Milling machine stand advise

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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Milling machine stand advise

Post by wshelley » Fri May 11, 2007 11:01 am

Hello all and thank you for the amazing amount of information you have provided! I've been lurking, reading, and learning for some time... I guess it is about time for a first post.

I've just recently purchased a Microlux mini mill (pictures at and am looking for advice on building a stand for it. My real question is at what height should it be mounted? It is currently on my workbench which is about 35" tall which seems ok. I plan on fabricating a stand similar to what I made for my mini lathe (pictures are at

Would it be better to have some area on either side of the mill or have the top of the stand basically the same size as the bottom of the mill? If I go with the latter I plan to flair the legs similar to the lathe stand to increase the footprint for stability. I could put a storage area for material under the mill to add mass as well.

Suggestions, pictures of your stands, or comments are welcome.


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Post by SteveM » Fri May 11, 2007 11:13 am

I like having place to put stuff, so I think extra room is a good idea.

My Pratt & Whitney bench mill sits on a sears table saw stand, which is too small and, I think, too low.

I plan on making a heavy duty cabinet with drawers and shelves underneath and extra room on top.

The picture shows one like mine with the original base. The power unit is behind the doors, but there is storage in the two drawers. The catalog says that the top is 30.5" high. My mill is probably taller than yours.


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Post by ChrisAttebery » Fri May 11, 2007 1:17 pm

Get them up high enough that you can operate the handwheels with your arms bet at a 90. You want to be able to stand there for hours and not be stooped over. I think the stand I made for my Mill/Drill puts the vice at about 44 inches. It was a huge improvement over the stock sheetmetal stand. I'll check it out this weekend and post a picture.


Bill Shields


Post by Bill Shields » Fri May 11, 2007 5:02 pm

I like my stand just a LITTLE bit higher...have lower back problems and cannot stand stooped over looking DOWN at the table for any period of time.

The curse of being tall... :shock:

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Post by wshelley » Fri May 11, 2007 5:21 pm

Thanks for the responses so far. It sounds like the consensus is higher is better. After a little bit of thought it would also seem that if I were going to make the top bigger than just the mill base that having more area to the left of the mill would be the best location. That way, I have good access to the hand wheels on the front and right but room for "stuff" on the left. I'll put some blocks under the mill on the bench and see what height works best.

Chris, thanks for tip on the vice height, makes perfect sense. I'm looking forward to the picture.

Thanks again!


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Post by pockets » Fri May 11, 2007 6:57 pm

How long does it take to program that 'puter, Bill? :D :wink:

Greg B.
PS: I have the same problem. I've got my lathe "bar stool" high, too.
When the man at the door said, "Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms," I naturally assumed it was a delivery.....

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Post by awake » Mon May 14, 2007 9:31 pm

Here's the stand I made for my mill/drill:


The size for mine was dictated by limited space and the scrap steel I had on hand (some 1/4" wall 2x2). The stand itself is just an open frame, but later I built the plywood cabinet which simply slides in place. I especially like all the storage this cabinet has provided -- the drawers on the left were scavenged from a junked card catalog, and there is pegboard on each side. Having different items in each drawer makes it easy to find what I need (top drawer is endmills, next drawer is endmill holders, and so on).

Since these pictures were taken, I've improved the endmill storage in the top drawer -- I cut a piece of plywood to fit the drawer and drilled holes to take the 3/8" and 1/2" shank endmills. (Most of the 1/2" holes are drilled at an angle so that the stored endmills will clear at the top.)

I've also rearranged some of the things stored on the right-hand pegboard; now I've got a complete set of box-end wrenches indvidually pegged, which sure makes them easy to get to. And I've still got some room on the left-hand pegboard (not visible in the pictures) for expansion.

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Post by IFIT » Tue May 15, 2007 2:22 am

Hello all,first post. Here is a pic of my mill stand & IH mill on the stand. I'm in the process of tramming the mill. I fabricated the stand out of scrap material I had onhand, 3/8 x 4 x 3 angled iron & the table is 1/2 plate. The height of the mill table is 33".

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Post by Capt Turk » Wed May 16, 2007 6:17 pm

I went the opposite direction of the rest of ya'll. I got a stand for my mill that is just tall enough that the table is at a comfortable hieght when I'm sitting down. I use a 5 gal. bucket with a pad to sit on.

I have a bad back myself (2 crushed disks, spondy, stenosis, artheritis) and can't stand for very long. I can sit for long periods without much problem.

I've also found the lower hieght to be advantagous, as it's alot easier to wrestle a heavy piece up on the table, with it low.

The best hieght for your mill table is something that you will have to decide for yourself. What works better for you will not necessarily be better for anyone else.

Do some experimenting with hieght before you buy or build a stand.

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Post by Harold_V » Wed May 16, 2007 7:33 pm

You made a good choice, Capt. Gorton made a series of small mills, including the Unimil, 0-16A.and 8D. There may be others, but I'm familiar only with those mentioned. They were built to be operated from the sitting position. It actually works out very well, particularly when you're doing small work.


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Post by dgoddard » Sun May 20, 2007 10:53 am

Capt Turk wrote: I got a stand for my mill that is just tall enough that the table is at a comfortable hieght when I'm sitting down.
Capt. Turk
It is a real convenience to sit at the machine, my only problem with that is safety!

When a spinning drill chip starts swinging wide and maybe hooks into something or the part slips out of the vice and is about to get flung at you, it is a lot slower to get out of the way if you are not already on your feet.

I would suggest a high stool (cheap at Grainger etc.). It is sort of a "butt prop" to take the load off your legs during set up etc. But once that spindle is turning, I want to be on my feet so I can make the reach for the controls or get out of the way if it comes to that.

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mini mill stand

Post by 10 Wheeler Rob » Mon May 21, 2007 3:46 pm

I use a old insutrial work bench with a back, sides and shelf, and the 3 draws on one side for my mini mill, heght works good for sitting on a stool. If you want to stand then it would need to be higher. The ends only cover part width of the bench, so a long item can be clamped on the mill talble and extend beyound the bench ends, but they help contain a lot of the chips. The shelf in the back is high enough to be out of the normal chip path and is nice to hold those often reached for items.

I find a collet rack within easy reach to be very useful too, on the small mills using collets insted of drill chuck when drilling adds about 3 inches of clearance to working height and travel.

Having places for tools, collets, hold down tooling, milling cutters and mesuring insturments is very usefullt. But is nicest if they can be out of the way of flying chips. A roll around service cart with drawers can work for that also. You can have it beside you or behind for easy reach to things, but keep it out the path of chips as much a possible.

If you are new to milling, one peice of advice I will pass on is to never put an end mill in a drill chuck. The drill chuck is norally pressed on to a Jacobs taper shaft end and excesive side loading from milling can make it come loose. And you really do not ever want your self or your nice new tooling near that kind of event. Collets are not a luxury, but a requirment for holding end mills and fly cutters.


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