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Power Feed Servo vs Shars

Ducats

Plastic
Joined
Jul 19, 2022
I have a Bridgeport and looking to put power feed on x and y axis. I know Servo is one of the top brands but have seen a lot of good reviews on the Shars. Would be looking at the 150 model in both brands. Is the Servo worth double the money for hopefully never having issues? I'm a hobbiest but might be opening a one man machine shop. If I do go that route I would get CNC as primary machine.

Thanks
 

neanderthal mach

Hot Rolled
Joined
Dec 18, 2008
Location
princeton b.c.
Fwiw and down the road with the Servo you'd have some hope of continued parts support and repair. The Asian power feeds? Who knows just how long Shars might be around or if they even care about stocking parts for a design or what ever manufacturer they currently use that might be changed at any time. Finding someone who can supply parts tomorrow never mind 10 yrs later could be an issue if that might be important enough to you. It also depends on what condition your BP is in. Adding brand new Servo feeds to an almost worn out machine wouldn't be worthwhile. And Shars isn't an actual tool manufacturer since they don't make anything themselves, but there now large enough to have there name incorporated onto quite a bit by whoever is making it for them. There a tool supplier just like Jet, Grizzly etc. I have a 150 sized Asian unit on my BP clone's X axis, it's ok I guess, but I think less smooth and with a bit more noise than the few Servo feeds I've been around. I also suspect it's actual torque output might be a bit over stated. With my own hind sight compared to when I bought my mill, table feeds are used just about every time the mill is. And while I haven't had any real issues with mine yet, if I knew then what I do now, I most likely would have spent the extra and bought a Servo instead. I also don't automatically believe any user reviews about any product. Even more so if it's Asian. If they've never used anything better they don't really have anything to compare it to.

Going by a lot of different forum posts on various sites I think all or most of the Asian clones of the Servo feeds have universally poor mounting instructions. If you did buy those Shars feeds, I'd use Servo's own and much better instructions. http://www.servoproductsco.com/specs/0200_80003.pdf Shimming the feed units pinion gear to the bevel gear for the correct tooth clearance is a pita, but imo the most important step. The easiest method I found was to de-grease that bevel gear and color it's tooth flanks with a felt tip marking pen, install and do a few full rotations, then remove the feed and check the engagement marking. The real Servo units are probably made with a lot tighter tolerances so there recommended .015"-.025" backlash numbers on the feed screw dial would work. With anything else I think it takes a lot more trial checks and adjustments to get correct. Keep adding / subtracting shims as required with further checks. The tightest engagement possible isn't better since adds much more load onto the motor and excessive gear tooth wear. And what most don't normally mention on the forums and YT videos is those shim stacks also allow some fine adjustment later once enough wear has taken place. I don't think there an install and then just ignore for the life of the machine accessory.
 

Ducats

Plastic
Joined
Jul 19, 2022
Fwiw and down the road with the Servo you'd have some hope of continued parts support and repair. The Asian power feeds? Who knows just how long Shars might be around or if they even care about stocking parts for a design or what ever manufacturer they currently use that might be changed at any time. Finding someone who can supply parts tomorrow never mind 10 yrs later could be an issue if that might be important enough to you. It also depends on what condition your BP is in. Adding brand new Servo feeds to an almost worn out machine wouldn't be worthwhile. And Shars isn't an actual tool manufacturer since they don't make anything themselves, but there now large enough to have there name incorporated onto quite a bit by whoever is making it for them. There a tool supplier just like Jet, Grizzly etc. I have a 150 sized Asian unit on my BP clone's X axis, it's ok I guess, but I think less smooth and with a bit more noise than the few Servo feeds I've been around. I also suspect it's actual torque output might be a bit over stated. With my own hind sight compared to when I bought my mill, table feeds are used just about every time the mill is. And while I haven't had any real issues with mine yet, if I knew then what I do now, I most likely would have spent the extra and bought a Servo instead. I also don't automatically believe any user reviews about any product. Even more so if it's Asian. If they've never used anything better they don't really have anything to compare it to.

Going by a lot of different forum posts on various sites I think all or most of the Asian clones of the Servo feeds have universally poor mounting instructions. If you did buy those Shars feeds, I'd use Servo's own and much better instructions. http://www.servoproductsco.com/specs/0200_80003.pdf Shimming the feed units pinion gear to the bevel gear for the correct tooth clearance is a pita, but imo the most important step. The easiest method I found was to de-grease that bevel gear and color it's tooth flanks with a felt tip marking pen, install and do a few full rotations, then remove the feed and check the engagement marking. The real Servo units are probably made with a lot tighter tolerances so there recommended .015"-.025" backlash numbers on the feed screw dial would work. With anything else I think it takes a lot more trial checks and adjustments to get correct. Keep adding / subtracting shims as required with further checks. The tightest engagement possible isn't better since adds much more load onto the motor and excessive gear tooth wear. And what most don't normally mention on the forums and YT videos is those shim stacks also allow some fine adjustment later once enough wear has taken place. I don't think there an install and then just ignore for the life of the machine accessory.
Thanks for the great feedback definitely agree. Any more that is an issue with almost anything you buy parts and warranty are only good if they are still in business. I think I got pretty lucky on the condition on the mill it was one of 4 mills in the toolroom I managed and 2 had Power feeds and this one did not so did not get used as much. It was an internal repair toolroom so did not get used all the time, but they were not maintained like they should have been either. I did have the head rebuilt and the leadscrew bushings replaced in the last 2 years when I worked there. The X backlash is .005 in the center and .002 on the ends, not bad for a 1978 model.

I will use your advice for installing them. Thanks again.
 

neanderthal mach

Hot Rolled
Joined
Dec 18, 2008
Location
princeton b.c.
Yep it sounds like you did get lucky with that mill. From the little I've picked up, I believe Bridgeport guarantee a maximum of .004" feed screw back lash on new machines. If there anything like Mitutoyo, it's usually built to hit around half the allowable. My new clone had .004" on X,Y so still not as good as your used machine.
 

Overland

Hot Rolled
Joined
Nov 19, 2017
Location
Greenville, SC
When I was looking for a drive for my clone there were 2 price points for the inputs, although they looked very similar.
There are the Taiwan made ones for about $350 and the chinese for about $150.
Buy the Taiwan one, and don't worry about it.
something like this:
 

triumph406

Titanium
Joined
Sep 14, 2008
Location
ca
Fwiw and down the road with the Servo you'd have some hope of continued parts support and repair. The Asian power feeds? Who knows just how long Shars might be around or if they even care about stocking parts for a design or what ever manufacturer they currently use that might be changed at any time.

The cheap Chinese/Taiwanese/Vietnamese/Mongolian/Indian etc power feed craps out. Throw it away and buy another one. You'll still be ahead
 
Not going down-cellar to check brand but almost 40 yrs ago i put a Taiwanese on a Taiwan mill drill that was/is still used weekly if not daily. 'Cause it was 1/2 the price of Servo or less. Wore the mill out once and rescraped it 20 years ago. The feed is almost never turned off, either. It still works fine.

Oh, and it is a heck of a lot more convenient (with rapid) than the factory unit on my SB mill, or original BP gear units.

smt
 

neanderthal mach

Hot Rolled
Joined
Dec 18, 2008
Location
princeton b.c.
The cheap Chinese/Taiwanese/Vietnamese/Mongolian/Indian etc power feed craps out. Throw it away and buy another one. You'll still be ahead
Since your quoting me then that would be why part of my comment was "if that might be important enough to you". Yeah of course those total pos sub $200 feeds are expendable junk. But he was asking about a power feed priced at half of what a Servo costs and about what mine did. So no you wouldn't still be ahead by replacing the whole feed unit with another. If a 1/2 priced feed fails and can't be repaired, then spending more for the Servo would be more cost effective. I knowingly took a gamble with mine and so far it's worked out, I assumed he was using the same logic I did and that's why he was asking. Stephen's post and the apparent durability of his Tai. unit shows at least some of the better built and higher priced Asian feeds don't all crap out.
 

ratbldr427

Stainless
Joined
Mar 21, 2006
Location
jacksonville,fl.
I don't like the idea that Servo is priced out of the market. It is what it is. Everyone always talks about repairs and parts avail? The minimum price to work on a Servo is more that an Asian feed costs. You don't repair tvs anymore and power feeds are at the same point.
At work we have an Wells Index with a Servo,one gear and a board repair in 30 years. I just put an Asian knee feed on it.
We have a Webb that came with a Harbor Freight x feed ,one gear in 22 years( bought it used in 2000,its an 86 model so no telling how much time is on it) I put an Asian knee feed on 18 years ago,broke the plastic gear once( a spare is included in the lower cover) my fault bty.
I just ordered a new head for it, cheaper than rebuilding it.
If you feel good about buying a Servo go for it , its your money. But the argument about about parts and repair is total BS.
Btw the kneed feed on the Wells is smoother and quieter than the Servo.
Both of these mills are and have been used daily.

Servo came out with a spiral bevel bronze on their newer models and low and behold the Asian have that too.
 

Ducats

Plastic
Joined
Jul 19, 2022
Thanks everyone for the help and responses, I did quite a bit more looking into the powerfeed options. I like the control of the Align and Servo the best having an easy lever to change direction vs cheap dial.. To the point, I am not considering the Shar anymore thinking back to using one on a daily basis. Align does appear to be one of the better Asian-produced ones. I almost pulled the trigger on the Align, but noticed some differences in the photos online from different sellers making me believe that they were possibly knock-off of a knock-off. I have been burnt more than once not buying from an Authorised dealer to save a little money, in the end, cost me more. Contacted Align and found their authorized dealers and at Bestline they are $460 and $495, look to have plenty of parts availble even, but based on Align's website you would think they are phasing out power feeds and going a different business route. I ended up pulling the trigger on the Servo's in hopes I do not have to worry about service and repair, I agree with ratbldr427. I am getting to the point in my life a few hundred dollars more to think that I will not have to F with it in the future is worth it to me. I can write off equipment a little higher expense, but can not write off downtime trying to work on it. I plan to keep the mill around for 30+ years at least I am telling myself that today. I may go cheaper on Z in the future as I have almost never used that for machining more luxury to get in place.
 

#1bigkeith

Plastic
Joined
Feb 18, 2021
I have a chineese power feed works ok. Rapid traverse is excellent medium to high speed good slow speed is no good. Could be my dirty mill or thing just don't run slow properly.
 








 
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