Trak DPM 3 Axis Bed Mills
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  1. #1
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    Default Trak DPM 3 Axis Bed Mills

    I'm interested in hearing from Trak Mill users. I maybe interested in making a purchase of one.

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    I used an antique one about a decade ago. It could do some stuff. It all depends on what your parts are like and how many you need to do. For most applications a proper VMC would be much better.

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    We have a fryer mb-14 which is essentially the same as a DPM but better imo. For one I do not think the DPM homes, whereas the Fryer does.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vmipacman View Post
    We have a fryer mb-14 which is essentially the same as a DPM but better imo. For one I do not think the DPM homes, whereas the Fryer does.
    It does not, which is really annoying.

    Mine has the SMX control, not the newest RMX control, but I don't think that much has changed.

    I would say that it is slower to program than an acu-rite, but more capable.

    It can also run limited g-code. I doesn't handle subprograms (M98) and it can't handle G02/G03 not in the XY plane. They'll say it will, but it doesn't and they will blame your post-processor even when you've hand coded a test file to show that it doesn't work.

    It won't interpolate great round holes.

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    I have mixed feelings about ours at work.

    The control is all right mostly. There are some things I wish it could do or do better. However it is decently user friendly and easy enough to learn to use.

    The machine itself has problems with rigidity and accuracy. The servos are weak enough that when they are supposed to lock and axis in place you can still push it around if you are taking to big a cut or drilling to large a hole. Also if you tell it to move down .005 it will just fine, but if you tell it to go up .005 it will go up .0025. I think the servo can't handle the weight of the head. Also both the X and Z servo burned out after only two years of use.

    You can work around the problems and make good parts if you are careful and plan ahead. You can make enough off them to be worth the trouble pretty quick, but if it was my shop I wouldn't buy more of them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nibleswick View Post
    I have mixed feelings about ours at work.

    The control is all right mostly. There are some things I wish it could do or do better. However it is decently user friendly and easy enough to learn to use.

    The machine itself has problems with rigidity and accuracy. The servos are weak enough that when they are supposed to lock and axis in place you can still push it around if you are taking to big a cut or drilling to large a hole. Also if you tell it to move down .005 it will just fine, but if you tell it to go up .005 it will go up .0025. I think the servo can't handle the weight of the head. Also both the X and Z servo burned out after only two years of use.

    You can work around the problems and make good parts if you are careful and plan ahead. You can make enough off them to be worth the trouble pretty quick, but if it was my shop I wouldn't buy more of them.
    I agree that these are all the most likely problems though ours still seems to be pretty tight. Only thing I wanted to point out is that these problems are common to this style machine, I would expect a DPM to be worse or the same.

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    I appreciate all of your comments. I don't expect the accuracy or speed of a VMC, but I do like the ease of use of an open unguarded table. I also have very little need for coolant. Most of my work comprises of tooling components that will go to heat treat. I'm quite interested in a 5hp spindle, but a table travel of 40" would be nice but not necessary. Some have mentioned Fryer machines, I'm open to that. I would like to hear more of your experiences with this type of machinetool.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nibleswick View Post
    I have mixed feelings about ours at work.
    Ditto

    Quote Originally Posted by Nibleswick View Post
    The machine itself has problems with rigidity and accuracy. The servos are weak enough that when they are supposed to lock and axis in place you can still push it around if you are taking to big a cut or drilling to large a hole. Also if you tell it to move down .005 it will just fine, but if you tell it to go up .005 it will go up .0025. I think the servo can't handle the weight of the head. Also both the X and Z servo burned out after only two years of use.
    Which model do you have? We have the FHM7, the biggest bed mill, and I haven't noticed the servos being undersized. I've triggered the alarm on Z but that was overfeeding a big drill that caught.

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    Quote Originally Posted by otrlt View Post
    I appreciate all of your comments. I don't expect the accuracy or speed of a VMC, but I do like the ease of use of an open unguarded table. I also have very little need for coolant. Most of my work comprises of tooling components that will go to heat treat. I'm quite interested in a 5hp spindle, but a table travel of 40" would be nice but not necessary. Some have mentioned Fryer machines, I'm open to that. I would like to hear more of your experiences with this type of machinetool.
    What are your needs for CNC control? Point-to-point (e.g. drill jigs)? 2D CNC with manual Z? Full 3D CNC?

    Will you be using CAM or programming only at the control?

    For 2D conversational-only, I really liked the Acu-rite CNCs. They're easy to use and integrate well with manual machining.

    Depending on the complexity of your work and your budget, there are also the euro toolroom mills like the Deckel clones (e.g. FPS) and Abene. These will be much more versatile than the bed mill, but at a cost.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanielG View Post
    What are your needs for CNC control? Point-to-point (e.g. drill jigs)? 2D CNC with manual Z? Full 3D CNC?

    Will you be using CAM or programming only at the control?

    For 2D conversational-only, I really liked the Acu-rite CNCs. They're easy to use and integrate well with manual machining.

    Depending on the complexity of your work and your budget, there are also the euro toolroom mills like the Deckel clones (e.g. FPS) and Abene. These will be much more versatile than the bed mill, but at a cost.
    I would prefer full 3 axis and I will be uploading part programs from my cad/cam.

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    2+ years ago asked pretty much the same question. Someone on this board said don't do it - by an Atrump instead. Very glad I did. It was cheaper with wired probes than the Trak without probes. And is considerably better in my opinion.

    Plus when I called to ask if I can get it in single phase they didn't want to be bothered. Atrump supplied single phase no problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanielG View Post

    Mine has the SMX control, not the newest RMX control, but I don't think that much has changed.
    Do the newer ones tap? I have an AGE3 and we have to run it in 2D mode and run the quill by hand to tap at all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mud View Post
    Do the newer ones tap? I have an AGE3 and we have to run it in 2D mode and run the quill by hand to tap at all.
    That's what I'm talking about Mud, cnc is butt slow when it comes to producing one/off parts. Sometimes you need to get into "BridgePort mode" to get the job done in a efficient manner.

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    Quote Originally Posted by otrlt View Post
    That's what I'm talking about Mud, cnc is butt slow when it comes to producing one/off parts. Sometimes you need to get into "BridgePort mode" to get the job done in a efficient manner.
    That's the downside of the larger Trak bedmills, no quill, so putting holes in things is a lot slower with the MPG handwheel for Z.

    I would look at the Acu-rite CNCs, potentially as a bolt-on replacement for a DRO on one of your existing Bridgeports. It really complements manual machining and let's you mix and match whatever is best for a given feature. You can manually mill the things that are easier to manually mill, peck a deep hole using the quill and then use the CNC to make an odd-size counterbore.

    We had Acu-rites on pretty much every bridgeport at the last place I worked and there's really no downside. When you don't need CNC, it's DRO on an otherwise standard knee mill. When you do need CNC, it's quick to program in a bolt pattern, counterbore, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mud View Post
    Do the newer ones tap? I have an AGE3 and we have to run it in 2D mode and run the quill by hand to tap at all.
    That's another annoying thing about the Trak CNC. Switching from 2D mode to 3D mode or vice versa clears the program and everything. This makes it much harder to mix manual and CNC machining.

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    Quote Originally Posted by otrlt View Post
    That's what I'm talking about Mud, cnc is butt slow when it comes to producing one/off parts. Sometimes you need to get into "BridgePort mode" to get the job done in a efficient manner.

    I get your point, but the prototrak would be a whole lot more useful to us if we could tap in it. If we want to do something in 3D mode (having Z axis control), then want to tap a few holes we just drilled without taking it off and to anoher machine, we have to reboot the control into 2d mode so we can use the quill. Otherwise the contrrol faults out as soon as you move the quill by hand. This requires refinding x&Y zero, Z zero, etc.
    Sucks as a second op machine for the same reason.
    Too often it gets used like a mill with a readout.
    When I have a single part to do, I usually stay on my Wells Index rather than fart with the Prototrak. Or else do it on my 50 taper Deckel. One of my guys really like the Prototrak, and even he gets frustrated with it

    So, are the newer controls better?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mud View Post
    I get your point, but the prototrak would be a whole lot more useful to us if we could tap in it. If we want to do something in 3D mode (having Z axis control), then want to tap a few holes we just drilled without taking it off and to anoher machine, we have to reboot the control into 2d mode so we can use the quill. Otherwise the contrrol faults out as soon as you move the quill by hand. This requires refinding x&Y zero, Z zero, etc.
    Sucks as a second op machine for the same reason.
    Too often it gets used like a mill with a readout.
    When I have a single part to do, I usually stay on my Wells Index rather than fart with the Prototrak. One of my guys really like the Prototrak, and even he gets frustrated with it

    So, are the newer controls better?
    Mine doesn't have a quill, so I can't say if it faults out when you move the quill.

    If I'm in 3D mode, I can run a program, then switch to DRO mode and move things around with the handwheel. Obviously I can't do this during the program. Switching to 2D mode clears the program, but doesn't affect the coordinate system, no need to rezero.

    Another one to look at for one-offs is Hurco, they're building toolroom mills again. Excellent conversational programming, much easier than the prototrak from everything I hear. The Prototrak conversational programming can be painfully slow and annoying.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanielG View Post
    Ditto



    Which model do you have? We have the FHM7, the biggest bed mill, and I haven't noticed the servos being undersized. I've triggered the alarm on Z but that was overfeeding a big drill that caught.
    We have two DPM5s. You can push the head around with the quill when drilling pretty easy.

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    I spent a couple years on a DPM5, with SMX3 control.

    I didn't have any problem with the 2/3 axis changes. I don't know whether that was the different control, or some kind of option. Mine had encoders on the head and the quill. It didn't care if or when you moved the quill, it just added the two together. Z accuracy wasn't very good, though. +-.002, or so, if you moved the quill. It helped a lot to jam the quill hard against the top stop for milling, and leave it alone. I usually just ran it as a standard 3 axis, then made a second program for tapping, or any drilling I wanted to do by hand. That would keep Z at about +-.001, for the milling part.

    I never found a way to get it to run a G83 cycle. It would always rapid to the bottom of the hole, then peck it's way back up. I turned off canned cycles in Mastercam, and it worked fine.

    Yes, the servos were underpowered. You could easily move the head by pecking with the quill. It did keep track of the move though, to the accuracy stated above. X and Y motors were pretty weak, too. Certainly not enough to let you use the full HP of the spindle. I tried trochoidal milling once. Don't bother. It wasn't even close to keeping up with the direction changes.

    The accuracy was better than I would have expected, as long as I ran it SLOW. 25IPM was pushing it, if you wanted truly square corners. More like 10, for good circles. I had the digital handwheels, which gives you incredible control over the feed rate. They also let you go back and forth through a program. For tight features, I'd go slowly through once, then back, then through again. That would get circles round within .0003-.0004 per inch.

    The iron was solid, except for the rotating head. I had to swing it down to horizontal about every 6 months, for a 12' long part, with pockets in the ends. The machine wasn't happy with that. On about the fifth time I tried to swing it back up, it locked solid. It turns out there's no load bearing surface in there. The weight of the head is only held by the ring gear it rotates around. We had to force it back up with a forklift, and lock it vertical. We ended up having to refuse those parts in the future.

    The most annoying problem was the spindle. It wouldn't go straight from forward to backward. I broke dozens of taps because of that. I had to shut off the spindle, let the momentum carry the tap to depth, then hit the brake. If it didn't come to a full stop before I reversed it, it would just continue on in the same direction. I never could figure out why. It ran like a 3 phase motor, running off a static converter. But I wired it up myself. It was on genuine 3 phase. Hopefully I just had a weird one, and it wasn't a standard problem.

    All told, I'd say the layout of that machine was close to perfect for one-off work. But the control was barely acceptable. I haven't used either, but I'm sure the Fryer would be a step up, and the Hurco is probably even better.

    If you do go with the Trak, definitely get the digital handwheels if you want a CNC that can do some manual work. If you want a manual mill that can do some CNC, stick with the regular handles. The digital wheels have a lot of benefits, but you completely lose any feel of the cut.

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    I'd like to thank all of you that have responded. Unfortunately, some of your comments perhaps has made my decision more difficult. Fryer mills may need to be considered.

    thank you


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