Used CNC machines provide opportunities for shops and manufacturers that they would not normally be able to take advantage of while sourcing in the new machinery market. To name just a few, these include fast, cost-effective access to expanded capacity, more capabilities, decreased production time and efficient replacement of older machines.
This is because, while CNC and machining technology continue to grow and improve, the core processes remain the same. It’s not always the case that the “latest and greatest” is the right machine for your needs.
If you decide to go the “used” route, here are some tips to keep in mind when buying a CNC machine:
Know what you need: Bells, whistles and the most cutting-edge technology aren’t necessarily what’s required for the types of projects on which you typically work. Still, that doesn’t mean that just any used CNC machine is the right one for you. The more requirements you have, centered around the machine features and characteristics that best complement your service offering, the better.
See it in action : Buying a used CNC machine doesn’t mean you don’t get to take it for a “test drive.” In fact, it’s all the more important to make sure you’re getting the performance and quality that you want. The right used supplier will be more than happy to show you the machine processes in action — letting you closely inspect all movements, alignments, axes, etc.
Check the details: This point is closely related to the two made above: “Knowing what you need” should apply to the finer details of a machine, and “seeing it in action” doesn’t just mean making sure it works. In both cases, it’s important to outline and inspect as many processes and specifications as possible — such as holding force, feed rate, rotations, tolerances (actual, not rated) and more.
Get the paperwork: The more original paperwork you have with a machine, the better protected you’ll be — and the more you’ll be able to get out of it. Original receipts, any maintenance bills and documentation, and even warranty information can all help in the case that service or repairs are needed. These are all in addition to factors such as operating manuals, maintenance documentation and history, and specification documents that can help you operate the machine as effectively as possible. One more tip here: If there’s any user documentation you aren’t able to procure, be sure to search online for your specific machine type. There’s bound to be a community of users willing to share information.
If you decide that a used CNC machine is the right choice for you, you’re sure to enjoy a number of advantages and benefits in cost-effectiveness and efficiency. Be sure to follow the tips above to make sure your investment is sound.