What is a small milling machine to look for?




Price and availability is an issue in Yuma as well. I do know where there is a working Bridgeport CNC (Haidenhein Controls) for sale locally, but its not a steal. $3500. Not bad, but not great and I have no clue about the quality of the mechanicals of a machine that age. I had to drive several hundred miles to pick up my Hurco, which admittedly I got a smoking price on ($500 partially working), but that is an exception.
From what I have seen the Northern Midwest seems to have a lot of machines available compared to some other places.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I have used the JET round column mill/drill many years ago, and I currently own a minimill like this http://www.grizzly.com/products/Mini-Milling-Machine/G8689 made by Sieg in China.
The JET is definitely more powerful and perhaps a tad stiffer, but there are now also some larger minimills also made by Sieg: http://www.grizzly.com/products/Mill-Drill/G0463 http://www.grizzly.com/products/6-x-21-Mill-Drill/G0619
There were a few things that bugged me about the JET. Manually moving the belt on the pulleys to change speed can get old very quickly. If you are doing some quick drilling , you usually just end-up putting-up with a non-optimal speed. The other issue was there was no provision (in the model I used at least) to prevent the spindle from rotating as the draw bar was loosened or tightened. You had to grab things with a rag. This was one from the late 1980's. I hope they have fixed that by now. The final issue is there was very large backlash in the table.
As for the Sieg minimill, it is adequate for the small parts I use it for. Of course when you get it, you have to clean it, lube it and align it. One full turn of the table leadscrew is 0.0625", so I attached some of the cheap, battery-powered linear scales to the axes. This makes it much easier to use.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Doug Miller wrote:

From what I've seen of HF and Jet, there isn't much difference in quality, they're both low. I consider them to be assembled parts kits and it's best to take them apart as much as you can for deburring, cleaning and fitting. You may also want to replace the various nuts, bolts and screws since these are often very low quality.
David
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

What do you want to do with it?
There's a big jump from a machine that makes mainly flat parts out of bar stock and one with enough precise vertical travel to bore an engine cylinder.
jsw
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
What to look for in a used mill (other than broken & missing bits)?
Feed backlash?
Thanks.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I would look at an Mill/Drill. Enco sellls them and the price is reasonable for what they do and they are heavy enough to take use and abuse somewhat.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I'm milling prototype parts on a Bridgeport and wish I could fit one into my basement, but a mill-drill could handle almost everything I've made at work or home.
jsw
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I am told by those in the know that mill drills require lots of extra alignment work due to the cylindrical column
wrote:

I'm milling prototype parts on a Bridgeport and wish I could fit one into my basement, but a mill-drill could handle almost everything I've made at work or home.
jsw
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I used one for a while on mostly small electronics jobs. There was less need to move the head if the drilling and milling setups are about the same length, meaning short drill bits and longer end mills in holders. I had to check the reach of the longest and shortest tools before starting and set the head height to match. The RF31 wasn't as accurate or easy to use as my Clausing, but it cut faster and had more X and Y travel.
jsw
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I have one and for what I do, it has pretty much never been a problem. Of course they make a number of sizes and mine has a fair amount of Z axis travel.
Dan
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Polytechforum.com is a website by engineers for engineers. It is not affiliated with any of manufacturers or vendors discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.