new to the forum and cnc in general and i'm hoping some may be able to chime in with some advice on this machine that is local to me....the ad is as follows:
For sale: Mid 80s Wells Index 3 axis CNC knee mill. Heidenhain TNC control. 200ipm rapid X&Y 100ipm Z. Very accurate machine, dovetail ways(can still see the original scrapings), heidenhain glass scales on all 3 axes. 30"x12"x5.5" travels. Pneumatic drawbar, NMTB 30 spindle with tooling and collets included. Spindle is pretty quiet for its age. Includes programming manual. Rubber way covers. Drip pan to catch coolant. RS 232 port. What doesnt work: The spindle cannot be turned on from the program reliably. The flood coolant cant be turned on automatically. This machine also needs a bearing on the x-axis ball screw. These should not be expensive fixes and don't prevent you from using the machine, I have just not had the time. This machine is powered up and used periodically. The only reason we are selling it is because we are making room for another new CNC mill.
I was using the mill to make some simple parts, when an error came up and said Gross Positioning Error. The power draw bar is no longer working either. I was asking $3900, and now I am asking $2500. I don't have time to fix it right now. When I do, I will be asking the $3900 again. Machine can be fixed or you can use it a a jumping off point for a retrofit. You could even make it into a manual machine.
I'm looking to purchase my first cnc mill capable of making small production runs of maybe 100 pieces (mainly aluminum, very rarely steel). I'd be running 100 parts or so maybe 1-2 times a month. Does anyone have an idea what type of x,y,z travel i might see on this vintage of machine? (i'm assumning close to a bridgeport knee mill?)
I am very mechanically inclined and somewhat capable of dealing with electronics (i'm sure i can struggle through what ever challenges i may find with the machine)....with that said, am i nuts to think this can be a viable machine with a little tlc? What would you think it would take, $$$ wise, to fix the mechanicals?
I'd really like to take some of my designs straight from cad, to cam....generate some g-code and make some chips....would i expect to use some type of cable interface between my pc and the listed controller...or am i better off to upgrade the controller completely?
I'm really drawn to this mill because it's the only decent local (within 4 hours) listing i've seen. Also through researching on the forums it seems as though wells-index would be a good choice simply because of parts availability and support.
any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated
First off its a Wells Index, its probably an 847 if its factory, the iron is worth it alone. I have no idea if its factory, but Monday morning give Rick Robeson a call at Wells Index, if it was a factory conversion, you will have absolutely 100% no worries of support.
Go over to the practical machinist board and do a search for Rick Robeson and you will know why. I've got a '78 Wells Index cnc from the factory. She doesn't get much use anymore, but she still gets used, and I've never had such fantastic support from any company anywhere, ever.
If its not a factory wells index conversion, I'd think really hard about it. I don't think its a bad deal, I don't think its a great deal, but if its not working and not a factory conversion, I'd probably skip. If it is a factory conversion (and over the years they have used quite a few different controllers) there is a company that will support you, and support you well.
Wells Index is still really good iron.