Mill Selection! Help

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May 8, 2014
Hi Guys,

I haven't been on this forum for a while but its time i go back into my V8 project,
so i now need to buy a mill.
been looking at 3, but they all have the + and ofcourse there -.

MD46, - https://www.paramountbrowns.com.au/products/milling-machine-dovetail-shaft-2/
Z dovetail, MT4, 100-1650 RPM - 318KG

MH-32 https://www.machineryhouse.com.au/M121
MT 3, 100-2150 RPM - 295KG

I have also been looking the the optimum BF-20LV,
Varible speed, 100-3000RPM, Dovetail Z, 165KG - iv looked at some on youtube and i do think theyre not built stong enough.

Mostly working with ally, PB1 Bronze, cast iron, and will see some steel, 4140, K500 ect. - mostly builing minuture motors.

i am leaning towards the MD46, due to the rigid design, and Z dovetail. - but they RPM is letting it down.
and i will put a DRO on too.

Most of my works been done on factory 3 phase machines not hobby mills.
Thanks Guys!
any information appreciated!


H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Apr 30, 2015
Hi, if you are model building I think any of those units would work but I would buy the biggest I could afford
Mark S.

Mitch Alsup

Active Member
Nov 17, 2017


H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Oct 20, 2016
The MD46 looks like it has some nice features. One observation is regarding the crank for raising and lowering the Z axis. It looks like it may be more for "course" height adjustment, leaving the Quill feed for the "controlled" Z axis movements. Not a huge issue, but if you were to run out of Quill travel and needed to move the head, it might take a bit more effort to keep track of the "total" Z travel, as there does not appear to be a vernier scale of any type on the "Coarse" Z axis. Additional Pictures of the MD46 can be found on the Grizzly Website. https://www.grizzly.com/products/Heavy-Duty-Benchtop-Mill-Drill/G0795?utm_campaign=zPage&utm_source=grizzly.com#
You might also look at the Sieg Machines. I have an SX3, that I've been very happy with. The SX3L has working envelope in the same range as the MD46. In AU, I see Ausee sells them. http://www.ausee.com.au/shop/category.aspx?catid=7


Active User
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Jun 12, 2014
I previously had an Optimum BF-30, although a decent mill, it was not of the quality that I would have expected for being made for a German company. It had some significant issues, I previously had commented on. I eventually sold it, and had read/heard of similar problems by other BF-30 owners. That was quite a few years ago, and there are also a number of other models since. In the US, Optimum brand are priced too high relative to comparable machines in my opinion, as here are much better machines available in the same price range and size.

So I would not buy based on the name alone, nor pay a premium. At the time when I purchased my BF-30 (8 years ago) the SX4 had just become available, the major limitation being the top end speed. It is a very robust machine and the added benefit of belt drive and a motorized head (really needed at this weight level). If I were to make the choice today, I would have gone with the SX4. Given that you are located in Australia, your choices (and costs) would be a bit different then here in the US. At least from what I have seen available I would not go with a round column, so do not recommend the 121. The optimum BF-20LV has ok reviews, but some issues on holding tolerance and is light weight. I would probably look at the Sieg SX3L or the SX4, and the MH-28V. The MH-28V is more reasonably priced from your end and seems to be a heavier version of the BF-20 with a wide speed range. So I would say you start with either the SX3L or MH-28V, you can look at the specs and read up on them. Also consider the spindle type, in the US R8 is more common, in AU seems like 3MT in this size machine. MH-28V is 3MT, SX3L is either. The variable speed on both machines is a real plus, also the higher top speed if you are doing a lot of small work. SX4 if you need to do heavy milling and a bigger table. The MD46 will be limited as to speed selection (6 speeds) and top speed for milling of small parts, but 1/2 the cost of the SX4.
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