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New mill for newb

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Iron
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#1
Hi All

My name is Adrian I'm new to the forum.
I'm about to purchase my first Milling machine and I'm Hoping you guys can point me in the right direction.
I have access to Craftex machines, King machines and can probrably order one of the Little machine shop versions.

A few I'm looking at are the Craftex Cx601
http://www.busybeetools.com/products/milling-machine-with-digital-readout-cx601.html


Also the high torque bench mill
https://www.littlemachineshop.com/products/product_view.php?ProductID=5500&category=1387807683

Any input would be great - sorry if this question has been asked a thousand times.

Thanks
Adrian
 

aliva

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#2
Well first off welcome to the forum. you'll find a lot of good info and people here all very helpful.
Depending on what you plan on milling along with your budget,and how much real estate you have available, will determine the size and hp of what you should buy. I did have a King mill drill but found it too small and not capable of doing what I wanted I went to the next step to a King 942VS Turret mill. So far it's preformed very well for what I need. I also looked at Craftex from Busy Bee but they didn't offer the size and quality I wanted. I have read some real horror stories about Craftex and Busy Bee on this forum. Do a search, read the posts and decide for your self if thats the way you want to go. If you decide on a larger turret mill consider a DRO for the X,Y axis also a power feed for the X, you won,t regret it. You can always add them later.I made the mistake of not researching and bought the mill drill which I ended up replacing with in a year. It took me 2 years to sell it, at a loss. Do a lot of research and check as many reviews as you can.
 

MonkMan

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#3
Welcome Adrian,
You picked the right forum. I don't know those machines but you will certainly hear from someone who does.
 

Outinfront

Iron
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#4
Thanks Guys

@aliva thanks for the input unfortunately my budget will not allow for the awesome King 942VS.
I have a budget of about 3k Can.
I haven't been able to find much on Craigslist for used.
Any suggestions in the 3k range.

Thanks
Adrian
 

DAT510

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#5
Welcome to HM.

Not sure about customs. But you might look at what Grizzly Industrial has to offer. They are located in Bellingham, Wa, which is only about 100km from Vancouver. Might be worth a drive.

I own their G0619, which I've been quite happy with. They have quite a few mills in your price range.
 

Outinfront

Iron
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#6
Welcome to HM.

Not sure about customs. But you might look at what Grizzly Industrial has to offer. They are located in Bellingham, Wa, which is only about 100km from Vancouver. Might be worth a drive.

I own their G0619, which I've been quite happy with. They have quite a few mills in your price range.
From what I have read Craftex is Grizzly??
 

Silverbullet

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#7
Hi welcome to the site. I don't own either of the mills you mention. But I haven't heard anything really bad about little machine shop. I would really look at the grizzly site and compare models . I own a still in the crate HF Mill drill. And an old enco mini Bridgeport style mill like ,doubleboost has on YouTube. He's upgraded his mill and really it's almost full size with his 9" head lift . Just recently he put variable speed motor with vfd setup. But those from grizzly are near $3k.
Good luck with your search and with which ever one you buy. Just please follow SAFTEY rules. Pains can last a lifetime , losing body parts don't grow back.
 

DAT510

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#8
Grizzly rebadges a number of brands under their name. My G0619 is made by Sieg Industral as are a number of other bench top mills carried by Grizzly. It looks like some of the Craftex machines are also Sieg as are many of the Little Machine Shop mills and lathes.

I have found Grizzly's customer service on the better side. They also stock a lot of the spare parts for the machines they carry. It also looks like Grizzly will ship ups ground to Canada.

Sieg Website: http://www.siegind.com/shanghai-sieg-machinery-co-ltd-products.html
 
Last edited:

Outinfront

Iron
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#9
Screenshot_20171009-142241.png


Hi All

Thanks for the warm welcome.

So many Grizzilies to choose from, any suggestions in the 3k range?


Thanks
Again
 

tweinke

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#10
I own a PM727 mill from QMT here in the states, it is very similar to the G0795. The PM727 and the G0795 are smaller cousins of the ZX/RF 45 size mills. The 727 does not have built in power tapping which can still be done and it runs on 110v where the G0795 does have this feature and is 220v. I can say in my case I am happy with my mill and it performs well within my expectations and fits the size of my shop well. I personally would shy away from a round column mill (G0705 orG0754) but they are very serviceable if you take into consideration the z axis issues with moving the head up or down. My advise would be get the biggest machine that budget/space allow.
 

DAT510

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#11
I see a could of "Round" Column mill on you Grizzly list. I personally would think twice about a round column mill. Because any Z axis movement is limited to the travel of the quill. It is very difficult to maintain perfect X Y alignment, if you have to raise or lower the head, as it is loose to rotate around the column, when it is unclamped to be raised or lowered.

As others have mentioned, try to get the biggest and heaviest mill you can for you budget. The extra mass helps with rigidity. Other nice things are more HP and Variable Speed.

Combo Lathe/Mills are always a tradeoff. But, some people like them. I think if you have the space, two separate machines is the way to go.
 
Last edited:

Glenn Brooks

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#12
Adrian,

Might be option if you could also keep an eye on Seattle, Portland, and Spokane Craig's List. There have been a fair number of used mills recently, at fairly decent prices. It's not a big trip to rent a truck for a day and drive down to pick something up. I bought my big Standard Modern utililathe from a guy in Vancouver and went to get it in a rented Box van. 4 or 5 hours round trip. Not bad at all, including time spent waiting at the border. Not sure what you might get charged for import duty going into Canada. The US Customs guy didn't care about my old used machine coming into the US.

Glenn
 

Chipper5783

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#13
Can you describe any other constraints? You hope to limit the spend to about $3000 (CAD I assume).
Does $3000 mean you expect to have a certain amount of tooling, or can you get by with just the minimum tooling and add on as needed?
Do you have space for a full size machine, or even a small knee mill?
Are you good with a 3 phase machine? Have you got 3 phase power sorted out, or are you comfortable managing getting 3 phase power in your work space?
How much weight are you comfortable transporting and moving into your work space? Do you need to take the machine down a flight of stairs? Of course the transport can be very easy - if you are okay with just paying a machine moving company.
What is your time frame? Can you bide your time to wait for a used machine that will meet your criteria. In your area, I have seen several some decent machines do show up over the past few years (the lower mainland is one of my search areas). Of course, my opinion of "decent" may be quite different than yours.
What other shop resources do you have? Is this machine going to be your only primary machine? Are you looking for a mill which would compliment a certain sized lathe?
Are you new to machining, or just "new to this forum"?
 

markba633csi

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#14
Hi Adrian. Welcome to HM
I also would not buy a round column mill, or one that has metric/non-imperial leadscrews for the 3 axes. You want 100 thousandths per revolution.
Mark S.
 

Outinfront

Iron
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#15
Can you describe any other constraints? You hope to limit the spend to about $3000 (CAD I assume).
Does $3000 mean you expect to have a certain amount of tooling, or can you get by with just the minimum tooling and add on as needed?
Do you have space for a full size machine, or even a small knee mill?
Are you good with a 3 phase machine? Have you got 3 phase power sorted out, or are you comfortable managing getting 3 phase power in your work space?
How much weight are you comfortable transporting and moving into your work space? Do you need to take the machine down a flight of stairs? Of course the transport can be very easy - if you are okay with just paying a machine moving company.
What is your time frame? Can you bide your time to wait for a used machine that will meet your criteria. In your area, I have seen several some decent machines do show up over the past few years (the lower mainland is one of my search areas). Of course, my opinion of "decent" may be quite different than yours.
What other shop resources do you have? Is this machine going to be your only primary machine? Are you looking for a mill which would compliment a certain sized lathe?
Are you new to machining, or just "new to this forum"?
Hi

I'm currently in the process of having a shop built - still waiting for the city to approve the plans so it will be quite a long time until I have a full size machine.
I will need to get the machine into my basement which is 3 steps - concrete.
I am actively looking on Craigslist.
I'm not in any rush to get a machine.
As far as shop resources I do not own any milling equiptment just welders air compressors etc, this machine will be my only machine.
I am a total newbie to machining but have worked around the equiptment for many years.

Thanks
Adrian
 

Chipper5783

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#16
If I understand you, you would be looking at a mill only shop. Is that because of specific work you plan to do, or perhaps you already have a lathe in hand (just not on site)? I'd be interested to hear your rational on just a mill (or just a mill to start with). For that matter, I'd love to hear anyone else's thoughts on a mill only shop (plus bench work and the usual small tools).

I understand the lathe only shop (that is all I had for over 25 years and it works quite well).
 

Outinfront

Iron
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#17
Hi Chipper

I am just starting out with machining - this will be my first machine.
Would love a lathe but I would like to start with a mill first so I can make small parts on it then as my skill level progresses I might consider some other machines.
I should probably mention that this is for personal use and I will not be making money off these machines.
Just trying to figure out which machine would be best for me and limit the buyer's remorse.

Thanks
Adrian
 
Last edited:

Outinfront

Iron
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#18
I went and had a look at the Craftex milling machines and I do not like the quality- it seems as though I might be better off finding an old knee mill or buying a descent Grizzley.
 

Ken from ontario

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#19
Adrian, I maybe able to help you with your decision, I have both a mini mill and a mini lathe, the mill is BB CX612 which is the same as MLS 3990, I am using it everyday since I bought it last Christmas, it comes with 3/4 hp high torque brushless motor which seems to be more desirable with smaller(imported/Chinese) machines, there has been a few discussions here about these smaller machines and the consensus was that these machines can produce great projects if used within their limits.
If you are planing on working with harder material like stainless steel and hoping to remove .40" or .50"(10mm to 12mm) with each pass,a mini mill will most likely disappoint you terribly,mainly because they lack rigidity and power, but they work fine with Aluminum Mild steel if you only take off .010"-.o20" at a time, these mills also are a bit more finicky than the heavier duty knee mills, need more fine tuning, frequent readjustments, etc.
With all that said I still love using my mini mill and having fun with it and the lathe everyday although I must admit, it would be nice to own a more ridgid or more capable knee mill and would have bought one(used) if I had the space (head room)in my shop ,my suggestion to you is to look for a new or older ( small) knee mill in good condition especially if you have enough space and have 240V outlet in your shop, you also may have to contend with the 3 phase motors and the extra cost of buying the proper device (VFD) but if portability and /or lack of space is the issue, then go with the smaller machines.
BTW. welcome aboard.:)
 

Outinfront

Iron
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#20
Adrian, I maybe able to help you with your decision, I have both a mini mill and a mini lathe, the mill is BB CX612 which is the same as MLS 3990, I am using it everyday since I bought it last Christmas, it comes with 3/4 hp high torque brushless motor which seems to be more desirable with smaller(imported/Chinese) machines, there has been a few discussions here about these smaller machines and the consensus was that these machines can produce great projects if used within their limits.
If you are planing on working with harder material like stainless steel and hoping to remove .40" or .50"(10mm to 12mm) with each pass,a mini mill will most likely disappoint you terribly,mainly because they lack rigidity and power, but they work fine with Aluminum Mild steel if you only take off .010"-.o20" at a time, these mills also are a bit more finicky than the heavier duty knee mills, need more fine tuning, frequent readjustments, etc.
With all that said I still love using my mini mill and having fun with it and the lathe everyday although I must admit, it would be nice to own a more ridgid or more capable knee mill and would have bought one(used) if I had the space (head room)in my shop ,my suggestion to you is to look for a new or older ( small) knee mill in good condition especially if you have enough space and have 240V outlet in your shop, you also may have to contend with the 3 phase motors and the extra cost of buying the proper device (VFD) but if portability and /or lack of space is the issue, then go with the smaller machines.
BTW. welcome aboard.:)
Hi Ken

My shop is in the process of being built at the moment, originally I wanted a small machine to go in my basement but now I think I might build a temporary shelter for a larger knee mill and put next to my house until the shop gets finished.
I might also drive to grizzly and take a look at all of their machines before I pull the trigger.
My end height available will be 13ft in the shop and I have 240volt 80 amp available.
I have my feelers out
Thanks for the warm welcome :)
 

brino

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#21
Hi Adrian,

I just found these posted near you:

https://vancouver.craigslist.ca/rds/tld/d/milling-machine-15-hp-three/6296833648.html

I can't tell if this one is a round column or not:
https://vancouver.craigslist.ca/rds/tls/d/reduced-acklands-md30b/6283623663.html

...and if you budget is flexible (as you'd need a VFD or phase converter too):
https://whistler.craigslist.ca/tls/d/milling-machine/6330459511.html

Good Luck in your search.
Please let us know how it goes.
Welcome to the site!

-brino
 

Outinfront

Iron
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#22
Hi Adrian,

I just found these posted near you:

https://vancouver.craigslist.ca/rds/tld/d/milling-machine-15-hp-three/6296833648.html

I can't tell if this one is a round column or not:
https://vancouver.craigslist.ca/rds/tls/d/reduced-acklands-md30b/6283623663.html

...and if you budget is flexible (as you'd need a VFD or phase converter too):
https://whistler.craigslist.ca/tls/d/milling-machine/6330459511.html

Good Luck in your search.
Please let us know how it goes.
Welcome to the site!

-brino

Any thoughts on that first one - it is just down the street from me
 

brino

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#23
Any thoughts on that first one
-It sure looks clean!
-all handles and wheels present (....and none look bent)
-nice big vise, probably worth a couple hundred dollars by itself
-3 or 4" indexable face mill in spindle probably worth $100-$150
-image #1 seems to show a little rust on front ways and right end of table, hopefully just surface rust (though maybe just dust/dirt as image #4 doesn't show it on the front)
-the motor pulley does not line up with the middle pulley (EDIT: Oh I see....the belt diagram shows the motor top "V" lined up with the intermediate shaft second from the top "V"...they have it setup different than the diagram!)

For inspection:
-examine table, expect minor dings, hopefully no big holes
-examine ways, any sign of original scraping left? (sign of little wear)
-move table in all three axes, do they go to both ends easily?, is there any slop/backlash? (dead zone where table does NOT move when changing crank direction -a sign of lead-screw or nut wear)
-another "no tools" test for wear; since most wear happens towards the middle of the ways where most machines get used most, snug up the gib locks for each axis near mid way, just so it cranks with a little drag. Will it still move to both ends? If so wear is low, if not some amount of wear is present.
-I'd question the claim of "single phase" power option....motor plate says "4P" does that mean 3+1? anyone?
-I don't see an automatic lubrication system, or "gits" oilers either.....needs a closer look
-does NOT appear to have power-feed, but could be added later

I'm sure others here have used that exact model. Hopefully they'll jump in.

-brino
 
Last edited:

brino

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#24
.....oh and it's obviously much, much bigger than the ones in your first post.

If in good shape with everything tight, that should me much more stability, less chatter, and capable of much heavier cuts.

it is just down the street from me
I wonder if they have a fork lift that could deliver right to you?

Edit:
-you also need to find out about spindle taper to determine price of more tooling....
-if that motor can't work for you, you should be able to mount a 240V single phase one
-of course a 240V single phase in to 3-phase out VFD would give infinite speed control

-brino
 
Last edited:

Outinfront

Iron
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#25
.....oh and it's obviously much, much bigger than the ones in your first post.

If in good shape with everything tight, that should me much more stability, less chatter, and capable of much heavier cuts.


I wonder if they have a fork lift that could deliver right to you?

Edit:
-you also need to find out about spindle taper to determine price of more tooling....
-if that motor can't work for you, you should be able to mount a 240V single phase one
-of course a 240V single phase in to 3-phase out VFD would give infinite speed control

-brino

What is the cost/work associated with setting up a VFD?
I keep finding 3 phase machines and not very many single phase machines.

https://portland.craigslist.org/mlt/bfs/d/vertical-mill-bridgeport/6348405036.html

https://portland.craigslist.org/mlt/bfs/d/bridgeport-cnc-mill-2xt/6348397240.html

https://seattle.craigslist.org/see/bfs/d/bridgeport-dual-head-vertical/6348404279.html
 

Outinfront

Iron
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#26
-It sure looks clean!
-all handles and wheels present (....and none look bent)
-nice big vise, probably worth a couple hundred dollars by itself
-3 or 4" indexable face mill in spindle probably worth $100-$150
-image #1 seems to show a little rust on front ways and right end of table, hopefully just surface rust (though maybe just dust/dirt as image #4 doesn't show it on the front)
-the motor pulley does not line up with the middle pulley (EDIT: Oh I see....the belt diagram shows the motor top "V" lined up with the intermediate shaft second from the top "V"...they have it setup different than the diagram!)

For inspection:
-examine table, expect minor dings, hopefully no big holes
-examine ways, any sign of original scraping left? (sign of little wear)
-move table in all three axes, do they go to both ends easily?, is there any slop/backlash? (dead zone where table does NOT move when changing crank direction -a sign of lead-screw or nut wear)
-another "no tools" test for wear; since most wear happens towards the middle of the ways where most machines get used most, snug up the gib locks for each axis near mid way, just so it cranks with a little drag. Will it still move to both ends? If so wear is low, if not some amount of wear is present.
-I'd question the claim of "single phase" power option....motor plate says "4P" does that mean 3+1? anyone?
-I don't see an automatic lubrication system, or "gits" oilers either.....needs a closer look
-does NOT appear to have power-feed, but could be added later

I'm sure others here have used that exact model. Hopefully they'll jump in.

-brino
Thanks Brino your post has been very helpful and I will be applying your suggestions while I'm searching.
The guy has not been forthcoming about that machine and keeps dodging my questions so I'm no longer considering that one - the search continues
 

hman

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#28
When I was looking to buy my mini-mill a bunch of years ago, about the only two choices were the Harbor Freight 44991 and the Grizzly G8689. The Grizzly has an MT3 spindle, the HF an R8. I bought the HF because R8 is very standard here in the US. MT3 seems popular in Europe.

Nowadays, R8 is pretty much standard for mini-mills in the US, and I'm glad to see this. Even Grizzly has jumped on the bandwagon with their G0781 mini.
 

ezduzit

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#29
If money is no object buy a new machine. Otherwise the best bang for the insurgent U is a used, non-Chinese machine, in excellent condition, which includes a comprehensive list of tooling. Look beyond your local craigslist.
 

Outinfront

Iron
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#30
If money is no object buy a new machine. Otherwise the best bang for the insurgent U is a used, non-Chinese machine, in excellent condition, which includes a comprehensive list of tooling. Look beyond your local craigslist.
I am on a limited budget - no high dollar stuff for me


https://seattle.craigslist.org/est/hvo/6349754498.html

How hard is it to do a 40 taper to R8 conversion- excuse my ignorance if this is not possible.

https://seattle.craigslist.org/tac/tls/d/bridgeport-milling-machine/6348780956.html
 
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