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CNC Lathe advice for R&D Prototyping Shop

steelrides

Plastic
Joined
Oct 6, 2021
I own a small engineering R&D consulting firm in Maryland (10 people). We have an extensive prototyping workshop for metal, plastic, 3D printing, laser-cutting (plastic), and even wood and textiles. We primarily design electromechanical devices for the medical and defense industries, and we're typically fabricating Qty 1 - 5 prototypes for internal testing and design iterations before we prepare the designs for volume manufacturing which we outsource. We keep a lot of the prototyping in-house because we're able to control the schedule a lot better and turn modifications around at whatever pace we choose. In the metalshop, we have a 3-axis Fadal VMC4020HT which has a 21-tool ATC that's significantly improved productivity over our old Bridgeport single-tool CNC Mill. We have an old Rockwell 10" manual lathe that works for plastic and aluminum but really can't handle steel or stainless. I'm looking for a CNC Lathe to either replace the manual lathe or add to it, and I'm looking for advice on what machines I should be exploring.

One of the biggest factors is that the machine is easy to setup and operate to efficiently make one-off parts. I'd say we are probably fine with a something small, 6-10" chuck, 30" length, 3,000 rpm, with a 4-side turret, and tailstock. Accuracy of .005" is generally fine. Budget is around $40k new, so I was looking at the Haas TL-1. While I love how popular Haas machines are, how easy they seem to be to operate, and the availability of parts, I don't love how proprietary the machines and software seem to be. Am I wrong about that?

What machines come to mind?

Thanks.
 
We have a Clausing/Colchester 2000XS with a standard 4-way quick-change toolpost. Our control has Fanuc's Manual Guide (like Haas VPS - excellent for shop-floor programming from a print). Might be a little big for what you need (at this moment), but they make a smaller one, too, I think.
 
I own a small engineering R&D consulting firm in Maryland (10 people). We have an extensive prototyping workshop for metal, plastic, 3D printing, laser-cutting (plastic), and even wood and textiles. We primarily design electromechanical devices for the medical and defense industries, and we're typically fabricating Qty 1 - 5 prototypes for internal testing and design iterations before we prepare the designs for volume manufacturing which we outsource. We keep a lot of the prototyping in-house because we're able to control the schedule a lot better and turn modifications around at whatever pace we choose. In the metalshop, we have a 3-axis Fadal VMC4020HT which has a 21-tool ATC that's significantly improved productivity over our old Bridgeport single-tool CNC Mill. We have an old Rockwell 10" manual lathe that works for plastic and aluminum but really can't handle steel or stainless. I'm looking for a CNC Lathe to either replace the manual lathe or add to it, and I'm looking for advice on what machines I should be exploring.

One of the biggest factors is that the machine is easy to setup and operate to efficiently make one-off parts. I'd say we are probably fine with a something small, 6-10" chuck, 30" length, 3,000 rpm, with a 4-side turret, and tailstock. Accuracy of .005" is generally fine. Budget is around $40k new, so I was looking at the Haas TL-1. While I love how popular Haas machines are, how easy they seem to be to operate, and the availability of parts, I don't love how proprietary the machines and software seem to be. Am I wrong about that?

What machines come to mind?

Thanks.

Not to be disrespectful, but you should really do some more homework on cnc lathes before you purchase anything. There is HUGE difference in 6" and 10" chuck machines. 30" travel is very rare, and most likely not needed. And accuracy of 0.005" might be fine for mill work but pretty much useless for lathe work.

Also Haas lathes are not the best. I have a sl30 but only bought it because I got a smoking deal on it locally, lots of better options out there
 
Not a Haas fanboy at all but honestly this is one of the situations where a Haas makes sense imho.

You guys are obviously not a real machine shop (no offense). Haas control is much easier to learn and deal with.

Yeah its an inferior machine but I don't think you will use any machine to 100% of it's capabilities.
 
Are you more comfortable/efficient programming in CAM or do you want something that you can program at the control? Just because it's one off parts doesn't mean it has to be programmed from the control. CAM workflows can be pretty darn efficient if you are good at it.

It's not necessarily my opinion since I don't do much programming or setup anymore but the consensus among the people I work with (the ones pushing the buttons) is that Haas and Fanuc both suck at programming from a print compared to Okuma and Mazak.
 
The Haas slamming has begun. I can't say it isn't earned but, maybe not always deserved. :D

In a previous life, I was in a lab, staffed and run by engineers. We did rapid development of new concepts. It was a technical readiness accelerator: mature an idea, in a short period of time, with a small budget. It seems very similar to what you described.

I personally own a 2007 TL-1 (the previous design where it had actual handles, not just jog wheels). For the lab I opted for an SL-20. I added the visual programming templates to the SL-20, so it could be programmed exactly like the TL.

Our working model was to keep the machine turret always loaded with standard tools. The SL-20 always had a basic turning tool, a grooving tool, parting tool, a few stations dedicated to drilling and tapping, and a few empty for as-needed tools.

I got to live a parallel life, with both the TL and SL, at my disposal, for about 7 years. I share in case one of the older machines shows up used and you're tempted to buy it.

My order of preference, for what you asked:
  1. Current TL-1/TL-2
  2. ST / SL-20
  3. Original TL-1/TL-2.
This is not to suggest that I don't love the older TL-1. The ranking is because of coolant and chip management. The SL-20 kept everything inside and didn't leak a drop. Despite not having a conveyor, chips fell to the bottom and were easy to clean out the end. Coolant stayed in the machine. It was nice. Frighteningly fast.

Problem with the SL-20 was around the issues of dealing with a hydraulic tail-stock and hydraulic chuck. Sometimes you just want a scroll chuck, a face plate, etc. You don't want an hour of hydraulic draw-tube antics to change to a 5C or 16C collet closer. You want the finesse of feeling how tight you're clamping the part. You may also want the freedom of a set-tru chuck instead of having to make soft jaws just to get three parts dialed in.

What haven't I liked about the original-design TL-1? Chip and coolant management and they didn't offer a good tool turret in 2007. Both issues have been addressed. The current optional tool turret is an 8-position flat design. While I guess that's not an ideal layout, it's better than no turret at all. If I were you, I'd tool it with standards, as we had in the SL-20. You're always able to knock something out without setting a bunch of tools.

The current TL-1 / TL-2 is all servo driven (no manual hand-wheels). A pendant with electronic jog wheels is optional. I don't know if it's necessary (though I don't know all of what they have have designed into them).

I do like the manual hand-wheels on my generation of TL and would miss them on the current machine. I don't often use them for turning. It just seems faster to jump into manual mode, spin the handles and jog right up to a part face, set zero and things like that. Given the superior chip and coolant management, I would eagerly give up the mechanical handles to get the current casting and enclosure.

Programming the TL is nice. Sometimes you want to turn a particular diameter and that's it. The tabbed standard operations generate everything you need, with a few values added. This option was also added to the SL-20, making it equally nice. I do most of my programming at the control. The software allows you to stack up multiple operations, using the templates and building the program as you go.

I haven't used it on the current version of the software (Next Generation Control) but, on mine: you perform your operations on the first part: profile turning, threading, drilling, tapping, parting. You turn on the macro recorder and run through the series of operations a second time with everything loaded and working how you want. It "records" those steps and can replay them. What it's doing is simply building a program and dumping it into MDI. You can save that program for future use, or don't.

If I want a bushing an exact diameter, it's quick to go into OD turning, enter the dimensions, desired feed rate, start point, etc., then push cycle start. It does exactly what you asked. If I truly need exact dimensions, I'll leave 0.005-0.010" on the diameter and reprogram a finish pass after making offset adjustments. It will hit tenths if you're methodical about the setup of the tools and managing insert wear. I recently posted elsewhere about being able to hit 1.0001 or 0.9999" and couldn't quite chase out that last tenth.

Sales and service: this is going to be completely up to your local Haas Factory outlet. It could be awesome and it could be terrible. The old business model was: anybody could take either Mill or Lathe training, at the factory outlet, for free. As many as wanted, within reason. It used to be a three-day class and is worth it IMO.

With that aside, YouTube is obviously full of videos about how to use Haas products. Love or hate the brand, the level of official and informal support out there is nice when you're trying to familiarize a new and casual user.

If you're the owner, training and motivation of your employees will be part of the package you're assembling here.My approach was: "you're going to get a chance to learn this. Everything you learn and use, you'll be able to go out and do on your own in the future."

You're no longer asking them to learn something only for you and the benefit of your company. It's a portable skill. If you're hiring the engineers who want to do the kind of work you outlined, this all becomes a perk instead of a chore. One of the guys I used to work with is now an owner, another is about to buy and a third is casually looking for something in his area.

And once you have one Haas, replacing the Fadal won't be far behind. Knowing the control and having transportable skills between the machines is another reason for the Haas success. It's fine to be a full-time machinist and have the time to learn all the kinks and tweaks of another control. Its a totally different when it's just one hat you wear, for ten hours a month.

Damn, I wrote another book...
 
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Your budget pretty much limits you to a TL1. They were OK (I had one from 2008, bought used, now sold), and they've gotten better. They are now stiffer and a little more compact. The older machines that had the Z ballscrew in the back were far less stiff than the new ones with it in the middle.

4 station turrets suck. I ripped mine off before the machine was even powered up. If all you do is outside turning work, OK. But a boring bar will limit your options quick. For prototype work I prefer a quick change tool post with a lot of holders. There are hard choices to make here too, repeatability on these can be frustrating.

This will cost you significantly more and it may not be a good choice in the US, but in the "toolroom" lathe category, my ideal machine is an EMCO E-200 MC. The Siemens control is excellent for prototype work, the camlock spindle addresses one of my biggest grievances with the TL1, and the tailstock rides on linear guides, so it doesn't get misaligned by a chip in the wrong place. It also has an option for a traveling steady rest; that wasn't really possible on the older TL1s due to the carriage design, and it may still be that way.

Maybe there's some other import brand that can compete with Haas on price, but I'm not aware of it.
 
40k is going to hinder you quite a bit.
I don't know prices but you have Milltronics and Trak that you can look at as well.
 
Why new? That really limits your options. There are plenty of flatbed toolroom style CNC lathes in great condition for ~$20k-25k, which would leave plenty for tooling and chucks (it's nice to have a variety for a prototype shop). They aren't production machines so many have little use. I'd look into a used Milltronics, Romi, Nardini or Trak. If you will be running any batches, look for one with an automatic turret (my preference is Pragati turrets). If it has multiple speed ranges, one that is electronically controlled is nice to have as well (Milltronics does, not sure of the others).
 
google “teach lathe” and “cycle controlled lathe”
Sounds like what you need

I’ve ran weilers (proprietary Siemens control)
Haas
And fagor controlled lathes

All worked good. Was not a big fan of my tl-1 honestly, but sounds like a good fit for you (Expecially now that they are enclosed. Old ones where suuuuper messy)
Romi makes a nice Siemens controlled teach lathe. Don’t over look them. Same goes for weiler, but they are typically laughably $$$
Microcut is a import company with a fagor control. I’m a big fan. Great value for money and the fagor is super easy to program from a print with zero gcode needed

I’ll second the above comment. A 6” chuck and a 10” are very different machines. For flexibility I like bigger most of the time. But I’m in oil country.
 
The Haas slamming has begun. I can't say it isn't earned but, maybe not always deserved. :D

In a previous life, I was in a lab, staffed and run by engineers. We did rapid development of new concepts. It was a technical readiness accelerator: mature an idea, in a short period of time, with a small budget. It seems very similar to what you described.

I personally own a 2007 TL-1 (the previous design where it had actual handles, not just jog wheels). For the lab I opted for an SL-20. I added the visual programming templates to the SL-20, so it could be programmed exactly like the TL.

Our working model was to keep the machine turret always loaded with standard tools. The SL-20 always had a basic turning tool, a grooving tool, parting tool, a few stations dedicated to drilling and tapping, and a few empty for as-needed tools.

I got to live a parallel life, with both the TL and SL, at my disposal, for about 7 years. I share in case one of the older machines shows up used and you're tempted to buy it.

My order of preference, for what you asked:
  1. Current TL-1/TL-2
  2. ST / SL-20
  3. Original TL-1/TL-2.
This is not to suggest that I don't love the older TL-1. The ranking is because of coolant and chip management. The SL-20 kept everything inside and didn't leak a drop. Despite not having a conveyor, chips fell to the bottom and were easy to clean out the end. Coolant stayed in the machine. It was nice. Frighteningly fast.

Problem with the SL-20 was around the issues of dealing with a hydraulic tail-stock and hydraulic chuck. Sometimes you just want a scroll chuck, a face plate, etc. You don't want an hour of hydraulic draw-tube antics to change to a 5C or 16C collet closer. You want the finesse of feeling how tight you're clamping the part. You may also want the freedom of a set-tru chuck instead of having to make soft jaws just to get three parts dialed in.

What haven't I liked about the original-design TL-1? Chip and coolant management and they didn't offer a good tool turret in 2007. Both issues have been addressed. The current optional tool turret is an 8-position flat design. While I guess that's not an ideal layout, it's better than no turret at all. If I were you, I'd tool it with standards, as we had in the SL-20. You're always able to knock something out without setting a bunch of tools.

The current TL-1 / TL-2 is all servo driven (no manual hand-wheels). A pendant with electronic jog wheels is optional. I don't know if it's necessary (though I don't know all of what they have have designed into them).

I do like the manual hand-wheels on my generation of TL and would miss them on the current machine. I don't often use them for turning. It just seems faster to jump into manual mode, spin the handles and jog right up to a part face, set zero and things like that. Given the superior chip and coolant management, I would eagerly give up the mechanical handles to get the current casting and enclosure.

Programming the TL is nice. Sometimes you want to turn a particular diameter and that's it. The tabbed standard operations generate everything you need, with a few values added. This option was also added to the SL-20, making it equally nice. I do most of my programming at the control. The software allows you to stack up multiple operations, using the templates and building the program as you go.

I haven't used it on the current version of the software (Next Generation Control) but, on mine: you perform your operations on the first part: profile turning, threading, drilling, tapping, parting. You turn on the macro recorder and run through the series of operations a second time with everything loaded and working how you want. It "records" those steps and can replay them. What it's doing is simply building a program and dumping it into MDI. You can save that program for future use, or don't.

If I want a bushing an exact diameter, it's quick to go into OD turning, enter the dimensions, desired feed rate, start point, etc., then push cycle start. It does exactly what you asked. If I truly need exact dimensions, I'll leave 0.005-0.010" on the diameter and reprogram a finish pass after making offset adjustments. It will hit tenths if you're methodical about the setup of the tools and managing insert wear. I recently posted elsewhere about being able to hit 1.0001 or 0.9999" and couldn't quite chase out that last tenth.

Sales and service: this is going to be completely up to your local Haas Factory outlet. It could be awesome and it could be terrible. The old business model was: anybody could take either Mill or Lathe training, at the factory outlet, for free. As many as wanted, within reason. It used to be a three-day class and is worth it IMO.

With that aside, YouTube is obviously full of videos about how to use Haas products. Love or hate the brand, the level of official and informal support out there is nice when you're trying to familiarize a new and casual user.

If you're the owner, training and motivation of your employees will be part of the package you're assembling here.My approach was: "you're going to get a chance to learn this. Everything you learn and use, you'll be able to go out and do on your own in the future."

You're no longer asking them to learn something only for you and the benefit of your company. It's a portable skill. If you're hiring the engineers who want to do the kind of work you outlined, this all becomes a perk instead of a chore. One of the guys I used to work with is now an owner, another is about to buy and a third is casually looking for something in his area.

And once you have one Haas, replacing the Fadal won't be far behind. Knowing the control and having transportable skills between the machines is another reason for the Haas success. It's fine to be a full-time machinist and have the time to learn all the kinks and tweaks of another control. Its a totally different when it's just one hat you wear, for ten hours a month.

Damn, I wrote another book...
I have a 2004 TL-1 and I also love, hate it. It is my most used machine for the work I do which is simlar to what you are doing. Good luck making your choice, I dont think you will get a TL for under 40k but you might.

Charles
 
A friend has a Trak in his model shop and the conversational programming sucks. Its ok if you enjoy learning a foreign language that is totally non-intuitive. Perhaps newer ones are ok but................
 
Not a Haas fanboy at all but honestly this is one of the situations where a Haas makes sense imho.

You guys are obviously not a real machine shop (no offense). Haas control is much easier to learn and deal with.

Yeah its an inferior machine but I don't think you will use any machine to 100% of it's capabilities.
This is true, we're not a machine shop but our engineers do design parts that can be easily fabricated.
Are you more comfortable/efficient programming in CAM or do you want something that you can program at the control? Just because it's one off parts doesn't mean it has to be programmed from the control. CAM workflows can be pretty darn efficient if you are good at it.
As engineers, we're very comfortable in CAD & CAM and don't even create prints for CNC parts. Conversational programming or "teach" programming sounds nice but probably takes longer for us than CAM.
Why new? That really limits your options. There are plenty of flatbed toolroom style CNC lathes in great condition for ~$20k-25k, which would leave plenty for tooling and chucks (it's nice to have a variety for a prototype shop). They aren't production machines so many have little use. I'd look into a used Milltronics, Romi, Nardini or Trak. If you will be running any batches, look for one with an automatic turret (my preference is Pragati turrets). If it has multiple speed ranges, one that is electronically controlled is nice to have as well (Milltronics does, not sure of the others).
There's a grant I'm applying for that I thought would require a new purchase. Turns out "used" will be ok, so that would be a great way to stretch the budget. I'll look into these brands. I definitely want a capable turret for efficiency.
I submitted a quote online for the Haas TL-1 yesterday and the local Haas rep was at my door this morning. He may have talked me up to an ST-15 for the 12-tool changer, but I stopped short of considering a UMC-500.

Thanks for all the great feedback here!
 
Somebody I know has a Romi, they really liked it. Kind of a cross between nc and manual, has hand-wheels and that teach-the-lathe control stuff.

I wouldn't be afraid to buy used, in this segment. Prototyping machines don't usually get beat to death.


I Just got on here and see you might be looking for a used Romi. I have one available, 2011/2012 Romi C510 w/ Siemens 802D Control. A2-6 Spindle, 20" Swing and 60" between centers. (Original Factory Quote is Attached) Located on the pallet in our warehouse in Santa Clara, CA., ready to ship. Let me know if you are interested in the price as is. We took in on trade from a customer that got a larger spindle version. I can send videos to anyone interested. Everything works great and machine looks great. Needs a chuck(10 or 12")(had a 12" PBA-Set-Rite) and needs a tool post. Prior user ran part time and only one shift. The control runs typical ISO G-M Code(Fanuc/Haas style code), does great conversional programs if you want or just use it manually. Books are electronic and a hard copy of standard manual.2B1692B1-CB09-4EB0-8B74-06B0C7DB8BC2_1_105_c.jpeg3CB79A7C-1B20-4813-8492-8AD8809ACC9B_1_105_c.jpeg319EB863-6544-4712-AE5E-30C0A5913620_1_105_c.jpeg250213F0-916A-401A-90A0-E4A627125962_1_105_c.jpegF2D9BE31-61B1-4D79-A0BA-60B2CEE32F10_1_105_c.jpeg2B1692B1-CB09-4EB0-8B74-06B0C7DB8BC2_1_105_c.jpeg3CB79A7C-1B20-4813-8492-8AD8809ACC9B_1_105_c.jpeg319EB863-6544-4712-AE5E-30C0A5913620_1_105_c.jpeg250213F0-916A-401A-90A0-E4A627125962_1_105_c.jpegF2D9BE31-61B1-4D79-A0BA-60B2CEE32F10_1_105_c.jpeg250213F0-916A-401A-90A0-E4A627125962_1_105_c.jpegF2D9BE31-61B1-4D79-A0BA-60B2CEE32F10_1_105_c.jpeg
 

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I own a small engineering R&D consulting firm in Maryland (10 people). We have an extensive prototyping workshop for metal, plastic, 3D printing, laser-cutting (plastic), and even wood and textiles. We primarily design electromechanical devices for the medical and defense industries, and we're typically fabricating Qty 1 - 5 prototypes for internal testing and design iterations before we prepare the designs for volume manufacturing which we outsource. We keep a lot of the prototyping in-house because we're able to control the schedule a lot better and turn modifications around at whatever pace we choose. In the metalshop, we have a 3-axis Fadal VMC4020HT which has a 21-tool ATC that's significantly improved productivity over our old Bridgeport single-tool CNC Mill. We have an old Rockwell 10" manual lathe that works for plastic and aluminum but really can't handle steel or stainless. I'm looking for a CNC Lathe to either replace the manual lathe or add to it, and I'm looking for advice on what machines I should be exploring.

One of the biggest factors is that the machine is easy to setup and operate to efficiently make one-off parts. I'd say we are probably fine with a something small, 6-10" chuck, 30" length, 3,000 rpm, with a 4-side turret, and tailstock. Accuracy of .005" is generally fine. Budget is around $40k new, so I was looking at the Haas TL-1. While I love how popular Haas machines are, how easy they seem to be to operate, and the availability of parts, I don't love how proprietary the machines and software seem to be. Am I wrong about that?

What machines come to mind?

Thanks.



I Just got on here and see you might be looking for a used Romi. I have one available, 2011/2012 Romi C510 w/ Siemens 802D Control. A2-6 Spindle, 20" Swing and 60" between centers. (Original Factory Quote is Attached) Located on the pallet in our warehouse in Santa Clara, CA., ready to ship. Let me know if you are interested in the price as is. We took in on trade from a customer that got a larger spindle version. I can send videos to anyone interested. Everything works great and machine looks great. Needs a chuck(10 or 12")(had a 12" PBA-Set-Rite) and needs a tool post. Prior user ran part time and only one shift. The control runs typical ISO G-M Code(Fanuc/Haas style code), does great conversional programs if you want or just use it manually. Books are electronic and a hard copy of standard manual.
2B1692B1-CB09-4EB0-8B74-06B0C7DB8BC2_1_105_c.jpeg

3CB79A7C-1B20-4813-8492-8AD8809ACC9B_1_105_c.jpeg

319EB863-6544-4712-AE5E-30C0A5913620_1_105_c.jpeg

250213F0-916A-401A-90A0-E4A627125962_1_105_c.jpeg

F2D9BE31-61B1-4D79-A0BA-60B2CEE32F10_1_105_c.jpeg

2B1692B1-CB09-4EB0-8B74-06B0C7DB8BC2_1_105_c.jpeg

3CB79A7C-1B20-4813-8492-8AD8809ACC9B_1_105_c.jpeg

319EB863-6544-4712-AE5E-30C0A5913620_1_105_c.jpeg

250213F0-916A-401A-90A0-E4A627125962_1_105_c.jpeg

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This is true, we're not a machine shop but our engineers do design parts that can be easily fabricated.

As engineers, we're very comfortable in CAD & CAM and don't even create prints for CNC parts. Conversational programming or "teach" programming sounds nice but probably takes longer for us than CAM.

We were on maintenance for Mastercam. I'm fluent in Mill but, never got comfortable with how the lathe toolpaths retracted out of the part: Z first, X first, or how to control where the turret goes before toolchange.

I asked the one guy who did do his programming in Mastercam, how he controlled this and he said "I don't know. It just works." Yeah, not for me. It's a miracle he never smashed that turret into something.

I didn't personally have the Mastercam lathe software so I spent my energy programming at the control. I'm now on maintenance for Fusion 360 and still haven't tackled the lathe CAM. Canned cycles in the lathe automate so many things that the programs are too short and easy to tweak. Before you write me off as a luddite: designed many things, all the way to released drawings in Catia and Solidworks and have enough UG(hh) / NX to know it sucks as a CAD program. The teach aspect at the control has its place when you need simple parts. I need twenty spacers, this-by-this with this hole. Don't need sketches, pads and pockets to do that.

You HAVE to keep that aspect in mind when it comes to how your staff will use the machine(s): how do you train, who signs off on someone being competent enough to program, run, etc. Is it you? A trusted lead who knows all those ins and outs? This potentially affects your insurance. If they hurt themselves, first thing someone is going to ask: what training did they have? Who authorized them to use this machine?

There's a grant I'm applying for that I thought would require a new purchase. Turns out "used" will be ok, so that would be a great way to stretch the budget. I'll look into these brands. I definitely want a capable turret for efficiency.

A turret is definitely nice but, let me play devil's advocate: as someone else mentioned: a toolpost can be anything you want, without upsetting the tools you already have touched off.

The Dorian CXA sized toolpost (the size for the TL-1) do surprisingly repeat to tenths if you're even ballpark consistent with the clamping pressure on the lever. Benefit is there are no other nearby tools waiting to punch a hole in the sheetmetal or bang into the chuck. This is something you don't see in the CAM software until you're proofing the program on the machine. That long drill in position 8 of the turret is still there while you're up close turning with tool 1.

If you're truly making batches under 10-20 parts and dealing with occasional users, a tool post can work and has these advantages. I keep lots of tools touched off and ready.

This means tool block 9 is always loaded with the 1/2" starter drill. If a part calls for needing a starter hole, pull that out of the drawer, make the hole, chase it with tool 16, the ID boring tool. For the jobs I don't need either, both go back in the drawer. The offsets are still in the machine, waiting for when they're needed next time.

IMG_4963.jpg

The numbering tiles were made in the 3D printer. I stopped the print when the embossed numbers started, changed the filament color and continued. Attached them with 3M car trim adhesive. The advantage is these don't wash off like painted numbers do but, they're not quite as permanent as engraving numbers on the block.

I also have a four-position automatic Haas turret. I've never installed it. I recently made enough of something that I almost did. Once all the hardware is in place, it's a quick job to remove and go back to the toolpost. My hesitation is that every time it's done, I lose all these offsets on the toolpost blocks. Trying to communicate both options so you pick what works for you...

I submitted a quote online for the Haas TL-1 yesterday and the local Haas rep was at my door this morning. He may have talked me up to an ST-15 for the 12-tool changer, but I stopped short of considering a UMC-500.

I hope this is a joke but, some sales people...

If they tried to talk you 'up' to the ST-15, either you didn't clearly communicate your needs, they don't understand, or they weren't listening and only want to upsell (to the wrong machine). For you, the ST-10 / ST-15 would epically suck on multiple fronts:
  • The small envelope makes working like doing jumping jacks in a coat closet. You or someone will punch something through the sheetmetal eventually. A nearby shop had an SL-10. I used it once. Nice machine if you're in production and have parts that specifically fit that machine. Absolutely sucks for the unknown work you're talking about. They had a hole in the wall of the machine, above the chuck, within a year. They had other machines to choose from too. That had me baffled.
  • Hydraulic pump system for the chuck that always whines when the machine is on. Our SL-20 usually sat in E-stop when we were in the shop programing nearby, just to shut the pump up. It adds cost to the machine that won't add value in a prototyping environment. It adds maintenance. It adds another learning point for casual users. What chuck pressure do I need to keep the 8" chuck from opening at 3K RPM? What do I need to do with the chuck pressure to keep from sucking a 5C collet all the way through the closer? Hope they ask that last one before they do it. DAMHIK
  • Because it's a hydraulic chuck system, you're back to drawbar chucks ($,$$$) and a PITA to switch to something else (collets). Collet closers get very expensive. The TL can go from 3-jaw to 6-jaw, to 4-jaw, to collet closer, to faceplate, in ten minutes each. More than once I took work home because we either didn't have the right workholding for the SL or it was going to take too long to change it for one part, and have to put it right back.
  • Limited Z travel: the SL/ST 10/15s are just not a very big machine and that one time you have to hold a 12" bar against a center and thread the end, you'll be screwed.
  • The tailstock is an option (and not cheap). If you don't have it, you're stuck with a chucker. If you do spend the money, it's one more thing to clank into, either turning or during tool change.
If someone offered me a brand new ST-15, equipped any way I want, in trade for my TL-1, but I had to live with that choice (can't sell and buy two of something), I'd keep my old TL. The TL is good at what it does. I see an eventual ST-20 for myself but, the TL won't be going anywhere. I'm not bashing either machine. I'm pointing out what will give you the most value and versatility for your dollar, for the work you described.
 
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All worked good. Was not a big fan of my tl-1 honestly, but sounds like a good fit for you (Expecially now that they are enclosed. Old ones where suuuuper messy)
I got so sick of the coolant everywhere that I started looking into buying the sheetmetal enclosure. My sales guy was always insanely helpful and had ties to the factory. He did a little research and found that I could buy the front apron and rear drip rail from the enclosure kit for about (I think) $800. Item #6 and 15:

TL-1Diagram.jpg


Those two parts were a game changer. The front apron slips underneath the carriage and hangs by two fasteners. It catches everything pouring off the saddle. The rear drip rail catches anything that gets under the back sheet metal guard.

After those two parts, it got into the big bucks of the new back wall, the door assemblies, all the rollers, handles, etc. That's where I stopped and it was the sweet spot for the machine. They should have offered those two parts as an option package upgrade to the coolant tank and pump. I'm surprised a sheetmetal manufacturer hasn't gotten into making something similar. There are enough first-gen TLs out there and we all have the same complaint. I'm sure these are long out of production at Haas.
 
This is true, we're not a machine shop but our engineers do design parts that can be easily fabricated.

As engineers, we're very comfortable in CAD & CAM and don't even create prints for CNC parts. Conversational programming or "teach" programming sounds nice but probably takes longer for us than CAM.

There's a grant I'm applying for that I thought would require a new purchase. Turns out "used" will be ok, so that would be a great way to stretch the budget. I'll look into these brands. I definitely want a capable turret for efficiency.
I submitted a quote online for the Haas TL-1 yesterday and the local Haas rep was at my door this morning. He may have talked me up to an ST-15 for the 12-tool changer, but I stopped short of considering a UMC-500.

Thanks for all the great feedback here!
I don't think CAM is much advantage over programming at the control of a 2 axis lathe. Most controls can take CAD input if the part is complex as well. And for dead simple parts, it's often faster and certainly easier to just run the machine manually.

One more consideration. For prototype work a D spindle nose would be much better than an A spindle nose as they are much quicker to swap out chucks. If you want a power chuck or collet closer, they make self contained pneumatic power chucks for D spindles.
 








 
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