Hi All, I've been looking at some dovetail mills at WT and came across this small knee mill #3004-0095.I realize it's small for a knee mill but I only expect to do small hobby work.Has anyone in the group used this model or know about it?Any thoughts would be appreciated,thanks. Tom Munroe
||Grant Erwin wrote: ||> OK, I'll bite. This may sound ignorant, but what is "WT"? ||> ||> In general, you also might consider posting your location. For example, ||> I know of 2 guys in this area (W. Washington) looking to sell small ||> knee mills, both excellent deals. ||> ||> Grant Erwin ||> ||> G.Tom wrote: ||> ||>> Hi All, ||>> I've been looking at some dovetail mills at WT and came across this ||>> small knee mill #3004-0095.I realize it's small for a knee mill but I ||>> only expect to do small hobby work.Has anyone in the group used this ||>> model or know about it?Any thoughts would be appreciated,thanks. ||>> Tom Munroe || || ||
Enco has one just like it, seems like it might be $100 cheaper How can you go wrong for the money? You'd do good to get a BP for that, and it might be worn in ways you can't detect before you buy it.
I've SEEN, but not used, the WT mill in question. They usually have one in stock at their Detroit store. This is one variation of the popular 'A1S' sized (vertical) knee mills. In general, these are a fine little machine, about 2/3 the size of a bridgeport.
Be warned, however, that these, like MANY Chinese and Taiwanese machines, come in many 'flavors'. The oriental builders will build to any quality the importer is willing to pay for ... or NOT pay for.
While the basic machines are all pretty much the same, fit, finish, and details varies widely. Jet and Grizzly are often (not always) among the better low priced imports. Both offer this size machine, as do WT, KBC, Enco, and Harbor Freight, among others. Price varies from about $1600 to over $3000, and likely you get what you pay for ... maybe less, but never more.
The 'A1S' mills come in two sizes ... a 'bench' model with a shorter column (less quill to table clearance) and smaller table, and a 'floor' model with, conversely, a longer column and larger table. Even among the two types there are variations from make to make.
Best advice is to try to inspect the particular machine you want to buy.
I did this with my KBC 'floor model' machine, purchased in the Detroit area about ten years ago. It is a mid range (price and quality) 'A1S', and has proven completely satisfactory for my uses. I also use a Bridgeport at work regularly. There' NO comparison in rigidity or fit/finsih ... the BP wins! My 'A1S', however, will fit in my basement (the BP won't), and cost only about 25% of a new Bridgeport. I also have a Benchmaster horizontal/vertical bench mill, about half the size of the KBC 'A1S'. Again, there's NO comparison. The 'A1S' wins hands down on rigidity and the ability to remove metal (though the the Benchmaster is a nice little bench mill). Overall, the KBC was a good purchase. The WT machien LOOKS similar ... that's all I can say.
Thanks Daniel,Grant and Rex, I should have mentioned that "WT" stands for Wholesale Tool Co.I am going to most likely buy from them out of Warren Michigan(Detroit).I really like the looks of the little 3004-0095 and it has been recommended to me as well.I only have concerns about the spindle to table distance of 12".I don't plan on doing anything at all in the "large" catagory just small steam engines and such.I was hoping someone in the group might have actually run one of these.My other option is the WT model 3006-0080.It's a dovetail gearhead"45" variant.I don't like the looks of it but that shouldn't mean a darn thing(but it does) :-).I'm a little disabled and am worried about things like changing speeds with a belt drive mill.Would it help to switch out the Chinese rubber belts for a set of those link belts?Might they be easier to move about?So what do you think about that 12" and the belt drive problem?Any extra advice would be much appreciated thank you. Tom Munroe
Your concern about the 12" table-to-spindle distance is well taken. It does limit the thickness of any work-piece/hole-size. I did a web-site look at the one you want, and it has an R-8 spindle, which is good. But for the moment, lets assume you want to put a 1/4" hole in some piece of 2" thick aluminum, and you want the hole completely through. Assume you have a 1/4" R-8 collet, and a standard 1/4" jobber drill 4" long (total). If you clamp the work to the table, you will have to raise the piece at least 1/2" up to give the drill bit clearance from the table surface on break-through. But table fastening is a bit of a pain the ass, so you are most likely to have a vice to hold the piece. Assuming you chuck the drill bit by 1" on the shank, you now have the 12" spindle height reduced by...... 1/8" collet nose plus 3" drill bit plus 2" aluminum plus 2" for vice and parallels. So the 12" is reduced to 12" - 7.125 = 4.875". Works OK, eh? Now assume same workpiece, but you want a hole greater than
3/4", (3/4 is the largest standard R-8 collet). Lets say you want the hole to be 1.503" for a small engine cylinder. Pretty much need to use a boring head for that size and accuracy. So you do the 1/4" drill same as before, and work up to 3/4", but the 3/4" drill bit is now about 8" long, and for safety the "poke-through" clearance should be at least 3/4", so the 4.875" is reduced to less than 3/4", and now you can't get the drill bit in and out of the R-8 because it is too long. Even assuming that you only go up to 1/2" before using the boring head, the R-8 shanked boring head with a boring tool long enough to get through the 2" aluminum will be approx 7" long, and with-out doing the calculations, even if it "fits", you'll have to move the table sideways to get enough room to mount it, and you will have super tight room to measure the hole size once the cut starts.
So, good machine? Sure! 12" sounds like a lot? Sure! But before you buy, right there in the store, try to hang a vice, and a drill chuck, and a drill bit on it, and then look at it. Mind you, some really great work gets produced on these type machines, but not with-out a lot of "work-arounds" to make it happen.
We're not aware of what you physical limitations are, or are caused by, so I don't know whether it would be good for you, but Bridgeport clones are available at auctions for about $3000 Canadian.