|Home » Forums » CNC » Message||Login|
You are not logged in. Consider these WOODWEB Member advantages:
new vs used CNC advice4/18
My business partner and I recently formed our company 4 months ago. We started out in a small 900sq ft shop and have now moved into a 3500sq ft shop. My background is in custom cabinetry while his is in metal work. We have primarily been doing custom desks, tables, built in cabinetry, railings, gates, furniture. Recently we have become linked up with a plastic injection molding company (my business partners father is friends with the owner of the factory).
So we have this job opportunity to finish 5000 plastic models with an end total of 20000 units. That's the finishing portion that we have already been contracted to do in our new finishing booth. Great.
The second part of the job that was offered to us was to machine the same number of display bases. The parts are 1" thick, 20" diameter particle board circles with 2 holes milled for mounting the models.
The thinking is that we buy a cnc to mill all of the circles, get us through the job, I would use it to process the cabinetry jobs that continue to come in, and have a machine for the next display job, and eventually upgrade it when the time is right.
Being that we are 4 months old and have no credit history we can forget about financing a 130-200k system. I contacted SCM, CR Onsrud, KOMO, biesse, stiles/weeke, Thermwood for quotes.
That essentially leaves us with the used market and trying to get a high interest loan for a lower priced machine that will be paid for by the job. We were looking at a used Multicam MG205 and a KOMO I'm waiting to hear back on from the rep at KOMO. Downsides being no warranty, no idea on machine use/abuse other than run time hours, most systems are not operational or they are out of state for inspection, no idea on problems with the machine or what is about to break down, overall quality of the system.
Is it worth it to go the used route to save money?
The only feasibly priced, brand new machine I have been offered was the SCM Pratika300. I won't list the price here, but for the amount on that machine we can secure a loan and pay it off completely with the first order of 5000 units. It is a lot more than I would be paying for the used system we are looking at, but it's also a new machine, comes with warranty, set up/ training, reputable company, ready to ship.
Having never dealt with any of these systems I have no bearing to make a sound decision. My gut tells me pay more and buy the Pratika300. Use it as an entry cnc and continue to for years to come until we outgrow it as a company.
I was hoping someone on here might have had experience using or owning one that could give me some insight on it.
I'll be honest; Purchasing a CNC for 1 job seems like a risky proposition. Even if you think you may use it in the future, there are many other costs to consider than just the initial price.
Electrical, dust collection, tooling, software and training all add up quickly. If I was in your shoes, I wouldn't expect to be fully up and running for at least 3 months, likely longer. I'm speaking of the point where you are confident in your programming and machines ability to take on work.
Also, the difference in productivity between the smaller CNC machines and a large work horse can be substantial.
Have you considered outsourcing such work to a shop with a good CNC already? Several shops take on work like that, ours included. You'll likely still make a good bit on the project, which you'll have in your hand to invest in a CNC later if you still choose to. Good luck in your decision.
Thanks for the input Gary,
The first thing we did was look to outsource this portion of the job. We had responses back that it wasn't worth their time to running $75k for the first 5000 discs to be cut including material ($15 per unit). It was after that that we thought, well hell we might as well get a machine and put it to work. The end total on this is 20,000 units.
We would pay for the machine, bank a good amount of money, I would have a system for running cabinetry, and eliminate the need for some secondary process machines. As well as be set up for the next display job that is coming after this one. That one is being finalized, but its going to be a similar situation of finishing and cutting bases.
I hear you on the lead time for getting a system set up though. Dust collection, pneumatics, electrical, training. It's a lot and not a whole lot of time to get moving on it. It's hard to walk away from that kind of money for relatively easy work.
This is raw 1" PB? A 20" disc with two holes?
If you're willing to email me the specs I'd be happy to quote it. We are pretty good at component work.
Yes, this is raw PB (flake) that will be completely covered (not seen at all). Does not need clean edges. 2 holes milled for mounting.
I've bought three used cnc's with very good luck. The first was a big iron Northwood and the last two are Omnitechs. All were low hour and the price was right. The few times we did need support we went with an independent tech and it worked out great.
As Gary B pointed out there other costs involved.
I like your thinking that the big project will pay for the machine, or in reality maybe a good prtion of it, and still have the cnc for future use.
shoot me an email with your contact info. We are aware we might have to send this work out if we cannot get our own cnc in time.
How did you go about buying your systems? Did you go through one of the auction sites, one of the companies that buy/flip/ or help owners sell their machines?
In the rare instance I come across a machine that is within driving distance and is actually hooked up. Most of the listings the machines are all disconnected. Also, did you get your machines with a computer and software or did you have to purchase that separately? Software expense is a serious kick to the balls, but we square up and take it because it hurts so good.
I should say we do have a CNC plasma cutter for metal fabrication so we are familiar with drawing/nesting sofware. We run SigmaNest for the metal side and it's great and only took us a couple of days to figure out. I have not tried the cabinet based software. I haven't had a need to.
How was your transition? Would you say it was relatively simple to pick up or did you guys do the training courses? Learn as you go sort of thing?
I bought all of my cnc(s) and most all of my other used equipment through a local trusted dealer. They deal in new and used machines. They either rig and move the stuff themselves or arrange it to be done. They deal nation wide. I bought the Northwood, which came from Arizona, (I'm in Iowa) sight unseen except for pictures The Omnitechs were local so I viewed them in action first. Most of my other used equipment (3 head widebelt, ripsaw,edgebander, ect) was bought site unseen except for pictures through my dealer.
Buying used scares some people but has worked out well for me. To me support isn't an issue because the manufacturer will still help out in most cases and there are plenty of very good independent techs to help out also.
Software expense is a kick in the balls and so is the leaning curve. Ours did not come with the cnc. In your case I think you can get by with a minimal understanding of the software to get your discs cut. In the mean time you can play with it and get to know it better for other jobs. We used ours (CV) for almost a year before we took training and that helped out a lot.
The transition for us was not bad but nine years later we are still learning. "Learning" the cnc was easier than leaning the software but they go hand-in-hand.
Gary, I thank you for your insight.
Were you nervous the first time or every time? All I can think about is will this machine truly bring me a return on investment after this job? In your experience with the first machine, did you already have a steady work load coming in that this was the right time for the jump with minimal risk involved?
For us the CNC plasma was a risk and we took it. The machine is bringing in steady work through custom jobs. In between parts and custom jobs we use it to develop our line of standardized designs; from lamps, table bases, chairs, railings, so on.
I was nervous and very hesitant when we bought the first cnc. I knew we could keep it busy about a day a week but that's all.
I am very biased, but I say buy a machine.
Look for good old iron, something with a common control, Fanuc maybe. There are literllay millions of Fanuc controls in the world and service and spare parts are everywhere.
Get a tool changer and a drill block if you can.
Software doesn't have to be expensive. I run a 5X10 Biesse Arrow with 12 position tool changer and drill block with $200.00 CAM software.
I also have a 30HP rotary screw vacuum pump.
Bought them used and have less than $20K US total in machines and software.
Learn how to fix them your self. Save $ and time and be beholden to no one.
Read, read and read some more.
You will have sleepless nights and go through a few bottles of Tylenol, but at the end of it all it will be worth it.
Here is the a quick lesson in the cnc both new and used community.
You can get burned either way, on the used side.
I have gone to pack up at least 4 machines that worked great last week, and now they won't start up, one to the tune of 6000 plus dollars because the control board was missing. Make the sale contingent on the inspection, if all is then pull the trigger.
NO, this will not catch everything but I will catch a vast majority of issue.
On the new side, I have run into a few new companies as well as some old one, that down right suck, when it come down to holding up their side of the warranty on a new machine. In some cases they mfg. has stop responding all together, and not responding to machine issues.
Case in point:
Buyer has held the final payment due to issues, and even with the final payment held mfg. has stopped communicating with buyer to fix issues.
Do your research, these forum out here are full of information some that is downright person, but a vast majority have facts that should be explored.
I don't know if this help, but hopefully it give you something to think about.