Seeking Advice, Garage Mill for Prototype and Short Run Production? - Page 4
Close
Login to Your Account
Page 4 of 4 FirstFirst ... 234
Results 61 to 66 of 66
  1. #61
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Colorado
    Posts
    3,336
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    3807
    Likes (Received)
    946

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by cinematechnic View Post
    Would post #45 count as the "Fadal manifesto" or is the more to it? I'm in the early stages of research on a small CNC mill for prototyping work.

    All the parts I make are optics related so precision is important. Everything is aluminum except for tools and some lens mounts made from 303 stainless. The threads I tap most often are #0-80, 1-72, 2-56, M1.7, M2.0 I use only form taps for that (not on the stainless parts).

    Being able to accurately drill circular hole patterns very accurately without using a 4th axis seems attractive. BUT I'd go with a rotary 4th axis if it meant the patterns would be more accurate. Not much play on an 8-hole M2 pattern.

    BTW, not to hijack too much, but if I go CNC I'd need a lathe as well, and that machine would do a lot of the work since optics involves lots of cylindrical parts. So if there are advantages in terms of pairing certain CNC mills with some CNC lathes I'd be interested to know about that.

    Thanks!
    Why don't you post a thread starter for that ?

    A lot of peeps here that can put you on some sort of path that makes sense or is real.

    Also budget … huge consideration.

  2. #62
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Oklahoma City, OK
    Posts
    4,983
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    892
    Likes (Received)
    2088

    Default

    I agree. I need a QT15/20 I think.

    Sent from my SM-G930R4 using Tapatalk

  3. #63
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Navasota / Whitehall Texas
    Posts
    3,731
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    2741
    Likes (Received)
    2099

    Default

    I was very surprised and pleased, to find out my 1996 Bridgeport TC 22 could be wired to run on single phase. The tool changer, lighting, computer and coolant all run on single phase on this machine. All it took was switching one wire at the internal spindle VFD.

    I picked mine up for 6,000.00 and spent about 10 hours cleaning and fixing little things.

  4. Likes Vancbiker liked this post
  5. #64
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Maine
    Posts
    345
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    26
    Likes (Received)
    21

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by cameraman View Post
    Why don't you post a thread starter for that ?

    A lot of peeps here that can put you on some sort of path that makes sense or is real.

    Also budget … huge consideration.
    Just trying to get as informed as I can prior to doing that. Don't want to get the dreaded "do a search before posting a new thread" smackdown.

    If anyone can post a link to this "Fadal Manifesto", I'd be interested to see it.

    Now that I think about it... Perhaps it would make sense to have a section of the website for "Machine Manifestos" where a person that owns and likes a machine can post the case for it, and the machine's downside.

    Only trouble is that it might upset some advertisers. Maybe limit it to discontinued machines?

  6. #65
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Colorado
    Posts
    3,336
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    3807
    Likes (Received)
    946

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by cinematechnic View Post
    Would post #45 count as the "Fadal manifesto" or is the more to it? I'm in the early stages of research on a small CNC mill for prototyping work.

    All the parts I make are optics related so precision is important. Everything is aluminum except for tools and some lens mounts made from 303 stainless. The threads I tap most often are #0-80, 1-72, 2-56, M1.7, M2.0 I use only form taps for that (not on the stainless parts).

    Being able to accurately drill circular hole patterns very accurately without using a 4th axis seems attractive. BUT I'd go with a rotary 4th axis if it meant the patterns would be more accurate. Not much play on an 8-hole M2 pattern.

    BTW, not to hijack too much, but if I go CNC I'd need a lathe as well, and that machine would do a lot of the work since optics involves lots of cylindrical parts. So if there are advantages in terms of pairing certain CNC mills with some CNC lathes I'd be interested to know about that.

    Thanks!
    Fadal Manifesto not literal but most fan boys of certain machines make what's what about a machine pretty clear. Good thing about PM forum no shortage of strong well thought out/ experienced opinions. Google BobW and FADAL and Practical machinist forum and that should keep you busy for a few days.

    These days modern mills generally position circular hole patterns, drilled / bored holes as well as any rotary tilted over onto it's back. (assuming I catch your drift ?).

    You are interested in "Matching" cnc Mill and cnc lathe , prototype decent precisions and accuracies of the order of +/- 0.0002" to +/- 0.0001" …

    Kinda depends what deeper level engineering you may be doing or not doing.

    So maybe check out

    Fryer Machine Systems Inc. - CNC toolroom lathes milling machines machining centers

    and

    Fryer Machine Systems Inc. - CNC toolroom lathes milling machines machining centers

    There's one smaller company that uses their* equipment that supplies to JPL, optical assemblies, but bear in mind that in a lot of cases 'CNC" is just one link in the chain of a set of other processes that might get you to higher tolerance optical mechatronics etc.

    It doesn't sound like your tolerances will be a problem but I think maybe you have underestimated what CNC machines can do these days but on the other hand there are a few "gotchas" with advanced optics/ optical assemblies.

    __________________________________________________ ______________


    Some knowledge of budget is mission critical.

    _________________

    * No affiliation.

  7. #66
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Washington
    Posts
    14
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    8
    Likes (Received)
    9

    Default

    Not trying to revive this thread, but felt I should post what I decided on for future reference of guys searching the site.

    As I'm writing this, it's turning into a wall of text, I apologize in advance... But, for those who are in the same position I was a year ago and are thinking about going down the home shop/garage shop route, I'll do my best to share in detail all of the decisions I made and reasons why. Hopefully this will be thorough enough for those who are just getting into their first machine tool to have a good understanding of all it entails.

    Machine:
    I specifically decided against something like a Tormach. They're fine machines for hobby use, but if you have any intentions of running production on a product, you will be much better served with a more industrial machine that is more ridged, has more power, has more travel and a larger tool carousel.

    I decided on a mid 90s Fadal 15XT, for the following reasons:
    1) Most on this forum like Fadals, and there is a large knowledge base here.
    2) There is a decent used market for them.
    3) Affordable.
    4) They have automatic tool changers.
    5) Parts are still available.
    6) Relatively easy to maintain on your own.

    I bought from someone within a few hours drive of my house. I would recommend buying local if you can,for several reasons. One of the less obvious reasons is the seller was able to provide a maintenance schedule for me to perform, as well as answer questions on coolant, way lube, Cutter recommendations and a few other general machining questions I had.


    Power:
    This is a 3 phase machine, and I decided on a Rotary Phase Converter from American Rotary to feed the machine.

    This was something else I was able to ask the seller about. He used RPCs for his machines as well, and was able to recommend manufactures and realistic HP selection to future proof me a little.

    In addition to having a power source, you will need to get power to your machine. If you are not comfortable doing this yourself and don't have an electrician friend, there would be additional cost for an electrician to hook up your phase converter of choice and machine.


    Tooling:
    As a few members pointed out on this thread, tooling can add up quickly. I got a little over a dozen holders with my machine and a couple vises. I ended up filling my tool carousel, so I had to buy several more holders.

    I went with ER-32 collet holders for everything but my shell mills. The guy I bought my machine from told me to buy quality pull studs, which made sense to me. In all, between tool holders, cutters, pull studs, and collets I'm probably close to 5k invested in tooling after a year.

    I've been buying tool holders from Shars (Tagara holders), probably not the best, but they seem to be quality enough for what I'm doing, and they are affordable.

    For reference, each holder is about $50 (again, this is very affordable), A good pull stud is about $15-20 and a collet is $10-$20. So, before any tooling, each holder is going to be in the $75-$100 range for something affordable.

    Most of my cutters are purchases through Maritool. A lot of these are just drop shipped from other manufactures, so I'm sure there are probably better cutter options out there, but this is who I've been using because they've been very easy to work with.

    You will also need a few tools to actually change cutters. e.g., collet wrench, tightening fixture.

    How about probing your parts? At minimum a wiggler or edge finder and one of your cutters to measure Z height of your work piece. I bought a Haimer probe and have been very happy with it. This added another $400 to my cost.

    In addition to the above, a tenth indicator is extremely useful for measuring parts, machine backlash and is actually necessary to true the haimer. You will also need some sort of indicator holder. I've got a few NogaFlex indicator holders with mag bases that have worked very well.

    Less obvious considerations:

    1) File transfers
    These old machines use floppy drives and parallel ports to load files. There is also not much memory available on these old machines. So, how do you get your code onto your machine to use and what if your file is too large to store?

    I bought a calmotion "USBCNC-FAD-INT" essentially a microcontroller which reads a usb stick and communicates with the machine. I generally use this to drip feed code to my machine (reads lines of code from the USB directly as the machine is running that program). This added another $450 to my machine cost.

    2) Compressed air quality
    I found my old craftsman compressor was okay for light use. But, even though it could supply enough air, when it had to run hard over a long day of cutting there was a lot of moisture issues. I looked into compressed air condensers to fix that issue, but found an open box deal on Amazon for a California air compressor which has an air drying unit. Since swapping compressors, I have not noticed any moisture issues to the machine.

    3) Moving the machine
    Getting the machine to your house is one thing, but how do you get it in your shop/garage? and once in there, how do you move it into position? For me, I was able to trailer my machine back on my brother in-law's flat bed, so it only cost me maybe a couple hundred bucks after fuel and buying my brother in-law dinner. I was able to time my pickup with the delivery of another machine, so the guy I bought from was able to load the machine on my trailer. This could have easily been 2-6k depending on the machines location. Once I got it home I rented a reach lift to pick it from the trailer and set it in the shop. IIRC, this cost me around 700 bucks (minimum day use) and I literally used it for 15 minutes... The guy who delivered the lift just waited for me to finish and loaded the lift back up right then and there. To get the machine into position in my shop I purchased a toe jack (~$200) and rented some machine skates ($60), you could buy machine skates, but you will spend several hundred on a set. Once you've got it in position, you need to get it leveled too. I would not recommend using your little bubble level to do this, so consider a higher quality digital level.

    3a) Weight
    Consider your machines weight and the thickness of your concrete. Most home shops and garages are going to be around 4" thick. Considering vertical machines and lathes can range from 5,000-15,000+ and still fit in a garage, it would be a shame to crack and settle your floor. In addition you would likely be constantly fighting levelness of the machine.

    3b) Height
    The height of these machines is a bit surprising. My particular machine with it's extended Z travel is roughly 11' tall each time the spindle raises for a tool change. Especially if this is going in a garage, make sure you have enough door height to get the machine in, and enough ceiling height to support the Z axis when fully extended for a tool change.

    4) Work holding
    Obviously you need to hold down your work piece somehow. Sometimes vises are all that's needed, but you will likely at least need some sacrificial soft jaws and parallels. Depending how/where angles may be on your part, you might need a sine plate. If you are doing any amount of production, repeatability is very important. Iv'e made pallets for all of my parts and have used various Mitee-Bite work holdings. All of these little things add up pretty quickly. And if you are not as lucky as I was to get a couple vises with the machine, plan to drop about 500 on an old vise in decent condition.

    5) Storage
    Now that you've got all of these new tools for your new machine tool you need to keep them somewhere. So just keep in mind a dedicated tool box may need to be purchased, and it will take up extra real estate in your likely already cramped garage or small shop.

    Storage also applies to stock you will keep around and the chips your machine makes. Chips can add up surprisingly quick; and, at least in my case, require more than just a residential garbage can service.

    6) Lubricants
    I mentioned both earlier, but these consumables are easy to forget. I buy way lube and coolant 5 gallons at a time and they have typically lasted me a few months each. I used QualiChem 251C and it runs about 200 for that 5 gallon bucket. The 5 gallons of way lube is in that ball park as well.

    7) Maintenance
    Again, I mentioned this briefly, but make sure you are at least keeping an eye on things to ensure a small issue you can take care of yourself for a few dollars doesn't turn into a much bigger issue costing thousands of dollars and down time. I would recommend writing a maintenance schedule for yourself or just putting stuff down in an electronic calendar with notifications.

    8) Part post processing
    If you are planning to sell things, raw machine finished parts my be okay, but if they aren't be aware that paying someone else to tumble, polish, paint, anodize, etc. can add up quick and eat into your profits. I personally bought a couple tumblers from hazard freight to do deburring and light polishing before anodizing. I also opted to build my own anodizing line, which entails enough to be it's own thread, and have been very pleased with this setup.

    9) Oops'
    Mistakes happen. Just try to budget in a little extra for broken tools, probes and parts that don't get cut correctly or to spec.

    Okay, I think that takes care of everything...

    I should say, after just over a year with this machine, I am so happy with it! The power, precision and reliability of it has been such a blessing coming from the little DIY routers I started on.

    Alright, that was a lot of word vomit. Hopefully it is well written and thorough enough to help someone out in the future.

    Shane

  8. Likes Chris Attebery, Bobw, mountie, 2outof3, rklopp and 2 others liked this post

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •