What are people using? Swiss lathes.
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  1. #1
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    Default What are people using? Swiss lathes.

    I am in the research phase of bringing Swiss lathe capability into my workplace.

    It's not a common capability here in New Zealand, so I am a bit out of the loop regarding what machines people are using around the world.

    I would very much like to hear about what others are using and what their likes and dislikes are.

    I would be looking at using these machines for high quantity machining and also applying the capabilities to intricate low volume parts.

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    Since price goes up exponentially with size and they can cost from $60k to $600k, I think you need to list a target size range to get the detailed answers you are looking for.

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    Citizen or bust.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TeachMePlease View Post
    Citizen or bust.
    I thought you were Tsugami

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    I've had some experience several years ago with Citizen, Tsugami, and Star Swiss type machines. All were very capable and high quality. Of the three, Citizen was the one I liked best. That was primarily due to their tool setting/touch off routines. Made for faster setting up than the others.

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    My experience is with Citizen only, several different models, currently it's an A20. I do a lot of R & D stuff on it, and also (very) short-run production. Like, maybe 20 pieces range of short. And the cycle times are long; right now the part I'm doing is 86 minutes. WTF! you say? I get a complete long skinny turned part with 64 radial holes (.27mm dia) in 8 arrays and tiny RH and LH helical grooves, all with tight position and clocking allowances done in the one setup. The rig cost approx. US$ 160K.

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    I would find out what companies have a presence in NZ first.
    Or does no-body stock parts or service personel there?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Dualkit View Post
    Since price goes up exponentially with size and they can cost from $60k to $600k, I think you need to list a target size range to get the detailed answers you are looking for.

    Yes there will be I imagine a large range of pricing. For the type of work we do we would need a machine that can handle a range. At this time it looks like manufacturers make machines upto 42mm bar stock. I however want to review all of what's available to get the best idea of what will be best.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ox View Post
    I would find out what companies have a presence in NZ first.
    Or does no-body stock parts or service personel there?


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    I am Ox and I approve this h'yah post!
    I am looking into this. At this time I can only confirm DMG Mori. There is a company down here that does Swiss lathe work but I do not know what machines they use.

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    Quote Originally Posted by William Payne View Post
    I am looking into this. At this time I can only confirm DMG Mori. There is a company down here that does Swiss lathe work but I do not know what machines they use.

    Check their website.
    They may tell you what they have.




    On a nother note tho ... It doesn't sound like you are well versed on the subject in general, so I would like to know how or why you came to decide that "swiss" is what you need?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Ox View Post
    Check their website.
    They may tell you what they have.




    On a nother note tho ... It doesn't sound like you are well versed on the subject in general, so I would like to know how or why you came to decide that "swiss" is what you need?


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    I am Ox and I approve this h'yah post!
    It was very much a process of elimination. My work environment is seeing more and more production lathe work. This work involves multiple tool setups with both lathe and milling work involved. I feel that with the multiple tool requirements, turning and milling requirements and sometimes intricate shapes and designs that it is becoming silly to do manually on multiple machines.

    I looked at various options for example twin chuck cnc lathes that are able to mill, but I felt that there would be too much compromising as that time of machine would be more suited to larger work, we do get larger work but not at the same quantity volume.

    I am not versed in these machines but after looking at different machines the Swiss type was the only machine that could be setup to do production turning with multiple tooling and do the turning, milling, threading, drilling, off centre holes, odd ball shapes, knurling, and what ever else I've missed all in one cycle and spitting out the finished part at the end but without jumping between machines.

    I did feel a bit funny at the limit in bar sized but when I looked at the work that comes in quantities of hundreds or thousands, I noticed that the majority of it is under 50mm anyway.

    Plus I'm also interested in the potential work that could be available by having a machine of this type.

    Things we have been known to make are things like bushes, pins, custom bolts, little rollers. Little pulleys. Custom parts for machines, oddball stuff that I can't even think up a description for.

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    In (very) short - swiss machines are better for shorter parts under 42mm diameter but are more expensive than comparably-sized fixed headstock machines that are better suited for longer parts and parts over 42mm. OX is right there...who reps/services Citizen, Tsugami, Starr? They are all good machines but good service is a MUST, especially if this is your first machine. I have a Tsugami and am pretty happy with it but will at least look at Citizen and Starr for our next one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by William Payne View Post
    I did feel a bit funny at the limit in bar sized but when I looked at the work that comes in quantities of hundreds or thousands, I noticed that the majority of it is under 50mm anyway.

    Well, if you're not actually needing "swiss" capabilities, and you have app for a machine over 25, and especially over 32mm, then IM/HO you should at least be looking at the machine that you passed over.

    Swiss are relatively reasonable in price for 20, and even 25mm capabilities, but for what you would pay for a 32, and especially a 36mm swiss, you could buy a 51, or even a 65mm fixed head unit with the same ability.

    The swiss will pretty much demand that you run 12' bars, where the fixed head will allow you to go with a 4' mag feeder.

    I'd like to see the part that comes off of a 32mm swiss that demands "swiss" capabilities. Now THAT would be some real pinch turning ratt there!
    (There prolly is a handfull of jobs out there that doo make sense, but ..)


    From what I have seen, the people that buy the real big swiss are the folks that are well experienced in the smaller machines and are comfortable in how they work, and with the company in general. Even if they could get 1.5 to 2x more machine for the same money - they feel that they can "hit the ground running" with a familiar machine and control. IM/HO - for someone that is NOT already fully "swiss", then they are shooting themselves in the hoof by going that route.


    Just my /HO...
    (I have both)


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    Thanks for the input everyone this is the kind of info I want.

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    Those small little Swiss lathes with a bar feeder and all the goodies are expensive bastards!

    I'm betting you could buy two fully equipped fixed headstock lathes for the cost of one fully equipped Swiss.

    Definitely application specific investments they are.

    Now, used Swiss machines seem to be actually affordable for the typical small shop. But with no experience with one, boy what a dive into the deep end...

    ToolCat


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by William Payne View Post

    I am not versed in these machines...
    Don't take it the wrong way, but are you only manual turning at the moment?
    If yes, to go from that to a Swiss is like trying to jump a building, before you've ever used a ladder.

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    Quote Originally Posted by barbter View Post
    Don't take it the wrong way, but are you only manual turning at the moment?
    If yes, to go from that to a Swiss is like trying to jump a building, before you've ever used a ladder.
    We do both manual and cnc work currently.

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    I would say no to Star (I have ran and owned them for over 25 years) because this is your first dip into the CNC Swiss pond. The customer service is pathetic at best, they blame it on being a Japanese company operating in the USA (Sure that is BS). In a nutshell ordering a replacement part as simple as a ribbed belt entails this. First they will e-mail you what looks like a 1950's mimeographed parts diagram. Most of them have way too much stuff on one page and are pretty much illegible. They basically will not assist in ordering parts, once you make your selection, you must send them a P.O. then they send you a credit application you must fill out every time you order something even if using a credit card. Once all this trauma is finished you paid 10x for that off the shelf belt, and to boot you didn't save much time sourcing from Star. If you think you can call them and order by saying 'I need a guide bushing belt for a 2001 SE-16 Serial #XXXX" and give them a credit card number over the phone you are in for a rude awakening. If you call for parts or tech support you will likely get a hold of someone who would not know a Star Swiss machine from a toaster. The knowledgeable inside people are busy supporting the extremely incompetent outside service techs. I haven't seen one in action in over 20 years but I have friends who have. They figure they can hire any idiot who can call for help as a service tech. Rant off, I have heard the opposite about Citizen, but no personal experience.

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    Dual:

    Doo you think that this is nation (world?) wide, or maybe just regional issue?
    (for either party actually?)

    FWIW - I wonder about Tornos?
    I have one, but seldom have ever needed anything from them. (It came with LOTS of repair parts)



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    Hi William Payne
    The Tornos ST26 is the most versatile
    I have used under 1"cap. Its a Sliding or fixed heads in one machine.


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