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New to milling - PM-950V?

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Lagonia

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#1
Hello,

I am a new member of the forum. I have been doing quite a bit of reading and researching on mills and lathes and decided to start with a mill first since it would be the one that I can put to use right away. I work on classic cars and have a well stocked two lift private shop that I work out of on my spare time. Countless times I had a need to be able to build some specialized tooling but never could of course and was forced to buy expensive tooling (if I could find it) that could easily be built with a mill and/or lathe. The prospect of owning and learning to use a mill/lathe excites me.

I will start with a mill and the one that is top of my list is the Precision Matthews PM-950V. If you have any thoughts about this mill I will be glad to hear them.
I will have an immediate need to bore holes - 1" - 3" in diameter - can you recommend boring bits/rotary table vices that can be used with this mill? Also, what other accessories should I buy right off the bat (edge finders, collets, clamping set etc. - are some brands better than others)

TIA for your help
 

mksj

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With the import tariff's putting Chinese machinery at a similar price point to Taiwanese, I would suggest also looking at the PM-949TS/TV which are completely made in Taiwan (950 the head ia made in Taiwan). The Quite a few forum members purchased the 949-TS with the 3 phase motor and added a VFD, if single phase then I would go with the TV. The reviews have been very positive. There are also a number of other very high quality knee mills in this category from other vendors, but you need to carefully review the specs/machines to know what you are getting. They are also about 20% more in cost.
https://www.hobby-machinist.com/threads/received-my-pm949-and-pm1340gt.59421/

You did not provide any specifics as to the material and depth that you need to cut 1-3" holes in, but I would look into annular cutters. They come in a wide range of sizes, they give very clean holes in a wide range of materials. I use them frequently for holes over 1/2", need to have slow even pressure when boring holes, use some lubricant and keep the speed under 400 RPM (lower the larger the diameter). They have R8 holders, but I ended up using a 3/4" R8 end mill holder and added the locking set screws.
 

Lagonia

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Thanks mksj for your reply. Depth of holes will range from 1/2" to 1". Boring holes for bearing cases and such in transfer cases, differentials etc.

The PM949TV vs TS (variable vs. belt) differential is 1K$. I can definitely see the advantage of variable speed using a knob vs. changing belt positions - is it worth it? Also, by the time you add the DRO's and power feeds for all 3 axes, a similarly equipped 949TV is probably +2K$ differential to a 950V. The heads are the same - is $2K+ worth it in this case? The fact that the 949TV has a quill power feed makes it much more interesting to me - it may actually be worth it just because of that. It does not appear that the 950V has this feature.
 

wrmiller

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I do not know your limits on tolerances, but I spent the extra money on the 935TS (added VFD later) because I wanted the better quality I would receive on the sliding surfaces of the base/knee/table. Better quality and accuracy of those surfaces are more critical IMO, but that's just me. :)
 

mksj

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#5
It is a tough call given that the PM-950V comes with a DRO and X power feed, it is more a personal preference and a budget. The 949TS 3 phase setup with a VFD will run your around $500 for a basic install and wiring it up yourself, the TV is plug and play. Feature wise on the head, they should be the same, i.e. quill down feed. Check with QMT if you have questions as to features. The PM-950 comes with a single X drive, I would add a Z drive in either case, Y is a luxury. I would recommend going with the Align power feeds which have better low speed control. They are only slightly more $, but well worth it if you are adding them. DRO's range in price, you can get away with an inexpensive 2 or 3 axis for around $300 or an Easson 12B will be around $600, you do the install.
https://www.precisionmatthews.com/product-category/accessories/milling-machine-acc/power-feeds/

So some general thoughts, I would expect both the PM-949 and PM-950 to perform the same and last a long time. I have an ACRA LCM-42 which is the same as the Sharp, to me getting a Taiwanese mill was worth the ~20% price premium (I had a previous Chinese mill). The same goes for my lathe, if on a tight budget it would be otherwise. They won't make you a better machinist, your learn on what you have. If your putting this level of money into a machine, you want to be happy with it and not kick yourself at a later point.

I went with Align drives on the mill, they work great. DRO, I am new school, so embrace the digital age, just makes it easier and less mistakes. Installing the DRO is a worthwhile exercise if you have the time. A lot is posted on the installs, most people go 3 axis with a separate quill battery operated DRO. Glass scales are fine, magnetic scales will double the price and easier to install but same accuracy. So I recommend going through the numbers, looking at your budget and giving a call to QMT with your questions. I have posted some info on basic VFD installs for the mill, if you have any questions shoot me a PM.

So for boring cases you would want to use a high quality boring head with power down feed, there are also boring and facing heads but they can be pricey. An Annular cutter would not give the level of precision needed. A number of videos are posted on boring cases. Variable speed is very handy, in-particular at low speeds getting the boring speed dialed in. Also a big time saver.
 

davidpbest

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The narrow pallet jacks are 21" wide OD to OD. I designed my leveling feet system to access the 935 from the side, not the front. To my knowledge there is no pallet jack narrow enough to get both forks under the base of the mill from the front. Even if there were, I think you'd find the package quite unstable to move around.

IMG_2282.jpg

IMG_2342.jpg

I used 5/8" threaded SS rod through the existing holes in the base of the 935, into 3/16" 2x3 angle, using jamb nuts (low profiled) on the underside of the angle to secure the threaded rod there. Since those photos were taken I have cut off the tops of the leveling feet and threaded rod and put on SS acorn nuts to give a nice finished top surface that won't catch pant legs.

IMG_3395.jpg
 

Lagonia

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I have put an order for a PM949TV with a few accessories. Looking forward to working with it! Will post pictures when it arrives. A lot more than what I currently need but this will mean that I won't outgrow it anytime soon....
 

Janderso

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#8
I have been looking at Precision Mathews. You will see many positive comments on that company and the support they provide.
That is one sweet knee mill.
Congratulations and welcome.
 

Rickwjenn

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#9
While I don't have the PM-950V, I did buy a PM-940 CNC about 90 days ago. Great value and great support. Machine is very rigid and very precise as I am finding out using the CNC system (ripped out the Chinese controller and put in a Centroid Acorn). I am looking hard at one of their lathes next.....
 

Yucholian

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I have put an order for a PM949TV with a few accessories. Looking forward to working with it! Will post pictures when it arrives. A lot more than what I currently need but this will mean that I won't outgrow it anytime soon....
I just ordered one too and has shipped. Can’t wait.
 
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