Orphaned controls, best to retro.
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    Default Orphaned controls, best to retro.

    I know retrofitting can be a very polarizing topic. All I'm curious about are some brands or models that are ripe for retrofitting.
    i.e Newish and capable, but with a terrible control. What are the WORST supported controls, (but not vintage!), just a control that was fairly modern but short lived. What are some machines that people stay away from just because of the control (ironically that would also be any retrofitted machine Nothing Fanuc, Fadal, or Haas, they all have good support and the controls are robust and easily sourced.

    For example, I had a good experience recently buying an Ecoca 18x60 lathe. Came with some kind of Mitsubishi(not Meldas)/other brand PC based control with absolutely zero support available. So it had sat broken most of its life. Really good condition. I think its an early 2000's machine. It was a purchase that worked out good for me because I got great iron for almost nothing. I don't mean to get into the pitfalls of retrofitting, just what brands or models are the best to start with. And I'm not reselling, just thinking of replacing and older Fanuc turning center.

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    My opinion is that unless you have some very special iron. an retrofit is more of an head and wallet ache than it is worth. The used machinery market is full of good value on semi current machines. The amount of engineering needed to do an proper retrofit is the main issue.

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    Correct. A retrofit only makes sense for the hobbyist with very limited expectations or the unique or specialized machine that is not cost effective to replace. For example, you frequently see boring mills, bridge mills, hollow spindle lathes, etc being retrofitted.

    For a generic 2 axis lathe, if you can't fix what you have, you'll likely never come out ahead.

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    Well, I agree mostly and for most people that's correct. I was kinda hoping to focus more on what machine brands or controls were short lived, unsupported or bad controls on otherwise good machines. I'm just looking for leads on bastard brands.

    I don't mean to debate retros in general. That's been done plenty. I did have a good experience with medium effort. Certainly worth the 6-10K (I hesitate to say but it was probably more like 15-20K if you compared the hrs on the machine with a similar used machine with same hrs) I saved compared to similar machines, but that's just me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vmipacman View Post
    I know retrofitting can be a very polarizing topic. All I'm curious about are some brands or models that are ripe for retrofitting.
    i.e Newish and capable, but with a terrible control. What are the WORST supported controls, (but not vintage!), just a control that was fairly modern but short lived. What are some machines that people stay away from just because of the control (ironically that would also be any retrofitted machine Nothing Fanuc, Fadal, or Haas, they all have good support and the controls are robust and easily sourced.
    .
    Funny, I personally would have put the ones you listed--on the list you're asking for.

    The problem in 2019 is that we are recreating a very competitive market for quality motion control, robotics, NC controls. So it's basically impossible to answer your question, without listing the janky retro controls (Bandit, Centroid, MX-whatev). So re state the question on a more basic level. You've got the cart before the horse.

    IE; what controls specifically designed for retrofit, are most liked? Then move onto; What machinery makes the most sense?

    R

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    Fagor is another one to look at,
    Seen alot of the older and newer machines done with fagors and even 5 -7 axis water jets and grinders.
    everyone I know that has them is happy with them..
    I guess they Just started with some new program in the last year that, you order it and it comes pretty much wired and ready to bolt on and wire in. so it saves a tech coming into your shop for days to retrofit one. usually the tech shows up hooks up some wiring and test runs it.

    My neighbor and friend I have known for 30+ years is pretty much sold on fagors for retrofits as he does alot of them.
    at least its another option to look into. they program just like the other name brand controls.

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    After Haas raised price and dropped support of legasy controls it didn´t take long these came in market.
    Not just centroid but others too. Most of are way cheaper than Haas upgrade to to new control model.
    YouTube

    As Fagor I have no recent experience my self, but here they do not have good reputation. Fagor is not known to be wery reliable, that´s what I have been told by users.

    In retrofits there is always PLC side which is many times overlooked. Even with best controls if plc integration to the machine is not done properly machine performance and useability will be poor.

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    What irritating "music" !

    Adds absolutely nothing to the video

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    I still don't get it. You spend what, $7-10,000 on a retrofit to a Haas? It's still a 25 year old Haas with DC servos and a slow poke tool changer.

    There's no way that machine is worth the cost of the retrofit.

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    I both agree and disagree.

    The value of the old HAAS/etc is in use -- and the retrofit gets you that.
    The cost is less than the delta $$ of a new machine.

    And the retrofit likely gets you hsm, rigid tap, etc. features that the old machine probably did not.
    Sure the old machine is relatively slow.
    So what.
    Most users get low usage hours per year.
    Jobshops apart.

    The cost of a new machine is high ..
    in work hours ..
    and perhaps some new tooling/hw needed to take advantage of the new machine.

    Where one has the old machine, or gets it cheap, a 10k$ retrofit vs 20k-30k+ for a new machine + stuff often makes sense.
    Simply because You make few parts / day,
    or capital is tight.

    Saving 20k$+ in capital You don´t easily have, allowing one to make profitable parts, slow, is a good idea.
    If one sits 3 hours extra per night, making 140$ extra per night, thats 4000$ per month net, extra. Net, not turnover.

    The cycle-time, fast, efficiency, faster-tools people are mostly wrong.
    Not always wrong, mostly.
    For more than 50% of people their reachable local market is limited, pricing is non-elastic, growth opportunities are very limited.

    Many shops would make more or less the same number of widgets, per month, if they got a free top-line brother super-speed or horizontal.
    And they would struggle to expand, because then they compete with established shops already running the latest stuff with vastly better back-end in finishing logistics etc.


    Quote Originally Posted by ewlsey View Post
    I still don't get it. You spend what, $7-10,000 on a retrofit to a Haas? It's still a 25 year old Haas with DC servos and a slow poke tool changer.

    There's no way that machine is worth the cost of the retrofit.

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    I have been looking into retro fitting a machine because I'm sick of trying to repair obsolete Fanuc drives and boards. second-hand prices are through the roof and repairers want big $ also.

    I found SZGH that will sell a whole 3+ axis system for about twice the cost of an old fanuc drive.

    I agree that in the US a retrofit wouldn’t make much sense but the prices SZGH have quoted me it would make any retrofit viable.

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    Is the SZGH a science project, or bolt on and plug in?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

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    Sorry, I did not want to get sidetracked on the whole validity of a retrofit question or what retrofit to use.

    My real question is: "What controls (model/brand) were provided in the last 20years OEM that are now out of business, unreliable, or otherwise defunct."

    Anilam might fall into this bracket since there were some decent machines provided with 3000M or 6000 controls. What others?

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    Quote Originally Posted by vmipacman View Post
    Anilam might fall into this bracket since there were some decent machines provided with 3000M or 6000 controls. What others?
    I retrofitted a anilam, there very easy to do and you can reuse the servo's, hence in my case it was low hundreds in parts only, about £300 in drives and a couple of hundred in other bits and a old PC. Sure the retrofit makes it into no VMC but it never was. But it brings it upto what i needed and makes me a steady profit.

    You really need to ask your self what you need. Retrofits are not for everyone and are not for every shop. My case it was easy cheap and gave me the capabilities i needed. I had the time to do it in and the base machine etc.

    Equally you need to be realistic, sure you could take a old beat to death HAAS and fully rebuild it with new everything and new control. It would be a lot of work and your going to be hard pressed to make it perform better than a new VMC.

    A lot of a what makes a good candidate is what it is you want the machine to do. Especially if you have a more odd ball use the original was never best suited too. Whats available locally (condition of the mechanical's - spindle etc is everything) and transport costs need to be considered too. As does your own experience levels, you need to be able to do better than rewire a plug, having a retrofit done would generally not make any commercial sense, but burning some free time, IME it can be a good pay back.

    Pays to do a simpler machine first. If i was to go out and buy a machine with the intention of retrofiting it i would be looking for ball ways, i know i can cost effectively replace those, scraping is not cheap either time or material wise hence i would avoid any plane way based machines! So my advice is not just brand but pick something that avoids your weak points repair wise!

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    Quote Originally Posted by landslide View Post
    I have been looking into retro fitting a machine because I'm sick of trying to repair obsolete Fanuc drives and boards. second-hand prices are through the roof and repairers want big $ also.

    I found SZGH that will sell a whole 3+ axis system for about twice the cost of an old fanuc drive.

    I agree that in the US a retrofit wouldn’t make much sense but the prices SZGH have quoted me it would make any retrofit viable.
    I got a quote from szgh too do you have any experience with them? I’m interested.

    Seems like a good control to retrofit a machine with.

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    CNC cookbook did a survey of all of the controls and found that the Centroid
    came out on top. They are very user friendly and their documentation is great.

    They can use the existing servos (AC or DC), as long as you have some
    documentation for them.

    They have an built in PLC.

    Their prices are very reasonable.

    Paul

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    Quote Originally Posted by vmipacman View Post
    I know retrofitting can be a very polarizing topic. All I'm curious about are some brands or models that are ripe for retrofitting.
    Generally, most of the orphan CNCs are of 70s/80s vintage save for the oddball PC control or such. I've seen gorgeous 70s iron with nightmare controls that all but doomed the machine to be a workbench.

    The "Worst?" Probably McDonnell-Douglas (yes, THAT McDonnell-Douglas) Actrion. Abysmally built, borderline dangerous, long out of production, NO support/parts/tech at all. EVER. CNC division was disbanded in the 80s, documentation long gone. Runners-up? Maybe the Pratt and Whitney Team Mate or the Cinncy Acramatics. In their day they were "acceptable" but are long out of support. Siemens won't support Acramatic, P&W died around '91 or so.

    The rush to monkey up some PC controls produced some CNCs that looked nice but the motion control was "Heath-kit" at best and the companies long gone.

    If you really want to do this, find some minty iron and install a Fanuc 0i. But it better be a machine that's worth the effort.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DouglasJRizzo View Post
    Generally, most of the orphan CNCs are of 70s/80s vintage save for the oddball PC control or such. I've seen gorgeous 70s iron with nightmare controls that all but doomed the machine to be a workbench.
    ... Maybe the Pratt and Whitney Team Mate or the Cinncy Acramatics. In their day they were "acceptable" but are long out of support. Siemens won't support Acramatic, P&W died around '91 or so.
    ...

    If you really want to do this, find some minty iron and install a Fanuc 0i. But it better be a machine that's worth the effort.
    At least P&W used a Fanuc control. The one good thing about fanuc is that the techs can still fix their controls no matter what age (id stay clear of the DC stuff). Okuma while they claim "never obsolete” they are due to the lack of support well that’s how it is in Australia.

    Most of the 80’s and early 90’s controls are now orphaned because of processing speed and features that are std these days eg drip feeding, helical interpolation etc. in this vintage your lucky if the control was optioned with these features and there is often no way to change the ladder or upgrade the software.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mstcnc View Post
    After Haas raised price and dropped support of legasy controls it didn´t take long these came in market.
    Not just centroid but others too. Most of are way cheaper than Haas upgrade to to new control model.
    YouTube
    I've watched that video before (agree the music is a bit muc), but they mentioned a "Part 2" that would go over costs and the like.

    Go to their full Youtube page, and the original vid is all that's been uploaded. From 2017. Doesn't give the best impression...

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    Quote Originally Posted by landslide View Post
    At least P&W used a Fanuc control. The one good thing about fanuc is that the techs can still fix their controls no matter what age (id stay clear of the DC stuff). Okuma while they claim "never obsolete” they are due to the lack of support well that’s how it is in Australia.

    Most of the 80’s and early 90’s controls are now orphaned because of processing speed and features that are std these days eg drip feeding, helical interpolation etc. in this vintage your lucky if the control was optioned with these features and there is often no way to change the ladder or upgrade the software.
    I was lucky, my P&W TriMac has a Fanuc 11M. But many lathes had the TeamMate. Ugh..
    You are correct tho. Fanuc still supports and has parts/service for this old gal!


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