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With a small lathe coming, I'm considering a mill


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#1 havlicek

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 09:50 AM

With the Micromark gone, and the Proxxon getting only so-so reviews, it looks like the "ShopFox" (and whatever other identical ones with a different brand name are out there) is about it...or am I missing something?  The Proxxon is smaller and much lighter, but people have said some not-so-great things about slop/play, vibration.  I like the size of the Proxxon, you could actually stick it on a shelf when not in use, but even with what people are saying, it costs something like $80 more than the ShopFox.  I forget the price of the Micromark when it was available, but I guess that it was even more costly.  Then again, for what a milling machine does, I wouldn't expect something to be all that cheap that actually works well.

Sooo...I wouldn't be making parts for the space shuttle or a matter/antimatter converter, but small, light, reasonably accurate...and of course, affordable are the bullet points.  Have I missed a machine?

 

-john


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#2 wbugenis

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 10:16 AM

John,

 

I think it has been pointed out before, but the cost of the machines is not as important as the cost and

 

availability of the tooling  you will soon  need (want?)

 

I like and use the Sherline machines for this reason.

 

You need some HSS turning bits and learn to grind them.  (I assume you have a grinder for your plane irons)

 

A cutoff tool and holder,  a live center, and a small chuck for the tailpiece.

 

Check the runout on your lathe chuck with an indicator and you might be persuaded to use collets.
 

NO chuck is concentric - but some are better than others 

 

For the milling machine, you need, at least, a vise.

 

An index table for the mill will soon become the object of your dreams.

 

There is always the issue of your work exceeding the capacity of the machines - WILL happen real soon.

 

That's how i ended up with a 13" Clausing Colchester.

 

Bill 


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#3 havlicek

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 11:31 AM

Hi Bill,

 

     All pretty much understood, but:

 

 

I think it has been pointed out before, but the cost of the machines is not as important as the cost and

 

availability of the tooling  you will soon  need (want?)

 

I like and use the Sherline machines for this reason.

 

 

Aside from cutters (which will fit any collet they can be inserted into), what common tooling would I get to want that might be impossible for other machines?  

 

 

 

You need some HSS tuning bits and learn to grind them.  (I assume you have a grinder for your plane irons)

 

I do my plane irons and chisels by hand.  If any get a nick too large, I replace them and then finish them by hand again!  The English Stanley stuff only needs a tiny bit of fine work to be usable right out of the package!

 

-john


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#4 gotboostedvr6

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 11:49 AM

http://www.ebay.com/...S-/132003221784


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#5 gotboostedvr6

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 11:50 AM

Not sure why but this looks as if its a dup listing for less $

 

http://www.ebay.com/...Y-/361828351954


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#6 dc-65x

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 11:52 AM

I have a Sherline and like it OK. What I find most limiting is the diameter of the work piece it will hold. Collets, which I prefer to use, are limited to 5/16" and for long work pieces and using a chuck, the spindle through hole is limited to about 3/8".

 

If you can live with that you should be OK. I'm finding it to be increasing limiting to what I want to do. But the Sherline is so small and handy INSIDE my house, I'm not considering dumping it but rather supplementing it by adding a larger lathe in a corner of the garage.


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#7 havlicek

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 12:10 PM

Thanks for the info Rick.  I can't see into the future, but right now, small stuff...even very small stuff would be where I'm at.  It would also be nice to be able to whip up an arm clamp when I need or want one, but even that isn't all THAT large...I think.  I'm certain that, as I learn how to actually use these things, I'll figure out reasons why I should or shoudn't have got this or that machine, because that's the way it goes with woodworking as well.  I consider that to just be part of it.  Still, I would hope to start out with something that generally works OK.

 

-john


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#8 Geary Carrier

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 12:21 PM

Hi John,

 

I don't have access to a Bridgeport anymore so I just put a cross slide vise on my drill press and this became my high priced milling machine.

 

At first blush seems pretty crazy, but it can be made to work.

 

Remember this, it was done on said magic miller...

Door Motor 023.jpg

 

 

Thanks,

g


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#9 Don Weaver

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 12:29 PM

SHERLINE!


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#10 Mach9

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 12:36 PM

Look at Sherline and also Taig before you buy. 


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#11 grooverunner

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 01:07 PM

I have my Sherline 2000 set up with the ER16 head so I can do 3/8 and I have adapters you can make or get from lathe city to fit the drill chucks. see link

 

1x2-20-V1-LLR-labeled.jpg

 

http://lathecity.com...pter1x2-20.html

 

I think this is the one bought years ago, maybe it's a MT1? I'll look. Anyway you take the tapered shaft and turn it down on your lathe to straight 3/8 and now to can add any 1/2 X 20 accessory to the mill . It can be done with other sizes also.

 

If anyone interested I'll post some pictures of my adapter with implements on them later.

 

Ken


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#12 swodem

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 02:21 PM

Taig tools are very good and good value
I have a Taig micro lathe and turn coms on it!
I also got the milling attachment for doing simple jobs


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#13 Gene/ZR1

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 02:47 PM

Good reading and comparison of different products' and items for sale.

 

http://littlemachineshop.com/


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#14 MarkH

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 03:22 PM

If I were looking for a small mill these features would be important:

1) R8 collet type spindle - make it easy to get any type of tooling that would fit a Bridgeport

2) Adjustable gibs in the ways - to take up clearance and keep the movement accurate

3) T-Slots in table - see #10 below

4) Mini Kurt type vise - Interchangeable jaws so you can have custom jaws for custom work - V cut Horz / Vert, step cut on top edge, etc

5) Enough room to mount DRO scales - The small iGauaging or similar 

6) Variable Speed spindle motor with lots of torque - step pulleys are ok but can be a PIA

7) 100 or 200 thousands of an inch per turn handles - some have goofy amounts per turn - even with DRO you quickly count off 0.100" / 0.200" per turn to get close to where you need to be

8) Ridged column - the stronger the better

9) Z axis fine adjustment - a handle that turns to drop the spindle for depth of cut OR adjustable knee (Much more money)

10) Toe clamp set - either make your own or purchase - to hold down custom tooling plates, parts, etc


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#15 Phil Hackett

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 04:09 PM

My advise for mills is that you buy more size than "needed". The reason is that many small mills use propriatory tooling that is very expensive relative to the R-8/Bridgeport tooling.

 

My first CNC machine had a limited Z axis (the up and down spindle movement for those not CNC-savvy) and it was a major PITA to use *common* shop tooling and the machine was almost always at the Z+ limits when it was working. When I replaced it I was sizing the the Z axis first not the X or Y.

 

I also recommend an R-8 spindle. Bridgeport once made a milling head that used a #2 Morse taper collet. That would be perfect for small work but you're going to pay through the nose for #2 Morse Taper collets (very uncommon.... but then how many would you need? 1/8, 3/16, 1/4, 5/16, 3/8 and 1/2 inch would be all you need but Hardinge is getting $115 each for them. Hardinge sells the  R-8 collets for $44 each). Plus the R-8 spindle will be more robust than smaller spindles....


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#16 MarkH

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 04:31 PM

Ditto on Phil's comments. Go R8 to save money. 

 

Here is a vise similar to what I am talking about. This one has the swivel base to make it easy to cut angles in the flat.

http://www.ebay.com/...boAAOSwTA9X4qZq


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#17 John Streisguth

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 05:02 PM

I saw this one, which meets a lot of the criteria Phil mentioned, but it's pretty heavy so it may be more than you want.

 

http://www.harborfre...hine-33686.html


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#18 MarkH

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 06:00 PM

OK, so going back and reading carefully your scope of things you would like to make, that is size and quantity, here is a great option.

http://www.grizzly.c...g-Machine/G8689

 

The only real issue is it is not a R8 spindle. However it is a morse taper #3 and there are cheap arbors easily had from sources like McMaster to fit nearly anything you will want. You could get an arbor and bore it out to fit the shank size of the most popular end mills you will use. Probably 1/8, 1/4, 3/8. With a little research you might find them off the shelf. Some would argue that for light cuts a drill chuck will work but they typical do not run as true as you will want.

 

If you look below they have the toe-clamp set and a vise. The vise is the self centering type, sounds neat but you would be chasing zero all the time in a manual operation. That is if you want to put a hole pattern 1/2" off the back edge / surface on multiple blocks they need to be exactly the same size. I would opt for a fixed jaw version in the 2 or 3". With the 2 inch you could make bigger jaws if needed.


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#19 Tim Neja

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 07:24 PM

There's Sherline still in San Diego---they make a small hobby lathe and mill conversion for it.  Check them out.


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#20 Hermit #1

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 11:34 PM

Harbor Freight sells a small mill that does feature an R8 spindle taper (collets don't appear to be included), comparable size to the Grizzly but with higher horsepower and lower purchase/shipping costs.  Machines in this size range I'd consider to be the minimum, even for slot car work.


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#21 Jeff Buyer

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Posted 01 January 2017 - 07:19 AM

Taig makes some good mini lathes and mills. http://www.taigtools.com/mmill.html



#22 MarkH

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Posted 01 January 2017 - 08:33 AM

Good catch Dave. Not sure how I looked right passed that one. This unit would get my vote. Might even pick one up myself to avoid the 30 minutes drive over to my shop.


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#23 havlicek

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Posted 01 January 2017 - 09:55 AM

Thanks a heap for the info guys.  I know I've asked about all this before, but wanted to make sure there weren't any new developments/machines out there.  When I'm ready to pull the trigger (figuratively speaking!), I'll be well-armed (figuratively speaking again!).  :D

 

-john


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#24 Booger

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Posted 06 January 2017 - 02:55 AM

More reading.....

 

Sieg  X-1.....X-2...X-3.....X-4.....And just for fun the U-1.....Mini vertical/horizontal with a knee

 

Square column mills are better than round column.

 

I will soon own the X-2 from Harbor Freight.....I already have R-8 stuff


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