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Looking for a Datron or a Datron alternative machine

kuka737

Plastic
Joined
Aug 18, 2021
Hello Fellow Machinist(hopefully members here won't mind calling myself a machinist),

I am a computer engineer by education & trade. 3 months ago, I started learning to machine aluminum and brass parts on my Carbide3D Nomad3 for my company. I do love my Nomad3 but the 8inx8inx3in work envelope can be limiting. I am currently looking to get a larger machine in the next 9 to 18 months for making large aluminum electronic enclosures(16in x 12in x 3in), C145 copper heat sinks, and the rare custom copper(C110) copper bus bar which we outsource. We are looking at the Datron Neo and Datron M8. The main reasons for datron are MQL system and the size of both machine which can fit through our office doors. But, I want to know other alternative suggestion that members here would have. Two requirement are as low as possible noise(we are between two business that are somewhat quiet office environments and we like our neighbors) and the second is no coolant(example water based or oil based) expect for Alcohol/Ethanol based MQL system. Also, I would like to hear from current and former owner of Datron neo & M8 about the ownership experience. Thank you all.
 

DDoug

Diamond
Joined
Oct 18, 2005
Location
NW Pa
Hello Fellow Machinist(hopefully members here won't mind calling myself a machinist),

I am a computer engineer by education & trade. 3 months ago, I started learning to machine aluminum and brass parts on my Carbide3D Nomad3 for my company. I do love my Nomad3 but the 8inx8inx3in work envelope can be limiting. I am currently looking to get a larger machine in the next 9 to 18 months for making large aluminum electronic enclosures(16in x 12in x 3in), C145 copper heat sinks, and the rare custom copper(C110) copper bus bar which we outsource. We are looking at the Datron Neo and Datron M8. The main reasons for datron are MQL system and the size of both machine which can fit through our office doors. But, I want to know other alternative suggestion that members here would have. Two requirement are as low as possible noise(we are between two business that are somewhat quiet office environments and we like our neighbors) and the second is no coolant(example water based or oil based) expect for Alcohol/Ethanol based MQL system. Also, I would like to hear from current and former owner of Datron neo & M8 about the ownership experience. Thank you all.

https://www.practicalmachinist.com/...huck-system-more-388325/?highlight=Datron+Neo
 

aokun

Plastic
Joined
Nov 13, 2007
Location
San Diego, CA
We have a Neo. The machine is awesome for flat plate work or smaller aluminum/copper/plastic parts. If you have enough of this type of work I would highly recommend it BUT I would not get it as the only mill.

Some things to consider:

It's not made to take heavy cuts, at 40k RPM it can be very noisy. It creates a lot of very fine aluminum shavings that can float in the air. We always use dust masks around it.

You need to have sufficient ventilation to get rid of ethanol vapor. Sticking it in an office is unlikely to work well.

Let me know if you have any questions about the Neo. For us it worked out great but I can see someone being disappointed if they don't have correct work for it.

Alex

Sent from my Pixel 4 XL using Tapatalk
 

2outof3

Titanium
Joined
Sep 27, 2014
Location
West Coast USA
The Datron will more than struggle with anything close to that 3 inch deep cut. MQL can be run on almost anything. We have stuck a Brother through a pair of office doors. It took some work but we did not have the S300 at that time.
 

aokun

Plastic
Joined
Nov 13, 2007
Location
San Diego, CA
It could be a decent machine for certain limited applications for around $20k.
Ours paid for itself in less then a year but you are right that applications are limited. This is definitely not a hobby grade machine. Primary reason we got it is that we needed another machine and the only space we had at the time was in the lobby. We got it through a standard door and the rest is history.

The primary work for this is flat plates such as instrument front panels, server rack front panels, etc. Small parts that don't require a lot of hogging (I would say 1" tall is pushing it on Neo but they can be quiet large, I think 400x500mm). We put three Orange Delta IV vises on it so it's easy to 1st op on one with serrajaws and you have two more vises for follow up ops. The upper section has vacuum chuck.

Primarily we use vacuum workholding. Their combination of high flow vacuum pump, high rpm spindle and ethanol cooling allows machining without kicking parts off the table. With high flow vacuum pump you can completely separate parts from the rest of the sheet (within reason). You can even use vacuum holding for second op if part shape allows it. With build in part probe you put part roughly in designated area and then call part probing from program to reset XYZ and rotation. Works great for flat parts that need back edges deburred and maybe some features put in. If your plate is warped and reasonably thick it will be a problem to hold it.

One other thing to keep in mind is that if you are working with vacuum holding it's a bit tricky to get full THRU thread I would say above 1/4" size. You can only drop down 0.7mm below part into the Vacucard cardboard stock without hitting the vacuum table. It's best to use dovetail or back deburring tool to finish bottoms of threaded holes.

Last thing is that I would not attempt to interpolate dowel holes on Neo. The issue is not accuracy of machine, it's difficulty of evacuating chips out of the hole and recutting that results. Ethanol actually keeps chips from getting blown out, there is tendency to stick to surfaces. Maybe we haven't quite mastered this part and maybe spraying less would help but it's not as easy as on a regular decent mill.


Alex




Sent from my Pixel 4 XL using Tapatalk
 

robgrz

Plastic
Joined
Feb 15, 2011
Location
Southern California, USA
We (Carbide 3D) have a Datron Neo and part of your Nomad 3 was probably machined on it.

For vacuum plate work, it's pretty good. The ethanol mist is great and it's a very accurate machine. It runs every day and it's profitable for what we use it for. But...

Nobody likes the machine. It's loud, even in a shop with a number of other, much bigger machines. It errors out a lot. It's delicate and requires more maintenance than any other machine we have. The buying experience was horrible compared to Yamazen and Haas.

I would never recommend one for vise work, the entire benefit to us is the high-flow vacuum workholding. Second, because of the way the tooling works in the Neo spindle I'm not sure you can get a 3" tool in the tool changer (assuming I read your needs correctly).

I think most of our "real" complaints would be gone on an M8 with an HSK spindle but I think that doubles the price and if you can fit an M8, you can fit a VMC.

If you can fit a small Brother, it's a much more versatile and reliable machine and the support is the best out there. (About half of your Nomad was made on Brother machines)
 

kuka737

Plastic
Joined
Aug 18, 2021
@robgrz Thank you for that honest and insightful Datron Neo experience report. It looking like the brothers speedio S300/500/700 is the way to go. Just have to get over my fear of coolant. Which Brothers machine does Carbide3D use?
 

Nibleswick

Plastic
Joined
Dec 31, 2019
@robgrz Thank you for that honest and insightful Datron Neo experience report. It looking like the brothers speedio S300/500/700 is the way to go. Just have to get over my fear of coolant. Which Brothers machine does Carbide3D use?

If you set up a mist sprayer you can run alcohol in any machine. You don't have to use traditional coolant if you don't want to.
 

mkd

Stainless
Joined
Jun 8, 2013
I might as well be the first to mention the Haas OM office mills.
Not recommending them personally, but they fit the parameter
 

2outof3

Titanium
Joined
Sep 27, 2014
Location
West Coast USA
@robgrz Thank you for that honest and insightful Datron Neo experience report. It looking like the brothers speedio S300/500/700 is the way to go. Just have to get over my fear of coolant. Which Brothers machine does Carbide3D use?

You can use MQL on any Brother. You do not have to use coolant.
 

bob

Titanium
Joined
Aug 12, 2002
Location
Regina, Canada
You might look at Tormach.they have made some changes since we got ours. They get relatively pricey all tricked out.
Bob
 

TKassoc

Cast Iron
Joined
Aug 19, 2009
Location
Oakland, CA
Does anyone have anything to say about these tiny Mazaks?
VC-300A

They toured the horizontal Fanuc control version of that machine around all the US trade shows in the 2000s before sending it back to Japan unsold. It uses axis chaining of both the head and table moving to get bigger travel out of the tiny enclosure size. It's a really clever design but I seriously doubt they have any installed in the US. Nothing good can come from being the early adopter and having an orphan CNC mill...
 








 
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