Small verticle mill for home/hobby use

I keep running into times where I'd like to modify or make a part
woodworking or woodturing jigs so I'm thinking about getting a small
verticle mill.
This would only be for light metals like aluminum and more often than
not, corian, delrin, acrylics and other plastics.
I don't know anything about them as far as quality and so on so all I
know to do is ask for advice and recommendations.
Anything you can tell me will be appreciated.
Wheelz...
Reply to
Wheelz
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Reply to
Robert Swinney
Depends on the size of work you expect to machine and the material. Milling aluminum (in light passes compared to a full size mill) is no problem for any of the hobby benchtop mills. Some of the more popular brands are here:
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Ed
Reply to
cascadiadesign
You'll have a ball and do great things with anything you get. However, you are embarking on the equivelent of a drug induced black-out. How long befoer you report that you have joined the "Machine Tool of The Month Club" I can hear you now: "Just one more CNC lathe will be enough"
Reply to
Tom Gardner
I was lucky enough to pick up a Cowells vertical knee mill recently. They're made in the UK, and down in the Sherline size range, but very solid. The one I got is 20 years old, and fully tooled, but looks and feels like it was made last month.
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I just did my first project on it.. milling some aluminum. I've only done milling on Bridgeports before, so this is quite a step down in size, but the machine is very impressive so far. It feels very solid and precise and my project came out very well.
There was no documentation (manual) with the mill, but I emailed the company and they responded within a day to my queries. They also sent me a copy of their instruction sheet, which arrived today in the mail.
I'm interested to know who else in the states may have a Cowells.
-Bruno
"Wheelz" wrote:
Reply to
Bruno
Try
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for a nice complete home machine shop.
Reply to
JimInsolo
I'm also looking to buy a small mill for hobby work and looked at the sites recommended above.  They all _appear_ to sell some version of the Seig machines.  
A couple of days ago I went to a local Harbor Freight store to see some of these and found amazingly poor quality.  Now I am not an expert but it seems to me that the XY slides had an amazing amount of backlash so I wonder if this is poor design, poor assembly by HF or maybe I'm just expecting too much.
I'd really appreciate some advice without hijacking the thread.
AG 
Reply to
AG
You bring up the most important point that I have personally experienced....if at all possible, see, touch, taste? the machine before you buy it.
I too heard the siren's song of HF and the day I went to the store I was ready to BUY-BUY-BUY. After taking a few hours of looking at junky machines, one after another, I left without spending a dollar.
I have also visited the Grizzly showrooms...the machines are better but their Hu Flung Dung heritage is still quite apparent. One educational sidetrip is to go look at their scratch and dent room...of the machines that customers have returned...or to put it another way, machines Grizzly sent out and the customers REJECTED.
I have not seen a Taig in the flesh but I can assure you that if you can work within the Sherline's work envelope you will find it to be a quality machine.
TMT
AG wrote:
Reply to
Too_Many_Tools
=================== Old Marx brothers joke:
You want cheap? -- I got cheap! You want good? -- I got good! You want good and cheap? -- I no got good and cheap!
Although their quality is improving, PRC machines tend to be "kits" which the new owner must carefully clean, adjust and possibly rework before these are ready to run. Indeed, because of the tendency to leave casting sand and other abrasives, simply cycling a machine under power before you clean it may cause damage.
I also have suspicions that the machines are inspected/sorted/graded after production but before painting/badging/packaging, and the major brand name customers such as Grizzle get the pick of the litter. The crafty Chinese having discovered the crazy Americans will buy anything if the price is low enough, sell the rejects and seconds to the [unnamed] deep-discounters rather than melt these down and start over.
A contributing factor is that Harbor Freight is a volume deep discounter, and the clerks are not known for their marketing savvy. I have visited many HF stores, and uniformly the display machines are (1) As they came out of the box [see comments above on PRC machine "kits"] with a kerosine "slosh job" to remove the grease, or (2) returned machines [I have *NEVER* seen a HF store where you could run a machine under power]. Returned machines generally have a better clean-up than out-of-the box display units. Because of the clientele at most HF stores, display units live a very hard life, and rapidly lose handles, caps, etc. This may also include gibs.
The Tieg, Sherline, etc. machines are remarkable values, but they have aluminum wear surfaces, which may not be that much of a problem or concern, given their typical light loadings and low duty cycles. Sherline and possibly some of the others, offers an easy upgrade/retrofit to cnc control.
What you may want to do is decide what types of things you will [want to] be machining, and buy your equipment based on this, rather than buying your equipment and then determing what you can machine.
What ever machine you get is almost certain to be what we used to call a "Ma Bell stripper" with absolutly minimal capabilities. You will have to "invest" considerably more money in [or time to make] the tools, tool holders, atttachments, gauges, jigs. fixtures, vises, etc. to be able to do useful work.
I don't know which lathe you have, but if you are not anticipating a large volume of milling work, you should at least consider purchasing a lathe milling attachment. Basically, this vertical slide/vise that converts your lathe into a clunky horizontal mill, which may be more than adequate for your needs/parts.
For a how-to book and discussion of lathe milling see #5 in the workshop practice series, "Milling Operations in the Lathe" by Tubal Cain. This is a Brit book, but available in the US at several locations including:
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For limited use you can buy an inexpensive right angle iron for 15-20$ from Enco and mount your lathe compound to provide vertical movement. You will also need to rig a vise. This appears to have been a common dodge in the early days of machining when iron was expensive and people worked cheap.
Lathe milling adapters are still made in the USA by Palgren one source
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come in two sizes and provide an extra axis of rotation compared to some of the imports and there are many imported attachments including
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===> Safety Note: Using a drill chuck in the head stock to hold an endmill, face mill, fly cutter, etc. will result in *FAR MORE* excitement than you want. If you are going to do milling invest in a Morse taper endmill holder *WITH DRAW BAR* to fit your headstock. for example:
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can also make block that bolts on your faceplate that use a Weldon style setscrew, or even a 3/4 jaw chuck. DON'T USE A DRILL CHUCK!
Unka George (George McDuffee)
...and at the end of the fight is a tombstone white with the name of the late deceased, and the epitaph drear: ?A Fool lies here, who tried to hustle the East.?
Rudyard Kipling The Naulahka, ch. 5, heading (1892).
Reply to
F. George McDuffee
Thanks TMT and George.
The
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products are nice and attractive but appear to be too small for my needs while the Bridgeports are too large. I considered the idea of getting some milling done on the lathe but I am not too keen on this approach. My woodworking experience suggests that there is an advantage of having the right tool for the job.
I hope that there exists some milling machine out there that weighs less than 1000lb and is not made in the PRC. So far I have not found one.
AG
Reply to
AG
They exist but you will pay through the nose.
see
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Unka George (George McDuffee)
...and at the end of the fight is a tombstone white with the name of the late deceased, and the epitaph drear: ?A Fool lies here, who tried to hustle the East.?
Rudyard Kipling The Naulahka, ch. 5, heading (1892).
Reply to
F. George McDuffee
Now how about a Hommel UWG II (that thing is flexible!) or a GOLmatic?
Hommel (I think it still is built sometimes):
GOLmatic MD23 (a nice machine):
Nick
Reply to
Nick Müller
================= Thanks for the leads on both of these machines.
The Hommel paint job is interesting, I did not think the Germans had it in them. A "pimp your mill" paint job years before the TV shows...
I did not see any prices on the GOLmatic MD23 of the attachments/accessories, but I sure would like to have one. Most likely makes the Rusnok look cheap by comparison....
I forgot that I had a "lathe milling adapter" project up on the website. This used a compound [top slide] from an old series 5800 Clausing hangar queen. Was a class project for a student that had a larger Grizzley lathe but no milling machine. see:
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can also drill the angle blocks to fit your compound/topslide if you don't hase a spare.
Unka George (George McDuffee)
...and at the end of the fight is a tombstone white with the name of the late deceased, and the epitaph drear: ?A Fool lies here, who tried to hustle the East.?
Rudyard Kipling The Naulahka, ch. 5, heading (1892).
Reply to
F. George McDuffee
Rats, the Millrite is 1100-1200 pounds.
Steve
AG wrote:
Reply to
Steve Smith
Has anyone mentioned the Clausing 8520/8530 knee mills or the Rockwell knee mill yet?
Each of those weighs in at about 650-750 lbs.
Reply to
Mike Henry
Prazi Wabeco is another option... not cheap, but quite decent.
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I have a Cowells, which is smaller yet, but very solid. More of a watchmaker's mill.
snipped-for-privacy@dot.dot (AG) wrote:
Reply to
Bruno
Yes? Its in a very small foot print, easy to make a cart if you want it portable.
Planning on putting it upstairs on the bedroom balcony?
This is about the ONLY small dedicated vertical mill you are going to find that does real work. Unless you buy old german iron. Ever priced anything marked Deckel?
Gunner
"If I'm going to reach out to the the Democrats then I need a third hand.There's no way I'm letting go of my wallet or my gun while they're around."
"Democrat. In the dictionary it's right after demobilize and right before demode` (out of fashion). -Buddy Jordan 2001
Reply to
Gunner
Good mills with a tiny head not capable of doing heavy work without significant deflection.
Thou Id guess wed have to discuss what heavy work is..
Gunner
"If I'm going to reach out to the the Democrats then I need a third hand.There's no way I'm letting go of my wallet or my gun while they're around."
"Democrat. In the dictionary it's right after demobilize and right before demode` (out of fashion). -Buddy Jordan 2001
Reply to
Gunner
I'd say ugly.
I think it starts at 6000.- EUR ($ 7000).
Nick
Reply to
Nick Müller
You would estimate that the previously discussed Millrite is a more solid machine, than the clausing or rockwell? How about the Millrite in comparison, say, to a Benchmaster vertical?
Jim
Reply to
jim rozen

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