What to Consider When Picking a CNC Machine

by Edward Pond

CNC machining is one of the best methods adopted by the manufacturing industry to produce parts. This process of machining parts involves the removal of parts of an object to get the desired shapes. Different cutting machines and tools controlled by a computer are needed to facilitate the process and meet the client’s needs. Such machines include CNC routers, mills, lathes, and Electric Discharge Machines. This article highlights the ways of shopping for a CNC machine.

How to Shop for a CNC Machine

These machines are available either in new or used condition. New CNC machines come in good condition; however, they are more expensive. The price is favorable for the used machines, and you can get a reputable brand at a low cost but ensure to check its lifespan. Other than price, there are other factors you need to consider before getting a CNC machine. They are;

1. Tolerance levels

Tolerance level is the deviation in the physical dimensions of part of the machine. Some tolerance levels are acceptable and are a normal part of the production process, while others are not. Meaning, a slight deviation is allowed due to effects caused by factors like high temperature and humidity. Different machines have different tolerances depending on their use. These machines come with a specified tolerance level from the manufacturing plant, which is okay for new machines. But if you buy a used one, ensure the deviation is minimal, meaning it can still operate successfully.

2. Level of productivity

CNC machines are often grouped according to their axes. Machining centers like the Horizontal Machining Centers produce parts faster than the Vertical Machining Centers. Both centers have a 4th axis, but it’s more dominant in one than the other. The HMC machines make use of this axis almost 80% percent of the entire process, while the VMC uses it just 20% of the time. Quick rates of production save on time and money needed for more labor, energy, etc. However, despite the difference in productivity, consider your shop’s needs and get what suits it best.

3. The machine hours

These machines have two types of hours; power-on hours and motion hours. To get the machine’s hourly rate, divide all its expenses during the process by the total hours the device has been in use. For new machines, the machine hours are not affected, unlike in used CNC machines. Before buying previously owned machines, check the rate results and base your search on that. Depending on the hours the device has been in motion, it’s advisable to reduce the power-on time and increase the motion hours. You can do this with the help of the store dealer or owner to keep the machine functioning properly.

Bottom line

Whether the CNC machine is used or new, you want to have it in its best condition. There are fewer concerns over new machines than the old ones since they’ve never been operational. However, some factors such as productivity, tolerance, and machine hours affect both types. Choose a machine based on your application, the space in your shop, and the price.

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