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About to pull the pin on a new PM-25

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bjacobsen

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#1
As the title says, I’m just about ready to buy a new PM-25MV. Anything I need to know before I pull the pin on this purchase? Have been using a grizzly mini mill for the last 15 years and looking to upgrade/upsize slightly....no room for a knee mill unfortunately and the PM-30 is probably too big for my little shop as well. Looks as though it would be fairly easy to upgrade to CNC as well if I ever decided to make that jump (mainly looking at the Pro cut CNC parts)? Thanks for any input.
 

T Bredehoft

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#2
Opt for the DRO, X and Y. I don't have DRO on the head, don't miss it. The quill has one built in. If Matt has an X power feed, go for it, or build one yourself.
 

tweinke

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#3
I think you will be happy with that machine.
 

dcsleep

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#4
I bought one about a month ago with the DRO installed. Very happy with it so far.
 

brav65

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#5
Love mine!
 

bjacobsen

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#6
Probably going to hold off on the dro for now, been doing things the ‘hard’ way forever anyway and right now feel the extra $$ could be better spent upgrading some of my tooling!
Thanks for the reply’s!
 

wrmiller

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#7
As long as you are not going to be hogging steel with a 1/2" endmill, you should be fine. I liked my PM25, and it is a very capable machine if you stay within its limitations.

It should be a nice step up from you mini mill. Enjoy. :)
 

bjacobsen

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#8
Don’t do much steel....probably 90% aluminum and the rest a mixed bag of mainly delrin and some steel!!
 

wrmiller

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#9
The PM25 will handle steel just fine. I used quality 3/8" and smaller endmills and they did a great job. I did have some 1//2" roughers, but those were for hogging 7075.

Sounds like you will be just fine.
 

bjacobsen

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#10
Does anyone have the dimension for the height from the base of the machine to the top of the table, I’m guessing around 6-7 inches? I see their cabinet stands 30” tall....just trying to see what the table working height is with their cabinet. Thanks again!
 

T Bredehoft

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#11
Counter top to top of work surface, just under seven inches.
 

bjacobsen

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#12
Great, thanks!
 

GunsOfNavarone

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#13
Just circuitous your decision process for the 25 over the 727, I'm stumped as to which is a better choice for myself. I like the idea of gear drive, but it sounds like many (especially CNC people) prefer the belt drive
 

dcsleep

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#14
I'm tall (6'3") and was worried that the working height with the stand would be too short. I ended up putting my PM-25MV on a Harbor Freight tool cabinet. This places the table almost exactly at my elbow height which is the general recommendation I've seen in various forums. Very comfortable to use plus I've got tons of storage. I added some simple leveling feet under the cabinet for leveling and stability. Can still move it as needed using the casters but not something I'd want to do on a regular basis.
 

bjacobsen

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#15
Just circuitous your decision process for the 25 over the 727, I'm stumped as to which is a better choice for myself. I like the idea of gear drive, but it sounds like many (especially CNC people) prefer the belt drive
For me personally the 25 is lighter and slightly smaller, I know this is a backwards step with mills but its a reality for my small shop (and since i'm coming from a mini-mill its not a backward move for me!), the gear drives also tend to be noisier and potentially more maintenance?... as well as the price difference. I just feel for my situation the 25 will be a better choice. Dont know much about the CNC aspect but I do know there are several conversion kits available for the 25, don't know if they'll work for the 727.
 

wrmiller

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#16
Geared head machinery is a carry-over from the days when only single-speed A/C motors were available. In order to get different speeds available, you had to use a gearbox to get a limited range of spindle speeds. Or go real elaborate with DC drives like the Hardinge and similar. Very good, but expensive.

Now with better designed 3-phase A/C motors and VFDs, there is no longer a need for gearboxes. And on smaller lathes and mills that use BLDC motors, there is no need for gears because these are even more efficient and higher torque than A/C motors of a similar size. All the while providing a much larger rpm range than a geared head machine.

And if that isn't enough, the belt driven mills are quieter, and produce a better surface finish than gearheads.

Something to think about.
 

mksj

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#17
The caveat with a belt drive/electric variable speed drive is you need a bigger motor to cover a wider speed range and as a minimum need at least two speed ranges. CNC is based on much higher RPM's and typically smaller cutting bits, so a single speed range may be acceptable. If used in a manual mode, and finances permitting then the PM-727MV or PM-30MV would be good choices, the latter can use a smaller motor because of more gear ratio choices. Changing belt ratios can be a bit of a PTA, on my lathe I always left it in one range and then ended up with a single belt ratio. The PM-727MV is relatively quiet according to owners, need to change the oil, but I have heard of no long term reliability issues. If CNC conversion is in the future then a belt drive is the only way to go, I would opt for the BF-30 with the larger motor/220V for a future conversion. The limiting factor on the belt drive heads will be the maximum RPM achievable with the stock bearings.

Space wise, at the end of the day, it is a nominal foot print size difference between the PM25 and PM727, going from a 13" to 18 1/4" maximum spindle distance from the table and having an extra Y travel of 1.5" are significant factors in favor of the PM727. Once you start using these machines, you get a much better feel for the need for increased travel. Also adding something like a DRO scale on the back of the saddle you can loose another 1" or more of Y travel, so you have a very limited milling work/travel area. It all boils down to what you plan on machining on your mill, the PM25, PM727 and PM30 are all very good choices withing this price range. The variable speed versions offer a lot more flexibility for dialing in the speeds. Best of luck whatever you choose.
 

bjacobsen

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#18
Another quick question, what is the actual table to spindle min and max, (without a DRO and with the quill fully retracted)....the website lists both 12" and 13", wondering which is correct, and is the Z travel actually 13"?
Thanks again
 

bjacobsen

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#19
OK... after talking with Precision Matthews about both the PM25MV and the PM727V i'm even more confused about what the actual specifications are on either one of these machines....On the 25 they said the maximum spindle speed was only 2250RPM and the spindle to table was 13"max, though the spec sheets and manual differ saying 2500rpm and either 12" or 13"??? On the 727V the manual states the motor is 1.5 hp while they stated it was only 1 hp? Can anyone here that actually has one of these machines enlighten me as to what the actual numbers are as it really drives me nuts trying to make a decision when there is conflicting information and even the company that sells the machines does not seem to be too sure of the actual specifications? I realize a lot gets lost in translation sometimes but there has to be a data plate on the motor of the 727V and a ruler measurement of the spindle to table on the 25, also im pretty sure ive seen the speed on the 25 at 2500rpm on a couple videos?
Thanks again!
 

shooter123456

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#20
I don't have my PM-25 in front of me at the moment, but my solid model (which I believe I made as close to actual dimensions as I could) shows 11.758" from the spindle to the table. I can double check that.

The stock machine came with a 2500 RPM top speed. I bumped it up to 5500 and the stock bearings did not last long.

The actual Z travel on my machine is closer to 11.5" than 13".
 

mksj

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#21
Some of the confusion of Hp/Top speed may be based on there is both a M and V version of the 727 and if I recall the pm-25, although it seems like the M has been phased out. Others with these mills can give you their measured specs as to heights and travel.
PM-25V is a 1 HP (750 W) brushless dc motor. Spindle speed is continuously variable from 50 to 1250 rpm, low range, and 100 to 2500 rpm, high range
PM-727V is a brushless dc, 1125W (1.5 HP). The PM-727V provides 6 speed ranges covering 40-3000 rpm.
 

bjacobsen

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#22
Thanks for the info!!....with the uncertainties of some of the numbers and despite the fact I really like the belt drive on the 25 I actually just ordered the PM727MV with DRO. Looking at the two objectively I think the possibility (hope!!!) of a 1/2 more hp and significantly more y and z travel and clearance on the 727 (my mini mill has 11 5/8” measured spindle to table clearance, basically the same as the 25) and the added weight of the 727 within basically the same footprint made me stretch the budget....(make it hurt once!). Also the 727 looks to have larger more stable ways on the y and z and a significantly larger column. I was looking for a significant jump in capability from what I have and though I’m sure the 25 is a ton better it was just too close in y and z to what I have. Thanks for the information (especially the tip on the 727 mksj!!) and I’ll let you know when the friendly delivery truck arrives!
 

shooter123456

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#23
Congrats on the new machine! I love when it comes time to finally pull the trigger on a machine after researching for weeks and going back and forth and making the final decision about 9 times, then placing the order and knowing a sweet new piece of equipment is coming.

I liked the 727V when I was shopping (ended up getting a PM25) and the extra power and weight were very tempting. I do wonder why they stuck with the gear set up on the 727V instead of switching to a belt drive. I have to imagine its cheaper and easier to make a pulley system than to make a decent gear system. I am pretty sure the PM25 and PM727 have the same table (same dimensions, looks to be same thickness) but with the 727 having 5ish fewer inches of X travel, the table will be much better supported which should let you take deeper cuts.

Post pictures when it arrives! I have always been please with PM shipping. When I got my PM25, I think it took them 2 days to process the order and it shipped overnight (PA to NC). I hope yours arrives on a similar time frame.
 

GunsOfNavarone

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#24
Thanks for the info!!....with the uncertainties of some of the numbers and despite the fact I really like the belt drive on the 25 I actually just ordered the PM727MV with DRO. Looking at the two objectively I think the possibility (hope!!!) of a 1/2 more hp and significantly more y and z travel and clearance on the 727 (my mini mill has 11 5/8” measured spindle to table clearance, basically the same as the 25) and the added weight of the 727 within basically the same footprint made me stretch the budget....(make it hurt once!). Also the 727 looks to have larger more stable ways on the y and z and a significantly larger column. I was looking for a significant jump in capability from what I have and though I’m sure the 25 is a ton better it was just too close in y and z to what I have. Thanks for the information (especially the tip on the 727 mksj!!) and I’ll let you know when the friendly delivery truck arrives!
Everyone I talked to seemed to lean towards the 25, but based on what i was reading on the specs....I was leaning towards the 727. I feel like I'm leaning towards the 727 again. Ugh. I would have pulled the trigger already as Amazon had that machine (727) with stand and delivered for $1899! I posted it here and they immediately pulled it off Amazon (they had 3) I guessed they figured why would people buy from their site if they could get such a better deal on Amazon? Bummer. Can't wait to hear what you think!
 

bjacobsen

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#25
Well, she arrived yesterday, quite a hunk of iron compared to my mini mill!!! unfortunately will not be able to get much farther then this point on set up for a week or so as work obligations are keeping me away, but initial examination looks very nicely built! IMG_6213.jpg IMG_6216.jpg
 

mksj

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#26
Great looking mill, a lot of mill for it's size and should have no difficulty chewing through the metal. You will love the variable speed on these mills. Look forward to the chips flying. :encourage:
 
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