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Unread 09-25-2006, 08:06 PM
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What machines are you using? (CNC, lathes, mills, 3-in-1 machines?)

OK, need some help. Please :-)



We have been trying to keep our robotics/metal/automotive shop running on a couple of southbend lathes(1950s/60s?), a bridgeport mill(1986), and a Bridgeport Series 1 BOSS 5 CNC (with tape reader :-), circa 1977)



Everything works, but I'm trying to look toward the future and plan some replacements, or add new machines if the old stuff keeps chugging along.



I would like to know what NEW equipment people would buy for a robotics shop/ high school metal shop. The room is actually an automotive shop, but all metal fabrication is done in that room.



Anyone work with or recommend any of the Smithy, Shoptask, ENCO 3-in-1 machines as a replacement for a southbend lathe?



What would you recommend for a USED or NEW CNC machine?



Thanks in advance!!!
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Unread 09-25-2006, 08:12 PM
sanddrag sanddrag is offline
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Re: What machines are you using? (CNC, lathes, mills, 3-in-1 machines?)

You're already a lot better off than a lot of teams. And I'm willing to bet those Southbend lathes may be better quality than some of the new import stuff. I really like LeBlond lathes.

I would never buy a 3 in 1 machine. All the ones I've seen are either really junky or quite impractical or both.

Do you have a welder? A Miller Synchrowave sure would be nice.

For CNC, I like HAAS.
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Last edited by sanddrag : 09-25-2006 at 11:18 PM.
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Unread 09-25-2006, 08:25 PM
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Re: What machines are you using? (CNC, lathes, mills, 3-in-1 machines?)

Thanks for the feedback. Yeah, the southbends work, and i know we are in pretty good shape, but the machines get backed up quickly, so additional machines would be nice. And one day, i'm sure we won't be able to keep repairing the old stuff either :-/

We got a Miller Tig/Arc (i think it is a syncrowave model) last year, works GREAT.

I'll look into the HAAS equipment, don't know much about them. I've used only Bridgeport and Southbend since high school :-)

(ok, some delta and dewalt wood tools also :-)
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Unread 09-25-2006, 08:44 PM
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Re: What machines are you using? (CNC, lathes, mills, 3-in-1 machines?)

I would keep the current Southbend lathes and add more if space is available for them since you mention they get backed up. Look at finding more Southbend or LeBlond lathes. Southbend and LeBlond are what Porter-Cable and Milwaukee are to the power tool world. 10 or 20 years from now you'll still be able to get parts for them.

Proto-Traks are nice too. We have 4 where I work, 1 two axis and 3 three axis machines. Pricey though. You could just add more Bridgeports if that's what you like though. You might even be able to get them donated to the team from local companies, like what we did, as the companies upgraded and the Bridgeports didn't fit thier needs anymore. (We also had a local autobody shop donate the use of a driver and roll back for an hour or so so we could get the machines moved to our location. )
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Unread 09-25-2006, 09:09 PM
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Re: What machines are you using? (CNC, lathes, mills, 3-in-1 machines?)

i do a lot of the machining (everything non-sheet-metal) for our team.

we (my work) have a bridgeport boss 1, and believe me its no problem. extremely rigid CNC, very accurate, stepper motors hard to beat.

have an '04 Hurco VM-2... which i'd recommend over the haas only on the point of value, you pay less for the same machine with hurco, and theyre designed/serviced/based right here in indianapolis.

for manual stuff we have a generic 7" jaw enco engine lathe, and a bridgeport-type enco generic knee mill.

for a vm1, 26"x14"x18" work envelope, you can expect to pay $35,900. if you buy used, just make sure you know exactly what they've been doing with it, example, graphite milling ruins ballscrews, inconel milling tears up spindle cartriges, etc.

honestly your machines are all just fine, i don't think you need to get anything new unless something breaks... or if you come in to some money and don't know what to do with it. remember after buying a new or even a used machine you still have to tool it, and depending on how crazy you get that can be in the mid to upper thousands of dollars, or more.... one added bonus is hurco offers a nice set of collet holders, endmill holders, keyless chuck holders, pullstuds, for just $300, a very very low price for what you get.

PM me or post with any questions you might have. i'm a g-code programmer too if you need help there.

-Q


Quote:
Originally Posted by MrB
OK, need some help. Please :-)



We have been trying to keep our robotics/metal/automotive shop running on a couple of southbend lathes(1950s/60s?), a bridgeport mill(1986), and a Bridgeport Series 1 BOSS 5 CNC (with tape reader :-), circa 1977)



Everything works, but I'm trying to look toward the future and plan some replacements, or add new machines if the old stuff keeps chugging along.



I would like to know what NEW equipment people would buy for a robotics shop/ high school metal shop. The room is actually an automotive shop, but all metal fabrication is done in that room.



Anyone work with or recommend any of the Smithy, Shoptask, ENCO 3-in-1 machines as a replacement for a southbend lathe?



What would you recommend for a USED or NEW CNC machine?



Thanks in advance!!!
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Unread 09-25-2006, 10:53 PM
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Re: What machines are you using? (CNC, lathes, mills, 3-in-1 machines?)

Well my team only has 2 drill presses, a band saw and a grinder. But in my personal arsenal I have 2 drill presses (one tabletop craftsman, and a 5 foot tall South bend) a south bend lathe, a MAX nc 3 axis CNC mill with a rotary table. as well as a MIG welder. Between the tools at the robotics shop, and my personal machines we've been able to make anything we need. I'd say keep the south bend lathes, south bend machines were the Cadillacs of the machining industry when they came out. The lathe I have now was one of the original lathes my uncle had in his machine shop way back in the day. I don't know about the Bridgeport mill, because I've never used one. however my uncle told me many storied about those CNC machines with the Tape Readers , I think those machines scarred him for life.

About the CNC machines, their not always the way to go. I would not recommend that little CNC mill i have to anyone, it's too picky and doesn't work properly a lot of the time. The only brand that i would recommend to anyone would have to be HAAS, I've used some of their machines and i don't have any complaints; except for the fact that the coolant hoses on their CNC lathes tend to burst when you reposition them, not a very good feeling situation

From my experience in FIRST (Last year of HS already ) is that all you really need is a hacksaw, a handrill, and a strage shaped piece of heavy wood to make a robot that can win. So as of now your wayy ahead of the game.
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Last edited by [527]phil : 09-25-2006 at 11:00 PM.
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Unread 09-26-2006, 08:40 AM
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Re: What machines are you using? (CNC, lathes, mills, 3-in-1 machines?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by [527]phil
But in my personal arsenal I have 2 drill presses (one tabletop craftsman, and a 5 foot tall South bend) a south bend lathe, a MAX nc 3 axis CNC mill with a rotary table. as well as a MIG welder.
I'm working at your house this season!
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Unread 09-26-2006, 10:10 AM
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Re: What machines are you using? (CNC, lathes, mills, 3-in-1 machines?)

We have a Jet 9x42 knee mill, with DRO (currently only on the x-axis).

Jet 13x40 lathe (trying to find some money to put a DRO on it )

Various drill presses, a bandsaw, grinders, etc.
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Unread 09-26-2006, 12:41 PM
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Re: What machines are you using? (CNC, lathes, mills, 3-in-1 machines?)

Hardinge Lathe... but they might be too pricey (Hardinge is like the mercedes of lathes..).. If you already have a welder and some power tools... maybe a belt sander, vertical or horizontal band saws would be helpful..

But if you already have that stuff, I'd add another lathe or miller since they get backed up worse and longer than most other tools.
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Unread 09-26-2006, 05:30 PM
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Re: What machines are you using? (CNC, lathes, mills, 3-in-1 machines?)

Mr. B.,

I'm a huge fan of using the right resources at the right times. My suggestion, after quite a bit of thought, is to talk to the shop teachers in your area, such as the community colleges. They should be able to tell you how to optimize the resources you do have, as well as give you suggestions as to what tools you ought to add to your shop. If you develop a rapport with them, you might even be able to get them to come help out during build season.

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Unread 09-26-2006, 08:01 PM
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Re: What machines are you using? (CNC, lathes, mills, 3-in-1 machines?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by indieFan
Mr. B.,


I'm a huge fan of using the right resources at the right times. My suggestion, after quite a bit of thought, is to talk to the shop teachers in your area, such as the community colleges. They should be able to tell you how to optimize the resources you do have, as well as give you suggestions as to what tools you ought to add to your shop. If you develop a rapport with them, you might even be able to get them to come help out during build season.

indieFan
Thanks for the suggestion. We have some contacts as it is, but we try to keep this a student built and run setup. So in that I'm really just trying to make sure they have the best setup at our school to learn the most and produce the most during the season. We've sent out parts to sponsors in the past, but it is not nearly as gratifying for the team or individual students as when they say "I made that". and they bring their parents around to show them how the machines work.

My other battle is that the district liquidated its machine shop over a decade ago b/c it was "industrial arts". I want to make sure they know that to build these bots over the past six years we've been using the same equipment, but in a more high tech way. Our district is extremely supportive and impressed with what the team has accomplished, now I want to try and get some updated tools so we can get to the next level in house. I realize we are better off than some teams as it is, but you all know the FIRST addiction. Every year we want to take it a step further, so now, we'd just like to invest in our tools.

Thanks so far to everyone who has posted machine info, it has definitely set a baseline where other are at, and helped me look into some new equipment. I'll never get rid of those southbends, i just hope we can keep getting parts to keep them running :-) Thanks again.
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Unread 09-26-2006, 08:17 PM
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Re: What machines are you using? (CNC, lathes, mills, 3-in-1 machines?)

I never meant to say that your students should not build the robot. I was lucky enough to work with a team that had a machine shop at the school, and a parent who is a professor of machining at two community colleges. The students on our team learned how to use the lathe, the bandsaw, the mill, the grinder, etc.

When I said that you might be able to get them to come help out, I meant they might be willing to come guide the kids in safely using the equipment in the most efficient manner. How many of your students know what a chip breaker is? I'm sure any machinist worth anything will know that term. After all, a chip breaker is a more efficient way to remove large amounts of material on a lathe rather than using a standard single point tool. I wish I had known that *last* year when I was doing just this task!

Congrats on getting the district to be so supportive and impressed.

indieFan
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Unread 09-26-2006, 10:07 PM
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Re: What machines are you using? (CNC, lathes, mills, 3-in-1 machines?)

hehehe, see you learn something new every day, never even heard of a chip breaker before :-)

Well as of right now, we also have a couple of parents who train the kids on the the machines. Both are former machinists, but your right, getting more help is never a bad idea. I'm not even sure if the comminity colleges have machine shops :-)

The more people you can get involved the better it is, and less work for each person :-).

Thanks.
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Unread 09-26-2006, 10:54 PM
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Re: What machines are you using? (CNC, lathes, mills, 3-in-1 machines?)

Brian,

You do seem to be well set with the inventory of tools you have, and it is good that you are planning for the future, especially when the latest innovations out there allow much greater control of machining operations. I have a 1996 Jet Bridgeport type mill 3 axis DRO (digital readout), recently converted to CNC, a 1996 Jet 14 X 40 5 HP lathe, with a 2 axis DRO (this is a Cadillac of a machine). AND a Heavy 10 Southbend lathe, 1939 Naval issue...(there is an anchor in the serial number!) My wife Vicki and I loaned the Southbend to our team from 2001 to 2003. She just now has loaned it again for the 2007 season if there is room for it in the robot room! (News flash! you heard it here first!)

For my CNC retrofit mill See here: http://www.lowcostcncretrofits.com/c...s%20video.html

it is also here in ChiefDelphi...

http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/sh...cnc+ retrofit

One new big deal as I see it is the Artsoft Mach3 software that allows a high level of machine axis control and DXF imports with rapid partfile output. You have to see it to believe it really, get some students with that creative desire to make something cool (and right now)...and have them practice making brackets, fittings, levers, etc. they can watch the toolpath and rotate the view etc. It is good for 999 lines of Gcode as a demo and costs $159.00 for the unlimited licence. They update and upgrade the program regularly.
I have downloaded all the latest versions and they all work with my licence.
This software allows your PC to function as a machine control through your printer port to the servo or stepper motor controller.
The Logitrol system I use from lowcostcncretrofits.com is great if you want to build your CNC kneemill or table top CNC mill without all the electronic compatibility worries. Many here in FIRST live for electronic challenges, I do salute you!!!
You will need to maintain the mechanical perfection of your installation for ideal results, i.e. tight keys in the keyways, good pulley fits on the shafts. This may not produce a $880,000 high speed machine but it WILL be easier to use for our robotic parts and give sastisfactory (or better!) results, a great confidence builder!

Thanks Brian for giving me file space for the Knightkrawler videos back in 2003! and best of luck in fine tuning your fabrication facilities! Let me know if I can help further.






Dave Fahringer

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Unread 09-27-2006, 08:19 PM
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Re: What machines are you using? (CNC, lathes, mills, 3-in-1 machines?)

Thanks. it was our pleasure to help out with those videos. We're also happy to do it again if need be.

As for the CNC, it isn't going anywhere soon, so we bought a parallel port controller (BOB - Ashburn Industrial Repair: http://home.icx.net/~ashburn/index.html) and were recommendd to use MACH 3 (MACH3 - http://www.machsupport.com/) So that will help us get past the 16k limit of the Bridgeports BOSS 5 controller. And from what I've read, these machines are solid, and as long as you have controls and motors to drive it, they are worth keeping. So the CNC issue should be good for now. But the idea of getting a second Mill that can be converted to CNC while still being manually operated is a goal.

The 3-in-ones just sound nice to replace the lathes, b/c now you have more drill presses without sacrificing more floor space. But so far, i've gotten mixed reviews on those things. So the southbends are just going to have to be repaired.

Does nayone have sources for Southbend parts? we need a new tailstock and tool holders. I guess that is my next mission.

Oh and I don't think we'll be getting a HAAS machine center anytime, ever, i don'tthink they have any CNCs that are small enough to fit into a school workshop. They seem s bit to industrial for us. :-)

Thanks again to everyone for the help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by D.Fahringer
Brian,

You do seem to be well set with the inventory of tools you have, and it is good that you are planning for the future, especially when the latest innovations out there allow much greater control of machining operations. I have a 1996 Jet Bridgeport type mill 3 axis DRO (digital readout), recently converted to CNC, a 1996 Jet 14 X 40 5 HP lathe, with a 2 axis DRO (this is a Cadillac of a machine). AND a Heavy 10 Southbend lathe, 1939 Naval issue...(there is an anchor in the serial number!) My wife Vicki and I loaned the Southbend to our team from 2001 to 2003. She just now has loaned it again for the 2007 season if there is room for it in the robot room! (News flash! you heard it here first!)

For my CNC retrofit mill See here: http://www.lowcostcncretrofits.com/c...s%20video.html

it is also here in ChiefDelphi...

http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/showthread.php?t=48107&page=2&pp=15&highlight=cnc+ retrofit

One new big deal as I see it is the Artsoft Mach3 software that allows a high level of machine axis control and DXF imports with rapid partfile output. You have to see it to believe it really, get some students with that creative desire to make something cool (and right now)...and have them practice making brackets, fittings, levers, etc. they can watch the toolpath and rotate the view etc. It is good for 999 lines of Gcode as a demo and costs $159.00 for the unlimited licence. They update and upgrade the program regularly.
I have downloaded all the latest versions and they all work with my licence.
This software allows your PC to function as a machine control through your printer port to the servo or stepper motor controller.
The Logitrol system I use from lowcostcncretrofits.com is great if you want to build your CNC kneemill or table top CNC mill without all the electronic compatibility worries. Many here in FIRST live for electronic challenges, I do salute you!!!
You will need to maintain the mechanical perfection of your installation for ideal results, i.e. tight keys in the keyways, good pulley fits on the shafts. This may not produce a $880,000 high speed machine but it WILL be easier to use for our robotic parts and give sastisfactory (or better!) results, a great confidence builder!

Thanks Brian for giving me file space for the Knightkrawler videos back in 2003! and best of luck in fine tuning your fabrication facilities! Let me know if I can help further.






Dave Fahringer

Pictures of the Lathes ...
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