What's new
What's new

Maintain older machine or replace with new/newer machine?

SMT

Hot Rolled
Joined
Dec 9, 2010
Location
PA
Where do you all draw the line when it comes to putting money into an older machine vs invest in a new or newer piece of equipment?

I can put 10k in to a 27 year old lathe or I can move on to a new/newer machine and go back to a payment. I can afford to do either but I'm not in love with having a payment.
 
I weigh the options and look at it from a strictly business perspective. I usually end up limping along the old thing until a good deal comes up on a newer or nicer replacement.

What kind of repair costs $10K?
 
I weigh the options and look at it from a strictly business perspective. I usually end up limping along the old thing until a good deal comes up on a newer or nicer replacement.

What kind of repair costs $10K?
CMOS memory upgrade from the old bubble memory
 
CMOS memory upgrade from the old bubble memory

Is the bubble memory corrupted or otherwise destroyed?

On a lathe, particularly one that old (and most definitely 2x?) I don’t see why you’d want to upgrade. Bubble memory though old tech and fleeting in terms of the years it was available is still solid, reliable technology.

If a strict replacement you can buy a compatible board from machine breakers on ebay. Get you back up and making money.
 
Is the bubble memory corrupted or otherwise destroyed?

On a lathe, particularly one that old (and most definitely 2x?) I don’t see why you’d want to upgrade. Bubble memory though old tech and fleeting in terms of the years it was available is still solid, reliable technology.

If a strict replacement you can buy a compatible board from machine breakers on ebay. Get you back up and making money.
The machine still functions but the storage has shrunk to the point I question how much longer it will function. I'm trying to stay ahead of the curve so to speak. Handle it now before the machine just stops booting up one day. CMOS eliminates the shrinking stoarge problem that comes with bubble memory and should last as long as I have them machine.
 
If the machine still holds acceptable tolerances and keeps up with demand I would fix.

5 days labour seems extreme, is it not possible to buy parts and have someone local do the work?!
 
Handle it now before the machine just stops booting up one day.

$10k can give you a couple other options, one being a control retrofit.

As to replacing the machine or not, man that's the million-dollar question!

Is it the only machine of this type you have? I like redundancy of identical machines when running older models.

Like said, don't necessarily lock yourself into a new machine. There's always lots of good used CNC machines out there, with maybe a lot more coming if we go into a recession, eh?

Just like when buying a new car, buying a new CNC machine is no guarantee mechanics won't be having to tinker with it early on, to get all the bugs out...

Good luck with your decision!

ToolCat
 
I agree with fixing, bubble memory CNCs should be solid technology-not sure what you have as mine are much older-39 year old Fanucs. Love not having batteries to deal with!
Depending on where you are in PA, might be able to help out with service-PM me if interested.
 
Where do you all draw the line when it comes to putting money into an older machine vs invest in a new or newer piece of equipment?

I can put 10k in to a 27 year old lathe or I can move on to a new/newer machine and go back to a payment. I can afford to do either but I'm not in love with having a payment.
Mine are all 80s vintage and long paid for. They all hold tolerance. So, for me, it's worth it to maintain/repair as a few thou here and there is a lot less than a $5k a month payment. Eventually, new CNCs will be here, but more to supplement rather than replace.
 
All good info, thanks for everyone's input.

The machine in question is an 1996 Okuma with a 5020 control. I have a second one that's a little newer that also runs well that is a supplement/backup to the one with the bubble mem issue.

The machine I'm looking at is an LB4000. It would have a larger chuck than the Cadet it would replace which opens doors for me with a couple long term good customers. It's also a much longer bed length and has live tools. Capabilities I wouldn't mind having. I also have a buyer for the Cadet, as is, at a good price.

This is one of those things that sucks when you work for yourself.
 
I would like to think that knowing the make and control would be pertinent to recommending repair.

Who thinks that puting real $ into a Hitachi or something with an AB or other control is a good idea?


[snuck in while I was typing]

The newer / bigger machine opens doors, as does the live toys, but will be a bit slower on smaller stuff.
Unless you run high volumes, the little bit of slower-ness will likely not be seen.

--------------

Think Snow Eh!
Ox
 
I would like to think that knowing the make and control would be pertinent to recommending repair.

Who thinks that puting real $ into a Hitachi or something with an AB or other control is a good idea?


[snuck in while I was typing]

The newer / bigger machine opens doors, as does the live toys, but will be a bit slower on smaller stuff.
Unless you run high volumes, the little bit of slower-ness will likely not be seen.

--------------

Think Snow Eh!
Ox

Those machines don't run any volume. Steady diet of 1-20 parts but more like 1-5pcs. I have other machines for smaller parts so that's mostly a non issue.
 
The machine I'm looking at is an LB4000. It would have a larger chuck than the Cadet it would replace which opens doors for me with a couple long term good customers. It's also a much longer bed length and has live tools. Capabilities I wouldn't mind having. I also have a buyer for the Cadet, as is, at a good price.
Sounds like the LB4000 would be an upgrade in many ways and you can offload the Cadet to a buyer vs the scrap man.
 
That's kind of where I'm currently at. I still hate the costs though!
$10k for no extra capabilities sounds like a waste.

At least selling the Cadet will give you money towards the bigger machine and you can then take on bigger and perhaps more profitable jobs--especially if the live milling works out for you.
 
$10k for no extra capabilities sounds like a waste.

At least selling the Cadet will give you money towards the bigger machine and you can then take on bigger and perhaps more profitable jobs--especially if the live milling works out for you.
In my experience live milling is handy but not a substitute for an actual HMC or VMC. Definite difference in rigidity. I mostly use it for bolt circles and tapping holes. But sometimes certain jobs need it and I'm always glad I have it in those instances.
 








 
Back
Top