I'd like to get some opinions on the two mills. I've read alot on the forums and comment on my fair share. I'm currently in a position where I'm about to buy a new mill.
Fit/Finish CNC Ready
3/8 shank maximum
Lack of Mass
How does the x3 compare to the taig. The both appear to be similar machines. Albiet the x3 is alot bigger, the taig seems to be better made.
I currently have a x2 mini mill, but I have been very unimpressed by it so far. Although, I never completed the cnc conversion. Just the fit and finish, seemed lacked. Even after cleaning it up. Alot of pushing and pulling to get the table sliding smooth. Maybe I got a bad one.
How does the x3, compare to the x2 for fit and finish. Do the dovetails appear to run straight and true. Any warped tables?
How fast of cuts can I expect from the 2 mills? I have 250oz servos, I can reduce the speed for more power if I need. I'm mostly cutting aluminum, but I might do steel sometime. Is the x3 that much more suited for steel.
I really like the taig for being cnc ready and waiting. That is a big plus for me, as I've had the x2 for so long without any progress. Sadly, I like the x3 for the mass. I'm just concerned about the x3's overall condition. I expect the taig to be well made from everything I'd heard, but I don't want to be disappointed.
Anyway, just looking for some peace of mind before I jump into the purchase.
When I first began teaching myself the basics of PC based CNC machine building, I decided to build a servo driven TAG cnc mill. I am a professional tool manufacturer and own a both Bridgeport J head and a RF 45 mill as well as many other machines. My objective was to learn how to automate other processes of my manufacturing operation. After building the TAG and getting all the bugs worked out, I began making some small production parts in 6061 aluminum with it. The major problem with the TAG is lack of ridgidness and vibrations. When the machine is cutting, it produces a constant buzzing sound which is being caused by vibration. This sound translates into tool marks on the work. No matter what type of cutters and rpm combinations are used the vibrations are ever present. This does not mean that you cant do good work with it within its size scale, you must use extremely fine finish cuts at very low feed rate to get any resemblance of a good finish in aluminum. As far as steel and harder materials are concerned, they can be cut also but with finish penalties that are more pronounced than with aluminum. Also keep in mind that you always want to keep your material removal rate ( chip load and surface speed ) within accepted parameters. This can't be easily done with the TAG due to the above faults. The X2 will definitly offer more stability due to the cast iron construction and additional weight. I would also seriusly consider a belt drive conversion and eliminate the gear box. You get higher rpm and quiet operation. See attached photo of some parts made with the TAG.
ps. I sold the TAG afte 3 months of use for the reasons stated above.
First, I want to make airsoft parts/guns. These would be very similar to milling out paintball bodies/bolts. Depending on the design and my skill/marketing.
Second, I've looked at making a few conversion kits for my wifes various hobbies.
And of course, I have alot of hobbies that would benefit from being able to make the random widget.
Almost everything will be out of aluminum. I don't forsee any steel or iron. But, I'd like to keep the option open. Never know what will happen.
What type of feedrate did you have to run your taig at, to get the proper finish. Can anyone post a video showing the feed rates of a taig making a good finish/roughing pass. And one on a x3? Are we talking like 2ipm or 10ipm? How does that really compare to what you can get on a x3. I've seen people talking about rapids at 270ipm etc. I think that is a bit obscene. Additionally, if I can zero my parts and design the right. I shouldn't have alot of rapids.
I've attached some pictures of parts like what I'm looking to make. Also, I'm going to be similar parts that require less mechanical parts.
These parts pictured look like die casts. You are not going to make anything like in your pictures with a TAG mill or possibly even with an x3. I think you should consider a machine in the range of a RF 45 as the minimum size with ball screws and 600 oz. servos. You are also going to need some sophisticated tooling, flood coolant and some type of interchangable tool setup such as the Royal quick change tool holding system $ 1000. look at it in the msc.com web site. This is serious machining work and takes a great deal of knowledge. So far as feeds as speeds on a TAG or any other mill go, general machining practice dictates a minimum surface speed of 300 ft/minute and a chip load of .0005 to .001 when cutting aluminum. So the formula pivots on the cutter diameter. So, if using a 1/4" end mill ( .785" circumfrence) the rpm needed is 4585 rpm. (5000 rpm) if it is a 4 flute, this gives 20,000 cuts per minute. At a chip load of .001, you need a 20 inch per minute feed rate. The feed rate formula is 300 x 12 / .785 x 4 / 1000. All of this is way beyond TAG capability. Machining centers cut this material with surface speeds of 1000+ feet per minute and feeds of over 100 ipm. When making small parts on the TAG you can get an ok finish with mist coolant when removing .005 of material at .050 deep at about 4000 rpm and 6-10 ipm but it is still buzzing. These TAG and similar mills are really garage and basement toys, but they do have production capabilities for small hole drilling and milling operations in soft material with up to 3 /16 end mills and at slow production rates.
Why do you say that these parts are out of the range of the taig's ability. The parts aren't actually very big. They are roughly 4x5x6x.5" or there abouts.
I would think that the taid would be perfect for that part. As for the tooling change. I wouldn't think I'd need to do much, at least for the outline. Ideally, you would change the tools for optima material removal. However, it was my understanding, that if you wanted to just set around all day. You could build the part with a 1/8" endmill vs a 3/4" rougher. I agree that it wouldn't be smart.
Those parts are cast for mass production purposes, but they are cheaply done. The performance sector of the sport is looking for parts with higher tolerances.
I plan on making some type of coolant system. Whether it's flood or mist.
I'm not trying to squeeze blood from a turnup. I'm just having a problem with that fact that your saying I can't make these part which is well within the working envelope of the taig.
Don't worry about the gears etc. Mainly looking at the clamshell platform that the parts plug into. That was mainly just an example of the type of work I'm looking at doing.
I do plan on milling out the bodies of the airsoft guns from stock. I understand that I'll have to make the fixture for hold the parts during each operation. And that I may even have to build them in parts and weld the complete parts back together, depending on the design requirements.
I just bought the CNC ready Taig 2019ER-CR from Nick Carter a couple of weeks ago. I'm just an average guy working in his garage with no access to heavy duty metal working machinery so for me the Taig mill should work fine for what I need. I only have an hour here and an hour there each week to work on setting up the mill because of the kids and a long "honeydo" list so I haven't actually used the mill yet. Putting the mill together (2 main pieces) and installing the stepper motors took just an hour (I'm slow). I'm currently working on the cnc electronics, software, computer, coolant system, etc.... The construction of the mill looks quite nice (though I don't really know how the x2 and x3 are...I've briefly played with them at Harbor Freight). Nick has been great in answering my questions and there is a lot of information on the yahoo taig forum. Hopefully I'll be up and running in a couple of weeks, and I can start making parts for my aluminum construction cnc router.
I've looked at both of those websites. I have sent Nick several emails for quotes. I asked him to check out what I'm looking to do with the mill.
I think that the mill should be able to do what I need, but I'm starting to question it.
Anyway, part of my other plan for the taig was to build a bridge type mill out of tooling aluminum plate with thk style rails. But that's long way off.
Just frustrated, I wish it was a little more cut and dry. It would make my decision alot easier. I tend to get conflicted reports. I don't want to be in a position where I get the mill running then realize that it's not able to do what I need it to do.
Yeah...I know about frustration. I've been gathering parts (a.k.a spending lots of money) for a cnc router but I still don't have a working machine. On the bright side, I have learned a lot about cnc parts (and their ebay prices) so I can usually tell when something is a good deal or not. For me, getting the CNC ready Taig lets me have a machine that is very close to being setup for CNC without spending too much money and time. If I ever get tired of the Taig mill I bet I could easily sell it on ebay for more than I put into it. Now...if only I could actually get the electronics set up, I could be making chips!
I have a cnc'd x2 and if guys say it is more rigid than a Taig, I say forget the Taig for those parts.
I could see pocketing out those parts on my x2 but finish would not be all that great and it would take a while because feeds need to be pretty slow.
I also have a x3 which I am in the process of converting.
It is MUCH more powerful and rigid than my x2. The accuracy from the factory seems great. But of course if you convert it to cnc then how accurate it will be is up to you.
IMO the x3 is a great benchtop mill to convert to cnc.
The Taig is okay for small parts. Also, if you have patience. It may be the ideal machine for users who do a lot of this, especially with its high spindle RPM.
But in my opinion, the X3 is hands down the better machine. Or at least, the machine I would rather have. The quality of the X3 is many steps higher than your X2 (also twice the price). My table is flat within .0003", it has one high spot. Spindle runout is about a tenth.
Every surface which must be accurate, I have found to be excellent. For the most part, the cosmetic stuff has been good as well. The only major cosmetic flaw was that none of the dovetails or bottom of the mill table edges were deburred. These burrs were nasty, my hands got some deep cuts handling this for hte first time. Nobody else has mentioned this, it might just be my instance.
Overall, the quality of the X3 far impressed me. I used to own an X1, which was sub-par in the QC dept. I think they pay more attention to their top dog machine.
By the way, the X3 can handle a 1" end mill with ease.