Hello everyone! I am new to the forum and this looks like an immense amount of knowledge here! Glad to have found this place!
I am not sure if this is the correct area for this post, so i apologize in advance if this post is misplaced.
I am currently a Mechanical Engineering student and my school is looking to purchase a CNC milling machine. I have lathe and milling experience but no CNC milling experience.
We will be using Autodesk Inventor for CAD, and this is where I could use your collective knowledge.
What type of software do you recommend from going to Inventor to (insert software) to the CNC?
What type of CNC and Brand do you recommend for general fabrication use?
The budget is a total of 40k to spend on this setup/installation etc. so if anyone is in sales or knows someone who is please respond or send me a PM.
My purpose for going out of my way to ask industry experts is we recently acquired a laser cutter, and i am less than satisfied with the performance. I would rather go out of my way to learn and get something that will help me with my fabrication needs this semester and in the future. Buy once, cry once so to speak.
Thanks for any input you might have.
Last edited by MCPservice; 02-14-2011 at 08:26 AM.
You should also be able to get student pricing on seats of Mastercam.
That way the school will have industry standard CAM software and you'll be using real G&M code programming on the Haas. The only difference between the Toolroom mill and the bigger Haas machines is the size; the controls are identical.
Here are some links to a similar lab setup at CSUN:
Mechanical Engineering - Haas Laboratory
Other schools all over California have similar labs. You might also contact these guys. Their job is furthering exactly what you're trying to do.
Haas Technical Education Centers
Their manuals are just terrible. Most of the setup parameters I needed I had to find on my own by wandering around in the Multicam directories on the hard drive, randomly launching every .EXE and hunting for hours, then guessing which parameter drove what.
The machine's Z coordinates are ass-backward from the rest of the world (positive Z is down). There is no normal user feedback (positional location for instance) except for the cryptic pendant they operate from. It doesn't address normal work offsets (G54, G55) like just about every normal CNC on the planet. I could go on and on.
On more than one occasion I've said that I'd like to thump the guy that bought that POS. They make a great knife cutter but they make a terrible mill. Just say no. Sorry Chris, I'm sure your intentions are good but, I can't in good faith let anybody taint an entire generation of engineers with a turd like that.
Signed: an unhappy Multicam programmer / user.
Donkey, I think I can clear a few things up for you. I am the service manager for one of the Multicam technology centers you are referring to as "distributors". We are not distributors, we are a Multicam Technology Center that exists to offer all sales, service, and parts for our designated area. Part of the problem you are having is that you obviously have a mill background and you are expecting a router to be a mill. Multicam does not make mills. We make cnc routers, plasmas, waterjets, and lasers. I run into this issue quite often where a company hires a guy that has cnc mill experience thinking a router is basically the same thing when in fact they are very different and designed for very different applications. Cnc milling machines and operators tend to be very uniform in there approach and there is a definite industry standard practice in that world. Steel is very consistent in its composition and the same approach can be used to cut it pretty much every time. Routers are designed to cut all kinds of woods, plastics, and non ferrous metals. i.e. aluminum, copper, brass. When cutting those materials it hardly ever is consistent. Especially wood. You can cut a piece of wood perfectly with a designated feed and speed setup and then cut another piece of wood thats from the same tree and get complete different results. Also in the mill world, there is alot of direct gcode editing where as with routers, everything is far more cad/cam based. instead of typing actual code, you put .5 in the spot that says "depth" and it will go .5 deep. doesnt matter if in the background the z is calculating in a positive or negative plane. Mill guys will never be happy operating a router. So yes, he is right. If you are looking to buy a mill... DO NOT buy a Multicam. Cause if you do, you still wont have a cnc mill. P.S. not sure what you are talking about with credit cards and vague answers but I can tell you that when I get calls from people telling me what or how the machine should be operating, I tend to not want to offer a whole lot of phone help either.