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The evolution in my search for a milling machine and how I got to the PM 833 t

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chiroone

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#1
two years ago, I had decided that I wanted to get a vertical mill. I was in the process of having a house built so I decided I wanted a lot of electrical outlets in the garage To accommodate a mill, I leave, a bandsaw etc. I chose six 110 V outlets.

Then, I decided it was time to start looking for a mill. I first started looking at the grizzly G0705. It was small, and relatively easy to move around. Then I looked at Percision Matthews PM 25 and saw that it was a better build milI, I started collecting a little more cash and then decided I had enough for a PM 727. Then, I figured well, I got this much cash might as will go for a little bit more and get the PM 932, so I continue to wait and collect more cash.

Now, I have enough to get th PM 833 T although, I don’t have enough to get many accessories for it yet, I’ve decided that is going to be the final step in the evolutionary process. I am told, it being made in Taiwan, it is not even in the “same class” as the Chinese machines from PM which are still very good machines.

Fortunately, I contacted my builder a few months ago and had him add four 220 V 40 amp outlets at strategic portions of the garage so at least now I’m ready for it.

I’m thinking I better hurry up and make the purchase, before I decide that I need to go up into an entirely new class of machines and start getting the big huge knee mills.

Are there any PM 833t users out there that would care to comment on their machine?
 

7milesup

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Just got mine, and I mean just. Made the first chips with mine today. The castings are a step above the chinese machines, that is for sure. I made my own stand for it and it is basically done, but I plan on adding storage to it, so have that yet to do.
 

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mikey

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#3
Have you considered the PM835S? Very nice little knee mill.
 

chiroone

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7 mile, that is truly a thing of beauty, is that a 5 or 6 inch vise you have mounted on it?

Mikey, yes. I have seen the 835, but. Iam thinking, I got to stop going up at some time or, I will have a Bridgeport in there and, I already told myself that is more machine than I really need
 

mikey

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#5
... I got to stop going up at some time or, I will have a Bridgeport in there and, I already told myself that is more machine than I really need
I totally get it. BUT a knee is no small thing and I just wanted to make sure you considered it.
 

7milesup

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That is a 5 inch vise on my mill chiroone. If you need/want more pictures, let me know. I stepped up from a Horror Freight mini mill. The 833T is quite a machine. Made my first cuts with it last night and it sure is smooth.
My only nit with it is I wished the top speed was higher, but I knew that going into it.
 

Chipper5783

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#7
Mikey, yes. I have seen the 835, but. Iam thinking, I got to stop going up at some time or, I will have a Bridgeport in there and, I already told myself that is more machine than I really need
Why? I think Mikey is right. No need to stop going up until hit a wall (or the ceiling) - price, weight, room in your shop, power limitations. Sure the 833 would be nice. Strictly speaking the 835 has the same work envelop, a higher top speed and - an extra several hundred pounds. Those extras count. For example if weight over 1000# is a show stopper (to get it into the basement?) then the 833 is the machine for you.

Is there a special job that means you need the machine now and can't swing the extra cash at this time? If you can bide you time, do so. True, you may end up with a Bridgeport size machine - and what is wrong with that! There is a reason that this is a very popular configuration. After you get it moved and start working with it - the regular knee mill is not a "big huge" machine.

I have a small mill (the Maho in my signature). It is a very nice machine, but there are some drawbacks: top speed is 1650 and the work envelop is smaller than the mills you are looking at. When the opportunity for the small Cinci came along - I jumped at it (good top end speed, good low end and a nice size envelop). You are buying new, which means you have numerous choices. I buy old junk - the only choice I get is "take it or leave it".

I'm sure the 833 would be real nice. It looks nice enough, that even when you do get the full sized knee mill, the 833 will still be a useful part of your kit. One mill really doesn't completely do all that would be nice. Again, there is a reason why folks will have multiple machines that are similar (all machines have some sort of short coming).

Let us know what you finally land on. David
 
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Bob Korves

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#8
In commercial machine shops the standard Bridgeport machines are referred to as "light mills." That said, whatever will do the job for you is an acceptable choice. A small bench top machine can do some jobs very well, others, it cannot do, both by size and by rigidity and power. Any machine has a limit, just make sure the one you get will pretty much handle what you want to do with it. There are also workarounds. Find some hobby machinists in your area and build relationships with them for helping each other out when you need a tool or machine you do not have in your shop. That is what a group of us here do. We have fun getting together as well. It extends our tangible resources in much the same ways that H-M extends our knowledge resources. It also helps by having other eyes and brains to look at a problem, and extra hands to move a machine.
 

Downwindtracker2

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#9
The first mill I ever used was a Bridgeport clone, an Excello . It was just an introduction at college, I found it simple to use, sort of metal router. Years later, in the maintenance shop where I worked they picked up a new Advance RF-45, it's a Rong Fu dovetail column made in Taiwan. I thought it was an OK machine. When I retired I looked at mills, I wanted a Clausing 8520, that would never happen the odds on finding a unicorn are much greater, so I looked at the Grizzly clone. They are a 3/4 scale Bridgeport. They are an 8x32 or there abouts mill . But a RF-45 clones were the same size and available. I did end up finding a used real RF-45 that had been CNCed with the CNC parts removed.

That's a long winded background, but here are some thoughts on home shop mills. It's a machine that has almost paid for itself in a short time .The Rong Fu is bit bigger than it's clones. Heresy warning. As a design the RF-45 should be more rigid then the Bridgeport design, less moving parts. That's also a hint, pick up the heavier one .The dovetail column design is used on surface grinders . Mine has much more power with a 10amp motor at 220, 1 1/2hp motor than I can use with it's worn out nuts . got to fix that. But the main advantage is footprint , it may be as little as 1/3 or less of a full size Bridgeport design.
 

chiroone

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#10
Thank you for all this great info, I’m still looking at the PM833. Pretty much due to its price, footprint and the fact that it’s made in Taiwan and is probably very finely made, at least for an Asian mill.

My only concern, seems to be that it’s maximum spindle speed is only about 1500 RPM. I wonder if that’s going to give me any problems?I see the PM 835, being a knee mill, it’s quite a bit heavier and does have faster RPMs, but it’s going to figure to be about a grand more, and I’m really trying to arrive at a stopping point with expense.


I also see that grizzly has a couple of Taiwan made the Mills, but their guarantee it’s not anywhere near as long as PM, And I understand that they build the Mills to his expectations with regards to their efficiency and ability to do the job. It’s possible that grizzly just biuilds them for profit with slightly less concern in that area
 

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#11
I think you can always keep spending a little more and justify the cost in your head. I guess you're better getting it right the first time instead of wishing you had gotten something else. Bigger is usually better but both are very close in work envelope. the 833 actually has the larger work envelope and by the time you add the stand with chip tray, the price is about the same. The 835S is an actual knee mill which is definately beefier and heavier. If you do a lot of aluminum the slower rpm could be a bit of a limitation but it depends on the end mill size. I'm sure there is plenty you can accomplish at 1500 rpm, but I'd rather have more avail. Are there any other motor/pully options avail?With either you could always make some mods down the road that would increase the rpm like a VFD and higher RPM motor. Higher rpm and easy variable rpm is nice to have. I know on some mills it's a pretty easy task to throw in a new motor and add a VFD which could easily get you 4k-5k rpm and the imported VFDs and motors are pretty reasonably priced. But heck you're gonna want DRO's, Power Feed or to convert it to CNC anyway so whats a few buck more!
 

wrmiller

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#12
Not sure how deep you want to get into this, but when I had my 9x40 bench mill (not PM, Matt wasn't selling them yet) I decided to go whole hog and gut the gears out of the gear drive head, and replace it with a two step belt drive setup. Put a three phase motor on top, upgraded the spindle bearings, and I could hit 5k rpm if I needed it.

And don't worry, you're still a couple of steps behind some of us. I started with a PM25 and ended up with a PM935TS that I converted to three-phase and VFD to get me the variable spindle speed I wanted. :eek: :)
 

chiroone

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#13
Well, just the evolutionary process is going to continue. I just spoke to Matt, and after a conversation, I’m thinking I’m just might as well go to the 835. Seems that the 833 does have some speed limits, and, I want this to be the last mill that I really have to purchase, so I might as well go in whole hog with both feet and go all the way up to a knee mill. I think it tipped the scale’s at about 1400 pounds, so I don’t think I’ll be moving it around a great deal. But one things for certain, unless I want to start milling out Chevy blocks, this one should do it. Does anyone else on this mill care to make comments Or maybe better still, trying to talk me out of it :)
 

christiaan

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#14
I have absolutely no credibility in metal working, but I'm going with the 833T (and the PM-1340GT lathe) and outfitting them both with 3PH/VFD power sources (I'm not 100% sure if a single VFD can drive both machines, non-concurrently of course.)--the 833T will require a motor swap since of course it's not offered in 3PH. But for machining, and if you are a precision maniac and get off on that sort of thing like me (see my nationality in point 4 below), it's my understanding that the smooth delivery of 3PH over 1PH is what you want. Not sure if variable speed DC drives fix this...?

My rationale:

1. Taiwan made, or more importantly not Chinese made. The reasons I don't buy Chinese are varied: some quantitative, some political, some emotional.
2. "Light weight". I plan to bench mount these with benches that may be moved either with a pallet truck or footmaster style casters
3. Machine size/capability fits the user. I have never metal-worked, but can't wait to get into it--so I figure these are good entry level machines that I will grow into, as opposed to me outgrowing them
4. Quality. See point 1. I'm a quality snob and hate buying tools twice (I have an arsenal of festool, felder, stabilla, fein, ... yes I'm German)

Hope that adds some color to your decision making process =).
 

chiroone

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Again, thank you all very much for all the info you have given me. Now it’s definitely a tossup between the PM 833T and the PM 835. I’m not sure how many of these are actually in circulation, as it seems both are rather newer machines.I can see benefits to both, 833T is entirely Taiwan made machine, and 835 seems to have a Taiwanese head and a Chinese body. I’m not sure how well this Frankenstein like combination performs, but it seems to look great on paper. Any more thoughts
 
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7milesup

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#16
Pussy benefits to both
Haha, What the heck Chiroone? LOL I've never heard that before.

If you look at my other thread Another Thread on a new mill purchase you will see that I have been through the exact same thought process as you. I was originally set on the 940. Then started looking at the 833T because of the quality of the castings and a discussion with Nicole and Greg at PM. Then I pretty much decided on the 935 since I really liked the size of it and the fact that it was a knee mill, although I have never run a knee mill, people are saying that is what to get. BUT, then after talking to Nicole, she mentioned that the 935 is a Chinese mill. I wonder if the head is really from Tiawan or if she was just referring to the rest of the machine. Also, wouldn't the ways on that machine then be made in China? Seems like the ways would be rather important. I do like the nod feature of the 935 though. Arrrggghhh. Keep us posted on what your thoughs are.

EDIT: as far as the speed limitation goes. as Matt pointed out to me, a VFD and belt drive could be done on the 833 also, although you are getting rid of the stock motor and gears then. That is why I went with the 833T though, because my end game is to eventually make it CNC for the fun of it. That will be a little bit down the road though because otherwise the finance department gets cranky(er).
 

chiroone

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#17
I am sorry, I don’t know what I was trying to say. I’ve been using speech to text and I don’t know how it came out as “pussy benefits to both”.

I think what I was trying to say is “I can see benefits to both”
 

Chipper5783

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#18
I went through the same exercise when I bought my first lathe. It started as a small lathe from Princess Auto, then for a while it had to be a Myford or a Boxford, it just kept growing (and the years went by) - it finally ended up as a used (very nearly new) 15x60 from Modern Tool. I probably over paid (I didn't try dealing at all, just paid their first asking price). That was 35 years ago. It is quite a lump to move around (I've moved 4 times) and the power is always an issue to get the RPC set up again. In retrospect, it was one of the best decisions I ever made. I have used this machine a lot, I have learned a lot, I've got other machines now - but that original lathe is still used more than all the others put together. Now that I know the game a bit better, the price of all the other machines, put together comes to about what that first lathe cost.

There have been numerous times that I wished it was a little bigger, but so far I have been able to figure out a way to 'geterdone'.
 

chiroone

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#19
Ok, I decided to go for the 835s and go for broke. Already sent Matt a few k to hold it for me until I’m back from my trip and then I’m going to put the rest on the cc and have it sent down here and have at it. I guess how I get to buy it all sorts of gifts, like a set of end Mills, fly cutter, DRO, and then I guess I’m gonna have to tram it so a dial indicator, already got the vice, clamps, Percision Chuck and the collets, so what’s a few hundred more. Well,like I told my wife,I don’t drink, do drugs or pursue women and I’m a good provider husband and father to our children, so what’s a few eccentricities?
 

mikey

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#20
Chiroone, the HM forum is going to broaden your perspective for you. You think that outfitting a mill has some kind of end in sight ... I'll buy this and that and I can use the mill. Well, that is just the start. Pretty soon you'll need a bandsaw to rough out stock, then buy more tools to make tools for your machines, and more instruments to measure with, and on and on and on. As far as money pits go, machining is almost as bad, or worse, than owning a boat. Ain't life grand?
 

middle.road

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#21
. . . trimmed . . . As far as money pits go, machining is almost as bad, or worse, than owning a boat. Ain't life grand?
Nope - I'm afraid I have to disagree with you, I've used the shop tools to make parts for da Boat. :grin:
Said Boat never did anything for the Shop. :grin:
That being said, haven't had the boat in water for over (4) years and the lower end froze and cracked.
And I thought I'd drained all the water out of her. . . :( Can't bring myself to scrap her, yet.
 

mikey

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#22
Yeah, but Dan, a boat has a theoretical limit to what you can do to it or buy for it. Not so with hobby machining - it never ends, ever. Some of us can somewhat limit it because we may have other priorities, like food or housing and other silly things like that but as sure as night follows day, the "need" will exert itself upon you. And we on the forum will be right here to help you spend your money!!!
 

Chipper5783

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#23
Ok, I decided to go for the 835s and go for broke. Already sent Matt a few k to hold it for me until I’m back from my trip and then I’m going to put the rest on the cc and have it sent down here and have at it. I guess how I get to buy it all sorts of gifts, like a set of end Mills, fly cutter, DRO, and then I guess I’m gonna have to tram it so a dial indicator, already got the vice, clamps, Percision Chuck and the collets, so what’s a few hundred more.
As others have pointed out, there is really no limit to how much it is possible to spend on shop stuff. A good rule to follow is: "Don't purchase toys on credit." In fact, if you ever carry a balance on the CC, then no more tools until the card is cleared.

One approach on acquiring tooling is to only purchase something when you have a task you "need" to do. A lot of people (myself included), buy tooling because it would sure be useful - but it sits for years because the right kind of job has not come along.

If the funds are tight, hold off on the DRO. A DRO is really nice, but milling machines were in use doing very good work for many decades before any sort of DRO was available. A DRO is really nice, but the majority of the benefit can be achieved by careful use of the handwheels, felt pen marks, pocket calculator, spreadsheet, tape measure. Learn to use the machine with the dials, then when you do get the DRO - you will truly appreciate it.
 

Bob Korves

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#24
As others have pointed out, there is really no limit to how much it is possible to spend on shop stuff. A good rule to follow is: "Don't purchase toys on credit." In fact, if you ever carry a balance on the CC, then no more tools until the card is cleared.
Amen, David. H-M members would do well to frame that message where they can see it every day.
 

RIMSPOKE

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#25
I HAVE HAD MY PM-833T FOR OVER A YEAR NOW .

MINE IS OUTFITTED WITH THE POWER FEED ON THE X & Z AXIS .
NO TWO WAYS ABOUT IT , THESE ARE MUST HAVES IN MY BOOK .

I ALSO HAVE THE EASSON 3 AXIS READOUT , MY OWN INSTALLATION .
ONCE AGAIN A MUST HAVE ITEM , IT IS TWICE THE MACHINE WITH THE READOUT .

I HAVE THE MILL MOUNTED ON A 33 INCH 5 DRAWER VIDMAR CABINET .
THERE IS A 3/8" THICK ALUMINUM PLATE TO SPREAD OUT THE LOAD .
THE EXTRA HEIGHT IS GREAT FOR SOMEONE OVER 6" TALL .

I REALLY DO LIKE THIS MILL BUT HAVING RUN BRIDGEPORTS FOR MANY YEARS
I CAN SAY IT DOES NOT HAVE THE VERSATILITY OR RIDGIDITY .

IT IS AN EXCELLENT TABLE MILL & I HAVE BEEN ABLE TO TURN OUT SOME
REALLY NICE WORK ON IT . IT DOES A FANTASTIC JOB FOR THE SPACE IT OCCUPIES .

I HAVE HAD TO REPLACE THE Y LEADSCREW BEARINGS AND REMOVE THE TABLE
TO RE-SECURE THE X LEADSCREW NUT !

I PREVIOUSLY HAD A PM727 AND I CAN TELL YOU THAT THE PM833 IS IN ANOTHER LEAGUE BY COMPARISON .

DSC_0687.JPG DSC_0688.JPG
 

navav2002

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#27
I agree with Rimspoke with reguards to the power feeds!! I couldn't imagine not having them (especially the x-axis)...

Congratulations on your new machine!!
 
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7milesup

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#30
Yeah, not sure about that.
 
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