What type and size milling machine ?

Discussion in 'Advanced Gunsmithing & Engineering' started by Daveinjax, Sep 30, 2016.

  1. hoz53

    hoz53 Gold $$ Contributor

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    Sure you can do some pretty good work on a mill drill if you want to put up with there shortcomings. Ive had one for 30 years so I know. If a guy could buy a new mill drill for 1000 then it might be worth the aggrivation but if youre gonna spend 2000 to 3000 what is the point when for 5000 you can buy a new import knee mill or a good used Bridgeport and have so much more of a mill. Id hope someone would point me in this direction if i was just starting out. I agree with you on needing the skill to do the job but why point a new guy in a direction to waste his money when he could buy a good mill once and be set for a long time.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2016
  2. jdh47

    jdh47 Silver $$ Contributor

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    A decent used mill drill might be found for far less than a decent Bridgeport. I only say that good work can be done on just about any machine if you take your time and know how to go about doing it.

    Joe
     
  3. hoz53

    hoz53 Gold $$ Contributor

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    I agree with you and I think I stated that in my 1st post in this thread. it really depends on the OP and how he wants to do it. Mabie he doesn't even know himself yet and that's why he's asking for the advice. I think he got some good advice here to decide and your posts were part of that. For me and I think many people the shortcomings of a mill drill became frustrating pretty fast and we would have been better off getting something better to start with just like in alot of things. If the OP is thinking of buying a used mill drill for 200 to find out for himself I think that's great. I just hate to see him spend 2000 on one and then find out he wants something better in a few months. And I really should refrain from getting involved in these equipment recommendation threads. Take Care
     
  4. X Ring Accuracy

    X Ring Accuracy Site $$ Sponsor

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    For what it is worth, our first mill was overkill. In retrospect, it is now the second most valuable piece of equipment we have and we are glad for going big at the beginning. Better to grow into something than be hindered by it.
     
  5. ranch23

    ranch23

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    Dave, if you can swing it you will be glad you went with a full size machine. Don't buy a worn out Bridgeport over a good import.
     
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  6. Wirelessguy2005

    Wirelessguy2005 Silver $$ Contributor

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    Precision Matthews makes some nice mills, they have the best warranty by far www.machinetoolonline.com if you call them ask for Matt.
     
  7. Steelnecktie

    Steelnecktie Silver $$ Contributor

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  8. Daveinjax

    Daveinjax Silver $$ Contributor

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    Thanks everyone ! I'm going to save and look for a full size mill.
     
  9. Wirelessguy2005

    Wirelessguy2005 Silver $$ Contributor

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    Another option is a Clausing 8530 if you can find one.
     
  10. Clark

    Clark

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    I put $2.5k into a beat up old 1963 Rockwell 21-100 mill that weighs 600 pounds.
    I used that for 10 years.
    I replaced it with a like new $12k 1969 Bridgeport that weighs 2000 pounds.
    For gunsmithing, I could have kept the old mill and just added a DRO. The DRO is the only real improvement for gunsmithing.
     

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  11. Intheshop

    Intheshop

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    Mills aren't "just" for gunsmithing.Take a hard look at other applications within your shop's profile.

    Another area,some folks have different views on this...whatever.But resale plays a role in capital investment as it applies to machinery.So,you snag a "mill drill" used,on the cheap.Don't like it,move it's little Chinese arse down the rd...keep the profits,not only in your pocket,but also in the bigger picture of shop management.

    We have a BP,been looking for a mill drill to do certain things that won't tie up the former.Would also take a short bed BP,as a second mill.Patience and cash in hand,supported with hauling and rigging expertise.The more you are exposed to equipment,the better you get at evaluations.Think used cars....if all you ever had was brand new chit,you're going into shark infested water looking for/at old beaters.

    Other folks see it completely 180* different.You have to figure what's best for your shop,which is a skill upon itself.Good luck with your new mill,don't cheese on tooling.
     
  12. Rich S

    Rich S

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    If you end up buying a Bridgeport the two common options are 2J head (variable speed) and J head (stepped belt). For a home set up you could save money buying the J head. You could likely buy a decent machine in the $2K range. Add a VFD for $200 and you will have a variable speed machine and will not need a 3 phase converter. The J head has a smaller motor but should be ok for most tasks in a non-production setup. I ended up buying a 2J because I was setting up a rotary phase converter for a lathe. I don't think you will regret buying the mill. I found many uses and have been enjoying fabricating my own tooling. A nice thing about the Bridgeport is there is ample supply of parts if they are needed. If your interested there is a dealer of used machinery in the St. Louis area that has a good variety of used mills and in my opinion a honest guy to deal with. The last time I was there he had ~15 mills to choose from.

    Rich
     
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  13. Daveinjax

    Daveinjax Silver $$ Contributor

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    Bought a mill ! $300 at an estate sale. Burke Millrite that ran and has a bunch of clamps , taps , and a vice.
     
  14. hogpatrol

    hogpatrol Gold $$ Contributor

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    A friend of mine has one. They are a decent machine and there are DROs available for them.
     
  15. Daveinjax

    Daveinjax Silver $$ Contributor

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    Trying to post a picture but I'm failing. It's too big and I can't figure out how to make the file small enough on my IPhone. MBN 36" table with power feed. R8 collets.
     
  16. hogpatrol

    hogpatrol Gold $$ Contributor

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    Change your camera settings to email size.
     
  17. Daveinjax

    Daveinjax Silver $$ Contributor

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    It's pulley cover and motor mount were broken at some point and welded and glued with Marine Tex / Devcon back together but it worked great with no obvious severe problem. It's been cutting mostly wood and a little aluminum from what I could tell from the shavings. No obvious wear grooves and running my fingers on the ways I couldn't feel any heavy wear but can see some. Definitely some lash but I don't know what they came with so hard to judge. I'm pretty excited with my garage sale find !
     
  18. Daveinjax

    Daveinjax Silver $$ Contributor

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    IMG_0256.JPG
    Thanks for the picture tip !
     
  19. hoz53

    hoz53 Gold $$ Contributor

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    That's looks like a good starter mill, especially for 300 bucks-much better than buying a mill drill for $2000.00 --Does the head tilt forward and back?
    With that knee you'll never get to feel the frustration of losing your zero every time you move the head up or down. Some kinds of sawdust are abrasive and may have caused some wear. Many guys won't work wood on mill they use for metal. A good machine though to start on and cheap enough if you upgrade down the road you can keep it for odds and ends stocks ect. Have fun
     
  20. Daveinjax

    Daveinjax Silver $$ Contributor

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    Thanks Hoz53 ! I think it will be great to learn on and at $300 I couldn't pass it up. It has a couple of holes and nicks in the table so when I hit the table or vice I won't feel too bad. Certainly has wear but working around that will build character or at least that's what I'm telling myself. I'm still a good way out on building a shop so I'll clean it up some and soak it in oil until I have a place for it.
     

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