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    Default CNC Equipment Help/Preferences

    Hello All
    I am in need of some help finding the appropriate equipment for my needs. I am looking to machine what we will call "die plates" for the sake of discussion. I need to have a XY capacity of 36" x 36" but I only require a small Z capacity of less than an inch. The substrate I will be machining will be an aluminum alloy and my tolerance will only need to be .001. I will need a fine mill finish.

    Does anybody have any ideas to help point me in the right direction?

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    How much are you looking to spend...

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    Obviously cost is always a factor and I am open to any suggestions but the first number to jump to my head is $20,000.

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    There are a lot more things needed to give you the best answer.
    36 x 36 x 1 = a pretty large VMC type machine depending on if that is what you need.
    Need to know quantity you want to machine.
    Is time a concern?
    Any z axis milling or drilling?
    Do you need to use different tools that would require a tool-changer?

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    These die plates are used in another process in my facility and an item we keep for future use after they have been machined. That being said, my machining time is not very critical considering that these are machined off-line and in preparation for a run. As far as quantity goes I will be looking at approx. 200 a year max.

    I will be doing Z axis milling

    I will not require a tool changer

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    Quote Originally Posted by Becker View Post
    These die plates are used in another process in my facility and an item we keep for future use after they have been machined. That being said, my machining time is not very critical considering that these are machined off-line and in preparation for a run. As far as quantity goes I will be looking at approx. 200 a year max.

    I will be doing Z axis milling

    I will not require a tool changer
    If you are looking at cnc, you do in fact *need* a toolchanger. You may not think so now, but there will come a day when your design changes and now you need to mill some features, and add some tapped holes...

    UH-OH! No toolchanger just turned this into a nightmare job to run!

    On another note, 36" travel in Y makes it a BIG machine (unless something specialized?). You would do better IMO to fixture the parts somehow to run half the plate, then index it 180deg and run the other half. Or even some kind of home made pallet you could use a dowel pin for orientation, just pull the dowel, spin the pallet 180, insert dowel again.... just thinking out loud, don't mind me.

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    Sounds like you need a industrial router. Lots of them with the exact capabilities you need. Try a company called Datron if they can’t help you they can probably recommend someone who can.

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    If you need a mill instead of a router you are in good size HMC territory with the 36x36 requirement.

    Somebody probably makes one, but I've never seen 36" in Y on a VMC before.

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    Do you actually NEED 36" of travel in X and Y? Or is that just the size of the plates?
    How much horsepower are you needing? Someone mentioned a router, that might be worth looking into.

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    There are some routers and smallish bridge mills that could deal with the 36x36 - but they are vastly more than $20K. (Haas GR series, Milltronics makes some "small" bridge mills that would easily cover 36x36")

    And what are these die plates made of? If they're say aluminum (or wood or composite or plastic) it'll be much easier to find an applicable machine than if they're made from say tool steel.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ianagos View Post
    Sounds like you need a industrial router. Lots of them with the exact capabilities you need. Try a company called Datron if they can’t help you they can probably recommend someone who can.
    I agree that he needs a router, but I was thinking more along the line of Komo than Datron (or one of Komo's cheaper competitors).

    This post suggests that may not be realistic though. I was in their plant relatively recently and I know they were building a lot of large machines for aerospace, which I assume means they were holding tight tolerances. I think that was mostly 5-axis drilling work in carbon fiber though. And who knows what happens over a decade.

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    you having a hard time subbing this work out doesn't sound like much of a justification for what little info you are providing. as others have said and your budget a router is the ticket but for your budget your going to be hard pressed to find something that still has some life left in it....hence my original comment about subbing work out. we've got a few routers in the shop and have done some aluminum sheet work on them.

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    You've left a lot of variables open.
    It almost sounds like wood router! LOL

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    As others have noted, 36" in the Y is huge. The Haas VF-3 which is the Honda Accord of VMCs is 25"x48" or so. Can you talk more about the operation? What kind of features are you milling? If it's only holes and slots and you aren't machining the surface, would a waterjet work? If that was the case, you might also look at outsourcing as any other serious solution is likely to be well over $100K. Generally, machining large parts of a large surface like that is a recipe for the plates changing shape. +1 on the tool changer, as noted above, everyone needs a tool changer.

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    Thank you all for your input. I do believe the industrial router will be the way for me to go. I am going to pursue that path for now.


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