What is a small milling machine to look for?

What manufacturer should I look for if I want a "hobby" milling machine? Something with a 6x6 or 8x8 (inches) table?
FBt
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Sherline is well thought of.
A lot of folks buy Grizzly. Very inexpensive, consider this machine "a work in progress". You'll have to modify and improve on it after purchase. Tons of how to articles on this subject.
A little bigger than your request, but Jet makes a good value milling machine.
Karl
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On Sun, 24 May 2009 11:26:44 -0500, "Karl Townsend"

Don't know much about it, other than the latest Wholesale Tool flier is the first I have seen it anywhere:
Hobby Milling & Drilling Machine (JET)
Regular Price    $579.00
Description:
-Cast iron design -Powerful 150-watt DC motor -Variable speed with two-step gear box -Left hand spindle rotation allows for tapping -Right/left tilt table column for flexible work -Compound table precision machined with adjustable dovetail guides -Micro adjustable spindle downfeed -Drawbar -Keyless chuck with MT2 arbor -Drilling and milling guard
Product Specifications
End Mill Capacity:    3/8" Spindle Speed(s):    Variable (100-1,000/200-2,000 rpm) Spindle Taper:        MT2/M10 Spindle Distance:    To column, 5-1/2"; to table, 8-1/4"             max. Face Mill Capacity:    3/4" Table Size:        5-3/4" x 9-1/2" Motor:            150W DC Dimensions:        24-3/4" H x 11-3/4" W x 21-1/2" L Net Weight:        88 lbs. Drilling Capacity:    3/8"
See:
http://www.wttool.com/product-exec/product_id/43599/nm/Hobby_Milling_Drilling_Machine_JET_
--
Leon Fisk
Grand Rapids MI/Zone 5b
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On Sun, 24 May 2009 14:28:59 -0400, the infamous Leon Fisk

(I didn't see the OP.)

For $80 less, HF's 44991 has 4 times the power and a bit more size. http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?ItemnumberD991
- Press HERE to arm. (Release to detonate.) -----------
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This is a near copy of the old Clausing knee mill with an R8 spindle: http://www.grizzly.com/outlet/Shop-Fox-Vertical-Mill-10-x-34-/T20829
http://www.lathes.co.uk/clausing%20vertical/ The copy seemed more capable of a heavy cut than my 8525.
I had a similar Enco 100-5100 in a model shop I ran. The less- important small parts were poorly made but otherwise it was a decent mill for prototyping microwave radio components. Mills this size will fit into places too small for a 1 ton Bridgeport.
jsw
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On that particular example the belt cover hinge was weak and the feed handle dials didn't turn. I opened up the dial bores (with a file) and added a thumbscrew. The only other annoyance was the 8 TPI feedscrews.
I never pushed it hard enough to make the frame vibrate, which is the cutting rate limit on my Clausing. When that happens switching to a shell mill with more teeth sometimes raises the limit to motor power or belt slip.
jsw
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wrote:> jsw
Good points.
And in my opinion minor mods to an already operational mill.
To the OP, the approach I took (and the one that this group suggested...thanks guys) is to take a hard look at what you expect to use your mill for.
What you are trying to determine is what size of working envelope that you need which translates into how big a table and Z height you need.
In my case I have small mills (Sherline/Unimat) for tiny work and extreme portability, an Enco 6x26 modified with a 7" riser and a Burke Millrite for medium sized work (both mills still portable by one man) and finally a Bridgeport for larger work (limited portability at best...ever carry a Bridgeport up three stories to an apartment? ;<) ).
Anything larger I farm out to a local machine shop since the need is seldom.
Also I have a healthy selection of horizontal/vertical Atlas, Burke and Rusnok mills dedicated to specific applications.
Does one need all these mills?
The answer is likely "No" but in my case they cover a range of work envelopes that gives me convenience and flexibility....and you have to remember my nym is Too_Many_Tools. ;<)
TMT ___________________________________________________
speaking of too many tools
a friend of mine has a K&T #2H (horizontal) mill, in southern CA, that he has decided he can't keep - figures around $450 would be a fair price - that might make a nice mill if someone can move it out -
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On Sun, 24 May 2009 11:26:44 -0500, "Karl Townsend"

On the other hand...with the THOUSANDS of commercial machine shops folding up...industrial milling machines are getting to be cheap...like $500 for a Bridgeport..or $150 for a Vernon....
Gunner
"Lenin called them "useful idiots," those people living in liberal democracies who by giving moral and material support to a totalitarian ideology in effect were braiding the rope that would hang them. Why people who enjoyed freedom and prosperity worked passionately to destroy both is a fascinating question, one still with us today. Now the useful idiots can be found in the chorus of appeasement, reflexive anti-Americanism, and sentimental idealism trying to inhibit the necessary responses to another freedom-hating ideology, radical Islam"
Bruce C. Thornton, a professor of Classics at American University of Cal State Fresno
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RUSNOK is a great little mill

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Would Taig suit you?
--
Michael Koblic,
Campbell River, BC
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wrote:

Well, yeah, but what about the quality? I'm sure there's a *reason* it's quite a bit cheaper.
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wrote:

why are you guys debating these relatively low quality chinese mini-mills when there are nice manual machines like Rusnok (and several others) that fit nicely on a bench and have actual quality components - they are available used for close to the same price as the new harbor freight/jet/whatever machines. There is also an outfit that sells a small CNC mill in an enclosre that is around 2 ft cubed, and you can get it with a laser (if I remember right) profile machine and software for under 2 grand
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Please list the brands you are suggesting. I can Google, but without names it's a bit difficult ;-)
Rusnok looks good...
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wrote:

Rockwell, Benchmaster, Rotex, Clausing, Senior, Buffalo.
Any individual old machine could be a treasure or a money pit depending on condition. They are available because somebody doesn't want them any more. In the ~20 years since I bought the Clausing I haven't seen another good one for sale, or a single Rusnok.
jsw
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Bill Noble wrote:

Because they are never available when you look for them, at least not anywhere around driving distance from North Texas. I have never seen a Ruznok for sale anywhere within 500 miles from here, nor under $1000, or I'd have it in my shop. Same with several other the oterh brands. So now I have an Enco mill-drill and a Seig minimill.
But yeah, I'd trade them both for a BP that isn't clapped out.
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well, for what it's worth, I bought my Abene mill from a machinery seller in Texas and had it shipped to California (but the Abene weighs in close to 3500 pounds) - there is a pretty good machinery seller just east of DFW - name escapes me right now. And, I have a friend who has a couple of mills to dispose of, one a K&T #2, I think - but that's a bit big for a "hobby" mill. When I was looking for mills, I found bridgeports for $500 to $5,000 - the lower end of the price scale would not be worth getting for free - too much damage, too many pieces missing - but for around a grand, there were a lot of them in "OK" condition, and as you pushed $1500, you could get really nice ones. I've just got to believe you aren't looking in the right places - Texas is pretty big...... (oh, you probably knew that.....)
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On Tue, 26 May 2009 23:17:27 -0700, "Bill Noble"

For the last couple years..decent BPs in California have been going for $1k. Now that manufacturing is going straight into the toilet...they can be had for free-$500-$800
Hang in there for another 6 months and they will be worth less than the shipping from Cali
Gunner
"Lenin called them "useful idiots," those people living in liberal democracies who by giving moral and material support to a totalitarian ideology in effect were braiding the rope that would hang them. Why people who enjoyed freedom and prosperity worked passionately to destroy both is a fascinating question, one still with us today. Now the useful idiots can be found in the chorus of appeasement, reflexive anti-Americanism, and sentimental idealism trying to inhibit the necessary responses to another freedom-hating ideology, radical Islam"
Bruce C. Thornton, a professor of Classics at American University of Cal State Fresno
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    --I gotta say that little Jet looks pretty good. Don't need one but it's important to note it's an American brand. Prolly got the castings overseas but it's most likely assembled here.
--
"Steamboat Ed" Haas : Steel, Stainless, Titanium:
Hacking the Trailing Edge! : Guaranteed Uncertified Welding!
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