Is a Deckel FP3A 1988 with Contour 3 worth getting?
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  1. #1
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    Default Is a Deckel FP3A 1988 with Contour 3 worth getting?

    Good day to all.

    I have a quick question and need some advice. I can potentiall get this Deckel FP3A with a Contour 3 controller. Machine looks really good and doesn't seem to have worked that much (but you never know!). Anyway, is this worth getting, and what is the pitfalls of this specific machine?

    Thanks for any feedback!!

    Louis.
    img_3090.jpgimg_3088.jpgimg_3084.jpgimg_3091.jpg

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    That looks like a really clean machine in good condition, still very capable for certain kinds of work.
    Should not be too difficult though it may require some time to get running.

    Depends a lot on what you want to do with it?

    The processor in the control is very slow by modern standards and the memory is small. The slow processor speed is an issue if you have large file sizes with complex programs for profiling and contouring.

    The software in the control is very user friendly and easy to learn.
    Mechanical and control parts are readily available in Germany.

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    Thanks for the info colt45. What is nice is that the machine is fully operational. Guy is gonna demo it to me tomorrow morning, so hopefully it will be running good!

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    See its contour 3 controller, does anyone know the differences between this and dialog?
    Is this basically the same as a dialog 4 controller?
    Can this do drip feed ?
    Seems like there are not as many Contour controllers as dialog out there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pax View Post
    See its contour 3 controller, does anyone know the differences between this and dialog?
    Is this basically the same as a dialog 4 controller?
    Can this do drip feed ?
    Seems like there are not as many Contour controllers as dialog out there.
    Contour 3 is the "low end" control of Deckel,a sort of marketing trick.It is basically same as Dialog 4 but with a few differences.It had for sure a smaller memory (128kb).Drip feeding was optional even in Dialog 4($$$ additional electronic board + s/w update).Contour 3 was mostly sold during Dialog 11 days, which was the main Deckel software at late 80's

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    So this morning the guy gave me a demo of the machine. I was surprised at how noisy the machine sounded when the spindle was running, noise emanating from the rear of he machine where the motor is mounted.It sounded like gears not meshing properly. The z-axis also sounded quite noisy. It scared me off a bit, but is my fears justified?

    Louis.

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    These are relatively complex machines for their time. Lots of gearing there....gearbox for the spindle drive that is shifted using logic and small motors to make the changes.
    Generally they are either in gear or not, shifting is supervised by cams and micro switches to tell the logic when it has engaged the selected gear combination.

    Vertical spindle has potential to be noisy using bevel gearing to redirect the drive to the vertical....

    Spindles also have their own set of concerns. There are no replaceable inner or outer bearing races on either the horizontal or vertical spindles...Needle rollers run directly on the ID of the quill and the OD. of the
    spindle....wear is accounted for with oversized rollers (gauged in microns)

    Vertical axis does a fair bit of work. Might need some work if the machine was run doing work that included peck drilling cycles....lots of mass to move up and down....Thrust bearing and screw could be potential
    areas that might need some attention.

    Deckel NC's also have a nasty habit of having trouble with gauling on the vertical ways....Run the table to full height (- Z) Then have a look at the inside face of the box ways on the non operators side viewed from underneath the
    vertical slide.....Any heavy scratches or grooves tell the tail of potential problems...Can be repaired but requires some skill and disassembly. Will run for a long time with this problem and still make good parts.

    The basic machines are quite robust. Things i have outlined above are mechanical and most can be addressed (if even needed) by someone with good mechanical skills .

    Would say that noisy gears could be repaired, but likely cost prohibitive!
    Spindles generally are good. Unless coolant or rain water has entered the spindles they can be brought to full function by overhaul. (disassembly, cleaning and assembled using the proper grease and adjustment.

    The biggest gremlin there is the control. Like ALL Deckel NC's the machine is dead if the control is not 100% functional....
    The electronics in general are robust and can be repaired (discrete components on the boards), and some exchange support is available form FPS or Singer in Germany at a price....


    The overall design is quite flexible and adaptable..Suitable for lots of differing tasks... Slow by modern comparisons in both max RPM, rapids or processing speed of the control.
    I own 4 FP-NC's and i wouldn't trade them for any current wiz bang modern "box" , but that is because for me the architecture is perfect for my work....That , i believe has got to be the first and overriding question that needs answering..

    Cheers Ross

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