I have been using the older NM200 series 1 mill and I have been happy with it producing many parts. I have the opertunity to pick up a nice job but it has a lot of tapping involved. I looked at the NM145 and was checking into this some more and also considered using a tapping head. Talking with Novakon, I discovered that they have a new mill in production that has rigid tapping capability. The new mill has a built in 1200 watt servo motor for the spindle drive. If I understand them correctly, the tapping is accomplished by inserting co-ordinated Z-axis and spindle commands to wind the tap into work piece and to then back out.
They peaked my interest and I wanted to find out what people thought about this new capability. The motor seems powerfull enough and it sounds like it should work great.
I would imagine that it is built around an existing frame. What else can be done? Just guessing for the moment. I like the design of the NM145, so if it were, it would be a pretty good machine. I saw the project from ihavenofish that was made from the NM145...very nice work!
I will look at this much more. If I do the cost analysis of my job and the approximate cost of the mill, I will have a fast turn around of investment. I priced out a tapping arm from another company that was very pricey, and I would still have to do all the work manually. This way, I can let it run all night if needed.
I will let you know what more I find out as I research this more.
I did some additional research on the new mill from Novakon. It seems the new machine is called the Torus Light and the significant difference of this model is a redesigned head to mount the new servo motor and an improved oil distribution system. The mill comes only as a 220V single phase option since the servo motor is standard at this voltage. This shouldn't be a problem for me anyway, so I am not too concerned.
The package price was $5,950 with no gimmicks (the stand’s included and so is the coolant system). It comes complete with a one-year warranty like their other machines and you can add their PC for an extra charge. Seems fair.
I asked about spare parts and was told that there will be no problems there. Many components of the Torus Light uses similar if not exactly the same parts as the NM200 and the old NM145 (such as ball screws, bearings, stepper motors, electronics, etc…).
As far as my project goes, if I end up buying it, I can use the Torus Light for drilling and tapping cycles which as far as I can tell is a brand new feature Novakon’s offering with their new line. I’ll only need about a one-hour cycle if I build a fixture to hold many components at once and I’ll have plenty of time between cycles for tool changes.
I’ll ask them how they implemented a tapping cycle regarding G-code. For my situation the drilling cycle is standard from the G-code calls and the tapping cycle is accomplished through G-code sub routine calls that perform the tapping. From what I gather, the sub calls is a very simple way of implementing a complicated tapping cycle. It seems too easy so I have to get some programming examples before I make a decision.
I’ll keep you posted as I find out more.
is it reasonable assumption that you can call g code routine from cam?
if it is possible, then guess each cam vendor will have different implementation for this interface.
I went through the CNC tapping craze about a year or two ago. I attached a stepper to turn the spindle using a toothed belt; the stepper is the "A"-axis (4th axis). Insert tap into the spindle, put a drop of cutting oil into each hole to be threaded, and run the Gcode. The GCode is as such:
G01 Z-.500 A16.000 (plunge half an inch while turning 16 rotations - good for 32 tpi screws).
My gcode macro had a little more, in that it backed out a turn here and there to clear shavings.
And yes, it all worked fine. But there is ALOT of setup time: the big problem with CNC tapping is the workpiece has to be lifted off the table to allow the tap clearance to tap through. Other hassles are: attach the "A" stepper, code GCode.
Then I tried a reversible tapping head on the drill press. It is far faster and easier. Near-zero setup time, and I think I could tap somewhere around 10 holes per minute, after a bit of practice.
Unless you have untold thousands of holes to tap, give up on the CNC and just use the drill press.
It's dead simple to tap with a tension-compression tapping head. I just started using that technique on a Tormach mill with their T-C head and SprutCAM and was really surpised at how easy it was to do from both a software and hardware standpoint.