rppman, what's your budget and time frame?
We've been developing a bed mill that is meant to directly compete with 9x49 and 10x54 knee mills. We are working with several suppliers in Taiwan, so you can expect the same level of quality as the best Taiwanese knee mills, but with a design that adds more rigidity, more Y and Z axis travel, and a square column Z-axis that is better suited for CNC conversion, should you ever decide to go that route.
Below are photos of a prototype that we currently have in our facility. This particular machine is spec'd as follows:
1. 10x50 table
2. 3000 lbs, Meehanite castings
3. 32" x 19.5" x 27.5" XYZ travel
4. Box ways on Y and Z, dovetail ways on X (with scraped Turcite)
5. NT40 spindle taper in a 100mm quill
6. 5hp, 3 phase motor
7. Variable speed, 70-4200 RPM
8. Power drawbar
9. Dual chain-type counterweight system
With the head lowered, it should fit through pretty much any garage door. The machine in the photos below stands at about 6 feet from the bottom of the base to the top of the column (without the counterweight).
Our target base price without the power drawbar or counterweight is expected to be $8.5k. This will include a larger 10x54 table and the VS head. A discount is available for a step pulley head, and further discounts are available for 3hp R8 or NT30 heads. The power drawbar option is ~$500, possibly less. We'll probably drop the counterweight option, since it costs us roughly $700 to install, and doesn't add much to a manual machine. Although it reduces Z-axis servo strain in a CNC converted machine, that $700 would probably be better spent toward a larger servo with a built in brake.
This machine has been ready to go into production for the last few months, but we've held off due to the terrible economy. However, if enough people express interest, we can get the ball rolling and have a couple of these machines ready to ship fairly quickly. A CNC conversion kit would also be available soon after, utilizing AC servos, rolled or ground ballscrews (both are available), and a Mach based control.
I'll be tracking this thread and can also be reached by email at email@example.com.
Glacern Machine Tools