PDA

View Full Version : Please reccomend a CNC package for mini & micro mill



Peter_V
09-05-2005, 01:03 PM
Greetings all,

Newbie here.

I'm looking for a recommendation for a CNC package.
First the limitations:
I'm currently working at a remote location for the next year and the only way I can have anything shipped to me is via US Mail (no UPS, FedEx, truck shippment etc.). So anything I buy has to be light enough to be mailed <70 lbs.
This means I'm probably looking for something like a Taig, Serline, or...?
I don't mind buying the Mill and CNC controller sepearately, but I don't want to buy lots of pieces from separate places that need a lot of work to get up and running.
I'd prefer either a complete package (mill+CNC) or Mill from one place and the rest from another that is designed to bolt right up to the mill.

I already own a HF mini mill, but it's back home in AZ. I would, however, like it if the CNC controller could work with the HF Mill as well as what ever mill I buy now.

I don't mind spending the extra money on a Servo system, if it makes a significant difference.

I'm planning on working with plasic mostly and aluminum occasionally.
Is there a website that compares the pro/con of the Taig vs Sherline vs ?? Any recommendation on one over the other?
Is there a big advantage of the ER collect on the Taig?

Cost is not a major issue. I could go up to $4-5,000 if there is a large advantage of spending this much over the $2000-$2,700 for a ready to go CNC Sherline/Taig.

Thanks in Advance

fpworks
09-05-2005, 08:34 PM
Consider Minitech as well. Their machines are built with linear bearing ways and ballscrews (nearly maintenance free). They work with several different control, component, and spindle manufacturers to fit your budget. (notably DenverCNC who makes some unbelievable stepper control setups)

Their machines are a bit heavier, but they should be able to ship the machine in parts.

They offer a lot more options in controls/spindles/components that isn't posted on their website. Your best bet is to call and talk to them about your budget. Jack is quite helpful and has tremendous flexibility to work around your situation.

Good luck,
Justin

wawatobi
09-05-2005, 08:58 PM
I've been using a Taig mill for three years now. I can't say enough good about it. I bought the package from MicroProto Systems. I spent more on software than I did on the machine. Take a look at the drive screws on the Sherline, then look at Taig's. They're twice as big. If you're hooked on servos, IMservice has a nice package for the Taig.

wizard
09-05-2005, 10:46 PM
Greetings all,

Newbie here.

So are many here.



I'm looking for a recommendation for a CNC package.
First the limitations:
I'm currently working at a remote location for the next year and the only way I can have anything shipped to me is via US Mail (no UPS, FedEx, truck shippment etc.). So anything I buy has to be light enough to be mailed <70 lbs.

That sucks - really it is a limtation. However one could become creative and have a friend knock down a mill and send it in parts.

The manual TAIG mill only weighs in at 65 pounds according to TAIGs web site. I'm taking that as net weight so it is not likely to mail in one container. The CNC option is of course more mass. I would suggest getting a laptop now though for the CNC software, that is if the software/hardware combo you expect to use can run on a laptop.

I'm thinking though that if you go to all this trouble you might as well get one of the chinese mini mills or ship the one you allready got.


This means I'm probably looking for something like a Taig, Serline, or...?
I don't mind buying the Mill and CNC controller sepearately, but I don't want to buy lots of pieces from separate places that need a lot of work to get up and running.
I'd prefer either a complete package (mill+CNC) or Mill from one place and the rest from another that is designed to bolt right up to the mill.

The only people I know of that are doing complete packages are Sherline and TAIG. Somebody mentioned earlier a company call Minitech but that appears to be hardware in a whole different price range. I don't think you will get completely away from a bunch of seperate items at this time. While technology has improved vastly the desk top CNC market is relatively new.



I already own a HF mini mill, but it's back home in AZ. I would, however, like it if the CNC controller could work with the HF Mill as well as what ever mill I buy now.

Probably a good reason to go the build it yourself route. That is create a very small and portable electronics box that has the right components in it to adapt to the various software packages.



I don't mind spending the extra money on a Servo system, if it makes a significant difference.

Most likely it won't make a difference on this size machine. Closing the feed back loop is always nice but you are very likely to end up with even more stuff to carry around. Well bigger stuff. Plus you run into a servicing issue if you are in a remote location.

For a machine that is to run in a remote location with limited support I have to suggest that the simplicity of a stepper system is the way to go.



I'm planning on working with plasic mostly and aluminum occasionally.
Is there a website that compares the pro/con of the Taig vs Sherline vs ?? Any recommendation on one over the other?
Is there a big advantage of the ER collect on the Taig?

I won't get into an argument over two high quality machines. They both are worth considering as are others.

As to the spindle and collets, YES go the ER route. Those collets are available just about anywhere and on the TAIG you get an enhanced grip range. In general prefer machines with standard components.

If you where to get another mini mill I'd highly reccomend an R8 spindle there. Not that the mill can handle the full range of features the spindle will provide just that it is an industry standard and supports everything you are likely to do on that mill.



Cost is not a major issue. I could go up to $4-5,000 if there is a large advantage of spending this much over the $2000-$2,700 for a ready to go CNC Sherline/Taig.

If you have that much cash floating around I'd suggest going with either the Sherline or the TAIG and taking the extra dough and investing it in tooling and materials. Take from somebody with experience here, you will easily spend more than the cost of the mill on tooling. Everything from micrometers to cutting tools. You also might need a fourth axis.



Thanks in Advance

No problem, the only other thing to suggest is that you look into the chinese micro mill that HF sells. If you are willing to to the enhancement work that might make a nice portable machine.

Dave

KDN Tool
09-06-2005, 06:39 AM
Peter,
Check my site www.kdntool.com. I can provide either a complete retrofit-kit for your existing mini-mill, (if you could have someone break yours down and send it to you) or I have a qty of bare X2 mini-mill frames and I could assemble a complete machine and break it down for shipping. My Advanced (ball screw) kit for the mini-mill is 26 pounds and includes the saddle and spindle mount casting. I recently finished a Micro Mark X2 machine conversion that was getting 180+ IPM rapids using NEMA 23 steppers and Gecko's. I offer a host of upgrades including: machined lubrication grooves with one-shot lube pump, mechanical or optical home / limit switches, I can indicate and pin the column if you do not plan to move it, and I am working with Steele products to develop a belt drive that is compatible with my conversion. Don't rule out the imported cast iron machines as they can be converted into quite accomplished machines. I have been retrofitting the X2 since 2003 and have shipped kits around the world.

Regards,
Ken Cardolino
KDN Tool & Automation Engineering Co LLC

Peter_V
09-08-2005, 03:56 AM
I've been using a Taig mill for three years now. I can't say enough good about it. I bought the package from MicroProto Systems. I spent more on software than I did on the machine. Take a look at the drive screws on the Sherline, then look at Taig's. They're twice as big. If you're hooked on servos, IMservice has a nice package for the Taig.

Is this the IMservice system you were talking about:
http://www.cadcamcadcam.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=75

How good is this system?

Peter_V
09-08-2005, 04:09 AM
The manual TAIG mill only weighs in at 65 pounds according to TAIGs web site.

-snip-

I'm thinking though that if you go to all this trouble you might as well get one of the chinese mini mills or ship the one you allready got.


Aside from the weight issue, I don't really have enough room for my Mini-mill.

I'm leaning towards the IMservice servos since they look like they could handle both a Micro Mill now and could be moved to my Mini Mill when I return.
Unless someone knows of any problems with the Imservice system. I'm a bit curious how the belt drives effect accuracy (if at all).



If you have that much cash floating around I'd suggest going with either the Sherline or the TAIG and taking the extra dough and investing it in tooling and materials. Take from somebody with experience here, you will easily spend more than the cost of the mill on tooling. Everything from micrometers to cutting tools. You also might need a fourth axis.


I have plenty of tooling that I can have my wife ship to me. Though, I kind of like the Sherline 2000 mill with the accessory package.



No problem, the only other thing to suggest is that you look into the chinese micro mill that HF sells.
Dave

Too heavy (105 lbs)

wawatobi
09-08-2005, 04:20 PM
Another jeweler friend of mine has Imservice servos on his mill and is quite happy
with the performance. I don't like the idea of being stuck with their NC program.
I'm on the verge of buying another mill and I'm pretty well resigned to go with another stepper system. The mill will be a Taig, and I will probably go with Xylotex for the drivers to save money. One disadvantage of a servo system is the likelihood of breaking more cutters. With the stepper system I can usually stop the machine before breaking a cutter.

fpworks
09-10-2005, 10:59 PM
The only problem I can forsee with the IMservice servo setup is the current limitations of the controller cards, which will not allow the servo motors to ever generate their rated torque.

This probably isn't an issue with low-pitch leadscrew machines like the Sherline, but if you are using higher pitch leadscrews, this setup may not be adequate, even with the belt drive reduction.

I highly recommend making all efforts to get -34 sized steppers. High performance -34 steppers are usually cheaper, easier to find, and almost always better than -23 sized steppers when you consider performance under your actual machining conditions such as table speed (rpm) with acceleration/deceleration, way friction, and cutting forces (is "stall torque" important here?...not really...look at the rest of the specifications) Also, if you plan on going to servos in the future, servos are easier to find in -34 frame as well.

I'll steer you back toward the Minitech mill, with linear bearing ways there is very low way friction...almost none, which doesn't require excess stepper/servo torque just to move the table, and expect higher resolution movement because of no way stick-slip. High-pitch ballscrews keep stepper speed low (where they make better torque), and don't forget to consider the efficiency of ballscrews...usually more than 90% of stepper/servo torque is translated to table thrust. This leaves you with not having to break the bank on your steppers/servos/controllers.

Justin

Peter_V
09-18-2005, 08:50 AM
My thanks to everyone who replied.

I decided to buy a small CNC mill for now and convert my Sieg X2 when I get back from the sandbox.

I ended up buying a CNC converted Proxxon MF70 on ebay. This Pico sized mill should be plenty big enough for the projects I have in mind.

Thanks again.