New to buying milling machines - need help


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  1. #1
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    Default New to buying milling machines - need help

    I’m currently a production engineer at a company that generally does sheet metal. I am also a recovering mill programmer [up to 5 axis]. We are planning on moving outsourced parts to in house manufacturing. Because of this I have been commissioned to research purchasing a milling machine. Budget a little under 20k [new only].

    I have not found an area; therefore, I am asking if there a section on this site that has machine reviews? Does anyone have experience with knee mills [aka Bridgeport type] with cnc controls? Experience in retrofitting after purchasing a manual?

    Opinion on specific models? Baileigh VM-942-1? [we have one of their bead rollers & it does work great for our products]. CNC Masters Supra? Brands or models to say no? Brands or models to consider?
    I thank everyone in advance for any & all assistiance.

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  2. #2
    Registered Jim Dawson's Avatar
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    Default Re: New to buying milling machines - need help

    By the time you get done CNCing the Baileigh you will be over budget. Buying a new manual machine with the idea of retrofitting it to CNC seems like a lot of work for little value. On the other hand the CNC Masters Supra seems like a really low price. I don't see how anybody can sell a new 10x54 CNC mill for 12.5K, at least one that has any kind of quality. I don't know anything about either of the above machines or companies but the Baileigh, going by price only, might be a good machine.

    I have bought 7 knee mills over the last 45 years, most new and a couple of used ones, one CNC and the rest manual, all Taiwanese machines. All were high quality machines. Some of the mainland China machines are good today, but you can't just buy the least expensive, others are not so good. If you buy Jet, Precision Mathews, or from other reputable US vendors you will probably be OK. If you don't need a machine the size of a BP, then Tormach might be an option. Consider the work envelope you need for your planned work, then look at the machines that will fit your needs, don't reject the smaller bed mills. Depending on your work, a manual/CNC machine could be worth considering. I noted that the CNC Masters Supra has at least some manual/CNC capability (hand wheels on the X&Y axis)

    I can understand the desire for a business to buy new from both an accounting and warranty standpoint, but I would not buy a new machine. If I were looking for a CNC mill, I would buy a good, older, lightly used machine with the idea of retrofitting the controls. I paid $1000 for my 25 year old 10x50, 2 axis, machine and after a complete controls retrofit, adding the Z and 4th axis, have about $7500 in it. Mechanically it was like new. Because it was a CNC machine the hard work was already done and I did a controls upgrade in a day and a half.

    As you already know you get what you pay for, and that includes after sale support.



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    Default Re: New to buying milling machines - need help

    Thanks for the info Jim. You inferred correctly that I, personally, am looking for a manual/CNC. And I agree the CNC Masters may be a to-good-to-be-true. You just re-enforced it.

    I personally have zero experience with knee mills other than watching & talking with a machinist while he ran a Millport. Currently we are looking for a manual but I know that within no time we will need CNC capability – hence the CNC retrofit questions in the post.

    Anyone like to supplement Jim’s excellent help?

    Bob



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    Default Re: New to buying milling machines - need help

    The best option for You might be a Tormach.
    Otherwise, no new options of realistic results exist.

    Making a retrofit is not hard. Did so.
    Making a Very Good retrofit is not hard .. but is a lot of hours, and a lot of cash. Did so.

    Very Good as in industrial type means servos, high speed hw controller, thick screws and good mounts with good AC bearings, bigger couplers or taperlock pulleys, preferably 24 V IO.
    Lots of wiring, interlocks perhaps, etc etc.
    It all adds up.

    You Really Really want a toolchanger for commercial use.
    So, an ISO30 spindle, or ISO40, is what You want and not R8 or MTx.

    ISO30 spindle - 1500€.
    Spindle toolchanger plunger - 900€.
    400W AC servos, 300€ each, x3, 900€.
    32 mm screws and 45 mm linears, couplers or belts, per axis, == 600€, x3, 1800 €. WITH the real ac bearings and preloaded.
    Boxes, wires, ferrules, conduits, etc. 600€.
    A CSMIO-IP-S controller 1500 €,
    or a Pokeys Ethernet (for mill) for 150 €.

    ISO30 tool - 30€, collet - 10€, pullstud - 10€, tool == 30€, inserts (10 pack) 30-200 €, == 120€. Per tool.
    x20, = 2400 €.

    == 9600 € bottom end.
    That is more or less my import, wholesale cost, in boxes of 10 for most stuff.


    Add 600 hours of work unless You are an expert on the sw, controller, wiring, industrial IO, noise-issues, CNC stuff generally.
    Add maybe 500€ in steel for the various..
    ... to make about 20-30 fittings, supports, jigs, boxes, mounts etc. in steel.
    and add hours++ for same.

    Fit, test, fix, remount, remove, clean, paint, remount, refit, adjust.

    E.g.
    I have 3 servos on the lathe, spindle, x, z, + mpg, hard limits, encoder-in Z,Z/ on C (servo indexed 30.000 counts per turn C axis on the spindle).
    Without errors-in to IO, that was == 120 IO lines to wire, connect, transport IO, conduit, pass thru.
    I used 4 lines of DB25 connectors, so far, with IO blocks at each end.

    The only commercially viable path, is buying a (semi) working industrial machine, fairly old, and using it, or somewhat retrofitting it.

    My scratch-built VMC (nearing completion version 5) and industrial-type retrofit lathe, have a current parts cost of about 100k €, with maybe 10k in tools and 10k in trade items included, like extra linears and ac servos etc.
    I probably wasted about 10k in parts and more than 100k in work-hours on learning and trying with poor, weak, older kit and parts.

    So I have about 20 geckos, and 50+ pulleys, and 10 ballscrews + 10 linear guides of various types lying around, and a Bridgeport M head+VFD.



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    Registered Tkamsker's Avatar
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    Default Re: New to buying milling machines - need help

    You live in USA Follow hanermo advice look at novakon or tormach Check against Haas ( used Löw Time machines ) May be avail ,..


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New to buying milling machines - need help
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