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[4]

Square column versus knee mill observations

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Schmeky

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#1
We ran a PM 932M square column mill for about 3 years and it paid for itself many times over. However, we knew it was not designed for commercial/industrial use, but at the time was in our budget. The PM 932M was run hard, and it did well, but it became increasingly obvious it was time to upgrade.

So we ordered a PM 935TV, Taiwan made Bridgeport "2/3's" type knee mill. We added the DRO, power feed on the X and knee, pretty much decked out. The Taiwan machines quality far surpasses the China made PM 932.

Reason for this post is if you can swing the Taiwan made knee mill, and if you intend to run a mill in a commercial/industrial environment, or simply run a machine 4-6+ hours a day (or more), the better made machine will be much cheaper in a very short time span. Plus, in our experience, the quality of the work will also be better with the knee mill.
 

MarkM

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#2
Battling this decision right now. Do I make do and buy my second opp. Machine now and get by with it or take my lumps and pony up and get my principle mill now? Still suffering from my lathe purchase. Was it just the quality or the mass. Probably both. Thanks for posting.
 

Ray C

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#3
Absolutely! A 932 is slightly under 1000lbs and the 935 knee mills are about 1600lbs. An increase of mass by more than 60% goes a long way to improve performance. Similarly, with a step up to the 949 or 1054 you get an extra 1000 and 1500lbs at 2500 and 3000. Makes a big difference!

How do you like the TV version? I wish I had room for the bigger machines but, I'm also eyeing the 935TV. Budget-wise, the 835S is more what I'll probably end-up with. Matt said he's had no issues with the TV version and variable speed is really attractive to me.

Ray
 

MarkM

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What about the 833t Ray? Doesn t have the mass but the quality and decent work envelope is there. Three phase and a vfd for a little more rpm tuning not so much for higher revs would go a long way with the 833t. I am eyeing that 835s as well. Really would like a knee but the 833t looks to be a lifer with it s quality. Decision decisions!
 

Ray C

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What about the 833t Ray? Doesn t have the mass but the quality and decent work envelope is there. Three phase and a vfd for a little more rpm tuning not so much for higher revs would go a long way with the 833t. I am eyeing that 835s as well. Really would like a knee but the 833t looks to be a lifer with it s quality. Decision decisions!
I have a PM 45 that's about 7-8 years old. It was the predecessor to the 932 and 940. It's fine and in perfect condition after a lot of use. On occasion, I'd like to hog a little faster. I use hogging cutters which helps a lot but the feel of bigger machine is really satisfying some times and I'd like to treat myself as I get ready to retire.

Ray
 

zmotorsports

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#6
Completely agree. I originally ordered the PM932PDF from Matt which he didn't have in stock at the time. Upon more internal debating and really wanting a knee mill I called him back within about a week and changed my order to the PM935TV which I absolutely love running. I am coming up on my fourth year with the mill now and never doubt my decision for a moment.

Mike
 

MarkM

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That pm 935 is a beauty. Been lusting after it the first time I laid my eyes on it. Trying to be sensible. You see I did the same with my lathe. Looked at it and thought never in my dreams. Way too much! This is why I have been thinking Rong fu 31. Make sure it s from Taiwan. Ya it s a round column but for the money. It s not a mill. It s a shop,tool that can mill. I sold two motorcycles, and one of them a nice bike. Still had to take out the credit card, but I have that lathe and have never regretted it. Need a mill, Starting to ponder the thought I may need to buy a knee mill from Taiwan. Thats where the 833t comes in. I need to catch up a bit around the shop. Gets me functional and think it would be an accurate machine to work with While keeping some change back only to spend it elsewhere.
 

MarkM

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Good day all, Alot of thoughts about buying another machine. O.p. Pretty much laid it out there. Really pretty cheap for a decent machine tool the pm 935. Just gonna throw it out there. Would any of you run with the Rf31 and tool up for a few years. It s a slippery slope! Know I can t do didley with just the machines. O.p. Would you have gone back right from day one with the 935 or a step you needed to make. No need to know why. Was it a Revelation? I ve worked on Bps. And dont expect anything more than what they are. The other machines. Don t mind me guys! I know I m a funny Duck!
 

Schmeky

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#9
MarkM,

I have a budget like everyone else, but a machine like the PM 935TV is going to be cheaper in the long run if you run a mill pretty hard and demand the utmost in accuracy and precision. For light to moderate occasional use, the 932 is OK. But . . . with our 932 we had to do quite a bit of work to get it up and running. The drawbar on our 932 was flimsy, so we had to fabricate one. The gibs on our 932 were rough and rather crude. The hand cranks on our 932 were quite simply terrible, hard to believe how badly made ours were on our 932.

Square column mills can't be trammed for the "nod" so if the 932 is off in this regard (and ours was to a small degree), you have a real job ahead of you. The 935TV is a Bridgeport clone, so it can trammed dead on -0-, which by the way is extremely easy and quick to do. The belt driven 935TV is also extremely quiet when compared to the much, much, noisier gear driven 932.

The overall quality of the 935 over the 932 must be seen to be appreciated.

I want to stress the 932 is no reflection on Precision Matthews, the 932 is simply a price point machine for the weekend warrior (IMHO).
 

MarkM

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Thanks for your reply! The 833t looks to be of great quality all around. Should be able to work within limits. But almost too close to the 935 in price. That s why I am thinking small shop tool like the rong fu for now and keep it around for second op. or maybe save setup on another machine. Tough call for me. Our dollar is a killer. Good on you for working with the 932. Shows you wanted it! Your business I mean. Did what you had to do, Now a real nice smooth machine that will take some pressure off. Awesome!
 

Joez71

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Thanks for this post, did you need a bigger workspace for the larger milling machine when upgrading? I dont have much space, I am concerned that it won't be enough for a Bridgeport sized machine...
 
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