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I Got Burnt!!

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AR1911

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That looks like a typical Asian mill-drill, or the Rong Fu persuasion. At most they are buying the primary assembly and adding local touches like the screen-printed front panel.
I would suspect they are are buying the machines whole to their specifications. I can't imagine any U.S. workplace letting a product go out like that.

Yep: "Our CNC Products are designed and assembled in the USA, with many of our components being machined right here in the United States, and more work being onshored with each iterative redesign."

Translation: "We build our CNC machines using mostly Asian components. If it's a manual machine we just bought it from Asia with out label already on it, from the lowest bidder."
 

bmckenzie

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This has been an excellent thread!!! Very appropriate for me. I am, sometime within the next 4-6 weeks, going to drop some coin on my first mill. I have been reading, studying, watching videos etc. trying to decide what to get. Due to cost, from what I have read I wanted a square column mill. The cost of a full-size knee mill is prohibitive for me and I live in San Antonio, TX which apparently is not a great place to buy used mills. From what I read bigger is better, especially bigger build cube. I have read several posts from folks that bought other IH or Rong Fu clones that have said they wished they had bought the bigger CO machine. The only thing that gave me some pause was all of the accolades I see for Precision Matthews and their great customer service. But, at the end I have decided to go with the big CO machine as they are the most economical for the build size.

Reading this thread started to scare me off, but the more I read the better I felt about still going with CO. But, all of the different opinions and data is really helpful. And, now I know if I have some problems with the mill when I get it, not to freak out. So, thanks everyone for the info and discussion! Quite timely for me.

Bill M.
 

pdentrem

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Any machine can be a "pig in a poke". We just spent 40k on a new Wire EDM and still have issues at that price level! Pinch rollers for the wire that don't pinch, can not load the file into the memory as the CPU crashes just about every time and more. The tech guy coming in this week is going to cr-- his pants at the length of our punch list.
Pierre
 

tomh

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Bill / others
Just a friendly reminder on buying
1 It is a business transaction.
2 use a credit card.
3 when you get your machine, check it out before accepting it and don't hesitate to refuse it, remember It's not yours or your problem till you sign for it.
4 Contact the seller asap with any problems, and discuss what to do and a timeline to do it.
5 keep the crate/box and don't hesitate to send it back for a refund, it's a machine not a heirloom.
6 Check with your credit card co for a time line on a credit return and discuss the problem and what to do about it.
7 coolidge said it best, you are buying a machine not a friend, don't get cozy but don't be rude, because you have the upper hand ( credit card)
These simple steps will help avoid unnecessary headaches an loss of money.
Tomh
 

toolman

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This has been an excellent thread!!! Very appropriate for me. I am, sometime within the next 4-6 weeks, going to drop some coin on my first mill. I have been reading, studying, watching videos etc. trying to decide what to get. Due to cost, from what I have read I wanted a square column mill. The cost of a full-size knee mill is prohibitive for me and I live in San Antonio, TX which apparently is not a great place to buy used mills. From what I read bigger is better, especially bigger build cube. I have read several posts from folks that bought other IH or Rong Fu clones that have said they wished they had bought the bigger CO machine. The only thing that gave me some pause was all of the accolades I see for Precision Matthews and their great customer service. But, at the end I have decided to go with the big CO machine as they are the most economical for the build size.

Reading this thread started to scare me off, but the more I read the better I felt about still going with CO. But, all of the different opinions and data is really helpful. And, now I know if I have some problems with the mill when I get it, not to freak out. So, thanks everyone for the info and discussion! Quite timely for me.

Bill M.
FWIW, if you have the space, you'd be money ahead to buy a full-size machine to begin with. For the same money or just a bit over, you can get a decent machine. I bought a very solid 9x42" Taiwan machine from a company in OKC that was liquidating. I got the mill, two hold-down kits, 8 expandable reamers, a bunch of R8 collets and tooling, plus about 25-30 lbs. of end mills, reamers, chucks, etc. for $1200. It also came with a Bridgeport 6" vise. The machine was a Profit Master and I'd put it up next to any BP out there in terms of accuracy and rigidity. The only reason I got rid of it was because I found a bigger machine with X and Y power feeds and an AccuRite DRO that had the nod feature that the PM didn't. I never needed it, but I wanted it.
 

coolidge

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Toolman I considered a knee mill, that would have been an upgrade vs a CO but three things, limited space, portability, and spindle speed. My CO is on wheels I can wheel it out in the middle of the garage when working then wheel it off to the side out of my way when I don't need it. The CO will spin 3,600 rpm with the 3HP VFD option and with the belt drive kit Bill purchased they will spin a bit over 5,000 rpm.
 

RJSakowski

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Toolman, it sounds like you found a real deal there and anyone would be a fool not to grab it. In fact, it looks like you have more than the $1200 just in the additional tooling.

Unfortunately, those deals are extremely rare. Particularly in the case of a newbe, understanding what is important and what is not when buying used machinery can be a real problem. It would be really easy to get in over one's head and become discouraged enough to abandon the hobby altogether. It is deplorable that one can't buy a new machine from a US vendor and not have to rebuild the machine before use. Hopefully, though most of the problems will be minor and the major ones will be handled by the vendor's customer service. On the other hand, buying a used machine is more than likely "as is" with no recourse when problems are discovered. For those people just getting their feet wet, that first machine is often a stepping stone to the type of machines you are talking about.

Bob
 

dave2176

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Sorry, you have two machines but only bought one of them. You owe CO a machine, their shipping cost.

Every vendor of this class (rf45) I can think of has bad press on this forum. It's reality. I have the G0755 and lucky for me it has been trouble free (knock on wood). It is accurate, tough and quiet at 86 decibels at top speed. After 22 months I wouldn't trade it for the others.

Dave
 
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bmckenzie

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FWIW, if you have the space, you'd be money ahead to buy a full-size machine to begin with. For the same money or just a bit over, you can get a decent machine. I bought a very solid 9x42" Taiwan machine from a company in OKC that was liquidating. I got the mill, two hold-down kits, 8 expandable reamers, a bunch of R8 collets and tooling, plus about 25-30 lbs. of end mills, reamers, chucks, etc. for $1200. It also came with a Bridgeport 6" vise. The machine was a Profit Master and I'd put it up next to any BP out there in terms of accuracy and rigidity. The only reason I got rid of it was because I found a bigger machine with X and Y power feeds and an AccuRite DRO that had the nod feature that the PM didn't. I never needed it, but I wanted it.

Yeah, as I mentioned, I live around San Antonio, so good used deals are pretty non-existent. I have been watching craig's list for a few months now and I never see anything worth looking at. Also, and I didn't mention this before, but I plan on CNCing this machine (probably not right away) and enclosing it, which I have a much better handle on doing with a bench-top machine than I would a knee mill (not saying it can't be done). And the mobility of a bench-top would be nice as my shop is my 3 car garage, which may turn into a two car garage if we get the wife a new car :)
 

coolidge

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The newer Haas toolroom mills have a full enclosure, some government safety nonsense I think. I rarely say anything in public regarding converting these RongFu 45 type mills to CNC but having done so myself, I think its a horrible idea. You can buy a used Haas toolroom mill or mini mill for not that much more money than you will sink into a RongFu 45 CNC project. Say another $10k. They have about the same foot print and the advantages are too numerous to list.
 

tmarks11

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Casting voids are pretty common on all the chinese machinery you buy. All the voids are just filled in with bond (or cheaper chinese equivalent) and painted. Does hurt the function. Looks like one of those voids took a strike during shipping and chipped. No functional issue, just needs to be touched up.

No surprise that it is hard to shift gears; pretty common for a new machine to be stiff until it is broken in. Also, sometimes you have to turn the spindle by hand to help shift it into place.

That vibrating lever: if you take the top off the gear box, you will understand why it is vibrating. There is a spinning shaft underneath it, and the lever slides cooler which pushes a gear back and forth on it to change gears. This will probably get better as the machine breaks in.

Loose screws, loose electrical pass throughs. Par for the course. My grizzly equipment is no better.

I don't see any deal breakers in your video. Just some things that need some elbow grease.

Most people treat these machines as kits: they are not delivered to you in a completely useable form. Sucks? Yes. But you want perfection, then you are going to pay double the price to get a Taiwan machine. Look at what Enco charges for their Rong Fu mills vs their house brand. The difference? Country of origin. You get what you pay for.

I am betting if you send this machine back and buy a Grizzly G0755, that you still won't be impressed by what you buy.

CO has had a spotty history as the company has changed hands 3 or 4 times, with varying level of customer satisfaction along the way. The new management at CO doesn't seem to have achieved takeoff speed.

If you want a machine you will be happy with, than I strongly recommend you buy a Precision Matthews 935TS knee mill. Twice the cost of the 12Z, but I think you will like what you get. Far more capable than a square column mill.

Full disclosure: I have no PM machines (I have a lot of Grizzly), but there are a lot of happy PM folks on this forum.
 
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David VanNorman

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If that is for real I don't think I'll buy from them. I was just going to call them.
 

phil c

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I got the International Hobbies manual version of this machine, unfortunately only a year before Gene died, and the company went out of business. To their credit, the machine was cleaned up, everything worked, the ways were smooth and turned easily, except near the left end. That required a little adjustment of the gibs. The gear box design is kind of crappy and noisy. After a year of use a roll pin in the gearbox(3 position handle) came out which required some disassembly to replace.

Sounds like Charter Oak is having more quality control problems than previous. China is having some problems and I imagine the the suppliers there are having problems themselves.
 

Cooter Brown

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I have been trying to tell you guys for a long time that the RF-45 and clones are complete garbage..... Do not buy one....
 

Kroll

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Sorry guys edit my comments,but hate seeing anyone spending that kind of money for something that they can't even get the cosmetics right.And hate to see that a member has to rebuild a brand new mill.But you do have two,I would pick the best one that sounds like its running correctly and parts off the other to make one good mill.Plus you will have all kinds of parts for yrs to come.I believe that they made a good attempt by sending you another without asking for pics or proof.There's members here who did have a good experience,so far all we know of is one not so good experience but you have two machines:) Yes its not right but once your done you will know your mill inside and out,I bet if you check parts prices you will be sticker shock.
Like others said those machines should have never come out of the shop for shipping but they did,I don't believe that Charter did it on purpose cause they know that now days bad reviews travel fast.Good luck sir,make the most out of two machines.
 
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john.k

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Complaints aplenty,but do you know the era of cheap cast iron from China is nearly at an end.The factories pouring out smoke and fumes while turning out cheap castings will soon be over.My prediction is these machines will take a price increase of 2x at least,as all the environmental controlls take hold,and factory owners resisting will be jailed (if they are lucky)....
 

jwmay

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This thread was started 3 or 4 years ago. I didn’t see any resolution posted, but it’s quite possible one complaint from 3 years ago should be viewed from that standpoint. A lot can change in 3 years. I don’t own anything from the vendor btw. Just pointing out this is a necropost, that somehow got revived, and doesn’t necessarily represent the company qc TODAY.
 
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