What is a small milling machine to look for?

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
Reply to
Jim Wilkins
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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? ;
Reply to
Bill Noble
--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.
Reply to
steamer
Not highly likely, no...some stuff is but they're pretty close-chested about manufacturing facilities and what actually might be US-made 'cuz it gives 'em complete flexibility to change at any whim.
Jet, Powermatic and Wilton at least are now owned by an outfit called the Walter Meier Manufacturing Americas which is subsidiary organization of the Walter Meier Group.
Powermatic used to be all US-made in McMinnville, TN--in fact, I picked up my Model 66 and Model 27 TS and spindle shaper there directly back in the early '80s and got the cooks tour of the facility. I think that facility is now completely (or nearly so) shuttered--back then there were piles nearly 50-ft high of castings in the yard curing before being brought in for final machining, assembly...
Reply to
dpb
The Grizzly G0704 is very popular small mill for the CNC conversion guys because the square column allows for raising and lower the head without loss of X Y position and no need for laser pointer tricks.
Its my understanding that its similar to the BF20, and the BF20L is a popular longer table longer travel version. There is a ton of information out there on them

Reply to
Bob La Londe
I have used the JET round column mill/drill many years ago, and I currently own a minimill like this
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made by Sieg in China.
The JET is definitely more powerful and perhaps a tad stiffer, but there are now also some larger minimills also made by Sieg:
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There were a few things that bugged me about the JET. Manually moving the belt on the pulleys to change speed can get old very quickly. If you are doing some quick drilling , you usually just end-up putting-up with a non-optimal speed. The other issue was there was no provision (in the model I used at least) to prevent the spindle from rotating as the draw bar was loosened or tightened. You had to grab things with a rag. This was one from the late 1980's. I hope they have fixed that by now. The final issue is there was very large backlash in the table.
As for the Sieg minimill, it is adequate for the small parts I use it for. Of course when you get it, you have to clean it, lube it and align it. One full turn of the table leadscrew is 0.0625", so I attached some of the cheap, battery-powered linear scales to the axes. This makes it much easier to use.
Reply to
anorton
Except you can't, it's discontinued. Who knows what they go for in the secondary market if you can find one.
Reply to
John Haskey
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Yeah,.but you live where there's been a lot of machine shops and industrial activity. There's a whole section of the country where if it doesn't go on a tractor, it doesn't exist. Have never seen a Bridgeport for sale around here. HF mini-mills are about it for local machine tool availability.
Stan
Reply to
Stanley Schaefer
Ayup thats indeed true. Now folks can either do road trips, or pay shipping. There are indeed plenty of machines available for very good prices.
Gunner
The methodology of the left has always been:
1. Lie 2. Repeat the lie as many times as possible 3. Have as many people repeat the lie as often as possible 4. Eventually, the uninformed believe the lie 5. The lie will then be made into some form oflaw 6. Then everyone must conform to the lie
Reply to
Gunner
Price and availability is an issue in Yuma as well. I do know where there is a working Bridgeport CNC (Haidenhein Controls) for sale locally, but its not a steal. $3500. Not bad, but not great and I have no clue about the quality of the mechanicals of a machine that age. I had to drive several hundred miles to pick up my Hurco, which admittedly I got a smoking price on ($500 partially working), but that is an exception.
From what I have seen the Northern Midwest seems to have a lot of machines available compared to some other places.

Reply to
Bob La Londe

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