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Low Ceiling Garage VMC

Djwade

Aluminum
Joined
Sep 23, 2020
Depends on job requirements...
Don't overlook the Robodrill.
It's not a drilling machine, it's a mill in a box.
And... ( sorry ) Not Tormach.

There's a robodrill drill mate T model 10 locally, but from what I can gather, they're fairly deep dimensionally. Something like 10 feet or so?
 

laggeddag

Aluminum
Joined
May 21, 2016
since it sounds like you are building out your home shop for the first time have you considered the following:

-space for bandsaw, drillpress, air compressor, 3 phase converter (if needed), tool cart, stock/other storage, workbench
-fresh air supply (cant do any real machining in a garage that is recirculating air (fine chips + coolant mist)
-climate control (got to be reasonably comfy or you wont go in there to do any work)
-noise
-reducing the machine height to get in your garage by taking the z axis motor off
-whether your garage door header is actually a header (if its a gable construction it may not actually have a real header and so options for cutting a removable slot in it go up)
-whether you can make a relief/recess/hole in your ceiling to accommodate a tall z motor if need be
-there are definitely VMC's out there below 99" (with z axis motor installed)

If you buy a machine that needs ways replaced for $10k you are doing it wrong. Way-replace machines should be in the sub $1500 department

Don't worry about box or linear ways, if you get anywhere near the point where the pros and cons of either start mattering you are making so much $$ that you probably need to get a shop and/or a 2nd machine)

Similarly dont worry about control commonality. You will probably get a machine with a fanuc anyway but keep in mind that common-ness in general is a concern for production shops where there is employee training and maintenance of a fleet to consider. Those aren't relevant to a home shop machinist. Pretty much any control is arcane and will have the same learning curve as any other.

Do you know how to use a parametric modeler? How are you planning on designing your models and generating toolpaths? If you can get yourself into the parametric modeler to CAM toolpath generation you open up some very interesting possibilities. If you stick to writing toolpaths on the control itself..well...thats fine for simple parts but its very limiting. There are inexpensive options for both a modeler and CAM but if possible get yourself some solidworks (even a very old copy) and some kind of CAM package that went with it.
 

Hardplates

Stainless
Joined
May 8, 2019
Location
What once was a free country
Even if there is a structural header there are ways of temporarily supporting it and then restoring it.

If you succeed you will learn the hard way what we all have, the extra effort on shoe horning a larger heavier machine in is well worth it.

I've never met someone who complained about their machine being too rigid :crazy:
 

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Djwade

Aluminum
Joined
Sep 23, 2020
since it sounds like you are building out your home shop for the first time have you considered the following:

-space for bandsaw, drillpress, air compressor, 3 phase converter (if needed), tool cart, stock/other storage, workbench
-fresh air supply (cant do any real machining in a garage that is recirculating air (fine chips + coolant mist)
-climate control (got to be reasonably comfy or you wont go in there to do any work)
-noise
-reducing the machine height to get in your garage by taking the z axis motor off
-whether your garage door header is actually a header (if its a gable construction it may not actually have a real header and so options for cutting a removable slot in it go up)
-whether you can make a relief/recess/hole in your ceiling to accommodate a tall z motor if need be
-there are definitely VMC's out there below 99" (with z axis motor installed)

Thanks for the input! I've definitely been trying to consider as much as possible, but there are some good points that I hadn't fully considered here. I have the layout of the garage as I'd like to have it eventually sketched up in solidworks, so I'm trying to keep things well planned out (which is why I'm primarily looking at the VMC15 size machines, as opposed to the 3016+ size). For much of my work, I'm planning on using a fogbuster to keep the total aerosolized liquid down, but I am making sure I have a fresh air supply to the garage.

Do you have any suggestions for other VMCs that would fit the small footprint, small Z axis height criteria I should keep an eye out for as well?


Do you know how to use a parametric modeler? How are you planning on designing your models and generating toolpaths? If you can get yourself into the parametric modeler to CAM toolpath generation you open up some very interesting possibilities. If you stick to writing toolpaths on the control itself..well...thats fine for simple parts but its very limiting. There are inexpensive options for both a modeler and CAM but if possible get yourself some solidworks (even a very old copy) and some kind of CAM package that went with it.

Fortunately my day job is as a mechanical engineer, and I'm the one that does all of our CNC programming and running our CNC. Fortunately I have an EAA membership and have a new personal copy of Solidworks to work with as well, but also am learning Fusion360, as Solidworks CAM is the worst CAM I've ever seen in my life.
 

Djwade

Aluminum
Joined
Sep 23, 2020
You are either kidding or don't know what a stiff machine is. I ran a 15XT for about 7 years when purchased new so have plenty of dreadful first hand knowledge.

Is there anything specific with the VMC15 to look out for on a used machine? Were you running into issues with harder materials?
 

Hardplates

Stainless
Joined
May 8, 2019
Location
What once was a free country
It seems to be common belief that Fadals are good machines. I was told by a reliable source that while doing a factory visit he witnessed them "lapping" in turcite with sandpaper glued to the machine. Much cheaper than scraping :rolleyes5: Guys brag how cheap parts are, that's good cause you will need them.
 

Orange Vise

Stainless
Joined
Feb 10, 2012
Location
California
I've seen a Haas Minimill in a garage where the guy punched a hole through the ceiling and framed around it. He finished with drywall and added molding.

Is 99" your floor to bottom of joist height? Single or two story house?
 

Vancbiker

Diamond
Joined
Jan 5, 2014
Location
Vancouver, WA. USA
It seems to be common belief that Fadals are good machines. I was told by a reliable source that while doing a factory visit he witnessed them "lapping" in turcite with sandpaper glued to the machine. Much cheaper than scraping :rolleyes5: .....

Absolutely true. Plus shims inserted between the bed and column to square it. Table mounted tool to shave the spindle cartridge mounting surface on the head and despite that, most had to have the spindle cartridge shimmed to attain decent geometry. Lots of other low grade practices and component selections too. Absolute trainwreck of machine tool construction but cheap so could sell lots of them.
 

Djwade

Aluminum
Joined
Sep 23, 2020
I've seen a Haas Minimill in a garage where the guy punched a hole through the ceiling and framed around it. He finished with drywall and added molding.

Is 99" your floor to bottom of joist height? Single or two story house?

This is something I've considered in order to accomodate a mini mill. I have a 2 story house, half of my garage is under the master bedroom, the other half is under the attic space of the roof that's directly above the garage, so in theory I could do it there.

The thing with the mini-mills is that if I were to go that route, I'd want to go newer, but with how well they hold on to their value, it almost doesn't make sense unless I go brand new, or at least fairly recent. It creeps the scope quite a bit. I figure I want to keep the initial capital purchase on a mill lower, and if I need to increase throughput, I can use the revenue to upgrade.

...Unless someone wants to sell me a decent mini mill for 10k :D
 

DavidScott

Titanium
Joined
Jul 11, 2012
Location
Washington
Is there anything specific with the VMC15 to look out for on a used machine? Were you running into issues with harder materials?
The biggest rigidity issue I ran into was trying to take a .001" skim pass 2" loc on a 6061 aluminum part with a 1" endmill, and it would not do it no matter what I tried. The pocket was cut I just wanted to remove any steps for the best surface finish. Other than that it would be dealing with the notorious servo lag. When spotting holes I would add .001" per ipm to the spot depth with a G81. Spotting at 40 ipm add .04" to the depth and your good. Lots of other fun examples using exact stop and dwells if I needed to hold close tolerances in corners. This was with a new in November 1997 with the hot 88HS, or something like that, control that had just come out.

When buying a used machine do not buy one that was cheap when new, buy one that was much more expensive when new. The difference in price when used isn't much. It will be a far better machine but do make sure you can get parts and service from the MTB before buying anything.

As for mist collectors you can mount them anywhere and duct them to the machine. Mine ducts two machines and several work stations.
 

Orange Vise

Stainless
Joined
Feb 10, 2012
Location
California
The thing with the mini-mills is that if I were to go that route, I'd want to go newer, but with how well they hold on to their value, it almost doesn't make sense unless I go brand new, or at least fairly recent.

Deals can be had on well optioned machines, as long as you need those options.

Base models command the highest % residual value. Our $28K 2012 TL-1 sold for $27K three years later.

Buying a new, lightly-optioned Haas when they're on sale, e.g. now, is a fairly safe way to park your money. Just a matter of having the capital.
 

Djwade

Aluminum
Joined
Sep 23, 2020
Deals can be had on well optioned machines, as long as you need those options.

Base models command the highest % residual value. Our $28K 2012 TL-1 sold for $27K three years later.

Buying a new, lightly-optioned Haas when they're on sale, e.g. now, is a fairly safe way to park your money. Just a matter of having the capital.

hmmm. Definitely some food for thought. I'll crunch some numbers on it, but the resale value of them is something more to consider.

I expect I'll likely still end up with something cheaper to start and continue to develop my skills, and really start looking beyond once throughput or some other factors contribute to a change in that mentality.
 

BROTHERFRANK

Stainless
Joined
Dec 20, 2013
Location
SoCal
This 1995 Fadal is available at one of our clients in Ontario, CA.. They say it is running good. They need to make room for two new Speedios getting delivered in about 3 weeks. You can save by buying direct instead of through a dealer. Anyone interested contact me and I will help you get in touch with them.

View attachment 300235

Bonus: it is their last 40 taper machine so all of the tool holders will likely go with it.

This machine is no longer available.
 

Djwade

Aluminum
Joined
Sep 23, 2020
So as I'm narrowing in on what I'm looking for, I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions for places to look locally for machines? It's becoming clear for the price range that I'm looking at that buying a machine that isn't local is going to add at minimum $2k-3k more because of the additional rigging and transport fees, and I'd like to see the machine in person locally.

I'm watching Craigslist and even have a wanted ad out, as well as checking eBay for local listings, and the occasional facebook marketplace search. Anywhere else to look into?
 

2outof3

Titanium
Joined
Sep 27, 2014
Location
West Coast USA
So as I'm narrowing in on what I'm looking for, I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions for places to look locally for machines? It's becoming clear for the price range that I'm looking at that buying a machine that isn't local is going to add at minimum $2k-3k more because of the additional rigging and transport fees, and I'd like to see the machine in person locally.

I'm watching Craigslist and even have a wanted ad out, as well as checking eBay for local listings, and the occasional facebook marketplace search. Anywhere else to look into?

What area of California?
 








 
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