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cnc to buy or not?

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  • cnc to buy or not?

    hey guys, looking at a bridgeport cnc series one r2c3 with a heidenhain tnc 145 controller, pnuematic draw bar 3 axis.
    what is this controller capable of?
    can i take a cad drawing and dump it into this machine with another computer ,or how does that work?
    what should i look for, the machine looks clean in the photos, they are asking 7000.00 and comes with 8 30 qc toolholders and some collets. please help, your feedback is appreciated.
    thanks, steve

    extreme tractor racing
    extreme tractor racing

  • #2
    You would need to check with Heindenhain to see if ti is Fanuc compatable and if so which model. Then you need to see if your CAD/CAM program has a converter for that Fanuc model. Hopefully it is either ethernet or at least has a floppy - other wise you have to do it the hard way...


    • #3
      thank you thrud,
      i was unable as of yet to locate any info on the heidenhain tnc 145 control, and im thinking that if everything has to be done the hard way, then it probably isnt worth my time or money, because i really dont know that much about cnc. any other info would be greatly appreciated though. it seems like the machine is priced well. but im not sure if it is worth it if it is a real hassle to program some parts. (learning curve could possibly kill me!)
      thanks guys.
      extreme tractor racing


      • #4
        The Heidenhain controller is is very good controller and very reliable. They have a very good name in the biz.
        They don't just G code but their own language which when youget into it is quite simple.
        Two of my customers run HH machines, 145's and 155's and will not entertain anything else.
        Not ceratain about the 145 but the 155 has a clip on overlay keypad thar allows you to type in in G code and it converts the key presses to HH code.
        Both customers don't have a CAM system at all, they programs in using co-ordinates off the CAD drawing.
        One will ask me to program him some weird shaped parts from time to time. He can do it but my CAM system, Dolphin, can output to HH with no problem.
        I can't comment on the US but over here in the UK they are very popular.

        Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.


        • #5
          ive got the bug!
          im really trying to think this through and not be irrational, haha

          can i plug a shop computer (connect the two) to the tnc-145 for the sake of one day using a cam program, or will i be forced to manually figure out and develop programs?

          im thinking of taking my truck and trailer on a 420 mile road trip with a zero balance credit card and checking this thing out. heres the question of the night, how do i inspect this machine (i can inspect under power,) to make sure it is not wooped? i hate to give a wad of cash and get something worthless. my feeling is if its 1000 or 10000 it better do something worth my money. i have no experience with a cnc. i just think i want one. again, your experience, suggestions and comments are invaluable to me. i hope im as smart as you when i get a few years under my belt.
          thanks , steve
          extreme tractor racing


          • #6
            <font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by steve schaeffer:
            can i plug a shop computer (connect the two) to the tnc-145 for the sake of one day using a cam program, or will i be forced to manually figure out and develop programs?
            Steve, Yes that's the correct way to do this.
            On the machine there will be a DB25 or DB9 plug called RS232 This links to your shop computer / laptop by a standard null modem cable and you send the program to the machine.

            CAD CAM programs such as Dolphin grew up with HH in the old DOS days and everything is proved. Later windows programs such as Vector and Bobcad had HH added later because they realised they were missing sales but in the case of Bobcad some of the commands are still missing.
            The communications programs to link CAM to the machine are in the CAD CAM programs or there is a nice free stand alone one at

            For someone like myself working manually in HH is a pain as I'm used to G code. Using the computer I see no differances.
            For a beginner using HH is possibly a shorter learning curve as you don't have to forget G code.

            If you look on Heidenhains site there are some tutorials for the later machines. Although later the code is still the same.

            Machine wise check for backlash in the screws and if possible insist on seeing it running under power.
            Get the books as they are harder to find nowdays.
            I don't know what the deal is but her's one that just sold here in the UK with a 151 controller on it and soame tooling Ebay # 2536071854

            John S.


            Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.


            • #7
              I have no reason todoubt John, and the Hindenhein does make certainly one of the very best DRO's & Scales you can buy. I am not familiar with the unit you are asking about, but as John pointed out you can get Dolphin to output in that language. So if it looks in reasonable shape you will know what to do. Have them run a quick program on it for you so you can make sure all the servos are working as well as the scales and controller. If it works and is cheap,it may be a keeper.

              Ask pointed questions about power requirements. If the machine is single phase you are laughing. If the motor is 3ph. then you can use a VFD for that. If the controller is 3ph., it may require a special transformer as most CNC controllers behave badly on phase convertors (and can't be hooked to a VFD at any rate).