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  1. #1
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    First CNC Milling Machine....need some input

    Hey guys, looking for general opinions, we are a maintenance shop doing fabrication using mostly mild steel, 4140 and aluminum. We have very little CNC experience as we have all manual machines now. One machine I'm looking at is the Haas TM3P tool room mill with the 10K spindle upgrade, 20 tool ATC, wireless probing, chip auger, high speed machining, remote jog, 4th axis 8" rotary table, pretty much every option, $86k brand new with the extended warranty. How are the Haas tool room mills? The machine won't be used "all day, every day" in a production setting, it may only get used once a day.

    We are also looking at the Hurco VM20i and the Milltronics VM4020. We already have prices and options for these 2. Both of these are going to run at least $20k more than the Haas with all the same options.
    Another major factor would be the software. Ease of use, easy to learn?
    Thoughts???
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails original.jpg   HURCO-VM-20i-98806a.jpg   images.jpg  

  2. #2
    Community Moderator Jim Dawson's Avatar
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    Re: First CNC Milling Machine....need some input

    We have had our TM 2p for almost a year and it has been good to us. We picked up a 2016 used machine with 122 spindle hours and every available available option including a 20 tool changer.

    It was delivered on a Friday afternoon and we went from zero to making chips with it Monday morning. For us the software was easy to learn, but we do have extensive CAD, CAM, and CNC experience. Overall I would say it is user friendly.

    On average it runs about 20 hrs/week, cutting mostly aluminum, some stainless steel, and some plastics. The only problem we have experienced was the tool changer lateral drive motor had sticky brushes and quit working properly. It took longer to diagnose the problem than it did to fix (about 5 min).

    I think for your application the Haas would be a good value.
    Jim Dawson
    Sandy, Oregon, USA

  3. #3

    Re: First CNC Milling Machine....need some input

    Being a maintenance shop and not using it every day, I think you can ditch the 4th axis. It's just a lot of fancy that will likely not get used much, If you must, take a pre-wired for 4th option if available and add one later if the real need becomes apparent. Take the money you save and get a side mount swing arm tool changer. I see a carousel machine like your Haas shows and can't stop yawning. Even though 10k rpm is not the fastest horse in the barn these days, seeing as you do a lot of steel, you might check into a geared head with lower rpm but a stronger torque//HP curve. Doesn't sound like production is in the cards either which further backs up the idea of a slower more powerful spindle. That or spend a little extra on a high power spindle that can do 10k like a built in type. (motor and spindle shaft being one in the same) You may have witnessed this on your manuals, but it's amazing how fast face mills of even modest size can chew up horse power. If you do a lot of deep hole drilling, consider through spindle coolant. You can do truly amazing things with coolant thru insert and solid carbide drills.

    I have no experience with any of the machines you're contemplating. My first instinct is to go with the Hurco. Looks like a tight little unit. I wish you well on your purchase.

  4. #4
    Community Moderator Jim Dawson's Avatar
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    Re: First CNC Milling Machine....need some input

    I do agree with the_gentlegiant in that for your application you don't need a 10K spindle.

    I also question the need for the 4th axis, but if you are doing some kind of shaft work, gear cutting, splines, or something like that it would be very useful. I have a 4th axis for my knee mill and have used it twice in the last three years, but I built it specifically for one of those jobs. I don't have one for the Haas, but they do come 4th axis ready. If this is a corporate maintenance shop buy and the money is budgeted, then by all means get the 4th axis now.

    Don't forget about tooling it up, you will spend a few thousand in tooling and tool holders.
    Jim Dawson
    Sandy, Oregon, USA

  5. #5
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    Re: First CNC Milling Machine....need some input

    Thanks guys, we do need the 4th axis for gear cutting and making plungers for our machines (we have always just tilted the head on our manual mills).

  6. #6
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    Re: First CNC Milling Machine....need some input

    Quote Originally Posted by MustangDan74 View Post
    Thanks guys, we do need the 4th axis for gear cutting and making plungers for our machines (we have always just tilted the head on our manual mills).
    hi depending on parts that you make, you may be needing a 5th axis

    a classic mill, with tilted head cutting on revolution parts, that require a divizor, may need a 5th axis on a vmc, so to replicate the setup

    analize your parts with your machine tool dealer / kindly
    Ladyhawke - My Delirium, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_bFO1SNRZg

  7. #7
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    Re: First CNC Milling Machine....need some input

    I have only run the hurco mills but started off in a manual shop and found the conversatiol control on the hurcos really easy to program, no g code to learn just fill in the blanks

  8. #8
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    Re: First CNC Milling Machine....need some input

    hi, some controls are g-code based + conversational option, while others are conversational based + g-code option

    for example okuma osp vs mazak mazatrol

    if you wish to switch easy between different cnc brands, you may need to learn g-code

    of course, this is not a must ... just saying

    - advantage : is good to know how other brands are doing the same thing, so to have a clue and maybe optimize
    - cons : too many different brands inside a single shop may lead to downtime
    Ladyhawke - My Delirium, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_bFO1SNRZg

  9. #9
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    Re: First CNC Milling Machine....need some input

    Most importantly, it operates about 20 hours a week and cuts mainly aluminum, stainless steel and plastic. The only problem we had was the tool changer side changer motor, which had sticky brushes and was no longer working properly. It took a lot longer to diagnose the problem. I only managed storm mills, but I started a manual workshop and I found that the conversion control at Hercos was very easy to program. There was no G code to learn.

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