Looking at CNC mills....personal use
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  1. #1
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    Default Looking at CNC mills....personal use

    Well I read the stickies and about the only information I can give is that I am a total new guy to CNC Mills and have zero experience. Looking at one in person from 40ft away is the best I got.

    This is for my own personal use so not trying to run a shop and speed is not a huge concern. I will say automation and accuracy are a concern. Another concern is being able to fix it myself. I would estimate my repair skills slightly above average. I know how to work an Ohm/volt meter and read schematics if they are available. All these points so far have lead me to a Fadal machine. They are out of business but parts and help seem to be more common than others and it won't break the bank when it breaks.

    I was looking at single phase machines but from looking if I want a higher HP motor I should probably just plan for a 3 phase machine (plus if I am able upgrade later I won't have to worry). I probably will be using 7075 for most of my parts but SS and titanium is not out of the question but probably rare.

    I have been looking at the 4020 machines. I would look at bigger options such as the 6030 and up but they all seem to weigh WAY more than the 4020. This will probably be more my limiting factor since I do not have the floor capacity to hold a 30k LBs machine (not sure if that weight would be accurate for older machines). The only specs I have found for the 4020 machines is for a 4020B II. It looks like they made the 4020 from like mid 80's through at least 2017. I have seen a 4020, 4020HT, 4020 II and the 4020B II that I have a reference for. What are the differences? I assume some might be the controller, others might be AC Vs DC motors. I have no clue. Is there a model to stay away from?

    I there are other machine options that fit my needs I am open to suggestions. I you have a link for older Fadal spec sheets that would be great. As a note I have not searched here yet but most used 4020's seemed to be priced from around 14-25k. Not sure if there is a recommended vendor for quality used machines.

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  3. #2
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    I can't give much advice as I'm new to cnc as well. Got my first mill a few months ago and been busy learning ever since. I bought a Fadal 5020HT. I got lucky in that I found it through a forum from a very nice guy I'd now consider a friend. He was extremely helpful in getting me going as I didn't even know how to turn the machine on, had never used cad or cam, never ran 3 phase power, etc etc etc. Total newb if I haven't already painted that picture.

    I have been loving the fadal, making all sorts of stuff. Doing lots of learning with each new challenge.

    I dont know anything about other machines besides what I read on here, but I don't regret the Fadal one bit. I feel it is a great value of a heavy-ish machine to learn on and keep making parts or eventually upgrade from.

    I'm glad I have the 5020 tho, I was looking at a couple 4020's, but I love having the table room. I have 3 vises, room for my fourth or 14" fixture plate or vacuum plate. I think the weight on the 4020 and 5020 are very similar as they are the same castings, not sure about the 6030+

    Good luck in the machine search, I hope you find a good one. I was looking at a couple 5020's with 4th/5th axis on them already but they were the extended z model and wouldn't fit through my garage door. I was talking to a fellow at resellcnc.com I think it was. Very nice, got me additional picture and real measurements from the owner while I was seeing if it'd fit. Don't know anything else about them otherwise. They did offer to help line up riggers, financing if needed, etc.

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    Bud, use the search tool with words like vmc4020 (or whatever model you desire), fadal, and 88hs. You'll pull a ton of replies, enough to answer about any question you could have as far as owning, operating, repairing, programming, or troubleshooting.

    They're not fast, but they're easily repairable, reasonably accurate, and parts are cheaply available (relatively speaking).

    Here's the link to parts/manuals- Independent Technology Service | Fadal CNC Machine Parts | ITSCNC

    Sent via CNC 88HS

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    Id look for mid to late 90s. Older machines had really fine pitched inch ballscrews and were slower. Smaller motors. Some older machines had 6 belts vs 2, id stay away from that too.

    My 1994 had a rinky dink oil line feeding table, tends to get tangled up and break. I heard this is fixed in 1995.

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    It seems fadel machines are the closest to ďopen sourceĒ real CNC your gonna find.

    I started With a haas Tm series mill.
    Was a great little machine, very few things to go wrong on them.
    Light enough that a pallet jack can just barely move it around when needed. (Around 4400lb?) plugs into single or 3phase. I ran on single. Saved me the cash up front avoiding a converter.
    That up front matters because tooling will bankrupt you before the machine does if it does not come with a lot..
    Got a vf2 in my garage now. Was a nice upgrade. But if it was not a daily driver (I manufacture in my garage full time) I would have stuck with the Tm. Was very happy with them.

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  9. #6
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    Default Looking at CNC mills....personal use

    I taught myself CAD/CAM and CNC with Fusion 360 and a two axis Anilam Acer knee mill. Iím glad I went that route as it prevented a lot of crashes when the learning curve was steep. The lack of a tool changer and flood coolant is a pain, so I also got a Fadal VMC20 also.

    I kept the Cnc knee mill because itís so versatile.

    Even the smallest box way Fadals will weigh just over 8000#. Thatís about what my VMC 20 weighs.
    F
    If you donít care about speed, a DC servo powered Fadal is pretty bulletproof and reliable. The DC rapids are 400inch per minute and cuts at 250ipm max. This is actually very fast when you are just leaning.

    As you mention parts are available from several sources. I use ITSCNC and KMAC, but have similar prices(KMAC is cheaper) and ship very fast.
    I have good luck with the tech support from both.

    If you take a second to think on that, itís awesome- free tech support on a 30 year old used machine!

    The manuals for Fadals are easily available and very detailed. They are kind of one size fits all and some of the drawings for my machine donít seem to be 100%, but I can usually figure it out and ITS bailed me out the one time something really kicked my butt. I paid Staples $100 to print out the Maintenance manual. Nobody seems to sell them. My machine came with all the manuals , but there are lots of updates.

    If you donít mind working on it, a Fadal is a good place to start, but you will spend a lot of time on it unless someone else just went through it. Replacing the oil lines and orifices is a given and thrust bearings on the ballscrew is real common.
    You can upgrade to rigid tapping if need

    Letís us know how you make out

    Edit- last thing. If you buy a box way Fadal, research turcite inspection and make sure itís good. Itís a huge time suck and expense if the turcite is bad and ways need ground

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

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    The other thing that may not be obvious starting out. There are no expensive options that need to be turned on with a Fadal. If you have the hardware , you can go into the parameters (setup screens) and turn it on (rigid tapping , add a 4th axis etc)

    There are a lot of advantages to getting a new Haas- lots of videos, a warranty and works out of the box, you wonít have to spend time working on it.

    But a Haas gets expensive real fast, everything is an option. The base price of a TM2(you want the -2 for the price enclosure) is pretty good, but will about double with options.

    Rigid tapping, chip auger, high pressure coolant, high speed machining(HSM), probing all add up fast, about $10k for the probing ,tapping and HSM. But to be fair, most Fadals donít have probing or augers. You can add a probe to the Fadal and it does have some built in probing routines.

    All depends on your budget and time


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

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    The real question comes down to what is your case use?

    Prototype/small batch. Fadel or used haas.
    Try for single phase, save every buck. Heck my Tm was an open machine, made a plywood enclosure and a coat of industrial epoxy paint one afternoon and it did not leak a drop for years. Sold it, went 1500km away and new owner says it does not leak. Whatever gets you by cheap cheap cheap. Little love goes a long way
    Donít need options, just ability to create (though a tool changer is a big plus for the short runs! And high foe coolant will pay for itself in cutters saved. Big Pumps are cheap at home depo)


    But, You got a product, production time matters. Just go out grab a new one and donít mess around. Time is money. And 5 hours here, 10 here @ $150/h lost production time is not worth it. Interruptions to sch. Not worth it.

    Another thing to consider is compressed air use especially for the spindle lubrication.
    My haas Tm I ran a $300 Costco air compressor. Did just fine for the tool changer and a little air gun usage. Had greased bearings

    The VF2 used a air/oil lube system that takes around 3.5 cfm the entire time the spindle is on plus tool change air and accessories. I needed a more serious compressor , moisture separator/air chiller and air filtration system to feed the spindle lube system. Another cost up front and more energy usage while itís running.

  13. #9
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    Air use is a good point, I ran my Fadal on a porter cable pancake compressor for a couple years. I only got rid of it because it was so freaking loud


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

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    What do you intend to make on it? Tweezer tip sized medical device parts or one piece truck suspension arms? What tolerances and quantities?


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