At CrossRoads to buy which brand of CAD/CAM

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charles007

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I've talked with so many labs in the past 12+ months and cad/cam companies, and even a trip to Calif to spent 2 days with 2 companies. Think I've asked every question I can think of with all the research I've done , until I talk to someone else .........then I learn something new.......Like 6k spindles that might last 4,5,6, plus years, cad software yearly updates with most scanners, but not all !, cam software update yearly cost possible, dead machines without paying for yearly updates, yearly maintenance cost, extra air compressor with the "best dryer".....
Every lab I've talked with is so happy with their system, no matter what brand it is.........

I'm going to buy a cad/cam system, and I'm totally convinced that its not to soon to buy one, even for a small lab.........Actually think the sooner a small lab buys into the digital era the better...assuming you have a good business.......
For those of you that think its crazy to spent up to 100k in a mom and pop lab like myself, plus my son may start working with me soon, please don't hold back with your ideas, suggestions .......

Now down to the down and dirty, nuts and bolts reasons to buy !

It will cost me $100. per day or less for a complete cad/cam system. I also look at it as though I have a new employee in the lab with a aprox $1700 to $2100. per mo. salary.......no matching taxes ! that is very fast and doesn't call in sick..... and allows me to use zirconia to save aprox $4.00 per unit at todays cost , over my average pfm Noble ceramic alloy cost, and turn many pfms/gold crowns/ metal occlusal pfms into full contour zir and to full contour-veneered into a $ 8.00 coping only cost ,or $12.00 to $14. frame/ crown cost, with approx 30 minutes to one hour + of labor on full contour/veneered buccal/facial only........Also have the ability to mill pfm wax coping faster, even with the design time, with no touch up to the margins most of the time, less metal finishing, less waste in grinding, compared to hand waxing/blocking out dies/painting die spacers/ dipping/ build up of frameworks in wax/and resealing margins .
Labor time to Scan and designing is faster than the labor with hand waxing with all the extra steps-die prep/build up of frame and reseal margins.

I'm going to get away from metal pfms as fast as I can......I don't use NP. Going metal free is the future... I think ? More and more labs are going metal free now days........
Zirconia cost will also go down as our alloy cost keeps going up and down.

My major concern with having a miller inhouse is the finishing time involved and naturally maintenance cost. Some labs are telling me there is hardly any finishing needed......Some are telling me that they can mill full contour zir with minor to very little touch-ups needed. And mill a superior crown compared to using cerec inlab.

I'm basing this idea to go metal free on using full contour zir. and full contour zir with a facial/buccal cutback with very little labor needed, to REPLACE most, if not all pfms. I also do a lot of posterior metal occlusal crowns which could be a saving in crown cost for the doctors ......

Most of my work is bread and butter single unit crowns........

Also planning on using Crystal Diamond which has a lifetime warranty with their HT, HS and Crystal Diamond-full contour ...Diamond has a MPa at 850. which is double that of emax press full contour........

I think full contour zirconia, and facial/buccal veneered will dip into the emax market. I already have emax press and its growing.

Improvements in translucency over the BruxZir are already on the market like Crystal Diamond, and will surely improve even more over time with other companies trying to compete...... Crystal Diamond has already had a 15% translucency improvement over the original that came out.

QUESTIONS:
1.Why should I not buy a cad/cam system now?
2.What brand of cad/cam system to buy/sintering oven also ?
3.Should I only buy a scanner ? and why ?
4.Thoughts on full contour zir and full contour with facial/buccal cutback to veneer......
5.What brand of scanner to buy? axpDental sells 3shape... and (Solutionix) which doesn't require yearly updates after the first year, or cam software updates for the miller.....Will still work after the first year when updates run out and updates can be bought at $1500. should you decide to buy new updates.

Laserdenta yearly updates are about $1200. per year, with the first 2 years free. Scanner will still work without new updates...

3Shape yearly updates $2400. after the 1st. year. Scanner is dead without renewing the updates.

Systems I'm looking at:
Origin 3000, Laserdenta, axpDental- 340i, Digital Dental- Dental Mill

OK, LETS OPENLY TALK CAD/CAM ..........PM'S ALSO WELCOME

ALL COMMENTS GREATLY APPRECIATED/ AND LETS NOT BADLY TRASH CAD/CAM BRANDS.....NO COMMENTS WANTED ON CEREC-INLAB.. SORRY

Charles
 
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JohnWilson

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Charles,

It was great talking to you on the cell phone today as my family and I drove down to the beach. After our 40 min convo ended my wife said you should be a politician cause you sure can filibuster. My kids said what the heck is a spindle and why is the Zirconia market shrinking. I got a good laugh out of seeing their faces in the mirror trying to compute what was being said as they listened in on the conversation via the cars hands free unit.

I will be watching this thread and will chime in a bit later after others have posted there comments. Again give me a call on Monday if you have some more questions I am sure the land line will not drop out like the cell did today.

Doing your homework like you are will most definitely make whichever system you choose a winning choice.
Talk to you soon
 
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charles007

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Thanks John for the many calls, it was very enlightening, and good to finally talk to a fellow DLN/DT after reading so many educating post by you.
Also never thought about how well a high mileage miller will work.

Politician, yep, my wife keeps telling me I know everything, and full of it !

We really need to have DLN Bash -Meeting once a year to talk shop, and maybe bring in a guest speaker............ Anyone up for that? Seriously !!! I'm sure Scott, Al and Rob would enjoy paying the tab on that !

Charles
 
TheLabGuy

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Al and Scott said they would be more than happy to pay for that......hehehe

Seriously now Charles,
a 100K is a HUGEEEEEEE risk for a mom/pop dental lab. My concerns with your thinking is the full contour zirconia. The ones i've seen have looked like the little chicklets that the little kids in Tijauna were trying to sell me at four in the morning. Now lets say you get some zirconia to look good, because we all know you're very talented and can probably get any material to look good, but what about the wear (abrasion) rate on those? In addition, do you want to be promoting a restoration that is 850 MPa? The crown won't break but everything else will (i.e. roots, build up, prep). I'm only bringing these things up to you to give you something else to think about it.

I'll be honest, if I could scan, print, or mill a lot of my work I probably would. It would really speed you up and allow time for the more esthetic demanding cases. This brings up something, because since you really won't have to wax a majority of your cases, or die spacer them, this could free up a lot of time for you, not to mention the omission of investing and casting and divesting. The blocks are only getting better and better, heck look how far they have come with the lithium disilicates.........

Now, the real question, is milling a viable option, or would having a scanner be better? Considerably less financial responsibility, less maintenance, less hassles with milling having a sintering oven, special suction and air........might be better to go with just a good scanner and use a milling center and some time down the road you find the profit would be worth it, then at that time buy the milling machine and associated equipment. I think this is your biggest dilemma..........scanner or scanner/milling/sintering? Big price/investment difference.
 
sixonice

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You certainly have done your homework and then some! Spending the big bucks on a CAD/CAM system is the biggest decision you have made (next to deciding to open your lab!). I agree with you wholehearted that your lab being small should have no real influence on deciding to purchase a system - knowing that you have stable clients and good revenue.
Knowing and having researched many systems on the market today, I like the 3Shape best. I think it has the best software, I like the fact it can be a totally open system (depending on which dealer you buy it from) and 3Shape is cutting edge, always improving their platform, adding different modules and features. You can go anywhere you like with this system: printed wax patterns, copings, bridges, implants abutments, custom bars, partial dentures and even ortho. From all of this, you have every material available to you.
In my opinion, I think the full contour zirconia restoration is somewhat of a fad. I suppose for the patient that has broken everything placed and doesnt want full cast gold, these have a place - but they are a low percentage. The bottom line is for single unit all ceramic restorations there are better alternatives for your cost, esthetics and the wear attrition to opposing dentition (both natural and lab fabricated). Even highly polished zirconia will very gradually destroy what it opposes. Polished, moderately polished or poorly polished is still hard as a non-precious full cast crown. 900 MPA is absurd for single units unless your a hippo or rhino. Now for all-ceramic bridgework and implant abutments....zirconia is absolutely fabulous.
With all that said, I wouldn't purchase the CAM portion of the systems (that have that availability). Why? Because the blocks and refills cost a fortune to stock, remakes or mistakes become your problem and if the machinery decides to break down or give you problems that can create a whole set of setbacks, problems and cash. I like the idea of putting all my knowledge, skills and time designing restorations, choosing the material, and clicking send to my milling partner and moving on to the next.
Rapid prototyping and having designed restorations wax printed is something many of my lab friends have been doing recently. For $5.00 a wax-up, they have been designing full contour (or just under contoured if they want to "enamelize" restorations) lithium disilicate that they sprue and press and when they can cluster cases together cases can be $6.50 in material costs (by pressing 3 crowns with a single ingot).
Your going to get a bunch of replys I would bet on this topic and there are many good systems. I like the Nobel Procera and etkon has a new scanner coming, but the bottom line is I find for most laboratories is that choosing a good CAD module only, and having that said system being able to accomodate all materials and be flexible with what I do in the lab makes the most sense.
 
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charles007

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Thanks for the responses.....Its late now and I will reply back tomorrow morning.

It would be great if anyone can post a good picture of a Crystal Diamond crown...... I have a couple, but my camera sucks, and wouldn't be worth the time to post.........

Has anyone seen or used Crystal Diamond zir ? what's your opinion of the material ?
 
PGguy

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I agree with everything 110% sixonice said. We see it the exact same! DONT get the CAM!!! speaking from experience, will never do that again.
 
Slipstream

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If you buy a full CAD and Mill, it's a lot of machinery that unless you decide to become a milling centre for other labs. It will be pretty under utilised for what it is costing you. There is a lot to be said for keeping the design under your roof, and adding value to the outsourced milled restoration, after all thats what you ceramic guys do best. $100k of milling kit will never show you a return, a good CAD should be flexible to design whatever the market decides it wants next year and the one after, including printed castable resin and laser sintered metals.
Biased, but another vote for 3Shape, still developing and following the market, rather than a done deal to feed one suppliers manufacturing abilities like some systems.
 
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charles007

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Well Well, looks like I'm in for a fight,,,,,,,all Nay Sayers. hmmmm

Ok, I just put my politician hat on ....bring it on .......

ROUND ONE:

Give me a $ number to work with when its better to have inhouse milling....

If your paying $25-$45 per unit, if I have a scanner. (you pick the average outsource dollar amount) .....at what point in dollars per month is it worth while to have an inhouse mill........

Lets start with a low number of 100 units per month.......x $30 coping....= $3000. per month
Now I'm paying at a minimum of $3000. + aprox $600. or more for a scanner..
So I'm paying out $3600 per month....... with less than 10 minutes labor per unit and waiting for the UPS driver to drop off coping so I can hopefully start stacking without any touch-ups.........

Let's now use 100 units again with 80 units at $30. and 20 units at $45. for full contour zir.......Now we have a outsource cost of $3300 + $600 scanner ....that equals a total cost of $3900......
I hope to actually make a lot more than 20 crowns in full contour per month.....
Bottom line, the higher unit numbers go up, the better the inhouse milling looks....

At 125 units per month @ $30 = $3750..... + $600 scanner......and I bet the scanner lease payment is higher !! that equals $4350.

125 units per month = $4350. Scanner @ $600. copings @ $30.
125 " " " = $2800. inhouse cad/cam,$1800. lease...disk $1000.

With a scanner only, no labor on the coping after scanning.
With a cam,,,,,,not sure of the exact time per unit, but I have seen aprox 3 minutes or less per coping, plus coloring...........From what I have learned?, the better the miller, the less time needed to finish........
IS 10 minutes per unit a more realistic labor time ?

Not sure what to say about milling wax, other than saying its faster than hand waxing, and the cases I helped designed had perfect margins,,,,,nothing to reseal............They were milled at .4.... not sure if its possible to mill at .3 which is what I try to wax at........

Ok , give it your best shot !!!!! for those of you that have been there, done that, what did I leave out, or get wrong..........

If I'm wrong, please show me the way down the path of not having buyers remorse..........
 
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Labwa

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im with you guys.

the cam system is where all the mechanics are(that fail) i have seen everest spindles fail a number of times. then to wait a week at the least to get the part brought in from germany is a massive issue. back scanning with the piccolo is a struggle after an optical scanner haha. Then you get onto sintering, coloring, and general zirconia issues. green zirconia is very delicate as im sure you know and discs do break and shed material.

cleaning after a day of milling is not fun. it clogs drains and is very dirty. then you get onto burs which are not cheap at all.

Then software bug issues will always be lurking waiting for a massive case. it will calculate the path to get half way through the mill and decide to stop and spin or even worse try to mill into the yoke. (try find the parts of the broken bur is the machine)
in most cases they cover your costs providing it was not an issue caused by your technique.

on the positive side you are abe to mill full arch bridges on implants in zirconia or titanium which would cost thousands for the cost of the discs.

id say forgo the advantages and do yourself a favour...dont take on the extra stress.
 
Slipstream

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I guess IF you know you have the volume, and staff capacity, going fully in house will pay off. However do assume it may consume a member of staff for 1/2 a day every day to desprue, stain, sinter and trim. Material wise a full disk - if you go that system, figure on 30 unit yield per disk with a mix of bridges and singles, less with full contour and large arches.
Remember you will need air and extraction in addition to the machine for most systems as well as at least 2 ovens.
You also need as Labwa says to have a redundancy plan, a lot of eggs in a single basket, we now have 6 mills and 6 furnaces so can live with breakdowns. But even after 8 years the systems and software have constant tweeks going on it's not plug and play just yet.
 
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charles007

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Colin, my better half/and model person will be able to do the scan, desprue, and some of the other work. If my son joins in ,if my business picks up, no problem at all.......

Zirconia should drop in price.........Milling lab prices may-could drop in price also? not good for me and others should that happen with a large lease payment.
From what I have heard, there will be newer full contour materials in the near future ?

I'm also not trying to sell a $175-$200 zir crown........the labs that are doing that probably are doing a low percentage compared to pfms and emax..........remember, I also have emax press......
I want to replace my pfms with zir..... so a milling machine is my casting machine with a lower material cost, that is faster, but has a large lease payment....like an extra employee.......

Like we keep hearing,,,,,,,, the new zir crown, is the new non precious ? who know ? Others on the board can answer these questions better than me !

Did I win ROUND ONE ? If I didn't win, it may be a TKO on me.. and I'm screwed.... Wait a minute, I do wear more than one HAT in the lab....this was my politician hat.........
 
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DMC

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As a kid, I took apart every single toy my parents bought me to see how it worked, then modified it.

Since then, I have built motorcycles, made my own 4x4 racing transmissions, built engines, studied electronics, etc.

Raced moto-x, raced R/C cars as a kid, drag-racing, BMX racing, on and on.
I always made/worked on my own machines. It was a tough path trying to teach myself this stuff. Expensive and time consuming, and frustrating during the process.
I kan't spell worth a crap, and lack other skills.

I love owning mills.

If you are not like me, then do not buy the CAM. Period. You will get sucked dry of money trying to keep your business running while trying to figure out what the difference is between a Spacley Sprocket and a Cogswell Cog.

Do you know what an encoder is? Do you know how to test electrical circuits?
Can you tell the difference between a steppper motor and a servo motor?
Then you have no business trying to maintain and operate a mill. It has nothing to do with being a Dental Tech.

I just fell into the right place at the right time, and got lucky my skills are now valuable and useful.


It took me 30years to gain my knowledge needed to do this stuff.

Good Luck!
 
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charles007

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Scott, I was waiting on pins and needles to hear your response......Your the go to man when it comes to high tech !

I've had so many techs tell me I will need to know how to repair these machines,,,,not good to hear...especially at the price to enter the cam world...... On the financial end of looking at a lower cost cad/cam,,,,,,say a 85k lease.......what is the low ball end of considering to buy a system over just buying a scanner..........Also gives some numbers to work with to make it worth while to only buy a scanner.........
 
PGguy

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I like to keep myself flexable, technology is always changing. As long as I can control the design (CAD),I will let these milling centres/dental companies invest millions on CAM/R&D. I can only speak from my experience, but an in-house CAM sounds good with numbers on paper, but it is a headache.

Add a vote for me on the 3Shape.

How many cases could your helper design instead of despruing/staining/yada yada...?
I believe your bottom line increase with more cases out the door than trying to save in production costs, plus less headache... WIN WIN!!!
 
Slipstream

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YouTube - Introduction to BruxZir Total Zirconia BruxZir intro

If Glidewell thinks it's a go . . . .

If you buy the scanner, get a good milling centre on-side (Scott?),and once your monthy cheque to the milling center regularly exceeds the cost of doing the work yourself, dive in a lease a mill by all means, but you would be a brave man to go the whole way in one step.

It's all about control, your designs mill your way, where it gets done does not matter, so long as the finished quality is what your Dr's expect from you.

Not all scanners create the same looking frameworks, or offer compete morphing of surfaces, no names but one major one only allows cusp height to be changed, not full sculpting, didn't matter 4 months ago, but if Full Contour Zirconium takes off it will be a problem for their users, getting natural shaping the way 3Shapes Dental Designer does.

Not such a bargain then.
 
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Al.

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YouTube - Introduction to BruxZir Total Zirconia BruxZir intro

If Glidewell thinks it's a go . . . .

If you buy the scanner, get a good milling centre on-side (Scott?),and once your monthy cheque to the milling center regularly exceeds the cost of doing the work yourself, dive in a lease a mill by all means, but you would be a brave man to go the whole way in one step.

It's all about control, your designs mill your way, where it gets done does not matter, so long as the finished quality is what your Dr's expect from you.

Not all scanners create the same looking frameworks, or offer compete morphing of surfaces, no names but one major one only allows cusp height to be changed, not full sculpting, didn't matter 4 months ago, but if Full Contour Zirconium takes off it will be a problem for their users, getting natural shaping the way 3Shapes Dental Designer does.

Not such a bargain then.


I agree! Scanner first and see how that goes.
 
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charles007

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Al, I agree, just in a hurry to get started after all the months of telephones calls to small and large labs, trips and a lot of reading, and probably driving many cad/cam companies crazy with all the many calls and repetitive questions and referrals . ......

My gut is telling me to buy the scanner first.....if I can do it with a scanner, I've won half the battle............paying a milling lab is a small price to pay to see if its worth the extra cost and head aches of a miller.

I personally feel that the Laserdenta scanner is a much better buy for the smaller lab........I say that because updates are half the price, first 2 years are free, and quality of the scanner. Best software between the two.....3shape most likely has the edge.. I don't have the experience to judge....
 
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there seems to be quite an emphasis on fc zirconia crowns, but tbh the esthetics for these SUCK! even with the newer higher translucent zirconias.

Ive been playing around with the crystal HT stuff for a bit and as far as im concerned this purely a replacement for gold crowns where there is limited space. If you have the room then monolithic emax CAD absolutely wipes the floor with it.

Its odd that all this FC zirconia stuff has only gathered pace since monolithic emax cad started making waves... one has to wonder wether this is all being driven by milling centers that dont have wet mills, to try and find a compeeting product.

There is no proper clinical data on monolithic zirconia at the moment and although there are trials on going this could all become a quick fad if the studies are not favourable.

I think a wet/dry mill is the way to go if your buying into the cam component, but there is limited/poor choice for a decent unit that offers this at the 100k budget.
 
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thewhitelab

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Will be interesting to see how the dentists will remove these full zirconia crowns or even do a RCT? like paulg100 sticking with emax monolithic posteriorly and to be honest FGC's for 7's.

I have the 3shape scanner and am very happy with it, only a one man lab so outsource milling which works well for me
 
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