Robofil 310 still a good machine?
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    Default Robofil 310 still a good machine?

    I use to run a Robofil 400 machine and may have a chance to buy a Robofil 310.

    I'm not familiar with the 310 or how similar it would be in operation to a 400. Is the 310 a submerged cut machine or not?
    As far as workpiece size the 310 x-y is smaller, but work height is much more at around 15" as opposed to 8"

    Any comments on good/bad aspects of the 310? Is a 1995 machine getting too old to consider useful with respect to service parts?

    Thanks

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    Default 310

    Quote Originally Posted by D6c View Post
    I use to run a Robofil 400 machine and may have a chance to buy a Robofil 310.

    I'm not familiar with the 310 or how similar it would be in operation to a 400. Is the 310 a submerged cut machine or not?
    As far as workpiece size the 310 x-y is smaller, but work height is much more at around 15" as opposed to 8"

    Any comments on good/bad aspects of the 310? Is a 1995 machine getting too old to consider useful with respect to service parts?

    Thanks
    I have a Robofil 510F, which is a bigger version of the 310, and with the Fanuc control. I bought mine as a real deal, which turned out not to be as much a deal as I was hoping for. Are you familiar with wire edm? Is this your first wire edm rodeo? There is a lot of expense connected to wire edm, even if there is nothing broken, and if you buy tooling it's very expensive - even used. Make sure that you take a dial indicator to the table, my table had been over-loaded and the table supports were bent.

    The consumables are expensive, remember these are swiss machines so anything you buy from Charmilles is expensive. Also these are European machines and the power is usually not your standard 220/440V. Some machine were fitted with transformers and some had to be supplied by the purchaser. Charmilles support is usually quite good, but that age of machine is on the edge of not being supported any more. My Roboform, of the same era is no longer being supported.

    The 310 has an auto-threader, but it's just OK - not great. I have a friend who has the 310 and he never uses the auto-threader. This machine is a spray only machine - not submerged.

    You should ask about the machines maintenance - when were the wire guides, pinch rollers, power and ground cables, DI resin, and wire cutter blade changed. These two machines (310/510) used a powder clutch to control wire tension. Has this machine been sitting long or has the clutch been replaced. If the clutch sits in storage for a long time the powder tends to clump. I had to replace my clutch and Charmilles wants $3,500 for theirs (the OEM took $1,700).

    Does a water chiller come with the machine ($5K)?

    Does tooling come with the machine?

    Hope this helps,

    Paul

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    I've programmed and run a robofil 400 quite a bit but it was a few years ago.
    The 310 was used up until late 2014 when taken out of service.....comes with a chiller, one DI bottle, & extra filters.....don't know about when wire guides or other maintenance items were last changed or if any spares come with it. Don't think any work holding tools are included.
    Machine voltage is listed as 204/220/240/420/440/480/575 at 50/60Hz ....transformer included.

    The fact that it's 20 years old, and probably about at the end of support from Charmilles, is probably the biggest worry.
    I can probably be bought for around $10,000 (plus rigging & trucking)
    Not sure what it's worth....asking price for others I've seen advertised is quite a bit higher but that doesn't necessarily mean anything.

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    Default 310

    Quote Originally Posted by D6c View Post
    I've programmed and run a robofil 400 quite a bit but it was a few years ago.
    The 310 was used up until late 2014 when taken out of service.....comes with a chiller, one DI bottle, & extra filters.....don't know about when wire guides or other maintenance items were last changed or if any spares come with it. Don't think any work holding tools are included.
    Machine voltage is listed as 204/220/240/420/440/480/575 at 50/60Hz ....transformer included.

    The fact that it's 20 years old, and probably about at the end of support from Charmilles, is probably the biggest worry.
    I can probably be bought for around $10,000 (plus rigging & trucking)
    Not sure what it's worth....asking price for others I've seen advertised is quite a bit higher but that doesn't necessarily mean anything.
    If the tension clutch is still good you will need to run some conditioning software. What kind of work do you want to do with it, and what kind of work holding will you need. Do you have access to the machine so that you can check the table out with a dial indicator? I have spent months trying to get my table back to the original alignment. I made a lot of wrong turns so if you knew what to do it would go a lot quicker.

    I spent $10K for my 510F, and have about $13K in it now, not counting any labor. Who are you buying the machine from, local, Ebay, dealer?

    What is your total budget for the machine, consumables, tooling, and parts?

    You should investigate what the total cost of ownership will be. If your in it for the money for a business you might think about if you're cheeping yourself out of being competitive in the market place.

    I am a retired engineer, and I bought the machine for a hobby. I have the time to waste fixing the machine. If you are trying to make money you don't want to spend your time fixing. Wire EDM maybe the most expensive machine tool to own and operate, but because of the limited number of wire edm shops you might have a business advantage in you area. If your in Chicago, maybe not, if your in Grand Rapids you might be the only shop, but how much call for wire edm is there in Grand Rapids?

    Good Luck,

    Paul

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    The machine is coming out of a university...not sure if they bought it new or not, but I would expect it to be fairly low hour. Down side is students had a tendency to crash machines more often.

    The machine is about 250 miles from me and I don't think it's still under power so would be difficult to check the table.

    I have just a small shop that's not real serious (yet), but if I had a wire machine it would have to get more serious about finding work. Wire machines have to be used regularly or they go downhill fast.

    I may be going off the idea of getting the machine.....considering it because it's available as the moment. Have been looking for a VMC more seriously and is probably what I could put to better use.

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    Default 310

    Quote Originally Posted by D6c View Post
    The machine is coming out of a university...not sure if they bought it new or not, but I would expect it to be fairly low hour. Down side is students had a tendency to crash machines more often.

    The machine is about 250 miles from me and I don't think it's still under power so would be difficult to check the table.

    I have just a small shop that's not real serious (yet), but if I had a wire machine it would have to get more serious about finding work. Wire machines have to be used regularly or they go downhill fast.

    I may be going off the idea of getting the machine.....considering it because it's available as the moment. Have been looking for a VMC more seriously and is probably what I could put to better use.

    That's a good price for that machine. Was it in a U development shop, or in for students to use? In either case I would imagine it would have low hours. I wouldn't think they would have over load the table, although, in a developmental shop at a U they could get big parts to make for research projects. Ask them if it was actually operational when decommissioned. Ask them if they had a PM contract with Charmilles. It will take some digging on your part to find out all the particulars but it might be worth it.

    Having been a job shopper in a previous life, my advice would be to make sure you will have enough customers before you layout a bunch of money. Generally customers don't fall out of the sky, and it can be very hard just starting out unless you have an in somewhere or you start in a field where there is little or no competition, and a steady demand. If you are well known in your area (for doing good work), and have the contacts, that's another matter.

    Good luck,

    Paul

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    I'll see if I can get more detailed info about how it was used & maintained.

    I've mostly used a submerged cut machine....is there an advantage one way or the other?
    I'm not up to date on what's being produced these days....have they gone away from submerged cutting for the most part?

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    Default submerged

    Quote Originally Posted by D6c View Post
    I'll see if I can get more detailed info about how it was used & maintained.

    I've mostly used a submerged cut machine....is there an advantage one way or the other?
    I'm not up to date on what's being produced these days....have they gone away from submerged cutting for the most part?
    The submerged is always better at flushing than spray - you know what they say about any EDM process - flushing flushing flushing! On interrupted cuts you may get into flushing starvation with spray, but not with submerged.

    The bad part about submerged machines is all the extra seals you need to keep the DI water out of the works, where with spray that's not as much of a problem.

    I don't know, the old hands would know, but it is probably a problem for that vintage a machine to auto-thread into a full tank.

    A new machine will cut faster, have a smaller HAZ, and thread much better. If you plan on doing any critical carbide work you will want to get a machine that has an anti-electrolysis generator (they can run AC or DC voltages), as well they will have a much longer support life by the manufacturer. Having support readily available can't be over stressed. I would never have tackled my 510F without good support. The documentation just is not good enough to go it alone, especially with no electronic schematics.

    When you say $10K for the machine - you can easily pay that for tooling, not to mention all the consumables it might require. Diamond wire guides can get very pricy.

    Good luck,

    Paul

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    Quote Originally Posted by toolnuts View Post
    When you say $10K for the machine - you can easily pay that for tooling, not to mention all the consumables it might require. Diamond wire guides can get very pricy.
    That's what concerns me. Not sure if the machine would have had anything but the two rails as standard equipment.
    This machine does have a box work surface with window opening and mounting holes around the perimeter so it's not as if there is no workholding provision. Would be usable as is, but no quick change holders or vises for holding small blocks etc.

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    I have an RF290 I bought 2 years ago.
    The thought of loss of support terrifies me.
    It's been an invaluable tool for product development and in-house parts. I made my $20k back in saved time but I would not buy one so close to non-support for job shop customer work where you need it to run for a couple years trouble free.

    What sort of ROI #'s are you expecting? $10k / $??/hr clear?.... sure, but what do you really expect to clear/hr? $30? How many hrs to pay its self off, including rigging, training PITA.

    I think the 310 machine is rated similar to mine at 12 square inches / hr. I think you will have a hard time winning quotes at 100/hr. competing with machines with auto part alignment, faster cutting etc...

    Still, 10k is a cheap wedm for sure. Hard to imagine you could not pay for it in a year if you have any work for it.

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    I've pretty much decided to back away from the machine....too many unknowns and haven't been able to get anyone to answer a phone to get more info. (Typical of public organization...no incentive to provide info for buyer)

    Here's the link if anyone is interested. Only has a day left on the sale....
    Charmilles Robofil Model 310 Wire EDM with Water Chiller - GovDeals.com

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    We still have two 3R rail system from our old Robofil 310's. They're sitting on a shelf no being used so I'm sure our company would sell them. Let me know if you're interested.

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    I ran a 310 for years. I don't see what all the complaints and worries are about, but I have not run a 'modern' machine either... The 310 is not submerged. It does however have over 15" in Z. I burned some parts that were all the way at that range as well, pain in the ass and slow as f^*k, but I got the job done. We bought ours at auction, not sure the price, the machine year was a 1996 I believe. I think we put about 10k into it after buying it. Had a brand new lower head put on, new ground cables, brake, belts, a complete PM and then some. It had the older style generator (not sure what it is called anymore) so it was a bit slow, 12sq/hr would have been about max for that in good roughing conditions. Maintenance is very expensive on these machines when they break down, however, you typically (IMO) don't crash them like a mill or lathe. They move so slow even in hand jog "rapid" if the head hits something it might screw the alignment, but it won't break anything, or at least I haven't broke anything, other than gouging up a flush cup here and there. And when you do knock the head(S) out of alignment it is a simple command to realign them. I think when we priced our wire work, around 2006-2012 or so my boss figured it was about $15/hr to run with electric, wire use, and the DI bag, and chiller. Of course he did not figure in PM's LoL. If it was under power I would look at it for 10k.

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    I apologize if resurrecting an old thread is frowned upon, if so, let me know.

    I'm looking at potentially purchasing a used 1995 Charmilles Robofil 310 for approx $7k, and am trying to find a scanned PDF operators manual for it. It's a non-submerged machine, which I understand is less desirable than submerged, which makes sense, given that the pulsed arcing ideally occurs through the liquid dielectric, and the dielectric flow flushes away the 'swarf' particles.

    A whole host of questions come up regarding the purchase of a used WEDM machine, I've read through some of the forum threads here about that. It seems replacement parts can be quite spendy, and also troubleshooting can be difficult or borderline impossible as well. I should note that this EDM wouldn't be a production machine for my business, more of an introductory learning machine that I could potentially use to expand my capabilities if and when I learn how to use it. I have a few different part designs I'm considering that would require a wire EDM for tight internal geometry.

    I haven't used a WEDM before, do they take a manufacturer-specific flavor of G-code/M-code? What does code for tapers look like? I've perused a little on this forum, it seems that people are generating their code with CAM software such as ESPRIT. Can simple, non-taper code for parts such as internal splines be created with Fusion360?

    From what I've read, each manufacturer has their own control interface, which can take quite a bit of reading/learning/practicing to get familiar with.

    As you can see, I have very limited knowledge of EDM code programming and machine operation. If someone can point me in the right direction regarding possible resources as a starting point to learn, please feel free to share.

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    The stack of factory manuals are 3 inches thick so good luck with a pdf. Also, the manuals don't explain day to day operation worth a crap. You can buy the paper manuals and if you do buy the machine I have the training manual for you.

    The machine is no longer factory supported. No boards or computer parts from factory. They have been good with phone support but it's been over a year since I've needed any and it was getting pretty sketchy. If the old guys retire it's over.



    Sent from my E6810 using Tapatalk

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    Code is easy without taper. Just pretend you are milling the profile. Then the machine handles the wire offset internally when you tell it what direction your going. ccw or cw.

    Sent from my E6810 using Tapatalk

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    I decided against buying a used machine this old. One of the main reasons being cost of support and replacement components. Also, I would like a submerged machine.

    At this point, sometime down the road I'd like to get a used machine in the 10-year old range. Until then, continuing to learn.

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    Ate my words. Bought a used, non-working 1994 Charmilles Robofil 300 (non-auto-threading). Display electronics non-functioning. Goal is to work on this in spare time and retrofit a new custom control, which will be a project-and-a-half. Also a single-phase 240 VAC conversion for the spark-generator/power-supply. As a former electronics technician, I know I can do it, but I also know there is a *lot* of work involved.. Will post more photos as project progresses. (Should I start a separate thread?)

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    Maybe we can repair the machine
    What all is wrong with it

    Sent from my LM-X410PM using Tapatalk

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    We repair all charmilles 269 223 1620
    New and old ...very old

    Sent from my LM-X410PM using Tapatalk


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