Looking for advice - milling machine

Looking for advice - milling machine

Postby ConducTTor » Sun Oct 11, 2015 7:54 pm

For those of you in the know, what would be the cheapest way to get an up and running milling machine? This would be used on metal mostly.
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Re: Looking for advice - milling machine

Postby modorney » Sun Oct 11, 2015 8:07 pm

Starting small, and cheap, you might find a Unimat with the milling adapter. Good for small stuff, like putting slots in a loco frame, but really not big enough for production.

Next up would be a mill drill from Harbor Freight and others for about $600 - you might find a used one?
http://littlemachineshop.com/info/minimill_compare.php

A beefier mill drill lathe combo is around $1800 from Enco, Grizzly, etc.

Next up is 2 or 3 k -
http://bestreviews.com/best-milling-machines

More advice:
http://forums.mtbr.com/frame-building/s ... 17802.html
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Re: Looking for advice - milling machine

Postby ConducTTor » Sun Oct 11, 2015 9:16 pm

Im not looking at production just projects for myself. I have zero experience with any of these machines so....your first suggestion is a unimat with mill adaptor. Im confused - do you mean a unimat mill or some other unimat machine that can be converted for mill use?
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Re: Looking for advice - milling machine

Postby Bernd » Sun Oct 11, 2015 9:27 pm

Since I have three mills, Bridgeport, Grizzly Mini-Mill, & Sherline, I think I might be somewhat qualified to give an opinion.

My first question is what will you be milling? TT scale items? Larger items? Smaller items? Cheap is not always good. For example my Grizzly mill is about 20 years old. I had to replace the lead screws. They were metric with inch calibrated dials. After traveling an inch by dial indication the table had moved about a 1.018". I replaced them with true inch lead screws that Micro Mark sold.

I don't know about that same model today. It may be a lot better. I use this mill for larger pieces when it comes to milling.

The Sherline is great for work in HO and TT scale. A bit more costly but worth the money. Mine happens to be the CNC version. I do have the Sherline lathe which can be converted to a mill with the extra milling attachment. I really like it for small work.

Then there's the Bridgeport. Great machine for large work. Used one with readouts cost me $3500.

I'd stay away from the Harbor Freight ones. The look like the Grizzly. All the ones that look like the Grizzly are made overseas. I believe there is one or two manufacturers that turn out these machines for the different vendors over here.

Without knowing how you are going to use your mill this is the best I can do.

More questions? Just ask. I'll do my best to answer them.

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Re: Looking for advice - milling machine

Postby ConducTTor » Sun Oct 11, 2015 9:32 pm

Use-wise, think modifying a TT scale locomotive chassis. Basically I often find myself having to get rid of material to fit different motors and larger flywheels. Sometimes I need space for a speaker enclosure. It would be nice to be able to do things like your TR2. So Im looking for something small, simple, affordable.
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Re: Looking for advice - milling machine

Postby Bernd » Sun Oct 11, 2015 9:34 pm

ConducTTor wrote:Im not looking at production just projects for myself. I have zero experience with any of these machines so....your first suggestion is a unimat with mill adaptor. Im confused - do you mean a unimat mill or some other unimat machine that can be converted for mill use?


The original Unimat is no longer made. The Sherline has the same concept. You can get the lathe and a separate milling attachment to convert the lathe to a mill.

You might want to look at the Taig mill also. http://www.taigtools.com/mmill.html

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Re: Looking for advice - milling machine

Postby ConducTTor » Sun Oct 11, 2015 9:36 pm

Ok cool Ill look into those thanks.
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Re: Looking for advice - milling machine

Postby Bernd » Sun Oct 11, 2015 9:37 pm

ConducTTor wrote:Use-wise, think modifying a TT scale locomotive chassis. Basically I often find myself having to get rid of material to fit different motors and larger flywheels. Sometimes I need space for a speaker enclosure. It would be nice to be able to do things like your TR2. So Im looking for something small, simple, affordable.


Ok that narrows it down to something like the Sherline or Taig. There are others. Do a Google on "tabletop milling machines" and take a look at what's out there.

I'm partial to the Sherline. For doing what you talked about it would make a great machine.

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Re: Looking for advice - milling machine

Postby ConducTTor » Sun Oct 11, 2015 9:39 pm

Bernd wrote:
ConducTTor wrote:I'm partial to the Sherline. For doing what you talked about it would make a great machine.

Bernd


This is what Im looking for - advice from someone with experience. :thumbup:
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Re: Looking for advice - milling machine

Postby Bernd » Sun Oct 11, 2015 9:51 pm

ConducTTor wrote:
Bernd wrote:
ConducTTor wrote:I'm partial to the Sherline. For doing what you talked about it would make a great machine.

Bernd


This is what Im looking for - advice from someone with experience. :thumbup:


Another bit of advice. Stay away from used. You never know how much the other person may have abused the equipment. I'd hate to see somebody start off having problems from the get go with a piece of junk. Makes for a lot of frustration. I've seen it happen. Not a pretty sight.

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