Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: Any experience with a New Hermes Vanguard 3400?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Apple Valley, CA
    Posts
    218

    Any experience with a New Hermes Vanguard 3400?

    I'm selling off a good bit of my shop for the coming move we're making to Tennessee. A gentleman on another forum picked up an old Vanguard 3400 engraver for a project, but in talking to him, a proper pantograph would be far better for what he was trying to do. So, I worked out a trade for the Vanguard and a little cash for my Deckel GK12 pantograph. It makes me a bit sad, as I had great plans for the thing, and I lost some money on it in the deal, but I wanted to give the guy a good price to help him out in his venture. Besides, much as I would like to keep everything, I have, oh, 10 tons of shop still, after closing my 3000 sq ft shop, to sell or move, and all that's moving is whatever I can tow in two loads on a flat bed with my '99 Suburban.

    Anyway, I'm supposed to be getting this thing next week. I really don't have a plan for it yet, just want to get it going. It comes with the EP box, but apparently it doesn't power up fully. I was thinking about playing with getting the stepper driver daughter board going, and bypassing the antiquated EP main board for a smoothstepper, or just scrap the whole EP box for a G540 and CNC the thing. My wife has ideas of using it to engrave jewelry, and I'd love to figure out how to modify it to engrave rounds instead of just flats, but I haven't seen it in person yet so I don't know if this is possible.

    Anyone ever use one of these guys? Are they any good?

    Thanks,
    Michael

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
    Posts
    10
    I have a Vanguard 3400 that I retired about a year or so ago. It really is a good, strong machine, but the thing to remember with it is that it pretty much is what it is. a 1980's vintage engraver. It is capable of anything that you want to do flat, just not very elegantly. You can do the easy upgrade by changing out the controller, soluistan ??spelling, makes one, but it is expensive, about 2500.00. The hardest part of these is that you are stuck with old windows 3.1 software, as I never was able to successfully make it work with windows xp.

    Parts for it are kind of hard to come by. If you decide to use it, Fred over at Q1 Engraving will be your new best friend as he has every part ever made for them.

    Art
    Last edited by Mike Null; 01-07-2017 at 10:23 AM. Reason: removed advertising text
    Arizona Sign and Decorated Products
    AZHAMSIGNS

    Universal M-30 30w Laser with Rotary
    LaserPro Venus 12w Laser
    3 Carvewright Machines
    Sega Vinyl Cutter
    Dye Sublimation Equipment
    Featuring 3 Richo SG3110DN's
    12x14 Heat Press
    Multifixture Mug Press

    Full Wood Turning Shop
    Full Custom Woodworking Shop

  3. #3
    It would be a waste to put more than $100 into it.
    Mike Null

    St. Louis Laser, Inc.

    Trotec Speedy 300, 80 watt
    Gravograph IS400
    Woodworking shop CLTT and Laser Sublimation
    Dye Sublimation
    CorelDraw X5, X7

  4. #4

    Vanguard 3400

    Hello, I have used the 3400 since it first came out. I bought another one and they both run on the EP controller. Repairing the EP was a problem and a terrible cost. Last year I found a local techy man who has now worked on my EP twice, and charged me less than $100.00 total. Both times I was quoted 1000.00 - 1500.00. The reason I am on this forum is to let you know that he is going to convert my machines from the EP controller to computer software. Maybe convert isn't the correct word, but I am not techy. Anyway, once I provide him with the schematics for the 3400 plug (not necessary but will save him much time) he is going to provide me with a machine that will ultimately use Corel draw instead of the gravograph software (which was an incredible training for me but a really terrible software program). I told him I was sure there were other 3400 lovers out there who would be very interested in upgrading and the cost could be under $350.00. In answer to Art Swander who was concerned about finding parts, locating used machines isn't that hard. I bought, cheap, my second machine as a parts machine, but it works so good, I am looking for another one for the parts. I have purchased parts from Quality One and have done my own repairs on the table. I find the table to be a very dependable work horse. I can engrave just about anything with the 3400 and the pantagraph does the curved things. I have lasers also for other jobs in my shop, but they don't do much jewelry work. I hope Michael wasn't discouraged with his 3400. If you look at Pinterest, there's so many "cool" new style jewelry ideas that his wife could be making with the 3400.
    Last edited by Sue Mart; 01-06-2017 at 8:14 PM. Reason: added information

  5. #5
    I have two 3400 'flat' machines, one 3400CL 'cylinder' machine, and one 3200, which is identical in every way EXCEPT it uses an air-cartridge spindle rather than a stepper spindle. I have six EP modules since I also run my three Vanguard 5000's with them.

    99% of the time if an EP module goes out, it's nothing more than a dead CMOS battery. If the panel lights and squares show up but doesn't boot farther than that, find and replace that battery. (as you look in from the front with the cover off, it'll be in the top right corner on the board. If you're lucky it'll be just a large 'watch' battery. Some however are wired in batteries, which take a bit more work)

    In 22 years of using these things I've had one motherboard go bad (that machine's in the shop right now), had some RAM memory go bad in one, and maybe a half dozen CMOS battery replacements.

    One of my customers was telling me that he has a 3400 and paid a guy In Wyoming (I think) $300 to have it 'converted', and it runs better now and works great using $300 engraving software (which I forget the name of at the moment)

    Like Mike says, don't throw much money at one of these. The best overall small machine I own right now is my Gravo IS400. Due to its construction you can get your face right into the work, which is not possible with the big U-framed 3400's. The point n shoot function is great, and they can be fitted with a rotary for cylindrical work. It's the only machine I engrave firearms on, and my go-to for very critical and/or very small work. They ain't cheap, but good used ones can be had for a pretty good price. If you call 10x what a 3400 costs you as 'a good price' -- but if you can keep it busy, it will make you money...
    ========================================
    ELEVEN - rotary cutter tool machines
    FOUR - CO2 lasers
    THREE- make that FOUR now - fiber lasers
    ONE - vinyl cutter
    CASmate, Corel, Gravostyle


  6. #6

    Lightbulb 3400 EP module going haywire

    Kev Williams,
    I have a question for you. I too have several "flat machines" of which one is a 3400.
    Here is my issue on the 3400:
    The PC that was running the old DOS program died, so I was running that machine with my Solustan RIP. Just unplugged the EP module during the time it took me to get a newer PC with the Open systems DOS program. Knowing that the EP module has to be turned on before you open the DOS program, I turned it on. It did the usual Z down and up and then for some unknown reason instead of the head moving to the 0 position (back left), the head moved all the way forward and to the right and kept trying to go farther. I tried pushing every button on that thing with no results. The only way to stop it was to turn it off. Re-hooked up the Solustan RIP to get the head moved back and tried again with the EP mod with same results
    The entire time it was unplugged, about 3 months I did not mess with it or make any changes. Prior to this I was switching back and forth from the EP mod and the Solustan RIP without any issues.
    So, I'm stumped as to what to do to resolve this. Any ideas you have would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you!

  7. #7
    99% chance your X axis limit switch is the problem- Take some electronics cleaner spray, (CRC red cans, can get at any Walmart or auto parts store) and spray the bajeezus out of the switch, after sitting it could just be gummed up--

    The way these things 'home' is, the head moves left, trips the switch, then moves back, and when the switch un-trips, it knows it's home. BUT if the switch DOESN'T un-trip, the head will just keep moving until it does, or hits the right side of the machine, whichever comes first...

    If the switch is doesn't trip in the first place, it will usually keep trying to go LEFT. Yours went right so the switch DID trip. So most likely, it's either gummed up, or the switch innards won't spring it back. If spray cleaner doesn't help, you need a new switch...

    3400limitsw.jpg
    Last edited by Kev Williams; 08-13-2021 at 1:15 PM. Reason: added pic
    ========================================
    ELEVEN - rotary cutter tool machines
    FOUR - CO2 lasers
    THREE- make that FOUR now - fiber lasers
    ONE - vinyl cutter
    CASmate, Corel, Gravostyle


  8. #8
    Hi Kev,
    Sure enough, that X axis switch was bad. Pulled a working switch off spare machine, now up and running. Forgot about those little beasts, have had to replace others before.
    Cost to fix $0 and about 20 minutes.
    Thank you for helping me out!

  9. #9
    Glad you got it going
    ========================================
    ELEVEN - rotary cutter tool machines
    FOUR - CO2 lasers
    THREE- make that FOUR now - fiber lasers
    ONE - vinyl cutter
    CASmate, Corel, Gravostyle


  10. Hi
    Ive got 2 v3400

    First of all fred from q1engravers wont be your best friend...you will be his best friend as he empties tour bank account with his ridiculous high prices ....do not buy from him.

    Anyways...mine has bad cmos battery...square boxes at power on

    I teplaced cmos and it worked but i didnt have gravograph software to run it so i ended up using a $15 arduino uno controller board to run it

    Cheap and easy

    Now i can run it bia usb port and use any modern cad cam to create toolpath and use free UGS to send job to machine.

    The weakest part of the machine is its underpiwered soindle motir and rudiculous 80inch rubber belt design...its a joke.

  11. #11
    To the contrary, I have found Fred to be helpful and his prices reasonable. Keep in mind that there are few sources for parts on engraving machines. Maintaining a parts inventory is quite costly and demands a high margin to stay in business.
    Mike Null

    St. Louis Laser, Inc.

    Trotec Speedy 300, 80 watt
    Gravograph IS400
    Woodworking shop CLTT and Laser Sublimation
    Dye Sublimation
    CorelDraw X5, X7

  12. thats your opinion

    facts are facts..his prices are insane high..but hey if it works for you thats all that counts..i personally think the company is a rip off and takes advantage of people...and of course hes helpful if you forking out hundreds of $$$ for a $20 part lol

    if you try and ask him a basic question he will charge you $50 per phone call lol and then if you say you cant afford it or question why he charges for a simple answer that is normally no charge anywhere else he gets upset and no longer is friendly ...

    here is a real example..i have a gravograph engraver that needed new rubber couplings for the stepper motor...so i called q1 (i didnt know any better) and asked for price and they were like $40 each..i said what!!!!!!???????? $40? are you kidding me? he said no....i mean come on its a $5 rubber part.(i could make one on my 3d printer for 10 cents.) .so i told him there is no way im paying $40 for a $5 part..so i said i would just use a better design and order alum flex couplings off ebay for $2 each and he got ...if his prices and bad attitude werent so ridiculous maybe he would have gotten my business...i also tried buuying a small round rubber belt for the gravograph engraver and his price was like $40...ridiculous..so i decided to make one for 25 cents..i aslo asked him for a price on retrofit kit for new hermes 3400 and he said $2500 again i said are you nuts??.its only maybe $200 max in parts.....i ended up doing it myself for very little........i understand he needs to make a profit but thats not what he is doing..hes taking advantage of people who dont know any better or have nowhere else to go..like hes a convenience store in the middle of the desert. (price gouging)..i do not deal with companies who price gouge period.
    Last edited by Mike Null; 11-22-2021 at 11:15 AM. Reason: profanity

  13. #13
    I met Fred WAY back when he was just getting Quality One going. Met him right here in the very house/shop I'm sitting in at this moment, as he wanted to meet me; I was one of the first owners of a New Hermes Concept 2000, which is what he started his business around, upgrades, replacement parts and such. He was a pleasant guy, wanted to know what I thought of the machines, if I had any 'improvement' ideas, etc... And actually, I DID have an idea, concerning the toolpaths the machine followed. Back then I was using the machine mostly to engrave computer keycaps, which I'd done for years previously by pantograph. To get the cleanest cut with the least amount of burrs, on keycap plastics anyway, I found that if I backtracked over the first engraving pass in the opposite direction, it cuts the burrs off the sharp corners of M's, A's, W's, etc, very nicely. And I would do this without lifting the stylus, just a continuous run. Easy to do on a pantograph, but CNC machines just make a single pass of each line, lifting the tool when necessary to engrave letters with secondary lines, like E's, A's, etc...

    So I asked Fred a question: Would it be possible to create a font that will engrave each character twice, without lifting the tool? He asked what I meant exactly, and I went thru the motions "air engraving" to show him what I meant. He had a laptop computer with him, opened it up, and he retrieved the plot files he had for every character of the Normal Block font. It wasn't the digital plot file, but rather, each character was displayed full-screen size, with every control point of the character. We started with the "A", simple enough, and he says "show me how you'd trace this A"..

    Ok, like this: bottom left point, top point, bottom right point, right dash point, left dash point, right dash point, top point, bottom left point-

    Then I explained how that path covered every line twice, in the reverse order, with no lifting necessary. For the B, just engrave like an 8 starting at the left-middle point then reverse it. C and D are obvious,
    E, top right, top left, center left, center right, center left, bottom left, bottom right, bottom left, top left, top right...

    etc, etc... Fred would retrace the path of each letter on his laptop point by point as I'd showed him. He caught on quickly on how to do this himself, and sat at my work table and did several more characters before we parted ways.

    My BIL still uses our second C2000 every day, it has Fred's C2000 upgrade kit in it, and the software is loaded with Fred's "no-lift" fonts, because the work great!

    I don't know how much money he's made off my idea, but it was a good one, and ttbomk I've never gotten a bit of credit for it. To be fair, I never pursued the issue... but still...

    Other than that one day, and a brief phone call a short time after that is all the personal interaction I've ever had with him. I will agree he does fill a necessary niche in this business, but I'm not too aware of his biz practices.

    C'est la vie
    ========================================
    ELEVEN - rotary cutter tool machines
    FOUR - CO2 lasers
    THREE- make that FOUR now - fiber lasers
    ONE - vinyl cutter
    CASmate, Corel, Gravostyle


  14. Can you pass on the info as to how you adapted to the 3400?






    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy sanderson View Post
    Hi
    Ive got 2 v3400

    First of all fred from q1engravers wont be your best friend...you will be his best friend as he empties tour bank account with his ridiculous high prices ....do not buy from him.

    Anyways...mine has bad cmos battery...square boxes at power on

    I teplaced cmos and it worked but i didnt have gravograph software to run it so i ended up using a $15 arduino uno controller board to run it

    Cheap and easy

    Now i can run it bia usb port and use any modern cad cam to create toolpath and use free UGS to send job to machine.

    The weakest part of the machine is its underpiwered soindle motir and rudiculous 80inch rubber belt design...its a joke.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •