Mabe a Be-all Mill - Deckel FP4NC
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  1. #1
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    Default Mabe a Be-all Mill - Deckel FP4NC

    Hello all,

    This a follow on to my Be-all-end-all mill post.

    It looks like the best candidate (thanks to Ross) is
    a Deckel either a fp3nc or fp4nc.

    I've, so far, seen three different controllers used,
    Deckel Dialog, Dynapath System 30, and a Siemens 3M.

    What kind of support can I expect to get with the Dialog
    or the Siemens controllers? I know I will get not support
    from Dynapath.

    How much documentation is available for these machines,
    and at what level? Can you get board level schematics?

    Is there enough documentation to do a retrofit if required.

    I've heard, on this forum, that it's a very hard job - why?

    How well do these machines fare is the wear department?

    Am I going to have to rebuild these machines given normal
    usage?

    What are there strengths and weaknesses?

    Anything to stay away from - certain years,...etc.?

    I assume the spindle is an ISO 40, can you use NMTB 40
    tools by changing the drawbar to an NMTB 40 thread?

    Where can you buy one of these machines?

    Thanks for any input and suggestions you can provide,

    Paul Hoffman

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    The Dialog control is probably the best of the three offered. You won't get support except on PM, and I can't think of anyone on PM who has any of the old controllers except Dialog. The Dialog control has the advantage of having the parameters on the EPROMS, so not much worry if the memory batteries die. The Dialog 4 control is actually pretty amazing in the user interface department, especially considering it is going past 30 years old. The main drawback is slow processor speed, which leads to jerky motion when executing complicated G-code, especially if it comes from a CAM system. I have done some intricate finger-CAM to get smooth motion, but it is very time-consuming to code, debug, and edit. The electronics are pretty robust and fixable. The "Orange Books" have full circuit diagrams, which helps with repairs.

    There have been few successful retrofits due to the large amount of logic involved with gear shifting, plus lots of other complications with two-speed heads, two hydraulic drawbars, push-in/pull-out handwheels on all three axes, the lube pump, yadda, yadda. AlfaGTA has a machine retrofitted with a Heidenhain control.

    Wear-wise, the Achilles heel is the left inside surface of the Z way on the column. The lube system design was flawed and starved this area, which led to galling. My D4 FP2NC has it, and Ross' FP4NC had it. I am aware that it is a common issue with these machines. The other wear issue that is hard to fix is gearing. As the gears wear, the involute geometry goes awry, and the gearing gets noisy. The gears still transmit power just fine, but earmuffs are required, unless you want to go deaf. On my FP2NC, one particular speed range is noisier than the others, and really obnoxious at 6300 RPM. My Aciera F5 is also pretty noisy at high speeds, due to worn gears. There is really no cost-effective fix.

    All of the FPxNC machines have horizontal spindles with needle bearings having races integral with the spindle and quill housing. Older models have a very similar bearing arrangement in the vertical head. On the other hand, the "flip-head" (two-speed max 6300-RPM) vertical spindles have "normal" angular contact bearings. If anything happens to the needle bearing races, it could be a death sentence for the machine, since the races are not replaceable.

    The spindles take CAT40 tooling, not NMTB 40, although I have cut DIN 2080 Ott(?) grooves in the necks of NMTB tooling so it will work with the FP2NC drawbar grippers. The drawbar setup is similar to that on most VMCs, relying on gripper fingers to hold a retention knob on the tooling, and relying on stacked Belleville washers to retain the tooling in the spindles passively. The tool release is hydraulic. There are two drawbars, one each for the vertical and horizontal spindles.

    Where to buy? I don't know. They show up at machinery dealers, at auctions, word of mouth, and are plenty available in Germany, for lots of dollars. I got lucky and pounced on my FP2NC when it showed up for sale cheap on PM just over 11 years ago (time flies!). A mold shop was surplusing it, and thought it was more broken than it was. The monitor took 20 minutes to warm up and stabilize, and the switch PCB under the operators' console was intermittent with broken traces. I took a big risk and bought the machine without seeing it run, but the seller was an established company and the guy I was dealing with was very trustworthy. I got a replacement board from a member on PM, and have learned to live with the monitor. The monitor is perfectly fine once it warms up.

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    rklopp, why don't you just replace the CRT with a LCD? Do you know what
    format the monitor uses composit video, CGA, EGA, VGA,....etc.? It's not to
    hard to do a retrofit for the CRT - I just did for my sinker EDM.

    Does anyone have the ladder diagram for the Deckel PLC? The ladder diagram
    will tell you what needs to be done for a retrofit.

    What about the dialog 11?

    Did the oil starvation require a rebuild to hold good tolerance or
    did you just live with it? What year is your machine and what kind
    of tolerance does it hold.

    Regards,

    Paul

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    Quote Originally Posted by toolnuts View Post
    rklopp, why don't you just replace the CRT with a LCD? Do you know what
    format the monitor uses composit video, CGA, EGA, VGA,....etc.? It's not to
    hard to do a retrofit for the CRT - I just did for my sinker EDM.

    Does anyone have the ladder diagram for the Deckel PLC? The ladder diagram
    will tell you what needs to be done for a retrofit.

    What about the dialog 11?

    Did the oil starvation require a rebuild to hold good tolerance or
    did you just live with it? What year is your machine and what kind
    of tolerance does it hold.

    Regards,

    Paul
    Paul
    Replacing parts on my machine is a matter of bang for the buck. It works as-is, and I have a more-than-full-time job as it is, so the more time I spend putting lipstick on a worn-out machine, the less time I have to machine parts. I am aware that LCDs are available. There are so many other things going on with the machine, that I think spending money on a CRT would be a waste. If the monitor was unusable, I would of course replace it. The machine has the Z galling issue, worn gears, could use new scale seals, and the Z ballscrew may need attention. My Acieras are in better shape, but are manual machines.

    As far as I know, the ladder logic, if there is such a thing, is not public. Ask Milacron about Dialog 11. I am pretty sure he says to avoid it, because of lack of support and lack of documentation compared to Dialog 2-4. He has an archived thread with a long saga of D11 electronics repair.

    My machine holds pretty good tolerances for a 30-year-old mill. If I profile a circle, it comes out round to less than 0.001 out-of-round, and there are only the tiniest bumps at the N-S-E-W axis reversal points. The table tram is out around 0.002" in a 1-foot circle, low in front. If I had a tilting table, that would disappear, of course, but I do not.

    RKlopp

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    There are a handful of 3M control users here. I've also seen FPNCs with Hurco controls, and one with a Fanuc. Dialog 3 and 4 are by far the most common, and have the most information available. The Dialog machines are the only ones with manual handwheels AFAIK. The 3M was a $13K option in '84, it's my understanding it was offered to be a better control for diemaking style programming. Don Sentner at Sentner Machine Tools is The Source for support on any of these, and he does the Heidenhain retrofits. He posts here as Deckel Doctor, and has used machines available. There are also folks here on PM who do board level repairs on Dialog and offer parts and etc. A couple days of reading in the Deckel forum will answer many many questions including some you probably haven't thought of yet.


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