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View Full Version : Looking for a smaller size CNC mill.



gundog
06-20-2011, 01:23 AM
I would like to add a small CNC mill to my shop. I would like to do some aluminum parts out of 1" for my marine products business. I don't have room for a large CNC machining center so I was thinking bench top size but larger than a Sherline type machine something about the size of a mill drill. Do they sell something that size? I might have room for a Bridgeport size machine.

I am not looking for a project I want to buy a commercially made machine hopefully that won't break the bank.

I have a 8' x 4' ShopBot CNC router that runs Aspire design and ShopBot control software. I have become proficient at using the software I have and I am wondering if I could use this to run a new mill. I really like this software and would rather not have to learn something else.

Thanks Mike

macona
06-20-2011, 02:28 AM
You could get an old bridgeport boss. But if you are short on space look at a Fanuc RoboMate or RoboDrill. They are fully enclosed, flood coolant, and have real controls. I have seen used ones in the 4-6k range. I almost got one myself. They take up a rather small footprint and are pretty darn fast. There is also the Haas office mills, but they are pretty spendy.

There is the tormach but they are god awful slow. You will run out of room real fast. Plus you are stuck with an R8 spindle. They have the tormach tool system but it wont handle any heavier cuts without working out. I know, I had it.

Boostinjdm
06-20-2011, 02:33 AM
I can't recommend and specific machine, but I will say to get as big as you can fit/afford. Even though I can't afford any more equipment at the moment, I have been looking around. Seems like the work envelope on the smaller machines is just too small for my projects. Unless you are 100% sure the parts you want to make will fit, go big.

beanbag
06-20-2011, 03:31 AM
Tormach has a junior version 770 that has higher spindle speeds and traverse. The new paradigm is High Speed Machining, which is high spindle speeds and light cuts with rapid traverse.

Tormach has a large user community and good support, which may be important to you.

Mikini also makes a junior CNC mill. The specs look good, but in their machining videos, the machine makes sickly sounds when cutting, which doesn't really bode well for its rigidity or horsepower.

Jaakko Fagerlund
06-20-2011, 04:04 AM
And from the lower cost end of the scale, take a look at what SIEG offers, for example KX3 mill, it is factory built CNC machine based on X3 milling machine and comes either with or without the controlling software (either SIEG, Siemens or Mach).

Jeremy_BP
06-20-2011, 08:02 AM
You might have a look at the syil machines. I haven't had any experience with them, but they don't have a very large footprint.

philbur
06-20-2011, 08:32 AM
Small aluminium parts means that you need a high spindle speed. The Tormach 770 has 10,000 rpm and starts at $6,200. The support and service is truly second to none and they work straight out of the box. For the all round best performer there is no doubt that Tormach is your bench mark:

http://www.tormach.com/Product_PCNC_770_main.html

And specifically here about Tormach users:

http://www.cnczone.com/forums/tormach_pcnc/

How do I know these things, I've been running a Tormach PCNC 1100 for the last 5 years.

Also have a good read here about the real world performance of the different manufacturers, this is where you find out the truth:

http://www.cnczone.com/forums/index.php#metalworking_machines

Phil:)

gundog
06-20-2011, 09:23 PM
Thanks guys I have some research to do now I knew I could get some products from you guys to look at. I try to add a new piece of machinery to the shop each year and if business stays good I will add a CNC mill this year.

Mike

Dr Stan
06-20-2011, 10:50 PM
I recommend that you also look at the HASS toolroom mill. I saw one being used in production at an Italian plant making parts for digital measuring instruments.

DFMiller
06-20-2011, 11:08 PM
Gun dog,
I have a KX3. I think for the money the Tormach is the standard to compare too. If I were doing it again I would get the Tormach. They seem to have a bunch of satisfied users. They did not have the little Tormach back when I was shopping. A high speed spindle is important with the smaller tools. Haas is. Great machine I you have the room and budget.
Good luck and let's us know what you finally get.
Dave

willmac
06-21-2011, 06:01 AM
Philbur -

How did you organise shipping to Norway? I have been looking at these small CNC mills for a while but am put off by the cost and complexity of getting one shipped to UK - something I know nothing about. Do Tormach have local agents?

Bill

djc
06-21-2011, 06:24 AM
...I have been looking at these small CNC mills for a while but am put off by the cost and complexity of getting one shipped to UK - something I know nothing about....

Have a look in one of the recent Model Engineer's Workshop magazines. Someone in UK has an article on doing just that. I believe they also hang out on the Model Engineer forum, so you could contact them there.

philbur
06-21-2011, 12:34 PM
- Tormach arrange the shipping, or you can ask your freight forwarder (see next point) for a quote.

- You find al local freight forwarding agent (yellow pages or internet) to handle the import paperwork etc.

- You provide the forwarding agents details to Tormach.

- You pay Tormach the invoiced price. I paid with a bank transfer via internet banking.

- You wait for the truck to arrive. Tell your freight forwarder what type of truck to deliver on and when to deliver.

Job done, money solves all problems.

Shipping was USD942 (for a PCNC 1100) plus agents fees and VAT to the agent, according to his invoice.

Contact Tormach for any updates on shipping procedure.

It's a piece of cake, I was surprised how simple it turned out.

Phil:)


Philbur -

How did you organise shipping to Norway? I have been looking at these small CNC mills for a while but am put off by the cost and complexity of getting one shipped to UK - something I know nothing about. Do Tormach have local agents?

Bill

willmac
06-21-2011, 05:34 PM
Phil -

Thanks - that looks less problematic than I thought.

Bill

macona
06-22-2011, 02:05 PM
Also another reason not to buy a tormach or other machines that use Mach3, rigid tapping. If your part has tapped holes this will save you a lot of time.

mochinist
06-22-2011, 03:20 PM
if you are strictly a hobbyist, the tormach is probably a decent deal, otherwise Maconas advice(both post) is what I would listen to, if you plan on using the mill for your work.

Jaakko Fagerlund
06-22-2011, 04:30 PM
Also another reason not to buy a tormach or other machines that use Mach3, rigid tapping. If your part has tapped holes this will save you a lot of time.
One can always change the software on the computer that runs the mill, for example to EMC2 or similar. The machine doesn't necessary make the limit unless it is missing a tacho from the spindle.

DFMiller
06-22-2011, 07:27 PM
I just saw Tormach has EMC as an option.
Dave