by ydna

I can't speak to your space concerns, that's certainly an issue. Time to turn the kitchen into a welding booth I suppose.

But yeah that's pretty much what I meant, that if you buy the machine you'll simply end up upgrading it later. I just want to make sure we're all on the same page about its capabilities, know what I mean happy.gif
I love watching videos on the hobbyist CNC guys, which are overwhelmingly positive on the cheaper machines, but the people are so giddy about making parts that they sugar coat or just omit many of the detriments. The machines are super nice for toolroom stuff but for production they would leave a wall-shaped dent in the side of my head. Often the guys aren't familiar with the alternatives, but sometimes they're just biased to speak on the disadvantages.

Like I said I started out with that ancient bridgeport and made a lot of headway with it, but the stuff we were fabricating were very simple parts for the nearby companies (like this, this, this, this). Frankly we were charging out the ass for the components and that's the only way we were able to make money with such a limited piece of equipment. The companies could have paid a lot less if they wanted to use somebody not-local. Or maybe they just didn't care about prices, who knows.

Later when I started making paintball parts, it just wasn't possible to justify the production time versus what paintball customers would pay. A trigger would take a half hour, drop forward would take 45 minutes. Any type of 3d milling would take the entire day. A fixture plate with batch of parts would take 2 weeks.
I actually created a separate company in order outsource the bulk roughing operations to other machine shops. Then I would take the blanks and finish the more detailed finishing work and put my logos on it...I still wasn't making much money on literally anything, but at least the parts were getting made. I only did that for a few months though, because it wasn't justifiable in the long term.

Later I bought my first Haas for $480/month and never looked back. I kept the centroid CNC for a while but eventually dumped it. Couple years later when we bought the tormach at my dayjob I thought it would be a huge step up than my ancient boat-anchor mill, but naaaah it had all the same limitations with a faster spindle but at the cost of an accuracy loss. We work around it but it causes a lot of headaches. It's not even plugged in right now :cry:

Ultimately, I don't necessarily have a better suggestion other than "spend money moneys!" which I know isn't exceedingly helpful. Although I would put forth that the large lump sum seems like a deterrent until it's itemized per month over a loan term. But as long as you're aware of the pitfalls then that's pretty much all I can ask for!

Posted on Aug 6, 2017, 8:01 AM

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