VMC no older than ??

Chasing around the idea of getting a used VMC. Certainly plenty to chose from out there.
Other than the obvious wear, tear and running time, its the controls
that worry me... which is better, what "options" does it have, what to look out for or stay away from. I know I would not want to go back in time such that one would have to wrestle code into the control... even floppies are outdated.
Perhaps there is a year / period when all of the controls "came around" to USB, Hardrives and Lan connections.
I know it is a big question, and I bet everyone loves what they have and know what they love. But, any guidance is better than no guidance at all !
Maybe someone could advise: this brand after 19xx, or that brand after 19xx, and I know it will still come down to the options purchased at that time and upgrade possibilities that exist...... See.... really big question.
Thanks,
Grummy
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On Dec 10, 2:34 pm, snipped-for-privacy@sbcglobal.net wrote:

What kind of work do you want to do on it?
Later,
Charlie
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Nothing out of the ordinary. Aluminum parts, ability to do mild steel, want an enclosure... short production runs for now, prototyping. Its the work areas of the 20"ish x 16"ish that are appealing.
Grummy
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On Dec 10, 2:34 pm, snipped-for-privacy@sbcglobal.net wrote:

I've bought 2 used machines. Their condition was dependent upon what the previous owners machined with them and how well they maintained the machines.
The second one was a really good deal. The previous owner was a medical instrument company, they had it thoroughly serviced regularly (to the point of having stickers on the machine) and it doesn't seem like they used it very much. It looks almost like new despite being 7 years old.
The first one didn't even have it's coolant enclosure. It had been poorly treated. We made a coolant enclosure and did a bunch of other stuff to it - upgrading the RAM and such. It was a pain in the ass.
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snipped-for-privacy@sbcglobal.net wrote in

There are a couple of schools of thought on this. One is to buy a popular brand like Haas or Fadal. You will probably pay too much reletive to other brand names, but the machine will probably hold its value longer. There are lots of them in the field. Service is likely close buy and parts, etc are reletively cheap.
Or you can look for an older high end less well known brand. Roku-Roku and Enshu come to mind. A ten year old one of those will probably perform better than a new Haas. Something Japanese and expensive new, means not many were sold and they are not well known. This affects the used value so often these machines are the best value. Usually they have Fanuc controls. Fanuc supports every control they've ever made. That doesn't mean parts will be in stock or cheap though, but again there is some safety in numbers. There are loads of Fanucs out there and there are loads of places that sell used and refurbed parts for Fanucs.
Or if you are adventerous and handy you could buy something like this - http://www.surplusrecord.com/cgi-bin/adpop.pl?645645 |P
A 14 year old Bostomatic in nice shape. Bostomatic is defunct for all intents and purposes. The net net is that impacts the value used. While I don't know anything about the machine in the link, I'm betting it can be had for pennies on the dollar of its new value. Excel machines were decent and cheap new. They are now defunct so they should be very affordable on low end of the price scale.
If you plan on doing small lighter work you might be happy with a drill/tap machine like a Brother or Fanuc Robodrill. They are cheap new and even cheaper used.
The surplus record is a good place to start doing research. Here is their VMC page - http://www.surplusrecord.com/srg/209093.htm
If you have some idea of the size range and price range you are considering we might be able to narrow it down some.
--

Dan



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Dan, thanks for the replies. I figure this is a tuff thing.... its not like you can tug on an axis and determine if the machine is good or not. All one can do is attempt to trust the seller and the sellers claims.
Is there any guidance for what "low hours" really means ? What is the life expectancy in hours for your typical VF-1, VM-1 type machine ?
All comments appreciated,
Grummy
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On Dec 11, 8:31am, snipped-for-privacy@sbcglobal.net wrote:

I have a 1993 HAAS VF-0 that I picked up 3+ yrs ago, been a good machine, it was treated well, had low hrs on it. I've been using it since, almost every day, cutting alum, 17-4 ss, 304ss, 4340, etc. Had to replace the Magnatek spindle drive(3500.00), monitor(350.00), and video board (150.00), but all is ok. If you look at a machine and are interested, have a tech look at the machine, it will be worth the money in the long run!!
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snipped-for-privacy@sbcglobal.net wrote in wrote:

Figure 2,000 hours per year per shift. VMC's generally have horrible spindle utilization or "uptime" so figure actual running time will be 30 to 60% of available production time.
Run hour meters are worthless as they can all be reset. Even the "odometer" types that measure power on time.
Best bet is to hire a qualified uninterested service tech to examine the machine. A $500.00-$1,000.00 bill is cheap insurance in the long run. Plus it can give you negotiating leverage if there are some issues you are willing to accept.
Check the spindle for noise, heat rise, run out, end play, and taper damage. Check the drawbar pulling pressure. Check axes for noise, backlash, and positioning error. If it's really important, a ball bar test can tell you a lot.
Check axes for squareness, perpendicularity, pitch, roll, and yaw.
Make sure you and whomever you hire to check it out agree up front what will be checked, documented, and what the fee will be.
Make sure your expectations are realistic. If it's used there will be issues.
There was some nut job posting some years ago that bought a used Haas. From everything he posted, plus his nut job web site dedicated to denigrating the poor broker who sold him the machine, he got a fair deal. The machine had some minor issues. It was, after all, a used machine. One of his favorite rants was about the dings in the table. If he was looking for flawless he should have bought new.
I run across guys like this out in the wild from time to time.
As for the life of the machine, it's difficult to say. Poor maintenance decreases the life of any machine. The materials being cut also affect the life. Cast iron and graphite for example can do some damage. Crashing a machine damages it far more than people realize. A machine that gets crashed on a near daily basis might look real pretty, but could be a near basket case underneath the fresh coat of WD40 making everything shine.
Measuring, listening, and testing are the best preventative to getting screwed. There is nothing wrong with buying a machine that needs work either. Just so long as you don't pay too much for the machine.
One of our customers bought a used CNC Swiss. He had it checked out before he bought it. The machine had been crashed hard, probably more than once. The sub spindle needed bearings, the backwork tool post and X2/Y2 axes needed to be aligned. Otherwise the machine was in very good shape. So he negotiated accordingly and hired us to repair the machine. Even with the extra expense, he got a screaming deal on the machine.
Of all the scenarios I laid out in the other post, my preference is to buy high end/less popular brands when it comes to used. Here's why; A machine like a Haas is cheap new. A lot of Bozos buy them and there's no shortage of Bozos running them. Your odds of getting a machine that has been abused are higher and the odds of the machine being damaged from crashes is also a lot higher as they are not as robust as a higher end machine.
I needed a toolmaker's microscope for our office a while back. They didn't give me much of a budget, so new I could buy a Mitutoyo measuring scope with micrometer barrels. I started looking around for used and ended up finding an older Gaertner toolmaker's universal microscope with a DRO, lenses, reticles, external light source, and loads of other accesories on Ebay. I got it for $500.00 because most people never heard of the brand and I was the only bidder. This scope was probably $12,000.00-$15,000.00 new 20 years ago. It came out of an aerospace company auction where it led a peaceful life and was calibrated and maintained regularly.
At 20 years old it's still better than anything Mitutoyo makes new and far more useful due to its superior design, capabilities, and the box loads of accesories that came with it. Meanwhile if you watch the auctions for Mitutoyo scopes, used beat up ones with nothing extra usually go for double what I paid for the Gaertner. Just because people know the brand name and feel safe buying it. It's insane.
--

Dan

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I happen to have a Brother Tap/drill machine available in So. Cal, decent shape, and a Hitachi Seiki mill in what appears to be excellent shape, also in So. Cal
Gunner
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Gunner, Give me a call at the shop tomorrow
"D"
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On Wed, 10 Dec 2008 14:34:20 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@sbcglobal.net wrote:

I'm currently looking for a older lathe myself, my criteria is it must have a RS232 port. If you want USB or LAN then you're looking for a fairly new machine. 2000+ ?
When I bought my VMC the big choice seemed to be.... do you want straight G-code or conversational?
I did rule out Cincinatti because the Acramatic control is obsolete.
Thank You, Randy
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wrote:

Now Hurco gives you both. Even with the old kmb1's, I think there are aftermarket boards that accommodate both. If I get a second VMC, I would consider the hurco -- mostly so's my hurco buddy could use it, since he cain't seem to grasp g-code. :)
I would jump at the chance to get a second fadal 3016L, since I already half-know it, and because two can be butted right up next to each other, with the side doors removed, for some economy of scale ito footprint.
Well, jump mebbe in 6 mos. or so. I gotta start getting some shit done, first.
--

Mr. PV'd

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