The "626" milling machines available from the likes of Warco and Chester look very similar to the much more expensive Myford VMC and VME machines. Assuming the basic specs are similar (?) does anyone know what one is paying the extra for? I've read comments about lovingly hand-scraped slides and superb paintwork etc on the Myford machines, but is the premium justified? I'm planning on upgrading my current mill in the near future, and any insights would be very welcome.
Mike, I'm not that sure that myford did any scraping on my mill. My VMC came with an inspection report signed off by Wun Hung Lo.
I don't think they sell VMCs anymore - I've never needed to check out the spares support though. I think the bearings are standard parts and there is not much else to need. I think if the feed nuts failed I might go for ball screws anyway. Although not idea for manual machines it would be a logical stepping stone towards a home brew CNC. - one day!
I friend bought a warco VMC look alike and seems pleased with it so far. I expect you could go and see it if you want - he is local.
Thanks for that Bob. Is the Warco 626 a true clone of the VMC (or VME), and does anyone have a view on the differences bewtween the offerings of different suppliers, e.g. Warco, Chester etc. There are certainly some price differences.
Mike hi, I might be off course but I sense a little confusion from the terminology of your question. If I am wrong please accept my apologies.
As far as I am aware, the term VMC is used as a generic term for Vertical Milling Machines (also Vertical Machining Centre) and in the model engineering world has come to be used to describe a specific design of small turret mill that is made in a number of factories. Initially built in Taiwan they became very good, I have no idea where the currently offered machines are built but could hazard a fair guess. While a number of suppliers, including Warco, call it a VMC; Chester chose the term 626 which I believe refers to its table size. Warco and Myfords offering has/had the same size table. Warco has been offering the machine for many, many years so I expect it is as typical an example of a =93VMC=94 that there is.
The truth is that Myford never made this type of VMC but they certainly sold them. As far as I know they sourced them, checked, tested and rebuilt them as necessary and sold them as the Myford VMC. What you were buying was a machine that had been selected, tested, rebuilt, refinished and adjusted by Myford to their standards. Many model engineers were happy to pay extra for a known "Myford" machine and they still demand a premium in the second hand market. You can't have a true clone of the Myford VMC as it was itself, one of the breed.
The VME is a different machine altogether although the concept is exactly the same.
Apologies if you knew all this and I have misunderstood the terminology you used in your question.
From what i can see the Chester 626 and the Warco VMC are very similar/the same and both are different from my Myford VMC (bought around 1987) Lighting is now included as are interlocks on the belt guard The quill feed now has a handwheel. I assume the head casting has been revised to accommodate this but the photo is not large enough to see the detail. The pinion feed has only one lever not three as my VMC does. Maybe the pinion is larger on the new machines but mine needs 1 -1/4 turns for full quill travel of 89mm. The stand now has storage cupboard whereas mine does not.
From reading this newsgroup over many years I have formed the impression that Warco support is consistently good (I'll ignore something ordered and paid for last June only arrived this morning!!) and that Chesters support is good in parts with one or two notable exceptionally good support examples and a few seemingly justifiable grumbles.
Warco are relatively local for a visit but I note that they are showing the VMC as nil stock. They will possibly have one for display though. make sure you go when there is not an exhibition on as they take their display stuff on the road.
It looks like only Myford are offering a VME now but it is a bit difficult to compare with other offerings as I have not found a photo of the Myford offering.
You are welcome to look at my VMC but you will only find one like mine secondhand.
Finally the dual belt drive they all use is a PITA. Almost very belt change I used wanted to do to make a useful speed change involved swapping both belts (top for bottom) until I put a variable speed drive on. I would strongly advise buying the 3 phase model and using a VFD. I use mine from 10 Hz to 100Hz and possibly now only change belts for large sweep flycutting.
I have heard this too, but they are capable of screw ups. Ordered some machine feet from them in late 2008 while awaiting delivery of my M300. Out of stock, told the Warco lady to cancel, and sourced elsewhere. A couple of months later they turned up anyway when I didn't need them. Only £12 or so, and I was having some health problems at the time, so I never got round to returning them.
Do you think I could convince SWMBO that I have to buy something to put on top of them?
I bought a Warco VMC about 5 years or so ago. When scrutinising the specs at that time it appeared that the travels on the Warco were marginally greater then the Chester 626, so may be worth verifying. I sold in to another NG member within a year. Nothing wrong with it all, in fact it was (is) a very capable small mill, I was just frustrated by the limited Y travel on a couple of jobs so bought a Bridgy instead for around half of what the Warco sold for.