Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Pick a mill - Tough Purchase


#1

This is the toughest purchase I have ever made. to buy a cnc mill. ok
I have narrowed it down.

  1. model master cnc 1000 I found a used unit for $14,000.00 NO
    WARRANTY (new it is $20,000) and it is three years old they say it is
    very strong and will last forever. but I will only be cutting wax on
    it so i am not concerned with cutting metal. they say the model
    master is a slow machine and hard to run the software. the people
    that like the model master say it is more accurate than the Roland
    and that the Roland will loose its accuracy over time. the model
    master is more of a standard cnc mill more fixtures available, and it
    looks like a “real” machine

  2. Roland mdx-40 this unit will cost $13,000.00 NEW WITH ONE YEAR
    WARRANTY the negatives that I am getting are, it is a printer on
    steroids, and it will not last for more than two to three years. the
    positives are that it will cut the waxes faster than any other mill
    out there for the money. proto wizard software is very easy to run.
    the people that like the Roland mill say it is more accurate because
    of the belts, and that the model master is less accurate because of
    the ball and screw drivers. the roland looks like a futuristic box
    that produces waxes.

I need a mill that will cut wax. I would like to be able to cut up to
4 x 4 x 2 " at the most (basically a bangle bracelet). I will be
running protowizard on which ever mill I get because it is very easy
to use and Don at protowizard is very helpful. fast is important,
longevity is also important I would like to get at least 5 years of
maintenance free use out of it. and I would like a mill that finds
zero on it own when you turn it on so i dont have to zero it off each
time.

thank you for your help,

Matthew
www.mhgjewelry.com


#2

If that’s the largest size you need, you might look at the Roland
JWX-10. It sells for $1000 less than the MDX-40, but it’s smaller,
with X travel of 5.5", Y travel of 4.125" and 4.125" travel in Z.
Otherwise it’s pretty much the same machine as the MDX-40, except
with a faster spindle (20k rpm vs. 15k). I imagine the price you were
quoted on the MDX-40 includes the Protowizard software and flip
fixture, since the list price on that machine is only $10,995. So
you’d need to add $2000 to the cost of the ModelMaster to have a
valid comparison, unless it comes with all that.

I don’t understand why you think the Roland will not last more than
two or three years, or that it will somehow lose its accuracy over
time. They have only been out about a year, so that sounds like pure
speculation to me. While no machine will last forever, it’s usually
possible to keep them accurate with periodic maintenance. I’m not
sure it’s realistic to expect any mechanical system of this sort to
perform flawlessly for 5 years without any attention being paid to
it, however.

Likewise I’m puzzled by the assertion that the Modelmaster is less
accurate because of its screws and slides - these are high-quality
components and are used in many CNC machines costing even more (as
are belts, for that matter.) Roland’s machines use roller slides as
well. While the Roland does use your computer’s printer driver to run
with a USB port, I don’t think it’s fair to call it a “printer on
steroids” - it does an entirely different job. Most CNC mills can
remember a preset zero setting, but that doesn’t help if the stock
size changes. That’s why the Roland’s automatic toolsetting is so
nice. Once you’ve broken a few expensive little cutters trying to
zero a Z-axis by hand, or messed up a part because you set it
inaccurately, you might be ready for this.

Andrew Werby
www.computersculpture.com


#3

Point 1: Whichever mill you choose is independant of whichever
software you choose. Any software that does CNC will run any quality
mill that does CNC.

Point 2: You are never going to get ANY machine tool to run for even
6 months without maintenance. Machine tools constantly need to be
tightened up and adjusted to stay true. It’s just part of the
package - little by little it will drift off line, and all your work
will be skewed. Plus that constant attention will greatly extend the
useful life of your machinery.


#4

Hi Matthew,

Everyone has their own favorite pony in this race, so rather than
being swayed by opinions which may claim legitimate advantages but
omit significant disadvantages of the various machines, I suggest you
get a hands-on, in-person demo of each mill that you’re considering by
having some of your own designs cut on each machine using the same
cutting tool, on each machine. Compare the results in terms of
surface finish, ease of operation and time to completion. You might
have to spend the time and expense to travel to the vendor’s location
to do the research, unless they are will to provide for your travel
and accommodation needs, but it will given you the peace of mind to
make a very informed decision on what should be a very profitable
investment.

Not to complicate matters further, but a friend of mine has a Revo A
that he had only been using once a month. He said it got to be an
expensive hobby for him, so he’s considering any reasonable offer as
he’d like to sell it as soon as possible.

Jesse


#5

I haven’t been following this thread but I have a note about this
last statement. Yes, mills need maintained. I just had mine looked
at. It turned out that the 4 jaw chuck on mine was wacked. So I was
having a nightmare getting my pieces to cut correctly. However, the
mill itself was not the problem. I have a program setup in mine now
that re-aligns the points whenever I set it to do so. I do this
every morning now; it takes literally 2 minutes and voila’; it is
running great now. I have a 1000 and a 1250 from Modelmaster. they
are worth the $.

Good luck.
Dennis


#6

John

Whichever mill you choose is independant of whichever software you
choose. Any software that does CNC will run any quality mill that
does CNC. 
You are never going to get ANY machine tool to run for even 6
months without maintenance. Machine tools constantly need to be
tightened up and adjusted to stay true. It's just part of the
package - little by little it will drift off line, and all your
work will be skewed. Plus that constant attention will greatly
extend the useful life of your machinery. 

Please enlighten me. What type of mill do you have and what type of
software are you using?

The reason that I ask these questions is that I find some glaring
problems with your statements.

Your first point immediately brings to mind the REVO mill, by
Gemvision. The mill will not run anything that is not made with their
toolpathing software which is integrated within Matrix (their CAD
program). The mill is totally controlled by their interface and no
other G code generated by any other software will run on that mill.
This mill, which goes for 27K, would most definately qualify as a
"quality mill that does CNC" I am sure that there are other similar
situations with other mills. I have access to a Revo in a store that
I have my shop set up in. The Revo tooling and strategys for
milling, using that tooling, are also specific to that machine and
software.

Regarding point 2. I would offer my Modelmaster CNC 1000 as proof
that your statement is incorrect. This machine has operated almost
constantly for the past 18 months without ANY maintenance. Strangely,
there is nothing on my mill that “constantly needs to be tightened
up” The reason for this is simply that there is nothing to tighten or
adjust. It is a well built piece of equipment and has no problems
that need adjustment…hence no points, screws, bolts or whatever,
to make adjustments to or with. Does it occasionally need a Z height
or Y alignment. Yes, it does. But this is very easily taken care of
in mere minutes. I also do not consider adjusting the z or y or a
axis as maintenance but “proper setup proceedures”. When I take my 4
jaw chuck off of my mill and transfer it to my lathe to core out the
center of the ring that I have milled, there is abso= lutly no way
that I can expect to just reinstall this back on the mill an= d
expect it to be true. It must be realigned, which is totally a no
brainer.

Same situation with the Revo mill. Nothing to tighten up or adjust
here either. It has automated alignment, software based, that
repositions the machine automatically via a toolheight sensor.

David


#7

I did it!

I want to thank all of the Orchids that help me. all of you that
email me with your advice and recommendations for which mill to buy.
after agonizing over it for three months and researching the pros
and cons of the Roland, Model Master, Minitech, Revo, Taig, and some
other home made jobs. I decided to go with the Roland MDX 40. this
was the toughest business decision I have ever made. I spent three
months studying this (I think I only spent about a week to decide if
I wanted to have children).

anyways on a lighter note thank you again to everyone, especially,
Jesse Kaufman, James McMurray, Craig Jones, Andrew Werby, Keith at
Cadwax.com, Don at Protowizard, Jeff at 3dWaxMiller Club (even
though Jeff wont let me in his club), Mike at Model Master, Linus at
AU Enterprise, Gregg Turner, Phil Carrizzi at Kendell College, Pedro
at Roland, Brenda at Model Master, Craig Rzempala

so in closing, i hope for Roland’s sake this machine works as great
as they have said, because if it does I will be their loudest
cheerleader and if it doesn’t I will still be their loudest
cheerleader.

thank you again for all the advice

Sincerely recently broke,
Matthew
www.mhgjewelry.com