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How old is your CNC2/2
So I am interested in the age of your CNC, the reason I am asking is I have seen a lot of older machines selling for next to nothing.
2018 and 1999
Some things you say, I agree. Somethings would be hell to deal with. Try replacing the servo paks and servo motors. At that point itís almost 2/3 of a machine if they all fail.
Bearings and spindles do wear out
That is a serious issue that needs a little discussion. My current machine is 16 years old. It has gone through a few major repairs over the years that include two ball screws, a spindle cartridge replacement, and a saw motor replacement. Given the age and use of the machine, not bad. The spindle cartridge was done by me and another from the shop, the rest by company techs. The front end pc has an o.s. that is not supported by Microsoft anymore, but it is really just the human interface and file storage. I have a couple of ghosted hard drives on the shelf in case of emergency. Fanuc still has available all servos and control parts to keep it running from what I understand. How is it running and producing? Not much difference from when it was new in 2003. Looking at a new one, but the thought of losing this one makes me nervous since it is in such good shape. That being said, not all used machines are in good shape. I have seen 6 year old machines that look 30 because they have been beat to hell by poor programmers, operators, and lack of maintenance. Each machine that is out there needs a thorough check by someone qualified. There are bargains out there as well as way overpriced, abused machines.
2001 & 2012
Both of them are Gerbers. Currently planning on making the move to Camaster. With the Gerbers I am doing about $8k/year in direct cost repairs and maintenance.
Every item can only come from them and the sending of parts is not the best by far. They will not provide me with a tracking number for a shipment unless I call the day after it is shipped and wait on hold for 15 minutes while they retrieve the information. Can't believe that a large company cannot send an automatic email with the tracking number, but they claim that they cannot do that!
I have a 200 AXYZ 6012. I bought it new in 2000 and I had it set up with two drill heads for boring my shelf and dowel holes. I love it. The table is 80" x 145". AXYZ gives good support. We have had to replace parts over the years, the most serious was the computer that operates on a Windows 98. The computer crashed in 2014 and there was no support from AXYZ for that. To upgrade to a current operating system was going to cost over $15,000.
Fortunately for me, I have a guy that is very knowledgeable about computers and he tracked down parts out of China and rebuilt the computer.
I think most parts are replaceable, I would be most concerned about the Operating System and if it is supported by the manufacturer. Also, I do not have tool changer and if I buy another router, that is a must.
If you are just getting into a CNC router, I think it would be best to buy new or near new. The training and support is very important.
1999 and 2002
The 1999 has been running for 4 or 5 years for me, the 2002 is being brought back to life.
Bought them both broken.
Sure, the maintenance and repairs are more than a new one, but I paid between 5% and 10% of what the machines original $225K to $300K costs.
There is no comparison to my friends new $60K to $90K machines.
BUT - I have computer controlled machine building in my background and a good friend who is a board level electronic tech so between us we can fix anything that goes wrong. Can't imagine relying on an outside tech....
Most folks will not have extensive backgrounds in mechanical/electrical fields. Most shops just want the machine to work making parts. Buyer beware with purchasing old machines. I have personally seen dozens of nightmare scenarios when it comes to buying old equipment. First, the software used is usually antiquated running on even older computers. Second the mechanical parts (ball screws, ways, bearings, rack and pinions) are usually worn. I've been called into places that even tech support couldn't help as the equipment was bad or so old no one new how to fix it. Yes there are gems out there and i've bought a few but you really have to do your homework before you hand over the cash. In my opinion, buying anything over 5 years old should be avoided.
Ours is a 2018 and I wouldn't want to have an old one. I am the one who hates the thought of buying new cars because of how much they go down in value once you buy it. CNCs are the same way, they loose a lot of value once it is bought new and we knew that buying a new one. The difference is its easy to find another car for a day to drive if you need something fixed but if the cnc isn't running you aren't making any money. It could be a $30 part that goes bad on the cnc but if its down 3-4 days trying to get the part then that cost a lot. It slows down the whole shop. Any time that you have any trouble with a machine it cost you money because not only are your guys not making you money but you are also paying them to work on a machine. It hits you double. Also the software that runs on the new ones is up to date. Ours runs a full version on windows with a full computer. If something like that goes out, you run to Best Buy and replace it. Good luck finding an old computer running windows 98. A long those lines everything that comes from the office is sent through the network to the computer in the shop. It won't be that easy with an old CNC with an old PC.
Somethings are better to be bought new and I would say that CNCs and edgebanders are two of them. Now buying an old shaper, planer, or something along those lines is a different story. A lot of the old ones are built better than the new ones. Also if a shaper goes down it isn't slowing down the whole shop.
A lot of good points have already been made here. I'll just add that from my perspective buying used would also depend upon the type of machine I needed.
I would be less likely to consider an old heavy iron machine that goes new in the $100,000 plus (way plus in many cases) range. While these heavy duty routers are solid and reliable they are also very expensive to repair. A lot of weight is moving around at cutting speeds and accelerations. While the machines are designed to handle these movements replacing worn guides and bearings can be extremely expensive. So unless the machine had only been lightly used, and this could be confirmed, I would be very hesitant to get involved.
On the other hand the lighter weight machines, and there are plenty of quality brands out there, can be much less expensive to repair. The travel and guide systems on these routers are smaller and simpler because they have to handle lower weights and forces, and as such are more easily repaired. I would be more willing to recommend a used machine in this duty range to someone who has the electrical and mechanical skills and inclinations to deal with repairs themselves. To someone who only wants to hit the START button though I would again be hesitant to suggest used here......again, unless the machine was in stellar, lightly used condition.
Your CNC, like every other piece of equipment in your shop, is a tool. The right tool enables you to do the job easier and more efficiently. The more efficient you run the higher your profit margins. There's no comparison between a 16 year old machine and a new one. Technology has and continues to advance. I spoke just this week to a customer of mine that I sold and installed a full line panel processing CNC for. He was extremely happy to process 27 panels in an hour and fifteen minutes. That's high compared to most but the key was understanding what he wanted to accomplish and finding the right tool for the job.
How long will a CNC last? If it's well built you could see 20 even 25 years. You do need to consider that at some point technology will run past your machine and you'll be operating less efficiently then your competition. You may find yourself and your employees working more hours (at overtime rates) just to keep up with the demands of production. I'm a huge believer in time studies and having a clear understanding of how much money you're able to make an hour when running production.
You'll also want to take into account how dependable your machine is and how much money you're spending to keep it running.
If you are armed with all the information you'll know when it's time to replace your CNC~Rob
CNC 1 from 2002 and 1 from 2007. Saw from 1997.
All have been maintained and still function well.
IMO the biggest potential issue with most machines is not mechanical but the electronics. Most mechanical parts, can generally be replaced with the same part or similar part from a different supplier. The exception would be parts designed for the particular machine for/from the manufacturer.
I have found more issue with the electronics. Some manufactures have proprietary electronic parts made for a specific machine. Thus there is a limited supply. Most are not going to have an electronic component for a machine that is 20 years old. Thus, you have to resort to the aftermarket and used parts. Most older machines are worth more as spare parts and scrap metal than as a complete operating machine.
An example would be the beam saw used in our shop. The saw is 22 years old and works well. The operator does a great job with preventative maintenance. Yet the PLC that controls the machine was manufactured by a company that dabbled in machine controls for a short time. The company is still in business, yet no longer makes controls for machines. As well as the saw runs today, if the PLC were to go bad, the saw is useless. The only PLC replacement would have to come from an identical saw that has been scrapped.
Hmm.. I guess I win.. 1977 Porter Little Guy. It was bought used in 90's .small table we use it mainly for solid wood routing. Fanuc GN5 control replaced with full 3 axis control about ten years ago. drive update last year. stand back rapids now.... There is nothing wrong with older machines if you are able to maintain or retrofit them yourself. Its a rather steep learning curve but easier today with all the help available on the internet. If I was to do it again though I would select the proper NEW machine for my current needs and buy the next biggest fastest ..etc... I do love my Little Guy though..
1999 Komo, still get good support for it. It has been a great machine with very few repairs. It generally runs 8 hours a day. 2001 (major German brand) that has been a major PIA, poor support, extremely expensive parts. We are capable of most repairs but the electronics can be a problem. Been looking at new machines but will keep the Komo. We have a 2000 Schelling beam saw that has been great, excellent support, expensive parts.