I have a friend who's boss has a Partner IV for sale. The owner of the mill is replacing it with a Hurco Eagle. This owner is a private "tinker in my garage" owner, and the machine has not ran production. According to the information I've been given:
has drip feed for control
10 hours on rebuilt head
only cut plastic before the current owner
claims .0005 tolerance
needs new conduit for the umbilical
This information has been relayed via text, due to conflicting schedules. I hope to call my friend today and get additional details. The owner is an instructor at a university, and rebuilds / works on CNC equipment as a hobby.
The price I've been given for the above machine is $2000. Again, VERY basic communication at this point, which I hope to remedy today. I'll find out what (if any) accessories are included, hopefully get some photos, find out how it's been used by the current owner, etc.
From what I've gathered here, it seems that the controller may play a critical part in the usability of the machine. My understanding is that Centurion V or newer controller "is good", Centurion IV or older controller "is bad". Not that the actual controllers are bad, as much as possibilities for upgrade paths, the ability to feed directly from PC, etc. Would this be an accurate assessment?
My plan is to use the machine on plastic, possibly wood, aluminum, and steel. My anticipated usage would fit on the traditional 9x42 table, but as always, bigger is better. This will be a prototyping / one-off machine in my shop, not a production rig. I would like to be able to make some molds for injection molded plastics, as well as create parts for my motorcycles, guns, RC aircraft, and whatever else blows up my skirt. I plan on generating my machine with MasterCam, which I have access to at school.
Any input on this matter, questions I should ask, limitations I should know, etc would be most appreciated.
About the only limitation I can really think of, is the need to plan around having a maximum of 5 inches of travel to deal with.
Early on, I found that I was having to stop and re-zero tools after changing them to different holders, to make a closer match in the length. Not a huge problem. More of a 'gotcha' that'll back you into a corner when you have a limited number of toolholders on hand.
Per the Milltronics brochure that resides beside our machine at work, the Cent V control will run on code for any of the basic Fanuc Mill controls. I'd have to check, to get the exact ones, but it pretty much means that it'll be none to hard to find a suitable post for the machine.
As to the IV being bad... Depends on whether you are hand coding, using conversational, or using software, to create code, I think. If using software, as long as the control works, it's good. You have more options with the higher controls, afaik, but for normal use... as long as it works, it's good. Drip feed is set up. That takes care of feeding it from the computer. Get copies of all the applicable software if you can, as well as the settings used, and the cable, if he'll include that.
A copy of the parameters is 'a good thing', too. I have saved ours both on a floppy, and as a copy of the entire disk on the desktop of the computer we use to deal with ours, so that I can burn a new parameters floppy when/if the old one decides to die at a bad time.
That's a bunch of what I can think of right now, based on my experience with a Partner 4 with a Cent V on it. I just bought one, it's currently en route to me.
Edit: Fanuc compatibility. Fanuc 0, 10, 11, 12, 15, according to the sales brochure.
Last edited by trevj1; 01-24-2011 at 12:58 PM.