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please help selecting new CNC...

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  • please help selecting new CNC...

    I'm coming into about 25,000 and I need to find a good CNC milling center. I have little knowledge on CNC's but good abilities with CAD and Verticle Mills.

    Can someone point me to a place where I can buy a good one and won't be charged an arm and a leg?

    Also pointers on good brand.

    Thanks much,


  • #2
    I keep hearing the name Haas getting thrown around alot, check out the Haas mini mill. But again, I think it costs more than your 25k


    • #3
      You need more cash for new.


      • #4
        I would love to buy used. Also what software for CAM?


        • #5
          Haas is real good, but for general all around work, maybe think along the lines of a prototrack. What sizes are you looking for, this is a major question in this equation. If small, I have several great ideas for 25K that will blow you away.

          What type of work as well. If just general 2-D stuff, prototrack is great, and easy. If you wish 3_D molds and such, then the equation gets tougher. Then money and desired size work in heavily.

          I try to suggt CNC machines that work on FANUC type of codes, have good options in canned drilling cycles, cutter compensation, tool height and radius offsets, sub routining, and lots of other things that make programming easier and more versatile.

          I hopeto check in again. Let us know.

          CCBW, MAH


          • #6
            I machine at max 6x6x6 parts in any configuration. 3D definately. I make computer cooling products. Alum and copper are the metals I use as well.

            Thanks for your help, I've heard alot about fanuc.


            • #7
              This is the unit they have at our local college. It's a great little machine and does anything they want it to.

              I think it cost them about $45,000 CDN. 2 years ago.

              As for software, Autocad, Solidworks and MasterCam are some good ones.


              • #8
                I like the haas machines and that's nice.

                I'll look into mastercam.



                • #9
                  The prototrak mills are very nice but they are 2 1/2 axis machines. They have XYZ but can only use two axes at one time. Some programming software can get you around this by using a series of step cuts. For true 3D work a haas or fadal would be the ticket.



                  • #10
                    Devin, there are any number of machines that will handle 6x6x6. Are you sure you'll NEVER want to make anything bigger?

                    For about $17-23K you can get a 2-3hp Series 1-type clone mill with 3 axis Centroid or other control and a #30-40 taper and power drawbar (try to avoid R8 and get a real industrial CAT30 or 40 taper spindle).

                    Or you can buy an older CNC knee mill like the 325 Journeyman Tree that I bought a few months back for $5k in good running condition with a working control.

                    I'm in the process of putting a Centroid control on it because I wanted digitizing and a full (not just indexing) fourth axis (and a bigger monitor that is visible to aging eyes is nice too).

                    Are you doing production where you need a fast machine that will run 24/7, or will a 15 year old industrial machine at about 1/7th the original price do the job?

                    I've got Rhino3D and Visual Mill for solids modeling and CAM, but I have yet to get down to learning them since the control conversion isn't done yet.

                    By the time the mill is tooled up and running I'll probably have $22K or so in it including the CAD/CAM software. It isn't state of the art, but it should do well for my race bike parts. Plus, it is short enough to fit in my garage. A lot of the modern CNC knee or bed mills were just too tall to fit in the garage, much less sneak under the garage door.



                    • #11
                      You can get ProtoTraks that will do three axis control. I have 3 of them at work with the MX3 controls(can also toggle to M2 contol). They will do any 3D milling work via DNC or off a floppy. I like them because you can either run CNC or Manual. My suggestion is to find a machine that can do this if you are only considering prototype work. If you want to later go into a production type setting than get one with a toolchanger and high rapid/feed rates.


                      • #12
                        I like the journeyman. It looks alot more rugged than the others I've seen of that class.

                        I'll be using it for production right off the bat. I would like a 10 tool changer or better and good rapid feed rates. I do alot of hole patterns and threading.

                        Thanks you guys for your help. I'm a little nervous about running out and spending 10-25k.

                        I would like to buy used. The new ones are just too spendy. I would like good controls so I can connect my pc via cam software and everything. I can do prototyping off of the old hand mill for now.

                        I've got orders to fill and I just can't fill them fast enough at the moment.

                        I saw this turbo cad/cam software. It's cheap but if it works then hey great. Anybody know anything about it?


                        • #13
                          As far as CAM sofware, we switched to EdgeCam fom MasterCam this year. I'm still getting to know the program, but it does a nice job of importing solid model files easily, and it also does pocketing and drilling routines easily. It also has a feature for writing your own custom post processor code. Surfaces are a bit trickier than MasterCam though. EdgeCam has a downloadable student version for free, does everything as far as simulation goes, just can't post code from it. May be worth looking at. Industrial cost is cheaper than MasterCam too I'm told, and so far the educational tech support has been excellent. Can't say that for my experience with MasterCam, although they have a great product too.



                          • #14
                            For 25k you should be able to find a very nice used machining center with a 24 position toolchanger and a fanuc control. Don't let yourself get talked into buying a knee mill or something with an offbeat control system thats hard to find parts for. The advice given in earlier post about Fanuc controls is good. In the cnc control world, theres Fanuc, then there's everything else.


                            • #15
                              Michael - My "Journeyman" mill. I LOVE IT, have two. Three pics. One showing the machine that is trying to kill me (back when it was working), the second of the shop in general, and the third of the jounneyman front on. They started out selling them as "millennium", but are still "Tree". Mine has an anilam S1400 Crusader control, which I think is the best I have ever run (and i run many controls).

                              If you can get one of these Journeymen, they are just fantastic!!!!!!!!

                              CCBW, MAH