Info on Bridgeport Torq Cut 22 w/ DX 32 or other small machines??
I want to purchase a small 3 or 4 axis vertical mill. I want something reliable and economical to repair and purchase replacement parts. I am not looking for anything with a ton of power or insane accuracy. This will be my first CNC and it needs to fit inside a good sized 2.5 car garage with a 10 ft ceiling and 8 ft door opening and must be able to run on house current. As nice as something like a Mori or Matsuura would be even if I found something affordable the potential repair costs if something goes wrong are preventing me from considering something like that. The thought of a Fadal, Haas, or possibly a Bridgeport is the direction I am heading because of the reasonable, economical, and accessible parts and repairs possibilities. I have a line on a 1996 Bridgeport Torq Cut 22 w/a DX 32 control. Of the three brands I mentioned this is the brand of CNC's I know the least about. Are these good reliable machines? What's the story on that control? So it's a PC based control? Is it a nightmare to run? Will it do what your typical modern Fanuc or Yasnac control can do? How does this machine compare to a small fadal or small Haas like the mini-mills, etc. Any and all info on this machine and particularly the control would be really appreciated. Thanks a lot, Mike.
If you intend to make a living off it, the Torq Cut is a heap o' dung. Very light weight and about as rigid as knee mill. For a toy in the garage, it's probably a good machine. I have no knowledge of the reliability but check on the availability of spare parts because that's usually the key to maintaining older machines. The Fadal and Haas machines have the advatage of being more common and so there's a bigger market to support them. As far as I know, the control on the Bridgeport uses conventional G/M codes.
Thanks for the info. Maybe I should give you a little more info. First of all have you used one of these machines. I just got a chance to go check it out and as far as the control goes, no worries there. It actually seems quite conventional with all the features I would really need. Seems to have lots of memory, being PC based. Runs conventional G/M code. Nice editor, distance to go feature, lots of work shifts, something like 40 or 50. Blah Blah Blah. Anyway I currently work for an aerospace machine shop and want to start dabbling in my own stuff. I literally need a small machine to fit inside a good sized 2 car garage with a 10 foot ceiling and more importantly an 8 ft door opening. As nice as a fadal or something similiar goes most are probably a little too big. The Haas mini mills seem cool but I see them going used for $30,000+ quite frequently. I don't need a brutally rigid machine, just something to make some cuts in aluminum and mild steel, and the occasional tougher stuff I just planned on light cuts. I got a chance to make some pretty aggressive cuts in aluminum with a 1/2" e/m and was actually quite impressed. Doing a pocket and a 1.0 blind hole ramping down at about 5000-6000 RPM at about .010/rev it had no problems. Better yet, the hole that was cut with a .005 stepover finish pass and still feeding quite fast, about 20 ipm, it was round within .0004 and right on size. The pocket looked beautiful with no chatter, no ugly lines around the arcs that were swung and was parallel and square within .0001. I also used an Interrapid indicator to get a feel for backlash and I was blown away at how tight the machine was. There literally was not .0001 of backlash by simply handling one direction then reversing direction in X, Y, and Z. No I did not do any facemill cuts or cut on any steel, Ti, etc, but I'm looking at getting this machine for about $12,500 or less with a nice subplate and an almost new Kurt vice. I see these machines quite frequently on eBay for $16,000 to over $20,000, no joke. So do you really think this is a bad direction to go to just get started in my garage? Again thanks for the reaponse, I just needed to let you know what I'm looking to do. Just want to get started, I can always go bigger some day when the $$$ starts rolling in, LOL! HaHa! Thanks, Mike.
I have looked at a few of these machines - I have never run one so I can't speak to their accuracy or what not. I would say that if you have tested the machine and it seems to impress (as it appears it did), then the price definitely seems right.
Do you mind if I ask the mehod of purchase? What I mean is, are you getting it from a friend, or a dealer, or a company who is selling it? The reason I ask is that I have been looking at a few machines and I am always curious what the difference between the real street price and the brokers asking price is. If your price is a super-duper-buddy type deal then the price may not be representative, however if it's listed for sale through a broker or if you haggled it down to that price, or if it's a street-price from the owner of the machine, then its very relevant.
Machine is for sale through a private owner. He aquired 3 machines in a deal that was promised work, you've probably heard this story a dozen times. Anyway the work did not materialize and he is selling 2 of the machines.
STILL LOOKING FOR ANY INFO THAT CAN BE OFFERED ABOUT THIS MACHINE.
Particularly parts availability and support, also just opinions on the machine overall, especially form someone who owns or has run one. Thanks, Mike.
My experience with them is limited to having watched/heard them cut. Personally, I don't like them as they're not rigid and make a heck of a racket when trying to make a decent cut. You stated "I don't need a brutally rigid machine" but can you name a machine that's less rigid than the Bridgeport? I don't think of Haas or Fadal as being rigid either.
If you're happy with how it cuts, that's what matters most. Not everyone needs a monster mold cutting machine with huge box ways and a 50 taper spindle. Only you can determine if the machine will do an satisfactory job for you and it sounds like you did just that. And the price seems pretty good also for a low usage machine which means it should be in good condition and give you long life.
You're correct that getting something into a garage is usually the most restricting factor in choosing a machine. I've got two Dynamechtronics machines in my garage and the Z axis servos had to be removed to get them in the door. Tthey're only 30 taper with 14" x 10" travels. But each weighs 4500lbs and has dovetail ways so they're remarkably rigid for their size. I'm able to make a living with them so far. http://evlgt85.com/gallery/maschinen
I guess since I'm pretty happy with the machine and the price the only real question left would be how is the parts availability and support for this machine. Am I going to get stuck with a machine that I can't get fixed if I encounter problems? Also does anyone know of good websites that would offer info/parts/support on this machine? Thanks all for the info, Mike.
Find out who the local dealer is for Hardinge/Bridgeport then determine if they're worth contacting. Ask a few shops who have those brands what support they get from the dealer and make a determination about whether you want to use them for service work. Some dealers are very good about service/support while others are schmucks that are only interested in new machine sales.
Contact the factory and find out what their support is like. Some OEMs don't want to support older machines so they charge for access to tech support while others offer unlimited phone help. If they're willing to help you troubleshoot over the phone, you can do most repairs yourself. The machine isn't all that complicated and you can fix things usually with some guidance and procedures.
It sounds like it might be a good machine for you, especially since it fits in the garage and the price is right.
I don't know if you have bought anything yet, but here's my $.02!
I bought a Torq-cut 22 brand new in May of 1997. It was (and is) my first VMC. Before purchasing I spoke with Fadal and Haas. I am a vendor to both of the latter, so they had a leg up. I ended up with the Bridgeport for a variety of reasons that aren't really relevent here.
I use the machine to make a number of parts, the heaviest of which are 1.25" thick 1018 that I bore 1.25" +.002 -.000 holes in, and get an 8-12 rms finish. I do quite a few pieces of 1.5" 1018 that I mill slots in, lots of aluminum, etc. When I'm carving on something heavy, I slow it down a little.
My machine has performed flawlessly from day one. I'm not a machinist, I'm a dummy, but I hold .0005" all day long on this thing. We're not a high volume company (500 pcs is a huge run for us), but it has done everything I have ever asked it to do. I guess it's not as honkin' fast as the bigger machines out there, but for a baby VMC, it is fine, It's the best thing I ever bought ( I also have a Mori SL lathe, and some manual machines).
I'm a little concerned about parts support eventually, though I have had the machine serviced by Hardinge, and they have assured me that it's not a problem. I'm not completely comfortable owning an orphan, but it's been a great machine.
Looks like I'm gonna throw an offer at the guy who has it by the end of the weekend. I'm starting to hear really good things about these machines from people who have actually ran them. The only thing I can't figure out is how much memory it has, but anyway it seems to be a good amount. My only concern now might be complex 3-D mold type work, but even that most say doesn't seem to be a problem if you slow it down and let the control have a little time to process the info, so I'm told. Anyway I think I'm sold on the machine and as far as machines that will fit through an 8 ft door, it seems to have quite a bit of travel compared to others. Any additional info from anyone who owns this machine or has run this machine is of course greatly appreciated. Thanks to all, Mike.
The main computer on mine is a 66 Mhz 486 with 128K of RAM, running DOS 7-pretty dumb as computers go, but it seems to be enough to run the thing. I don't remember what size hard drive is on it.
I don't have a CAD setup-I direct input all of my programs. I have about 300 programs in mine and it has room for more. My programs are typically 300-400 lines. If you have too mayn programs, you can put them on a floppy or download them-the machine has an RS-232 port, though I've never used mine.
There are occasionally times when you have to wait for the processor. I have noticed it when I've just finished setting a tool offset or some other parameter and I'm coming back to the main screen to start a run cycle. The machine might take 5-10 seconds to catch up to my exiting from the prior area. It's not a big thing, it doesn't do it very often, and doesn't do it when you're loading and running. I suspect that it's caused by the limited processor power.