View Full Version : How bad an idea is this VMC?

04-22-2013, 04:21 PM

Kitamura w/ toolholders and Fanuc OM control, runs but with some bees in the bonnet. This is very close to me. I've been looking at buying a Tormach, but for this price I might be willing to spend some time with a multimeter or replace the control with EMC2. I don't want a total POS but am not in need of something capable of running nonstop and holding +/-.0005" all day long.

04-22-2013, 04:33 PM
It has a fanuc control, replacing it with emc2 would be insane. That would be a downgrade.

Most likely it is just a bad cable on the z axis. Looks like a good deal to me. We have a kitamura mycenter-0 that has been converted to a a laser welder. Neat little machine. Well built. If you get it I have some more bt-35 tooling for you.

Jaakko Fagerlund
04-22-2013, 05:00 PM
BT-35? That sounds like an oddball to me, usually it is BT-30, BT-40 and BT-50, at least those are very easy to get tools for.

And just about anything other than a Fanuc control is better. If one opts for the LinuxCNC, then one at least has some control over the machine parameters without paying huge money for service calls.

04-22-2013, 05:04 PM
+1 on keeping the 0 if at all possible, it was a middle of the road work horse for Fanuc and spanned quite a few years.
Spares can be expensive, but there should be many options on ebay for parts.

04-22-2013, 05:07 PM
Hey sansbury...I would have bought it a couple of days ago if I had more room!!! Intermittent problems are sometimes hard to get a handle on but the right tech will figure it out in no time. Replace with EMC2?? No way. Fix the Fanuc. (Fanuc has everything! Expensive....maybe) You will have a real machine that is capable of making you real money for a long time. Take off the covers and look at the ways for wear. Great luck :) Dean

04-22-2013, 05:50 PM
Kitamura is a high end Japanese brand and Fanuc controls are an industry standard. That machine is WAY more than a Tormach.
Tormach is a good machine for hobby stuff, the Kitamura is a heavy duty industrial high precision mill. There are BT35 and BT45 holders. This one comes with 65 holders. That is a lot of tooling. I would be inclined to go with the K. By the time you get it running smoothly you will probably have a few thou less in it than a Tormach with starter package.

04-22-2013, 06:07 PM
Kitamura is a high end Japanese brand

It may be that they are Nikken bt35 quick fit adapters.... like the ones left and center below...

If they are ..then its a nice high quality setup.


but now I've seen the photo they look like a standard BT taper albeit 35 ...


04-22-2013, 06:10 PM
I used to have to look after a Matrix Churchill CNC that used a 1980s Fanuc bubble memory based horror.

LinuxCNC would be a definate step up for that machine.


04-22-2013, 06:11 PM
I would go for it. I just bought a similar size machine and paid quite a bit more for it. A good cnc repair person or yourself with some coaching can likely get the problem solved.


04-22-2013, 06:14 PM
Jump on that thing! I have worked in 3 shops with kitamura's and they are awesome very precise smooth machines. The machine itself will blow a tormach out of the water, and there are lots of options for the controls, anything from having the fanuc serviced to retrofitting in another one.

One more thing, we had one of our prototrak cncs down for a day with a recurring "x axis servo fault". Our maintenance guy literally grabbed a wire coming off the servo and jiggled it and it works fine now. It could be that simple on that machine. especially if the problem is intermittent and not consistent.

04-22-2013, 09:23 PM
It will easily mill circles around the Tormach any day of the week

Ask about any and all manuals included as they will be a big help. Had a couple minor CNC problems with my Dynapath 50 that were easily fixed by your's trully so don't worry about the Fanuc OM control too much.

04-22-2013, 09:34 PM
If it was close to me, it would be sitting on my floor right now. BT35 is a bit of an oddball, but not un heard of and it comes with 65 of 'em.

Bruce Griffing
04-22-2013, 09:41 PM
I have a newer Kitty Mycenter 1. Before I bought mine, I hired a tech to go over the machine. That cost $500 but it was worth every penny. Use the grapevine to find a good indy tech who knows Fanuc and Kitamura. If the machine is in usable shape - it will be better than the Tormach in every way except one - size of memory. But you will be able to drip feed large programs.

04-22-2013, 09:42 PM
Yeah, good luck buying 65 decent toolholders for $5000.

Zahnrad Kopf
04-22-2013, 09:48 PM
The replies in this thread are downright ridiculous. If I were closer you would not be thinking about it any more because it would be gone. And that's not a 1980's Fanuc. Might as well stop driving cars because the Pacer was a piece of cr@p. That's a VERY nice machine. And tormach has no business even being mentioned in the same breath. VERY likely a bad cable or wire. Cripes. I might even be willing to drive from Wisconsin to go get that... Don't let anyone kid you, either. Much as I love Linux and EMC, no way in HECK I'd be pulling that control unless I absolutely HAD to. Run. Don't walk. Go look at it.

04-22-2013, 10:14 PM
Why a downgrade? I though you had very little experience with linuxcnc..


It has a fanuc control, replacing it with emc2 would be insane. That would be a downgrade.

Most likely it is just a bad cable on the z axis. Looks like a good deal to me. We have a kitamura mycenter-0 that has been converted to a a laser welder. Neat little machine. Well built. If you get it I have some more bt-35 tooling for you.

04-23-2013, 01:41 AM
Support, for one thing. You can find techs with fanuc experience everywhere. You replace the controls with something else and you will be about the only person who can work on it. That will also effect it's resale value.

04-23-2013, 02:28 AM
I notice that the control has "drilling centre" not "milling centre" on the front panel - is this significant in terms of its capability?


04-23-2013, 02:47 AM
Good thing that rascule is far away from me, I'd hit the MasterCard in a heartbeat!! :D
Tormach or Mycenter? There is nothing to think about!


04-23-2013, 04:19 AM
It seems mill and drill are somewhat synonymous in japan. Just as this says drilling center when it is a mill, the Fanuc Robodrill is also a milling center.

Hot Bob
04-23-2013, 09:03 AM
These are quality machines, yes. But, if you need service by a tech, it gets expensive quickly. My first cnc machine was a Matsuura VMC which is very comparable to Kitamura. Getting a tech out to work on it was a minimum of $500. It once cost me $500 to find out a breaker had tripped it the control box. It took the tech five minutes to diagnose the problem and reset the breaker. Since he was there and I was paying $125/ hr for their four hour minimum, he went through the machine and taught me a lot of good stuff but, it was still a tough lesson about owning a machine of this type.

The BT35 tooling is mostly discontinued however, there are some industrial cnc woodcarving machines that use it and a couple companies support them. I was able to find new ER-20 collet holders that were still being manufactured and of course ebay is the main source for used holders for anything else.