Kimatura MyCenter 1 - Right Tool For The Job?
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    Default Kitamura MyCenter 1 - Right Tool For The Job?

    Ok, maybe I should have phrased it "acceptable tool for the job" since budget dictates the decision I will ultimately not have the best solution within my reach at this time.

    I've been running manual mills for a while and not nearly as long doing CNC with a PC controlled small bed mill for prototyping small parts in AL. The problem is most of my parts need to be done in mild steel for a final prototype and doing short runs and my little CNC is just too slow and small for steel work even for one off prototypes. It is too costly for me to farm this work out and takes too long to turn around. I need to bring the prototype and short run process (~ 10 - 30 parts every couple weeks) in house, period. The profitability of these new parts have not been proven yet, so investing in a tried and true money making machine is not viable just yet. Plus, if we need those large runs we'd just farm them out anyways most likely. The machine will either be a bridge to the next step up down the road or be resold within 6 months if things don't work out.

    These parts are fairly small. The "larger" parts are on average about 2" x 7" in 1/2" thick stock, removing about 30% of the material. Endmills almost always under 3/8", often using a 1/4" endmill after some minor roughing to get the smaller features.

    I've been looking at a number of used, but working VMCs that I can afford to bring in right now and the one that is standing out is a mid 90's Mycenter 1. It comes with a lot of BT35 toolholders, 13k spindle, Fanuc 0M control and generally seems in decent shape for the age.

    Here's the rub... the machine was only being used for plastic and Al at its current home (who knows before that). When I inquired about its capability with steel since I will be doing at least 50%, maybe 75% steel, I was told it is pretty slow and they run steel on the Fadal. So we did a test cut facing off about .020 with a 1/2" mill with about a 1/4" cut width per pass but it was only at 3.5IPM. I thought that pretty little low for any decent Box Way VMC but I'm told that is kind of what the limit is.

    Before I had decided on a VMC, which I did mainly for the ATC and enclosure above cycle speed and precision, I was looking at those IH CNC Bedmills. Those guys sent me a demo video of their machine removing a ton of steel for a small bedmill at very quick feed rates using no coolant in the demo. I don't need high speed cycles, but I expected pretty much any decent boxway VMC to exceed or at least match that performance. I've seen much faster removal from a Tormach even.

    So now I'm trying to figure out if should remove the MyCenter 1 from the list of possible machines because it just isn't up to the task of steel work, or if there is a particular issue with just this particular MyCenter and that is why they are running it so gingerly?

    I've seen other posters talk about cutting steel with their Kits, so I don't think it is just the MyCenter can't run steel faster than a few IPM, but who knows. To help me get to the bottom of it this machine is capable of performing where it should can some other owners give me an idea of a couple different cuts that their Kit can handle at various feed rates and removals? I'm not talking about running on the very max limit, just the solid comfortable limits one would use in typical runs. Just something so I can get an idea of the capabilities and perhaps go back there and see if I can replicate those on that machine.

    Thanks for the insight in advance.
    Last edited by thebee; 05-17-2014 at 07:54 PM. Reason: typo in the title

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    I have a 2001 Mycenter 1 with a BT30 15k spindle, and have run a 1998 Fadal 15XT. If the Kitamura can't outperform the Fadal in steel then there is something wrong with it! No really, it sounds like there must be something wrong with it!

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    Thanks for the reply... that is kind of what I was worried about. If I had more experience with dedicated controllers, particularly a Fanuc, I would be a lot more comfortable giving the machine my own demo. But I'm too hesitant to start fumbling around in someone else's machine even if they had that much blind trust. So I'm kind of relying on the owner to do the cutting.

    Is there any type of baseline, very basic assessment program out there? For example just something like a 2 tool program to do a rough and finish op producing a circlular pocket and a rectangular island just to help get a baseline on performance and cut accuracy, like a modest feedrate and then just override up until you get an idea when you are reaching the limits and can measure the resulting features for accuracy?

    I such a test will hardly tell the whole story about a machine's performance, but I'm hoping it can at least give you the answer to "is this machine too beat up?" for an aging machine. Aside from running my own part to test a machine, which would be a PITA to do all that on my particular parts, is there like a basic geometry test that a tech or someone else evaluating a machine might do?

    I forgot to look for the backlash compensation setting in the machine. I know they have the manuals so I will see if I can look that up and see where they are set.

    I just wish I knew more about what these machines are capable of so I had a baseline to compare to. I can compare it to my manual BP, but that is apples and oranges. I don't find a whole lot of videos in the class of machines I'm looking at milling steel to know what is "average". If someone has a baseline of what they expect out of their MC1's for even the simplest cut across the edges of a piece of stock on the X and Y I can at least go down and use that as starting point rule out whether the machine is up to snuff or not in that regard and if not just move on.

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    Just FYI... before I decided I really needed ATC due the number of tools each part uses the price/performance ratio on these IH cnc mill for a new machine was leading me down that path. Here is a video they provided me, and had this machine had an ATC option we probably would have bought one because the removal speed was acceptable the volume we were doing. You can see in this video they are doing about 20 IPM full width on what looks like a 3/8" endmill, looks around .050" doc. This is roughly 10X the removal rate than the Kit could do if I am using the example I was shown as the upper limits in steel?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbOFnZIzjnI

    I guess the short question is, should that Kit be outperforming the bedmill in this video we were originally evaluating, and if so by how much?

    Edit: It looked like the DOC was deeper at first, but still looks close to .050 per pass unless my eyes are deceiving me.

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    As for the video. It looks like it is a 1/2"-5/8" end mill to me, the vise jaws are 3/4" thick for reference. My Kitamura could do that many times faster, or deeper, with a 30 taper, absolutely NO comparison. If nothing else Kitamura's are stiff, heavy castings, box ways, and a spindle to match. You are comparing toys with a solid industrial machine. Based on my 7 years operating a Fadal purchased new the Kitamura you are looking at has serious problems if they choose the Fadal over it, or the people working there are absolutely incompetent. I have an extremely low opinion of Fadals and their controls.

    Ok, now for the rest. So you want to buy a used machine. How good are you at fixing them? I have bought three VMCs. First one the business went under so that is why it was sold. 10 years old and never used. Second was my Enshu, 7 years old and beat to hell. Bad screws, ways, and spindle. Third is the Kitamura that I got last June. Hysteresis, buzzing sound, in the Y axis and spindle inverter programmed to 6K max rpm, spindle is probably bad, and the way covers need a lot of love. Salesmen swore there was nothing wrong with any of them, even had a tech look at the Kitamura and didn't find anything. Rule of thumb, if you buy a used machine it has problems that are too expensive to fix for the current owner to justify. If it doesn't then you totally lucked out, but don't expect that.

    The first part I make in a new machine is a 2" square with a 2" round post on top. This simple part will tell a lot but not it is just scratching the surface. If you know what you are doing you can check for major problems in a day, for the most part. As for finding out everything that is wrong with a used machine, that takes hundreds of hours. You should start with removing all of the way covers, cleaning out the years of swarf, and making sure all of the lube ports are working. You should also blead the air out of the air/oil mixing unit for this machine. The top bearing in the spindle has the smallest oil port, which is most susceptible to an air bubble, which will starve that bearing of oil, not good. Yes, if you get a used machine you will learn so much more about machine design, maintenance, and repair than you would if you bought new.

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    If the part cant be subbed out profitably maybe it is not worth making. I sub out lots of parts because I cant afford a decent cnc mill. I am sure with a little hunting or increasing the order you could get a decent price on subbing them out. I end up holding lots of inventory but get great prices from local shops.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidScott View Post
    As for the video. It looks like it is a 1/2"-5/8" end mill to me, the vise jaws are 3/4" thick for reference. My Kitamura could do that many times faster, or deeper, with a 30 taper, absolutely NO comparison. If nothing else Kitamura's are stiff, heavy castings, box ways, and a spindle to match. You are comparing toys with a solid industrial machine. Based on my 7 years operating a Fadal purchased new the Kitamura you are looking at has serious problems if they choose the Fadal over it, or the people working there are absolutely incompetent. I have an extremely low opinion of Fadals and their controls.
    Thank you for the insightful reply and all the info, it is very helpful and at least I know the performance I was seeing was probably at least 1/10, probably closer to 1/20 or more of what it should be capable of if it is running properly. I know I was comparing apples to oranges with that bedmill, but it was easier for us to both know what type of performance I was using a baseline when you see the chips flying in a video. I really thought there should be no comparison either before it ran, but when I saw that machine being limited to such low feeds I wasn't sure if there was something I was missing about why it wouldn't be capable of performing better short of wear/tear. Even though a manual knee and VMC are too different beasts, the principles of weight and rigidity should still translate to some degree and it didn't add up. I mean my old BP can cut a few times faster than what I saw so it had me scratching my head to say the least.

    Thanks again for the info. Oh, when you mention the initial test part you do... what would be a conservative IPM, DOC and Step over you would use on this class of machine (the 5k - 7k boxway ~20" X-travel) in 1018 steel, with say a 3/4" 4 flute HSS? I can override up and down and I don't want to try to set any records for hogging or anything, just something that even a conservative operator would queue up for such a part. The goal is to flush out anything that is showing obvious wear or slop through the part specs, chatter, finish, etc at modest speeds before I start digging deeper in the machine and having a formal inspection done.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kpotter View Post
    If the part cant be subbed out profitably maybe it is not worth making. I sub out lots of parts because I cant afford a decent cnc mill. I am sure with a little hunting or increasing the order you could get a decent price on subbing them out. I end up holding lots of inventory but get great prices from local shops.
    I'm sure if I had another "me" to do this I could find an obscure shop that needs work or someone working out of there home shop in their spare time or something, but I've been on this outsource path enough to know it is not an option for any of the 20+ shops I've already approached with the work. They have "real" orders from big business that they don't want to be bothered being distracted from small potato stuff like this unless the margins are so insane they would be crazy not to take the job or run it after hours. The parts I have to do usually go through several variations. Chalk that up to overlooking some stuff in the design process, the rest to actually needing to fit these parts to other parts that have variances between manufacturers. Finding a place to do the setup for 10 variations of the same part for a 2 or 3 parts each is not something you can easily find locally and there are at least 2 dozen shops within 30 miles. Most shops will not accept the work even for a single part in quantities under 500 because these parts have to come in at $20 each or less. I'm getting small quantity quotes for $100-$600 each for a 2"x7" .5" thick mild steel part with mostly basic slotting. For reference when my friend worked at a shop in town we could use a Mazak after hours it would run each part in under 5, 10 minutes tops on the ones that required smallish endmills for some small slots. These are very simple parts that I initially would machine manually for one offs before I had to make multiples.

    I do appreciate the business advice, but when it comes to large quantity stuff that gets farmed out, so that part is covered. It is the design and proving process that I need to do myself. What I am really looking for is advice on this particular machines capabilities, and general advice on assessing the capability and condition of a small sized VMC.

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    I don't have any experience with 3/4" HSS mills in steel with cnc so I can't really say for sure but without coolant say 100 sfm= 515 rpm and .002-.003 fpt = 4-6 ipm feed, 1/2" DOC and 50% step over. I think this would be VERY conservative. When testing play more with the feedrate than rpms. Full DOC with small step over will help test the tool stud retention. That machine probably weighs closer to 8k, mine does.

    How much air does this machine need? Mine has my 4hp 2 stage compressor at 70% duty cycle, my Enshu is around 5%.

    Below is a photo of the sample part I made and my Kitamura. I am a one man shop who works from home out in the country, see the reflection in the machine windows, you can just see Mt Hood in the top left corner. My "day" job is making our own products, contract precision machining is only about 10% of my work, trying to increase that with the Kitamura. If you are interested in farming some parts out let me know, we may be able to work something out. 70 lbs with Priority Mail for $15 will get parts to you in two days. I am only making parts on my Kitamura about once a month so it could use the use, they don't like to sit too much. I was a tool and die maker for 8 years before becoming a machinist so quality and accuracy are not an issue. I use Autocad Fusion/Cam 360 so if you download the 60 day trial you can have access to all the digital Cad/Cam info, or $300 a year to have your own seat.

    As you have read many times on this forum, a used machine generally needs a lot of work and can be a real can of worms. I know you really want one but be extremely careful, and good luck.

    test-piece.jpg kit.jpg

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    David, thanks for all the helpful info. At this point I don't really know how to proceed... I like the machine, it is running and making parts within spec, but it is running at a slow quip I don't know if that is due to the machine being beat, or the operator being too conservative, or perhaps he is totally right and my own experience with machining and research along with what I've gathered from other owners/operators is wrong.

    When I went to test it was hard to get him to understand what I wanted to accomplish despite having a part designed. So I decided to leave it up to him for the test but told him I was hoping to see a similar MRR (material removal rate) of that in the video of that bedmill I posted above doing the figure 8 as a baseline and override up from there to where the machine was starting to chatter or otherwise reaching the higher side of what it is comfortable cutting.

    He watched that video and said that video could not be real or was sped up to many times the real cutting rate and you can only make cuts like that with a 50 taper machine. I've got to watch VMCs with 30 and 40 tapers make more impressive cuts than that, and of course the hundreds of R8 bed mills videos from different members were the baseline MRR I wanted to start with, so I don't know where the disconnect is. He said there is no way he would push a MyCenter like that or even his other machines he felt were more capable in steel. His other machines are early to mid 90's it looks like so I don't know if he is just very conservative or if maybe these machines had a lot of wear when he got them so his frame of reference is from that of tired machines. I tried to explain that what I was asking for was well below the guidelines for a comparable Haas machine according to G-Wizard and from other machines I've demo'd but I didn't get very far. It seemed that he either thought I was just making stuff up or whoever I was getting this info from on feed rate calculations was full of it.

    I know I should probably walk away if we're on totally different pages about what to expect from these machines but on the flipside if it has been run so conservatively it good be a good thing also. Since I haven't owned a VMC or serious machine running ballscrews I don't know what the process is like as it ages in terms of performance...

    When a machine like that is getting worn will it have difficulty keeping parts in spec across a broader spectrum of MRR, or is it so if you slow it down you can still get good tolerances from it? I would suspect the latter just because it makes sense, but if the former holds true on some levels at least there is a chance I could extrapolate that it is still in good shape.

    Since there is this uncertainty I would even more so like to get a tech to inspect it, but I don't want to waste the money on it if is a non-starter. Just a tough call because it is a running Kit for a good price with the tool holders. The problem is the owner thinks what I am trying to accomplish (cut rates in mild steel comparable or exceeding that video) with a small/mid sized VMC is insane and from everything I know from manual machining and getting advice from many people and sources they seem to think it would be insane to expect anything less.

    It's not like this is the first machine I've looked at and trying to latch onto the first thing that pops up. I've been looking trying to buy a machine for over 2 months... just waiting for the right one at the right price and passed on other machines that performed well but we just couldn't come together on the price. This machine hits all the right points but I can't confirm what its limits are.

    What to do...?

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    Sounds like your guy simply doesn't know what he's doing, and is too frightened/set in his ways to discover otherwise. I don't know anything directly about the machine in question, save that it should be doing far more than what you've described without breaking a sweat. Does he know what a spindle load meter is?

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    Unless that machine is totally trashed it should be able to remove at least 10 times more steel than the video. The video shows a stiffer toy machine, that Kitamura is somewhat of a beast, no comparison.

    The looser the machine gets the pickier it gets about programing and how you drive the mills. Generally it will show up pretty well in the surface finish as it goes around corners and changes direction. High speed cutter paths can cover up a lot of issues with older loose machines. You do have to slow them down and do more finish passes the more wear you have, how much depends on many variables.

    Put an indicator in the spindle and see how much you can get the table to move pushing and pulling as hard as you can in x and y. Then do the same pushing and pulling on the head, all with it turned on. This will tell you how much slop is in it, which is a good start. It is also good to see how trammed in the spindle is to the table. Ball screws can be easily reballed by yourself, gibs can be tightened up. Head nod is another matter, no adjustment, I think, and a real problem.

    Inspecting a used machine takes a lot of experience, the more the better you will do. I am still working on it. As for getting a tech to inspect it don't be surprised if they miss things.

    What to do? Again how good are you at repairing older VMCs? Experience has taught my that this is a good question. If you do go with a used mill Kitamuras are very well made, but mine uses a lot of air.

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    This is the thing Have you added up the cost you are going to incur when you sell the machine in 6 months and all the other cost from getting it running to tooling?
    Put an RFQ on this site and I bet you will get closer to the cost you need to see.
    You can make almost any part on any CNC if you cut it slow enough so if you do buy something try not to get one that's to worn out.

    If the machine is older than 10 years you will have control/electronic issues to deal with. Just remember it may cost you $1,500 for a board , $5,000 for a servo , $7,000 for a power supply or maybe $10,000 for a spindle before you even get started.

    Just sayin

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    David, once again thanks for the tips, great stuff. How good am I at repairing VMCs... great question, I don't know, lol. Engines, cars, electronics, small machinery... decent, enough to fix most of what I have encountered over time, albeit with more gray hairs usually resulting, but eventually I can resolve most things on my own... but these are a different ball of wax entirely. I imagine with enough reading and time (months, years?) I can figure it out as well as most who do not specialize in servicing them, but who knows. We all have to start somewhere right? I fully understand the risks of purchasing a VMC, especially when it is a dud, and that is why I am trying my best to mitigate them. If I had the kind of money for a new machine I wouldn't have to worry about it, but reality is I don't. Similarly if I can't afford a new car under warranty but need a car I am going to do my best to lower the odds of picking out a lemon, but nothing is totally certain even then.

    Upnorth, the good news is have a large enough phase converter, vises, clamps and more tooling than I'll probably ever use in the next couple years. I don't know why but I was being a hoarder with tooling from auctions to the point I finally sold off hundreds of new and slightly used endmills, taps, reamers, bits, etc. This machine comes with around 25 tool holders and less than 15 tools handle of all parts I create right now. The rigging is quite cheap, so my costs to making chips outside the machine itself is relatively low.

    My big concern is a failure soon into acquiring it and the repair costs associated with one and this is why I have been so patient with the purchase because previous machines there was just something I couldn't get past for the price... be it the reputation of the machine, the condition, the ability to get parts or service for the model, etc. This is why the Tormach class machines are tempting to me, because I can have peace of mind and they will handle most of what I want to do. But doing that boxes me into being able to some runs efficiently in house and I felt I could get more machine for the buck with a used VMC. The primary downside when evaluating solely on prototype needs is of course the maintenance/repair issues.

    This machine is right in my wheel house for price, size, capability, serviceability, etc... I am just having a hard time communicating with the owner and it is making it hard to feel comfortable about this one in particular. It is awkward trying to argue if the sky blue or not when the person has been a one-man show with his machines for a while so he definitely feels like he knows what is what. If he was saying "This machine can't perform like you expect because it is an old machine with wear and tear" then I would walk away without a second thought.

    But he is more or less saying "This machine and any machine like it is not capable of performing like that new or used, you need a 10 ton machine with a 50 taper to get that type of performance"

    I can either take from it he is right about it not being able to perform like I expect - but not because I need a massive 50 taper machine, but because the machine is worn and he doesn't have a point of reference for a tight machine. Or, I can take from it he is babying these old machines and his definition of aggressive falls well below what others would call aggressive, which bodes even better for the machine since it was ran very gingerly.

    I just wish I had someone more qualified than myself locally that I trusted to get that answer for me.

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    This machine and any machine like it is not capable of performing like that new or used, you need a 10 ton machine with a 50 taper to get that type of performance"
    We're talking about that figure 8 video? I've got 1978 Factory CNC'd knee mill out here that will do that. When I first used that machine, we were running crap high speed
    steel, slower than grandma driving through molasses on a Sunday afternoon. Then I discovered carbide isn't "dull" and "brittle" and fancy geometries really do work, and I had
    to back figure all of my speeds and feeds so that I didn't stall the damn motor.

    Quote Originally Posted by Atomkinder View Post
    Sounds like your guy simply doesn't know what he's doing, and is too frightened/set in his ways to discover otherwise. I don't know anything directly about the machine in question, save that it should be doing far more than what you've described without breaking a sweat. Does he know what a spindle load meter is?
    I'm guessing the load meter is pegged, running HSS garbage, he's probably running on the low low low low end of the torque curve, and the Garbage HSS is worn out in the first 2 inches, so I'm sure the load meter is up there.

    Tooling and technique. I'm surprised you didn't keel over laughing and have a heart attack when he brought out a HSS endmill to run in a VMC.

    What he is showing you is not all it can do. His tools are crap. 3.5ipm. We are down into the really high nickel super alloys if we are moving that slow, or we are running
    garbage HSS endmills.

    This is a Fadal, I paid $12k for it. The endmill is a 1/2", less than $50(used to be less than $40, and some less than $30). That cut was somewhere around 14 cubic inches a minute. About 5 pounds a minute...


    But $50??? I can buy 2 absolute garbage 3/4" HSS endmills for that....

    But can they do this, on a 20 year old machine, and a Fadal, not a high end Japanese machine, a commodity machine, one not known for its speed or rigidity. JUST SHY of 3 of
    these piles on one sub $50 endmill. 4340 annealed.


    I'd go buy the damn thing, get some decent tools, which are not necessarily expensive and make a nice video of the machine tear assing through some steel, chips flying, and label it.

    "3.5ipm????"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobw View Post
    We're talking about that figure 8 video? I've got 1978 Factory CNC'd knee mill out here that will do that. When I first used that machine, we were running crap high speed
    steel, slower than grandma driving through molasses on a Sunday afternoon.
    Yes... that video. I requested that part be demo'd in steel by Charter Oaks back when I was considering a bedmill strictly for prototying before I realized I didn't want to watch it all day to do manual tool changes every few minutes. I was told that they must have sped it up because that is impossible to do that without some 50 taper behemoth. I know better because I can do similar removal on my BP. But since he was so adamant about this I didn't know what to say without coming across like I'm being an ass because a "newbie" is trying to correct him when he's been running his machines for years.

    I did try to make a point to show the g-wizard feed/speed calcs adjusted for a MyCenter 1 allowed for it but he said that is for the tool and not the machine and it doesn't have the torque to do it and I need a geared head and not a belt driven machine. But that video was a 2hp beefed up hobby machine running a belt and not a 7.5HP VMC, but since the video must be fake to begin with in his eyes it is just hard to get on the same page because we have two different realities we're working from.

    Knowing if his reality on the machine needing to be babied is right or not is all that matters to me though, regardless of the reason why he runs it so conservative. But if it does it seems it is because it is beat and not because it shouldn't be able to.

    I brought my own aluminum and steel stock and several brand new endmills of various sizes in HSS, Carbide and even a couple carbide roughers but I didn't get a chance to do the tests I wanted to do.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobw View Post
    I'd go buy the damn thing, get some decent tools, which are not necessarily expensive and make a nice video of the machine tear assing through some steel, chips flying, and label it.
    "3.5ipm????"
    LFMAO... yea, I hear ya. It is half tempting just for that... maybe that is his angle he is working, lol. On the flipside it could be a legitimate dog and I won't end up grinning so much if that happens.

    I just need to get back down there and watch it cut even if it is slow as molasses and listen for issues, checkout the finish, check with a DTI like David said, etc. If these Kits are as nice as they sound and it is cutting well despite dull cutters I think it might be one of the better options I'll come across for under $10k with all those holders included.

    The other machine I am seriously looking at is a 2002 Monarch VMC-20 (Monarch Machine Tool - VMC-20) with around 7,000 hours with a 4th included and working. The thing seems to work great and has a Fanuc 0i, 15k spindle. It is closer to $14k though. I know it is a rebadged YC* machine and people seem to say the Taiwanese iron is decent, but I just worry about parts/service if/when it comes to needing it because I haven't found enough feedback about that yet. The rotary pallet table is a little awkward for the work I'm doing though if I remove the 4th, but it could be useful down the road.

    I will let you guys know how it plays out but if you have any other suggestions on what to look out for on this thing let me know.

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    I have a Mycenter-2 that is +10 years older than what you're looking at.
    BT-35, 7hp, 7k spindle.

    I can guarantee that, by far, my slower Fanuc 6MB control is the bottleneck for my MRR rather than the Kitamura construction.
    That said... I'm cutting far more aggressive than that video.
    Even Bobcad offers advanced cutting features that allow for deep DOC and quick, shallow radial engagements for larger MRRs.

    Didn't see if you mentioned price...but as said before, just buy the damned thing....replace the Belleville washers in the drawbar (<$80)....and start making parts.

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    What _are_ those mid 80's Kita's going for these days? Seems like they've dropped even more every time I see one. As an aside I was surprised to see a 7K spindle #1 ( thought they were all 10K at least ) and here you are posting that yours is 7K as well, Bob. I'd have to guess that one could pick one up for near 5K any more...

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    I'm not so sure what year this machine is now that I am looking at others closer... I was told 92. It has the 0M control but I thought those started in 1990 and the mid/late 80's machines had the 6M, but the style of this is not the early 90's style with the flimsy looking aluminum trimmed doors. This one has the style that matches with the late 80's machines from pics I have found online, where it has a large radius corner rectangular "port hole" on the front door. I suppose even if the 80's machines came with a 6M they could have upgraded the control at some point to a 0M or maybe I am wrong on what year the 0M started being delivered with these machines.

    I went down with the intent on testing it more but he was running jobs on it so I couldn't do anything. The spindle and ways are surprising quiet and seem to run smooth without load during rapids and the startup procedure. He was cutting small titanium bars on it and it but still the feed rate seemed lower than I would think even on Ti. It was about 3IPM with a .010 or .015 doc and .200 woc. I've never cut Ti before so I could easily be wrong about that. I was paying attention to the spindle load meter and never exceeded 6 or 7% and would drop to around 2-3% during when rapiding between passes / no cutting load. The finish was very good when it completed, but it was only cutting along the X, no contours/interpolation.

    I put a small deposit on it nonetheless, which I know is foolish without being totally satisfied, but given our disagreement about what the machine can do I would never get the test I wanted. I would have liked to seen a circular boss cut though. I could tell I was starting to wear out my welcome by continuing to take up time in person and on the phone with out committing to the machine. I said f-it though because after hunting for a decent older machine that was operational for some time now in my budget I figured I would at least get it locked up since I have another 20 days to pay and move it. I lost the only other machine I felt good about in the last 2 months to someone else by dragging my feet and being indecisive. Everything else in the $7-$8 range have some kind of issue that need repaired, even older than this one, or can't be viewed under power and as-is. This one was going to be listed for sale soon if I didn't commit and that would mean a dealer would have it and trying to sell it to me for $4k more the next day. I happened to find the machine by happenstance, not because it was being advertised.

    I know when we are talking machines this old that a difference between a 88 or 89 and a 92 is not a huge difference but that extra few years worry me a tad more than I was initially about the age. I could get a Fadal 97 2216 in really nice shape for under $15k which believe it or not is actually a fair price in this part of the woods, but it is about double what I will pay for the Kit. I know the Kit should be a better machine, but the apparent ease/cost of working on Fadals and it being slightly newer are not bad things either.

    I've got a deposit on the Kit so my intent is to buy it of course, but learning it might 2, 3 or even maybe up to 6 years older than I was told after committing to it isn't a value-add by any means. Since he will be using it for a couple weeks until the riggers can move it I will insist on getting a final once over before the power is pulled just to make sure some type of failure didn't happen in the mean time. I guess I shouldn't fret about it too much, it is pretty small investment for this class of machine.

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    There should be a tag on the machine with the model, serial #, and date of mfg. I think age is less important than how it has been maintained. For 7 or 8 dollars you can't be too picky. Since it is still being used and is running fine I would say congratulations on your new machine! Most looseness can be adjusted out, or removed inexpensively, just watch out for wear on the z axis ways. Pictures, pictures, pictures!!!


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