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Paramount Browns RF-45 clone

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Wrenches

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Hi Guys.

I am looking at getting a milling machine. And would like anyone and everyone opinion on my following thoughts.
The largest machine I can comfortably fit in my shed is a bench top type machine with single phase power.

The machine I am looking at
I am looking at this paramount browns machine, which appears to be an RF-45 type clone machine. These machines seam popular as they are the upper scale of bench top mills.
It has a 2hp (1500W) motor and a reasonable amount of travel in all directions, as well as the added benefit of a tilting head.
It is $2880 and includes a 3 axis DRO which I feel is worth getting to not have to stuff around with dials to much.

DRO Money Saving?
I could opt for the same mill without a DRO. which would make it $800 AUD (570 USD) cheaper, however I would want to put a DRO on it and from what I can see this would cost around $400 anyway (for the cheapest ebay spec one, maybe more for a better one) so the question is, is it worth saving $400 (280 USD) to install the DRO myself (how hard is the job for an average skilled individual)? And if so, are the cheap ebay DROs from China ok? or is this something worth spending money on. I am not going to be doing anything super precision, but do appreciate quality stuff. I forgot the brand of DRO on the machine (had a look in store) but it was german made, which makes me think it might be half ok.

Concerns I have
1

Its max speed is 1600rpm: I want to be able to mill aluminium (6061-t6 mostly and maybe some higher grade but not much), as well as mild steel, and potentially some higher strength steel eg 4140, parts/cuts won't be huge, I am patient enough.
Will this speed be limiting in any way? It seams slow compared to some other advertised limits on RF-45 clones (like the optimum available in Germany?)
There doesn't seam to be an RF45 type clone available in Australia without this limitation.

2
The other concern, which i think i have talked myself around on is that is has a Morse taper 4 spindle. From what I have read and understand that this can be a pain compared to an R8 spindle, as tool changes require belting the sh** out of the draw bar with a mallet. I'm not hugely concerned, as most of the time I can see myself sticking with collets and end mills, but obviously will need to switch out every now and then.

There is an option on another RF-45 clone avail in Australia for an R8 spindle, however it does not include a 3 axis DRO, and it's price is $2600 AUD (plus likely $150-200 in shipping as it is interstate)
So is essentially $700 ($500 USD) more just for the R8 spindle over the MT4. Worth it? (I think not, but want your opinion).
 

Skierdude

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I bought a very similar mill drill a year or so ago. I was constrained by space and budget but at NZD$2200 I was happy to give it a go with a Chinese benchtop mill.
I didn’t want to spend too much on this mill as It is also going to be the basis for a CNC conversion, maybe one day....
Regarding the maximum spindle speed, I’ve not found a maximum of 1600 rpm has been a limitation but I don’t run very small cutters that would want the higher rpm.
My mill has a MT spindle and you’re right it does stick and need some persuasion to release sometimes. R8 would be better but I would think I’d spend $700 for it.
I didn’t get the DRO with the mill = bad move. My theory was that I wouldn’t need the DRO when it was converted to CNC.
Good luck with your purchase.
 

Wrenches

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Thanks Skierdude. Good to know about the speeds not being too limiting.

I was encouraged towards this type of mill when i saw so many videos on youtube with CNC conversions. They seam popular for that so my thought is that they must be half reasonable.
 

markba633csi

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If you go for the MT4 spindle make sure you can find a MT4 to ER collet chuck w/drawbar feature or MT4 endmill holders in common sizes like 3/8" and 1/2"- the ER chuck would be the preferred option
Mark
 

mikey

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1600 rpm is on the slow side, especially if you plan to use smaller cutters. It will work, just not as well as it would at higher speed. My RF-31 only goes to 2200 rpm and while it works fine for the work I do, I often wish for higher speeds.

Re the spindle. You know, or should know, that the number of accessories for an R8 spindle are almost limitless, while the choices for an MT spindle are comparatively limited. This is going to be a big deal in the future and I would personally wait until I found an R8 machine. One key reason is that if you switch machines in the future (it could happen, right?) and it has an R8 spindle then all your MT tooling will not work. Think hard on this one.
 

Wrenches

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You make some good points Mikey,
I almost bought it yesterday but am going to hold out at least for a few weeks as I am super busy anyway so wouldn't have time to play.

I see what you mean about the R8 tooling, just not sure If i can justify the extra $700 for the R8 spindle version. Maybe I should do the sums on a bunch of tooling R8 vs MT4 and see how much the saving is there, I'm guessing R8 tooling being more prevalent is cheaper as well?

Also, with regard to speed. It seams that there is nothing in this size range with decent speeds, they all seam to have the same 6 speed 75-1600 gearbox in them. At least that's all Ive been able to find in Australia.
 

mikey

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An MT spindle is not a total deal breaker; you can always use straight shanks on your accessories and chuck them up that way. This might affect accuracy a tiny bit due to stacking tolerances but it is certainly workable. R8 tooling may be cheaper. It will be much easier to find what you need vs an MT version for sure.

Then again, you have to consider what you MUST have and look at the cost of MT tooling in those categories.
  • A good drill chuck
  • A good tool holding system
  • A good milling vise - do not scrimp on this. 90%+ of all your work will be held with this vise.
Lots of other things to buy but these three things should be of good quality. For a tool holding system, I would recommend you buy into the ER collet system. It is versatile, accurate and dampens vibration better than most. You can get high end chucks in R8 or integral straight shank versions; not so sure about MT. You can get straight shank arbors for almost any drill chuck.

Bottom line: An R8 spindle would be more versatile and economical for you in the long run but you can certainly make do with an MT spindle. $700 is not a little thing so if nothing else interests you then go for it. At least your eyes will be wide open.
 
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