[4]

My "new to me" vertical machining center

[3]
[10] Like what you see?
Click here to donate to this forum and upgrade your account!

alloy

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Jul 5, 2014
Messages
770
Likes
506
#1
A few weeks ago I bought a Fadal VMC15 from work for $2k. I rented a truck and drug it home and unloaded it with a rented forklift.

I bought a 25hp motor off ebay and a phase converter panel. About a month ago I did a power upgrade for my shop and house and now have 200 amps in the shop and house. I'm glad I did that, I only had 70 amps in the shop when I bought the house.

With Jim Dawson's help I got the phase converter wired up yesterday and fired the machine up. The converter is much quiter than I thought it would be for such a large motor. Everything seems to run just fine. The mill is still on the machinery skates and not leveled yet. I wanted to leave room on the corner behind the mill to get the phase converter moved into place and everything wired up. Next weekend I'll move it into the final position and level it and hopefully make some chips.

With the converter and moving cost I have a little over $4k into it. I had tooling left over from my old shop thankfully.

20181026_092605.jpg
20181026_104839.jpg
20181118_114222.jpg
20181118_114514.jpg
20181118_112021.jpg
20181118_114330.jpg
 

Aukai

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Oct 4, 2016
Messages
525
Likes
431
#2
Living the dream:cheerful::encourage:
 

Cadillac STS

Active User
H-M Platinum Supporter ($50)
Joined
Jul 20, 2012
Messages
641
Likes
236
#3
Did you run it at work? If not could invite the person who did over for dinner and maybe some beers a few times to help you get up to speed on it.
 

alloy

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Jul 5, 2014
Messages
770
Likes
506
#4
I hope it turns out to be a good dream ;)

I ran it for 8 years. I was running parts on it the day before I moved it.

We just did plastic parts on it. The other Fadals have 18,000 running hours on them, this one has 7000. Has a new y axis motor, new z axis motor, came with an extra spindle drive and a vise. We also put air blast on it and a usb drive setup.

I was thinking now that I have a large phase converter I can use it for other things I may run across
 
Last edited:

Bob Korves

H-M Supporter - Sustaining Member
H-M Platinum Supporter ($50)
Joined
Jul 2, 2014
Messages
5,846
Likes
6,159
#5
In the pics it looks like a machine that was well taken care of.
 

ttabbal

H-M Supporter - Silver Member
H-M Supporter - Silver Member ($10)
Joined
Jun 12, 2017
Messages
726
Likes
722
#6
Well, you suck. :)

Have fun making chips with that bad boy!
 

Cadillac STS

Active User
H-M Platinum Supporter ($50)
Joined
Jul 20, 2012
Messages
641
Likes
236
#7
Good move for your company to sell that to you. You stay interested with your own machine, get more skills and become an even better employee...
 

alloy

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Jul 5, 2014
Messages
770
Likes
506
#8
We take very good care of the machines there. They all got a PM each year.

Wow, been awhile since I got a "you suck"

They replaced 3 of the fadals with brother high speed machines. They are very fast, but we can't get tools last in 15-5 stainless. So really with putting new tooling in about every hour they are actually slower overall. I've encouraged them to get a tool rep in and try different tooling instead of the MSC cheap stuff. You need high performance tooling for a high performance machine. They are quickly learning that.

Anyway I'm looking for a part or product to make on the VMC. I do transmission modifications but they really don't lend themselves to being done on a CNC. I don't want to be a job shop again. I want to make and sell things on my time. I'm a car guy so that would be where my interest is, but if it makes money I dont care what I make.
 

hman

Active User
H-M Platinum Supporter ($50)
Joined
Feb 17, 2013
Messages
1,849
Likes
1,493
#9
I ran it for 8 years. I was running parts on it the day before I moved it.
... wowsers! ... almost like getting married to the girl you'd been dating for a while. May she be your good friend for a long, long time!
 

Ianagos

Active User
Registered
Joined
Oct 14, 2014
Messages
135
Likes
104
#10
Looks pretty nice.

Is it running off the converter fine?
 

Aukai

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Oct 4, 2016
Messages
525
Likes
431
#11
I wish you had this earlier, I have been on hold from Fesler on billet hinges, took a couple of months to get my hood hinges, and I'm still waiting on the trunk hinges that were ordered at the same time.

 

alloy

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Jul 5, 2014
Messages
770
Likes
506
#12
Yeah we had a long engagement. I finally tied the knott :grin:

I've just ran the warmup program so far on the converter but it seems fine. Acts just like it did at work.

Hinges like that take a lot of R&D to get a final product. I do transmission cable drive mods where I add a drive for a cable to 3 different transmissions and it took months for each of them to design and test.

But this is the type of thing I'm looking to do. But I don't want to just copy someone else's work. When I'm finished with a part I can talk the talk, and walk the walk because I've done my testing and research.

I have a 55 Chevy and I'm going to go over it and see what I can make for it.
 

Aukai

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Oct 4, 2016
Messages
525
Likes
431
#13
I have a hard enough time with a DRO, I don't think I have enough years left to get to that level, wish I started earlier. I've had the inkling of the idea for machining, but never got to act on it, such is life. Getting old just kinda creeps on you, then your there.
 

Cadillac STS

Active User
H-M Platinum Supporter ($50)
Joined
Jul 20, 2012
Messages
641
Likes
236
#14
Keep an ad going on Craigslist for offers to do CNC work and see what comes to you?
 

markba633csi

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Apr 30, 2015
Messages
2,964
Likes
1,537
#15
How fun! What a great toy, enjoy.
mark
 

alloy

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Jul 5, 2014
Messages
770
Likes
506
#16
I'm 61 now and if I'd not done CNC for 30 years I don't think I'd take the leap to CNC. Just too much to learn. I still have to learn new programming software. When I programmed last the program ran on DOS and came on one floppy disk. I wish I still had that program.

I had toyed with the idea of putting an ad on CL. Where I live I'm 30 miles from the closest good size city, and 60 miles from Portland. I'm not sure if anyone would drive that far.

Thanks, I do think I will enjoy the increased capabilities. I have one part I make for a transmission and I handle it 6 times with my manual mill. With the CNC I will handle it once.
 
Last edited:

pontiac428

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Apr 23, 2018
Messages
213
Likes
147
#17
I had a lot of hours on the Fadal VMC15, it's a great NC machine for the home shop. If that doesn't make me jealous, the price you paid sure does! I couldn't imagine the cost of getting that set up and running. A pair of Kurts and a dozen tool holders is nothing to sniff at. I look forward to seeing your work!
 

hman

Active User
H-M Platinum Supporter ($50)
Joined
Feb 17, 2013
Messages
1,849
Likes
1,493
#18
I had toyed with the idea of putting an additional on CL. Where I live I'm 30 miles from the closest good size city, and 60 miles from Portland. I'm not sure if anyone would drive that far.
You night be surprised. When I lived in Corvallis, 90 miles south of Portland, I regularly checked CL ads from the Portland, OR and Vancouver and Auburn, WA (home of Jet "scratch and dent" store). Bought my current 12x24 lathe through a Portland CL ad.

... and even crazier ... the woodworking club I was a member of here in the Phoenix area once bought an overarm router from an ad in Vancouver. I was a snowbird at the time, so I volunteered to deliver it (knowing it would fit in my pickumup truck). "Round trip" of over 3000 miles (though it was just on my "regular commute")! The photo includes one of the proud new owners. And, very unexpectedly, they even gave me $100 toward gas!
Proud Papa.jpg
 

alloy

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Jul 5, 2014
Messages
770
Likes
506
#19
The cost of setting it up wasn't bad really. To get it I rented a truck for $200. The forklift I used for 15 minutes cost me $375. I bought some machinery skates for $165 off amazon. The phase converter panel was $375. A 25hp motor off eBay was $500 shipped. I have about $150 more in wiring and misc stuff. I have many cat 40 holders and collets from my old shop. So around $2k give or take. I also got a Kurt D675 with the mill, and I have two spare 675's at home.

I looked on CL and saw a couple of people offering programming services but no one offering cnc mill time. I'm still wanting to make my own products instead of doing work for others. Just have to wait and see what comes up.
 
Last edited:

Cadillac STS

Active User
H-M Platinum Supporter ($50)
Joined
Jul 20, 2012
Messages
641
Likes
236
#20
Maybe make a connection to the folk who do CNC programming on your local Craigslist. Might offer services they can refer their customers for. Make some money, can stop doing work for others anytime. And at least they should know who is who and what's going on in the CNC community locally which could be very valuable to you as you find your way around being a guy with a CNC machine at home.. And professional experience on how to use it.
 

mattthemuppet2

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Sep 28, 2013
Messages
1,684
Likes
1,021
#21
lovely! That'll fit in your new AC'd/ heated shop just fine :)

As for products, I think that as you go through your Chevy anything that you need to make because you can't find a replacement or the original sucked would be a great candidate for making more of. If you have to make the program and test the fit for one, you already have all the work done to make 100.

If you set up an anodising or plating line, you can also add "bling" or original chrome finishes which the car crowd seem to go nuts over. figure out how to set up a simple website, see if you can get in any Chevy 55 newsletters and I think you'll get quite a following within a couple of years.

If you get an itch after that, find another popular older car, get a beater and restore that. A new project and a new line - 2 for the price of one!
 

alloy

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Jul 5, 2014
Messages
770
Likes
506
#22
From what I can see all the programmers are in Seattle, nothing local.

I know how to run the mill very well. I had 4020 for 10 years, and have run 6 Fadals now for 8 years. We are down to 3 of them now with the new Brother machines.

If I had to chose the Brothers or the Fadals I'd take the Fadals anytime.

I'm trying to find parts that I can make and market and undercut the competition. Some of the prices are unbelievable. I have a website for my transmission mods, it would be easy to add additional products there.

Pic of my work "office"

20181120_082328.jpg
 

middle.road

Actively Learning...
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Apr 28, 2014
Messages
1,548
Likes
840
#23
Very nice score, and the price was unbelievable.
 

alloy

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Jul 5, 2014
Messages
770
Likes
506
#24
The company tried to sell all 3 fadals to a dealer. He offered $9k for all of them. I offered $2k for the small one and after negotiating with the dealer he gave them $14.5k for the 4020 and 3016. To him the vmc15 had no value. I see them locally now and then for up to $10k and in much worse shape. I know this machine very well. I had no reservations buying it.
 

pontiac428

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Apr 23, 2018
Messages
213
Likes
147
#25
Alloy, is it your guys that have the other two Fadals and the Haas VMC up for sale on CL here in WA this month? There was a VMC15 and I think a 4020 going for under $5k. Sure got my gears turning, but my new home shop won't be completed until summer. Maybe next year I could get it past the committee. Anyway, awesome score and thanks for the post.
 

alloy

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Jul 5, 2014
Messages
770
Likes
506
#26
No not us. They were never on CL, just listed with a machine tool dealer. We only had fadals.

There is a stunning 5020 for sale in Bend for $14.5k. Looks super clean.

https://bend.craigslist.org/tls/d/fadal-50-20a-88hs-control/6731387815.html

I know how it is to want a shop. I worked years to be able too buy a place with a shop. My commute sucks, 54 miles one way. But I walk into my house instead of a rental and go out to my shop and it's worth it. I wished I could have done it sooner.

It's nice to be able to do what I want with my place. I did a 400 amp power upgrade and put a heat pump in my shop. Didn't have to even get committee approval :grin:
 
Last edited:

middle.road

Actively Learning...
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Apr 28, 2014
Messages
1,548
Likes
840
#27
how long until there is a Dawson control unit on it?
 

alloy

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Jul 5, 2014
Messages
770
Likes
506
#28
You just never know ;)
 

alloy

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Jul 5, 2014
Messages
770
Likes
506
#29
Just made my first chips with the mill. Had to move it into position and level it this morning. Took forever to level it but I got it very close to perfect.

The part I made is very simple. I programmed it mastercam. I'm still working on learning the software.

It took 2:41 to run the part, and manually it took well over 20 minutes. Not too exciting yet, but it's up and running :grin:
 

Aukai

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Oct 4, 2016
Messages
525
Likes
431
#30
And the picture of said part is on which ESP channel?:ghost:
 
[6]
[5] [7]
Top