A new cast iron 3 axis challenger weighing in at over 600lbs!
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  1. #1
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    Default A new cast iron 3 axis challenger weighing in at over 600lbs!

    NOTE: This is in the prototype stage, not product ready stage.

    Hi all, we’d like to introduce a mill we’ve been building over the last several months that is being iterated and would end up on kickstarter. We call it the Maker Mill because we’re targeting makers, micro-fabricators, inventors, hobbyists, educators and professionals. Due to its cast iron construction this mill is able to machine all materials. The price is low enough that you don’t need to have a business or worry about ROI if you want to purchase it. This mill aimed at micro-fabricators and business owners who are looking for quality (tolerances/repeatability) at the sacrifice of throughput (speed) for the benefit of a low price.


    We’re currently in the testing and tuning stage of our prototype. It’ll end up definitely going through one more iteration before it’s production ready. The reason we’re posting this is because we’re planning a crowdfunding campaign (Kickstarter) soon and are looking for feedback.

    We couldn’t wait and took a teaser video of it shortly after we got it finally up and running. Sorry for the bad camera quality and now obvious worn out HSS endmills! (all filmed at 1x)




    We decided to build it because there aren’t many low cost robust mills currently on the market, just one brand which has a near monopoly over these size mills. The pricing for them sounds reasonable until you realize it doesn’t even include the computer/controller. By the time you get a working mill with some industry standard “upgrades,” you’re already in the hole for a couple more thousand just in options. We wanted something you could buy that would run right out of the box. No excessive amounts of installation required, no hidden fees/upgrades required. You can buy the mill at its list price and have it come with everything you need - start cutting soon after receiving it. It’s packed full of excellent features that you normally have to pay extra for such as a BT30 spindle and power drawbar, which on ours are standard.






    Price is somewhere around $8,000 - $9,000 but we’re trying to bring it down to $5-6K for the kickstarter. We want to drop the price as low as we can get it without taking too much of a loss.

    What ~$8,500 gets you:

    ~600 lbs of iron cast into the frame, optimised after finite element analysis and harmonic frequency analysis simulations.
    Premium BT30 spindle (90mm od, (3) 7008 angulars front, (2) 7007 angulars rear) + pneumatic drawbar
    25mm linear guides all around
    20mm c7 ball screws with double ball nuts (anti-backlash), c5 upgrade available
    Industrial 6 axis capable, S-Curve motion controller with robust software package included with price
    Conversational programming
    XYZ Travel: 16in x 12in x 16” (410mm x 300mm x 400mm)
    Very small footprint, less than 36” x 36”
    Plug and play, assembled by us not by you
    Closed loop steppers, servo upgrade available
    Mist coolant is standard
    Runs on 220v - standard in residential housing for washers and dryers
    Standard tooling system available world wide from innumerable suppliers
    2.2Kw spindle motor
    Vector frequency drive spindle controller
    USA designed and assembled, USA customer support

    We’d love to answer any questions you have. We just launched our landing page too, so if you want to learn more click this link:vulcanmachineco. We have an email list you can sign up for to hear any news of our progress and information on our launch.
    Last edited by VulcanMachineCo; 01-29-2019 at 01:03 PM.

  2. #2
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    Wow! 600 pounds? A real beast, eh?

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    Quote Originally Posted by LKeithR View Post
    Wow! 600 pounds? A real beast, eh?
    Yes! We designed a gantry frame style mill that focuses on geometry to increase rigidity. As you know gantry style geometry can be stronger than C-frame styles. It's still due for another iteration so we'll adjust until we are happy with its end performance but our goal wasn't just to throw mass at it since we believe it's not practical for hobbyists. We plan for our customers to be able to move this around with just a cheap ~100 dollar engine crane. There is relatively speaking reduced weight in the base. We have plans to test a custom stand that the machine is bolted down to to increase the mass by a factor of of very roughly 25%-100% that the customer can fill with sand once it arrives. Again our machine is definitely not something a human can lift but we're trying to make it aimed at hobbyists/home shop people so the target is to be able to put this together with just an engine crane.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VulcanMachineCo View Post
    Yes! We designed a gantry frame style mill that focuses on geometry to increase rigidity while minimizing weight to push the lowest harmonic frequency mode higher. As you know gantry's tend to be slightly stronger due to geometry than C-frame styles. It's still due for another a minimum of another iteration so we'll adjust until we are happy with its end performance but our goal wasn't just to throw mass at it since we believe it's not practical for hobbyists. We plan for our customers to be able to move this around with just a cheap ~100 dollar engine crane. There is relatively speaking reduced weight in the base. We have plans for a custom stand that the machine is bolted down to to increase the mass by a factor of of very roughly 50%.
    I'm more interested in this thing called crowed funding.. I could use a cmm and another vmc

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    Is "crowed funding" underwritten by a murder of Corvids? Seems likely to me.

    Stuart

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    Quote Originally Posted by atomarc View Post
    Is "crowed funding" underwritten by a murder of Corvids? Seems likely to me.

    Stuart


    Hey don't knock 'em till ya try 'em, they offer excellent interest rates.

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    Quote Originally Posted by atomarc View Post
    Is "crowed funding" underwritten by a murder of Corvids? Seems likely to me.

    Stuart
    Oh yeah make fun of the guy that still uses Crayons

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    BTW, we're trying to come up with parts to machine that aren't terribly complex both in time and CAD/CAM programming to test the machine out in more situations both in tolerances and in overall media entertainment. We'd love to hear any suggestions.

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    I get where this comes from, and I saw the same “gap” in the market. The cheapest Tormach comes in at 6k or something, and as you say doesn’t have a controller and all that Jazz. All said and done, a tormach with all of the standard features of a CNC mill (ATC, enclosure, probing, etc) ends up just shy of 30k. You can get a haas TM2 for close to that brand new, maybe better if you’re good at negotiating.

    I don’t like Haas and I don’t like Tormach. I think there should be a less than 5k benchtop cnc mill on the market.

    Go for it, but your claims seem a bit far-fetched. What the heck is “industrial 6-axis capable higher motion order”? How conversational can you get when programming for 6 axis? Is that just a buzz phase to get people’s attention? That’s exactly what I don’t like about two said companies: they use lots of buzz words and good marketing techniques to sell products for much more than they’re worth. The lingo makes you think there was a problem they just solved better than anyone else.

    If you made a 3-axis benchtop cnc mill running on mach3 with an automatic tool changer for under 5k that can cut steel, I’d be a customer. I’m just not sure adding sand is going to make it that robust. No amount of finite element analysis is going to change the fact that a heavier mill prevents chatter better than a lighter mill.

    But I’m new here, someone correct me if I’m way off-target.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thunderskunk View Post
    I get where this comes from, and I saw the same “gap” in the market. The cheapest Tormach comes in at 6k or something, and as you say doesn’t have a controller and all that Jazz. All said and done, a tormach with all of the standard features of a CNC mill (ATC, enclosure, probing, etc) ends up just shy of 30k. You can get a haas TM2 for close to that brand new, maybe better if you’re good at negotiating.

    I don’t like Haas and I don’t like Tormach. I think there should be a less than 5k benchtop cnc mill on the market.

    Go for it, but your claims seem a bit far-fetched. What the heck is “industrial 6-axis capable higher motion order”? How conversational can you get when programming for 6 axis? Is that just a buzz phase to get people’s attention? That’s exactly what I don’t like about two said companies: they use lots of buzz words and good marketing techniques to sell products for much more than they’re worth. The lingo makes you think there was a problem they just solved better than anyone else.

    If you made a 3-axis benchtop cnc mill running on mach3 with an automatic tool changer for under 5k that can cut steel, I’d be a customer. I’m just not sure adding sand is going to make it that robust. No amount of finite element analysis is going to change the fact that a heavier mill prevents chatter better than a lighter mill.

    But I’m new here, someone correct me if I’m way off-target.
    Glad you pointed that out Thunderskunk, our intention was never to include buzz words that in reality have no weight. We'll change our wording on that to make it more clear. What it really is, is an industrial controller that supports S-curve speed profiles aka "jerk" motion aka 4th derivative motion aka motion calculations a step past constant acceleration. S-curve motion planning is almost exclusive to only higher end CNC controllers that professional systems use due to the much higher demand of calculations required for the processor. 3D printers and most if not all desktop CNC mills on the market generally only use constant acceleration motion planning because it requires much less processing power and is overall cheaper to procure. Jerk motion planning essentially slows down and speeds up acceleration to basically reduce the "jerkiness" of the system. It allows for overall higher acceleration values and much smoother motion because it ramps up and down the acceleration instead of suddenly "jerking" it around, which you see with systems with high constant acceleration. It not only produces finer surface finish but also produces higher MRR through overall higher acceleration and thus velocity. Area under the curve calculus stuff. I hope that explained it to you, I'm not an expert on it myself but it was a minimum requirement for us to use a decent controller. You can't skimp on good electronics imo.

    Regarding the 6 axis comment, the controller is expandable for up to 6 axis motion controlling but we're only using it for 3 axis currently. The plan if this is successful to be able to painlessly add in 4th and 5th axis without having to replace the controller and other electronics. It's a way to keep parts standardized. Users themselves, if they're savvy enough, could add their own extra axis's in without buying from us if they DIY.

    A <5k cnc that is scaled back functionality wise to the max but with minimum viable product (its small and slow, but it cuts really good) is in the potential plans for us in the future. There are multiple products out there that are marketed as desktop cnc's that we just cringe at since they're only really good for cutting plastics but promise so much more. If we do end up designing a real desktop cnc in the future, it will not be able to do near as much as our current mill, but what it can do, it will do well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VulcanMachineCo View Post
    This is aimed at those who are micro-fabricators, business owners, and most of all hobbyists who are looking for quality (tolerances/repeatability) at maybe the sacrifice of throughput (speed) for the benefit of a low price.
    My honest opinion is that at your price point and at 600 lbs, it's not about accuracy vs speed. Your machine is going to have neither. I think you'll sell some units regardless because your design looks interesting and a lot of people aren't thrilled with the current offerings on the market.

    You're going to encounter a lot of naysayers along the way, myself included, but you'll have to learn to ignore us because the only people that will matter are your paying customers. Don't do your customers a disservice by running yourself out of business. Stay on course and make money. You need to make a healthy gross profit from day one or you'll run out of gas very quickly.

    So many people run 5 or 6 figure kickstarter campaigns and go belly up a year later. The really stupid ones go belly up 3 years later after blowing all the kickstarter money on R&D and pocketing nothing. What a waste of time. There are much easier ways to go broke.

    If you're selling these things for $6K, you'll need to be able to make them for $2K, crated and ready to ship. Be realistic - your overhead is only going to go UP as soon as you sell your first unit. If you discount these right off the bat, what have you really accomplished? You've made no money, yet you now have a dozens of customers to support. So you've basically bought yourself a customer service nightmare, and if you can't take care of each and every one of them, then one of them who slips through the cracks is going to make a Youtube video about how much you suck.

    If you need to sell these at $9K to make money, then sell them at $9K. If your kickstarter campaign fails at that price point, then reevaluate what you're doing and either try again or move on. Removing your profit margin is the surefire way to make your customers hate you and for you to hate yourself.

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    I'll tip my hat to anyone trying to become a player in this market, risking time and money. Look what HAAS did. Everything starts with an idea, desire and drive that built this country.

    Good luck.

    Make Chips Boys !

    Ron

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    You may want to do some research on your names.
    A google search for Maker Mill brings you to a maker space in Andover Ma and a small gantry mill cobbled together from 80/20 on Pinterest

    Vulcan used to make boring mills

    I wish you luck also, I think there is a market for a small but quality machine


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

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    If you want to make a video showcasing your product in action, ditch the music and let the customer hear the machine cut.

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    After seeing pictures of the machine on the Zone( the one here didn’t work for me and the video does not show the machine), I think I would have waited until the product was more refined, rather than a rough prototype.
    I would also think a nice web site with lots of pretty pics of said refined product would generate more excitement
    Just my 2c


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

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    So is this a assy based on the cast iron gantry kit off alli express? Kinda similar to the XYZ 2OP? But hopefully with a far more capable control? presumably a typical Chinese BT30 spindle cartridge too?

    If so and you can hit it for that price point im kinda interested, i really don't want another C style machine, space is tight and a gantry type should be shoe hornable in in my last real square of floor space here. I don't have space left now for any of the conventional CNC's.

    Its the kinda thing i have toyed with making after i get my lathe up and running. i have plenty of smaller simple work to feed a honest 2hp spindle, gantry would keep things compact, but for me at least, its gotta be able to happily chew on steel and not have the stupid programme limitations of the xyz 2OP.

    That said post back when you have a solid price and actual machines = pictures of them to sell, till then your just another website funding - fishing exercise.

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    Brings up the point on these "Go fund me" and "Kickstarter"
    projects.

    What is the return on my investment ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by digger doug View Post
    Brings up the point on these "Go fund me" and "Kickstarter"
    projects.

    What is the return on my investment ?
    Could be nothing,or it could be a fancy new hobby mill that includes a demo video with annoying music.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Radar987 View Post
    .....If you're selling these things for $6K, you'll need to be able to make them for $2K, crated and ready to ship. .....
    There's a lot of truth in this. When I worked for a large machine tool importer/sales/service organization, a new model HMC came in to a customer and I was sent to do the install and training. Some paperwork that was not supposed to be in the crate showed the landed cost at the port of Baltimore was $78k. The list price on the machine was $249k.

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    Got any pictures of the mill itself and not just the cutting tool in action?

    I'm interested in CNC but don't have much to add about any of that. As a business and marketing guy, you really, really, really should invest a couple hundred bucks in drop cloths and lighting. Tarps, garage doors, poor lighting, bad paint, rough edges on workpieces, crooked parallels (0:37 in the video), etc, add up and do not look professional at all. I'd yank that video off the internet and wait until you have your stuff together better before you get a label you don't want. First impressions are forever impressions.

    Good luck with your venture!


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