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  1. #1
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    Default How capable are these machines?

    I need to make a couple thousand small parts (turn and mill) of about 2.5" dia and a couple inches long, and looking for a machine that can handle these. FWIW, pricing from existing suppliers has gone up significantly so I'm leaning towards just getting a machine and making these myself. Just starting my search, I see a Shopmaster CNC mill and lathe combo on Ebay for $7500 which is doable, but I've not heard of these before and not sure how capable they are. Also I've always heard to stay away from mill-lathe combos, but these guys seem to have been around for decades, so they must be doing something right. I know that a Tormach can make parts to my requirements, so perhaps a comparison of this to a Tormach would get me a ballpark of how it performs.

    Thanks.

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    Registered he1957's Avatar
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    Default Re: How capable are these machines?

    Here's an interesting post: https://www.cnczone.com/forums/shopm...machinist.html

    Personally, I usually steer away from combo tools because they tend to be mediocre at their tasks whereas dedicated tools are usually better at what they do. Having said that, the convenience of having a part already set to go for these two operations might be very attractive and adequate depending on the needs and for that I think it's a cool idea; especially if it's CNC. Space is a good point too.

    I considered this style a few years ago (pre-CNC) but decided to get a lathe and mill as separate tools.



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    Registered RussellCofID's Avatar
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    Default Re: How capable are these machines?

    Depends on your budget, if you must get the job done in CNC and your budget is under $15k, I think the ShopMaster is about your only option.

    Talk to JT, he will try and sell you one but generally is a pretty fair fellow, I emailed him many times before settling on a used machine from him. My budget was pretty tight so I saved a couple hundred by having it shipped to a nearby dock.

    Russell C of Idaho
    Big trains and big dreams...


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    Default Re: How capable are these machines?

    he1957: Somehow I expect this answer (re: combo mill/drills).
    RussellCoID: Why or how do you come up with 15k, since this machine is $7.5k?

    Thanks.



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    Registered RussellCofID's Avatar
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    Default Re: How capable are these machines?

    I was just thinking if you wanted to buy 2 separate machines to do the work you are looking at $15-20k used....

    Russell C of Idaho
    Big trains and big dreams...


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    Default Re: How capable are these machines?

    Ah, gotcha.
    Thanks.



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    Default Re: How capable are these machines?

    I think the answers to this question should be split into 2 sequences; Is it a problem sharing the table between turning and milling? Is the machine solid enough for turning and milling? Answer sequence 1: I have only once or twice in the 10+ years I have owned it felt bad about taking a setup on the mill apart so I could use the lathe. But I have frequently found the big mill table to be useful on the lathe. Answer Sequence 2: I have found the machine is not rigid enough for turning big parts or for holding a 1/2" mill vibration less. I for the most part could circumvent the lathe rigidity issue by either not turning big parts or by taking very shallow cuts. I needed to turn a big steel shaft,, 3.5" dia and about 20" long by first truing it from 4" dia to 3.5" dia then adding a step down to 3.25" dia. During the truing step I got a scalloped surface. When I took it to a local machine shop the skilled machinist told me my lathe was not rigid enough and then demonstrated how his commercial machine could take .050 deep cuts and still leave a smooth surface. Just the sound of the cutting was different enough to convince me he was right. When millling slots I have found that trying to cut on both sides of the mill is almost a sure way to break the mill. I address the problem by buying lots of mills and trying to cut say a 1/2" wide slot by making a pass with a 3/8" mill on both sides. I suspect that my particular machine has faulty in/out table ways and probably a more skilled machinist could fix the problem but it is what it is and I generally don't need to take deep or two sided cuts.



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    Default Re: How capable are these machines?

    Somehow I expected this. Sharing mill and lathe is no issue, but if I can't get a decent finish, then I won't bother.
    Thanks.



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