Which Haas for Starting Out?
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  1. #1
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    Default Which Haas for Starting Out?

    Hi all,
    I am a mechanical engineer just starting to launch a business in prototyping. I have a decent amount of CNC experience through my day job, but this will be my first "real" CNC. What should I buy? I can swing the money for any of these, but it will require tapping into personal savings quite a bit.

    I have three options I'm looking at:
    1. $26k - 2012 Haas TM-2P. 500 hours. Chip auger, WIPS, programmable coolant, 10 tool, 6k spindle. It's 5 miles from my house.
    2. $16k - 2005 Haas Mini Mill. Stock options, used heavily but in good condition. Will have to ship 500+ miles.
    3. $32k - 2019 Haas Super Mini Mill 2. 300 hours. Rigid tapping, 10k spindle, 15 HP, 3-phase only, 20 tool. No WIPS. Will have to ship 500+ miles.

    I have a pretty full 2-car garage, so space is at a premium. I can potentially expand the garage but will have to build a large insulated shed, which costs money and time. Plus might have to deal permitting and whatnot. I have a 70A 240V breaker ready to go, but would need a phase converter for 3-phase.

    Thanks for your input!

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    You're going to bang your head with 6k and 10 tools. IMO the TM isn't even worth considering. Between all those, I would buy the newest, nicest machine you can afford. Personally, if it's not going to break you, I'd buy the 2019 SMM2 all day long. 3 phase isn't that big a deal. Buy a RPC and done. It's a little more money, but opens basically all the options for other machines. I don't think the shipping is an issue at all to get the machine you want, but it's probably worth looking at in person and make for certain that it's insured during shipping and rigging. Even though it's a small machine, shit happens.

    If you want to focus on making parts and growing a business do that. In the grand scheme of things, you'll be happy to have a newer, more capable machine.

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    I wouldn't choose the '05. It has the old control that's not supported anymore. An upgrade for that control is $$$.

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    Not looking to start a pissing match but why limit yourself to a used Haas?

    In that price range you can pick up a nice used Japanese VMC that will run circles around any of those machines.

    I understand why a new Haas is the right choice for some people but I will never understand why someone would buy a used one, they have the highest used resale value of any machine which is great if you want to sell it but does nothing for making money with it.

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    Shortly after quitting my previous day job, I was planning to buy a Haas mini mill. I ended getting a loan for a Speedio S500x1. I did not want any possible issues with a used machine. Unless you know you need a 40 taper, the Speedios are terrific.

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    Use the money as a down payment on a new machine with the options you want. What are your parts like? That'll make a big difference.

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    I also recommend buying new...you never know what the previous owner has done. For example, I crashed a machine so bad I needed to replace the spindle. Now, the machine works great and functions amazingly, but who knows how that crash may have compounded wear issues or linear scale accuracy over time, or ball screw tensioning and alignment etc etc etc.

    Obvi I woudl tell a prospective customer everything that the machine has been through but Im sure there are folks out there who would lie or hide the truth.

    With a new machine you have the trust in the company as well as the warranty and support. I wouldn't limit myself to Haas either, there are plenty of other builders out there in your price range IF you do go with a used machine. Haas is cheap.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hardplates View Post
    I understand why a new Haas is the right choice for some people but I will never understand why someone would buy a used one, they have the highest used resale value of any machine which is great if you want to sell it but does nothing for making money with it.
    As someone who has bought a used Haas I completely agree, I only bought mine because it was less than 1/3 of the new price with 10 hours of cutting time on it, the dealer underpriced it, until it's made it's money back and more I won't know if it was actually a good buy or not though.

    Every other time (bar a couple of exceptions) where I've asked for prices on used Haas machines they've always been way too high imo, like double an equivalent and probably superior machine from another manufacturer with a Fanuc or Siemens control. The exceptions have been shops that have put them up on eBay themselves, probably after realising they can get more money taking a 'low' price from the end buyer than taking an even lower price from a dealer.

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    Avoid the 05 anything. Old control, big money to fix. Other than that, I like MiniMills for small part prototyping and light production. That's what I use mine for. Mine is a beat up '01 with a million miles on it and it still holds tolerance well and leaves a nice surface finish. One company I contracted with picked up all repair costs associated with their project... oddly enough my old cards and CRT went out during that contract and I had Haas update all the electronics.

    I've had okay luck with the TM2P. I use mine all the time for run of the mill prototype work and fixtures. Plenty of room for two vises and a 5C 4th axis. They are slower than dog shit, so be prepared for that mentally. Also for God's sake avoid any of the old open style TM's... a miserable, noisy year spent with wet socks and an absolute mess on my floor.

    I wasn't overly impressed with the Super MiniMill. The 10k spindle was nice if you have a bunch of small endmill work. Haas was gullible enough to let me test drive one. I found it to be anemic and I wasn't impressed with the surface finish so I kept my 6k Minimll. In all honesty, I programmed it like a VF2SS so no big surprise.

    Haas's pretty much suck compared to heavy Japanese iron... but they are easy to run, make a decent part if you baby them a bit, and the Haas guy shows up the next day to fix all the shit I break. Plus they'll finance damn near anyone... I used an unscratched lottery ticket a collateral on the last one

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    I don’t own any haas newer than a 2006. Just don’t forget it’s about making money. It’s not about “I have the coolest machine in the garage”
    Base your purchase on ROI and what parts your making.
    I rarely use over 6k rpm. My 2001 mini mill I paid $8k for has been the best investment.

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    All good advice above.

    Assuming the above machines are the limits of budget:
    If you truly aren't worried about speed, the 2012 would be the one to get. Good sized envelope for the money.
    If you are ever going to do production, get the SMM2. Much faster.
    For either of those machine, the high speed machining option would be a very good thing to have. I had a 2007 SMM, and a 2012 MM2. I paid to activate that high speed machining option on the MM2, and it made a world of difference. Plan for sticker shock on that. IMHO it should be activated on every machine, as the ability is in every control.

    If you are open to spending more, get a Brother 500. Waaay faster. You'll use smaller tools and holders. Machine is designed to be easy to maintain, although you likely won't need to do much.

    BTW, I went all Brother after being mostly Haas. Life is better now, although the Haas helped me get to where I could afford the Brother.

    Good luck!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Booze Daily View Post
    I wouldn't choose the '05. It has the old control that's not supported anymore. An upgrade for that control is $$$.
    I would have no problem using the 05 controls. Most people starting out do not need the bells and whistles. That control is very capable.

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    You'll thank yourself every day for getting WIPS. Also, the check to see if they have the "High Speed Machining Option". Depending on how you like to do things that may be a must have.

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    I purchased a used 2012 Tm2p with 10 tools, wips, and about 1500 hours on it last year. I love it. I have not been limited yet by the 6k rpm or the 10 tools. I've been machining for 15 years now and got it as a garage machine to do a bit of side work. The wips is amazing. I've always used a touch off block and a edge finder most of my career. And having WIPS is wonderful. I only have single phase at my house, so being able to plug it in without worry was nice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CORONA VIRUS View Post
    I would have no problem using the 05 controls. Most people starting out do not need the bells and whistles. That control is very capable.
    We probably weren’t clear, there is nothing wrong with how the pre 05 controls functions, ease of use or features. The problem is that when they fail, it is prohibitively expensive to get the repaired. Haas no longer supports them with spare parts, the only official option is to bring all of the boards up to a newer version. Some people on here have gone through it and can delve into the details more specifically.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by CORONA VIRUS View Post
    I would have no problem using the 05 controls. Most people starting out do not need the bells and whistles. That control is very capable.
    As mentioned the problem isn't the capability, I believe it's anything pre 2008 that doesn't have support for some major electrical parts now, most notably the maincon board, I found this out after buying my Haas which is an 07. I would definately say I fell into the trap of believing all the 'Haas has amazing support' stuff I've heard and read.

    Had I known I definately would have hesitated on that purchase, it's not just that which is no longer available too, Yaskawa no longer make the spindle motors and the collet closer cylinder is no longer made although given I live within a few miles of a major servo motor repair shop I'm less worried about that, I'm a very low volume production business too.

    I feel like a lot of the issue is a lot of the people online (NYC CNC for example) who go on about how great Haas is haven't owned a Haas long enough or old enough to find that when it comes to long term parts support Haas are not the best.

    I guess if your business model is to buy a new Haas, milk it for all it's worth for 10 years then get another that isn't ever likely to become an issue, and when you come to sell people will line up to pay stupid money for it, but that is why generally I wouldn't buy a used Haas or advise anyone else do so.

    That said looking at your options number 2 is the one I would avoid, 1 and 3 are new enough to still have support, if I was in the same position I'd be going for option 3, it's not old at all and it'll be far more productive than a TM-2, I'd wager it'd pay for itself faster despite the higher upfront cost.

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    Good point.

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    Youtuber "Nerdly" has some videos on his experience with the SMM2. He's one of those guys that seem to have a lot of problems with machines, but has some good points on the SMM2 vs VF series.

    That said, if you can't afford a Brother, buy a Sharp SV-2412. I'll make you a deal on one....
    Last edited by LOTT; 03-02-2021 at 10:06 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CosmosK View Post
    Shortly after quitting my previous day job, I was planning to buy a Haas mini mill. I ended getting a loan for a Speedio S500x1. I did not want any possible issues with a used machine. Unless you know you need a 40 taper, the Speedios are terrific.
    Similar story here. I searched for what seemed forever to find a used Minimill. I think the timing was bad, and the fact that all of them were on the west coast/midwest, and I'm in Austin Texas. Signed up on one of those used machine brokerage sites. Turns out they don't do anything other than list the machine. No sources for inspection, so basically buying blind unless I fly out there and check it out myself. Just could see risking 20K on a used machine. I swallowed hard and bit bullet on a new S500. The wife certainly wasn't that jazzed about dropping that much coin on a new machine. I'm a designer so machine part time. Long story short, the Speedio is 2 years old and payed for. Speedio is crazy fast. What I didn't account for is shoveling all the GD chips every part or 2 . Oh ya, the wife is totally on board now . Hmmm Lathe....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wsurfer View Post
    Similar story here. ... Hmmm Lathe....
    Very similar! I'm just lining up a lathe. What's funny is wife was very supportive on the first machine which was super high risk. I had no idea what I was doing. Now that I kinda do, it took way more convincing on the lathe. She probably sees my shop as a never ending black hole.. no, just one more machine, serious this time.

    To the OP, I think it depends on how much you want to commit. Are you quitting your day job? I started my business long before I quit my day job and never had debt until the Speedio (ran metal parts on CNC router for a long time). I stayed low capital in case it didn't work out. Unfortunately, it's not so easy with a real machine to make real parts especially if you want to compete with real shops on pricing. Good luck


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