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I had a nice chat with Greg from Thomason just the other day about this. You wouldn't believe the cost to make some of these wheels. Chad's 3D 30" took 58 hours to final machine AFTER it was rough cut!
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Its crazy how much this stuff costs, to jump from a 26" to a 30" is just about double the money!
Those 3d wheels are nuts! Cutting w/ a small tool at slow speeds I can believe that.
I thought Thomason was saying some 30 blanks that are more affordable are coming which should make it more reasonable.
When purchased from the material providers at the right quantities, the blanks may become less expensive. But spindle time is still spindle time. That's a lot of electricity, coolant, tool changes, set-up, etc. Not to mention, if your machine has one single hiccup or crash. If your coolant pump drops off for any reason, then you incur a hunk of cost burning up a tool, or a tool-holder, let alone if it crashes and screws up the machined part too. And if it's thru-spindle cooling, then those tools cost even more. Hell, I haven't changed a ball-screw in a Haas mill for nearly 10-11 years and IIRC, the screw alone was about $1800. And that was in a small machine... a VF1 or 2 maybe?
Bottom line is, a large machined-part is expensive. And a large, forged aluminum part is even more expensive. To be honest with you, and knowing what I know about that industry, it's hard to imagine that there's much profit in high-quality, low-volume wheels of this size. My hats off to all the guys who are designing and making them.
Yeah Thomason seems to have some real good deals. the 2d's are more affordable the 3d's are crazy $ like $6k by the time your done. I see some 30" 3d wheels and tires on ebay for $3500 and I'm wondering what the catch is..