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  • Used CNC equipment

    I know this is not really a cnc board but I also know many of you are cnc guys.

    I am thinking of looking for a used cnc 3 or 4 axis machine. Hopefully under 20K.

    Does anyone have any suggestions on make, model, and where to buy?

    Please give me all the low down. I have never operated one but I will be taking a class if I can get a machine.

    Thanks in advance
    Life Is Grand

  • #2
    I sell used CNC machinery, but some hint of what you mean by "CNC machine" would be helpful....mill, machining center, lathe, turning center, EDM (wire or sinker), or ??

    Comment


    • #3
      A older converted cnc is "cheap" I saw one sell in Northern New York for $2,000 Saw one sell in Northern Iowa for Less than $1500..

      Why? because a company don't want a Refitted machine. They are afraid the $150+ a hour plus technician will live there. So if you convert, or buy a converted machine you need to know how to fix it.

      As a hobbiest with a large cnc.. I suggest getting a tabletop model for $2k till you learn the basics of gcode and modeling to metal conversion. You'd be surprised to see what all can be built on a sherline. And once you outgrow it? people are waiting to purchase it used at a slight depreciation.

      My 1976 bridgeport makes a excellent drill press, I rarely use it for whittling out slabs of BILLET into parts. Without a operating computer, it is a boat anchor. I have had more trouble with Bill's software then the machine for sure. I am learning a decent modeling program.

      Lots of guys have trophy "chopper style" motorcycles, but do they actually ride them, or enjoy being around them? You can hear them brag about them thou..
      Honest opinion without any pride inserted here.. If I bragged on my mill, you'd have to have one just like it right? but giving you the honest third man appraisal you can decide for yourself.

      A cnc is a tool, do you need the tool for the job, or need a job for the tool.
      Excuse me, I farted.

      Comment


      • #4
        cybor462,
        $20k can get you a nice used machine. Last week my friend bought a really nice Haas TM-1 for $15k. He had been looking for a few weeks and there were a few mills in the $10k range he was looking at. Just remember that you will probably need to tool it up too. Because it will probably be a 30 or 40 taper machine this can be quite a bit more expensive than a manual mill. Stay away from R8 spindles with CNC unless you are getting one of the hobby size mills like the Tormach and have no choice.

        If you are not in a hurry deals come around. Watch the auction sites, I bought a really nice Milltronics VK3 with 200 hours on it at an auction for $1356 out the door. It was a sheet metal shop and everyone was there for sheet metal fab equipment.

        If you are not familiar with CNC equipment find someone who is to help you find one. If the machine you want is under power cut circle, square and triangle pockets on it and measure the cuts. Check the circle with a DTI to see how round it is, check the square to see if it is square and the dimensions are correct and check the triangle to see if the angles are correct. If it is not accurate it might have worn ballscrews or other problems. Ballscrews can be expensive I just ordered one for my Fadal on Friday and it was delivered today. The ballscrew was almost $2K

        Mark Hockett
        Mark Hockett

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        • #5
          Originally posted by David E Cofer

          A cnc is a tool, do you need the tool for the job, or need a job for the tool.
          Actually I am transforming my shop into a full production shop. I now farm out the cnc work that I prototype but if I get a machine and have the ability to learn and produce parts will save me dollars in the long run.

          I think I am already above the capabilities of mini equipment. Not that they do not have a place in production. My work is 50% alloy and 50% steel and run larger than 9+" a part and more. Some of this stuff gives my BP clone a run for the money.

          The guy that is making the parts for me now has Haas and Seiko's 3+4 axis machines. He said if I watch I can find them for under 20K used in very good working order.

          My problem is I have never run one, nor do I know what I should be looking for as far as capabilities, habits, depenability factor as you mentioned. I hoped I would hear from the guys here to get an idea where to start.

          I was told by a few that they are very easy to learn and program. I guess it depends on who is on the work end of things. This is one of the reasons I am trying to get a feel for them by those who truly know.

          I could talk to a salesman who may tell me everything I want to hear but not always the stuff I need to know.
          Life Is Grand

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Mark Hockett
            If you are not familiar with CNC equipment find someone who is to help you find one. If the machine you want is under power cut circle, square and triangle pockets on it and measure the cuts. Check the circle with a DTI to see how round it is, check the square to see if it is square and the dimensions are correct and check the triangle to see if the angles are correct. If it is not accurate it might have worn ballscrews or other problems. Ballscrews can be expensive I just ordered one for my Fadal on Friday and it was delivered today. The ballscrew was almost $2K

            Mark Hockett
            This is exactly what I am looking for , hardcore advise. I do not know anything about a cnc machine. I know there are many pitfalls and traps awaiting someone without first hand knowledge when it comes down to buying a used machine.

            Are there any websites I could check that might have useful info for someone like me looking to get in over my head?

            I always had to do it to learn it and this will be no different. If I have some help getting into one I know I can make it pay off.
            Life Is Grand

            Comment


            • #7
              cybor462,
              If you are serious about purchasing a CNC mill you can call me and I can ask you a few questions to get a feel for what you will need. I can also explain some things to look for. I would type up something and post it here but it would take me over an hour to do it and I don't have the time today, but I can talk on the phone and work at the same time LOL. The number is,
              360-579-1041
              Mark Hockett

              Comment


              • #8
                Have at it and good luck!

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

                For me it'll be a big day when I get the X power feed hooked up.
                Got a head like an anvil I do.
                Len

                Comment


                • #9
                  <quote>Actually I am transforming my shop into a full production shop. I now farm out the cnc work that I prototype but if I get a machine and have the ability to learn and produce parts will save me dollars in the long run.

                  I think I am already above the capabilities of mini equipment. Not that they do not have a place in production. My work is 50% alloy and 50% steel and run larger than 9+" a part and more. Some of this stuff gives my BP clone a run for the money.

                  The guy that is making the parts for me now has Haas and Seiko's 3+4 axis machines. He said if I watch I can find them for under 20K used in very good working order.
                  <end quote>

                  I apologize for assuming you were a hobbiest. THE name of this board is "home shop machinists". Except for John, a few others I suspected the board was populated by part time machinists.

                  Too bad you are not closer for me to add you to my list of contacts to sell my service to.. buying a used machine you had either be a tech or know one.
                  Excuse me, I farted.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    $20K is a good budget, might get a lathe plus a mill for that kind of money (if you're really lucky). That's assuming you don't need super fast modern machines. Even having an older machine in house will make you more money than farming the work out.

                    A 4th axis mill may be a little hard to find though.

                    The controller is the biggest concern IMO. You don't want an older, unsupported or super expensive-to-fix controller.

                    Look around, find some machines, call the local CNC fix-it guys. Call the control maker. Ask if the control is supported, what about circuit boards, chronic problems, etc.

                    If buying from a dealer (or anybody) try to get some guarantee it'll run once it's delivered to your shop. Just the act of moving a machine can cause problems.

                    Most problems with CNC's are relatively simple, fuses, loose connections, etc, etc. The sort of thing you can fix yourself with a bit of phone trouble-shooting guidance from the factory.

                    Don't think about retro-fitting. Buy a running machine and make parts tomorrow. Retro-fit and you'll still be fooling with it a year from now, lots poorer and it won't be half of a factory machine in capabilities. The resale value of home retro-fits is near scrap.

                    Learning to program will be about as hard as learning to post on forums like this.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      YEP

                      Problem is.. tightening a loose screw, .10 cents labor, knowing where to find the loose wire, 300 miles on a airplane, two motel room nights, a scope, xcellite tool kit and specialized drawings of the specific machine and configuration.

                      End bill..?? $4750.10... Normally I get to repair whatever the customer tried to fix before I got there. So all is not lost huh? I have also tried to fix machines without the suitcase loaded with prioritized repair cards. HARD to do on your own. Newer electronics do not yield well to field repair of components.

                      Download the Mach3 pdf.. it has the best newbie explanations.
                      Find a decent modeling program that writes Gcode. Of course the end code generator must be in the proper format. You can spend most your budget on this alone. Lots of small shops I work around at times are running chinese copies. SHUSSHHHH.. Don't say a word.. Not my concern.

                      If a man understood "how it worked" instead of trying to follow a tech's words on a phone it is much better. Knowing a series of test points to go down a loop and diagnose works. No more techs needed.

                      AND yes, there is lots of people running Home-converted old iron. When you evaulate what a new cnc costs, the short-comings of a home converted machine calculate right in there. Lots of small shops with large lease-payment plans on equipment go out of business. If you got one, you gotta work it to pay off. Once you are large enough to no longer do the running of your investment you learn a lot about people. Some people are careful, slow meticulous, others are quick, destructive. Having anyone making quick mistakes add up to bankruptcy.
                      Personally, I'd mount a camera over my machines once I got to that point.
                      Excuse me, I farted.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        [QUOTE=David E Cofer]




                        I apologize for assuming you were a hobbyist. THE name of this board is "home shop machinists". Except for John, a few others I suspected the board was populated by part time machinists.

                        QUOTE]

                        No problem I appreciate all the help this board delivers. It is great.
                        You are not far from wrong as I am really a home hobbyist that had a plan for when my real job went away. I am in real estate secured lending. The bottom has falling out and I no longer am making a living so I am going to my backup. This has been planned for 2 years and I slowly have been transforming. I am tired of the wait and cost of farming it out and have been told I can do it myself. That is what this post is all about.
                        I once worked full time in this field and have come to rely on it again.

                        I have been told over and over a blind, deaf,brainless person can run cnc. Ok I am exaggerating a bit but that is how I took it. Since I qualify for all that I guess I am ready.


                        Thanks to all those that responded. I will be away the next couple of days and will not have a chance to really get into this stuff but I will when I get back and will post and maybe PM you guys that offered your suggestions. I am getting ready to make this move and I need to get smart about it first.

                        Thanks I will be in touch soon.

                        Jim
                        Life Is Grand

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          You may wish to look at a Hurco.. (Indianapolis IN.)
                          it's an American Company and they invented "Conversational" programing.
                          No G codes to learn, no macro's ,no M codes.no prep statements.
                          The control asks you the questions when you decide
                          what you want to do, and then puts it all in order and draws it out for you beforehand.

                          Rich

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            A good &quot;heads up&quot; CNC site

                            As many on this forum will be aware I'm new to this CNC bit and take quite an interest in it.

                            I saw the following article on another thread on this forum, I thought it helped me - perhaps it might help someone else too.

                            http://www.cnccookbook.com/CCLatheCNCHome.htm

                            Seems the author started from scratch.

                            I thought that the article as well as posts on this thread are "good stuff" and the "real deal".

                            The quote originally posted by David E Cofer on this thread that: "A cnc is a tool. Do you need the tool for the job, or need a job for the tool?" really hit home as I decided that this was a good reality check and that I needed to step back a bit - and I have. Thanks David, as I've fallen (jumped feet first?) into that trap all too often.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              &quot;Hurco&quot; programming - advice please

                              Originally posted by Rich Carlstedt
                              You may wish to look at a Hurco.. (Indianapolis IN.)
                              it's an American Company and they invented "Conversational" programing.
                              No G codes to learn, no macro's ,no M codes.no prep statements.
                              The control asks you the questions when you decide
                              what you want to do, and then puts it all in order and draws it out for you beforehand.

                              Rich
                              Thanks Rich.

                              Could you provide a web site/address and/or details of the "Hurco" item you mentioned please as I'd like to get a bit of preparatory reading done on the "ins and outs" of CNC before proceeding too much further.

                              Many thanks.
                              Last edited by oldtiffie; 05-30-2007, 04:23 AM. Reason: Correction to spelling

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