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What's the difference between a Fadal VMC15xt and 3016L? and possibly more questions


Nov 11, 2021
So I'm in the market for a first mill. I learned on Haas and was going to go for a TM2 or VF2, but after reading about the whole debacle with the forced controller retrofits and how they nickle and dime you for options, I'm looking at something else. Down the road I'd want a probe and possible 4th axis, so on top of the hardware having to pay extra just for an unlock code doesn't sit well with me. It might be worth it for a business, but I'm just a guy messing with cars in his garage.

So the search turned to Fadal. From what I gather there's plenty of information and parts to work on it yourself. So that puts the 3016L and 15xt as potential candidates. Going through the specs they're almost identical. I'm looking for something late 90s, early 00s, so AC drives. 88hs controller.

What I could find is cast vs weldment structure. Is that really going to make a difference for light use? The most I'd do is a 1/2" EM through aluminum, and possibly use a flycutter to deck a head or block.

The other difference I found is the width of the enclosure, and there's some discrepancies in the manual.

2016L picture shows 98" wide
2016L specs show 75" wide

3016L picture shows 98" wide
3016L specs show 90" wide

VMC15 picture shows 75" wide
VMC15 specs show 75" wide

VMC15xt has no picture
VMC15xt specs show 75" wide

I'm going to assume they just reused the picture without changing the numbers, so if the specs are correct, then what is done different with the enclosure? any benefits with the bigger 3016 enclosure? as far as I can tell neither of them have a chip conveyor.