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PM-932, should I buy a stand or make my own?

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umnik

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I am set on buying PM-932 mill from Matt. Just need couple months before I finish my current big project and prepare my shop to receive the machine. Meanwhile, I am just checking what I need. I am thinking should I buy the mill with stand or just make my own. The reasoning for the question is that I see that people makes some sort of bases to make the stand higher, and I guess it is too low for what it is. I am 5'10" will it be low for me? What is best height for the stand? The second reason, the stand itself is ... just stand. I think I could make my stand more functional with convenient storage/drawers. I am planing to make sturdy wooden base, because I am hobby woodworker that is easier and likely little bit cheaper. But main purpose is to have good and FUNCTIONAL stand.
What are your experience/thoughts/advises on that matter?
What about chip pan, is it useful for usage with home made stand?
 

darkzero

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I have a PM-45, predecessor to the PM-932. I used the stand that it came with but I made a riser for it with leveling feet (my garage where it sits is not level). I'm 5'8" & it was too low for me.

For the lathe, I set my spindle height at elbow length. This is a good rule of thumb, not too low so you are constantly bending over & not too high that you can't see the top of the work piece.

For my mill, the table is stationary & the head moves up & down. So I set my table height at about elbow length (well slightly below to account for the handwheels height & mounted vise). Comfortable for me but everyone is different.

If you choose to make another stand, a good idea would be to add drawers or shelving for tooling storage. Some people use roll away tool boxes for smaller mills but not sure if one of those will support a RF-45 style mill/drill without additional support.

Edit: I see you have additional storage in mind already. I don't know about a wood stand though for this size machine. My stand is sheet metal & while its ok I rather have the heavy cast iron stand that they now offer. But if you over build it out of wood, maybe.

IMG_20121122_132005-800x602.jpgIMG_20121122_133035-800x602.jpg
 

Aaron_W

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I don't know how useful the PM stand is, looks like the typical mill stand with one door. Personally I don't really find storage in the base nearly as handy as it seems like it would be. A rolling tool chest is far more useful to me because you don't have to bend down nearly to the floor to find what you need. I find the base storage best suited to occasional use larger items, like an alternate milling vice, rotary table etc, and for those types of things a single large door is useful.
A factory base certainly looks more neat and tidy, and I'd probably lean that way myself. $350 does go a long way towards materials if you DIY.

I think that mill is around 900lbs, so that should be no problem to support on a properly built wood stand.

I tend to overbuild things so I'd probably go with 4x4 corner posts with doubled 2x4 or notched 4x4 crosspieces resting on the posts with a top made of 3/4" plywood, doubled up. A chip pan isn't all that necessary on a mill because they are messy and fling chips everywhere anyway.

A metal top would help to protect the wood. I'd go at least 16 ga so it doesn't dent too easily and if you found a nice piece in the scrap pile some stainless steel or 1/8"or thicker aluminum plate would make a nice, low maintenance and oil resistant surface.
All 2x4 is probably strong enough, but if I'm supporting 1000lbs, I like to build to support 3000lbs. :grin:

Because of the way a mill works, I don't believe a wood base has the same level of distortion issues as when used with a lathe.
 

matthewsx

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Really?

Of course make it yourself, that way it will be exactly what you want. My vote is for steel though ;)

Cheers,

John
 

ats1911

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I bought the same mill, am building a steel stand around the Harbor Freight 44x22 rolling cabinet. The tabletop will be about 35” high. I’m 6’, thinking that will be about right. It’s sitting on my 40” high welding table, and that’s a bit higher than I’d prefer.
 

mickri

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This is a no brainer. You are a wood worker. Make it out of wood and be done with it. I think that the issue people have with a cabinet with just a door is that you have to get done on your hands and knees to retrieve anything in the cabinet. Forget the door and make drawers. No more peering into a dark cabinet to find what you want.

That said another alternative is old metal desks and file cabinets. They can often be had for free. A forum member turned me onto 3 drawer file cabinets. I picked up a bunch from a county surplus sale for under $10 each.

IMG_3680.JPG

They come with casters which could easily be swapped for a solid mounting. For your mill you would need two joined together with a plywood top. I am 5'10" tall. The stand for my Excel 31 miil/drill (RF31 clone) is 29" tall which puts the mill about the right height for me. The 3 drawer file cabinets are the same height with a piece of 3/4 plywood on top.

Have fun with your new toy.
 

38super

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Weight + rigid is your friend.
 

umnik

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Yes! That direction I had in mind. No wasted space and it is easier to put heavy items in drawers..
 
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