A friend of mine, and myself, are looking to buy an older cnc mill. After wading through a wealth of information in the forums, I have one question. What would be the pros and cons of a controller on an older machine?
We are looking to purchase a machine with small scale production in mind. At first, it will be used more for one offs, since my friend is going to make some custom parts for a motorcycle project he's been dying to do. Then later on, it would be used more for batching out small runs.
We have been looking at machines from the early to late 90s, as a start point. Most likely, a Mori or Okuma. My friend worked for an aircraft manufacturing company for several years, and likes the Haas, Yasnac, and Mitsubishi controllers. He hates Fanuc. As far as I'm concerned, the type of controller doesn't matter, since I have no experience at all, and will be learning it fresh. I'll be the one doing the CAD part, since I know a couple of CAD/CAM (mastercam, qccad) inside and out. I will also have to run the machine at times when my friend can't.
My biggest concern is will an older controller be able to handle the large files generated by the newer CAD/CAM applications. I know memory in the older controllers will be limited. Drip feed? Will accuracy be as good as the newer machines? Also, I was wondering what types of interface problems might arise from an older controller and newer desktops. RS 232 shouldn't be a problem, but as I have found through the years, its when you think there's not a problem, you've got one.
I also worry about parts associated with the control system on an older machine. In some cases, parts may be non existent or hard to get. What controllers still have a good parts inventory available? Software and firmware ware upgradable, and so forth.
Many thanks in advance.