I'd start small and watch for signs of things going to hell while getting more
aggressive. With a good sharp endmill and a little WD-40 you should be able to
get a nice finish on a piece of aluminum. Don't even think about climb milling
with this setup.
If you experiment with a 1/4" endmill in aluminum you won't be able to exceed
the max SFPM for the tool. I'd start around 2000 RPM and see what happens as
you vary the speed up and down. Start with a shallow cut, perhaps .030 to .060
deep. Don't forget the lube or you may gum up the endmill.
That's not a fair comparison. One would obviously use the best machine for
the task at hand if available, and you're comparing a mill with a mill.
Fact is, I'd have chosen a K&T as my example, but I get your drift.
What we're discussing is using a drill press as a mill. They're not mills,
and not intended to be mills. No more than an automobile is intended to
be a pickup truck, but that doesn't prevent some folks from removing the
back seat and hauling loads of rock. Point is, it's not the best way to
go. Didn't say it couldn't be done. But---------should it?
Agreed. But, at best, it's a poor compromise.
Necessary? That's a whole different matter. I wouldn't hesitate to open a
door with dynamite if I had no alternatives, but there are usually
alternatives to most everything. A miserable mill/drill would be a huge
improvement over a drill press for milling, and it pains me to even say it.
I don't like mill/drills---but at least they're made more robustly than
drill presses, with milling in mind.
I've operated good and decent drill presses---many of them. Even the
heads on Leland-Gifford gang drills would make a poor milling head, and
they're one of the nicer drill presses I've used. Far better than the vast
majority of drill presses to be found in the home shop. I still say don't
use a drill press as a mill. It's not a mill------it's a drill press.
I say don't do it-----it's not a mill.
I don't use either-----and don't really care about the opinions of others in
that regard. I know what works for me, and I use it. However, if I had to
use that type toolpost, I'd settle for nothing less than a KDK.
I'll have to explain that to mine the next time I'm using if for the
purpose. I've tapped more 1/4-20 holes with one of those things than most
folks have with a tapping head. I even have success with larger threads,
although backing the tap at first can be challenging. 3/8-16 works fine.
I'm not suggesting it's good for the chuck, but I have more than one, and
use the sad one for tapping.
That surprises you? Democrats want to take everything, then give back to
you what *they* think you need. Politicians suck.
Can't speak for Granny, but they damned well want to put religion back in
schools. Their stand on religion is the very thing that has turned me
against the party. That, and the moron they chose to lead our country.
He's so damned far over his head in that job that there's no daylight for
him to see. Sad thing is, he doesn't "get it". Politicians suck.
It will remove metal beyond making holes and shouldn't break the
machine if you're careful. Use 3/16" or 1/4" endmills so the EM and
your workpiece will be the sacrifical bits when things go wrong. Take
very light cuts. In a setup like this I would regard .060 of depth in
aluminum as a heavy cut, but the only meaningful guideline is your own
experience. Start slow, work up, back off from crash.
You should not expect good finish or precision better than .010", and
you should expect to snap some endmills, barf up some workpieces, and
have occasional exciting events. YMMV.
I know these things because I have done "milling" (as in metal
removal) on a considerably lighter drillpress than yours. I wasn't
born with a Bridgeport either, and I also felt I should not afford
good tools for HSM activities when my kids were small like yours.
For making open slots, use a 2-flute endmill and "peck"; make a hole,
raise the quill, advance the work just a bit, stroke the quill again,
step and repeat. Your operation is then much more like drilling than
milling but you still get a slot fairly quickly.
The next two quantum steps would be from drillpress to milldrill and
from milldrill to knee mill. An import milldrill would be
quantum-leap better than your drillpress for milling, but it would
lack the "reach" of your DP for drilling. In general, mills drill
much better than drills mill but drills can handle larger workpieces.
Question is: If you have such a nice drill press, why would you want
to ruin it by milling with it? That lady would cost in excess of
three grand to replace. Problem is: you get that bad girl in low gear
and then get the bit stuck in the work; something has to give. I may
be the chuck or the clamping this time but what about the next?
I don't know your drill but on mine there are several other weak
points that I'd be worried about. Some of them I've found just
through working the machine hard. The counter shaft on my Craftsman
drill has come loose several times. When I got it I had to rebore the
countershaft pully and install a bush. It has been slipping again and
I've decided to redesign it. The main pully split at the flange and I
just rebuilt that. This is from normal wear and tear on an otherwise
I expect just as much accuracy from my drill press as I do from a mill
or a lathe. I do a lot of drilling with my Craftsman and after I've
blued the piece, scribed the lines, prickpunched, centerpunched and
spotdrilled, I expect the drill to put the bit where I aim it. Can't
do that if the chuck is buggered.
I appologize for being so blunt but I guess you struck a nerve there.
Felt bad about dumping on you so I thought I'd give you some usefull
advice. Get a used heavy duty router. Put in a carbide bit. Rig up
a guiderail system. And face your aluminum with the router. At least
you won't be ruining a $3000 drill press.
Errr.... the spindle of most drill presses has significant end play.
The question of what depth the mill cutter will reach is not really
settled. It might decide to dive.
A lathe might make a better mill than a drill press; do you have one?
I have, from time to time, used a drill press as a vertical mill. In
nearly all cases I had problems. In general the three jawed drill
chuck eventually loosed and the end mill cut progressively deeper, or
the whole chuck falls out, if it has a taper shank, usually on the
last cut, too..
This is not to say it can't be done, rather that there will probably
something that goes wrong, sooner or later.
I believe that if you could remove the chuck and fit some better
device to hold the end mill and lock the quill it would be a better
Having said all that I'd do it again in a minute is I needed "just a
little cut off the end there", but it is not really the best method.
As someone mentioned there seems to be a lot of "NO! You can't do it
that way" notions on this group but I can tell you that if you work in
a job shop and a customer comes in the door with a job the Bull isn't
going to tell the guy, "Aw, we can't do it 'cause the Brigeport is
broke down". And when he hands the job off to you you better not tell
him that the guys on RCM says it can't be done, cause if you do he'll
give the job to that old goat that runs the planer over in the other
side of the shop and he'll do it and then you'll feel like a damned
Bruce in Bangkok
Like I've been saying right along-----a drill press is that------a drill
press. Just because it has similar physical features that mills share
doesn't make it one. They are designed to twist a drill, nothing more.
The problem you mentioned is but one of many that would be the endless
conveyer belt of unexpected surprises.
I think Iggy is in the process of equipping what used to be a rather barren
shop. My money says he'll have it all eventually----he seems to really like
As an experiment put your indicator in the chuck and the point of the
indicator on the side of the table. By hand pull the head to the right
and the push table to the left as hard as you can. How much flex does it
read with only manual forces?
I'm afraid that you've been on RCM too long. You've contracted the
"Iwannadosomemillingalso" disease. It causes severe itching. You are
attempting to scratch that itch using a drill press as a mill. It
makes no difference whether you succeed milling with the dp or not,
the itch will still be there.
As I see it, you only have two choices. Renounce RCM and start
attending Metalworkers Anonymous meetings. Attend the knitting
newsgroup instead. If you don't, you will be buying a mill(/drill).
Never allow your parakeet to kiss you. You may contract chirpees.
It is a very rare canarial disease. Worst part about it is
With all of the effort you'll expend, you won't be able to attain results as
good as the work you could be getting (all this time) with the mill you had,
The idea of not needing anything too accurate or fast, will be short lived,
and you might end up damaging your drill press.
In case the question comes up of how to make a new quill, you'll most likely
need a lathe and a mill.
Obviously, the mill would've made a good drill press.
I recall Ig selling a Clausing 8520 some time back. We all pleaded
with him to hang on to it, to no avail. Oh, well, with Ig's
scrounging ability, he can come up with another if he wants. As you
suggest, that'll be soon after he gets a taste with the dp.
Approximately 0.001-0.002". I tried that on Thursday night.
Yes... I have not decided what I want yet... Based on my drill press
experience (using a cheap DP and then buying a real DP and seeing the
difference), I do not want to buy a cheap mill/drill, if I spend money
I would like to buy something more serious. Meanwhile, my DP can
possibly serve me for some easy little tasks.
I never thought of this, but it makes sense. (less side load)
Thanks Don... I want to be a little conservative about having "too
many tools" that sit and do nothing, so I will see how much milling I
actually need to make to do things that I like to do, it may not be
all that much.
Yes. While idly surfing the web, I came across a remarkable contraption
which seems to be exactly what Iggy needs. It is called a "Drill Press
Milling Arm", and it purportedly "Provides a bearing for heavy lateral
thrust, allowing drill press to serve as an accurate vertical milling
A blurry picture of it can be found on the page
It's about one-third down on the page. Search the page for "Milling
Arm". They sell plans for it, but it seems simple enough that anyone
could make some plans for something similar himself, if need be.