want a milling machine

Discussion on all milling machines vertical & horizontal, including but not limited to Bridgeports, Hardinge, South Bend, Clausing, Van Norman, including imports.

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spro
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Re: want a milling machine

Post by spro » Tue Feb 05, 2019 1:47 am

We are living in a time where the forefathers built the machines we own. I don't mean everyone because starting fresh is a different thing. Can't get too hung up on an ancient machinery but it is history and pedigree to an earlier time. The machines outlived the people who built them. That is testimony to the fine work they did.

Lewayne
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Re: want a milling machine

Post by Lewayne » Thu Feb 21, 2019 8:47 pm

OK, I've been researching some. Still looking for something small in a used heavier machine, but also looking at new or slightly used home style machines. A Rong Fu Mill drill style unit with the round column is in the running because of the price. Around $1900 new. I understand the alignment issues and it appears that that can be taken care of, to some point, with a guide rod on the side. Not sure how effective that is though. This style machine just looks heavier and more substantial to me though. Is that true? , or am I full of it (as I am many times).
are the dove tail back machines in that same price range as heavy duty ? Do both machines have about the same capacity to perform work? Does one or the other have limitations I'm unaware of? Alignment issues aside for this discussion. Space is and issue. The RF unit will it into my space just fine. But I 'd have trouble fitting in a good sized knee mill. Also as I'm just playing around with it anyway that's maybe just too much machine. Thoughts will be appreciated.

spro
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Re: want a milling machine

Post by spro » Thu Feb 21, 2019 11:34 pm

If you buy a round column, you will be criticized forever. Some worked very well and others didn't. The advantages are that the head unit could swing to either side or even backward to drill something but it would always have to be well bolted down. The dove tail type columns have advantage to tilt the head L-R .

Harold_V
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Re: want a milling machine

Post by Harold_V » Fri Feb 22, 2019 2:29 am

I think I'd have more than a little trouble paying $1,900 for a round column machine. Guide rod, or not, every time you move the head you'll have to re-establish the relationship between the part and the spindle, assuming you hope to retain a degree of precision. Considering their limited quill travel, that's going to be quite often. Not fatal, but it's horribly inconvenient.

It is highly unlikely you'll be able to buy a mill/drill that will perform reasonably well without expending some time and effort on the machine. The column, be it round or rectangular/square with ways, will most likely not be perfectly erect, so when you move the head you'll lose orientation to some degree. The condition can be addressed for both designs, but with the round column, you still have problems because the head rotates when it is unlocked to be moved, so think long and hard before springing for a round column. Once you correct the way type column, you'll have a better machine. That type column is not known to move under a heavy cut, very unlike the round column.

One tip---make sure your choice has power feed on the quill. That isn't a luxury--it's pretty much mandatory if you hope to be able to bore with the machine. Doing so by hand is rarely acceptable, and is a total nuisance.

Mill/drills make very nice drill presses. They are a serious compromise for milling, although they can be used successfully.

H
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spro
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Re: want a milling machine

Post by spro » Fri Feb 22, 2019 3:31 am

Power fed quill is a different, more expensive machine. I believe he wants it to fit within certain space.

Lewayne
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Re: want a milling machine

Post by Lewayne » Fri Feb 22, 2019 2:53 pm

I hear you guys, I do, but I do have both space requirements and cost requirements. Getting far outside of either, pretty much squelches the whole idea.
Problem is at that price range there are a number of trade offs. One can find old, and old being the operative word, Bridge ports for little but the shipping price for that weight is ridiculous for me. I went and looked at one here in Houston the other day and that thing was monster huge. And by the time they're cheap, I'm pretty sure the wear is massive. All alone I really can't even rebuild a machine like that. I looked into the little Bench master on ebay right now but it's way to high and seems to have a long list of limitations. The small clausings also have several limitations, one being I;ve never seen one. Houston is not a great used machinery market like the east coast, where a factory is always shutting down. Also I'm retired and 70 so I'm not in any hurry to make setups. I'm not producing anything.

What do you guys thing of the Precision Matthews 25. too light? I want to make tool parts, bike parts. stuff like that.I'm not making oil field valves or anything.

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SteveHGraham
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Re: want a milling machine

Post by SteveHGraham » Fri Feb 22, 2019 4:36 pm

I saw a neat solution for the round mill problem. Some guy mounted a laser on his mill. By looking at the place where the laser hit the opposite wall, he was able to make very accurate adjustments. Supposedly. The idea is that a tiny error on one side of the room looks huge when it's projected onto a wall far away.
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Lewayne
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Re: want a milling machine

Post by Lewayne » Fri Feb 22, 2019 5:05 pm

There a couple solutions to the round column machines. Yet still everyone who owns one says if they could they would own a Bridge port.
Its the "if I could" part where the problem lye's. lol I have about 4' of space and about $2000 to get a machine, I can use, into my garage.
I don't have a thousand bucks to get it to my doorstep on top of some tooling and a machine.

Which is why I was looking for answers to the questions I asked, more than the good (I'm sure) advice to find a Bridgeport. nothing else will do.
And again, I do understand where you are coming from. I do own a lot of woodworking equipment I've used to earn a living for 40 years. Most of it's top of the line stuff, for a small shop. I own a Delta 10" not a big 14" Oliver table saw for instance.

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SteveHGraham
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Re: want a milling machine

Post by SteveHGraham » Fri Feb 22, 2019 9:53 pm

Have you looked for something like a Rockwell or Millrite?
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spro
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Re: want a milling machine

Post by spro » Sat Feb 23, 2019 12:05 am

Since OP had mentioned the PM 25 I took a few looks at it. The overall reviews are favorable. At Amazon they are sold out-or were, from Quality Machine. The weight is a little shy at 350 lbs. but the head doesn't wander far from direct to the table and base support. Some or at least one has a DC motor The rigid column allows support in the Z plane. The recommended max of end mill is 1/2" , speed max 2550 rpm.

Lewayne
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Re: want a milling machine

Post by Lewayne » Sat Feb 23, 2019 1:53 am

I am keeping and eye out for a Rockwell, Millrite, Clausing maybe. any suggestions for looking for old machinery?

jcfx
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Re: want a milling machine

Post by jcfx » Sat Feb 23, 2019 3:29 pm

2K isn't much of a budget when you factor the mill and tooling, I budgeted 4K when I bought my PM 932 PDF with a little wiggle room.

If you're looking for older mills I would highly recommend narrowing down the smaller mills by looking into what the parts
availability is in the used market ( ebay ). And looking to see what kind of repairs are being done to them in other machining related forums.
I've done CLR ( clean, lubricate, replace ) work on my EMCO mills and recently helped a buddy do some work on his Cinti mill
both experiences turned me off old machines because of parts scarcity, or discontinued parts as in the case of spindle bearings for my Emco mill.

Precision Matthews seems to offer the best bang for the buck, Grizzly's closest equivalent to the PM 25 is their G704, but no variable speed
or motorized Z axis on the Grizzly model but it comes with a stand where as the PM 25 is optional.

Whether you go used or new be prepared to do some initial maintenance work on a new machine, mine came with a kludged speed shift arm
and a bearing shield that fell off or was taken off with the shield surrounding the shaft and laying on top of a gear ( ?!? ).

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