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Older CNC Mills

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jbolt

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#1
Hey All,

The high school robotics club I help mentor has a grant to buy a mill. They have been considering a refurbished knee mill, Bridgeport etc. but then they were talking about adding CNC. I'm thinking it would be better to find a CNC mill that has manual capacity vs converting a manual mill to CNC. After my experience with converting my PM-932, and by no means am I disappointed with what I did, knowing what I know now I think I could get more mill for the same cost or less. I understand that the controllers on older mills may not be functional or just too slow and can be difficult to get parts for but to me the controller is the easiest part to retrofit if need be.

Not having any experience with older CNC mills what brands should we be on the lookout for that have manual capabilities? I have a lead on a Supermax YCM-40 I'm going to look at this weekend but other than looking at the specs I don't know anything about them and what would be a fair price or if it is one of those machines you stay away from.

Any insight would be appreciated.
 

JimDawson

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#2
The YMC-40 would be a good option. Also Eagle or Webb. In the late 80's to 90's there were quite a number of the Topwell mills that were imported, branded as Eagle and Webb, fitted with Anilam controllers, all USA made motors, and Thompson balls screws. Most of these retained the manual capability and are 10x50 machines. I have seen a few that were 2 axis machines as was mine when I got it.

Topwell is a Taiwan manufacturer of high quality machines and they are still in business.

I would go nuts if I didn't have manual capability.
 

Karl_T

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#3
I have that mill. It is a wonderful rigid machine. of course condition is everything on old equipment.
 

jbolt

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#4
Owner of the Supermax started jerking me around on Friday so I passed on looking at it. Too big a red flag when that happens.

Jim, thanks for the suggestions. We will keep an eye out for those brands.

On the box or square way mills, do they run way liners or cast to cast?
 

jbolt

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#6
Anyone know anything about an Eagle Crusader series M?
 

JimDawson

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On the box or square way mills, do they run way liners or cast to cast?
As near as I can tell it's metal to metal. Has gibs just like dovetail ways.

Anyone know anything about an Eagle Crusader series M?
What do you need to know, maybe I can help. My mill used to have a Crusader M
 

jbolt

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#8
There is a local guy who has one that the original controller was removed as it ran tapes and is mostly converted to a Gecko servo drive system. I have not seen it yet just wondering what to look out for. He says he has run it manually but has not had the servos under power.
 

JimDawson

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Just look at the mechanical as you would any mill. I would pretty much ignore the electronics. I would want the original Baldor servos and SD drives, very nice system. If they were working there's no reason to replace them that I can see. Don't know anything about the Gecko drives.
 

jbolt

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#10
I'm beginning to think people post their machines for sale just for attention. As soon as you want to look at them there is always and excuse or condition. I've had three in a row where the seller is a flake at best.

We contacted a local used machinery broker and they came up with a 2002 Bridgeport 3-axis with still functioning controller but wanted over 20K for it. :confused 3:
 

jbolt

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#11
Quick update. One of our young engineer mentors found us a mill from a company going out of business. They sold us a working Kent USA 3HP 3ph 2-Axis CNC knee mill with working Accuride controller & servos, power drawbar, automatic one-shot oiler, two Kurt 6" vises, an 8" vise (monster) and a huge tool chest full of tools for the measly sum of $7,500 delivered to the school. Very exciting!

Three of us moved it into the classroom on Friday evening. The facilities manager moved it from the service yard where it was deliverd to near the classroom door and left us a pallet jack. We managed to get it through two 35" doorways with only partial disassembly of the X & Y servo mounts using the pallet jack, machine skates, toe jack and a large pry-bar.

We are sharing the mill with the engineering classes so it is in their work space. The robotics lab has no space for it so this works out for everyone.

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