As a follow up to my question a few days ago about the controls, I thought I would ask about experiences people have had with their machines. The three I'm considering are the onsrud mate, thermwood 43 (no drill block) or 45 (drill block and 40k more) or the biesse klever. I know there are plenty of other fine machines but I can't consider them all. how is the support? Was there "hidden" cost when purchasing? How easy was is to learn if this was your first machine I have told each sales rep I feel like the most popular girl in high school with the attention I'm getting from them. Is the service after as pleasant?
Salesmen are just that, salesmen, go to the plant meet the techs meet the support. they are the after sale guys, you can call a salesman til you are blue in the face if you have a question after but he will refer you to the techs.
A CNC next to a digital edgebander is a major investment if not the most expensive it may become to most valuable, treat it that way and let no one sell you short of that.
find out where other owners are they are bottom line for problems when no one at the support level will answer the phone at 4:35 pm, these days most all companies worth their salt have som form of support forum for owners to communicate with each other look for it any company not allowing peer access is hiding something or trying to control all your pennies.
same for software, CNC is not always easy but it is not Impossible. most all of us were in the dark when We started this.
We come to forums for support, Woodweb was the fore runner to all of it for Us, think why you would want to own a machine that does not want the smartest owners ?
I invested in a Biesse Rover several years ago. Decided last year to add a second cnc. I talked with Biesse breifly about the Klever but was fortunate to locate another Rover used. Software is very easy to learn (and believe me, I was the ultimate novice) and the tech support has always been excellent. Very knowledgeable gentlemen. I don't know much about the other machines, but I've been very happy with Biesse.
Henry,,before you purchase a cnc please consider coming to my factory in New jersey,,,,we have 2 weeke and a biesse,,,,spend a day a take a look at what goes into buying one,,,,(trucking and rigging,,first install and calibration,,dust collector,,electrical,,air driers,,,compressor ,,)and why it is so important for you to have a drill block,,,we run cabinet vision 9 and alpha cam 16,,,i don't need any money from you,,,,oh,,and if you see a cmc sales man,,,call the cops,,,THEY ARE ALL ROBBERS,,,
When I wanted to run a sheet of plywood or mdf (Diamond bit) or anything else, I needed to remove one or more of the existing tools and then set it back up when i was done. Big pain in the butt.
Now I have a Biesse Arrow. 12 position tool changer and 13 position drill block. I run it with 10 standard tools and 2 spaces for the one offs. I have all the drills I need in the block. I'd rather have the versatility in the block than the ability to gang drill holes.
Now I can run melamine, MDF, acrylic and plywood without changing anything. Just pull up the program and it runs.
Based on reading a lot of posts about getting a new CNC over the years, I'd say one of the most important factors is the local support available to you. This appears to mean more to most CNC owners than what machine you choose, all features being equal.
Seeing the machine in operation, talking to someone who's used it for some length of time, who has experience with the tech staff, and in particular who does work similar to the work you plan to do, are worth way more than anything a salesperson will tell you. Use the salesperson to get the best deal AFTER you decide which machine is the best for you.
Don't forget software! Like electricity and dust collection, the machine is just an expensive paperweight if you can't make it do what you need it to do. Since you're automating, you'll want to eliminate as many manual steps as possible, including programming the machine, adjusting programs, etc. Most machinery salespeople are all about the hardware (which, understandably, is their job) but you need to think of the entire system, of which the machine is only one part.
As a salesman who spent many many years as tech before getting into sales, I strongly urge you to determine what you expect the machine to do for your business. What is your core business? How many sheets to you intend to cut daily, weekly, monthly. All of the machines cut sheet products, so be sure to have it optioned the way you need it to be for your application. As for the software, do you want design flexibility or point and click ease of use? do your homework there are many options. Service after the sale is extremely important. Talk to customers in your area to determine how quickly the company can get a tech on site if needed. Once you have purchased your machine, be sure to maintain it properly, a few minutes a week can save you days of downtime.
As someone who was in your boat a year or so ago..
Get your software WAY ahead of time. I started with the software 8 months ago, CNC will be here in a few weeks. I cant imagine getting a machine and the software to run it at the same time. Im still learning the software - it took several months to get used to how all of the cnc operations worked. Laptop fast enough for software was $1000. We opted for a new rotary screw compressor with integrated air drier - $7500. Wiring etc was $1000. 2g copper 3 phase for the vacuum pump. Startup tooling will be around $700. Could go a lot higher depending on what you plan to do. This is for a basic cabinet set with a few spare bits to get started. We had to put in a larger door to get the machine in the shop $1500. Of course there are a lot of little costs too... Plumbing the pump, air line to machine, dust collection (we have central collection),raw mdf for spoilboard. Hope this helps.
The hate towards salespeople here is scaring me wondering what my customers think when i sell them a kitchen.
-Find out where the factory trained techs live and how many there are.
-Do not rely on independent technicians for factory support.
-Check the warranty on all proposals
-never under buy on vacuum
-understand all of the extra costs as noted above.
Got to IWF 2016 in Atlanta in August. It is a very cheap educational experience. Most of the bigger companies will have techs on hand to make sure their machines are set perfectly. Those are the guys to talk to, NOT the salesmen! While there, make it a point to talk to other people. Use the woodweb to setup connections with other owners for a meeting @ the show. Yes, there is a negativity about salesmen, for good reason! They are a lot like politicians!
there hasnt been this much excitement on this form since the search for woodwop alpha cam post-processor a few weeks back,,, Thanks Henry,,,i hope this next statement doesn't aggregate too many people but ,,,,,Stiles came to our shop 2013 and sold us new machines,,,venture 2 series,,,awesome machines,,,very expensive,,,before that,,we ran onsrud machines,,,very nice,,japanese parts,,,but before that ,,2005-2009 ish,,,we ran,,bias rover ft 5x12 machine,,,with the nc1000 controller,,,best best machine I've personally ever ran,,,,it takes .anc native alpha cam file no macros ,,no bs,,,,
For the cnc - tool changer, drill block, and large vac pump.
I don't own a Thermwood, SO ican't speak for them. I own Biesses and their techs have flown in 24 hours, called me back @ 2am, and tech support has walked me through whatever I needed. I have 4 Biesse machines. We will be buying more
wow great feed back, no help with the machine brand though since as I expected, these are great machines and have great support. One person asked about the number of sheets cut and with my volume it may not make sense on the surface, less than a 100 sheets a month, but since I cant keep up now I suspect that if had a router and one additional assembler that number would go up a fair amount. In addition, our core is a traditional framed cabinet (no discussions about frame vs frameless) we dabble in the odd frameless for some small commercial jobs, but its not stuff we chase. That said even though it is somewhat awkward for us to build frameless, it is very apparent that with the proper equipment it would be a breeze, and then I would actively seek it. As Far as the machines, the three I mentioned that I have limited myself to (biesse, onsrud, thermwood) each have some plus over the other. The Onsrud mate seems to be the most robust of them and looks like the smallest footprint (big deal in a small shop) the biesse klever has some features found in more expensive machines and they would give me a package price for an akron bander, important if I want to chase more commercial work. Putting 3mil on my little ep8 and doing all the work after really sucks. The thermwood 43/45 seem like really fine machines and on the surface it seems like the operation seems like it may be by far the easiest. I think I really think the 45 with the drill block and the much higher price is the proper machine though, we do a lot of full line boring so in response to the question about the drill block I can see that in a full sheet of uppers both sides, 600 holes drilled. even 5 at a time would be slow, never mind one drill at a time.
All 3 of the machines you list are good choices. Drilling line bore, we thru-bore for two sided panels. Once you are setup for it, most likely you will switch most of or all of your work to frameless. Your 100 sheets/month will become two days work with a router, three if you take too many breaks. Not only that but the parts will be quicker to assemble. 5 holes at a time isn't all that bad, these machines move to the next 5 really quickly. Try to have all the different sizes you use left setup. Same with the tool changer. Saves on mistakes.
something else i totally forgot,,,aside from
findinf a nice machine,,trucking rigging,,installation,,heavy electric,,vacuum,,air drier and software,,,one of the most vital things to make the cmc make you money is the post processor,,,biesse uses nc1000(my personal favorite) and thermwood uses 91000 supercomputer another very very precise controller,,,getting the PERFECT post processor is vital,,
I don't know about other brands but our Thermwood has been very user serviceable.
We have been able to diagnose and repair any issues we had with just phone and parts support.
Never needed a tech to come out in 17 years or so that we have had the machine.
We have done all repair and maintenance in house and Thermwood was able to supply parts next day.
Henry, hopefully you find the machine that fits best for you. I also notice a lot of negativity towards sales people. Just remember we are all selling something. machines, millwork, ect... I like to think of it not as a sale, but a partnership to help both businesses grow
We have an onsrud mate. We purchased it about 1 1/2 years ago. We looked at a number of different ones, including the Biesse, & Komo. Never looked back, excellent machine, excellent support and service. Very robust and strong machine, with a small footprint. Fell free to contact me to talk if you like.
this may stir up some trouble,,,but in the world of cars are 2 monsters,,america makes the corvette and italy makes the ferrari,,,,its the same with CNC routers,,,USA sales/services the Anderson,,(manufactured in Tiwan),,,and Italy makes the Biesse,,,everything else is just in-between,,Onsrud makes a monster machine,,,,the Fanuc controllers on the older panel pros ,,,work very well with a good alphacam post,,,Biesse support is the best ,,Stiles (no comment),,Anderson charges for phone tech support,very tough to get SCM group parts for the older Busellatos and Morbidellies,,,Thermwood makes a nice heavy duty machine with great service and parts support,,,bad software and over priced ,,91000 supercomputer controller was the 4th best controller ive ever worked on,,,sorry if i offended anyone,,were all woodworkers deal with it,,
I have used CNC for the past number of years the big problem I have found
A new machine they have to iron out the creases this can take some time
Months usually if your lucky
In one place I worked they sent a machine back
You best bet is get a good low hour used machine
Used machine usually have a lot of programs on them already and all the problem are usually solved
Plus post for cam software which can cost a lot usually $ 1000 to $5000
Depending on machine
The machine manufacturer will still train you
And you can buy support as well
Mike,,,spend as much time as possible researching,,,I've worked at shops where purchasing a cnc and panel saw caused more damage than good,,,they are very good tools but make sure you have the work,,,if you have no cnc experience,,take 6-8 months minimum,,call all the manufacturers,,,(biesse,thermwood,stiles,komo,anderson,onsrud,scmi,masterhood,nort hwood)and ask to visit customers to have those machines,and get their feedback,,the last person to take advise from is salesman. after you decide what machine you want and you are certain it will make you money,,next research on software,,auto cad is must must have,,then alphacam(to generate the tool path) and cabinet vision for cabinet boxes) and a post processor(these software packages worked best for me and the shops i worked for),,,now that the software and machine are complete,,you need a nice air compressor, 100lbs ps (primarily for tool changes) and heavy electric,,,(most machines today have a built in transformer) but your building should have no less than 208/230v minimum. and a 10hp dust collector,,,(surfacing your mdf spoil without a dust collector may kill you) as this one crazy customer i woked for,,
DO NOT BUY A USED MACHINE UNLESS U SEE IT UNDER POWER AND IT HONES PROPERLY,,,,,good luck,,,,
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