What CNC machine should I get?
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    Default What CNC machine should I get?

    Hi guys,

    I am a mechanical engineering intern whose just stepping into CNC. My task is to get find a CNC machine for my company to start using. I was looking into a Haas VF2SS, VF-2 or a Super mini mill 2. I was wondering do you guys recommend any 3 axis machines within a 50k-55k limit. Our main concern is that is has to be user friendly and support must be good. I like these 2 Haas machines cause I see a lot of industry professionals using it, and I really like the Haas videos that show how to use it.The machine must also have ability to do mist coolant and have an auger.

    Thank you

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    Tormach all the way...

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    Default What CNC machine should I get?

    Any of the Haas machines you mentioned would be a good starting point. I generally buy the smallest/ least expensive machine that will fit the part; and then buy multiple machines. Others buy larger machines and fixture multiple parts. Haas service and training is second to none, and virtually world wide. There are better, faster and more rigid machines out there, but Haas hits a pretty good compromise of price, ease of use, machining capability and durability. Iíve bought about thirty of them (including a half a dozen with my own pesos) and have not had many issues.

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    Quote Originally Posted by keethan View Post
    Hi guys,

    I am a mechanical engineering intern whose just stepping into CNC. My task is to get find a CNC machine for my company to start using. I was looking into a Haas VF2SS, VF-2 or a Super mini mill 2. I was wondering do you guys recommend any 3 axis machines within a 50k-55k limit. Our main concern is that is has to be user friendly and support must be good. I like these 2 Haas machines cause I see a lot of industry professionals using it, and I really like the Haas videos that show how to use it.The machine must also have ability to do mist coolant and have an auger.

    Thank you
    What do you plan on machining with it? Mostly aluminums, plastics? Large or small parts? Will the users be new to machining/cam?
    A prototrack bed mill may be a good fit for you. It offers a lot of advantages over a center. You have a lot of access to the parts. It also allows the capability to use manually. like tapping/drilling, using the handwheels. One of the best things is that it can still do the 3 axis programs as the machining centers but you can walk through the program manually with the tracking handwheels. You will never crash into anything this way. With a center you will have to trust fully that you programmed it correct, hit the button and cross your fingers.
    The downsides of the bed mill is that you wont have the spindle speed so it will take longer to make parts. You can get enclosures for the bed mill but it would mostlikley be a add on as opposed to the machining center. The bed mill also dosent have a automatic tool changer but with the air drawbar that goes fast. You will have to show up to make the tool changes though.
    I bought the prototrack dpm5 mill and it is awesome in terms of rigidity. The absolute best things are it is very simple to learn, Very fast to do some simple quick machining operations like drilling some holes or doing bolt hole patterns, quick pockets and profiles with the conversational control. My set up works better for me as I do a lot of on off stuff. I also like the manual aspect of it.
    But if you already have a cam department with some machinists that know how to set things up and get going and you want to use it in large production runs the center will be better for you.

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    Take a look at the Haas TM3 little bit bigger machine and will be more versatile for you.

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    Vf2ss are vary nice machines for the money ,, I own and run them everyday and well there are faster or more ridged machines made for the money there is nothing that comes close to them .. The new 30 tool capacity and next gen control are working good, they have got most of the bugs worked out of it at this point .

    As for mist coolant
    I had it on one VMC and found it just did not work good ,,, before buying my last vf2ss I turned off the P cool on one of my other mills to see if I really needed it and found out its not needed. just go with a good coolant and watch your mix ,, I have worked at and seen way to many shops that like to think coolant should look like soup.

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    This is a classic XY problem.

    What's the machine going to be used for?

    What's driving the mist coolant requirement?

    A base VF-2SS uses up your entire budget, is that a hard limit?

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    Avoid the Super Mini Mill. Good machine if you have electrical and space constraints, otherwise, spring for the VF2. You get much more machine for minimal increase in price.

    Mist coolant is fine if you're skimming some castings, or machining a 4th operation after the part has already been tumbled and anodized, for instance. Won't need an auger in that case. If you're removing a lot of material and need the auger, mist will be ineffective. These two requirements of yours are conflicting.

    It sounds like someone on your team has strong opinions without much experience.

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    Hi, thanks for the information.

    We just want to have these options so that it can be used in any instance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by keethan View Post
    Hi, thanks for the information.

    We just want to have these options so that it can be used in any instance.
    As an engineer, you need to go learn the definition of 'xy problem'.

    If someone who worked for or with me asked me a question this broad and then couldn't communicate more specifics I would put them on a PIP...

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    Are you guys also planning for the additional $25,000 in supporting equipment? That price is there regardless of which machine you choose.
    - shipping and rigging fees
    - good air compressor
    - air filtration
    - CAM software and someone to program
    - vises and workholding
    - toolholding
    - tools
    - measuring equipment
    - tables and cabinets
    - phase converter if you donít have 3-phase power

    You can do this stuff cost effectively but even a cheap setup to get a CNC running is going to be a serious expense. I think I had $15-18k spent in supporting equipment before my CNC came in the door, and more after that once I figured things out for my parts. If you want the whole slew of generic tooling on hand to handle most parts youíre going to spend more time and space as well. Make sure all of this stuff is in your calculations.

    Edit: with all that said, if a CNC makes you money or saves you time in product development, that monthly payment becomes really easy to pay. Buy a real machine. If this is prototype or light production itís hard to beat a VF-2 for most shops if itís right for your parts. If itís a full production machine the ĎSSí is worth it.

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