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  1. #1
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    Nov 2010
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    Need small cnc mill for fab lab-Levil?

    Hi,
    I'm starting a fab lab in the Boston area, and need a recommendation for a good small cnc mill.

    Because we will use it for g-code/cnc training, it should have an auto tool changer and have some sort of upgrade path to 4axis.

    I like the Haas mini and office mills, but they are too expensive to use for training, and we wouldn't be able to afford multiple ones. Same with the Datron I think. The Tormach is a good one for training, but without ATC we can't give good training for full automation. Same with the Mikini.

    The Roland doesn't seem to have a large enough work area or be able to handle a wide enough variety of materials, but seems like a good R&D machine to have in addition to a standard mill.

    I could just put in an old VMC, but it will take up sooooo much room and I'm afraid we'll spend all our time servicing it.

    I came across the Levil, but can't find anyone who has used one. Since we are not only training but are evangelists for new technology, I need to know what we buy is solid and I can recommend it to our community. Has anyone used a Levil?

    Any other ideas?

    Thanks,
    Meredith

  2. #2
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    Feb 2007
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    498
    i thought the mikini had tool changer,the mikini is a good looking machine,i dont know about the levil but looked them over and the machine is well designed and well built
    price is a little high,too bad you have to have tool changer,what would you be cutting?
    steel,aluminum plastic?

  3. #3
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    Mikini vs. Levil

    I agree the Levil price seems a little high-especially when compared to the Tormach or Mikini. I can't find information on a tool changer for the Mikini but I'll email them.

    If the Tormach had a tool changer it would be the best option.

    My biggest problem is that since we are sort of a shared semi-public shop, people might want to mill anything. My goal is to keep their hands off the mill as much as possible and automate quite a bit through the front end/programming. Also, they are required to take training before they can submit a job.

    So, mostly small pieces, and probably a lot of softer metals, but I want to be able to go up to steel if necessary. This leaves the Roland out as an option. I'm not really sure the Levil will handle it well either.

    It seems a few of the other Fab Labs have standardized with the Roland and just throw a Bridgeport in the corner if they need something bigger. I was hoping to avoid that.

    I'll let you know what I find out about the Mikini.

  4. #4
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    Feb 2007
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    498
    i woudl recomend the levil LV350Dplus its $15k + but has tool changer and looks well built
    even good water cooled high rpm spindle,beats my cnc but mine is 3 times less and not made to cut steel,aluminum brass palstic and wood,wax too,lol,if your budget allows it buy the levil,the ball screws and guides look beefy too

  5. #5
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    Response from Mikini

    This is interesting. I got the following response from Mikini...
    ---------

    Thank you for your interest in our 1610L.

    We will be releasing a second version of the 1610LP optimized for shorter
    cycle times with a tool changer and higher power axial and spindle drive
    systems. It will be 30 taper, 10 tool exchange, and fit within the same
    floorprint as the 1610L. It is being released as a 2011 model year
    machine. It will be priced at $22,500

    Please feel free to be in touch with any further questions, or to discuss
    your application and needs.

    We also build semi custom 1610L variants and fully custom 3, 4 and 5 axis
    VMC machines to suit customer's requirements.

    Mikini Mechatronics,LLC
    -----------
    The only issue is that at $22.5k, it puts it up against a used Haas Mini Mill. Would there be an advantage to buying a new Mikini vs. a couple of year old Haas besides the size issue?

  6. #6
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    Response from Tormach

    I just spoke to someone from Tormach and they said that they are planning on coming out with an ATC in 2011, but don't know exactly when since they are working on getting the design solid and will have it go through beta testing before release.

    They said the ATC upgrade would be compatible with the 1100 model, so I wouldn't need to wait. There will also be a power draw bar upgrade.

    They had no firm idea on the price of the upgrade. It will be a 10 position tool changer.

  7. #7

    levil

    Hi does anyone have any reviews or opinions on the Levil WL400.
    i am new to the CNC world and need to get a machine in my office for making small jigs/fixtures, from aluminum and LDPE.
    any comments, opinions, or recommendations are welcome.

    thanks
    kristan

  8. #8
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    May 2011
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    Hi 6smith,

    I'm in a very similar situation as you, starting a lab that needs a small CNC mill. Did you end up getting a Levil or a Mikini? What are your experiences with them?



    Quote Originally Posted by 6smith View Post
    Hi,
    I'm starting a fab lab in the Boston area, and need a recommendation for a good small cnc mill.

    Because we will use it for g-code/cnc training, it should have an auto tool changer and have some sort of upgrade path to 4axis.

    I like the Haas mini and office mills, but they are too expensive to use for training, and we wouldn't be able to afford multiple ones. Same with the Datron I think. The Tormach is a good one for training, but without ATC we can't give good training for full automation. Same with the Mikini.

    The Roland doesn't seem to have a large enough work area or be able to handle a wide enough variety of materials, but seems like a good R&D machine to have in addition to a standard mill.

    I could just put in an old VMC, but it will take up sooooo much room and I'm afraid we'll spend all our time servicing it.

    I came across the Levil, but can't find anyone who has used one. Since we are not only training but are evangelists for new technology, I need to know what we buy is solid and I can recommend it to our community. Has anyone used a Levil?

    Any other ideas?

    Thanks,
    Meredith

  9. #9
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    Aug 2011
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    0
    Quote Originally Posted by 6smith View Post
    I just spoke to someone from Tormach and they said that they are planning on coming out with an ATC in 2011, but don't know exactly when since they are working on getting the design solid and will have it go through beta testing before release.

    They said the ATC upgrade would be compatible with the 1100 model, so I wouldn't need to wait. There will also be a power draw bar upgrade.

    They had no firm idea on the price of the upgrade. It will be a 10 position tool changer.
    Some Youtube Videos of the ATC in action, as well as the setup steps;

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9X5AS4ohK4Q"]Prototype Automatic Tool Changer for Tormach PCNC 1100[/ame]

    [ame="http://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JEGNdghDVo&feature=related"]This is a pre-production ATC unit for the Tormach PCNC 1100[/ame]

    [ame="http://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9A6XDHupi4&feature=player_embedded"]ATC Alignment Part 1 [/ame]

    [ame="http://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=snMhzEBxe0E&feature=player_embedded"]ATC Alignment Part 2 [/ame]

    They have also mentioned in a blog that first shipment of pre-ordered units would be June 2011 and have it on their web site here $4200 (no affiliation)

  10. #10
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    Hey guys,

    just thought i'd share my experience with the Levil's WL400...

    The company I work for bought one a while ago. I did some research on them when it got here but could not find any good or bad reviews. So, after working with the little machine I thought I’d share some of my views

    Cons
    -Poor written User Guide
    -“USB communication Error” messages from time to time
    -the tool rack takes up working space


    Positive:
    -Easy to use
    -Ideal size for the shop
    -ATC makes my life SO MUCH EASIER
    -Never had problems with precision/machining quality
    -Well designed, built to last

    Overall I am very satisfied with the machine, I’ve had some experience with other benchtop cnc’s and this one exceeds in almost every category.
    Do I recommend it? Yes.. Is it worth the extra buck? Depends on your needs... this machine is good for us because we don't have much space and we make small parts... the machining quality is as good as any other out there... so it's been a good fit for us and the auto-tool changer really makes the difference.

  11. #11
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    May 2010
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    Sharpecnc may be your best choice.

    Quote Originally Posted by ALDM View Post
    Hey guys,

    just thought i'd share my experience with the Levil's WL400...

    The company I work for bought one a while ago. I did some research on them when it got here but could not find any good or bad reviews. So, after working with the little machine I thought I’d share some of my views

    Cons
    -Poor written User Guide
    -“USB communication Error” messages from time to time
    -the tool rack takes up working space


    Positive:
    -Easy to use
    -Ideal size for the shop
    -ATC makes my life SO MUCH EASIER
    -Never had problems with precision/machining quality
    -Well designed, built to last

    Overall I am very satisfied with the machine, I’ve had some experience with other benchtop cnc’s and this one exceeds in almost every category.
    Do I recommend it? Yes.. Is it worth the extra buck? Depends on your needs... this machine is good for us because we don't have much space and we make small parts... the machining quality is as good as any other out there... so it's been a good fit for us and the auto-tool changer really makes the difference.
    Dear Sir,
    Sharpecnc is devoted to small CNC milling machine for industrial use. It is very easy to use and very high cost performance.
    www.sharpecnc.com.cn
    best regards,
    Leo 09/15/2011

  12. #12
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    May 2010
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    0

    Sharpe VMC420 can meet your requirement.

    Quote Originally Posted by 6smith View Post
    Hi,
    I'm starting a fab lab in the Boston area, and need a recommendation for a good small cnc mill.

    Because we will use it for g-code/cnc training, it should have an auto tool changer and have some sort of upgrade path to 4axis.

    I like the Haas mini and office mills, but they are too expensive to use for training, and we wouldn't be able to afford multiple ones. Same with the Datron I think. The Tormach is a good one for training, but without ATC we can't give good training for full automation. Same with the Mikini.

    The Roland doesn't seem to have a large enough work area or be able to handle a wide enough variety of materials, but seems like a good R&D machine to have in addition to a standard mill.

    I could just put in an old VMC, but it will take up sooooo much room and I'm afraid we'll spend all our time servicing it.

    I came across the Levil, but can't find anyone who has used one. Since we are not only training but are evangelists for new technology, I need to know what we buy is solid and I can recommend it to our community. Has anyone used a Levil?

    Any other ideas?

    Thanks,
    Meredith
    Dear Sir,
    Sharpecnc VMC420+4axis can meet your requirement. it has ATC with 10 tools changer. and it is very easy to use and has high cost performance.
    The machine features:
    1. System Configuration: Bao Yuan LNC520HP
    2. Tool configuration: 10 Carousel magazine
    3. High-strength cast iron, cast iron bed base piece, the column spanfor the large, inverted "Y"-type network structure, the slide box for the network structure.
    4. XYZ-axis double nut precision ball screws, precision lead screw bearings in pairs, direct-type couplings
    5. Triangle stainless steel protection, automatic centralized lubrication system
    6. Cooling system, lighting system-wide protection VMC420 small machining center specifications

    NO. Item Parameter
    1 Table Size Length (mm) × width (mm) 800×260
    2 T-slot number - Width (mm) - Pitch (mm) 5-16-50
    3 Max load (kg) 100
    4 X-axis travel (mm) 420
    5 Y axis travel (mm) 270
    6 Z axis travel (mm) 400
    7 Spindle nose to table (mm) 50-460
    8 Spindle center to column guideway surface (mm) 300
    9 Spindle Prick Hole BT30
    10 Spindle Max speed 6000/24000
    11 Main motor power (kW) 2.2
    12 positioning accuracy ((mm) 0.01/300mm
    13 Repeatability ((mm) 0.01
    14 Number of tools 10 piece
    15 Tool form Carousel
    16 tool change time 4-6″
    17 Fast moving speed X/Y/Z (m/min) 10
    18 Fast cutting feed speed (mm/min) 4000
    19 Screw parameters of X / Y (diameter mm / pitch mm) 2005
    20 Screw parameter Z (diameter mm / pitch mm) 2505
    21 Track linear guideway XY20mm/Z25mm
    22 Driver motor Servo Motor
    X、Y 1KW
    Z(with brake) 1KW
    23 Voltage 380V
    24 Air pressure 0.5Mpa
    25 Machine Dimensions 1600mmX1100mmX1900mm
    26 Machine weight 2000KG

    best regards,
    Leo 09/15/2011

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