looking for my first mill

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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lsm62
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Location: Las Vegas

looking for my first mill

Post by lsm62 » Mon Feb 27, 2012 3:31 pm

hi new to the forum and was wondering if this would be a good mill to start with. my limitations are space, funds and required power to operate the machine. i have a single 220v outlet used for an air compressor and welder and would like something that runs on 220 or less, i am in a two car garage so space is tight and i have 3 kids so that should cover the funds. i can get it for 950.00. the owner of the establishment was not in and the machine has been cleaned and painted so i do not know who the manufacturer is. the table dose not move up and down but the head dose. however the head dose not travel along a dove tail but is allowed to rotate around the vertical shaft. it runs on 115v and uses the r8 colits. 70% of my work will be gunsmithing. in letting stocks, costume bottom metal and what not. 20% tinkering odds and ends and 10% automotive.

any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks lsm62
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Harold_V
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Re: looking for my first mill

Post by Harold_V » Mon Feb 27, 2012 4:44 pm

I'm of the opinion that the price isn't good. That's a mill/drill---a great drill press, but not so good as a mill.

The problem is the round column, Without a knee (the ability to create more or less clearance between the part and cutter) you'll find you spend a disproportionate amount of time trying to keep the cut indexed with the dials. That may not sound like much of an issue if you don't have experience in running machine tools, but it's one of the most annoying and unacceptable features of a machine with limited travel, as this one has. If you must unlock the head to raise or lower, you lose orientation. You'll come to discover that is an ongoing issue.

Does the machine have a power down feed on the quill? That's quite important if you have hopes of being capable of boring holes. I expect it does not have. Transfering feed from the triple handle to the single hand wheel on the front of the head is not adequate for boring, where a constant tool load is mandatory.

It's rare for a used mill drill to bring a high price. Most folks that sell them are selling them because they, too, are tired of the problems that are inherent with the design, and realize that only the uninitiated will not understand the problem.

I would encourage you to spend a little more time exploring your options before taking the plunge in buying a mill----you may discover that you shouldn't settle for a mill/drill (or not).

No offense intended for those who own mill/drills. Just commenting on the negative attributes of doing so.

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

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SteveM
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Re: looking for my first mill

Post by SteveM » Mon Feb 27, 2012 5:03 pm

In addition to what Harold said, I'd be suspicious of anything that's been recently painted.

What you get depends on what kind of work you need to do. How big is your work envelope? I have a nice Pratt & Whitney mill, but I doubt I could mill a 4" cube with it. That may or may not be enough for your purposes.

Check craigslist, check ebay. See what things are going for. That mill is probably similar to one sold by Grizzly. See what they sell a new one for.

If you are in a garage, you have the advantage that you can bring in a pretty big machine, as you don't have to go down stairs. A small Bridgeport may be good.

One paradox is that smaller mills can go for more money than bigger ones. A Clausing 8xxx can go for $2,000 because it's small enough for many home shops and you can get it down the stairs. I've seen a good Bridgeport M-head sell for less than $1,000.

Tooling is important. If you can buy one that comes with everything you need, all the better. You could spend more on the tooling than on the mill.

Home shop sized machines in 3-phase can go for cheap, because most people don't have 3-phase, but you can buy or build a converter, or swap out the motor. many times the difference in price is way more than a replacement motor will cost.

Steve

stevec
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Re: looking for my first mill

Post by stevec » Mon Feb 27, 2012 7:06 pm

For many years my only mill was a "mill drill" that looks very much like the one in your pic.
On the plus side I was able to do some pretty good things with it. I made blisterpack tooling dies for the heat/vacuum forming of the "blisters" and corresponding indexing tooling to carry the web of plastic and foil to the punching station.
I was able to maintain the required accuracy of the German OEM firm but I saved my customer LOTS of dollars while lining my pockets well.
Alas, for some unknown reason the "head" casting cracked and I had it welded by an acquiantance who claimed to be able weld cast iron, but it cracked again in close proximity to the weld. That sad tale tells me that either my cast iron welder was not up to snuff or the casting was of such poor quality that it was destined to crack even with proper weld.
All this to illustrate previous responses cautioning against painted machinery, it could be a "cover-up" sorta thing.
P.S. I'll continue my plea that you indicate you whereabouts. I'm not interested in compromising you privacy just that an idea such as state, province or even country is often a help.

lsm62
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Location: Las Vegas

Re: looking for my first mill

Post by lsm62 » Mon Feb 27, 2012 9:01 pm

sorry i forgot to do my avatar. thanks for the opinions guys guess ill keep looking.

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SteveM
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Re: looking for my first mill

Post by SteveM » Mon Feb 27, 2012 9:08 pm

Looked in CL in LV

Here's a Grizzly mill, in better shape with some tooling for about the same price:
http://lasvegas.craigslist.org/tls/2823177782.html
It's still round column, but the price is good. You can use it for a while and when you can upgrade, sell it for close to what you paid.
Image

It's a current model, so you can get parts if you need to.
http://www.grizzly.com/products/2-HP-Mill-Drill/G1006
It's about $1500 new without the tooling, so not a bad deal. 2hp, 700 pounds. Not a Bridgeport, but not a flyweight either.

Here's a Bridgeport for about $2k:
http://lasvegas.craigslist.org/tls/2856445076.html
That will will probably do almost anything you might want to do. You should make friends with someone that owns a forklift, though.

Image

Steve

davec43
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Re: looking for my first mill

Post by davec43 » Mon Feb 27, 2012 9:26 pm

I have been looking at the Grizzly mill/drills - G0704 and G0705. One thing that bothers me about the 0704 is the 2" spindle travel. I drill lots of holes more than 2 inches deep and can't help thinking that might be a problem. The 0705 has 4-3/4 spindle travel but also has a round column. Seems like a dilemma. Luckily I don't have enough money right now anyway, so I am still pondering. I am looking at it as a replacement for my old import drill press, with some machining capabilities and an R8 spindle.

Any thoughts or insights?
Dave C

Grizzly 12x36 lathe, Gorton 1-22 milling machine

dalee
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Location: Minnesota

Re: looking for my first mill

Post by dalee » Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:45 pm

Hi,

Prices of machines vary so much by region these days it's pathetic. So spend some time looking and studying what is generally available to you in your area. Relax and remember it's not a race to get something just because. :)

I like my G0704 as a mill, but it isn't my first choice for drilling operations. But then I tend to feel that mills make poor drill presses in general. Fixturing is always a pain in the backside and they are slow to setup for even the simplest drilling jobs. And once you start getting much over 1/2" drills, Morse taper shanks are superior to drill chucks and R8 collets. So if you need to drill a lot of holes, look for another drill press. I think you will be happier in the long run. And if you are really serious about drilling holes, look into a radial arm drill.

dalee
More Speed, More feed!

RSG
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Re: looking for my first mill

Post by RSG » Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:28 am

Ism62, I have one very similar only in 220V. It has served me well in the 4 years I've owned it. It's been a good starter but as Harold said once you learn the pitfalls of the machine you will not understand why it is only really a heavy duty drill press. I suffer from a host of issues when trying to do precision work (which if I recall gunsmithing is) and as a result am ready to sell my mill/drill for a small knee mill. My advice is to be cautious as others have said about the one unit in question but go on the premise that you will most likely sell it down the road for a proper mill.

RG
Vision is not seeing things as they are, but as they will be.

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SteveM
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Re: looking for my first mill

Post by SteveM » Tue Feb 28, 2012 8:35 am

One more nice thing about that Grizzly mill drill - the spindle is R-8, so whatever you buy for spindle tooling, you have a good chance you can use that in a future mill (e.g. Bridgeport J-head).

Steve

lsm62
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Location: Las Vegas

Re: looking for my first mill

Post by lsm62 » Tue Feb 28, 2012 11:04 am

SteveM wrote:One more nice thing about that Grizzly mill drill - the spindle is R-8, so whatever you buy for spindle tooling, you have a good chance you can use that in a future mill (e.g. Bridgeport J-head).

Steve
agreed but one thing i do want is a rotary table. that plus a vice is going to limit my clearance between my cutter and my work on the grizzly. that and like you said i still have the round column problem.

i think ill just have to keep my eyes open and be patient. im not good with patient.

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SteveM
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Re: looking for my first mill

Post by SteveM » Tue Feb 28, 2012 11:41 am

lsm62 wrote: agreed but one thing i do want is a rotary table. that plus a vice is going to limit my clearance between my cutter and my work on the grizzly. that and like you said i still have the round column problem.

i think ill just have to keep my eyes open and be patient. im not good with patient.
I'd give the guy a low offer on the mill. He's already reduced the price once. If you get it cheap enough, you can use it while you hunt and then sell it for about what you got it for.

I have a 9" rotab that is very low profile. Look at the heights when selecting one.

Steve

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