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Thread: Axiom AR8 VS. ???

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Cleveland OH
    Kirk it sounds like you are moving up the ladder quickly ($20k per month is pretty good) So my comment to art might be helpful to you in the future - US Laws not Canada (But very good practices)

    Home Equipment VS Commercial Equipment
    My comment about 50k for a good commercial machine was made on a few buying points for myself and my shop. We run a commercial business with employees that requires us to meet OSHA Rules and guidelines - A home shop will not require this. Kirk also states that he runs a Engraving company which puts him into a new class (Not Sure how Canada Law Works - Probably similar but not certain)

    Buying Points
    1. We wanted a machine that had a power disconnect and lockout/Tagout - This is required by OSHA to service a machine in a commercial setting. I attached a picture below (Wont Upload) - Cammaster doesn't say it has this but it could and you can install it at your power disconnect located by your machine ($250 - $1000 Depending who does it).
    2. A ATC (Automatic Tool Change) is a must in my shop, we completed a job last week engraving 22 table tops requiring 4 tool changes. OSHA requires you to disconnect and power down your machine when manually changing a tool bit that places any part of an employees body in the machines danger zone. At 25K RPM if someone has a wrench or hand on a bit or tool head and the machine starts they just lost a finger or an eye. Now you have to worry about work mens comp Cost, a Nice OSHA fine and your insurance company now has the Negligence card to use to fight your employees injury clam. This could close a small shop very quickly, Plus a ATC saved use 15 minutes per table top - .25Hours x $18 x 22 tops = $99 Savings on one job.
    3. A strong spindle with variable speeds and vacuum hold down table and pump - A 12 Hp spindle worked for us but 20 hp would have been better. If you cant change the Rpms to match your bits and materiel then your bits die faster and your cleaning up more edges. We had to upgrade our vacuum pump from a 10 hp system, couldn't hold down all of our parts - I had to upgrade or I would have to pay my self and my guys to remove and sand tab marks - I did this for a month it was horrible cost me a fortune.

    There are many other things I look for but Lets price a Cammaster for fun - (CAmmaster Offers these options but cost extra)
    Machine - Cobra CR-408 - $28K
    Shipping - $700 (3200 Lbs requires a Towmotor $400 to rent one for a day with drop off)
    Bit Kit - $1200 (You need Bits)
    Vacuum- $1500 (10 Hp Regen)
    Dust Collector - $1200 (Not Getting far without this)
    ATC- $15K (I think im close)
    Power Install & Disconnect - $650 (20 Ft Distance - Im not running 3 Phase myself)
    Total : $48,250

    At my home shop I could drop the price to $20k or even a AR8 It would be great for me and it would be a good machine. When your dealing with a business and a commercial location and a commercial machine you cant skip on safety and practical upgrades. I worked in a commercial shop for 5 years - OSHA visited us about every six months, If they would have seen me sticking my hand into a Spindle with a live machine we would have been fined and I would have been fired. A home based shop is alot different than a Commercial setting with employees. Not all shops practice by OSHA standards but its the Law and you can loss your company really fast (I Cant loss my business I have a family, House, Cars that are paid for by my business profits) Working 10 hours a week on a machine is alot different than 90 hours and employees that count on a machine running all day (2 shifts) - There are 100s if not 1000s of shop that are safe and effective to ensure your product is make well. My grand father is 79 and was a machinist most of his life - He has 6.5 fingers left and a huge scar from his shoulder to his palm, all machine accidents at work and he has a great story for each one :-) ( I added my grandpas story because my employees are my friends and kinda like family and I would never make a unsafe environment to save a few dollars) - Can you live without a Tool changer in a good shop, Yes but for me it saves me time and makes a safer work environment.
    Last edited by Robert Bonenfant; 05-18-2017 at 11:17 PM.
    3X Camfive 1200 48" x 24" 100watt Tube
    Zcorp 450 3d Printer
    Laguna Smartshop 2 - 4x8 ATC

  2. #17
    I also have an Axiom AR8, and it meets my needs just fine. It's reliable and accurate, you use a pendant to control it, not mach 3. It's in my pole barn workshop.

    You can't get an automatic tool changer, so it is certainly intended for a home or small business market, not one where you make 1,000's of identical parts per week.

    For that market, it's a good choice, for a high production shop, it's not what you need.

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Deep South
    Robert, suffice it to say that I don'y think your situation is typical of a lot of shops, including the one owned by the original poster. Furthermore, I would not call your estimates for installation and peripheral machinery as average either. Lest you think I am just an inexperienced hobbyist who doesn't know manufacturing, I was once a manufacturing manager for one of the nation's largest and most automated electronic manufacturing plants. We had about 3000 hourly employees and did almost a billion in sales per year. If there were OSHA problems, they were often mine to fix. In some cases, union safety requirements were more rigorous than OSHA.
    Last edited by Art Mann; 06-11-2017 at 7:46 PM.

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Ontario, Canada
    Thanks Robert for that great writeup. It really helped me see a very different perspective

    I think I will start with the AR8 to get into the industry and then see how it goes

    Thanks everyone

    60 Watt Epilog Helix
    Pet shark with a freaking laser beam attached to it's head.

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Norfolk, UK
    I'm guessing you're looking at this more for carving than making tabletops?

    My primary concerns with the AX8 for this would be the rigidity of the gantry, its hard to tell from the pictures whether the gantry supports are solid or not, there is a shiny edge piece and then the black part, if it's just the shiny edge piece it's not solid enough, the gantry will be able to deflect under high loads (like clearance passes) and vibrate.

    The extrusion based gantry cross beam is going to deflect and vibrate unless it has backing bars or something to stiffen it up.

    The other thing would be the electronics:
    * They are running one of the cheaper VFDs for that spindle by the looks of the controller interface... the cheapest to be precise. ** SPINDLE SPEED IS SET MANUALLY ** <-- this really really sucks.
    * They are using a crappy chinese all in one controller. Don't expect great cut quality as motion control has a lot to do with that.

    * Has ball screws
    * Has linear rails

    The ballscrews however look like they might be 5mm pitch, which will really limit the speed if you want to upgrade the motors in the future. Reading the readme, they say to oil the ballscrews with a light oil... that is the exact opposite of the manufacturer's recommendations, and will wear the screws and balls.

    200ipm (5000mm/min) is pretty slow. For me it's not really the cutting speed it's capable of but the rapid speed moving from point to point. I recently upgraded my primary router from all steppers to all servos (About CA$2.5k + labour) giving me 20,000mm/min rapids, I'm only using 1/3rd of the power, but my X axis ballnut is starting to need replacing which limits my speed. As an upgrade, this saves me about 30% time on the same toolpaths I was running before - from where I was waiting for the machine to finish (i replace pieces as the machine runs) to barely keeping up with it - huge productivity upgrade.

    If you were to buy one, consider that over the first year of ownership you'll want to:
    * Change the VFD out to a HY VFD at the very least. This will give you modbus control of rpm from Mach3/4/LinuxCNC (CA$300-500 + basic labour)
    * Change the motion controller out to an Ethernet SmoothStepper or similar, and run Mach 3/4/LinuxCNC (CA$500-1000 + lots of labour).
    * Change the stepper motors out for servos or at the very least closed loop encoded steppers. The difference in repeatability, quality and speed is rather huge. (CA$2500-5000 + lots of labour)

    If you can find a more rigid machine running servos for about CA$1-8k more, you'll save yourself several man-days to man-weeks of labour and not cost any more.

    You'll also want a good dust collector and compressed air for the machine, I'm running a Craftex CX-400 now from BusyBee which really seems to be about the sweet spot for me.

    ATC would be *awesome* and if you're carving, really save either a lot of tool changes, or a LOT of machine time. But an ATC tends to add a minimum of $10k to the bill, so not as good for getting started.

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