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.

Moderators: Harold_V, GlennW

pete
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Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2009 6:04 am

Re: want a milling machine

Post by pete » Sat Feb 23, 2019 6:22 pm

Your first priority when looking at any mill either new or used would imo be the spindle taper it uses. Some of the older machines used some less common tapers and now could be expensive and possibly hard to now find tooling to fit. Mose Taper collets work at best ok. I've owned both a MT 3 and R8 taper mills. Hands down the R8 is much better for getting the collets to release so the spindle bearings see a lot less shock loads. And if you can't find any tool in R8 and find it cheaper than MT 2 or 3 it's a sure bet you don't need it. Yes there's better and far more rigid tapers, but you wont find those in the smaller mills. Used tooling in R8 is a great deal more common than MT tooling as well.

Shorter X,Y axis travels can mostly be worked around if you really have to. Running out of Z axis daylight is a lot tougher problem. Adding up the Z axis height of a vise on the table, any work piece height above the vise jaws, enough room to change tools like from a collet to a drill chuck and it's shank and getting various drill lengths into that chuck eats up a whole lot more room than one would first think. A mill is a tooling money pit as well. Over time you'll easily invest more in that tooling than the mills initial cost. Were all subject to what we can spend, but the average advise of buying the largest and best condition machine (if used) is pretty much true. Very good work can be done with those round column mills, but doing so takes a great deal more skill and patience than the average entry level person who's just starting out will usually have.

Lewayne
Posts: 40
Joined: Sun Feb 03, 2019 4:02 pm

Re: want a milling machine

Post by Lewayne » Sun Feb 24, 2019 10:32 pm

Boy, you guys are talking me out of doing anything at all. maybe I shoule just sell the lathe and do something else with my time.

Harold_V
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Location: Onalaska, WA USA

Re: want a milling machine

Post by Harold_V » Mon Feb 25, 2019 2:37 am

Don't let the comments discourage you, but it's important for you to understand the things that have been discussed. It may save you from spending money on something that you won't like once you have a better understanding of machining. It's also VERY common to outgrow machines as you gain experience, and that will happen all too quickly if you sacrifice too much in the beginning. You'll never regret owning something of quality, but you are almost guaranteed to resent any money spent on what might be considered junk equipment.

It might help you to know that all the talking in the world won't expose you to the realities of running machines, and it gets worse when you must work to rigid standards. There's a reason why machinists have a lengthy apprenticeship. Just give everything said considerable thought, and don't try to second guess guys with experience and good credentials. That just doesn't work well.

Owning and operating machines isn't cheap. You can expect to spend a lot of money over your learning curve, but if you find it consumes you, you'll not resent the money spent. By contrast, if it's not really a passion with you, or you don't really have a sense of direction, maybe just thinking it might be fun, you could be well served by seeking other ways to spend your time. You have to search your soul and decide what's important to you.

For me, it's a no-brainer. Much as I don't enjoy running my machines (burned out from years of long hours), I am really pleased to have the ability to make or repair parts when they are no longer available, or when the cost is prohibitive, and all the more pleased to be able to build the things I need or want. Having machines allows me to pursue my creativity and curiosity. I no longer make money with my machines, but the money and convenience of owning them is the reward that keeps me interested.

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

Lewayne
Posts: 40
Joined: Sun Feb 03, 2019 4:02 pm

Re: want a milling machine

Post by Lewayne » Mon Feb 25, 2019 12:10 pm

OK, here's the deal. I've owned many high quality machines for woodworking. still do. A small shop like mine can afford and have space for a 10 inch Delta unisaw. It's a good saw but not a big cast iron Oliver for instance. IT does the job though. Trust me here I do understand the cost of tooling. I have a South Bend 9c lathe and I've bought a decent amount of tooling for it. I get the cost. I'm 70 right now. I'm retired. I'm not going to make any money doing metal work. I have a Lotus 7 I built from scratch. I used the lathe tor some things while I built the car. there's still things I'd like to do that would require a milling machine.My son wants to build a electric bike I could help with that, a mill would be handy. I just want to play around with it. I have a corner of my woodworking shop, which is in my back yard,I'll carve out for a "small metal shop". space is an issue. I have a little money right now from doing a job for my son. he's an architect. I did the reception desk, a coffee table, and some outdoor benches for a hotel he was working on. So while I have a small amount of money to play with I'd like to get a usable mill. So the question I asked , that never was answered, is Would a round column unit be a beefier machine than say a Grizzly 704, both in my price range. Just because the grizzly has the dovetail ways doesn't necessarily make it better. So I was asking. I think I can deal with the shortcomings of the round column unit. I do want something that will cut steel for tool making. small stuff. But I'd like to get the best machine I can. A Bridgeport would be nothing but a headache getting it into my shop. Then eventually it becomes another problem getting it out of there. And one I could afford would need a ton of work. I have a number of machines in the shop tht I'd like to do some restoration right now, and a working mill could be helpful. So that's where I'm at.

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NP317
Posts: 1918
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Location: Northern Oregon

Re: want a milling machine

Post by NP317 » Mon Feb 25, 2019 8:58 pm

Get a mill! Either round column of not. Your experience and smarts will help you use whatever you get.
Make Parts. Have Fun. Don't wait!

I started with a small round-column mill, and built a successful 1/8th scale locomotive using it and my Atlas 12-36 lathe.
Yea, my big heavy rigid Bridgeport clone is far superior, but I found ways to make the small mill meet my needs. Very satisfying.
Go for it!
~RN

Harold_V
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Location: Onalaska, WA USA

Re: want a milling machine

Post by Harold_V » Tue Feb 26, 2019 12:59 am

Yep! I agree with RN. Go for it. Make a decision, then live with what you get.
Don't struggle with the idea that a Bridgeport is the perfect machine. They are nice, I admit (I own one now, the second of two I purchased, new), but they are FAR from great machines. In fact, some of the clones are likely better, if for no other reason, they have more weight. What makes a BP so desirable is it's flexibility---it can be altered to be used in all manner of unusual positions, very unlike some of the better mills, some of which you may have not heard of because they weren't cheap, and were not sold in abundance, as the BP was. Gorton is one of them. A far better machine, but often limited because the head may not tilt or nod.

RN is not the only person to have used a round column with success. One of my dear friends, Art Crisp, now deceased, was a tool maker. He owned a LeBlond lathe, but got by for years with a round column mill/drill. It was eventually replaced by a BP clone with power feeds on all three axes, but he built a very nice Pacific with the round column machine. It just takes more time because it doesn't have the capacity, and has the negative feature of the head losing registration when it is moved. That's a big deal for me, and I worked in the trade as a production machinist as well as a tool maker, for 16 of the 26 years running my small commercial shop.

Don't let age interfere with your decisions. I'll turn 80 in July, and I'm still working daily on setting up my shop. Can't speak for you, but I must have a reason to get out of bed every morning (ok, noon, but you get the idea). Even if I never finish the shop, or never use it for the intended purpose, I earned the right to pursue my dream by working long, hard hours for years on end.

Don't let the facts spoil your plans. We've all had to face them. Each of us has made decisions we hope we can live with.

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

Lewayne
Posts: 40
Joined: Sun Feb 03, 2019 4:02 pm

Re: want a milling machine

Post by Lewayne » Tue Feb 26, 2019 1:25 am

thanks guys, all of you. like Harold says I have to keep moving, if I don't have a project i pace the floors.My project for the moment is re working my shop after years of neglect. I won't tell the story right now. but my needs have changed and I need to be able to walk around in there. I used to know an old guy, seemed old to me at the time anyway, who was a retired machinist. Had done large oil field work. Still had his shop on the opposite lot from his house, behind. He came into the shop around 10:00 and worked till about 3:00 doing small repairs for guys like me with a wood working shop. Didn't charge much and kept busy. Said he was hiding from the grim reaper. Everybody he knew that retired and sat around and died pretty soon. Sadly he's gone now too though.

ERIE S-1 BERKSHIRES
Posts: 53
Joined: Sun Jan 25, 2009 12:43 pm
Location: Barberton Ohio

Re: want a milling machine

Post by ERIE S-1 BERKSHIRES » Tue Feb 26, 2019 12:45 pm

Harbor Freight has a round column one for the lowest price you can even get a! 20% off the price coupon, 99% of those little Mills are made from the same castings! But I found a beautiful Bridgeport 48" table power feed, digital readouts, not worn out but minus the head for $900

Lewayne
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Joined: Sun Feb 03, 2019 4:02 pm

Re: want a milling machine

Post by Lewayne » Tue Feb 26, 2019 1:27 pm

I know, I just found these yesterday, the Harbor Freight 9 speed 6x26 knee mill. That looks even better than the large round tube mill. anybody know anything about those? Limitations over the round column mills? I know it needs a riser block to get the height table to cutter up some.
Aside from being a HF tool.I know I'd have to take it completely apart and go through the whole thing to get it in working order. They are sort of a kit. Bigger, but kind of like buying a hand plane from any manufacturer.
IF I waited to get the best coupons and discounts it would be even better. On price, which is one of my limitations. That and space, and I only have single phase power.
I found a Bridgport for $1400 yesterday. but then it's too big and has 240 3 phase motors. So by the time I get it hauled and installed here and a phase convertor. the cost starts going up. then there all the repairs it probably needs, and the time that would take me. but basically it's still just too big anyway.

ERIE S-1 BERKSHIRES
Posts: 53
Joined: Sun Jan 25, 2009 12:43 pm
Location: Barberton Ohio

Re: want a milling machine

Post by ERIE S-1 BERKSHIRES » Tue Feb 26, 2019 6:17 pm

The Little Mill that you found is a similar size to a clausing mill a friend of mine had one and loved it his was the e n c o version, I think for space the round column from Harbor Freight a good choice for you, but it is possible to find single phase Bridgeport mills, I own four of them all single phase!!!!

Lewayne
Posts: 40
Joined: Sun Feb 03, 2019 4:02 pm

Re: want a milling machine

Post by Lewayne » Thu Feb 28, 2019 3:59 pm

Anybody hear of a brand called Fugi made in Taiwan? sold under the name Big Joe. I found a good deal, maybe, on a vertical knee mill, like a Bridgeport but it's not real big.
A manageable size for a small shop. Looks to be in good shape for $1200, local to me.
I don't have any idea how to post a picture, but then I didn't take one either, come to think of it.

jcfx
Posts: 463
Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2009 1:24 pm
Location: NY

Re: want a milling machine

Post by jcfx » Thu Feb 28, 2019 7:38 pm

All I could find on it was over at PM -
https://www.practicalmachinist.com/vb/g ... ne-145757/
Big Joe used to be machine tool retailer in Houston.

$!200 isn't a shabby price for it, might be worth going to take a look at it,
It also leaves you $800 or so extra for milling accoutrements !

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