older robodrill with modern toolpaths?
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    Default older robodrill with modern toolpaths?

    Hi all,

    Looking at older early 2000's robodrills and other smallish vmc's. I have been running small production on a borrowed Haas TM1p with a 6k spindle and am looking to bring things in house for prototypes and small production runs up to about 1200 parts. Mostly aluminum, some chromoly and stainless.

    Will a 16iM controller with helical interpolation and a usb/dnc hack be able to produce the part below (just a roughing op)?

    What options should I be looking for? Is this machine rigid enough to move a 1/2" roughing EM at 1" DOC .06" WOC at 60ipm? I use Fusion 360 as well as mastercam and want to know just how limiting this machine will/will not be.

    Thanks in advance!
    20190501_152256.jpg

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    Why don't you just finance a new haas minimill or a vf1?

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    Every Fanuc control can be configured from a stripper basic version for low-end MTBs, but the Robodrills have always come out of the box with a pretty decent spec as far as processing capability and base features (always with helical, rigid tap, Macro B, and high-speed processing). They usually don't come with the highest-end surfacing capabilities (they are optional), but you won't ever need them until you get contracts to make turbo impellers or medical micromolds.

    I had a 2006 Robodrill Mate - their 14 tool, 10k, non BBT stripped down machine, and it had AICC look ahed and was fast enough to crunch through any code I sent it up to 200ipm for 3D surfacing. It was capable of processing faster than anything the spindle RPM could deal with. A 16iM control would do even better.

    Having said that, buying the mid 2000s vintage of these machines is kinda silly. Because these are "real" VMCs that can fit in a garage, they hold their value absurdly well. eBay is showing mid/late 2000 Robodrills (the not trashed ones) at $25k+. While these machines are very robust, you're still looking at 15+ year old iron with god knows what status on the components, and aging electronics.

    Yamazen is selling new S500s with 14 tools, 10k spindles, solid high-speed processing, and a full warranty for about $50k. Put a little down and finance it, you'll never spend a nanosecond underwater and the payments will be cheap.

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    1997 Robodrill with 16iA control checking in here. We use it for HSM toolpaths (volumill) a decent amount. Cut a lot of 4140 with 1/2" endmills over an inch deep, about .040 stepover, and maybe 150ipm feed without issues.

    Sometimes the machine stutters a bit when changing from G3 to G1 at even modest speed (seemingly randomly, certainly not every program, and I have no idea why; I have a thread I started explaining it with no solution).

    A newer one with 16iB control probably won't have this issue. I get around it by programming G5.1Q1 in programs that show that behavior. Make sure you can do that on yours, I guess.

    If the speeds you want to achieve are in aluminum, you won't have an issue. Get stubby endmill holders from Maritool!

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    Quote Originally Posted by gkoenig View Post

    Yamazen is selling new S500s with 14 tools, 10k spindles, solid high-speed processing, and a full warranty for about $50k. Put a little down and finance it, you'll never spend a nanosecond underwater and the payments will be cheap.
    No shit? That's cheaper than a new pickup.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dandrummerman21 View Post
    1997 Robodrill with 16iA control checking in here. We use it for HSM toolpaths (volumill) a decent amount. Cut a lot of 4140 with 1/2" endmills over an inch deep, about .040 stepover, and maybe 150ipm feed without issues.

    Sometimes the machine stutters a bit when changing from G3 to G1 at even modest speed (seemingly randomly, certainly not every program, and I have no idea why; I have a thread I started explaining it with no solution).

    A newer one with 16iB control probably won't have this issue. I get around it by programming G5.1Q1 in programs that show that behavior. Make sure you can do that on yours, I guess.

    If the speeds you want to achieve are in aluminum, you won't have an issue. Get stubby endmill holders from Maritool!
    I'd be curious to learn more about your setup as far as software to get the programs into the robodrill.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SwiftDesignworks View Post
    I'd be curious to learn more about your setup as far as software to get the programs into the robodrill.
    We have a laptop stand mounted to the machine. We use a laptop with an old seat of Predator CNC editor. There are lots of CNC editing programs out there that can send and receive to CNC machines.

    We use a USB->rs232 converter with a db9-db25 adapter, and then use a 25 pin null modem cable to connect to the machine. There are posts about how to make such a cable, and I'm sure there's also out-of-the-box solutions you can just buy that will work for you as well.

    You'll need to configure the software to send and receive at the same baud rate, stop bits, parity, etc, as the machine is. Also may have to change a setting or 2 on the CNC side to get it to talk out the RS232.

    There's likely another option for you. Your machine PROBABLY has a memory card slot. (Ours does, but it is the older SRAM type of memory which is terribly expensive and hard to get a modern interface to read/write to on a PC)

    Anyway, you can pick up a PCMCIA flash memory card and a usb-pcmcia adapter, and you can load programs to the control that way (with the CNC communications port set to 4). Don't get too greedy with what size you buy if you get a flash card. 512mb or 1gb should be more than enough)

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    Quote Originally Posted by dandrummerman21 View Post
    Anyway, you can pick up a PCMCIA flash memory card and a usb-pcmcia adapter, and you can load programs to the control that way (with the CNC communications port set to 4). Don't get too greedy with what size you buy if you get a flash card. 512mb or 1gb should be more than enough)
    I seem to remember there was a 2Gb limit on the card size for this vintage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JCarroll View Post
    I seem to remember there was a 2Gb limit on the card size for this vintage.
    Probably. I know my 1GB works on a 16iB but 4GB doesn't.

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    Looks like a 150 mini. BMX?

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    Quote Originally Posted by upthebikes View Post
    Looks like a 150 mini. BMX?
    MTB with version for road and cx as well

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    Sweet! What spindle interface? Got any shots of a finished set? You can drop me a message as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by upthebikes View Post
    .....Got any shots of a finished set? You can drop me a message as well.
    I'd like to see pics too!

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    Yes with a little less stepover and a faster feed no problem.
    BTW - not a very efficient way of producing the centre cutout if you're making 1200...

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    Quote Originally Posted by barbter View Post
    Yes with a little less stepover and a faster feed no problem.
    BTW - not a very efficient way of producing the centre cutout if you're making 1200...
    That prototype used a helical pocketing roughing strategy and then a circular pattern with a ballnose at I think a .09" stepover just for a demo and isn't how I'd normally rough. This also isn't the parts I make 1200 of....yet

    Thanks for all the replies everyone!

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    Yeah, sometimes for consumer use parts one has to do toolpaths that are aesthetic rather than efficient.


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