haas mini mill for small jewelry die work,
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  1. #1
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    Default haas mini mill for small jewelry die work,

    I finally moved into the modern age and have bought cnc machines. I am a tool and die shop that does jewelry dies. I have been hand carving them and pantographing them for over 25 years but have decided to buy a cnc mill that can machine them. I am looking at a new mini mill with a 10 thousand rpm spindle. Everything we do is tool steel I like o1 but can use anything. Do any of you guys use these for small intricate parts.

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    Disclaimer : I don't personally know what I'm talking about.

    But we had a request for a small small vmc to do teeny parts. Research came up with the Haas Office Mill. It was so good at the tiny parts job that they renamed it and jacked the price way up.

    Maybe if you are lucky you can find one that the seller thinks is just a novelty. I believe Haas gets something like 50k for them now, but maybe if you search around ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by kpotter View Post
    I finally moved into the modern age and have bought cnc machines. I am a tool and die shop that does jewelry dies. I have been hand carving them and pantographing them for over 25 years but have decided to buy a cnc mill that can machine them. I am looking at a new mini mill with a 10 thousand rpm spindle. Everything we do is tool steel I like o1 but can use anything. Do any of you guys use these for small intricate parts.
    I'll bet that the Mini Mill will work fine for you, it's likely more important that your programs and cutting strategy will determine how happy you are with the outcome of the dies.

    The 10K spindle may be a weak link in speed and stiffness, so "ramp up" in how much you load it. Watch heat grown when doing long duration, multiple cutter running, as thermal changes can mean features drift in the die. May be small enough for your work, some real precision processes it's a pain.

    Good toolholders, good cleaning when changing tools and keeping the spindle and toolholder tapers clean will help a lot for accuracy and longevity. Good coolant maintenance and a mist collector is important for operator health and comfort.

    What software package are you programming with?

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    I’ve had at least one of them since they came out. Good, solid little machines. Probably not the machine for hogging hard metal, but they serve a purpose.

    Get the high speed machining option, or it will stutter when your surfacing.

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    Being smaller does not make the machine any better at making smaller parts unless you bump up the spindle speed by a good amount.
    You said 10k, which is better then my 7500rpm. But in truth, my VF-2 has 8100rpm and still not close enough to being faster enough, 10k isn't much over that when dealing with small intricate tooling.

    My purpose was just to run a bunch of the smaller parts we make...seemed silly to have 20-30" of travel and be machining 1/2" square parts. The mini works perfect as smaller parts really don't need big hogging tools so its lacking power is not an issue.

    To answer your question, yes it makes small intricate parts...the relatively low RPM means program feeds are limited mostly by the spindle speed. So it runs a bit longer then say a brother...but it runs, makes good parts and takes less space and a little less coin then a VF.
    What is cannot do is run big parts or take hefty cuts...but I knew that going in, I have other machines for that...or I program easy and just let it run longer.

    Biggest pet peeve. IF you DROP something off the table...chances are its gone. You cannot get under the table. Casting comes out...enclosure all around and its deep. If magnetic you can pick with a telescopic magnet...otherwise a couple turns of the auger and hop the part doesn't get crushed in it. Been there, done that and got the lousy shirt. Also the door being off center is a pain trying to setup in certain place.

    Overall good machine, very happy wit it.

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    I've done some similar work on a VF-3SS with a 15KRPM spindle. Worked out well.

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    Last customer shop i was in was going from pantograph to 5axis cnc.
    20k rpm and 48Hp should out-do the mini-mill for you, Sir

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    Quote Originally Posted by mkd View Post
    Last customer shop i was in was going from pantograph to 5axis cnc.
    20k rpm and 48Hp should out-do the mini-mill for you, Sir
    So I could gear up my lawn tractor, mount it on a gimbal, and really up my game? Sweet!

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    you'll want as much spindle as possible to keep the SFM up on those little tools. Maybe a speeder would help?

    40 taper mini mills will limit your spindle speed choices. The 20 taper compact mill has a 50K option

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    I was worried that 10 thousand would be a bit slow for the small stuff we are doing. I dont have the money to buy a faster spindle so I will look at a speeder. Thanks for the input guys

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    Quote Originally Posted by kpotter View Post
    I was worried that 10 thousand would be a bit slow ...
    I think the Ofice Mills run 30. Champion in SC ? had an oddball with a Fidia control that did 30,000 also. You probably don't want an oddball though ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by kpotter View Post
    I was worried that 10 thousand would be a bit slow for the small stuff we are doing. I dont have the money to buy a faster spindle so I will look at a speeder. Thanks for the input guys
    Speeders cost you stiffness and accuracy, if you really think you'll need one then maybe look at a dedicated unit mounted to the right side of the head with a permanent offset and CBN ball mill just for small detail finishing.

    And G00 Proto's comment on the High Speed option for G-code throughput is a important consideration, but if you do stick with the 10K spindle then you'll be running slower finish passes anyway.

    You trade money for speed, have to figure out how fast your wallet can go...

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    We have a mini mil that has been great for the right kind of work. We have other more rigid VMCs as well. We use a spindle speeder and it is again OK for the right application. We use it for .005 - .010 diameter end mills in graphite mainly. The air turbine is noisy and consumes a LOT of air. Not sure it would have enough torque to do any serious milling. Check with the manufacturers applications before deciding on a speeder

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    You will need high speed machining.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kpotter View Post
    I was worried that 10 thousand would be a bit slow for the small stuff we are doing. I dont have the money to buy a faster spindle so I will look at a speeder. Thanks for the input guys


    I am one of the guys who said the 15k might be a bit slow...That is a true honest answer.


    BUT, but if I understood you correctly your not in any huge rush to make these parts...just need them made correctly and on your schedule...The mini mill will make you some very fine parts at the end of the day. What it will not do is make them as quick as some other machines capable of much higher RPM.
    BUT Its a CNC...you can set machine, proof out program and let machine run unattended. If you come back to a finished part in one hour or three...does it make a big difference?

    An up side to slower RPM is the initial cost. A higher RPM machine tends to be less happy after an "oops" (they happen) and usually cost more to fix...after said "oops". The Haas is super user friendly and they have great tech support for both repairs and programming questions.

    Its the same thing when looking at Haas for roughing...they just don't have the power and rigidity of better machine. But if run taking a little less material off, take it off a bit slower the part comes out perfectly fine, machine holds up perfectly fine...its just takes a little longer. But so what if my quantities are fairly low...money is in the product.

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    These guys have a lot of Haas equipment and specialize in micro-machining. Maybe of interest- Machining Equipment | MICRO PRECISION PARTS MANUFACTURING LTD.

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    Just to add...we run superalloy castings on 4 mini mills, most are almost 10 years old. So they do last...I wouldn't want to run my stuff on them though lol, they are a bit worn, i bet a ball bar would look like a constellation map.

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    Yeah as SIM said I think running unattended here is a key thing... If you think you're going to be standing near the machine waiting for parts then get as much spindle as you can! If you can wait until the next morning then running unattended is an absolute dream! Setup the program, setup your stock and leave for the night, come back to finished parts. Doesn't matter if the machine is a little slow, between 5pm and 9am it has 16 hours to work for you!

    I do this a lot with my parts. You need to be confident in your programming and tooling though which will be a hurdle for you initially as you're just starting with CNC. If you're fine with babysitting the machine while you learn then I would say just work toward running unattended!

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    I think we need to keep in mind he has been manually making his dies by hand carving and using a pantograph.

    CNC even a slow standard 7500rpm machine is going to give night and day improvements in time and quality. 10k even better.

    I think we might be tossing our worst scenario jobs on his machine and thinking wow, its gonna take forever.

    aarongough just mentioned 16 hours of unattended running... true that could be done...but jewelry dies...might only be a few minutes of roughing and some detail work. Unattended also works very well during the day till confidence builds up...with a good CAM program that does not take long.
    My only issues always seem to be new tool calls and offsets. I try to be there when they start...if it starts right it's good till the end unless a tool gets dull or breaks.

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