Reliability: How old is too old for a CNC Lathe/Mill?
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  1. #1
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    Default Reliability: How old is too old for a CNC Lathe/Mill?

    I have a small shop with 2 cnc lathes and 2 cnc mills. Looking at another lathe, bigger than my two. They get expensive quick when you get larger than 15" chuck and 80" or longer. So that means Im looking at older ( cheaper ) machines. Really hate going older than 10yrs or so, but my price range is putting me around 2007 Puma 400LC range. I do have a 2004 Puma 300L and have had some control issues. Being small, a down machine is a major issue.


    Sooooo, where is the line when it comes to price/age/reliability in yalls opinion?

    Fanuc, probably Korean made machine. Cant afford Japanese....

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    Quality of build and condition are factors for me.

    I'm solidly in the camp where if it's got a good reputation, AC servos and condition is nice it's a much safer bet than a brand new machine from any builder.

    I know a few real big shops that still run the living piss out of Japanese machines from the mid 80's. I feel like the late 80's is a real sweet spot for most things out of Japan. I would bet money on a late 80's Fanuc control still running 100 years from now. Nothing made in the last 20 years will be.

    I have 3 CNC lathes. Two are late 80's and one is 2008. One of the late 80's machines has been repainted with an LCD upgrade. It looks newer than the 2008 machine.

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    I got a late 80's Miyano lathe. Still running to this day.
    Gonna part with it just cause we need macro's and better memory. Kinda hate to part with it.
    Unlike these new machines that take 5 minutes to load all its damn software this puppy starts up in 30 seconds. Still holds 2 tenths easily.

    If machine is a Fanuc I wouldn't worry to much about age cause you have good source of parts and support.

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    If you can fix your own stuff, anything you are familiar with is ok

    If you are growing, another machine had damn well earn more than a 2k a month lease payment.

    If it is just a machine for convenience to give swing on occasion, that is another matter

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    My pro machinist, mentor friend down the road has a Kitamura My-center One that is from the 80s and still runs beautifully for him. About 10 years ago, I helped him install a 1987 Mori-Seiki SL2. It was DOA until we fixed about 15 stuck relays. A year or so later one of the amplifiers failed and had to be redone for about $1,100. Since then, the machine has paid for itself 10 times over.

    His main product is an aluminum check valve body from 1-1/2" hex bar stock and it's a joy to watch that thing spit them out.

    Both machines are Japanese and still going 20+ years later.

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    I have an 87 Cinturn that runs every week, only repair it has ever needed was when a lightning strike on the RS232 took out the motherboard. 850 control.

    Also have a Cincinnati Talon 208 of about '95 or so that we run the piss out of, bar work, 8" dia slugs, you name it. It fried a servo amp about 10-12 years ago, 850SX control. And the CRT died.

    Conversely I had a pair of early 80s Cincinnati VMCs with 900 controls that became huge time sinks to keep running by the time they were 20 years old.

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    From a reliability standpoint, anything Fanuc I'd have no problem at all going back to late '90's. I have a 1997 Victor Vturn 36 with an O-TC and anything that has ever needed replaced on it has been no problem to get. Proprietary control MTB's like Haas, Mazak, Okuma, Hurco, 10 years MAX, and homework done about parts and support.

    From a usability standpoint, age would depend on things like having ethernet instead of rs232, having enough memory and processing speed for whatever I wanted to do with it etc. I would not buy another machine with an O-C for example, even though the one I have has never let me down. It's just too clunky.

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    Keep in mind 1980S machines have 40 year old electronics, the electronic parts dont last that long, so you will have a large number of board failers, and little help to repair them, try for something newer if you can...Phil

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    It's really just factors of (in order of priority): Parts and services availability (don't buy if it's not or soon won't be), the shape it is in (how much to get it going) and the reliability (in general of the brand/model). Lots of other sub factors like is it the right price, does it perform as well (or at least "well enough") as newer equipment, etc. Also, factor in your time and don't spend so much time evaluating and looking for used equipment that would be better spent on new/much newer equipment.

    The Dude

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    Quote Originally Posted by pgmrmike View Post
    I have a small shop with 2 cnc lathes and 2 cnc mills. Looking at another lathe, bigger than my two. They get expensive quick when you get larger than 15" chuck and 80" or longer. So that means Im looking at older ( cheaper ) machines. Really hate going older than 10yrs or so, but my price range is putting me around 2007 Puma 400LC range. I do have a 2004 Puma 300L and have had some control issues. Being small, a down machine is a major issue.


    Sooooo, where is the line when it comes to price/age/reliability in yalls opinion?

    Fanuc, probably Korean made machine. Cant afford Japanese....
    It's a lot like used cars. I've had very old cars that ran well, because the previous owner(s) took exceptional care of them. I've had brand new cars leave me stranded.

    One thing about Doosan(Daewoo) is they do stock parts for older machines. Controls are a different story, it's up to the control builder. One reason why I very much prefer Fanuc, is that they have parts going WAY back.

    In my shop, the newest machine is 1995. The others are 1983 (Okuma LB-15), 1985 (P&W/Hamai Tri-Mac), and 1986 (Mori Seiki SL3-H). All make money for me every day. The Okuma and Mori still have ample parts for both machine and control, the P&W has a Fanuc CNC so that leaves me good, and the mechanical parts are all available from a supply house, so no issue there. The two lathes were meticulously maintained - as i was the only one who ran them at my dad's shop. When dad's place went out, i took those two with me. The P&W came from a large shop that took good care of it. The other machine is a Johnford that was also well cared for.

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    If we're talking a machine where the MTB is still about and it's got a Fanuc control I'd go upto 20 years providing the price matches the condition, that leaves you 5 years on Fanuc 25 year 'guaranteed' parts support and given how many machines are still alive with much older controls I'd be confident of another 10 - 15 years of control life.

    I started off with a lathe with a 21i-T control and decided that any machines bought after that I'd want at least that generation control or newer, personal preference but I'd rather be getting newer controls rather than older, I'd go back to an 18-T if the machine was right and a great price though.

    I'd be more concerned about the mechanicals on an older machine, particually turret reliability, spares availability and any collet closers or chuck actuators, beyond those a lot of the parts seem to be generic bought in parts that aren't too difficult to find, at least that has been my experience.

    If we're not talking Fanuc the only machine I'd probably go past 10 years on is one with a Heidenhain control, they seem to be number 2 when it comes to long term spares support.

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    Too old?
    I'm late 60s senior citizen and am not to old for CNC lathe/mill. Close, but not yet.
    What is this thread about?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scruffy887 View Post
    Too old?
    I'm late 60s senior citizen and am not to old for CNC lathe/mill. Close, but not yet.
    What is this thread about?

    Well OK, but when did you git'cher first CNC?

    I am under the impression that you learned this trick as a much younger doggie?


    --------------------------------

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    Ox

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    When I was going to auctions regularly (2010-2018) quite a few buyers here (So Cal) were sending machines to Mexico. The only machines they were interested in had Fanuc controls, vintage didn't matter as long as it was Fanuc. They would avoid any other control like it had the plague. They were especially interested in Mori's, for the fact that they were solid machines, and still supported by Mori.

    They liked Fadals as well for the serviceability and parts availibility. There are a lot of Fadals in and around TJ making the owners a lot of money. I can get parts within an hour from Chatsworth for my Fadals, I assume shops in TJ could get parts same day or no later than next day. I have 1991 machines, I'm sure in TJ they range from late 80's to the 2000's. For a Fadal condition is much more important than age.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gregormarwick View Post
    From a reliability standpoint, anything Fanuc I'd have no problem at all going back to late '90's. I have a 1997 Victor Vturn 36 with an O-TC and anything that has ever needed replaced on it has been no problem to get. Proprietary control MTB's like Haas, Mazak, Okuma, Hurco, 10 years MAX, and homework done about parts and support..
    My 1989 Mazak QT-15 is making me money every day. It chews through spindle power supplies (about $100 to re-capacitor a used $400 part from ebay) every year, but that's literally it. I would take a 32 year old non-PC based control any day over any 10+ year old Windows PC control.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ox View Post
    Well OK, but when did you git'cher first CNC?

    I am under the impression that you learned this trick as a much younger doggie?


    --------------------------------

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    Ox
    Was buying PLC based woodworking stuff in 85. Not very smart stuff, very productive. First 3 axis was mid 90s. Num control. 12 hp 18k water cooled spindle with 6 tool mag, 26 live vertical drilling spindles (own motor), horz drilling spindles, X and Y grooving saw (own motor). Think Swiss Army Knife. All in same head. Bought new, made them take it back. Do not tell me Y axis is 42" and send me a 30" Y machine.
    Got to be able to use a voltmeter to sort that stuff out when new.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dualkit View Post
    I thought banned people got erased these days the moderating seems to be a joke.
    You're fate is up to a higher power at this time.
    (Not sure why tho)
    Otherwise it would have been taken care of yesterday.

    Keep posting your childish games, faster than I can take it down.
    HURRY!
    It shouldn't be too hard, I have [paying] work to doo.

    I have yet to understand why they want the very trouble on their site that they want to avoid here?
    If it's so good there, why doo y'all keep coming here?
    Wreck on the highway?




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    Think Snow Eh!
    Ox

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ox View Post
    You're fate is up to a higher power at this time.
    (Not sure why tho)
    Otherwise it would have been taken care of yesterday.

    Keep posting your childish games, faster than I can take it down.
    HURRY!
    It shouldn't be too hard, I have [paying] work to doo.

    I have yet to understand why they want the very trouble on their site that they want to avoid here?
    If it's so good there, why doo y'all keep coming here?
    Wreck on the highway?




    ---------------------

    Think Snow Eh!
    Ox
    You seem to have some serious reading comprehension issues these days. I complain about getting crapped on and then you crap on me, WTF? I suppose you are cool with all the 3rd grade name calling and the insults that fly around here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ox View Post
    I have yet to understand why they want the very trouble on their site that they want to avoid here?
    If it's so good there, why doo y'all keep coming here?
    Wreck on the highway?
    OX, I am one that signed up early on over on "the other site", so I guess I am one of the "they" that you are talking about.

    Tell me, please, why do you sound so aggrieved? I can't help but be somewhat offended by your tone.

    Why should joining them be exclusive such that we should forfeit our ability to participate here?

    You seem to be taking an "us vs them" stance based on nothing at all, beyond a loose cannon or two trying to stir up trouble.

    Why?

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    I guess I should have said it plain - Why on Earth would G-Coder want Dual on the very site that he developed to avoid the BS on this site - that Dual is always knee deep in?

    "Hey fox, see my new henhouse?"
    "Here's the keys."


    Then to have him come back here and bitch yet to boot?
    Good grief - you'd think that it was a bad version of the UPS website that you just have to deal with, when you doo NOT have to come here at all.
    So why come here if you don't like it so much?
    Just like skipping over other members posts is simply done.
    So is not logging onto a site that you apparently don't like.


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    Think Snow Eh!
    Ox

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