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What to Consider When Buying a Used CNC Machine

When buying a used CNC machine, you should consider a few things before buying and make sure that it can provide all the needs that your shop needs. Here are some of the things you want to consider before committing to buying a used CNC machine.

  • Tolerance – Tolerance refers to the acceptable deviation of a manufactured piece’s physical dimensions. This deviation is a normal part of the manufacturing process that occurs through external factors that can affect the CNC machine, such as humidity and temperature, impurities, backlash in the ball screws, worn out bearings.  However, the tolerances of different CNC machines vary and are usually specified by the manufacturer.
  • Machine Hours – The machine can have 10,000 “power on hours” and not have many spindles or in motion hours. Machine hour rate is obtained by dividing the total running expenses of a machine during a particular period by the number of hours the machine is estimated to work during that period. The amount of hours a machine has logged is one of the first factors to look at when choosing a used CNC machine. Although, all hours logged play the same role and cause the same impact. But you should ask your dealer to cut on power-on hours and time because cutting time is directed towards the hours the machine invests working on materials.
  • Vertical or Horizontal – Horizontal machining occurs on a horizontal machining center (HMC), which employs a spindle that is parallel to the ground floor. With a horizontally oriented spindle, tools stick out of the side of the tool holder and cut across the side of a workpiece, encouraging chips to fall away from the table. While a CNC Vertical machine center (VMC) has cylindrical cutters oriented vertically on a spindle axis and with CNC technology, the tools in some vertical machining centers can be manipulated on up to five axes for the fabrication of custom shapes, slots, holes, and details in three-dimensional parts. Here are some other things that you want to consider when choosing between a vertical or horizontal machine.
  • Pricing – Depending on the type, condition and specifications, pricing can vary. You can definitely benefit from purchasing used by getting name-brand quality without breaking the bank, so its important to do your homework and look into average life-spans of machine brands.
  • Productivity – Productivity is a concern as well because even though Vertical Machining Centers (VMC) are more pocket-friendly than Horizontal Machining Machining Centers (HMC), HMC is faster when it comes to the productivity of the machine. This is because Horizontal Machining Centers use their 4th axis 85% of the time whereas Vertical Machining Centers use it only about 25% of the time. This means that an HMC machine can do the same job as a VMC machine in about ⅓ of the time. So if it is suggested that you should purchase an HMC machine over VMC since it can save costs in terms of labor cost and if it can increase profitability based on its production rate. But still, it depends on what type of CNC machine that you will need for your shop.
  • Other Factors – You also want to consider the workspace, VMC takes less space in comparison to HMC. They are also heavier, so shipping needs to be taken into consideration as well. It is also known that VMCs are more common in the market, therefore, you will find the operators and repairs of VMCs more easily than HMCs.

Buying a used CNC machine can save you a huge amount of money but you need to be educated and knowledgeable when buying a used CNC machine. You need to do more research compared to buying a new one. You want to compare machine listings and be aware of the differences between similar models and be sure to check specifications to ensure it has all the capabilities needed to meet your requirements. You also need to thoroughly, on top of reading the documentation, always be sure to inspect the machine and make sure it passes the eye test.

You can hire a trusted third-party inspector if you aren’t knowledgeable enough to do it on your own. As much as possible, try to get hold of as much documentation on the machine as you can, whether it’s repair history, bills, and manuals. The last thing that you want do is find a trusted CNC dealer. Always make sure you purchase from a dealer who is well-known for their business ethics to make sure you, as a customer, are being taken care of. For more information on CNC machinery, contact the knowledgeable team at Tramar Industries today. Browse our extensive inventory of used CNC machines and we’ll help you find the right machine for the job.

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