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KX1 CNC Mill Clearance Offer

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Ketan Swali08/02/2019 17:12:03
1072 forum posts
87 photos

ARC has decided to stop selling CNC machines. The key reason for this is our inability to provide back-up support, post sales, specifically for CNC machines only.

Some of you may be aware that the late John Stevenson used to provide this support for CNC machines on behalf of SIEG, via the smallcncsupport forum. After his passing away we sold a few CNC machines to customers making it clear pre-sale that it would not be possible for us to provide support. They were accepted on these terms by the buyers. However, one particular buyer was unable to get on with his KX3 machine, resulting in him causing damage to the machine. Rather than get into a blame game, we decide to accept his request of return of the machine, even though we do not agree with his reasons, and we refunded him his money.

Keeping this in mind, we are now clearing the stock we have left. The display machines have been disposed of; KX1 to Neil, KX3 to a local regular customer, and the damaged KX3 to Jason.

We have 4 x KX1s which are configured for running on MACH3, as per specifications on this page. The smallcncsupport forum is no longer supported in any way. We at ARC are unable to provide any support. First preference for sale is being given to members of this forum on a first come first served basis, subject to the conditions of no support, and subject to un-sold, at a price of £2,995.00 per machine inc.VAT + Carriage £68.26 to UK mainland only (excluding Highlands and islands - price on application). These machines come with a basic start-up manual, written by John.

Normal price for the machine would be £4,300.07 Inc.VAT. Whilst there is a saving of £1,305.07, if you are considering to purchase this machine, please keep in mind the reasons for our wanting to clear these machines, and the conditions which apply. One other reason for offering these through the forum first, is that new users may be able to get assistance from existing users of SIEG KX machines (which are not to be confused with SYIL machines).

If you are interested in making a purchase, please p.m. me in the first instance, with your contact details, and call and speak with our Ian Davidson, on or after Monday 11 February 2019.

Ketan at ARC.

Jim Guthrie08/02/2019 21:20:56
85 forum posts
4 photos

Ketan,

What about spares for the existing machines? I have had occasion to get a replacement drive belt for my KX1 a couple of years ago and I would be interested to know where spares might be obtained in future.

I note that John's support forum stopped working a few months ago and I suspected that someone had turned it off.

Over the last nine years I have found the KX1 very reliable and from the traffic on John's forum, it would appear that there weren't all that many problems from other users.

The KX1 and KX3 must have been unusual in the UK in having, effectively, a supplier supported user forum. I think most people purchasing hobbyist machinery depend on more general forums on the internet for any ongoing support they may require.

Jim.

John Alexander Stewart08/02/2019 22:49:26
741 forum posts
51 photos

Ketan;

That seems like a very kind and good offer; especially the display/damaged ones given away.

I have a KX1 that I got here in Canada, came without stepper controller. John Stevenson and I argued about it, but in the end, he came to the conclusion (by querying the factory) that it was a KX1 made for internal consumption, but somehow leaked out of China.

It has been a fantastic bit of kit. Now, I did power it myself with LinuxCNC and a Gecko G540. Can not comment on Mach3, but that seems to be ok. As mine stands, it runs for hours and hours without complaint.

The KX3 looks like another good machine.

I hope all of your stock goes to good homes, and that they get well used.

Ketan Swali09/02/2019 08:38:17
1072 forum posts
87 photos
Posted by Jim Guthrie on 08/02/2019 21:20:56:

Ketan,

What about spares for the existing machines? I have had occasion to get a replacement drive belt for my KX1 a couple of years ago and I would be interested to know where spares might be obtained in future.

I note that John's support forum stopped working a few months ago and I suspected that someone had turned it off.

Over the last nine years I have found the KX1 very reliable and from the traffic on John's forum, it would appear that there weren't all that many problems from other users.

The KX1 and KX3 must have been unusual in the UK in having, effectively, a supplier supported user forum. I think most people purchasing hobbyist machinery depend on more general forums on the internet for any ongoing support they may require.

Jim.

Hi Jim,

Spares are and will continue to be available for a while. In any case, when the KX1 and KX3 were created, they were based on the principal that most parts (excluding main control board) were and are generic - mostly plug and play, so that if anything were to happen to those involved in the creation, the end user could find a solution, be it parts, or CAM or machine operating software.... such as MACH3, without being dependent on the original creators.

The key reason why Johns support forum stopped working, was it needed someone to take it over. The software being used was clunky, and it was not possible to update. Johns support agreement was with SIEG. For a while we considered the option of taking it over, with the help and support of various people. However, at the end, we decided to call it a day. So Adam (John's son) has kept it open, mainly for information only, but for how long it will be available for reference is difficult to say.

You are correct in saying that looking at the traffic on the smallcncsupport forum 'it would appear that there weren't all that many problems from other users.' One in five buyers needed some assistance. This is where John would go out of his way to try and assist on and off forum. We are simply not able to do this. In short, the KX1 and KX3 were Johns creations, and ARC being the sales and marketing link between him and SIEG for MACH3 based machines.

Ketan at ARC

Ketan Swali09/02/2019 09:39:11
1072 forum posts
87 photos

Posted by John Alexander Stewart on 08/02/2019 22:49:26:

Ketan;

That seems like a very kind and good offer; especially the display/damaged ones given away.

I have a KX1 that I got here in Canada, came without stepper controller. John Stevenson and I argued about it, but in the end, he came to the conclusion (by querying the factory) that it was a KX1 made for internal consumption, but somehow leaked out of China.

It has been a fantastic bit of kit. Now, I did power it myself with LinuxCNC and a Gecko G540. Can not comment on Mach3, but that seems to be ok. As mine stands, it runs for hours and hours without complaint.

The KX3 looks like another good machine.

I hope all of your stock goes to good homes, and that they get well used.

Hi John,

Just for some clarity, the display/damaged machines haven't been just given away without thought. The people to whom they have been given are actively involved with ARC is some way, by way of technical support/ development/ analysis - R&D, more so after JS passed away. Over the years, they have also been involved with John S's creations in one way or another. They are and continue to give their time and share their knowledge freely on this forum, for the betterment/development of this hobby. John S had an active stake with a strong influence on the future of CNC in the hobby environment, and I know that this is what he would have wanted me to do for the discussion/development to continue via the likes of Neil and Jason.

Regarding your discussion with John S., unfortunately in the early days SIEG's marketing vision/strategy was all over the place. They made many mistakes by listening to the wrong people, letting certain people in, resulting in theft of certain knowledge. John and I argued with the factory on countless occasions. But at the time, our concerns were overruled, so we had to stand down. Then an Israeli company - USA based - Intelitek came on the seen and started working with SIEG on CNC projects. Their engineers brought some order, better wiring/plug & play and better planning and direction in the CNC factory. This brought about a lot of build improvement on the KX1 and 3, for all of us. The machine operating software they adopted was the SIEG system, broadly based on Fanuc/SIEMANS, rather than MACH3. Over the years, SIEG have gone through a whole lot of development, and on my visit last month, I could see and agree that their own machine operating system is very stable. However, the cost is prohibitive for the hobby users... who would prefer the low cost solutions offered by MACH3.

MACH3 - Reason why this was chosen by John and I goes back to the principal that if anyone of the creators passes away, there is always the MACH3 forum for the buyer to get assistance. Every machine supplied by us is supplied with a 'lock-down' demo version of MACH3, with a front page screen created by John and Adam, keeping the new user in mind. A manual written by John and Adam, tested on non-technical people - myself and Lesley Stevenson (Johns first wife), is supplied with the machine to enable the user to get started more or less straight away. As long as the user buys a licence from Artsoft-Newfangledsolutions to 'un-lock' the demo software supplied, and as long as the user uses the lock-down version of the software to begin with, all is good. The user does not need to 'upgrade' to the latest version of MACH3. If the user decides to upgrade to the latest version of MACH3, they should only do so after getting to know the lock-down version first. The upgrades can result in unforeseen issues, especially if one is not used to MACH3. Other machines makers used to make the same statement - i.e. use the lock-down version of MACH3 supplied with their machine. Some customers failed to take note, which ultimately led to those machine makers creating their own machine operating software.

Most of the time, issues are not with the machine. They are with the computer, or the wrong MACH3 version being used, or the user themselves. One way or another, all of these issues have been well documented in ME and MEW magazines over the years.

Thank you also for your kind words of support. I too hope they go to good homes.

Ketan at ARC.

Neil Wyatt09/02/2019 17:46:36
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15581 forum posts
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Just to say I'l looking forward to the KX1 (but not to making space for it...)

As I'll probably need as much help as the next one, I'm hoping that the others will go to forum members so we can help each other if we get stuck!

Any other existing KX1 / KX3 owners please make yourselves known!

Neil

JasonB09/02/2019 18:09:03
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14864 forum posts
1492 photos
Posted by Neil Wyatt on 09/02/2019 17:46:36:

Just to say I'l looking forward to the KX1 (but not to making space for it...)

You are not the only one with that problem and the KX3 is bigger!

I did say to Ketan that I may have to stick that old SX2.7 out in the garden under a tarp to get some bench space backdevil

jimmy b09/02/2019 18:59:19
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434 forum posts
27 photos
Posted by JasonB on 09/02/2019 18:09:03:
Posted by Neil Wyatt on 09/02/2019 17:46:36:

Just to say I'l looking forward to the KX1 (but not to making space for it...)

You are not the only one with that problem and the KX3 is bigger!

I did say to Ketan that I may have to stick that old SX2.7 out in the garden under a tarp to get some bench space backdevil

I'll give it a good home wink

Jim

Neil Wyatt13/02/2019 17:27:48
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15581 forum posts
652 photos
73 articles

Well!

Quote from Ketan 'it's got big wheels so it should be easy to get up steps'.

I'd forgotten what the demo KX1 looked like, it's in a very professional cabinet made by John Stevenson, apparently out of a surplus Panther tank. It's b**** huge too!

The delivery left it next to the front step which posed an interesting episode to dismantle an upside down mini palette that stopped it shifting while (trying) to make sure the wheel sisdn't fall through the gaps in the full size palette underneath! Fortunately I ended up with lots of bits of wood to enable me to sort-of roll it onto the porch. It was at some point during this exercise I noticed the sticker saying 256kg - surely a missing zero?

Well, it rollled through the house with little more than the expected domestic disquiet, but when it got to the utility room - disaster. It wouldn't fit out the door or through my workshop door.

Much dismantling of doors, shelving (to create a home for it) and getting things like doors, hinges and catches off the cabinet it's now outside the workshop door waiting for my stepson to give me a lift with it as lifting it up the 100mm step up and pushing it forward six inches is too much for me on my own doing a 280lb lift! I'm surprised I can get it off the ground at all.

Once in, the end handles will have to come off, and the flap up door's prop will need shortening as the ceiling is too low. Fortunately the base unit is massive empty box into which I shall just stuff most of the stuff off the shelves...

Wish us luck!

Neil

JasonB13/02/2019 18:15:25
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14864 forum posts
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I'm still waiting for Ian to phone and say when mine is comingsad

Neil Wyatt13/02/2019 18:40:04
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15581 forum posts
652 photos
73 articles
Posted by JasonB on 13/02/2019 18:15:25:

I'm still waiting for Ian to phone and say when mine is comingsad

I think it might be inside the base of the KX1 cabinet - at least it felt like it!

Neil

Andrew Evans15/02/2019 22:18:51
189 forum posts

I am an existing KX3 owner - great piece of kit.

JasonB16/02/2019 07:02:25
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14864 forum posts
1492 photos

I hope so too but still waiting for mine. Hint Hintsmile p

Ian Johnson 117/02/2019 18:46:56
23 forum posts
5 photos

Hi Neil This is my first post! surprise

Just to let you know I bought a KX1 from Arc euro just over a couple of years ago and I am very pleased with it, it's a lovely sized bench top machine, you'll get loads of fun out of it.

Although I've had it a couple of years I've not fully managed to explore its capabilities, mainly due to operator error (me!) and computer software and hardware melt downs which set me back months! The only one mechanical issue I've had was a wobbly spindle early on which was quickly sorted by Ian and Ketan (it was at the same time as Johns illness).

So this year I will be getting more adventurous with the KX1 because I've just ordered a 4th axis for it, it should be delivered tomorrow. smiley

Neil Wyatt18/02/2019 14:11:12
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15581 forum posts
652 photos
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Hi Ian,

It may be a while before I get it up and running - it took me the weekend to achieve access to the rest of my workshop and clear the gangway!

Do you find you can use the mill in a manual mode or is it impractical?

Neil

John Alexander Stewart18/02/2019 14:36:51
741 forum posts
51 photos

Neil - if I may:

I've got 2 CNC mills; a KX1 and another larger one.

Both have MPG controls.

I use the larger one (right now) mainly as a pillar drill; the mpg I use just magnetically sits on the table, and I can control height of the head, speed, table movement, with the mpg.

This mill has a quill for drilling holes with "finger feel"

The MPG has different scaling options, so I can easily place the table accurately or quickly.

It has a built in DRO - which in LinuxCNC I can make full screen, to quickly and pretty accurately place holes.

John Haine18/02/2019 14:39:51
2375 forum posts
132 photos

Assuming that it uses a vanilla Mach3 controller...

It is well worth setting up a hand controller for it. I use an X Box wireless games controller. There's a plugin you can download from the Mach Support forum. This is much more convenient that using the keyboard for jogging, but not really for manual use.

(Not with KX1 but a Novamill, but same principle.)

I think it would be great to have an accessory with 3 "handwheels" that emulates a conventional milling machine for manual use, but I haven't seen one yet. A normal Mach 3 controller with single parallel port doesn't I think have enough I/O.

Neil Wyatt18/02/2019 15:04:10
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15581 forum posts
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Thanks both. I think for now I should keep the X2. Next new machine tool though, something will have to give!

Neil

Jim Guthrie18/02/2019 20:30:14
85 forum posts
4 photos

Neil,

The nearest I get to hand operation is to use the MDI interface in Mach3. I use that quite often to do simple cuts and facing. Once I get into the swing of it, it's almost as quick as using handwheels. I've got a Centec 2A in the outside workshop that's hardly turned a wheel since the KX1 arrived.

Jim.

John Alexander Stewart19/02/2019 12:06:25
741 forum posts
51 photos

Posted by Jim Guthrie on 18/02/2019 20:30:14:

I've got a Centec 2A in the outside workshop that's hardly turned a wheel since the KX1 arrived.

Jim, JohnH,

the olde saying "you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink" applies here.

I think Neil'll work it out in the end.

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