Milling machines

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Al_Messer
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Location: Mid Tenn.

Post by Al_Messer » Sat Jan 05, 2008 6:49 pm

O.K., I'm dumb---what is "the big red machine"?
Al Messer

"One nation, under God"

Harry Eales
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Location: North Durham, England.

Post by Harry Eales » Wed Jan 16, 2008 7:12 am

Hello hjhunter,

During the 1970-80's I did fitted scores of S&W revolver and Bo-mar low profile sights to Colt .45 Automatics ranging from original 1911's, 1911A1's through to Mk4 series 70. I never had a problem cutting the slides at all just using a HS steel end mills and dovetail cutters. All you need to do is get your speeds and feeds right. All I had to work with in those days was a Myford ML7 lathe with a milling attachment on the cross slide.

Regarding a small mill, I have one of the Chinese X2 minimills which sell for around $600.00 in the USA from HF, Grizzly and a few other outlets.
I fitted a Stirling Steele belt drive conversion from LMS (which does away with their main fault, i.e. broken plastic gears all together) which gives a much larger speed range.

Provided you use it within it's limitations they can do very accurate work, certainly to within 0.001"

It's not the cost of a Mill you have to worry about, it's all the other items you need like a milling vice, boring head, collets, cutting tools, rotary table, clamping kit, angle plate, etc, etc. These will often cost you more in total than the Mill itself.

There is a Yahoo Group devoted to this mill which is very helpful in it's use. One word of advice if I may, stay away from small mills with round column, it's virtually impossible to get repeat positioning of the tools if you have to raise the head.

I'm building a copy of a Sharps Borchardt single shot action on my X2 which a lot more complex than any sight fitting job on a pistol and it's going well. For pics see:-

http://s89.photobucket.com/albums/k206/ ... n_01/?sc=3

There's 4 pages of pictures if you have the time to look. Some jigs also made on my X2 are also shown. To enlarge any picture just click on it, then click the back button to return to the pics.

I know a lot of people decry the Chinese Mills, but they are very good value for money, they can do very accurate work as long as you tram the head, and keep the gibs correctly adjusted. They're not a high speed production machine, but for a home or semi pro gunsmith whey're well worth having.

Harry
Getting older is no fun, but not getting older is worse.

starr8719
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Re: Milling machines

Post by starr8719 » Mon May 17, 2010 4:10 pm

rob ,I own a harbor freight mini mill that I use for all my gun smithing need , i don't have all that much room either this little machine will do a fine job on dovetails ,I even made an octagon barrel from round stock for a remington rolling block 30" barrel it just takes more time than on the bigger machine and costs a heck of a lot less I also set mine up for auto feed for very fine finnishes. good luck ....... gunny ray.

Metalshaper
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Location: KC area

Re: Milling machines

Post by Metalshaper » Wed May 19, 2010 9:04 am

I even made an octagon barrel from round stock for a remington rolling block 30" barrel >>>

Gunny ray,

would you happen to have any pics of your set up?? I have an X2 and have contemplated a oct/round or a full, tapered Octagon project.. Just wondering how you set things up??

Thanks

Respect Always
Metalshaper/Jonathan

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Rex
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Location: DFW Texas

Re: Milling machines

Post by Rex » Wed Feb 02, 2011 6:33 pm

Any mill from a minimill on up will do what you listed.
Buy a minimill now and use it until you get a bigger shop, then sell it and upgrade. you will not lose any money on the resale.
If you want something a bit better, get the X3 variant sold by Grizzly and others.

Long Tom
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Re:

Post by Long Tom » Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:53 am

seal killer wrote:Cpt Ordnance and Rob--

I am in about the same position as both of you: All of my work is small; anitique firearms, models, and a bunch of other small stuff. I also have to get the mill through the 30" wide basement door (walkout though, no steps) across the finished part, and into the back part where my shop is located.

Altough, I am still THINKING, I am looking at the Grizzly G3103. (If you hit the link, it is at the bottom of the page.)

Tell me what you think.

--Bill
I have a 3102, about 3 months old with about an hour on it. Same thing w/o the power feed. I bought it because... well, long story. I ended up with a much bigger mill because my available space turned out to be much larger than I'd thought.

Anyway it's for sale. I'm in Oregon.

As to the machine itself, it certainly appears to be a neat little mill! The ways glide smoothly. I haven't pushed it at ALL in the minimal use it has, so I can't speak to where it'd run out of steam. For most operations just taking light cuts will solve many issues that a small machine might have. That makes it commercially un-competitive but for your use, who cares, right?

I may keep it on the theory that I can set it up for specific jobs. But probably not. The mill I bought right after this one is a 3300 lb beast with a DRO and powerfeed so I've just used it to make the stuff I've done so far in my shop.

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alphawolf45
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Location: South Central Arkansas

Re: Re:

Post by alphawolf45 » Wed Jan 18, 2012 5:42 pm

Me too, I have a second manual mill ( a 2700lb machine) that I never use.. I dont find a second manual mill to have much utility value.. I wouldnt keep a smaller and less capable machine unless it may later be used as platform to build a cnc mill.. I have big-ish CNC's (4000 and 5000lbs) but salivate at idea to have a small cnc mill for engraving ..
I may keep it on the theory that I can set it up for specific jobs. But probably not. The mill I bought right after this one is a 3300 lb beast with a DRO and powerfeed so I've just used it to make the stuff I've done so far in my shop.

jim1crg
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Re: Milling machines

Post by jim1crg » Fri Jan 20, 2012 8:08 pm

Rob,

I have had the small Clausing machine and now own a Burke Millrite. The Millrite is a significantly larger machine and I prefer that. I found the Clausing to be small enough to be easily moved by simply manhandling it whereas with the Millrite I use a prybar. The Clausing also has a 110 volt motor which I preferred since the Millrite requires a phase converter which does not run the mill exactly as it should through the whole speed spectrum. Judging from your mill requirements I think you would find the Clausing to work very well for you. A while back there were several on ebay.
hghunter wrote:I am new to milling machines, though fairly familiar with lathe work.
How large of a mill does one require for such things as cutting dovetails in T/C Contender barrels, installing low-profile sights on model 1911's and similar work. My shop is quite small, and I don't have the space for an overly large machine.

Thanks,
Rob

Harold_V
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Re: Milling machines

Post by Harold_V » Sat Jan 21, 2012 12:17 am

jim1crg wrote:The Clausing also has a 110 volt motor which I preferred since the Millrite requires a phase converter which does not run the mill exactly as it should through the whole speed spectrum.
Are you running a static converter?

Harold
Wise people talk because they have something to say. Fools talk because they have to say something.

my65pan
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Location: Arizona

Re: Milling machines

Post by my65pan » Sun Jan 22, 2012 2:23 pm

Harold_V wrote:
jim1crg wrote:The Clausing also has a 110 volt motor which I preferred since the Millrite requires a phase converter which does not run the mill exactly as it should through the whole speed spectrum.
Are you running a static converter?

Harold
That's what I was about to ask. Static converters just run two of three legs so you lose 30% of your power.

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