Getting ready to buy - First VMC


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    Default Getting ready to buy - First VMC

    Ok so I'm getting ready to buy my first VMC. Looking for a Haas VF-2 ~95-00, preferably as new as possible. My budget is ~$18k for the machine only - will be gathering tools as I go.

    I've been offered a 99 VF-0E at~$20k incl. a 4th axis HRT210. Its got the Vector dual drive, 710IPM, brushless servos. Would I be making a mistake in choosing a VF-0E over a VF-2? Its belt driven, so I guess its not as powerful as the two speed gearbox' VF-2s at low rpm. In my research I find that VF-0Es incl. 4th axis are priced approximately the same as a similar year VF-2 without a 4th axis.

    Is the 4th axis really necessairy? Im under the impression that many shop environments never use them, they just having them laying around.

    Main purpose of the machine is prototyping and small series production as a hobby; Im a MSc. mechanical engineer. Main reason Im going straight to a Haas is I dont want to be stuck with a underpowered Tormach that I will outgrow after a year.

    Im going to be producing molds for sand casting, prototypes etc. Similar to this intake manifold project I did during my last years at uni:



    andreasriseng's Library | Photobucket

    Andreas

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    Default Re: Getting ready to buy - First VMC

    The 4th axis could be handy down the road if you get into it, but it's specific to certain applications. You could take advantage of it if you plan to make multi-sided workpieces, although it may over-complicate things for small quantities. The other big use is batches of multiple small parts since you can pack them into the machine all at once, but with some work you might be able to do that with a typical 3-axis setup as well.
    Having said that, the extra drive will probably increase the value a little bit. The HRT210 is an 8-inch rotary platter, so definitely not the smallest piece of hardware. Might be valuable to someone

    Speaking about the gearbox, it'll make a noticeable difference for any high-torque tool like a heavy facing cut or a large-diameter drill or tap. It'll make no practical difference for anything running above 2500-RPM, so finishing operations and smaller tools won't care. Generally I tell people it's more effective during the roughing cuts rather than the finishing cuts.

    I will say one thing, though, that is drawing a line in the sand for me in particular. Around this timeframe (1999) Haas was making the switch from brushed-to-brushless servomotors, so there are some machines that have INCORRECT "brushless 710-IPM" stickers on the front of the enclosure. They're actually brushed and rapid at like 400-IPM or something. The problem isn't the speed, but rather the older controller and motion hardware which is less reliable and no longer serviced. I have a machine where this was a major source of confusion when we bought a rotary axis specifically for it, only to realize it was incompatible...we ended up upgrading the entire machine to run the newer-style rotary ($$).
    So I would be cautious buying a mill from this era because it may actually have older hardware installed despite the [literal] sticker on the front saying otherwise. I don't know how prevalent it is, but I'd prefer a machine from like 2000 or newer, since the controller saw some upgrades around that time. But yeah I know that means passing up on a deal...

    I have two mills from around this era (97 and 99). They both still work decent for what they are, although I don't follow the used market enough to know what they're worth.



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    Default Re: Getting ready to buy - First VMC

    Thank you for your reply, Ydna. Is there a way to check if the machine really have the brushless servos?
    I'm not going to use this machine to compete with production shops, only do small production series of my own products, so I guess I'm not really in the need of a gearbox - I can just run a little slower I agree on the points you are making with the added capability of the 4th. I do see some real benefits of having it - maybe making a big trunnion for larger part and running multiple parts in one setup.

    If anything this machine is possibly a bit cheaper than the other machines I've seen lately, being the rotary driving the price up. Another pluss is that the machine is located not too far from where I live.

    One will always want a newer machine, but I believe a machine like this will fit my needs. Anything newer will just be more money Im a bit surprised about how well these machines hold their value; I can get a brand new base model VF-2 for about $42k that will last past my lifetime in my small, private shop.



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    Default Re: Getting ready to buy - First VMC

    I spoke too soon; just ordered a brand new VF-2....



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    Default Re: Getting ready to buy - First VMC

    Quote Originally Posted by ar_cnc View Post
    I spoke too soon; just ordered a brand new VF-2....
    That escalated quickly!! Enjoy the new machine.



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    Default Re: Getting ready to buy - First VMC

    Congratulations. That may have been a better decision. It is the one I made last year. After looking at the used machines and how well they hold their value, to get one near half price would have meant a 20 year old operating system. A new machine was simply a better investment. It comes with at least a one year warranty that can be extended, but not sure it is worth what they charge. You will only know that in hindsight.

    Lee


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    Default Re: Getting ready to buy - First VMC

    Yeah escalated pretty quickly although I've looking for a machine for years. The VF-2EU is on sale so got a nice deal on it. I agree LeeWay; looking at this as a long term investment I believe this will be the better option. I did not dare venture on with a 20 year old machine not really knowing the condition its in before getting it into the shop.

    Are you happy with yours, LeeWay?

    Just got the machine with the bare essentials though, 32Gb memory, WIFI and pre-configured for TSC. Couldn't afford any more extras. I can always add on in the future, the first thing being probably the swarf auger.

    Theres so much good information and knowledge available out there about these machines, videoes etc. on YouTube, that made my decision easy.


    Stay tuned for many noob threads and mistakes; 3 months until delivery


    Andreas



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    Default Re: Getting ready to buy - First VMC

    IMO, you'll want to add WIPS (probing and tool setting system) and High Speed Machining. That'll cost an additional ~$10k Once you've used a probe, you'll never look back.

    If you're going to do any mold work or anything that is contoured surface requiring smaller-ish cutters, you'll definitely use High Speed Machining.


    JMHO
    PM



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    Default Re: Getting ready to buy - First VMC

    For the time being I don't have any customers, and I'm only jerking around on a hobby basis, I can live with setting tool heights etc. manually



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    Default Re: Getting ready to buy - First VMC

    Quote Originally Posted by ar_cnc View Post

    Are you happy with yours, LeeWay?

    Just got the machine with the bare essentials though, 32Gb memory, WIFI and pre-configured for TSC. Couldn't afford any more extras. I can always add on in the future, the first thing being probably the swarf auger.






    Andreas
    I absolutely love our Mini Mill. There is not a single aspect of it that was not an upgrade from our Novakon Pulsar. The Pulsar is a decent machine itself. The only extra I ordered was the rigid tapping. I am still convinced that was the right choice for us. I may one day upgrade to the WIPS, but for now, the Haimer does a good job.

    Lee


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