Recommended VMC and Lathe for $20k
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    Default Recommended VMC and Lathe for $20k

    Good day all,
    I've had an offer I'm not getting my hopes up for that involves me restarting my machine shop. I would be looking to start back up with a small-ish VMC and a CNC lathe in my shop at home. My budget would be $25k if I didn't plan to lease. The parts are no larger than 6" x 6" but on the VMC, I'd like to set up multiple parts or do multiple ops. 10 hp spindle max because I'd have to run off converted single phase. It would be helpful if both machines have the same control but they don't have to be the same brand. I have experience with a 1997 Centroid M-400, 2017 Haas ST35, and 2004 Haas VF3. I'm not set in stone with these though. I have plenty of space for larger machines, but I'd rather not have huge machines. I'd also like to keep them less than 10k lbs for ease of maneuverability. Cat40 spindle would be preferred with the tooling I already have, but not a deal breaker if it doesn't. There aren't any specific brands that turn me off, but I prefer equipment that is serviceable and parts are readily available.

    Edit: after looking at what's available, the budget may have to be adjusted. Please respond as if I was spending more on quality used machines. Or what to look for if I can find the right deal.

    Thanks in advance.

    J

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    Whatever you can find dirt cheap, probably 20-30 years old and almost dead, unless you get really lucky. Remember you'll need a couple thousand per machine for rigging no matter how cheap the machine is.

    I think you'd be better off using that money as a down on a new machine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mhajicek View Post
    Whatever you can find dirt cheap, probably 20-30 years old and almost dead, unless you get really lucky. Remember you'll need a couple thousand per machine for rigging no matter how cheap the machine is.

    I think you'd be better off using that money as a down on a new machine.
    Thanks for your honesty. I think my initial request was a bit too optimistic. I should have worded it as what kind of money would it take to get the necessary machines to meet my requirements.

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    A fadal 40 20 a and a mazak qt10
    Don


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

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    You can absolutely get a couple machines in that price range that are in good shape, but you can't be in a rush and need to know what to look for. Haas is likely the most overpriced used machine you can find so forget about them. Older OKKs can be had cheap and are generally very high build quality. Generally stuff with Mitsubishi controls are going to be cheaper as they have some kind of false reputation of being complicated. They are actually very capable.

    I don't have 2 of the same model controls in my whole shop. Learning a control is pretty easy in my opinion and they will all have their own strong and weak points.

    My overall point is to look at older higher end machines that are less well known. You will likely find one in good condition that doesn't command a premium because it's not what every Joe Blow is looking for.

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    What materials will you primarily be cutting?

    The old Matsuura verticals are built like brick shithouses, just stay away from the ones with a Yasnac control. Yaskawa is great with phone support, but parts will cost an arm and a leg.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hardplates View Post
    My overall point is to look at older higher end machines that are less well known. You will likely find one in good condition that doesn't command a premium because it's not what every Joe Blow is looking for.
    Example - I've seen 2 Cincinnati Talon 208s for sale for $7 - 8K in the last 6 months. Both were near new, still had most of the paint intact inside the enclosure, One was in a trade school the other was in a shop that really didn't do machining. We have one that has been running it's balls off for 20+ years, I was sorely tempted to buy one of these for a spare. 850SX controls, not mainstream like Fanuc or Haas but super reliable. 5K spindle, 8" chuck.

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    90's model Okuma LB's are between 4-8K, Their built like tanks and hold tenths all day. Since the market was flooded with them parts are cheap and seems everyone knows how to work on em.

    Then a Fadal 3016 or 4020 may run in the low teens but you would be in budget.

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    I personally wouldn't go the Fadal rout, but there are several guys here that know the machines well and make good parts with them. That said, most of my machines fall into the older higher end category. Every mill I have has it's feed rates turned up (mainly for the purpose of faster linking moves) and I usually run the machines wide open. No alarms for servos overheating or whatnot, try that with a commodity grade machine. It doesn't really matter how much parts cost when you rarely break down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hardplates View Post
    Every mill I have has it's feed rates turned up (mainly for the purpose of faster linking moves) and I usually run the machines wide open. No alarms for servos overheating or whatnot, try that with a commodity grade machine.
    How do you do that? I have one I'd like to accelerate harder, top speed is OK but I think the acceleration is set for a much larger machine with the same control.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mud View Post
    How do you do that? I have one I'd like to accelerate harder, top speed is OK but I think the acceleration is set for a much larger machine with the same control.
    Countless hours of studying parameter manuals since it's not uncommon for one parameter to reference another, which may reference a couple more and again and again. And also comparing parameters from other machines. It can get tricky and is not something I would recommend if you're not 100% sure what you are doing. It's pretty easy to go too far and have the machine overshoot and crash.

    I once thought the factory must have everything set the best it can be......I now know this is not true except for maybe something like a Yasda.

    But I will say again, fooling around with parameters can be like playing with fire!

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    Well, A few things to look at here.
    $25k - if spent on two machines, wouldn't leave much for tooling, work holding, software, etc. Rather than get into which make machine you should buy, I would buy the best VMC you could afford, as there seems to be more milling than turning work, and grab the lathe a little later. That's what I did. You could buy older equipment, which is also what I did, and learn to work around the older technology. My machines are 1980s vintage, and still hold tenths all day. I can't take 400 ipm cuts but I've learned to work around that. Plus - they're paid for.

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    Default Recommended VMC and Lathe for $20k

    If you’re not handy with a volt-meter, and at least able to study and interpret electrical diagrams, buying used CNC’s on a shoestring budget can become an expensive nightmare.

    Stick with the well-known brands, that are still supported. (Mazak, Okuma, Mori, Haas, Fadal, Hardinge)

    Parts for any 20+ year old CNC machine aren’t going to be cheap, but you need to know at least they are available.

    eBay can be your friend for spare parts and tooling, and to get an idea of what CNC’s are available at low prices.

    ToolCat

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    Im in the mid 90's okuma and fadal fan club. For what I do the fadal is just fine. No, its not astonishing fast, but it does whats needed, parts are affordable, and help seems to be right around the corner when ever needed (here, FB, online parts vendors etc...).

    Okuma, parts can hurt, but the fact that they seldom need parts helps. And my dealer (Hartwig) has been absolutely awesome between their parts people, the service techs helping over the phone, and even things like sending PDFs of manuals Im missing... In 05, I started with a 1980 LC10, they still have parts for it, though not cheap. Added a Fadal 4020 in 2010. And its been a slippery slope since... two LNC8s (one I got from you ), another Fadal VMC, and a Genos L250e as of April this year...

    Nice thing about the Fadals is that they can operate in basically Fanuc, but have some added benefits that I guess are usually high dollar options in fanuc... like having 48 work offsets, every option the control has, can be enabled - just a matter of adding the hardware (such as adding a 4th... no code or parameter you gotta buy... just get the amp, wiring, and 4th, and set it up). Want through spindle coolant? Lightning cool is available aftermarket... But if you need fast and have to be able to run HSM paths or what ever they call it where youre feeding at 200+IPM - youll be less than impressed. BUT, there is a complete control upgrade or three out there that I read good things about. I think its about 9k to upgrade and makes some of the high feed cutting possible.

    Of course, you go win the lottery and you can get what ever you want

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    For milling, depending on your parts, I would not be afraid to look at horizontals. They tend to be less popular because people are used to verticals, so prices can be lower and they are very productive.

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    Thanks for all the replies so far. I can't reply from my computer for some reason, so this will be concise.

    Someone asked what materials I'd be machining. 6061, mild steel, 4140PH

    I'm not afraid to have different controls in the shop, and I don't mind learning something new. However, antiquated or something that just wasn't common or only used on few brands of machine are not appealing.

    A Fadal would be fine. I've always read good things. I'll keep an eye out for one.

    Horizontals are too big and heavy for me.

    Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk

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    This spring I bought a Tree 1060, and have less than $5k in it. Machine is pretty nice, and pretty well paid for itself running it like 1/8 time. I know it's bigger than you want, but there are smaller ones, and they seem to be a pretty good machine with depressed value. Though, I'm pretty green yet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cnctoolcat View Post
    If you’re not handy with a volt-meter, and at least able to study and interpret electrical diagrams, buying used CNC’s on a shoestring budget can become an expensive nightmare.

    Stick with the well-known brands, that are still supported. (Mazak, Okuma, Mori, Haas, Fadal, Hardinge)

    Parts for any 20+ year old CNC machine aren’t going to be cheap, but you need to know at least they are available.
    I'm not so sure on Haas and Hardinge there, Haas supposedly don't support/have all boards for pre-2008 models (I recently bought a 2007 OL-1 too <_<) and I know for a fact that my Hardinge CHNC is no longer fully supported now, I tried to buy a new turret encoder board at the start of the year and their UK dealer (ETG) was told that they no longer have any spares nor will they be making more, ended up repairing the board myself.

    Which leads onto your point of needing some electrical diagnosis and repair ability, I was able to repair the CHNC with £5 worth of parts, ended up spending £50 as I bought some extra electrical tools and supplies at the same time but it was that or write off and scrap the lathe.

    In short don't assume that all machines from X brand are a safe bet and fully supported, look at who makes the control/motors/drives etc as well and see if those parts still have support or at least spares readily available, imo anything with a full Fanuc control and motors is worth a look at since they are the kings on spares support.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Fleming View Post
    Thanks for all the replies so far. I can't reply from my computer for some reason, so this will be concise.

    Someone asked what materials I'd be machining. 6061, mild steel, 4140PH

    I'm not afraid to have different controls in the shop, and I don't mind learning something new. However, antiquated or something that just wasn't common or only used on few brands of machine are not appealing.

    A Fadal would be fine. I've always read good things. I'll keep an eye out for one.

    Horizontals are too big and heavy for me.

    Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
    I personally find fadal controls to be a pain to work with if new to them.

    A Haas is nice but definately not enought $ for both mill and lathe.
    a mill would eat up your budget and then some, then add on another 30K for a lathe. plus tooling which can add up to 50% of the machine cost right there.

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    Inventory | AMC

    I like these guys - no affiliation - just a happy and satisfied customer. They have quite a list of used machinery.


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