Originally Posted by lazylabs
If you were going to get a used cnc lathe for some barrel work what would you suggest? I don't have any CNC stuff yet and would like take that step soon. I can take a couple classes in programing at the local schools. I just want to make a machine decision or at least direction so I know what kind of programming class would best suit my needs. I am not new to machining or barrel work just new to CNC.
if you asked me to go out and buy one to do that job, I'd simply order in a Hardingh slant bed lathe with the motorized tail stock and live tooling. You don't need X1 & X2 slides unless you plan on doing other jobs as well. Accuracey wise it's a solid .0003" lathe when properly aligned, and the live tooling will do a solid .0015". The spindle group is built well enough to withstand hard turning, and you probably could build a complete action off it if you so desired. How does it stack up against an Okuma or a Mazak? Beats the snot out of them! Those lathes can't run with a hardingh when it comes to speed and accuracey. Mori Sekis are junk, and spend more time broke down than being up and running. The downside with the Hardingh is getting your hands on one. They often are back ordered six to twelve months. But they actually come at about $25K less than a compairable Okuma, and as I said will smoke one seven days a week. The Jap lathes don't seem to take a good wreck very well, and often never run well after one. Their turrets are prone to misalignment, but after awhile folks that own them get good at realigning them! (I could do one in about an hour and a half). Okumas have always have a problem with the coolant system valves mounted under the turret indexing area, and never seem to seal up well in that area as well. Of the Jap lathes the Okuma is by far the best, but as I said it has it's own set of problems. And I didn't mention the electrical system on the Okuma! It can be a nightmare when the grid switches screw up. But still if you have a good one it's usually a six or seven tenth machine (that's very good). None of the Jap lathes have good chucking systems, but a few do offer SP and Cushman chuck systems as an option. Stay away from the Asian systems as they are are mess! In spades!! All these lathes use the same Fanuc controll which is OK at best. Rumor has it that you can buy a G&L lathe with the Gemini controll. This is the design that Fanuc copied, but the Gemini is far more user friendly (and much more reliable). A Hardingh with the Gemini controll would be the best lathe on the planet period!