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Thread: Advice on getting a small mill

  1. #26
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    Re: Advice on getting a small mill

    Oldendum
    Sounds perfect.

  2. #27
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    Re: Advice on getting a small mill

    Dick, its great to see your son is doing good.

  3. #28
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    Re: Advice on getting a small mill

    Small budgets call for this https://www.harborfreight.com/vertic...ine-40939.html It's virtually identical to the machine I use. It's limited, but it does quite a bit. If someone has money, I'd recommend against it. If you need a mill for smallish parts, or can do workarounds for larger parts, this is the machine for the little guy.

    If the need is greater, and the budget greater, this is a step up. Greater spindle to table clearance. https://www.grizzly.com/products/gri...wer-feed/g0729 Twice the money for essentially the same machine, but greater z travel. A guy can make a column riser to do the same thing with the smaller machine. PITA to install/remove, but it's what you can do on a budget.

    For small machines, these are pretty decent. Mainly because they're knee mills. The knee is the dovetailed assembly that holds the table. It's about as rigid as you can get. Lock the column gibs, and it's rock solid. But...............you do sacrifice clearance. For about a coupla grand, or so, more, you can step into a full sized Bridgeport clone. https://www.grizzly.com/products/gri...wer-feed/g0757

    More money, more machine. It never ends

    Both of the little machines are 1000#, or less. Another thing to consider.

    I'd say that about 70% of the work I do on the mill is drilling/cutting holes. Then about maybe 15% slotting. And the rest is divided up between shaping, rotary table work, and boring. That last percentage of work is the costliest, in terms of tooling.

    You can throw a lot of money at this stuff, and I'm a teeny weeny player. I'm not by any means properly tooled like a real machine shop.

    But, then ya gotta ask yourself. What is a real machine shop....................................If it serves your purpose, and you don't have to outsource the work, I guess it's a machine shop (shrug). The first time you can just hop over on the mill, and enlarge the ID on a piece of DOM to use as a bushing, you just became a machine shop.

    When we get into this stuff, we tend to forget how we did it before, OR DIDN'T DO IT because we couldn't do it. I guess everything is a step up from where you were.

    I gotta say, that in retrospect,, the Grizzly prices aren't too bad if you can go there and pick the stuff up. I'm lucky that the nearest warehouse/showroom is just about a day roundtrip away. Wholesale Tool is a half day trip,, with time to sit and have a great meal at Carl's Junior.

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  5. #29
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    Re: Advice on getting a small mill

    502 post fix

  6. #30
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    Re: Advice on getting a small mill

    Those are the Clausing clones I was referring to. Iíll admit, I almost ended up with the HF version when I was living in a duplex and could not fit anything much larger. I ended up finding a Burke Millrite instead.

    I would take G-Mans advise to the bank. Very well said.

    Iíll grab a pic of the guide rail tomorrow when Iím at the storage shed.

  7. #31
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    Advice on getting a small mill

    Iíve had a few of the mill drills over the years.. round column both pulley and geared heads. Youíre always fighting the round column and quill travel with these. I was able to step up to a Wells Index knee mill with power feeds and it was night and day. It really needed a DRO to be very useful for me. It had some backlash and I wasnít good with keeping track of the hand wheels with the backlash. A move forced the sale. A cnc router entered my life. I bought an import cnc machine from an American company. Turns out the control was junk. This led to me retrofitting a good control (Centroid) on the router. I picked up a dead cnc mill for less than scrap value. Armed with what I learned on my first retrofit I went after the mill. Now I have a 6,000 pound CNC mill with 40 taper tooling and it will do anything I throw at it with ease. I couldnít be happier. Because it doesnít have a tool changer it never ran big production. Itís still in great mechanical shape with very little wear.



    All of that to say.. Iíve been down this road and have explored many of the options. If you can afford it, avoid the round columns. R8 tooling is ubiquitous and can be had inexpensively. Iíd spend the money on a Kurt vise. They sell scratch and dent through their website and itís a big savings. Power feeds on a manual machine, even the small ones, arenít difficult or very expensive for the import versions, make a huge difference in surface finishes. They are nice, but not necessary. You can get by with inexpensive import tooling and turn out some nice work.
    Last edited by slodat; 01-03-2021 at 08:56 AM.
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  8. #32
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    Re: Advice on getting a small mill

    Quote Originally Posted by tackit View Post
    Find a machinist club in your area and ask them if they know of any members who may have a machine of the kind you are looking for for sale, most I met are good people and are glad and willing to help a newbie get started on the right foot. ..
    Never thought of that. Great idea

  9. #33
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    Re: Advice on getting a small mill

    Quote Originally Posted by slodat View Post
    This led to me retrofitting a good control (Centroid) on the router. I picked up a dead cnc mill for less than scrap value. Armed with what I learned on my first retrofit I went after the mill. Now I have a 6,000 pound CNC mill with 40 taper tooling and it will do anything I throw at it with ease.
    Highjack alert, All-in-1-DC? Looks like a more recent install, any chance you did a thread on that? I have been sitting on a Hurco KM3P for a few years now waiting to do a Centroid control. I have about finished up other projects I was waiting to finish before moving onto the Hurco and I stumbled on a Mori Seiki MV-JR locally and underpower about 2 weeks ago. I pick it up tomorrow. I am thinking I will still do the Hurco and set it up with a rotary since the hard part of that one is already over (getting it past the wife).

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  11. #34
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    Re: Advice on getting a small mill

    Quote Originally Posted by MountaineerMiner View Post
    Highjack alert, All-in-1-DC? Looks like a more recent install, any chance you did a thread on that? I have been sitting on a Hurco KM3P for a few years now waiting to do a Centroid control. I have about finished up other projects I was waiting to finish before moving onto the Hurco and I stumbled on a Mori Seiki MV-JR locally and underpower about 2 weeks ago. I pick it up tomorrow. I am thinking I will still do the Hurco and set it up with a rotary since the hard part of that one is already over (getting it past the wife).
    I replaced the original brushed DC servos with DMM AC servos and used Centroid Acorn for the control. I have a build thread with all the pertinent info on Centroidís forum: https://centroidcncforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=3792
    Miller Syncrowave 180SD

  12. #35
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    Re: Advice on getting a small mill

    How is hunt going.

    The bench mill is great for very long shafts.
    Just put a roller support shaft and other end mill.
    A knee mill you have adjust the roller ever time take cut.
    The bench mill you not have to adjust for cut,

    I am both a machinist and a welder for over 40 years.

    Dave

    Quote Originally Posted by Reebz View Post
    I'm thinking of getting a small mill for the garage.
    I make a lot of gym equipment and slowly expanding into furniture and art type stuff. I use a magnetic drill for most of the work. I have a small space to work in, and have no machining experience (my son does however). I have been told once you get a mill the applications are endless.
    I don't want a table top style. New or used is fine.
    Advice and thoughts please.

  13. #36
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    Re: Advice on getting a small mill

    Quote Originally Posted by smithdoor View Post
    How is hunt going.

    The bench mill is great for very long shafts.
    Just put a roller support shaft and other end mill.
    A knee mill you have adjust the roller ever time take cut.
    The bench mill you not have to adjust for cut,

    I am both a machinist and a welder for over 40 years.

    Dave
    I made this drill bit /tooling cabinet mobile and mounted an adjustable height roller on it.






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  15. #37
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    Re: Advice on getting a small mill

    I have only done a little hunting for a mill thus far. I starting to think about a bench top mill do to my space. I fear I may out grow it.

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  17. #38
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    Re: Advice on getting a small mill

    Big ticket tool purchases are like wives and girlfriends.

    The thing to remember is if and when the time comes, you need to be able to recover your investment or at the very least be able to afford the upgrade.


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  19. #39
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    Re: Advice on getting a small mill

    I would have started there, and may or may not have outgrown it. But when you get a series one Bridgeport for $750 with a Kurt vice. I started there...

    Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
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  21. #40
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    Re: Advice on getting a small mill

    I work in tooling and love to steal his ideas.

    Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
    I haven't built anything I can't throw away. Perfection is the journey.

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  23. #41
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    Re: Advice on getting a small mill

    Quote Originally Posted by tackit View Post
    You have the best tool Ideas on the website lis, you should be working for a tool design company. I don't have room for all the cool tools and tool accessories you have built and posted here.
    There's a company in Canada called Tufftools... they would love Terry's designs...

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  25. #42
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    Re: Advice on getting a small mill

    Quote Originally Posted by Reebz View Post
    I have only done a little hunting for a mill thus far. I starting to think about a bench top mill do to my space. I fear I may out grow it.
    I was going to post up saying you can always upgrade with little or no loss... but Terry put it in *way* better terms

  26. #43
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    Re: Advice on getting a small mill

    LOL.

    Thanks for the kind words fellas, but truth be told anytime a project of mine turns out okay (or better) I have you guys to thank for the inspiration and knowledge.

    Iíve learned a lot hanging out here. Cheers


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  28. #44
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    Re: Advice on getting a small mill

    If used a bench mill it is great.

    A knee mill you may need to adjust height for each job

    Dave

    Quote Originally Posted by Lis2323 View Post
    I made this drill bit /tooling cabinet mobile and mounted an adjustable height roller on it.






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  29. #45
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    Re: Advice on getting a small mill

    Quote Originally Posted by ronsii View Post
    There's a company in Canada called Tufftools... they would love Terry's designs...
    Were you there at the product launch (twenty odd years ago) and meet Pam Anderson??

    I got a hat.....


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  31. #46
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    Re: Advice on getting a small mill

    What I'm hijacking my on thread! YOU MEET PAMULA ANDERSON, The Pamula Anderson, not the one working at the convent store Did she ask about me?????????? Lol

    I'm going to start looking for table top mills. I like used any good names?

  32. #47
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    Re: Advice on getting a small mill

    Quote Originally Posted by Reebz View Post

    I'm going to start looking for table top mills. I like used any good names?
    If at all possible try to find a dovetail column, as opposed to round as mentioned in previous posts.

    I am assuming mill drills are similar to other machines. Several brands and colors coming out of the same factory.

    Mine was made in Taiwan. Here are the specs on the tags. They may be of some help...








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  33. #48
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    Re: Advice on getting a small mill

    The one thing that scares the daylights out of me is any gear drive machine. I'm not saying they're bad, I'm just saying they scare me.

    If you get caught in a gear drive machine, it won't have the chance to stall before it eats a part of your body. Belt driven machines have a built in clutch that can save ya. Those belts will slip when they run up against a stall load.

    If you work in a cold shop, you will be wearing some sorta warm clothing. A belt drive might ruin a cuff, but it won't take your arm if your lucky.

    The usual yada yada yada...........don't wear loose clothing around machinery..........but it can happen.

    I don't mean to be a buzz kill, but I really like to cover all the bases.......................and................... I'm tellin' ya from experience.

    Plan for the worst, and if it doesn't happen.....................you're Golden. If it happens, you're still nice and clean, not covered with blood, when ya sit down to dinner She won't say "poor baby"............she'll complain about making a mess on her floor (K'kins was an athlete when she was young.........her reply to any injury........."Can ya still walk?")

    This is how I've survived 65 years. I was the guy who went down the hill at 12mph, instead of 25mph. I made it home every night.

    Metal working is a lotta fun, and it's rewarding. Keep it safe, and it keeps on giving ya pleasure.

  34. #49
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    Re: Advice on getting a small mill

    Lis has a nice machine, don't get me wrong. I'm just over cautious. I would like that machine now, I wouldn't of been safe with it a decade ago.
    Last edited by farmersammm; 01-04-2021 at 07:01 PM.

  35. #50
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    Re: Advice on getting a small mill

    If you go with a small low powered machine, you will be surprised what it will do, given the right parameters.

    I recently switched over to at least 75% carbide tooling.

    On a small mill, this would usually spell disaster. Carbide likes a big bite...........it likes to be pushed. And, it's intrinsically a "dull" tool.

    So, now, we're starting to talk technique. Climb milling vs. conventional milling.

    I would not recommend climb milling on a small machine UNLESS YOU'RE USING CARBIDE END MILLS.

    A carbide end mill will fight you every step of the way if you do it conventional. But, if you take a large bite, it will run like a goose when you climb mill with it. By a "large bite" I'm talkin' a small end mill...............................3/8-5/8 diameter. It's about all a small mill can handle. You can go fairly deep (axial), and relatively deep (radial) compared to the same type of cut with HSS. Crowd it!

    Don't believe me, try it. That little mill will eat some material if you climb with it, and drastically reduce the effort to turn the handwheels. One caution..............enter the material slow SLOW.........once you have the most of the radius buried in the material..........let it rock and roll. Then, you slow down again when leaving the material at the end of the cut.

    Then you do the final finish, to dimension, cuts conventional. Hog uphill, finish downhill. It works like a charm. Another way to stretch out that little machine.

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