I am looking to buy a CNC router for use with acrylic and have narrowed it down to to models, one from CR Onsrud and the other from Thermwood, that fit our company's needs best. I was just wondering if any one had anything to say (good or bad) about either company's machinery or tech/maintenance support. The big differences between the models I am looking at is that Thermwood's machine has seperate moving twin tables that can be combined to make one and a fixed bridge, where as CR Onsrud's machine has a single table with different vacuum zones and a moving bridge. Any comments would be greatly appreciated.
We have 2 Thermwoods. Our first one is a C40 with a 5x8 table and a 4th axis indexer. Our 2nd one is a C42 (Turbo) with twin 5x5 tables and twin spindles that have twin piggyback drills on each head and I installed a 4 tool ATC for each head also. If we didn't like our first one do you think we would have bought a bigger and faster one made by Thermwood also?
If you haven't been yet, go to Dale, Indiana and visit Thermwood. Bring some files with you for some real world demos. I'm sure you will be impressed with the quality of the machines as well as the Thermwood team of sales and Tech support people. Make sure you tell them everything that you want to do and anything you think you might want to do. Don't get the bare minimum. Get as much as you can afford and then some. Define what you want to do and ask them how many ways can it be done and what is the most efficient.
Make sure your software is one to grow with not outgrow in a few months.
I owned a Thermwood Cabinetshop 40, and I have to say it was a very good experience. Their support was fantastic, and I never had one bit of trouble with the machine in 4 years of daily use. My machine had a x axis moving table.
That said, I now work for a company that has an Onsrud Panel Pro with the Osai controller. I prefer the Onsrud.....but in all fairness, the Onsrud has many more features and cost roughly twice as much. ($180,000)
I do miss the automatic tool measurement on the Thermwood. I would also recommend the automatic lubing.
I'd buy another Thermwood......even though I don't care for their color scheme....lol.
Thanks for the feedback so far. We have been out to Dale to see the Thermwood 42 in action. We liked it and thought it was great for our needs, but then heard some bad things about Thermwood machines ability to hold tolerances and support form someone who cleaned Thermwood out of their facility. I investigated other machines and want to know what kind of experiences customers have had with the finalists before making my recommendation to the VP. You guys have been great! Great first experience on the forum!
My first 5-axis Thermwood was fifteen years old and purchased used after it had been completely worn out so I gained a lot of experience working on them. I think every part I needed was at my dock the next day and their phone techs spent as much time as I needed telling me how to install it or. It also had videos in the controller on how to replace parts and calibrate the ornery thing. I just can’t imagine anyone having issues with that kind of support.
When I shopped for a new router, I followed up on negative stories about the companies I was considering. Some of them were serious issues but the stories about Thermwood turned out to have nothing to do with who made the machine.
We bought a 5-axis 10’x20’ with a six foot Z and cut more than a few 30’ long mold patterns that were laser tracker verified at +/- .007. Years later we saw the tolerance slipping, turned out that the bearings were being lubricated on schedule, but no-one had removed them for recommended cleaning and inspection. With worn bearings replaced we hit tolerances again. Poor tolerance from any machine is usually maintenance related.
For the most part, routers are routers; steel assemblies with bearings and motors. Some use far better components than others but all are similar in that area. Support, instant parts availability, and controller features are the real differences I’ve seen between manufacturers. Features unique to the Thermwood controller seemed like no big deal when we first heard about them, but now we wonder how anyone gets along without them.
I work for a custom plastic fabrication shop and we use only Thermwood routers. We have 3 3axis machines (2 model 45's and 1 model 53) as well as 3 5axis machines (2 model 67's and a model C-75). I swear by these machines. I use mostly the model 45 (5' x 10' table, moving gantry) and model 53 (5' x 20' table, moving gantry) and I cut mainly plastics parts, and very rarly aluminum, and I have almost no complaints. My tolerances are within 0.005 consistantly and the finish is always good. I think 0.005 is pretty good for a 20' table! I'm especially happy with the edge finish of polycarbonate and acrylic. It's very clean with no tool marks. Of course, this has a lot to do with the cutter selection as well as feeds and speeds, but the machine runs smooth which is a big help. I love the auto tool measure feature, it’s a big change from the old way of doing it one at a time with a dial indicator. And just to make sure, I've checked the tools manually before and it's accurate within a couple thousandths. The pop-up locators are great too, it makes changing out parts very fast.
2 of our 5 axis routers have the twin tables that can be tied together and if you're producing any kind of quantity this is a big help. While one table is routing the other is being set up with the next part. There is almost no time between parts.
I have to say, in the world of routers, Thermwood rules! I've been to their facility in Dale, Indiana and its pretty impressive. Everything is done in house, which you don't see a lot of anymore! Their tech support is awesome. Any issue that I have had has been solved over the phone in a matter of minutes.
As far as the difference between Onsrud and Thermwood I can't really say. I've never used an Onsrud machine. I have used their cutters alot and they work great. I have noticed that Onsrud is a little more pricy.
I hope this helps you make a decision! And if you have any other questions I can probably answer them, I’ve used these machines a lot.
P.S. I’m in no way affiliated with Thermwood, I just use their machines!
I have to say that I have no real experience with either of these companys. But I can say that the Komo and Northwood machines that I work with are very good and reliable. Komo service is lacking unless you buy one of their service plans then??? What I can say is that the shop I work in will never buy another rack and pinion driven gantry machine ever again. I will not mention the manufaturer of our problem machines here unless asked.
I have had some poor experiences regarding C.R. Onsrud's service. At other times their service has been admirable. We run a 6 year old machine, which now seems to be one of their "old" models, but I was surprised to find out that I couldn't get a new interface cable (the one that runs from the NEE console to the machine) for over a month! We can barely afford to have our router down for a week, a month would be a disaster! Besides the lead time on the cable, the cost was mind boggling (900$). We tracked down a coil of the rare cable type and one day later plus a few hours with a soldering iron we were running again.
I wasn't impressed that our 5 year old machine was so "out of date" that a small and relatively cheap (in terms of materials, anyway) component would have shut us down for over a month. The Onsrud service representative told me that it would be wise to buy a 2nd cable, as it is bound to wear out again.
At 900$ a piece, I'll continue to replace them myself.
3 years ago our tool changer spindle motor began to malfunction. Onsrud sent us a new interface cable for the motor, and then a new motor, and finally a new controller. After replacing all 3 components one at a time to determine which it might be, it was still malfunctioning. On the 3rd day of this rigamarol, they had one of their technicians connect to the machine online. Within an hour he had tweaked the parameters that needed tweaking and we were back in business. I was grateful to have the machine working again, but disappointed that 2+ days production had been lost. The fix that was simplest (and cheaper for everyone) should have been performed first.
The machine's performance is very good, in my mind. I haven't used any other CNC Router's, so I can't offer a comparison. We operate a cabinet shop in the northwest and it has served all our needs well. The machine runs 20-30 hours in a 5 day work week. I would be surprised if any other production machine didn't perform similarly, however.
We've run our Onsrud machine for 5 years. We probably have experienced a total of about 2 weeks downtime. That seems pretty good.
The anecdotes posted above are just nitpicks. Other production router owners might have some "real" horror stories!
As I mentioned earlier......I work in a place that has an Onsrud Panel Pro. I'm the sole operator and programmer, and I play the service tech once in a while. I recently had the opportunity to replace the spindle inverter. The machine is 3 years old. The spindle refused to start, and they diagnosed it over the phone after having me do a few simple tests and report the information back to them. The over night shipped a new inverter and I replaced it myself in about 3 hours. I could have bought a different brand inverter for half the price (2100.00) and probably spent a few days ironing out all the bugs that a person who doesn't really know what he is doing creates. The owner opted to just get the Yaskawa from Onsrud.
They have always been very helpful to me over the phone, but they do have one tech who I'd rather not speak with.....he's not nearly as sharp as the others and usually has to ask someone else the questions that I pose to him. He also does this annoying thing where he is completely silent for minutes at a time while he's thinking about something. I always end up asking if he's still there. He's probably not a bad guy, but he is definitely lacking people skills.
Anyway......that's about the extent of my grumbles about Onsrud.
The Onsrud rack and pinion gantry has more backlash (.003-.004") than my ball screw Thermwood did. Not much of a concern on wood, but you'll notice it in aluminum.
We have a Thermwood router for a year now and it is a very worthwhile piece of machinery. We cut mdf, plastic, aluminum, finished maple with a veneer. One of the most amazing things about it is the multiple paths of input into the machine, from rectangles listed in an excel document, to E-cabinets, to direct dxf import to the machine the versatility is tremendous help to work flow.