WTB 2005-ish or Newer CNC Lathe
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  1. #1
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    Default WTB 2005-ish or Newer CNC Lathe

    Hi all. Long time lurker, first time posting. I'm looking to buy a CNC lathe in the near future, and am wondering what all is out there. I've mostly been looking at Doosans, YMCs, Ganesh, and Haas TL series. Open to other options. What I'm looking for:

    2005~ish vintage or newer
    3" + spindle bore
    preferably a 10 or 12 tool turret
    Fanuc, Haas, or Mazatrol Control
    ~$15-$25K range

    I've inquired about some new machines, but just don't think it's in the cards for me at the moment. I'd rather buy something used I can purchase outright. I'm finding it's rather difficult to get a well rounded idea of a machine's true condition, and am largely looking for some advice on what's realistic and what's not in my price range. I've talked to a bunch of used machine owners/salespeople, and I'm quite leary of the used-car-salesman types.

    A little about me and my work. I have a small 1 man shop. I have a 6 year old haas vf with a 4th axis. 90% of my current work is on it. I also have an old bridgeport, a grossly undersized/under-quality manual lathe, and an assortment of the usual other stuff (bandsaws, welders, drillpresses and whathaveyou). Most of the last few years I've had a pretty good little niche with small runs of aircraft parts. I am in a fairly small town, with a few other shops, but no other CNC shops. There is a large marine industry here, so lots of shafts, rollers, pins, etc for boats, and lots of stainless. Most of my work is CAD/Design, and then prototypes / small runs / 1 offs. Mostly, I'm looking to diversify my work a bit, and to not be too beholden to a single industry. I'm not looking for a machine to run 100 hours a week. I want a rigid, reliable, not-completely-clapped-out workhorse for probably 20-40 hours a week of dependable use.

    I'd love to hear all your suggestions, input, and available machines for sale. Thanks in advance!

    -Bernie

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    Just curious, why 2005 and newer?

    I have lathes from 1985 to 2008 and the untrained eye can't really tell the difference when you swap an LCD screen into an older one.

    Newer machines have faster rapids (who gives a shit on a lathe). Newer machines are often direct drive instead of multi-speed headstocks. Direct drive is kinda cool until you realize how much extra juice that takes to accomplish.

    I wouldn't have a Haas lathe on my shopping list.

    If I was planning to run one, by myself, for 40+ hours a week I would put CHIP CONVEYOR as a top priority on my wish list.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Garwood View Post
    Just curious, why 2005 and newer?

    I have lathes from 1985 to 2008 and the untrained eye can't really tell the difference when you swap an LCD screen into an older one.

    Newer machines have faster rapids (who gives a shit on a lathe). Newer machines are often direct drive instead of multi-speed headstocks. Direct drive is kinda cool until you realize how much extra juice that takes to accomplish.

    I wouldn't have a Haas lathe on my shopping list.

    If I was planning to run one, by myself, for 40+ hours a week I would put CHIP CONVEYOR as a top priority on my wish list.
    Hi Garwood. All great points.

    I'm not necessarily hellbent on 2005 or newer, especially if I could track down an older machine in verifyably good condition. It seems like 20 years is a pretty solid life for machines that see a lot of use, so generally speaking, 2005ish seems like a good target age to shoot for. Not knowing all that much about the hardware behind the controls, I'd also assume at somepoint you start getting limited by processors and memory. I guess largely it comes down to an assumption that the older the machine is, the more likely it is to be 'used up'. I'm sure there are lots of outliers to this, and I'm certainly open to older machines.

    Agreed on rapids, who cares if they are a little slower.

    Also, agreed on Haas, generally. The TL-3's look somewhat enticing because of spindle bore, ability to use manually or cnc, optional turret(though I've heard more bad than good about them), and pricepoint. I also am most familiar with the Haas control, so I think the learning curve would be quickest. All that said, it's the lowest on the list of machines I've been considering.

    Chip conveyor. Great point. That was supposed to be on this list, but I forgot to add it, largely because it seems like most machines have them. Definitely a must.

    Thanks for the input! It's exactly the type of feedback I was hoping to get.

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    Why the 3" spindle bore requirement? That is going to put you in a much higher price-range for used.

    The 8"/10" chuck Mazak QT15/QT20 has a 2" through-draw tube bore, and is probably the most popular CNC lathe ever made. Mazak started making the QT15 in 1987 (T2 control), and finished the run in 2000 with the QT20 (T-Plus control).

    You can find a nice condition QT15/20 in the $10k-$20k range easy. These machines don't eat up as much floor space as larger machines, and support and parts are available.

    For a job shop, Mazatrol lathes are hard to beat. With experience, you can program even a complex 2-axis lathe part as fast as you can hit the keys at the control. And edits are stupid simple and blazing fast.

    ToolCat Greg

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    I don't have one, but a local shop has a small Haas with a 3" through bore, I liked the small size and big bore.

    There are two TL-3 on Ebay now in your price range, 2007 and 2008, 3.5" bore, nowhere near Alaska.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cnctoolcat View Post
    Why the 3" spindle bore requirement? That is going to put you in a much higher price-range for used.

    The 8"/10" chuck Mazak QT15/QT20 has a 2" through-draw tube bore, and is probably the most popular CNC lathe ever made. Mazak started making the QT15 in 1987 (T2 control), and finished the run in 2000 with the QT20 (T-Plus control).

    You can find a nice condition QT15/20 in the $10k-$20k range easy. These machines don't eat up as much floor space as larger machines, and support and parts are available.

    For a job shop, Mazatrol lathes are hard to beat. With experience, you can program even a complex 2-axis lathe part as fast as you can hit the keys at the control. And edits are stupid simple and blazing fast.

    ToolCat Greg

    Thanks for the input Greg. I hadn't looked at Qt20s at all, but after a short bit of searching, they look mighty enticing. It seems some of them have A2-8 Spindle Nose, and thus a 3" spindle bore. Realistically, 2.5" or 2.75" bore would work too. Most of the ones I've seen do look like they've seen a lot of use, but maybe that's ok and to be expected from a 20-25 year old machine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BernieB View Post
    Thanks for the input Greg. I hadn't looked at Qt20s at all, but after a short bit of searching, they look mighty enticing. It seems some of them have A2-8 Spindle Nose, and thus a 3" spindle bore. Realistically, 2.5" or 2.75" bore would work too. Most of the ones I've seen do look like they've seen a lot of use, but maybe that's ok and to be expected from a 20-25 year old machine.
    I know everyone's different, but I have had the best success buying machines that ran multi shift production for mega companies that had decent maintenance. I've got a couple machines coming up on 40 that ran production and still are quite viable.

    I've bought a couple that were run into the ground and packed solid with chips and disgust. I don't think I'll do that ever again, but still got good machines with a bit of work.

    I have 3 CNC lathes. They have 2.25", 2.625" and 4.625" holes through their drawtubes. 2.5" is the biggest bar I run through the spindle on any of them. Bigger than that and I feel pulling that size bar isn't such a good option.

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    Default WTB 2005-ish or Newer CNC Lathe

    Yes, some of the 80’s/90’s Mazak QT15/20’s are the “big bore” models.

    These have the A2-8 spindle, and can swallow a 2-3/4” bar through the draw tube.

    The big bore versions were known as the QT15BB, QT18, and QT20HP.

    ToolCat


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