detection, which is nearly instant with length setters (literally adds only 2 seconds to a cycle). For length + diameter, the preference in BT30 land is for Renishaw or Blum lasers for their increased accuracy and the fact that they maintain tool brake detect speeds.

Either way, once you have tools in your turret, you'll have macros that you can set to touch off a series of sequential tools in order and walk away during the 1-3 minutes it takes to do this.

You can set the machine up with up to 99 tool offsets. If you aren't running 1:1 (i.e. Tool 3 is always in Pocket 3), there is an extra step of going to the control and telling it what tool is in what pocket. This is very easy to do though (one screen, no scrolling to the left, easy to do).


Does anyone run their Brother on a Rotary? And before someone chimes in about getting 3-phase, I tried when I built my shop. It was something like $28,000-$36,000 to run it about 200 yds from the next street over.

I run on utility 3 phase, but lots of people have Brothers on phase converters. The preference for most is to get a Phase Perfect digital, but I know a few running on rotaries. Yamazen should really tell folks upfront to get transformers to bring the power down to 220V (I think that's the number) as most phase converters (rotary or digital) double the voltage and put it in the 240V range, which is where issues crop up. I've gotten quite a few DMs from new Instagram Speedio Mafia members who take delivery, find their voltage is too high, and have to run out and procure a couple of transformers at inflated local electrical supplier costs so they can have power set up for the Yamazen tech's commissioning appointment.

Basically, you want clean 220v-230v power. If it's dirty and going above about 240V at any given time, that's going to cause the machine to get cranky about over-voltage and start throwing alarms.
 
I don't know if running the Brother from a RPC is an issue, but what can be an issue is the 240V. I think is too high. Max is 230V, and a happy machine is with 220V.

I'm running my S700 with a Phase Perfect and a bucking transformer, from 240V in single phase.

(Sorry to repeat. gkoenig was faster).
 
Probably somewhat apples/oranges but I have a Brother TC-S2A (older generation) running on a rotary converter. I also have a mazak QT15 that runs on the same converter at the same time. I seriously doubt this will be an issue but hopefully someone else with a speedio will chime in.

I appreciate the input none the less. Would love to pick up a QT15, used to run one, and would love to have one myself!

What about the probing on the Doosan didn't you like? I only have 1 Brother and it has the Renisha probe so I can't really comment on whether it's good or bad in relation to other machines.

It has been over 2 years since I have touched the machine I ran, so I apologize that I cannot be more specific, but as I remember, there were a LOT of screens to go through to probe a part. I never was able to get many of the "optional" features to work like I thought they would/should. Additionally it was difficult to modify/alter the probing. The GUI interface was cumbersome. 90% of my experience with Renishaw was through Mazak, and it is possible that then the Fanuc/Renishaw was just different, and having just come from the Mazak/Renishaw it was different enough that I did not like it. Maybe today it would be as bad (I would just be thrilled to have probing!)

One aspect I really DID like was how they incorporated a macro for tool setting. You could select a number of tools for it to touch off, or touch off the whole magazine.

Yamazen offers Renishaw, Blum, and Metrol. I have the Metrol and have been very satisfied with it, and it comes with macros created by Yamazen, including a nice manual that outlines all your macro options (and I know Yamazen has modified those macros for other Speedio owners if you require something special). Having said that, if sounds like you know your way around the Renishaw macros, so I might pay a little more for the Renishaw probe to get those (and access to Renishaw's excellent applications engineers for more specialized probing requirements). If you're comfortable with macro programming, this stuff is all easy to modify on your own. You can also run a Metrol probe with Renishaw macros - the software doesn't care about the hardware; it's all G31 skip signal inputs.

On the machine, the probing macros function exactly the same as they would on a Fanuc control. One frustration I had was an inability to call macros from the MDI, but that is being rectified soon in a firmware update that will likely be out when you take delivery.



Swapping tools on a Brother is actually very easy (far more so than on the other competing turret tool changing machines). You can put the spindle up in it's tool change position and hit a button to spin the turret around without performing a tool change. If you have your tools all set up, it's literally a minute to get 10 or tools in the turret. You do need to close the door to spin the turret (it only has one speed, and that speed is scary fast), but the Brother door is fantastic - it doesn't lock most of the time, and it basically hits Feed Hold when you open it. I was concerned about the control forcing the door closed all the time, but the way Brother implements it is super smart and I've had zero desire to make a "setup key" to run the machine door-open (I thought it would be the first part she made!).

Going back to the probing, most Speedio users are running tool length setters and not the Renishaw length/diameter setters. These machines have usually gone in that direction because production often requires very fast tool breakage detection, which is nearly instant with length setters (literally adds only 2 seconds to a cycle). For length + diameter, the preference in BT30 land is for Renishaw or Blum lasers for their increased accuracy and the fact that they maintain tool brake detect speeds.

Either way, once you have tools in your turret, you'll have macros that you can set to touch off a series of sequential tools in order and walk away during the 1-3 minutes it takes to do this.

You can set the machine up with up to 99 tool offsets. If you aren't running 1:1 (i.e. Tool 3 is always in Pocket 3), there is an extra step of going to the control and telling it what tool is in what pocket. This is very easy to do though (one screen, no scrolling to the left, easy to do).




I run on utility 3 phase, but lots of people have Brothers on phase converters. The preference for most is to get a Phase Perfect digital, but I know a few running on rotaries. Yamazen should really tell folks upfront to get transformers to bring the power down to 220V (I think that's the number) as most phase converters (rotary or digital) double the voltage and put it in the 240V range, which is where issues crop up. I've gotten quite a few DMs from new Instagram Speedio Mafia members who take delivery, find their voltage is too high, and have to run out and procure a couple of transformers at inflated local electrical supplier costs so they can have power set up for the Yamazen tech's commissioning appointment.

Basically, you want clean 220v-230v power. If it's dirty and going above about 240V at any given time, that's going to cause the machine to get cranky about over-voltage and start throwing alarms.

gkoenig, thanks for the detailed reply! I had never heard of Metrol before I got the quote from Brother, so I have to say, they were not my first pick, however, I am open to them. It is good to know that the Renishaw macro's work with the Metrol hardware. I have no experience with Fanuc probing or Macro's so that will be a learning experience. The majority of my Macro experience is on Mazak's, which included a week long course from a Renishaw guy. I had to fight to get into the class, but I am glad I did. I saved my notes and documentation. I am sure the Macro programming I did on the Hermle and Deckel (both Heidenhain) will not apply!)

I appreciate the added info on tooling setup and operation as well. I know that ANYTHING is better than what I have, but I want to maximize and tailor that to my shop. As I said, I am hoping to have this machine for a LONG time. I did LOVE the door feature when they demo'd a part for me. One thing I like about my old dinosaur is that I can open the door to take a peak whenever I need to.

I don't know if running the Brother from a RPC is an issue, but what can be an issue is the 240V. I think is too high. Max is 230V, and a happy machine is with 220V.

I'm running my S700 with a Phase Perfect and a bucking transformer, from 240V in single phase.

(Sorry to repeat. gkoenig was faster).

To both of you, thanks for the further info. In light of this, I went back and checked my main and my 3-ph panel to double check. It's been several years since I checked, but wow... was I wrong.

Mains coming in was 247 and the RPC was 250/250/246(?weird). Will look into either adjusting the taps on the RPC if possible or getting a something to clean up and reduce the voltage into the prescribed range.

Any opinions on whether High Accuracy BII is really needed?

Thanks so much for your input guys.
 
........You can put the spindle up in it's tool change position and hit a button to spin the turret around without performing a tool change. If you have your tools all set up, it's literally a minute to get 10 or tools in the turret. ......

Mori did that with their TV30 from over 20 years ago..;)

If I was looking for a new machine to do the range of parts I make, I would not waste a moment looking elsewhere and go with a Brother. For my low, low volume repeat jobs and the one and never to be made again type parts that make up the entirety of my work a little 30 taper machines is just the ticket. Just know its limitations and design/work around them and parts get done fast.
 
I`m in the same boat as being a small shop running off RPC and well I have seen a couple of the brother mills I have not ran one ... I think there a nice machine for small parts that need to be ran in hi production ... but all one has to do it get there hands on a BT30 holder and you well soon see a HUGE down side to using them for job shop work. well there are a lot of guys on here talking about how fast they are when you read up on the guys there comparing it to there old mini mill or old big haas... Non of the guys I have seen are comparing a small mill costing south of 100K to the brothers machines... I just priced out a Brothers S700 and just bare bones with a chipper came to south of 100K ...by the time you add probes, wash down , a roof , and a chipper your at close to twice the price of a VF2ss outfitted the same .. I`m by no means a Haas fan but they have more power , more rigidity , and come with cat40 and hold a LOT more tools. and from the sounds of it have fixed there controls, from what I have seen the brothers control is about like setting up a fanuc and is not user friendly ...

The Vf2ss I have on order and well be getting in about 2 weeks comes with
12K spindle
30 +1 cat40
30x16x20 travels and you don`t have to raise your vises or fixtures to reach the spindle
4th axis drive ( I have a spare 4th axis)
probing for fixture and tools ( Haas has a VARY user friendly intuitive probing system )
Multi auger ( I run a lot of alum and did not want to screw with chips , I think most people would get by fine with single auger)
high-speed machining

All for just over 72K

I all ready have a 2015 vf2ss setup the same but it has P-cool and I turned it off a month ago and found its not needed.. well Haas is not as fast on getting the spindle up to speed or changing tools from what I have seen there just as fast if not faster in the cut as brothers and I do a LOT of cuts with the cat40 I would not even think of trying on a BT30..

99% of my work is ran in fixtures and its just swap fixtures, probe the X/Y/Z and push the green button ,,, I only have a few parts I need to load tools for ... most of the time I can swap jobs in under 5 min.

Like I wrote before if one is just looking for a machine to spit out lots of small parts the brothers or robo have it hands down but I Do not see them being a good choice for a universal machine .
 
Mori did that with their TV30 from over 20 years ago..;)

If I was looking for a new machine to do the range of parts I make, I would not waste a moment looking elsewhere and go with a Brother. For my low, low volume repeat jobs and the one and never to be made again type parts that make up the entirety of my work a little 30 taper machines is just the ticket. Just know its limitations and design/work around them and parts get done fast.

When I first started out machining, I was using a Bridgeport EZ Trak II with a 30 taper spindle. Used appropriately it will still remove a fair amount of material quickly. No, it probably will not handle a 20mm rougher with 3" of engaged cut like a 40, but that shouldn't be a problem. Like you said, it is knowing the limitations and using its strengths.

I`m in the same boat as being a small shop running off RPC and well I have seen a couple of the brother mills I have not ran one ... I think there a nice machine for small parts that need to be ran in hi production ... but all one has to do it get there hands on a BT30 holder and you well soon see a HUGE down side to using them for job shop work. well there are a lot of guys on here talking about how fast they are when you read up on the guys there comparing it to there old mini mill or old big haas... Non of the guys I have seen are comparing a small mill costing south of 100K to the brothers machines... I just priced out a Brothers S700 and just bare bones with a chipper came to south of 100K ...by the time you add probes, wash down , a roof , and a chipper your at close to twice the price of a VF2ss outfitted the same .. I`m by no means a Haas fan but they have more power , more rigidity , and come with cat40 and hold a LOT more tools. and from the sounds of it have fixed there controls, from what I have seen the brothers control is about like setting up a fanuc and is not user friendly ...

The Vf2ss I have on order and well be getting in about 2 weeks comes with
12K spindle
30 +1 cat40
30x16x20 travels and you don`t have to raise your vises or fixtures to reach the spindle
4th axis drive ( I have a spare 4th axis)
probing for fixture and tools ( Haas has a VARY user friendly intuitive probing system )
Multi auger ( I run a lot of alum and did not want to screw with chips , I think most people would get by fine with single auger)
high-speed machining

All for just over 72K

I all ready have a 2015 vf2ss setup the same but it has P-cool and I turned it off a month ago and found its not needed.. well Haas is not as fast on getting the spindle up to speed or changing tools from what I have seen there just as fast if not faster in the cut as brothers and I do a LOT of cuts with the cat40 I would not even think of trying on a BT30..

99% of my work is ran in fixtures and its just swap fixtures, probe the X/Y/Z and push the green button ,,, I only have a few parts I need to load tools for ... most of the time I can swap jobs in under 5 min.

Like I wrote before if one is just looking for a machine to spit out lots of small parts the brothers or robo have it hands down but I Do not see them being a good choice for a universal machine .

DD Machine, thanks for your input, and of course, a dissenting opinion! You have valid points all around. At this point, anything is faster than the machine I currently have. I can literally walk over to the fridge and get a sweet tea, glance at my email, and take a drink or 3 before my machines makes a tool change. The Brother Salesman couldn't stop laughing when the machine did a tool change because of how slow it was.

While the majority of my career has been with 40 taper machines, I have (I own 2) run a number of 30 tapers and have not found them wanting, within reason. But, as I mentioned above, there are many things I do now that I will have to change when I use the Brother. However, I would add the caveat, my CNC is a Box Way machine, and I can say there are things I do on it, that the Mazaks and Doosan I ran would not, at least not without howling when doing it.

I think ultimately there were 2 reasons I ruled out Haas, as it frequently came up. A friend uses Haas every day at work and really likes them, so I have certainly had to defend the stance! The first reason is price. When trying to decide machines I built a bare bones machine and an optioned machine. Bare bones had the minimum essentials that I had to have. The Haas and Brother compared (and hopefully this doesn't get me into trouble?) closer than I would have thought. The Haas came in around $78k and the Brother came in around $90k. Now this all plays into the second point. I know a couple people in NE Ohio that have Haas that were not exactly happy with the service and support from HFO - Midwest. I have not found a negative opinion yet about Yamazen. The cost difference, I THINK in my opinion, I am willing to accept because of the longevity and serviceability of the Brother Machines. Arguably, I should probably start out with the cheapest Haas tool room mill I can get or a used Fadal instead of diving right into the Brother. The 8 years in business I have managed to stay out of debt other than a few small "loans" from myself. To jump in for the price of a decent house (in our area) is staggering to say the least!
 
A couple things to add to my previous post regarding why I would choose a Brother or other 30 taper machine over ....

Size: A 30 taper machine typically has a smaller footprint than most 40 taper machines. My Mori TV30 is about half the footprint of the VF2SS that DD machine is getting. Important when you only have ~800 sq. ft shop. Largest blanks I have ever run are 4"x12"x3", so having a larger envelope is not important for my use.

Speed: Much of the time I use the rapids at 25% since I'm often just making a one-off part and that's still nearly 500IPM. When I do make a production run (~12 parts!) I'll crank it up, but don't really get much benefit since the "run" is so small. I do make the occasional run of rail ties for a miniature live steam locomotive group. That will be 100-200 ties and it is there that I so appreciate the fast toolchange and rapids. Spot drilled, drilled, counterbored, and milled using 3 tools. A load of 3 ties comes in at 36 seconds. Gets me through a mind-numbing job in as little time as possible.

Power considerations: Despite Mori saying it was not possible, I run my TV30 on single phase 240V power with NO roto phase or Phase Perfect. Don't know if a Brother could be made do that, but maybe????
 
The tv30 is about half the size, its 16" x 12" travels with 10" of Z travel and 10 tools with a 5 HP spindle ..

I think the S700 is more the size of the VF2 , I don`t know how you got a offer for a loaded S700 for around 90k ? bare machine was like 82K and chipper was like 18K. that was No probes and no 4th axis drive.

I looked at the S700 in that I run a lot of drill and tap parts and the its a lot faster on the tool change and getting up to speed over the VF2ss , but how I fixture most all my parts tool changes and spindle acceleration does not play a big part when your running most parts 50 to 80 per load. I might do 5 or 6 tool changes in a 20 min run time, I do like that I can load 25 or 31 tools in the machine and not have to swap them out between most jobs and that saves a ton of change over time. I looked at the 450 pallet machine but with the control on the front it looked like a pain to setup and by the time you get into the 650 pallet machine with a chipper and a 4th axis on both tables your talking same price as a horizontal.

I do get what your saying about the HFO not being the best to deal with but in my case its deal with them 2 hours away or deal with Yamazen two states away. We had a Yamazen dealer in seattle back in the late 90s and I ordered a Takisawa Lathe from them and was told it was 2 weeks out, 6 weeks later the wrong lathe showed up and I told them they had a week to get the right machine here from CA and 2 weeks later ordered a new mori. That was a good thing in that right after that Yamazen closed there seattle office and left there customers hanging with no support in seattle. Yamazen is only a dealer that imports Brother machines into the US. Even company's way bigger than brothers have cut off sales and support to the US before ,, just look at Suzuki

Ask your local brothers dealer if he can get boards for the A or B control anymore? Even Yamazen salesmen have posted up on here that they don`t support there older controls.
 
Ask your local brothers dealer if he can get boards for the A or B control anymore? Even Yamazen salesmen have posted up on here that they don`t support there older controls.

As far as I am aware, I can still get any part I need for my 2007 model S2C's and 2010 model R2B's with the B00 control except for the high pressure coolant pump which was discontinued by the pump maker and Yamazen offers a replacement kit for those.
 
I have an S700 (and others). Mine is pretty well loaded up. Hi-torque/dual contact spindle, large tool magazine. I did buy the expanded look ahead. It's no more trouble than any other VMC to set up. I don't have spindle probing, do have tool length offset probing, which is super easy to use. I don't have a conveyor, but it sounds to me like the OP doesn't require one either. The chip handling is far superior to my old VF2 with the chip auger.

Another thing to consider - I don't think you can run any of the larger Haas machines on 30 amps 3-phase. My Brothers are happy on 30 amps. Even the hi-torque machines.

Some of the guys working for Haas are good, but some of them have been very frustrating. I get the feeling the guys from Yamazen are interested in making sure my machines are running well, and I"m happy. The guys from Haas haven't often given me that impression. The local tech support guy on the phone from Haas has been great. The 2 mills I purchased new from Haas had issues during the warranty period. The Brother machines haven't had any issues.

I've (to this point) not felt limited by a 30 taper.

Sometimes Yamazen might have a demo machine available. Buying a machine from stock, sometimes there might be a sale/deal available. I don't see a lot of unhappy Brother owners.

Someone, I can't remember who, was really really upset with Haas a year or so ago, made them take back a machine due to problems with the new control. I can't remember who that was, but they were on this forum....... :)

I'm very happy with my Brother machines. There isn't a machine I would choose over them for the work I do.
 
We had a Yamazen dealer in seattle back in the late 90s and I ordered a Takisawa Lathe from them and was told it was 2 weeks out, 6 weeks later the wrong lathe showed up and I told them they had a week to get the right machine here from CA and 2 weeks later ordered a new mori. That was a good thing in that right after that Yamazen closed there seattle office and left there customers hanging with no support in seattle.

Yeah... Back in the 40s it was also very sad when Bambi's mom died.
 
Yeah... Back in the 40s it was also very sad when Bambi's mom died.

I don't think your comment was called for or helpful. He brought up some valid concerns and it helps me to understand where he is coming from. I was with Yamazen in SoCal when they closed the Seattle office. It was a tough time for everyone. Yamazen did keep 8 service engineers on the West Coast for at least 2 years to handle warranty and service during that difficult transition. I am not sure about where the comment about Brother/Yamazen not supporting A and B series machines came from. There is about 80,000 of those out there and A00 machines were still sold new up until about 8 years ago. Parts and service availability is excellent. Parts # is 877-619-7278 for anyone really interested. In regards to the R450, the control on the front is a non-issue. People on here running them can testify to that. They can also testify to the huge bang for the buck they are and what great money makers they are.
 
Basically, you want clean 220v-230v power.

Not sure how you get that. Maybe the phase convertor can output that? In my understanding, there are two 3 phase voltages in the USA: 208 and 240 (three phase Y and delta respectively). There is no 230V in the USA. 230V is stated on lots of equipment due to an old standard that hasn't been updated in decades (best of my knowledge). So, my air conditioner says 230V but it means 240V. (like your residential dryer)

A Brother does not want 240V three phase. You need 208V +/-5%. My shop has 240V delta. I bought one of these

Do not get an "auto" transformer, get the isolation. In my case, the neutral created on the output side of the transformer had to be tied to ground even though the Brother doesn't take the neutral. This is based on S500X1 experience.
 
A couple things to add to my previous post regarding why I would choose a Brother or other 30 taper machine over ....

Size: A 30 taper machine typically has a smaller footprint than most 40 taper machines. My Mori TV30 is about half the footprint of the VF2SS that DD machine is getting. Important when you only have ~800 sq. ft shop. Largest blanks I have ever run are 4"x12"x3", so having a larger envelope is not important for my use.

Speed: Much of the time I use the rapids at 25% since I'm often just making a one-off part and that's still nearly 500IPM. When I do make a production run (~12 parts!) I'll crank it up, but don't really get much benefit since the "run" is so small. I do make the occasional run of rail ties for a miniature live steam locomotive group. That will be 100-200 ties and it is there that I so appreciate the fast toolchange and rapids. Spot drilled, drilled, counterbored, and milled using 3 tools. A load of 3 ties comes in at 36 seconds. Gets me through a mind-numbing job in as little time as possible.

Power considerations: Despite Mori saying it was not possible, I run my TV30 on single phase 240V power with NO roto phase or Phase Perfect. Don't know if a Brother could be made do that, but maybe????

Size and power consumption is a large concern. My shop is 1000 sq ft, so I know the feeling! One thing that amazed me about the Brother was the size. My current VMC has 30x16 travel, the Brother is 28x16, and while both machines have the same depth the Brother is 28" narrower than the Bridgeport!

The tv30 is about half the size, its 16" x 12" travels with 10" of Z travel and 10 tools with a 5 HP spindle ..

I think the S700 is more the size of the VF2 , I don`t know how you got a offer for a loaded S700 for around 90k ? bare machine was like 82K and chipper was like 18K. that was No probes and no 4th axis drive.

I looked at the S700 in that I run a lot of drill and tap parts and the its a lot faster on the tool change and getting up to speed over the VF2ss , but how I fixture most all my parts tool changes and spindle acceleration does not play a big part when your running most parts 50 to 80 per load. I might do 5 or 6 tool changes in a 20 min run time, I do like that I can load 25 or 31 tools in the machine and not have to swap them out between most jobs and that saves a ton of change over time. I looked at the 450 pallet machine but with the control on the front it looked like a pain to setup and by the time you get into the 650 pallet machine with a chipper and a 4th axis on both tables your talking same price as a horizontal.

I do get what your saying about the HFO not being the best to deal with but in my case its deal with them 2 hours away or deal with Yamazen two states away. We had a Yamazen dealer in seattle back in the late 90s and I ordered a Takisawa Lathe from them and was told it was 2 weeks out, 6 weeks later the wrong lathe showed up and I told them they had a week to get the right machine here from CA and 2 weeks later ordered a new mori. That was a good thing in that right after that Yamazen closed there seattle office and left there customers hanging with no support in seattle. Yamazen is only a dealer that imports Brother machines into the US. Even company's way bigger than brothers have cut off sales and support to the US before ,, just look at Suzuki

Ask your local brothers dealer if he can get boards for the A or B control anymore? Even Yamazen salesmen have posted up on here that they don`t support there older controls.

The price was not for a loaded machine, a machine with bare necessities. I rarely machine aluminum other than soft jaws, and currently I use a shop vac to remove chips, so I decided not to get a conveyor.

Here are the builds that I put together: (sorry the board mashes them together and I can't get my excel to drop in)

Brother Haas
S700X1 VF-2SS
16 k spindle 15k spindle $6,295
4th included 4th $2,495
Probing $6600 Probing $5500
TSC ready TSC ready $795
MPG $920 MPG $1395
Work Light $580 Delivery ???
Spindle Override $1150
Delivery $1500

Based on the quoted price from Brother, that puts me about $89k. From Haas' website, that puts me at $79k plus delivery.

I actually did a spread sheet on Haas machines comparable to the S500, S700 and S1000, with comparable options and pricing. My WANT machine from Brother, with 4th and all the goodies came in around $122k. Mr. Bankman got real squirmy when we started talking north of $100k.

In regards to support, it sounds like the older machines are supported and I can expect 15-20 years of support. Currently only one of my machines is supported, and that is my 10EE Monarch. But it is cheaper to go buy another Monarch for parts :D Moore said they CAN get me parts for my Jig Borer, but again, it is cheaper to go buy another Moore. None of the other companies are even in business anymore. Bridgeport, and related manufacturers don't even know what the parts are on my machine as the part numbers are so out dated. FANUC aspects are supported. Again, cheaper to buy another machine for parts.

In regards to money those of you that own Brothers, what is your experience with payoff and ROI for your machines? I am honestly concerned, whether it was a Haas, but especially a Brother, that they will run me out of work being so much more efficient than what I currently have. I know many of you have faced this chicken/egg battle before. That is, if you had more cash flow, the (in my case) $1300-$1500 a month would easily pay for a machine, but you have to buy the machine before you have the increased cash flow. It is a bit scary to take such a large leap for a "build it and they will come" attitude.


I have an S700 (and others). Mine is pretty well loaded up. Hi-torque/dual contact spindle, large tool magazine. I did buy the expanded look ahead. It's no more trouble than any other VMC to set up. I don't have spindle probing, do have tool length offset probing, which is super easy to use. I don't have a conveyor, but it sounds to me like the OP doesn't require one either. The chip handling is far superior to my old VF2 with the chip auger.

Another thing to consider - I don't think you can run any of the larger Haas machines on 30 amps 3-phase. My Brothers are happy on 30 amps. Even the hi-torque machines.

Some of the guys working for Haas are good, but some of them have been very frustrating. I get the feeling the guys from Yamazen are interested in making sure my machines are running well, and I"m happy. The guys from Haas haven't often given me that impression. The local tech support guy on the phone from Haas has been great. The 2 mills I purchased new from Haas had issues during the warranty period. The Brother machines haven't had any issues.

I've (to this point) not felt limited by a 30 taper.

Sometimes Yamazen might have a demo machine available. Buying a machine from stock, sometimes there might be a sale/deal available. I don't see a lot of unhappy Brother owners.

Someone, I can't remember who, was really really upset with Haas a year or so ago, made them take back a machine due to problems with the new control. I can't remember who that was, but they were on this forum....... :)

I'm very happy with my Brother machines. There isn't a machine I would choose over them for the work I do.
Thanks for your input! I missed a really good deal on a S1000 from after IMTS, but just am not quite ready!

OR
if you need the additional look-ahead that comes with BII.
It's like a condom....it's better to have it and not need it, then to need it and not have it.:D
Ha! That is an excellent analogy! in my current case, I feel like the factory Brother, MUST do a better job 3D contouring than my 89' Bridgeport. So I think just to get a spindle in and running, I am going to cheap out and get a bare bones machine. If the S700 does right, it'll be paying for a fully loaded S700/S1000 in a few years.

Anecdotal, I know, but I've been very happy with their service.
Anecdotal it may be, but I do appreciate the input. I am reaching the point in my business where I cannot afford to take a couple days and tear into a machine, search ebay for parts, or make parts, to get a machine back up and running.
 








 
Back
Top