Hi. New to the forum.
I need some help on deciding on a machine. I am currently a full time engineer who has a 400 sf machine and fab shop that I run out of my garage to do side work in. I do a lot of really basic prototyping for design firms and odd jobs that pay pretty well. There seems to be a big shortage of shops here in Seattle that have time for prototyping or are willing to do short runs. Some of my friends that own design firms have asked me to step up my game. I currently only have a manual RF mill and my grandfathers Southbend lathe (along with lots of other sheet metal and welding equipment). I am looking at CNC mills and think I have found the one I want. My background is as a machinist and fabricator in my youth and have been a manufacturing engineer and have managed a 30 man aerospace machine shop. I'm an OK machinist but am rusty on CAD and G code.
My shop is limited to 100 amps of single phase 220 and I don't want to use a phase converter. I want to pick a machine that will still be useful when I move into a real shop.
I don't care about conversational programming since everybody around here works in Solid Works and I will have to go with a CAD/CAM package anyway. I have 30K saved up and will have a bit more when I sell some motorcycles to make room for the new machine. The wife said it would be OK to finance more as long as the payments are not over $500.00 a month.
What ever machine I get will need to be able to do 3D parts about 50% of the time. Speed isn't that much of an issue right now. Other parts are for the extreme sports industry So I will need a work envelope of at least 38" x 14" x14". I really want a tool changer but would forgo that for the right machine.
The machine that seems to fit the bill is the Haas tool room TM-2P. The 6K vector drive spindle and the 20 station tool changer are nice for a single phase machine. I know 3D parts will be very slow with a 6K spindle. 400 ipm rapids are acceptable but I am a little worried about rigidity. I know I'm not going to be able to really hog things out and anticipate light chip loads. Are there any other reliable and accurate alternatives out there that fit my requirements? I'm having a hard time finding one.
I'd love to get a 3 phase machine like a bigger Hass or the Hyundai VX 500 but I just don't have the power to run a 20+ hp head on a phase converter along with my other power requirements (heater, big air compressor, etc..)
Sorry I can't add a link to the TM-2P, This is my first post here and apparently, that's not allowed until I post more.
Also, any preference between Solid Works native CAM systems or OneCNC?