Mill turn owner feedback for a prospective buyer

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    Registered AndyCBR's Avatar
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    Default Mill turn owner feedback for a prospective buyer

    A little background, I have a 1720 XMTC Gold and it has been a good machine for the amount of machining I do. It has required some repairs and adjustments but overall it has been a good value. I have purchased a few upgrades over the years from Shoptask.

    I am looking to explore the CNC side of machining and I am attracted to the Mill Turn, mostly because it is a complete package. Cobbling together bits and pieces is not attractive to me.

    I would like to hear from current owners on their experiences with the new machine. If they are not appropriate for this forum please PM me. I'm not out to create a polarizing bash thread. But, If you are user who considers your hard earned dollars not well spent I would like to know. By the same token if you love your new machine that would be great to hear.

    Specifics:

    1) It is my understanding the Mill turn is made in a new factory and quality has been increased from the "older" machines.
    2) Some users claim there are still manufacturing issues.
    3) If you had issues were they resolved after time with the machine?
    4) Is there support on a long term basis for this platform? I got the flyer for the sale of the business years ago like I am sure many users did. 10 or 15 years down the road will parts be available?

    I don't expect a Haas or Mazak for this kind of coin but the money they are asking are hard earned American dollars out of my pocket. The old machine was $1495, the new is $6k. I am trying to do due diligence before considering a purchase.

    I know JT frequents these forums and if there is any pertinent info beyond what is on the website that would be great to hear and may help other buyers.

    Best,
    Andy

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    Registered RussellCofID's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mill turn owner feedback for a prospective buyer

    I am in the same position as you Andy, just have a 12-22TC and am thinking of upgrading sometime so will be following this thread...

    Russell C of Idaho
    Big trains and big dreams...


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    Default Re: Mill turn owner feedback for a prospective buyer

    I think you'll find there are a number of shill accounts on this forum, usually starting threads in ALL CAPS, who tend to harp on anyone describing the problems they've come across when uncrating their new machines or trying to make them work. If you look through the threads on the new machines you'll also see a lot of disjointed conversations where posts have been deleted and customers accounts have been banned. This doesn't lend itself to a community with a lot of support or excitement.

    My machine arrived with a bug-ridden used computer, a junk monitor, a dro that didn't work, a spindle that overheats and is incapable of reaching the rpm's it was advertised as doing, z-axis idler pulleys that are all jacked up, a cross-beam that was poorly cast and packed with bondo, stepper motors that are spec'd at (and measured at) less than half the torque that was promised, a tail stock that's wobbles all over the place and is a couple mm short, and so on.... To be fair, Shopmaster has offered to inspect and possibly replace some parts, but only if I pay the shipping and with no timetable for the actual replacements. The first part I sent back was the DRO and that took a month to get back and was missing it's protective cover.

    It's promising to see that Shopmaster has added a support section to their website, so maybe you'll get lucky.



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    Default Re: Mill turn owner feedback for a prospective buyer

    I would have to concur with n1tr0;

    My experience has been in line with his and the machine as it arrived in October 2015 was not a quality machine. The issues that I have had mirror that of n1tr0. I do note that there is a huge change to the website with lots of downloadable documentation, but I also note that on a recent search, I could not find any mention of the machines being built to ISO-9001 as was listed on this page and a good part of the reason I purchased the machine in the first place in Sept 2015:

    WHY CHOOSE A MILL-TURN - SHOPMASTER

    I had repeatedly asked for a copy of the ISO-9001 documentation as the issues with my machine grew from a skipping belt that had a hole drilled through it from the factory to more serious challenges and none was ever provided as I found that the majority of the manufacturing tolerances that the machine was advertised to meet, were way outside the values that were listed:

    MANUFACTURING TOLERANCES - SHOPMASTER

    I can no longer find the cnc tolerances file that my machine was advertised as meeting and have attached it as an image file.

    Page not found - SHOPMASTER CNC MACHINES FOR HOME AND BUSINESS

    The Tailstock was far too flexible and way out of alignment to be of use. It required milling and modifications to be usable.

    On a search now the tolerances to which the machine was allegedly supposed to meet has disappeared from the revised website. I do note that the feed rates have been more accurately listed in a maximum albeit slow 60 Inch Per Minute value as the old listing was just zero to MAX, which left the MAX feed-rate an unknown value.

    The stepper motors were anemic at best and had to be upgraded to achieve a workable rapid feed in any direction and there was a serious misalignment in the x-axis lead screw.

    While there are tramming instructions for the Mill portion, my experience on my particular machine has been that I could tram the mill carriage so that the spindle was perfectly perpendicular to the milling table, but afterwards z direction movements with a precision R8 test shaft showed deviations in the x and y direction.

    On the obverse situation, if I trammed the mill to eliminate the x and y deviation on z axis travel, the milling tool was no longer perfectly perpendicular to the table.

    I have done a deflection survey on the mill in the x and y directions and the milling head is far too flexible in the Y direction and marginal in the X. I know someone who bought a new Smithy Granite last summer and did a similar deflection test using the same setup as I used with the same loading values on the new Smithy and it was 3x more rigid (when ignoring the quil play, which has since been minimized in the machine in question) in the Y direction and 2.5x more rigid in the X direction.

    In fairness, several of the defective items that were on my machine were sent back and replaced/repaired with quick turnarounds, and while there was some talk of Shopmaster replacing the anemic stepper motors for some disgruntled customers, it was never pursued by myself and I do not know if any other customers actually got higher torque replacement motors. There is no mention of the Stepper Motor Specs that the machine comes with.

    While they do offer to take back the machine within a year after arrival, My experience has been that it is a loosing proposition. By the one year mark I had already spent out of pocket well over $3000.00 trying to sort out issues with the machine, not to mention the sweat equity in getting misaligned parts machined and scraped to meet the tolerances that the machine was allegedly advertised to meet.

    Then you have to re-crate it and pay for the shipping.

    At the one year mark, I made the decision to not send the machine back and continue to repair and upgrade the machine with parts and components that will enable it to meet or exceed the original advertised tolerances, I am not worried about any warranty issues and will never deal with Shopmaster again and if something breaks or needs repair, ill replace it with a better quality component myself:

    For example the Electric motors that came with my machine were not Inverter Duty motors and used v-belt drives and single pickup sensors that generated 1 pulse per revolution as speed feedback to the VFD and Mach 3. I have replaced them with genuine inverter duty motors with integral encoders and toothed belt pulleys to the lathe and mill spindle. While I was at it, I installed an Hitachi VFD to replace the nowforever VFD and the new motor VFD combination has far better speed control than the original combination.

    I have also upgraded the mill spindle to one that will not overheat at 8000 RPM and am in the process of redesigning the milling portion to achieve some meaningful rigidity in addition to allowing a simple and easy tramming of the mill without shims, trail and error.

    The Dell PC that came with my machine was a used as was the non-touchscreen monitor and while it came with Mach 3 installed, none of the support documentation was on the machine. The Dell kept crashing and I have upgraded it to a rack mount industrial PC with a touch screen.

    The list goes on: Caveat emptor.





    Mill turn owner feedback for a prospective buyer-shee-jpg



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    Default Re: Mill turn owner feedback for a prospective buyer

    I am new to CNC and I just got the 2017 Mill Turn last week and unpacked out of the box it turned a part to within .0012 of what I wanted. I didn't level the machine or calibrate it at all I only did a quicky gib adjustment. I did have some config issue due to wanting to run a forward toolpost lathe but John walked me through that and setting the other parameters for this machine. I like it so far. It's much quieter than I expected almost as quiet as my 1927 SB9A lathe.

    If you're expecting .0001 consistently this is not that machine it may hit that with a lot of tweaking but I don't need that I need .001. I fully expect it to do the 0.001 , 0.0015 consistently after I tune, it level it and set up the backlash and all the normal things you need to do to get good parts. The machine shipped with the table loose and it has a coating of green cosmoline to keep it from rusting on the boat. You may need to adjust the gibbs, My table rocker like crazy until I did a quick adjustment. It was set up for an older machine so we had to go through all the settings to make sure it was correct. it took about 15 minutes and all you have to do is call him.

    I built rotary tables years ago that were flat and parallel to .0001 across 60 inches that cost about 100K and up and still sell used for 25K 40 years later so I know precision and its cost. This is a good value at the tolerances it can keep and the space it needs and power requirements. You may need two 220 outlet like the ones for an AC, I plugged the machine into one and the PC into one. The PC was 220v as well. After I learned how to run it I was actually turning parts after a week of never having used anything CNC.



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    Default Re: Mill turn owner feedback for a prospective buyer

    Thanks for your reply toroco, I appreciate a 'user's' view.

    Russell C of Idaho
    Big trains and big dreams...


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    Default Re: Mill turn owner feedback for a prospective buyer

    I too would like to know...
    No experience with machining but have a business in costa rica where we need to machine parts all the time and the machine shops around here are a pain to deal with.
    I am not expecting high tolerances but really would love to know what are the chances a newbie is going to be able to use this machine out of the box?

    I was looking to buy a PM or weiss manual lathe but there are no metric versions to be easily had, and we often thread so metric would be a big help.
    The mill turn looks like it can do a lot but looking around these forums I have seen a lot of people who had problems with it. Would love to know what the QC is like on the most recent production batches and how easy is the machine to set up



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    Default Re: Mill turn owner feedback for a prospective buyer

    I use the 2017 Shopmaster Mill Turn in lathe mode so this may be of use for you


    We make small parts in big quantities, threading, drilling and the usual turn and face operations. I haven't touched my manual lathe since I got this machine. I think it's a good value for the price point.

    You do need to make sure you set it up as in the instructions and check all the nuts, bolts, screws and wiring for tightness, It ships a long way so items are going to rattle loose.
    From not knowing any G-code or not using CNC since the 70's I was able to learn the coding, setup the machine and tooling and run parts for profit in 6 weeks, I got a lot of help from John at Shopmaster, several on this forum and a few guys on the Youtube channels.

    It will do threading Inch and metric, It does run manually but I believe it must be run via CNC for threading. There are several threading videos on youtube for older Shopmasters
    It does have some wizards that will help you set up for threading.



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    Default Re: Mill turn owner feedback for a prospective buyer

    Quote Originally Posted by thoroco View Post
    I use the 2017 Shopmaster Mill Turn in lathe mode so this may be of use for you


    We make small parts in big quantities, threading, drilling and the usual turn and face operations. I haven't touched my manual lathe since I got this machine. I think it's a good value for the price point.

    You do need to make sure you set it up as in the instructions and check all the nuts, bolts, screws and wiring for tightness, It ships a long way so items are going to rattle loose.
    From not knowing any G-code or not using CNC since the 70's I was able to learn the coding, setup the machine and tooling and run parts for profit in 6 weeks, I got a lot of help from John at Shopmaster, several on this forum and a few guys on the Youtube channels.

    It will do threading Inch and metric, It does run manually but I believe it must be run via CNC for threading. There are several threading videos on youtube for older Shopmasters
    It does have some wizards that will help you set up for threading.
    Nice simple job that will pay your machine off pretty fast. It would be pretty easy to set up a couple of gang tools to do the turning, parting and de-burr with no need to change tools- could probably make those parts in less than a minute each- not bad considering you were paying 4.00 each from another source.



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    Default Re: Mill turn owner feedback for a prospective buyer

    Thanks, my Intent is to setup my 4 position CNC turret for it but I do have some small parts that I think I would like to use a gang tool on but I'm not at that level to set up the gang. I'm learning quickly but also have to run a Vintage restoration shop while learning.

    The cost savings was why I went with this machine. I could pay it off in less that two years if I just did the parts we need in house and nothing else. I did get the speed to 1:12 min. each when I don't talk while doing it while doing it.
    I ran two hundred parts that cost me in house $1.14 each with material that would have costed $600 plus shipping sent out to a shop, so it s a no brainer for me. The finish is just as good and it ran 0.001 - 0.0015 consistently. I need 0.004 on these parts



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    Default Re: Mill turn owner feedback for a prospective buyer

    Quote Originally Posted by thoroco View Post
    Thanks, my Intent is to setup my 4 position CNC turret for it but I do have some small parts that I think I would like to use a gang tool on but I'm not at that level to set up the gang. I'm learning quickly but also have to run a Vintage restoration shop while learning.

    The cost savings was why I went with this machine. I could pay it off in less that two years if I just did the parts we need in house and nothing else. I did get the speed to 1:12 min. each when I don't talk while doing it while doing it.
    I ran two hundred parts that cost me in house $1.14 each with material that would have costed $600 plus shipping sent out to a shop, so it s a no brainer for me. The finish is just as good and it ran 0.001 - 0.0015 consistently. I need 0.004 on these parts
    Great- looking forward to some video of the CNC turret in action- we had been thinking of adding one to one of our units.



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    Default Re: Mill turn owner feedback for a prospective buyer

    For whatever it's worth for any prospective buyers,

    If you're ever in the Denver, Co area and want to try a machine, let me know. I have one in my garage and I'm just learning how to use it and would love to see it get more work.



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Mill turn owner feedback for a prospective buyer
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