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New guy entering the CNC world!

Mike7557

Plastic
Joined
Apr 18, 2022
Good morning everyone, first post and am looking for some advice/feedback.

TL;DR: I need to do lathe work for <12", aluminum but want to be flexible for additional work. SQT/QTN+MSY/Integrex/or something else? What are fair prices?

My buddy has a Tormac mill and his running into production capability limitations and needs a a lathe to complete some of his designs. We discussed going into business together and I finance/equity contribute and get him a lathe, but we decided I would buy my own, start an independent LLC, and make his parts while also opening myself up to job shop & contract opportunities. As a 100% veteran owned business that should help pull a few contracts in the future.

We started the search for a used Haas ST-15Y but the scarcity and price pushed me further back in time. I've been looking at the early 2000's Integrex-200's and late 90's to late 00's SQT/QTN-200MSY's. Prices have been anywhere from 30k-90k on the integrex and 35k to 60k on the MSY's.

I have a garage to fit 1 machine to try and do as many types of jobs as I can before I start honing in on a production specialty and optimize for it. I feel like the machines above may be way overkill, but havent found similar capability machines with a reduced capacity for the price (lathe, live tool, y axis & subspindle is what I'm looking for).

Any additional recommendations on make/models, and price ranges I should be comfortable with vs a steal of a deal vs getting taken to the cleaners? This being my first machine and my buddy to help with Fusion 360 and CAM while I learn, should I err one way vs another on machine selection?

This will be a side hustle for now, but fully intend to have this replace my full time job as the business scales. 10 years in the Marines after an engineering degree, now finishing my MBA, I'm ready to pursue that equity risk & reward. I appreciate any and all feedback.
 

LOTT

Cast Iron
Joined
Nov 28, 2016
You say garage, what space and power is available? Do you have any machining experience? And more importantly, machine repair knowledge (because an old low priced machine will need work)? Can you get delivery trucks into the area so you don't have to go fetch all your materials? Also be aware of all the support equipment that you're likely to need (air compressor, saw, etc).

There are VOSB set asides, but I wouldn't base any job shop plans on that.

As noted many times on this board, getting started in job shop work can be brutal. The cost of specialty tooling and metrology gear, when starting from zero, is more than a lot of jobs are going to pay.

This sounds really negative, but it is a challenge to start up and you are asking for advice.
 

DouglasJRizzo

Titanium
Joined
Jun 7, 2011
Location
Ramsey, NJ.
As someone who had to start completely from scratch I'll pose a few ideas here.
Buy the best machine you can afford.
Tooling, chuck jaws, collets, et al are going to cost a LOT, so be ready.
Coolant is expensive too.
Don't forget air compressor, hand tools, micrometers, gauges, etc.
Power?
Heat?
Fans?
Neighbors?
Security and safety?
 

Mike7557

Plastic
Joined
Apr 18, 2022
Trying to keep it < 50k of cash, ok to finance a little if needed.

2 car garage and will add a 50a 220v 1p line and a 3p mechanical converter.

No machining experience, but have 3 buddies who all have their own equipment and/or work with them all day.

I'll be making components for one of those guys initially as I make a small revenue stream and start learning.

Got a bead on a 2000 Integrex-200SY with chucks and few tools for $30k which leaves me another 20k for accessories, tools, etc. New mill & subspindle a few years ago. I think I'm going to pursue that for production flexibility at the expense of production capacity, I welcome any feedback on that as well.

Thank you all! Keep the considerations coming!
 

CITIZEN F16

Titanium
Joined
May 2, 2021
I would get 100 amps 220 to that garage. 50 amps isn't enough. The compressor, phase converter, and support equipment will eat that up quick, and I hope you won't be using electricity for heat, that sucks up amperage fast, and CNC machines don't like extreme temperatures. Start up draw on your typical air compressor is pretty big.
 

mhajicek

Titanium
Joined
May 11, 2017
Location
Minneapolis, MN, USA
Starting a machining company with no machining experience is going to be a very steep uphill battle. You say you're a vet; consider someone who says they have no military training or experience but some of their friends are soldiers, they play Call of Duty, and they want to go to Ukraine to help fight Russia. What are their chances under fire?

At least with this it's only your money at stake and not your life, but it's a very competitive and cut-throat market. With only basic turning capabilities, you're going to be competing with every Joe with a lathe in their garage, as well as with China, Malaysia, etc. shops with $5/day labor costs and subsidized material.

In order to make it as a job shop, you have to have a niche, something that you're better at than most of the other guys, to set you apart. This can come from having significantly lower overhead, having a lot of experience, having more expensive and capable equipment, or having unusual equipment that's especially suited for a certain subset of work that's in demand.

That's not to say you can't be successful; it's possible, but it will be very difficult. Be prepared to operate at a loss for an extended period of time while you develop the experience needed to be successful.
 

thewynner98

Aluminum
Joined
Jul 20, 2021
Starting a machining company with no machining experience is going to be a very steep uphill battle. You say you're a vet; consider someone who says they have no military training or experience but some of their friends are soldiers, they play Call of Duty, and they want to go to Ukraine to help fight Russia. What are their chances under fire?

At least with this it's only your money at stake and not your life, but it's a very competitive and cut-throat market. With only basic turning capabilities, you're going to be competing with every Joe with a lathe in their garage, as well as with China, Malaysia, etc. shops with $5/day labor costs and subsidized material.

In order to make it as a job shop, you have to have a niche, something that you're better at than most of the other guys, to set you apart. This can come from having significantly lower overhead, having a lot of experience, having more expensive and capable equipment, or having unusual equipment that's especially suited for a certain subset of work that's in demand.

That's not to say you can't be successful; it's possible, but it will be very difficult. Be prepared to operate at a loss for an extended period of time while you develop the experience needed to be successful.
I wouldn't even consider less than 100a service 200 would be a good start. A 20hp rotophase will eat 60a and a compressor is easily another 20 or 30. Not leaving much on the table for power for lights saws etc..... Tooling and experience is expensive. I'm only a couple steps ahead of you in a similar journey i saved thousands finding an old precision grinders tool kit filled with american and japanese mics and indicators. See if you can find something similar. Also be prepared too work on a used machine. If electronics scare you in the slightest new is the only way too go.

Sent from my LM-V600 using Tapatalk
 

CITIZEN F16

Titanium
Joined
May 2, 2021
Starting a machining company with no machining experience is going to be a very steep uphill battle. You say you're a vet; consider someone who says they have no military training or experience but some of their friends are soldiers, they play Call of Duty, and they want to go to Ukraine to help fight Russia. What are their chances under fire?

Kids these days, girlfriend's "kids" really into video war games, both come to visit, late teens, early 20's. I am in the woods, well off the beaten path. I asked the boys that are playing whatever it was if they wanted to learn how to and shoot a real gun. The youngest I think 19 wanted to, the oldest was content to play video games. I remember when I was a kid I was always begging my dad to take me shooting.
 

CITIZEN F16

Titanium
Joined
May 2, 2021
I wouldn't even consider less than 100a service 200 would be a good start. A 20hp rotophase will eat 60a and a compressor is easily another 20 or 30. Not leaving much on the table for power for lights saws etc..... Tooling and experience is expensive. I'm only a couple steps ahead of you in a similar journey i saved thousands finding an old precision grinders tool kit filled with american and japanese mics and indicators. See if you can find something similar. Also be prepared too work on a used machine. If electronics scare you in the slightest new is the only way too go.

Sent from my LM-V600 using Tapatalk

If a 20 hp converter is taking 60 amps to run something is wrong with it. An unloaded motor should be taking nowhere near full load amps. I have two converters I will measure the homemade well balanced 15 hp in a while.
 

thewynner98

Aluminum
Joined
Jul 20, 2021
If a 20 hp converter is taking 60 amps to run something is wrong with it. An unloaded motor should be taking nowhere near full load amps. I have two converters I will measure the homemade well balanced 15 hp in a while.
Just what american rotary called for. Not saying it will but technically a 60a breaker trips at 48a if I recall breakers are supposed too trip at 80%

Sent from my LM-V600 using Tapatalk
 

Philabuster

Diamond
Joined
Jul 12, 2006
Location
Tempe, AZ
2 car garage and will add a 50a 220v 1p line and a 3p mechanical converter.

Got a bead on a 2000 Integrex-200SY with chucks and few tools for $30k which leaves me another 20k for accessories, tools, etc.

You are not going to be running that Integrex with only 50 amps of single phase power feeding a RPC.

I have 200 amps single phase service and I have a 30hp Phase Perfect, which is barely adequate for my 1986 Mazak ST30 ATC/MC CNC lathe with 22kw motor. I slowed down the spindle acceleration rate so the machine only pulls 75 amps 3 phase when it winds up.
 

CITIZEN F16

Titanium
Joined
May 2, 2021
Just what american rotary called for. Not saying it will but technically a 60a breaker trips at 48a if I recall breakers are supposed too trip at 80%

Sent from my LM-V600 using Tapatalk

The breaker needs to be sized to survive the inrush current on a rotary at start up, running amps on an unloaded converter motor can vary, will check mine in a while, I am guessing it will be in the 25-40% range of nameplate. 60 amps for a 20 HP motor is almost 100% if your 240 service is on the high end. It is pretty interesting to check draw of different motor applications. I have found older compressor motors will actually draw a little over as they get close to shut off pressure.
 

Fadriver

Aluminum
Joined
Apr 24, 2011
Location
los angels ca.
Trying to keep it < 50k of cash, ok to finance a little if needed.

2 car garage and will add a 50a 220v 1p line and a 3p mechanical converter.

No machining experience, but have 3 buddies who all have their own equipment and/or work with them all day.

I'll be making components for one of those guys initially as I make a small revenue stream and start learning.

Got a bead on a 2000 Integrex-200SY with chucks and few tools for $30k which leaves me another 20k for accessories, tools, etc. New mill & subspindle a few years ago. I think I'm going to pursue that for production flexibility at the expense of production capacity, I welcome any feedback on that as well.

Thank you all! Keep the considerations coming!

If you want to be a job shop, postpone the dream and go work for a big aerospace company
to learn machining and paperwork procedures, ang get connections, otherwise is 50k nowdays is
nothing, everybody has a lathe and mill all chasing gadget work just to pay rent and utilities
there is a kid in my complex started 2 yrs ago, but throw maybe couple millions at least and now
has lots of work, doing complex work metal impregnation using titanium for F1 cars to Space X
parts, i have cnc lathe and mills and no work, that tells me cnc machining is becoming obsolete
in the good old usa, we can not compete with china, india etc. This is global economy where you
get quotes same day, its sad i am quitting, done.
 

thewynner98

Aluminum
Joined
Jul 20, 2021
The breaker needs to be sized to survive the inrush current on a rotary at start up, running amps on an unloaded converter motor can vary, will check mine in a while, I am guessing it will be in the 25-40% range of nameplate. 60 amps for a 20 HP motor is almost 100% if your 240 service is on the high end. It is pretty interesting to check draw of different motor applications. I have found older compressor motors will actually draw a little over as they get close to shut off pressure.
Still point stands 50a aint gonna cover a machine and a 240v 60gal compressor

Sent from my LM-V600 using Tapatalk
 

thewynner98

Aluminum
Joined
Jul 20, 2021
Trying to keep it < 50k of cash, ok to finance a little if needed.

2 car garage and will add a 50a 220v 1p line and a 3p mechanical converter.

No machining experience, but have 3 buddies who all have their own equipment and/or work with them all day.

I'll be making components for one of those guys initially as I make a small revenue stream and start learning.

Got a bead on a 2000 Integrex-200SY with chucks and few tools for $30k which leaves me another 20k for accessories, tools, etc. New mill & subspindle a few years ago. I think I'm going to pursue that for production flexibility at the expense of production capacity, I welcome any feedback on that as well.

Thank you all! Keep the considerations coming!

If you want to be a job shop, postpone the dream and go work for a big aerospace company
to learn machining and paperwork procedures, ang get connections, otherwise is 50k nowdays is
nothing, everybody has a lathe and mill all chasing gadget work just to pay rent and utilities
there is a kid in my complex started 2 yrs ago, but throw maybe couple millions at least and now
has lots of work, doing complex work metal impregnation using titanium for F1 cars to Space X
parts, i have cnc lathe and mills and no work, that tells me cnc machining is becoming obsolete
in the good old usa, we can not compete with china, india etc. This is global economy where you
get quotes same day, its sad i am quitting, done.
Gotta get with the times and automate multiple parts per fixture fast machines aggressive feeds and speeds and get rid of overhead. Competing with china using the same tactics isnt gonna work. Gotta be smarter and make the machines make up the difference

Sent from my LM-V600 using Tapatalk
 

CITIZEN F16

Titanium
Joined
May 2, 2021
Still point stands 50a aint gonna cover a machine and a 240v 60gal compressor

Sent from my LM-V600 using Tapatalk

No argument there, I was just saying your draw for a converter was a high estimate. As I said the draw of a converter
can vary, you erred on the side of caution. I have no problem with that.
 

thewynner98

Aluminum
Joined
Jul 20, 2021
No argument there, I was just saying your draw for a converter was a high estimate. As I said the draw of a converter
can vary, you erred on the side of caution. I have no problem with that.
I m on 100a and with a mini split welder compressor and 2 machines im out of power already

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LOTT

Cast Iron
Joined
Nov 28, 2016
Have you been watching Peter at Edge Precision on YouTube? He does a bunch of amazing stuff on his Integrex, but he has 40 years of experience, access to every support machine known to man (he steps over to his seven axis tool grinder for special profile bits), and tooling and metrology of every conceivable type. And he's a mechanical genius, just one of those guys that can do it all. Not to say you aren't, but it's a steep hill to climb.

Tell your friend to job out the big disks, and buy yourself a small new(ish) mill to play with. 50 amps might just spin a 30 taper, Phase Perfect, and an air compressor.
 








 
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