Mill advice?

Background. I have an old Index 40 vertical mill. It isn't in the greatest shape, but it is usable and I'm gradually cleaning up some of the
problems from extended storage in a humid garage with a leaky roof.
The main use for it is cleaning up the faces of billets after hot forging them. (I'm making pattern-welded [or damascus] steel. Looks like this when it is done:
http://i166.photobucket.com/albums/u90/torin3/seam2.jpg)
The billets have an irregular surface and are covered in firescale. I've been using a 3 insert cutter with an R-8 shank that uses TPG inserts. Obviously it isn't that great of an option, and the TPG inserts wear down quickly. One of my coworkers pointed out that octagon and round inserts are much stronger, and handle interrupted cuts better. So, I'm thinking about switching over.
I've seen a couple of insert mills that might be worth switching to. One of them is the 'freedom' cutter by Mil-Tec. It can use round/octagon/square inserts on the same body, has an R-8 shank, but it seems to use proprietary sized inserts, and they want between $10 and $18 per insert.
I've seen a few others that use standard 85 degree inserts, APKTs, but they only have 2 cutting positions, not the 8 that the octagons have.
On the plus side, I've got permission to raid the used insert pile at work. They've been used, but they get pulled when they are still usable to me, as I don't need a great surface finish, just mostly flat so that the billet faces meet up for the next forge welding run. I just need to return them when I'm done with them for recycling. So, I can probably not need to pay a lot for APKT or OECR inserts, provided I can get a indexable mill that fits the ones we use here.
I guess the advice I'm looking for is:
1. Should I got with octagon inserts?
2. If so, is there a non-proprietary option out there that uses standard sizes, or suck it up and go with the 'freedom' cutter?
3. Should I go with the APKT option, and buy on ebay or use from the recycle pile at work?
4. Is there a better option I missed that falls within my $200 budget?
Thanks!
        Todd
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I'll throw another wrench in the works for you. I use Sandvik R390 inserts. These things have UNBELIEVABLE performance. Work best without coolant. You run at very high speeds and feeds. They cut steel like butter. The chips come off at black heat to red heat and very little heat goes into the part. there are different grades for every application. Go to the sandvik web site.
they are super expensive, but they are always on eBay cheap. My son says every machinist in the country must be stealing from work and fencing on eBay.
Karl
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Sorry to take so long to reply. Looks like we do have them here at work, so I would be able to raid the used pile as well as possibly buying them new. However, do you know of a mill for them that is for sale for under $200?
P.S. Most of the ones I'm seeing on Ebay were going for about $7 a pop.
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Karl, what is the tool holder that holds these inserts? Is there some make or model number from Sandvik?
i

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Todd Rich wrote:

Hi Todd,
Consider this,
http://cgi.ebay.com/Logan-ES8S1-2-Variable-speed-metal-shaper-115v-1-Ph_W0QQitemZ190265823329QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item190265823329&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparmsr%3A1205%7C66%3A2%7C65%3A12%7C39%3A1%7C240%3A1318
I have a Devlieg 2B and 2 kneemills in my little dog and pony shop, but when it comes to removing scale (or making any flat surface), if I have the time I'll run my little Sheldon shaper.
I'll let it run by itself and do something else, (really on the cheap).
Matt
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(snip)

http://cgi.ebay.com/Logan-ES8S1-2-Variable-speed-metal-shaper-115v-1-Ph_W0QQitemZ190265823329QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item190265823329&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparmsr%3A1205%7C66%3A2%7C65%3A12%7C39%3A1%7C240%3A1318 > I have a Devlieg 2B and 2 kneemills in my little dog and pony shop, but

First, and insurmountable problem, wife is insistant about no new machines at this time.
Second, it says there is no autofeed, so I'd have to stay with the machine or add one. I do have a powerfeed on my mill.
Other than that, it looks to be in great shape, and close by too.
Once I've got steady income from this, the first problem might go away.
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    You mean eBay auction # 190265823329 (a lot easier to cut-and-paste than that typically over-long eBay URL. :-)

    That *is* a problem.

    Looking at the photos -- it once had one -- but there are parts missing from it. Start with the dovetail on the round piece sticking out of the side in the second view. You need to put a slide in it to set the distance from the center of that white disc, then a linkage to what should be on the shaft of the cross-feed crank -- a ratchet which can be set to not engage, to engage on clockwise or only CCW. The linkage needs to be adjustable in length to compensate for the motion of the knee.
    You can get the manuals for this from Scott Logan -- who regularly posts (every two weeks, I think) the collection of FAQ links. He also can supply some parts -- though I don't know how many for the shaper. But I have the manual -- I picked it up from him at Cabin Fever. IIRC, he also sells a complete set of drawings -- I think in lieu of having the parts for this -- you can find out how to make them.

    That can be a benefit.

    :-)
    Good Luck,         DoN.
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DoN. Nichols wrote:

Hi Don,
OOOPS! I just Ebayed metal shaper and looked for a price less than the 200 toads referenced in the first post....
There are usually a number of nice toolroom shapers up for auction at any time. I still marvel at how quiet, simple and accurate these little shapers and slotters are.
Gettin' the urge to go cut something....
Matt
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DoN. Nichols wrote:

...
Ah, but if you're using Thunderbird & have the go-to-URL plugin*, a click on the posted URL opens Firefox with that URL. No cutting-pasting-searching. Neat.
BoB <G>
* - or maybe that's not a plugin - I can't find it. Maybe it's an Option. But I can't find that either. Sorry I can;t be more specific.
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matthew maguire wrote:

http://cgi.ebay.com/Logan-ES8S1-2-Variable-speed-metal-shaper-115v-1-Ph_W0QQitemZ190265823329QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item190265823329&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparmsr%3A1205%7C66%3A2%7C65%3A12%7C39%3A1%7C240%3A1318

Oh, that's cute. I wouldn't say "complete", though. I'm really glad that it's not closer - I don't have the room or the need for it. <G>
Bob
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(snip)

(snorp)
Unfortunately, my work computer's motheboard caught on fire yesterday, and I had to use my budget to buy a new motherboard...
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