Trak DPM 3 Axis Bed Mills - Page 2
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  1. #21
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    My experience is only with XYZ machine tools, the UK company that sells prototraks.
    Note that the iron is different in some cases to SWI...
    I bought new a SMX1500 2axis with a +/-Z quill. Bridgeport clone - superb little machine
    I could run it off mastercam with a modified post, where for Z moves, the control would pause and prompt "set Z-1" (or whatever), I'd press "GO" and the machine would continue to the retract position, and then pause, and the control would promt "clear Z".
    The only thing I had issues with, was programming in mastercam using G41/42 compensation. The start point on the part would be different (could cause a gouge) because when the comp applied, the prototrak control would also apply its comp move too - sorts doubling up.
    If i 'grammed with centreline (no comp) it was flawless.
    I'd also used a SMX5000 bedmill - 3axis with quill - that was great. Rigid and worked like a charm.
    The only complaint was the retard guarding - you couldn't get near the quill handle to use the quill manually, so everything was done in 3D mode.
    That said...you could modify the guarding to make the machine usable, if you don't have to deal with desk driving clipboard using health and safety department...
    On my own SMX1500, I removed the guarding, and made my own.

  2. #22
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    I worked on an SMX5000 for a while..it definatley has its place, great for one offs and small batch, I realy liked the control very easy to use and versatile...especially threadmilling!..fill in the blanks on one simple page, done! as mentioned above the front sliding doors are a pain...just get in the way most of the time...the rolling chip guard on the Z would sometimes get in the way if we had an overhanging part which we had to to off and then of course the coolant would piss through to the floor...which it does anyway! not a great set up for containing coolant..we ended up making a semi enclosure to the back and sides to help with this..ended up lookind like a vmc!....

  3. #23
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    Be very careful with your other choice.

  4. #24
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    I have an unfortunately overwhelming amount of experience with Prototrak in every machine except their "VMC". If you are used to real machines these will leave you rather sad. For the price point I would do research at every other toolroom type mill before making your choice. Hurco would be worth looking at.

    These would be great for a fab type shop or someone used to cranking handles. Very user friendly in set up and programming. But when it comes to making chips they leave a bit to be desired. we have 14 on our floor and 100+ company wide. They spend a lot of time down, though this may be our poor PM program and blacksmiths that got a machinist/toolmaker title. The largest gripe is the tool retention. We go through drawbars like they are a consumable option. If they hand a standard retention knob style they would be much better. The overall lack of accuracy is expected from this type of machine. I would never buy a new one at the cost. Any of the machines. I would buy a used one at a fair price if it was not to be my main money maker.

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  6. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by BSCustoms View Post
    I have an unfortunately overwhelming amount of experience with Prototrak in every machine except their "VMC". If you are used to real machines these will leave you rather sad. For the price point I would do research at every other toolroom type mill before making your choice. Hurco would be worth looking at.

    These would be great for a fab type shop or someone used to cranking handles. Very user friendly in set up and programming. But when it comes to making chips they leave a bit to be desired. we have 14 on our floor and 100+ company wide. They spend a lot of time down, though this may be our poor PM program and blacksmiths that got a machinist/toolmaker title. The largest gripe is the tool retention. We go through drawbars like they are a consumable option. If they hand a standard retention knob style they would be much better. The overall lack of accuracy is expected from this type of machine. I would never buy a new one at the cost. Any of the machines. I would buy a used one at a fair price if it was not to be my main money maker.
    I know of one company using the big bed mills (SMX4000/SMX5000) produing oil and gas work in monels, inconels and stainless. No probs.
    The drawbar issues you say is probably becuase of the air powere type? In which case they can get mullered on the quill machines when operators change tools without the quill being fully up.
    Good news is that a new drawbar is only 60bucks and takes 1/2hr to swap over yourself.
    You have to treat the machines for what they are - bridgeport type clone, so you can't use a VMC cutting strategy with them.
    But used correctly with the right work, they will earn you a ton of money.
    Lathe too because of all the auto cycles.

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  8. #26
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    To all of you that have replied; should I just go with a 2 axis version? My work is just tooling, Intend to use this mill for mainly flat work (fixture base plates).

  9. #27
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    no matter the machine you use. I would recommend to go for full 3 axis. This allows you to turn away for a short time to do other work, grab a cup of mud, potty break, etc.

    no doubt you can make money with these machines. You can make a living with a belt sander and a heat treat oven. I was simply giving my experience.

  10. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by otrlt View Post
    To all of you that have replied; should I just go with a 2 axis version? My work is just tooling, Intend to use this mill for mainly flat work (fixture base plates).
    It depends upon what you are doing.
    Yes I hear BSC saying go 3ax, but if it is a Bridgeport clone with the motor on the head driving the quill, I would stay 2axis.
    These types give you full flexibility, because the head rotates forward and also left/right - it is a much more flexible "toolroom" machine.
    And the 2ax control will let you do profile/pockets/bores etc (manually lever down quill or lock quill and wind the table up) and for drilling/tapping it is fast as you press "go" to rapid to the next hole and the machine locks the axis (servos) and you drill away with the quill like you would on your bridgeport.
    So for fixture/base plates, I'd prefer 2 axis but with the Z axis readout on the quill as well as the table - so yo can wind the table up and down and the quill and the Z is always tracked and known.
    Also, if this is your first machine like this, it gets you "into them".
    If you do alot of profiles, have the DXF option. So you can import the 2D geometry from CAD and in the control, just select your profile and what side you want to cut. Easy.
    I wouldn't bother about the tracking option on a 2D machine - because you can run through your program but with the quill up out of the way.

    For doing bottle molds and any 3ax scanned type tooling, I'd be going for a small bedmill. The whole head is then Z driven.
    But you need a CAM system to drive the toolpath, so need to have that capability too.
    For this I'd get the tracking.
    Lathe too.

  11. #29
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    The benefit to a 3ax machine is you can still swap back to 2 for those odd jobs. Yes it is much faster to run it as a Bridgeport that way. The DPM3 is a bed type with a tilting head. much more rigid though the KM models do have the benefit of swinging the column as well for doing long parts off the side of the table.

    I greatly wish Trak would let you use 2 and 3ax in the same program. That would be a treat.

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