I am looking to replace my little Clarke Micro Mill. I have looked a the Warco Major machine and wondered what people think of them? Havin looked around the Major machine seems to offer a good size capabilit for the cost. Main concerns were if it is poorly designed like th Micro Mill where if you centre the Chuck to the Table, the Tabl overhangs the dovetails and offers no rigidity. Looking at the picture this doesn't seem to be the case. Any help much appreciated. Cheers, Colin Heat
sell these milling machines which are really unbranded Sieg machines and cost a good bit less. Warco, Chester, Sieg - are all variations of the same thing. I'll have this model and a higher spec. one in about a month. I won't go into details, as this is not a forum for advertising, but just to say that I have plenty of happy customers. Get in touch if you'd like to know more. Hugh
Colin hi, the Major is as you say a machine with a decent capability and an apparent very reasonable cost (=A3900ish). It's major (sorry couldn't resist) drawback to more recent thinking is the round column design. The problem with this is that if you need to change from short to long tooling you need to move the head up/down the column and there is nothing that retains the spindle register. The head is free to rotate and the spindle therefore needs to be re-centred with the work. Have a look at this thread for various comments on round column machines:
Having said that, a lot of superb work has been produced on round column machines. I have used the RF25 for many years and found it an excellent workhorse. I am in the process of changing mine for a much larger machine and although I will buy another small bench machine it will most likely be an X3 from ArcEuroTrade. The main reason is the rigidity and the column design and of course with a bigger machine available I can accept the more limited capability.
There have been several "systems" published to maintain head register when moving a round column design and they seem to range from simple lazer sighting systems to more complex alterations to the machine to provide guide bars etc. I have no experience of any of them but they obviously work for some.
I suppose the real choice is between the size range you want to accomodate for the budget you wish to spend, in this context the round column machines offer the best size/cost option that I have found. Even the much larger VMC machine has less table capacity than the major at almost twice the price. The GH Universal type has more capacity at
585mm x 220mm but at a price of =A31400. If the budget is limited (when is it not?) and if the capacity required is important you will find it hard to beat the Major type machine but do think about how you will retain register when (not if) you need to move the head during a job. If capacity is key but the budget a bit more flexible then have a look at the other designs, square column/knee type. Of course the room you have available could also be a factor. If ultimate capacity is not key then have a look at the X3 type machine it is hard to beat for rigidity/cost and is capable of some serious work for a small machine.
I always find the "what to buy" decision difficult but experience has shown me that careful investigation and serious thought on what I really need rather than what I think I want helps a bit. I suppose I must also say that if you have the knowledge and are confident of picking a good machine and room is not limited then for that budget you could consider some serious second hand machines.
Colin, hope I haven't confused the issue too much as my aim was merely to balance some of the advice you will get. The best way I have found after many mistakes is to look at them all and make myself a list of capabilities that I won't compromise on and another "nice to have" list. You will be surprised at how much seemingly identical machines can vary in the detail.