Mill or mill/drill recommendation

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing' started by Smokepoles, Jul 10, 2018.

  1. Smokepoles

    Smokepoles Well-Known Member LRH Team Member

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    Im shopping for a smaller manual Mill to use for 95% stockwork and maybe occasional odds and ends. Anyone have good luck with the smaller 110v benchtop machines or have any recommendations on a good one that wont kill the bank? I have 220vac but floorspace is limited so going for compact. Its for small volume (carbon fiber/epoxy, etc) stock work more than anything, I think a Bridgeport is overkill unless Im missing something about the smaller units. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    Like anything else you get what you pay for so if you have to compromise i would look for something like this one.

    Some of the cheaper ones are nothing more than a drill press with a bed, and they have small spindles. I tried this route and finally settled on a bench model that is slightly heavier that the one shone , but it does fine and this one would not break the bank and would probably do what you want.

    https://www.harborfreight.com/1-1-2-half-horsepower-heavy-duty-milling-drilling-machine-33686.html

    Hope this helps

    J E CUSTOM
     
  3. Smokepoles

    Smokepoles Well-Known Member LRH Team Member

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    thank you! I don't mind spending more for a better one just not looking to overspend if not needed. Have you used the harbor freight model or have any comparison input between those and say a grizzly or jet or something else in that range? I have to admit anything HF sells usually scares the crap out of me.
     
  4. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    This one just has the minimum features that I need and was just a reference to the minimum features and size. Obviously the grizzly or Jet will be better made it just depend.s on how much you want to spend.

    There are other bench top mills that are in between this one and the Jet/ Grizzly so I would recommend starting at this level and working up until you find a compromise that suites your needs and budget.

    I would spend as much as possible if you want a lifetime machine.

    J E CUSTOM
     
  5. Smokepoles

    Smokepoles Well-Known Member LRH Team Member

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    Thank you again! I was looking at the grizzly and jet models just because I’ve had good luck with some of they’re other tools but I didn’t know if there was a better option in the same range or one that stood out above the rest. In this case I don’t need overkill but would like quality. Thanks again bud, always a great help.
     
  6. carlbobh

    carlbobh Member

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    Just make sure you get the features you need . for me I wanted to be able to tilt the head for angle milling and good range of speeds. Used was ok for me .. waited around and got an Enco Benchtop. By bench top it just means it is short, weighs in at 700 lbs. Made in 1985, works great. Watching some mill video one day I noticed the mill the guy was using was the exact same thing as the enco but was a Grizzly G3103. Little checking, turns out that HF sells the same exact model as Enco made in 1985 and Grizzly sold even recently. It shows 230, mine does 115/230. Something to check out. I did have to make one modification and add a riser to get more vertical room. Too heavy for most bench, so made a base. Came with power feed.. Since have added inexpensive DRO.

    Enco 100-5100
    upload_2018-7-10_21-0-40.png

    HF Version
    https://www.harborfreight.com/vertical-milling-machine-40939.html
     
  7. Smokepoles

    Smokepoles Well-Known Member LRH Team Member

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    Awesome thank you both. I’m not opposed to used just in somewhat of a hurry. I will check those out, I don’t know an awful lot about the mills so it all helps a lot. Thanks again
     
  8. nchunter182

    nchunter182 Well-Known Member

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    Here is the one I bought. This one is the bottom of the line but they have bigger models with more features. I added a DRO to the table and it already has one one the spindle. Works very well for the small stuff I use it for. Recently inletted a stock for the M5 bottom metal on it. Only trouble I’ve had with it was spindle bearings overheated on it. I think they were set up with too much preload from the factory. Contacted PM and they sent me new ones no charge. Would love to get one of their lathes some day.
    Jay

    http://www.precisionmatthews.com/shop/pm-25mv/
     
  9. yoteslayer

    yoteslayer Well-Known Member

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  10. Smokepoles

    Smokepoles Well-Known Member LRH Team Member

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    Thank you. Just like shopping rifle parts theres enough options to drive you out of your mind..

    Funny about the HF/Grizzly thing, I checked local craigslist and someone had one listed as a grizzly but it said central machine on it. It did say grizzly on the manual though. I guess china is china any way you stack it
     
  11. SidecarFlip

    SidecarFlip Well-Known Member

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    If I were you, I'd go to a reputable used machinery dealer and get the real thing. Used Bridgeports aren't that expensive, my first 3 came used and all still run just fine and all the spindles have no runout whatsoever.

    Problem with Chinese stuff is rigidity. Even a Bridgeport can have tolerance issues when hogging but at least with a Bridgeport, the spindle is light years better. Besides, it's American.
     
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  12. Smokepoles

    Smokepoles Well-Known Member LRH Team Member

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    I agree about Chinese stuff, I try not to buy it when possible like we all should. Theres a used bridgeport around the corner but im not interested in feeding this one three phase, just looking for a smaller 110/220 unit if theres one that's worth using. I own a lot and know a lot about shop carpentry tools but shopping metal working tools is new to me, im not very familiar with the different manufacturers. Unfortunately I don't know of a dealer anywhere near me and even if I did id rather hear it from you guys than the guy hustling for a commission. Im good with new or used, just don't want to unknowingly buy junk.
     
  13. SidecarFlip

    SidecarFlip Well-Known Member

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    I take it you have 220 / 1. No problem. I don't have 220/3 in my shop either and I run a number of machines including a couple frequency controlled 3 phase machine tools.

    Just get yourself a static converter which is nothing more than a set of capacitors that excite the T3 leg of the windings. How I started out. Once I got into frequency controlled 3 phase machines, I went with a Gerhardt-Werner rotary converter and I stack my motors to achieve enough amperage to run the big stuff. IOW, 2 Bridgeports idling equals a big surface grinder or the Servo Shift.

    Myself, I wouldn't buy anything but a Bridgeport and they are very rebuildable too, unlike the Chinese machines. I have exactly one Chinese machine, a Dashin Prince 16 x 36 toolroom lathe that I picked up at a high school auction for 500 bucks. been a good machine but don't compare with my LeBlond Servo Shift which is actually the ultimate gunsmithing lathe.

    Unless a casting is cracked, there is nothing on a Bridgeport that isn't rebuildable and parts are always available.

    I live in Michigan and the first one I bought was in North East Ohio and I found it on Flea-Bay. Took my 1 ton truck and picked it up. Bridgeport's come apart easily and all you need is one of those Harbor Freight gantry engine hoists to move one.

    4 square head cap screws and the entire upper ram and head come off the base and you can pull the head from the turret by removing the 4 securing hex bolts that allow the head to rotate. The base, knee and table stay together, you run the table up against the base with the knee lowered all the way.

    Only thing about buying one used is checking the Spindle TIR with a dial indicator. Owners have a bad habit of not keeping the head bearings lubed even though there are oil cups on the headstock. Checking the TIR is simply a matter of using a dial indicator affixed to the column and extending the quill and rotating the spindle while applying lateral pressure to it. Any free play will show on the dial. 0.001 is acceptable but no more. Tables have ball screws in bronze bushings, all replaceable and adjustable for slop. Again, 20 thousands rotational play is acceptable.

    The only oriental mill even comparable to a B'port is a Lagun or a Domestic Wells Index, but both are pretty rare.

    I've set all the machines in my shop, myself. The lightest are the B'ports and the heaviest is my 6-18 Toolroom surface grinder with the Servo-Shift just a couple hundred pounds lighter. The Toolroom grinder weighs 7,000 pounds. I've used black iron pipe and come along's to roll them in and Machinist jacks to get them up to place anti-vibration levelling pads underneath.

    If Charles Atlas can move a rail car, I can move any machine with some pipe and come along's.

    Problem you'll have is not getting the machine initially but buying the tooling and knowing how to use it correctly. Good tooling and fixturing can be absurdly expensive and cheap tooling is just that, cheap. You can find good deals on Flea Bay if you look but beware of the cheapo Chinese stuff. It don't last and is probably not accurate.

    I suggest getting a recent copy of Machinery Handbook and doing some serious reading. Metal is lots different than wood, lots different.

    I had a jump on things in as much as I'm a retired toolmaker but compared to state of the art tools today, I'm in the cave man age.
     
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  14. Smokepoles

    Smokepoles Well-Known Member LRH Team Member

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    I appreciate the explanation. i understand metal and electricity just don’t need such a beast for this application.
    If there is no quality smaller 110v machine to speed up stock work then I’m going to market them after I build it.