First off, let me thank PBMW for sending me pics of his Sharp, and answering my newbie questions.
I am getting very close to pushing the button on a new SV-2412S. I seek advice from those more experienced than I in the acquisition and use of small machining centers.
I have been using my bedmill for about 14 months, quite successfully, in an R&D / engineering / prototype production capacity. It is a Sport B3 bedmill (see the SWI Prototrak DPM3, same iron), with a FAGOR 8055 controller. Travel on this machine is 27x16x21 approx. It has been great and has turned out lots of work, almost all in aluminum and Delrin. I installed a MicroDrop coolant system, which works great.
We have some projects coming up where I think a machining center would increase productivity and capability. Several things led me to the Sharp, notably the dealership (Rice Machinery) has treated me very well, and the machine's reputation is stellar. I evaluated the bigger Sharp machines, and they are too big for my current shop.
On Tuesday, I am going to visit a shop where there is this exact machine so I can see it first hand. Interestingly, there is a similarly sized Haas sitting right next to it (just like in your shop, PBMW), and the shop chief is happy to share his experiences with both machines (the Haas is on its third spindle, for example). This is a university Mechanical Engineering shop. That ought to be a good experience, and help fill in lots of holes in my knowledge.
So, what are the hidden costs (money AND time) with regard to this change in equipment?
-I know all my NMTB 40 tooling is going out the door with the bedmill and I will need CAT 40 tooling.
-I can probably get away with my current compressor, but will likely upgrade it (currently 6.5 SFM at 90 psi).
-I have identified the PhasePerfect DPC-10A as a three-phase power solution and have communicated with them (about $3K).
-I will either sell the bedmill privately, or let the dealer take it on consignment.
-I have never dealt with flood cooling and coolant, so there is a learning curve there.
-I am using VisualCAM 6.0 so that should be fine.
What am I not smart enough to ask?? (And yes, I have two Advil ready for writing the check.)
Thanks for your wisdom...