My Fadal is a 1995 machine. She's tired, but I am keeping it rolling. It has paid for itself 2000x over. 4th axis, easy to operate etc.... However I need some more capacity and would like some newer technology for faster toolpaths. I currently have a Super KiaTurn 15LMS live tooling turning center that I am going to sell off... I have about $50-60k to spend on a newer VMC. Looking at some Haas VF3 and VF4 machines w/ 4th axis - newer meaning 2007ish vintage with lower hours. They are linear way machines, and I do machine a lot of steel.... Have been getting conflicting info as to if they are any good for steel. My Fadal is boxed way, so it's not a problem.... I've been told that the Haas can take lighter cuts and run faster IPM which will work just fine even though linear.... What are your thoughts? I just can't afford a Mori or Kitamura right now. This isn't high volume production - these are typically low volume runs, one-off designs. The machine will not be batting out 24/7 production.
If you can take the cycle time hit, and just do a larger number of lighter roughing passes, I don't see why the Haas wouldn't work for you. I operate several different CNC machines at work (including brand new Makino's), but my preference is an old (1992) Matsuura RA-II VMC. Thing is a tank and chews through anything I throw at it, and it still holds a tenth accuracy (thats .0001" for you non-machinist types) without issue. I recommend the Matsuura's over most any VMC of that era, and I would be willing to go out on a limb and say that old Matsuura will still put the hurt on anything with a Haas label on it.
If you need the 4th, then thats another issue. If you only need 3, then look for a good condition Matsuura RA-II VMC. I've never seen a machine that ran that hard, for that long, without stopping or needing anything other than the coolant topped off and the wayoil reservoir filled. It is the terminator of VMC's.
If you've been able to make money with a '95 Fadal you can make money with an '07 Haas. They are actually similar in a superficial way from a user standpoint.
Haas isn't bad but it isn't great either. You will have some issues with it but they usually have good support. For the money you're talking you can get a brand new one which I would advise strongly with Haas since the support will be better.
What kind of steel? Are you talking mild steel like 1018 or are you getting into stainless? How heavy of a cut are you used to taking on the Fadal? Insert cutter or are you rocking it old school with HSS hoggers and finishers?
It has been my experience with Haas that the same things that wear out on a Fadal are often what wears out on the Haas mills.
I give Haas a B- overall which pisses me off since with a little more effort they could easily make an A.
I hate Fadal with an unbridled passion though.
One of the great things about Haas is the plug and play ability with regards to add ons like a 4th axis as long as you use a Haas accessory. In fact, I'm not sure at all how Haas plays with someone elses add ons.
Go to the bottom of the page and look for the "Build a Quote" feature. Play around with that and see what you come up with. Be warned, once you start adding shit, you really start stacking on the $$$ fast.