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gsnorcal
10-12-2011, 12:29 AM
Hi,

This forum is unusually quiet when compared to competitor forums. I'm interested in purchasing a Mikini, but many recent posts are machine problem-related.

I just want to get a sense if all the happy guys are just quiet and don't post much in this forum.

Thanks,
Dave

SWATH
10-12-2011, 04:56 PM
I didn't vote because I haven't really had a chance to use the machine yet. I think the hardware is great. Having said that, the electronics may be extremely sensitive and not suitable for residential use. Whether this is a failure of residential power or the machine is yet to be determined but never-the-less I feel that since the machine is marketed to home users the electronics need to be engineered to be more robust/less sensitive to accommodate for residential variabilities. The other school of thought is that the electronics are simply cheap imported components that are more likely to fail than not. I don't know which is the case but my machine has been down since I got it brand new in March primarily due to spindle issues.

The service is good for minor issues (i.e. missing oil line, needing .xml, replacing damaged component, etc.) but if you have any issue that requires any expertise then you are essentially on your own. There is only email/phone support. The wait times for delivery and turn around times for component repair/replacement in my experience are grossly under exaggerated. The QC of repaired components is lacking and there is a tendency of the company to quickly deflect any blame onto the user (whether true or not is bad business practice).

Here are some suggestions I might offer:
1. Get a traveling technician to diagnose and fix major issues on site.
2. Re-engineer electronics to be more robust and less prone to damage and signal problems, mainly the spindle control.
3. Include better protections for the machine circuitry like GFCI-EPD, surge suppression, and transformation devices to condition incoming power, etc.
4. Test machine on a variety of power environments
5. Include longer coolant nozzles.
6. Leakproof the enclosure better.
7. Manual needs to be much more detailed as it is pretty sparse.

Nitpicky stuff:
1. Include Lexan top cover
2. Make jog pendant less jerky on setting 10x
3. Make jog pendant interface with Mach when in CNC mode as well as manual function.
4. Have Manual DRO continuous with Mach DRO
5. Have spindle RPM register in Mach
5. Offer a BT30 spindle, ATC, etc.

I'm sure I'm leaving some out but these jump to mind.

Overall the machine itself is pretty impressive. It's very heavy, rigid, and well though out design wise. The Linear bearing ways are very smooth, fast and accurate. I can't say too much about the operation but the spindle seems to be the weakest link. It tends to be weak on low end torque but adequate, the main glaringly obvious problem is the spindle control board, as many users here including myself are experiencing problems.

Can I recommend the machine? I wish I could say yes, but as of right now I can't. Once it gets running, if it ever does, I would totally recommend it but until then it's been a nightmare for me as well as my wife, whom I recently witnessed tearing up at all my frustrations. That really hit me and lit a fire to do whatever it takes to get a functioning CNC machine, even if that means selling it and going back to my original plan of getting a Tormach. I took a chance and now my plans have essentially been delayed a year. If there are flawlessly running machines out there I'm sure those users are ecstatic as I would be.

I'll be happy to answer any questions for you.

gsnorcal
10-12-2011, 07:50 PM
Swath,

Thanks for the reply. I've followed your tale. What I'm wondering is if there is 1 SWATH for 100 happy silent owners, or 1 happy per 100 SWATH's.

Happy owners--let me see you are there! ;)

Thanks,
Dave

howecnc
10-12-2011, 09:25 PM
This is a tough one to poll on. I agree most issues are with the spindle drive system. It does not give you that moment to run over and pause the machine or slow the feed down. It does fall into that class of light industrial. When an industrial machine senses that it is not where it is suppose to be it just stops. A proto-track or a Tormach just keep going until it stalls but you have time to correct it.

All that being said, when the machine is programmed for its design it performs as advertised. You have to know what the machine will and won't do and I think that is where most are getting frustrated. I know that is where some of my own frustration came from. Now that I know that it is more reliable to helical into a hole with an endmill rather than drilling with a larger drill I have less trouble.

Hands down, with an endmill roughing a part I can put my Tormach to shame. The TTS holders won't stay in the spindle if you are to aggressive.

I guess to give you a number I would say I am at 80 on a scale of 1 to a 100. I had some technical issues from the get go and I have a couple little things that I would like to be worked out.

Sweeney
10-13-2011, 10:52 AM
My machine recently went down due to external power issues. I just sent the entire electronics package and spindle out to Mikini to be evaluated. It's looking pretty costly so far and I'll have some decisions to make soon.
That said, I did use the machine to make a whole bunch of bronze trail markers for the Trail of Time in The Grand Canyon a little over a year ago which paid for the machine.
I'm looking at other options right now as far as replacing the electronics.
With my limited background,
I'll say that when operating correctly the machine produced pretty well for my needs.
The spindle on mine was, on occasion, 'flaky'.
It's a mix of decent function housed in the typical, rough, Chinese manufactured box.

SWATH
10-13-2011, 11:57 AM
So just to rehash, the following people have had or are currently having spindle problems:

SWATH
Slowtwitch
Aussiedude
HoweCNC
Sweeney
RockyMTN
Mcphill
Allenj20

This is a systemic problem and the only thing that seems to help is replacing the electronics a few times until you get some that work.

:mad::mad::mad:

gsnorcal
10-13-2011, 12:06 PM
Guys,

I really appreciate the responses, but I don't want this thread to be a recap of the problems you've already posted about. Hence the poll, which only one has entered a vote on ;-)

I am trying to get the happy customers to speak up. I want to make sure that they exist!

Thanks,
Dave

Sweeney
10-13-2011, 12:09 PM
Hence the poll, which nobody has entered a vote on ;-)

I did... :wave:

ROCKYMTN
10-13-2011, 02:23 PM
I voted too - I am mostly to very satisfied with the machine. It did take 4 months to get there though but I'm happy now. From a mechanical point I think the machine is very solid and precise. The electronics are hit and miss though as highlighted elsewhere - maybe they should include extra spares/extra parts.

I think some good attention to the electronic component sourcing and better QC will clean up a lot of these problems. My only issue now is just that stuttering problem on x10.

I wish Mikini had better machine documentation including a complete set of schematics for the boards. I would not even mind paying for this $50 even as I need to be able to service this in the future - and I would like to service this myself. Which reminds me, the next machine I purchase WILL have complete documentation available or they will not get my money.

mcphill
10-15-2011, 02:35 PM
I voted "mostly satisfied", but I would have picked "neither satisfied nor dissatisfied" if the option were there. I am pretty sure that the population of Mikini owners on CNCZone have posted. You aren't going to get a bunch of responses from elated users who don't post. I doubt there are even 50 machines on the market. Phil will give no clue how many are out there. He does follow up quickly on issues he can solve, but stubbornly does not resolve some of the more challenging issues (the x10 stuttering, spindle issues, etc). If I could get a full refund today, I would, and would get a Tormach. I think the Mikini is a better base machine, but Tormach support, forum participation, and apparent lack of consistent failures make it a superior overall machine in my mind. I purchased the Mikini with full knowledge it could be a bumpy road. It is bumpier than I expected, and resolution to common issues does not seem to be forthcoming. I would not be surprised if Mikini were no longer around in a few years - you can't let these issues fester for years and expect to have word-of-mouth to be on your side.

gsnorcal
10-15-2011, 03:02 PM
Thanks for the votes and responses.

LazyMan
10-26-2011, 02:05 AM
Sometimes a video is worth a million pictures...I have watched Mikini for about two years now any I have yet to see a decent video of the mill in action doing more than cutting a single pocket and cutting plastic should be the last thing they demonstrate! This certainly does not inspire confidence in a potential buyer. I also cant believe that these spindle problems people are having are still going on after all this time.

mcphill
11-03-2011, 10:28 PM
Lots of "hard" cuts here: MikiniMech's Channel - YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/user/MikiniMech)

Just not sure if any of us can replicate that performance...