RF45 or Chinese Knee Mill.


I am looking at adding a milling machine to my small home shop. I can either buy a RF45 (a real Taiwanese Rong Fu, not a clone) or for slightly more a Chinese Knee mill with coolant and power feed. Both will probably do what I need. Can anyone give me a push in one of these directions. I have basically restricted my search to a mill with a square column/dovetails.

I know it would be better to get a used Bridgeport, or some other American Iron but where I am (Western Canada), these machines(well used) are typically 5000 USD+ used, which is more than I want to spend.

Thanks for any guidance you can provide.


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You'll have to determine what your anticipated work envelope will be, and make a decision based partly on that. The RF45 is limited, more so than most knee mills, and the knee mill may be more accurate in the Z axis, since you're advancing the work into the cutter against the threads, instead of allowing gravity to drop the head into the work, unsupported. I have a RF45 clone, and find that I use the quill more than the Z axis, because of this.

That being said, I really like my mill, for the work I do, and have no complaints.

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Kevin Singleton

I have an Enco Mill/Drill and it can do a lot over the years the price has gone up quite a bit so I guess they sell very well and I have not found any bad write ups on them. Mine is a round column but works quit well once you get use to it. Best of Luck Al Kimmel

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FWIW, I have a round column Taiwanese mill drill which works fine for my purposes, but I would definately buy the dovetail version if I were to do it again. I thought the round column would give me some versatility

- it hasn't.

Adding a power feed and coolant supply to an RF45 isn't hard, but it takes time. For my money, a little extra for the knee mill would be a good investment. This is something you'll have for a while, and a few extra dollars will not be noticed over time.

I have a chinese lathe that I bought a decade ago, and I have no problems with it - although a T-slot cross-slide would be nice.

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