IWF is in Atlanta in August with that kind of buying power you will be in demand and in a good negotiating place,, all major CNC , companies will be there,, go spend two days looking studying one day not buying,, then go home think look at your out put and where you want to go for the next seven to ten years, then go to the plant and buy (American hopefully)
I have the CAMaster Cobra, we are an Architectural shop, Yesterday some guy still on his knees drawing full scale on a concrete floor bid an Astronomical price for a reception desk that at first glance had some very thought provoking radius to it, the architect called me and told me to look, I came back with a cool 30 k number and they are bringing a contract this AM. it is only 16 lin feet with some acrylic feature on standoffs, we are going to do pretty good on it other guy lost out completely. you see all I have to do is get the dxf from the architect and with a 9 foot bed length my radius is perfect and standing in less than an hour or so. once all materials are here we will build that desk in two maybe three days, the CNC has made all the difference in our custom work, textured panels, artwork, casework.
CAMaster also has a forum for its machine support and owners, others who may wish to study CNC are welcome to join, feel free to come take a look.
I am not going to hide the truth, with your budget you have a lot more wiggle room than most all of the rest of Us, budget, quality, performance, support (and not necessarily in that order) need to all be addressed,, I was lost in the CNC language when I started, I Compared to it like Voodoo I am glad I found those who recognized this and to this day have never charged me a dime that I did not know and want to spend and answered every phone call. lastly Go see shops, Salesmen will be old friends quick (God love them) but you are going to need other owners, you will find most like showing their machines (as long as you are not right down the street) like me many of us are still amazed we figured this thing out !
As a package I was a strong believer in start small learn and then purchase for what I needed, My first machine was a used single head 4 x 8 which dollar wise was meant to learn on I sold it for what I had in it and moved up quickly. you can do all I do and well for less than 60 k.. if you want to call or visit the shop feel free. number is on website
I agree you can do much better than entry level with that kind of budget. Consider Thermwood as an option. Also look at the IS series from shopsabre. The heavier the machine, the smoother it will cut. Learning to run a machine is pretty easy. Design software takes a little more time and getting started on that early would be wise. Any of these machines will pay for themselves pretty quickly if you keep it running.
You haven't mentioned what kind of machine you're looking for....Pod and Rail? Flat Table? how many sheets do you need to process per day/shift?
If your looking for a flat table, I highly recommend looking at a Weeke Vantech. It's really an amazing machine for the money.
When talking about budget, keep in mind your peripheral needs. Compressed Air, Dust Collection, and Electrical can all be costly. The software end can be VERY Costly. I just finished the implementation of a router, with Vac Lift and auto off loading. The one thing that caught me off guard was the lack of suction in my current dust collector. I ended up blowing the budget with new dust collector, at almost 50k
Also consider parts and service, my machine is a thermwood cs 45 5x10 dressed to the max. 7 yrs old, haven't even had to call tech or mach support for a couple years. Yesterday had a onboard computer problem,remember 7 years old. Thermwood tech spent 3 or more hours on the phone with me until we got it running again, Cost from thermwood -0-
My machine was on the upper end of your budget, but that was with drill bank and the at the head tool carrier,pump,the whole deal. And made in the midwest of USA..in plant training is included along with the tech who comes to your shop and sets up your machine.. And runs some parts before he leaves! I probably should not say this out loud, but I actually had material delivered to thermwood plant and we went there and cut up a complete kitchen with my design before I even committed to buying a machine...
I have to second the Thermwood also. My machine is a 2000 that I but used and they have helped me in every way with no support cost. I looked at many machines at the IWF show and decided on Thermwood because of their software and ease of use. If you can make it to the IWF show you can see every machine running and get demonstrations. Thermwood's support has been outstanding, I wouldn't even think about another brand when I purchase my new one.
As all ready stated the IWF show is where you need to be I went to Vegas last year and got all the info needed for me to make an informed decision. What I have noticed is that these machines are such a powerful tool that we all wish we had purchased one sooner than we did and that everyone is happy with the performance or there machine. We all may have wished that we purchased bigger or wish we had an extra feature but I have not heard anybody speak bad about any of the quality machines on the market. It all the information you can and buy what fits your needs.
Oh and I am very happy with my Biesse.
If you are buying to process panels, I'd go nested, flat table, auto load/unload, lots of drills & tool change positions. For our work I'd also get a C-axis. We have a Komo 5x10 great machine and support but wish it was 5x12. We also have a pod & rail machine with C-axis, 21 drills + the horizontals, a 2nd router and two aggregates. Very useful if you are doing a lot of solid wood. I wouldn't buy one for panels. I got it used and it's been a PIA. Going to Atlanta to look for a new flat table machine. It will need to be built to run 12 hours a day, hopefully for years. Aiming for a complete cycle time of 7-8 minutes, average, about two units of board a day. I'd buy another KOMO, now that they are back in USA.
I agree with all that has been stated. I learned more about cnc's routers by going to visit other shops and checking out their machines and especially talking to the owners about their operation. I have had my machine since september and from my limited experience, learning software is 75%-90% and the machine is the remainder. I went with a 5X10 Freedom Machine Tool Patriot and its been incredible. Customer service has been first class, even on weekends. Three shops in my area have the same machine so that has been great to be able to pick up the phone to ask questions. So my advice is definatetly go to other local shops and ask questions. I have a cabinet shop and use CabinetPartsPro ($250) and VCarvePro ($600?) and both software have been able to build everything I need.
Jim McGrew (already posted earlier) was a great help to me when going thru the process. I have been to two of his Aspire camps and they were great. Good luck with your search.
I use cabinet vision to feed our machine. All in all it cost me 98k installed. It was used. I have included all the numbers, including the electrical, dust collector that I bought, the vacuum lift and software upgrade.
I agree with Jim and a lot of others, you will ask why oh did I wait. Yes, you will be changing your line of thinking. I have a 5x12 tool change on the fly and 20 drills. We run the hell out of it. 40 hp vacuum pump.
Cabinetmakers last comment about vacuum pumps prompted me to make this follow-up. Our first router came with a 10hp Becker. Worked fine for gasketed processing but lacked when multiple parts were cut from a sheet. We currently have a 40hp Quincy for nested 5x10. Works fine 98% of the time. For very small parts we have the software set to double cut those, onion skin. 40hp sucks a lot of electricity, takes a lot of expensive synthetic oil and separator cartridge! I've seen machines setup with multiple Beckers. Seems like a good idea. Only need to run as many as the work needs. Beckers are cheap to maintain. Anyone out there do that? How has it worked?
Yes I started out with 1 10 hp Becker and it wouldn't hold small parts. I now run 2 10 hp pumps and haven't had any problems cutting parts out of 4x8 sheets. The thing I found out about vacuum pumps is that altitude has a direct affect on them.
We run 2 Busch 10 HP pumps with a 5 X 10 table. We have a vacuum gauge on the line close to the controller I can keep an eye on it & if the vacuum gets too low I kick the other pump in. This has worked well for us & I think it helps the electric bill.
As a cheaper but very effective alternate to the traditional vacuum pump, some of the creative shopbotters came up with the idea of using 4 whole house vacuum motors in series. I was skeptical at first but when I saw it work, I was amazed. Total cost was less that $800 including piping, etc. I cut sheet cuts all the time and I use an onion skin and this has been working very well for me.
I do not have a vacuum guage. I just went by what I saw. The technical specs for the draw of the vacuum can be found at the distributors website which is also well documented in the shopbot forum. There is a premade version sold by another company. A friend of mine from maryland bought one and likes it. http://www.usroutertools.com.
The one thing I will say is that they are a little noisy but as you can see from the pics, there are mufflers which help alot.
To answer your other question, yes I onionskin. So I use a vortex 1/2 inch 3 flute compression bit and do one pass to .735 and then the final cutout at .753 for 3/4 inch material. Nothing much moves even the smaller stretchers by using the onionskin method.
The reason I asked about onion skinning is if you do it for all parts it nearly doubles your processing time & wears your tooling. Can you set your software to only do it on the small parts? No need to on regular cabinet parts. Maybe I'm overly concerned about your tooling costs but we spend over $100 a day & I feel the pain! You may be cutting fewer sheets but it still is represented in your cost per sheet. Ever move your machine makes costs something. By the end of the year that all adds up.
We run our rover 30 with 2 10hp beckers on a 5X8 spoilboard.
We have recently started to use only one pump due to a temporary electrical limitation.
Parts are not moving. Not much difference than 2 for us. We cut closet parts with our smallest parts being 2.5"X12 kicks. (auto onion skin on small parts) We just adjust our nests to have decent sized parts cut last. A lot of holding parts is in the cutting strategy of the post. I think a lot of posts are sloppy and the answer is just throw more vac at it. Of course it probably helps that we are not cutting super fast. 16 to 18m/m.
Of course you can do it for a lot less, your ripping of somebody else's design. Maybe if you had to put some hours in it designing it, figuring it out, etc. you would charge accordingly. No respect for guys who rip off other peoples designs and brag about it. It's people like you that drive the industry down. No good.
I could not agree more, when someone brings us a plan or design and it is not Stamped by the contracted architect we slide it back across the table and thank them for Asking but "No thanks" design, quoting and all is hard work and I for one take it seriously, in the case I told I have no clue who the other guy is nor what his bid was, I was told it was astronomical after I turned in my quote.. there is nothing to be gained by Robbing the trade.
I take it that you are replying to my last post. Just so that you are properly informed, the other company came out with their version well after I had built mine. In fact, the innovative and can do attitude of the members of shopbot forum are the ones who decided that they should come up with a hold down method instead of spending $10K on a hold down system. I think its always better to take the time to do a little research.
Brian he could have meant any of us, may not have had a good day you never know. the vac system Brian has built has been out on the net for years long before US router tools took it to production, there is no issue with anyone on a patent or design for how it works. some of us build our own tools. in the early 90s and with no real money I built my own verticle sliding saw, worked really well and I have long sisnce made up for the loss of income to the machine manufacturers with all my purchases since !!
that design was put out there as an open source design year ago. It is a take off of one that Brady Watson made as an alternative to the big units. Another Shopbotter revised it and put the design on the Shopbot page.
That is sort of uncalled for Ya think,, What makes you think I ripped somebody off. adding technology has been Blessing, Woodworking for some of us is a business, the use of technology has always advanced us from the biblical times of Carpenters..At this point and 28 years of same Name on the Door, Same reputation and same contractors Same Architects to out compete someone who (Like I have done) is still living in the dark ages is nothing I carry any Guilt about.
I am sure you may not have given any thought as to who ever the fellow is I won over on that desk, I mean really he tried to charge 65 k for a 16 foot radius desk, I was given no preferential treatment, I was given the same architecturals he was, and probably spent far more time actually looking at the plans than he did. and now you feell sorry for him, Geez !!!
On another thought I do pray you are not Practicing Contempt without investigation as that kind of defocus will always work against the practitioner. I actually find it kind of humorous you would think I took bread off some ones table using unethical means from an internet post , Good luck to you, see you in the Bid rooms !
Lets get real here, the CNC is a Machine that follows commands. The real important part is the software that produces the commands. If you settle for inexpensive or shortcuts here the CNC wont make a difference.
For the most important response to your question I would suggest you start with GaryB and Larry's posts. What are you doing with the machine? and What are your expectations for through-put (production)?
I can tell you all day long about how I love my machine, but if I am not making the same thing that you are making at the efficiency that YOU NEED to be successful, my words are just ripples in the pond and of no use to you. (5 posts before GaryB and all pitched a machine without asking you what for...)
Omnitech Systems has a catalog of CNC routers with innumerable configurations available for your review tailored to fit your budget and production expectations. With a starting price at a third of your budget, let me present the solution you need, not the machine someone needs to sell.
other than possibility that someone is seemingly Jealous about the fact that one machine is Selling at a rate that new Hass machining centers had to be installed this week just to keep up with demand (And all US made) one would read that I read what the poster said and responded with my own experience at where I am at now. and it is working Quite well for Me.. One more Note I have always made my decisions from looking to those who told me what they did VS those who tell me what to do. I have said this many times and as someone who was sooo Green to CNC initially If I had listened to the Coolest salesman I met in 07 I would be out of business by now. CNC to the Newbie is Voodoo in a language Barrier, while it takes a lot of New learning Curves (and I say that in plural) it (CNC is not Impossible, pathed correctly (for each individual end user) it can be the best thing one will ever do to advance His business. yet spend to much, depend on the wrong salesman and this can be a Night mare. I am only adding my experience to help avoid that, I do not sell CNC machines (Yet I have helped End Users buy some in GA, NC and Pineville SC)
Just a quick aside....You have the money in your budget for a serious solution. You'll have to dictate what does and does not add value for your application. The one thing I wouldn't think of that has proven invaluable for us is the ability to have a quick programming interface at the machine, so you don't have to run back in the office for something. I can make a parametric program for 80% of what we do, at the controller, in minutes....(This isn't the way we run most of our production...that is through barcodes and microvellum, but for the odd ball stuff, it can't be beat.)
I have had a spectra from Omni tech for about 3 years now. Was sold to me by David Paine. We have had a horrible experience with this machine! We just signed a lease on a new machine from holz-her. The tech support at omni-tech has been horrible and I have had to replace multiple parts over the three years. The final straw was the servo motor going out on the z axis and having to wait 4-5 weeks for it to be shipped from china. No they did not have parts in stock with quick access like they promised. I have talked with other shops with different machines and they have said they have gone 5+ years and never had any part go bad on their machine. These people do not back up their machine! They do not care about their customers, they almost put me out of business.
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