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The Charter Oak 12z bed mill discussion thread

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Chip

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#31
I initially considered the CNC version of the 12z. That envelope IS quite impressive, but I just couldn't wrap my head around how an outfit that neglects their website so much could possibly be counted on for design quality and support of their CNC mill. I mean...it's their storefront for crying out loud. This initial presence to the customer runs as slow as molasses. Its their business card, their lobby, their receptionist, their eSalesman, and their showroom floor. I'm not driving 2000mi each way to look at one in person. Please, help a brother out with something more substantial to review than a brief sales pitch along side four grainy 267x400 jpegs of your marquis product!

Some might poo-poo that opinion as irrelevant to the machine, and indeed that could well be the case, but from the perspective of a customer with cash-in-hand hundreds of miles away looking at making a $12,000+ investment in his future, it is sorely un-reassuring to say the least. Would you buy from a new car dealer that doesn't bother to mow the lawn or sweep the showroom floor? (perhaps, if the price reflected that omission and you knew you could take it somewhere else for service)

Truly, I wish CO the best and hope that if they do read this that they would consider this post as intended; honest constructive criticism from this customer's perspective.
 

coolidge

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#32
Chip I don't disagree the CO web site is lacking and slow. I don't see the belt drive conversion listed on their site at all or that fact that it boosts spindle speed to 5,000+ rpm which to me is a big selling point. So they are shooting themselves in the foot a bit. That said some of the major auto manufacturers web sites are pathetic. Haas has a great web site...when it works I can't tell you how frequently their build a Haas has been broken. So point taken but not sure I would call it a deal breaker. Just my 2 cents worth.
 

coolidge

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#33
Here's a couple video's of the belt drive conversion by the guy who builds them for CO. Top spindle speed 5,300 rpm. Looks like he has a 2 speed belt drive conversion out now also.

[video=youtube;4dmfP5i2syQ]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4dmfP5i2syQ[/video]

[video=youtube;HeoKGTWeBEU]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HeoKGTWeBEU&list=UUOtPHVL6Qi-LuJp17ASrBww[/video]
 

wrmiller

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#34
Wow. Looks like a pulley drive is in my future as well.

I too have been frustrated with their website, but it is getting better (content) and faster over the last few days. Maybe I should have stipulated that some of the money I paid them goes to their website. :)

None of these machine sites are perfect. Grizzly has the wrong thumbnails under some machines and the site occasionally hangs. PM just changed the 'updated' date on their home page, but most of the sub pages are still the same. I could go on, but I'm just making a point not digging on websites as a whole.

I wasn't convinced to put my money down until I had a few conversations with Paul and one of the support guys there at CO. I've been burned by pretty websites with lots of glitz and inaccuracies or omissions before. So I 'window shop' the company's website, but I want to talk to someone and even get a email history trail before I plunk down any money. But I can even point to a very recent case where NONE of this helped. So at some point, the talk stops and a leap of faith (for lack of a better phrase) is needed. If you think that a cool website is going to prevent post sale problems in the future, I wish you luck.

So, I just jumped off a cliff. Again. We'll see how it turns out over the next few weeks. :))
 

coolidge

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#35
WR I predict after you experience a few hours of 100+ decibel WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA from the gear head a belt conversion will be in your future. I do still need to speak with both Arizonavideo and CO about torque as typically you don't get something for nothing.
 

coolidge

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#36
Get some! Note he's using a 4hp motor...

[video=youtube;hwCsD10Fwtg]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwCsD10Fwtg&feature=player_embedded[/video]
 

wrmiller

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#37
WR I predict after you experience a few hours of 100+ decibel WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA from the gear head a belt conversion will be in your future. I do still need to speak with both Arizonavideo and CO about torque as typically you don't get something for nothing.
Maybe I'll have to wrap the head in a blanket for the short term. :lmao:

What are you hearing about the torque issue? You are correct of course. There are tradeoffs to any power transmission system. I won't be stressing this machine like some will, so I doubt I will need that full 3HP. I will be curious as to what you find out though.
 

coolidge

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#38
Dave's here's a pretty good in depth review of the 9901

[video=youtube;kyDuqwuczts]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kyDuqwuczts[/video]
 

maker of things

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#40
Maybe each mill is different, or maybe I just have different expectations than many. I don't find the stock mill to be "loud". Seems about on par with a sewing machine to me, just the sound come from a bit higher off the ground. I don't find it uncomfortable, unlike my craftsman 26 gallon air compressor, I can't even think when that thing is running.
 

coolidge

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#41
Maker when you CNC one of those gear head mills and it runs full blast for hours on end trust me you will long for something more quiet. I also think a good point for us who have garage shops attached to our house is the noise others in the house will have to put up with. I had my old one in my basement and the noise came right up through the floor into the living room. Just my observations and 2 cents worth.
 

coolidge

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#42
UPDATE: The Charter Oak mill still tops the list after pouring over umpteen mill choices the last week. Only found one that tempted me, a used Grizzly knee mill similar to the 9901 that is absolutely mint sitting in a guys garage for $2k but the price was the only temptation, it really doesn't meet my needs. I considered again going with a used Haas but damn they are smoking crack on their prices, not far off what the things cost new and its pretty easy to rack up thousands in repair costs on those things. A new Haas is out of the question.

THEN I got some information on the new improved Charter Oak CNC kit. I was already familiar with the old style kit, belt drive and problem prone been there and done that on my early IH CNC mill. The new style kit uses brushless servos with integrated drives and direct drive connection to the ball screws e.g. no belts. I'll need more information on this kit before I'm ready to pull the trigger on that but I'd order the mill today if the belt drive option was in stock, I'm waiting for an ETA on that.
 

wrmiller

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#43
When you get an ETA on that belt drive could you pass that along? It's on my upgrade list.
 

coolidge

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#44
Update: In no particular order...

Manual mill...

1. Belt drive kits are still on back order.
2. 3hp VFD motor confirmed at 3,600 rpm, the shaft size is some custom metric size from the factory so retrofitting a Baldor, Leeson, Marathon may require turning the motor shaft. On the other hand if converting to belt drive you just machine the pulley to fit.
3. I did look around for inverter duty alternative motors, not cheap about $500 and up and nothing with the wide base mounting frame of the China motor.
4. They insure the mill for shipping with an outside company (not the freight company) and CO will deal with any insurance matters, if they can just send a replacement part they will, if the mill is half destroyed they will ship out a new mill.
5. The VFD is a Danfoss 3hp Micro drive, I checked pricing looks to be $380 to $420 for that unit. Of the $850 they charge for the VFD upgrade which includes installation, control pot, etc. that only leaves $450 to put towards another motor plus having the shaft turned down, machining an adaptor plate, bah I just decided to go with the China motor CO provides. If I upgrade to a better quality motor later I'm only out a few hundred. Also I have yet to find a better quality inverter duty motor that was 3,600 rpm like the China motor, they were all 1,800.


CNC Kit...

1. The newly designed kit includes servo motors that are pretty cool, but are not yet IP rated. CO thinks they are good to go for flood coolant but I pointed out the electrical connection which clearly is not, bottom line I would need to confirm this with the servo manufacturer.
2. All three ball screws are 20mm and rated P3.
3. The Y axis servo is now mounted on the back of the base vs the front. They machine the back of the base flat at the factory in prep for the servo so if you purchase the kit and install yourself is bolt on, you do have the drill/tap the holes.
4. CO assures me backlash is zero, if you machine a circle you won't see issues at the quadrant changes in axis direction it should be a smooth circle.
 

wrmiller

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#45
I wondered what that hole in the back of the base was for (as I was lifting it off the floor with the hoist). Figured it was for the CNC upgrade and it looks like I guessed correctly.

Oh, and the VFD has a RS485 cable coming out of it. I assume this for spindle control via CNC software?



Update: In no particular order...

Manual mill...

1. Belt drive kits are still on back order.
2. 3hp VFD motor confirmed at 3,600 rpm, the shaft size is some custom metric size from the factory so retrofitting a Baldor, Leeson, Marathon may require turning the motor shaft. On the other hand if converting to belt drive you just machine the pulley to fit.
3. I did look around for inverter duty alternative motors, not cheap about $500 and up and nothing with the wide base mounting frame of the China motor.
4. They insure the mill for shipping with an outside company (not the freight company) and CO will deal with any insurance matters, if they can just send a replacement part they will, if the mill is half destroyed they will ship out a new mill.
5. The VFD is a Danfoss 3hp Micro drive, I checked pricing looks to be $380 to $420 for that unit. Of the $850 they charge for the VFD upgrade which includes installation, control pot, etc. that only leaves $450 to put towards another motor plus having the shaft turned down, machining an adaptor plate, bah I just decided to go with the China motor CO provides. If I upgrade to a better quality motor later I'm only out a few hundred. Also I have yet to find a better quality inverter duty motor that was 3,600 rpm like the China motor, they were all 1,800.


CNC Kit...

1. The newly designed kit includes servo motors that are pretty cool, but are not yet IP rated. CO thinks they are good to go for flood coolant but I pointed out the electrical connection which clearly is not, bottom line I would need to confirm this with the servo manufacturer.
2. All three ball screws are 20mm and rated P3.
3. The Y axis servo is now mounted on the back of the base vs the front. They machine the back of the base flat at the factory in prep for the servo so if you purchase the kit and install yourself is bolt on, you do have the drill/tap the holes.
4. CO assures me backlash is zero, if you machine a circle you won't see issues at the quadrant changes in axis direction it should be a smooth circle.
 

zr8cnc

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#46
is the belt drive kit sold through CO or ArizonaDave?

Update: In no particular order...

Manual mill...

1. Belt drive kits are still on back order.
2. 3hp VFD motor confirmed at 3,600 rpm, the shaft size is some custom metric size from the factory so retrofitting a Baldor, Leeson, Marathon may require turning the motor shaft. On the other hand if converting to belt drive you just machine the pulley to fit.
3. I did look around for inverter duty alternative motors, not cheap about $500 and up and nothing with the wide base mounting frame of the China motor.
4. They insure the mill for shipping with an outside company (not the freight company) and CO will deal with any insurance matters, if they can just send a replacement part they will, if the mill is half destroyed they will ship out a new mill.
5. The VFD is a Danfoss 3hp Micro drive, I checked pricing looks to be $380 to $420 for that unit. Of the $850 they charge for the VFD upgrade which includes installation, control pot, etc. that only leaves $450 to put towards another motor plus having the shaft turned down, machining an adaptor plate, bah I just decided to go with the China motor CO provides. If I upgrade to a better quality motor later I'm only out a few hundred. Also I have yet to find a better quality inverter duty motor that was 3,600 rpm like the China motor, they were all 1,800.


CNC Kit...

1. The newly designed kit includes servo motors that are pretty cool, but are not yet IP rated. CO thinks they are good to go for flood coolant but I pointed out the electrical connection which clearly is not, bottom line I would need to confirm this with the servo manufacturer.
2. All three ball screws are 20mm and rated P3.
3. The Y axis servo is now mounted on the back of the base vs the front. They machine the back of the base flat at the factory in prep for the servo so if you purchase the kit and install yourself is bolt on, you do have the drill/tap the holes.
4. CO assures me backlash is zero, if you machine a circle you won't see issues at the quadrant changes in axis direction it should be a smooth circle.
 

wrmiller

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#47
Yes! :)

Dave makes them for CO as well as direct customers. Coolidge and I are getting ours from Dave (Coolidge did all the leg work). Not sure one is better/quicker than the other.
 

johnwell

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#48
Damn, it must be a tough life to constantly figure out how to throw big money around...hehheh :lmao::lmao:
Although it's good food for thought though reading about you rich folks...:))

Anywho...provided I get a response to email I think most interesting to me is a 932M....
Give or take listing for 2500 and have less Y-travel than the CO, but for that money I do have power-just-about-anything. All that is lacking is my (obvious) brainpower!
I can live quite comfortably with (only) 8 inches Y and the wife agrees wholeheartedly with that....:whistle::whistle:
On my 1640 I don't have much Y-travel and that didn't bother me so far....:nuts:
I can't argue a VFD though..that's super nice.

In my defence...coming from a Littlemachineshop mini mill...everything looks better when it weighs a bunch!

Feel free to call me a mentally challenged Dutchie now...I can take it....

John
 

wrmiller

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#49
John,

There are guys here throwing a lot more money around than I! :)

As I've said before here (and will continue to until someone tells me to shut up) you get what you can afford/fit/justify and to heck with everyone else. This isn't a contest (I hope).

I was inches away from getting a 932 as I've had pretty good success with it's little brother my PM25 (had a LMS mini-mill before that), but I don't need power down feed and what I really needed was the ability to work to a 12"x12" work envelope without having to reset the workpiece. Having 26" of X doesn't hurt either... :whistle:

So I popped for the slightly bigger machine. I really do like the VFD upgrade and use it a lot so can't complain about spending the $$ for that upgrade. :))
 

johnwell

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#50
John,

There are guys here throwing a lot more money around than I! :)

As I've said before here (and will continue to until someone tells me to shut up) you get what you can afford/fit/justify and to heck with everyone else. This isn't a contest (I hope).

I was inches away from getting a 932 as I've had pretty good success with it's little brother my PM25 (had a LMS mini-mill before that), but I don't need power down feed and what I really needed was the ability to work to a 12"x12" work envelope without having to reset the workpiece. Having 26" of X doesn't hurt either... :whistle:

So I popped for the slightly bigger machine. I really do like the VFD upgrade and use it a lot so can't complain about spending the $$ for that upgrade. :))
And I think you've made exactly the right decision, Bill.
In my case I already went a tad 'overboard' with my 1640 lathe and not that I don't have a specific budget for me it's, as of now, more messing around with the machines making a thingie here and there while others have alot of 'stuff' to produce, with an actual plan! I do not...:))
I do want a mill that doesn't try to walk over to my neighbour like most mini mills probably do so I'm going for lbs and nice colors....hehheh
I don't need powerdown feed either, no matter how professional that looks...:lmao:
Just looking at the 932 cuz of the price shipped and the table feed and head feed. Not getting any younger here and even though I pull levers for a living...don't wanna pull anything at home except my wife!
The table "work envelope" is absolutely no issue for me in my situation.
I would stay jealous about the VFD though....

John
 

coolidge

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#51
Yes! :)

Dave makes them for CO as well as direct customers. Coolidge and I are getting ours from Dave (Coolidge did all the leg work). Not sure one is better/quicker than the other.
ArizonaDave manufactures the belt drive kits for CO, whether you get your kit from CO or directly from David its the exact same kit. CO will install it for you however for a fee I feel is quite fair given the task.
 

zr8cnc

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#52
does anyone know if Arizonadave custom makes the kits to fit your specific motor shaft diameter?
 

wrmiller

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#53
I would say yes to that, as he wrote me to specifically ask what motor I had. He has all the shaft specs for the motors that Charter Oak sells, but if you have a different motor he will want/need the specs on it so he can make it to fit your motor.
 

zr8cnc

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#54
awesome thanks for the quick feedback. Also I am looking forward to hearing your review on the belt conversion and how it cuts

I would say yes to that, as he wrote me to specifically ask what motor I had. He has all the shaft specs for the motors that Charter Oak sells, but if you have a different motor he will want/need the specs on it so he can make it to fit your motor.
 

coolidge

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#55
awesome thanks for the quick feedback. Also I am looking forward to hearing your review on the belt conversion and how it cuts
Yeah speaking of that Bill if you don't post some pics or video of this belt drive in action soon I'm going to photoshop your Avatar wearing a dress and cheap Walmart make up and use it as my Avatar, you have been warned!
 

zr8cnc

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#56
Perfect! I couldn't have said it better my self

Yeah speaking of that Bill if you don't post some pics or video of this belt drive in action soon I'm going to photoshop your Avatar wearing a dress and cheap Walmart make up and use it as my Avatar, you have been warned!
 
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