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Ready to order LMS HITorque Mill for $895. Comments?

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MarcoPolo59

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#1
Dear HM,

I work with a FIRST robotics team as a coach and would like to have a small mill at home to do some basic stuff (slot holes, drill staight holes
through 1 by 2 aluminum tube. I am looking seriously at a Little Machine Shop mini-mill for home. I do not have machinist experience, just experience home owner. Thoughts?
 

rc63

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#2
Hi Marco,

I suggest you delve deeper into these forums on the different machine tools that are available. If the budget only allows for sub 1k range, you probably will end up disappointed unless your doing very light jobs. (IE plastics maybe aluminum) not sure just a thought. I wouldn't want you to be bummed out in the end. I'm sure you'll get better info from other folks.




good luck Sir!



Bob C.
 

wrmiller

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#3
How large are the holes you intend to drill/slot? You said you have no machining experience. What are you trying to do, exactly?

I have a LMS mill, and use it on pretty much any material, but the cuts (and cutters i.e. drills/endmills) need to be small. The "plastics" comment has been propagated on here a bit, probably to discourage ham-fisted, machining-challenged people from trying to mill a engine block on a 200 lb hobby mill.

Bill
 
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Fabrickator

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#4
I've had an LMS HT mill for a couple of years now and I've never replaced a part. I cut anything on it, albeit I just take smaller cuts. I did make a couple of mods to stiffen the head stock support and you must have all of the gibs running on the tight side.

With roughing mills (2-flute for alum & 4-flute for steel) I can take much larger cuts. I was just hogging off .100" + aluminum the other day with no problem machining a part out of billet aluminum. I can also take .060" cut in mild steel with no problems. And yeah, it'll cut plastic too.

I've made several mods that can be seen on this link:
Power Feed - I feel this is essential.
Super Long Gas Shock (I have 12" Y-travel)
X-Y-Z DROs
Head stock support brkt
Forward/Reverse switch.
Cooling Fan on control box

http://www.hobby-machinist.com/showthread.php?t=22202

I wish I had a larger mill, but I don't have the room at this time. I'm always amazed at what I can do with this little one.

Rick
 

Bishop

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#5
The tilting column version adds nothing and takes away from rigidity (I have an X2 clone with tilting column) get the solid column and you won't be disappointed. The LMS folks seem like real standup people and have one of the nicest X2 clones out there, if not the nicest.

Shawn
 

wrmiller

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#6
Plus one for the solid column. Makes a significant difference.

Bill
 

silence dogood

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#7
Since you are cutting aluminum square tubing, the LMS should be fine. LMS sells two machines, the 3960 has a solid column and that column has about 50% more iron in it. For what it is, its a nice machine. LMS also sells a tooling kit that goes with it, I recommend it. I think that it will add another $250. The forum before this, NightWing had some great upgrades that you should read. These upgrades can really apply to any mini mill.
Now a couple of things. The spring system on holding the head up leaves much to be desired. There are a number of threads on how to handle this.
When you adjust your speed, you really don't know what it is. LMS sells a plug-in tach, but there is a kit on the market that sells much less. Or if you really want to go cheap, get a Harbor Freight digital contact tachometer. I think that I got mine for $25. Measure the different speeds that relate to the marks on the speed control and then post the results on a paper to put on the machine. At least it will get you in the ballpark when you start cutting. Hope this helps.
Mark
 
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Nelson

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#8
I have invited the owners and managers of LMS here several times, and they did not even respond. They do have their own blog.
It is nice to have the manufacturer here to answer questions and provide support. (And yes, even to dodge a few bullets when necessary.)

I did see a response to a complaint on another forum. The person who bought the mill was/is a real ass and is unwelcome on this site.
His complaints were unfair and unfounded. They spent hours helping him set up the mill, and he dragged their name through the mud.
LMS provided a response that indicated that they did a yeoman's job helping him get his mill set up, and his complaint was very unfair.

Outside of that one complaint, I have heard nothing but positive comments about their stuff.
 
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