Looking for advice - milling machine

Re: Looking for advice - milling machine

Postby areibel » Sun Oct 11, 2015 10:04 pm

Somewhere I have a link for building a small lathe/ mill combo, I'll have to see if I can find it. Not a heavy duty unit, it was built with a couple pillow block bearings and a keyless drill chuck mounted onto a piece of hardwood, the builder bought a mill table like this https://littlemachineshop.com/products/ ... &category=
and mounted it with heavy duty drawer slides and made a crank out of a piece of all thread. He used a 1/2 inch variable speed drill to power it. It will only cut in one direction as built, so you'd have to move your piece to cut different sides or angles.
Like I said it's not heavy duty, but if I recall the builder was only cutting small brass pieces with 1/4" or less mills. I think he only had around $150 in it, less the drill. I think the hardest thing was getting the shaft threaded for the chuck to screw onto.
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Re: Looking for advice - milling machine

Postby ConducTTor » Sun Oct 11, 2015 10:19 pm

Al that's an idea but I think Id prefer something purpose built that will last me a long time. Its worth thinking about though.
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Re: Looking for advice - milling machine

Postby Tom Dempsey » Mon Oct 12, 2015 1:04 am

Could not agree with Bernd more, Alex. Assuming your budget is under $4000.00, either Taig or Sherline. Sherline is a little more "ready to rock" than Taig, slightly more expensive. Anything else on the market, including MicroMark seems to ultimately come from one Chinese factory. No previous milling experience and no on site mentor - Sherline and new.
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Re: Looking for advice - milling machine

Postby TiTan downunder » Mon Oct 12, 2015 8:08 am

Alex, I've had a Unimat 3 lathe & mill setup for nearly 30 years. For what I do it has been more than adequate except for one or two odd exceptions. IMHO I would stay from the currently available Unimat 1.

From what is currently available the Sherline has got to be the best unit going for the money and parts will be easier to come by than they are for my Unimat.
If you only want to mill loco frames, etc their basic starter package ( 5000A ) should be more adequate.
I have never bothered buying a set of collets and have always done my milling using a drill chuck attachment to hold the cutters and have never had any problems by only doing small cuts at a time which is the best way to work with the materials we encounter.
Shop around for milling cutters and ONLY buy quality cutters, not cheap crap ones.
You will need a separate area to set it up and bolt it to a solid bench top. Mine is 1" thick board coated in marine varnish for easy cleaning. Wear safety glasses - those little metal chips can FLY.

Hope this helps

Ian



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Re: Looking for advice - milling machine

Postby Bernd » Mon Oct 12, 2015 8:59 am

Ian,

Wasn't aware that Unimat still existed. Did a quick Google. Yes I would definitely stay away from that one. The older model with the round bars for the ways and cross slides wasn't to bad.

I caution on using the drill chuck to hold milling cutters. Even thought the drill chuck is held in with a draw bar the chuck over time will loose it's grip. The mill comes with a proper mill holder.

Alex,

I've got the "do-all" version of the mill. At present it is set up in "Horizontal mode". Over time one can add these extra's if you want more versatility.

Image

Sherline offers a package deal. A bit pricey, but by the time you buy the tooling separately you'll be at the same price. At least in the package deal you'll be able to start milling the day you get the mill.

http://www.sherline.com/packages.htm

Here's the cutter set up.

Cutter on the left is about the maximum you'd use, a 3/8" dia. The one on the right is 1/8". Obviously you can go even smaller than that. The part on the far left is the cutter holder of 3/8" shank size cutters.

Image

The cutter is a very snug fit in the holder. The set screw gets tightened on the cutter to keep it from rotating.

Image

The whole setup then gets screwed onto the spindle.

Image

And you're ready to cut.

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Re: Looking for advice - milling machine

Postby MacG » Mon Oct 12, 2015 12:51 pm

I use a Proxxon BFW 40/E. Unfortunatly I can't find it at Proxxon US. But the smaller version MICRO Mill MF 70 is also good for small model work. Here is also a CNC-ready version of this mill available.
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Re: Looking for advice - milling machine

Postby ConducTTor » Mon Oct 12, 2015 1:33 pm

Thanks everybody. The overwhelming response has been Sherline so that's what I'll go with. Now to save some $$$.....
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Re: Looking for advice - milling machine

Postby Bernd » Mon Oct 12, 2015 1:49 pm

And if the other half complains about spending to much money you can always convince her that the machine can be used to repair other items around the house thus saving money. Worked for me for a while until she discovered I wasn't fixing anything in the house. :shifty: :o :shock: :lol:

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Re: Looking for advice - milling machine

Postby ConducTTor » Mon Oct 12, 2015 1:51 pm

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
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Re: Looking for advice - milling machine

Postby Tom Dempsey » Mon Oct 12, 2015 4:27 pm

If you fix anything, they'll decide you can fix everything. Always best to maintain the illusion of mild incompetence with the spouse, especially as regards minor household repairs. That sort of work takes far too much time away from much more pressing matters like layout building.
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