Am I a fool to buy this mill/drill?

Need some advice, here...
I occasionally wish I had a small mill, but can't really afford to go out and buy one. I was going to modify my 7x14 mini-lathe to accept a
small vertically mounted vise where the tool holder normally goes, in order to use it for the odd milling operation.
Then, a local company started selling these:
http://www.wddm-machine.com/pro_show.asp?IDQ
That is, the one on the left, the WDM ZX7016. A better picture:
http://www.jula.no/bore-fresemaskin-125693
Click the magnifying glass in that picture for a large version.
It costs about a third of what importers charge for a typical mini-mill over here. Now, I know it's just a sturdy vertical drill with an X/Y table, but it does feel really solid and stable (it weighs 165 lbs without the stand shown in the picture), and even if I don't lock the Z axis, I can't detect any slop whatsoever in the quill, even when cranked all the way down.
I'm sorely tempted. However, I notice a couple of details that I'm unsure of. The spindle taper is MT2, whereas it seems most tooling offered out there is R8. The importer does supply a nice looking collet chuck in MT2, though. Possibly worse: I'm wondering if I'm going to be cursing that table every time I use it, because it lacks a central T slot...? It seems to me every picture I see of anything at all mounted on a coordinate table uses the center slot, which someone must have plain forgotten to draw when the plans for this mill were made. :)
-tih
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There is no such thing as failure. Only giving up too soon. --Jonas Salk

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Tom Ivar Helbekkmo wrote:

Personally I would look for a second hand machine of a better quality. But whether that's right for you I can't say. Would you rather have a small, brand new machine of uncertain quality, or an older machine that shows signs of use, but is larger and more robust?
Chris
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Agree with Chris. Besides, the pix and advert copy imply it is intended only for drilling, not "mill/drilling".
Bob Swinney
Tom Ivar Helbekkmo wrote:

Personally I would look for a second hand machine of a better quality. But whether that's right for you I can't say. Would you rather have a small, brand new machine of uncertain quality, or an older machine that shows signs of use, but is larger and more robust?
Chris
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It looks like a drill press to me with MT2 spindle.
i

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wrote:

They claim it's "For bεde boring og fresing.", I didn't see what materials it can mill, though. Steel is far more difficult than aluminum.
MT2 isn't a big problem as long as you can buy metric collets.
The issue with the tee slots is clamping down the milling vise. If it has lugs on the side they may be in the wrong place. Lengthwise slots in the sides would make clamping easier.
jsw
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...meaning "for drilling and milling". The manufacturer claims it can do 40 mm (1.5") face milling and 10 mm (3/8") plunge milling. Still, it *is* primarily a drill press, of course.
-tih
--
Self documenting code isn't. User application constraints don't. --Ed Prochak

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One thing I did notice was the lack of a graduated Z feed. That makes surface finishing to a size very difficult. It looks like a drill press with an XY table. Great for drilling and it would do some milling but it isn't a proper mill. However, you get what you pay for. I would go with Chris, see what you can find second hand. In the mean time, by all means fit a work holder onto your lathe. It's a cheap mod that will do some types of work.
John
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On Mon, 22 Mar 2010 21:37:42 +0100, Tom Ivar Helbekkmo
<snip>

<snip> #2MT spindle should not be a show stopper if this has a pull bolt to allow #2MT collets. You will be limited to 1/2 inch dimeter shank tooling, but again given the size of the machine this should not be a show stopper.
One source of #2MT collets is The Litle Machine Shop. http://littlemachineshop.com/products/product_view.php?ProductID52&categoryActually you will most likely only use the 3/8 and 1/2 sizes http://littlemachineshop.com/products/product_category.php?category‡4479994
If you need a drawbar, frequently you can use a socket head cap screw [allen bolt] of the correct size.
also ER 25 collet adapters. Drawback is the loss in spindle to table clearence -- benefit is you can use 5/8 shank tooling. http://littlemachineshop.com/products/product_view.php?ProductID"30&categoryhttp://hhip.com/products/product_view.php?ProductID900-5210
You can bolt a sub plate of aluminum to your table and drill and tap all the locating/clamping holes desired/required. One trick here is to drill/ream for 2 dowel pins to locate the plate parallel to the table slots without the need to indicate.
The mill drills do offer a larger work envelope, but if you do mainly small items a milling adapter for ypur lathe, possibly home brewed using the compound or top slide for vertical movement will be less expensive and adequate to your needs. For one example see http://mcduffee-associates.us/machining/latheMilling.htm
for an econo store bought version see http://littlemachineshop.com/products/product_view.php?ProductID81&categoryhttp://littlemachineshop.com/products/product_view.php?ProductID(94&categoryhttp://littlemachineshop.com/products/product_view.php?ProductID56&category for the high priced spread see http://www.use-enco.com/CGI/INSRIT?PMAKA$0-2941&PMPXNOH40108&PARTPG=INLMK3 http://www.use-enco.com/CGI/INSRIT?PMAKA$0-2942&PMPXNOH40109&PARTPG=INLMK3 or try ebay.
If you go with the lathe milling adapter you will still need a cutter holder as a drill chuck is totally inadequate. http://www.hhip.com/products/catalog_view.php?CatPage “ {these are even longer than the ER25 holders}
Unka George (George McDuffee) .............................. The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there. L. P. Hartley (1895-1972), British author. The Go-Between, Prologue (1953).
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It does come with a draw bar - in fact, the included drill chuck is fitted using an #2MT/B16 shank that's held by the draw bar.

Ah, nice! I have a 3/8" set of end mills already, so an MT2 3/8" collet would be all I need to get this thing working. :)

Ah, cool! I could make an adapter for something like this:
http://littlemachineshop.com/products/product_view.php?ProductID769
...and end up with something that mounts quickly and cleanly.
[lots of good links elided]

Thanks for taking the time to instruct! :)
-tih
--
Self documenting code isn't. User application constraints don't. --Ed Prochak

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On Tue, 23 Mar 2010 21:06:18 +0100, Tom Ivar Helbekkmo
<snip>

<snip> As you are in the EEC and will get hit with the VAT, English/UK suppliers may be your better bet. Home Shop Machining appears to be much more popular in the UK than the US, and the suppliers there seem to have much more for the home shop. Be careful about the drawbar threads as these come in all 3 flavors.
see http://www.chronos.ltd.uk / http://www.chronos.ltd.uk/cgi-local/sh000001.pl?REFPAGE=http%3a%2f%2fwww%2echronos%2eltd%2euk%2fcgi%2dlocal%2fsh000001%2epl%3fREFPAGE%3dhttp%253a%252f%252fwww%252echronos%252eltd%252euk%252f%26WD%3dcollet%26PN%3dcopy_of_copy_of_Table_Top_Tools___Accessories%252ehtml%2523a28200_2e_2e&WD=collet&PN=Soba_ER_Spring_Collets_Systems_%2d_NEW__%2ehtml%23a288311#a288311 http://www.chronos.ltd.uk/cgi-local/sh000001.pl?REFPAGE=http%3a%2f%2fwww%2echronos%2eltd%2euk%2fcgi%2dlocal%2fsh000001%2epl%3fREFPAGE%3dhttp%253a%252f%252fwww%252echronos%252eltd%252euk%252fcgi%252dlocal%252fsh000001%252epl%253fREFPAGE%253dhttp%25253a%25252f%25252fwww%25252echronos%25252eltd%25252euk%25252f%2526WD%253dcollet%2526PN%253dcopy_of_copy_of_Table_Top_Tools___Accessories%25252ehtml%252523a28200_2e_2e%26WD%3dcollet%26PN%3dSoba_ER_Spring_Collets_Systems_%252d_NEW__%252ehtml%2523a288311&WD=collet&PN=CHRONOS_2007_XMAS_OFFERS%2ehtml%23aCS2MI#aCS2MI
for lathe milling attachments see http://www.chronos.ltd.uk/acatalog/Chronos_Catalogue_Miscellaneous_Milling_Accessories_101.html
Depending on what you are milling, a 6 inch right angle plate with several clamps can be better than a vise in that it is much more adjustible and somewhat less expensive. The trade-off is that set-ups take longer.
For some hints on mounting a precision vise to your mill see http://www.mini-lathe.com/mini_mill/accessories/vises/vises.htm {about 2/3 of the way down page} http://www.instructables.com/id/making_vise_clamps_on_the_milling_machine /
also see http://www.minitechcnc.com/options/Minimill%20options.htm http://littlemachineshop.com/info/MiniMillUsersGuide.pdf
Let the group know how ypu make out.
Unka George (George McDuffee) .............................. The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there. L. P. Hartley (1895-1972), British author. The Go-Between, Prologue (1953).
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Many good insights have already been posed on this. Also:
The bottom speed is quite high. The spindle travel is minuscule. I see you can also move the head (like in the Rong Fu mills) but you will lose the XY indexing doing this.
I suspect that if you buy you will regret it. I bought my X2 at almost exactly the same price - before MVA. If I knew then what I know now I would have splashed out for an X3. But I suspect even an X2 would be a better match for your 7x14 lathe.
How easy is it to import into Norway? Will they sting you with additional taxes and duties or just MVA? I see the price is inclusive of MVA - what is the MVA rate in Norway? If the prices of mini-mills are three times those in North America, is it worth looking at importing?
But I suspect that you have already looked at all this yourself...
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Michael Koblic,
Campbell River, BC
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Really? It goes down to 320 RPM. How low would one want a mill to go?

Well, importing something as heavy as a milling machine means the cost of shipping will exceed the cost of the machine. Then, there's the 25% sales tax, which applies to the cost of the machine *and* shipping. Basically, it's not worth it. :(
-tih
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Self documenting code isn't. User application constraints don't. --Ed Prochak

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The lowest speed on my mill is 180 RPM, which is about right for High Speed Steel at a 50mm (2") cutting diameter and hasn't dulled a well- lubed 100mm slitting saw cutting steel, yet. Slower by half would be better for that.
jsw
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On Mon, 22 Mar 2010 21:37:42 +0100, Tom Ivar Helbekkmo

Morse taper is fine for drilling, unacceptable for milling unless there's a drawbar to hold the cutter firmly in place.
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Let me slightly qualify that statement. My 50-year-old milling machine has the almost identical Brown and Sharpe #7 taper. I bought quite a few endmills with tanged (not threaded) B&S 7 shanks when Wholesale Tool closed them out. If the spindle and arbor are very clean and the endmill is tapped in rather firmly they do work well. I have used them only for light finish cuts and fishmouthing pipe for welding, since they are considerably larger than the largest endmills that fit my collets.
I've had good results welding extra metal onto butchered Morse tangs to make them pop out of the tailstock on my lathe. I think you could weld on a nut and make a drawbar out of allthread, with two nuts jammed together at the top so you can adjust the length, and be able to remove the drawbar if the weld breaks.
Bottom line, tanged Morse tools aren't -completely- unacceptable if you are careful and go slowly. They are something I have to put up with due to the obsolete spindle taper.
jsw
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Jim Wilkins wrote:

Ah, yes, the Wholesale Tool closeouts! I got some of these too, in M2 shanks, and already had some from who-knows-where MANY years earlier (I inherited a bunch from my dad). Yes, all I have without drawbar threads are tanged. All mine appear quite ancient. While all I have are M2 shank, I've seen much larger versions.
A few have a right-hand cut and a left-hand helix, that would tend to seat then tighter into the taper. Those with a right-hand helix have only a very slight helix angle. A high angle right-hand helix with a right-hand cut was probably a receipe for disaster. A number have straight teeth with no helix. These look similar to reamers, but have far more aggressive edges.
Such cutters were apparently used mostly in very early days, and possibly only for cetain kinds of work. Obviously they worked if properly seated, at least most of the time, maybe. There may even have been some other locking mechanisms used at times (still are today). Since then, drawbars have became largely universal. It's obvious that there were problems with the simpler setup, and that a drawbar was the easiest solution.
Dan Mitchell ==========--- ---
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Don Foreman wrote:

This would make a decent small drillpress, and a rather poor mill, as you correctly surmise. Still, if the price is right, it would probably be better than a milling attachment in a small lathe. I also agree that a drawbar is essentially REQUIRED. I've seen a few similar small mill-drills (drillpress based) ... most have had some kind of drawbar ... perhaps 'wimpy', but probably "OK" for such a small machine.
A Morse taper alone will not hold adequately for most milling unless seated FAR to tight to get out easily. A few early mills used only a Morse taper, sometimes with NO drawbar. It was a bad idea, but worked, sometimes, maybe. Even when the taper is properly seated, an interrupted cut can work the cutter loose. That's NO fun at all! You REALLY want a drawbar.
While much harder to find, and likely more expensive, than R8 tooling, a fair selection of M2 Morse Taper tooling is available (drill chucks, collets, endmill holders, boring heads, flycutters, slitting-saw arbors, etc.). I think any you find today will have a threaded socket for a drawbar, usually 3/8" (at least in the "English" world).
I have a little BenchMaster horizontal/vertical mill that uses M2 tapers and a 3/8 drawbar. It's completely satisfactory for it's size. The only issue with the M2 taper is that, once a tool is seated with the drawbar, it often takes a pretty good WHACK on the drawbar to unseat it. Morse tapers are said to be "self-locking", while R8 tapers are "self-releasing" (both, sort-of). Such a jolt can't be the best for the spindle bearings, but really has caused no problems in many years of use.
Dan Mitchell ==========--- ---
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That's mostly where I'm at in my thinking, so far. Used equipment is seldom seen on the Norwegian market, and when it is, it tends to be big and heavy commercial machines, with asking prices way out of my range. I have to compare it to a milling attachment for my mini-lathe, and it does seem to come out of that comparison pretty well.
-tih
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Here's Varmint Al's take: http://www.varmintal.com/alath.htm#Milling_Attachment The various bits are so low priced, you could make the attachment AND get the mill/drill if that's what you wanted. I'd still make/buy a drawbar setup for holding the milling cutters in the lathe, though, mill shanks will walk out of chucks. Little Machineshop also has both the drawbar and the "official" mini-lathe milling attachment.
Stan
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snipped-for-privacy@prolynx.com wrote:

Agreed that a drill chuks should NOT be used to hold milling cutters. Most milling cutters have hardened shanks that a chuck will NOT grip adequately. The cutters will slip and pul out under load. This can make a real mess of the work, and is potentially quite dangerous to the operator. It's a BAD idea, even if the chuck is secured with a drawbar.
Collets, in good condition, properly seated, are usually acceptable for holding milling cutters. This is especially true for small low powered machines. An "End-Mill Holder" is certainly more secure, but can induce small (usually not serious) runout problems.
For light precision work, use collets ... for heavy work use end-mill holders.
Dan Mitchell ==========--- ---
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