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WTK so do I go bigger or better equipped?

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chiroone

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#1
I am in the market for a vertical mill. My budget will allow me to get a PM 727 fully equipped with the DRO all possible options as well as a full complement of tooling or, I can get a PM932 with just a stand, power X feed and a power head but then I’ll have to wait to add a DRO as well as some other tooling. Does anyone have any advice the best way to go? I’m also wondering if I should consider one of the grizzly machines of the same or similar size. Not sure who makes the best machine so I can keep it around 3K. If anyone has any other models or ideas, any help would be appreciated
 

kd4gij

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#2
With that budget I would look for a good used Bridge port..

BTW Hi neighbor
 

chiroone

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Greetings, thanks for the info, but Bridge Port out of the question, WAAAY too big, may need parts that are not available, may be worn out, too heavy too move and just over kill. I am just a hobbyist, I have been looking for older and smaller American machines, but no luck, so Asian iron seems to only choice
 

middle.road

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#4
If it were me and I just needed and wanted a benchtop mill I'd call Matt...
I believe his customer service speaks volumes.
Heck he even tried to help me with part on my auction bought Birmingham.
 

4ssss

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Greetings, thanks for the info, but Bridge Port out of the question, WAAAY too big, may need parts that are not available, may be worn out, too heavy too move and just over kill. I am just a hobbyist, I have been looking for older and smaller American machines, but no luck, so Asian iron seems to only choice
Everybody starts out as a Hobbyist except us guys that worked the shop their whole life. When you drop 3K on a mill, you'll soon find that you should have bought the bigger Bridgeport. Hardinge took over Bridgeport and all parts are available for them.
 

wrmiller

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#6
I am in the market for a vertical mill. My budget will allow me to get a PM 727 fully equipped with the DRO all possible options as well as a full complement of tooling or, I can get a PM932 with just a stand, power X feed and a power head but then I’ll have to wait to add a DRO as well as some other tooling. Does anyone have any advice the best way to go? I’m also wondering if I should consider one of the grizzly machines of the same or similar size. Not sure who makes the best machine so I can keep it around 3K. If anyone has any other models or ideas, any help would be appreciated
There are those of us who have no need/use for a old BP, but we're rare. ;)

The only suggestion I will make here is that you buy the highest quality machine you can afford first. Then save your pennies for the extras.

Buying a cheap(er) machine just to get a cheap DRO or power feed with the package means you ended up with a lower quality machine you may or may not regret in the future. Think Taiwan made if you can afford it. Just my $0.02 :D
 

Mitch Alsup

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#7
Buy the biggest heaviest machine that you have space for even if you have to sacrifice power 'this and that' or DROs. THis and that and DROs can be added later, strength and stiffness cannot.
 

T Bredehoft

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#8
From my experience with Matt, both machines are of equal quality. Unless you need the (slightly) larger machine, go with the bells and whistles on the smaller one. In life (working life) I ran mills ranging from low end Indexes to 16 foot stroke planers, with a couple of Mazaks in between In Hobby Life, my PM25 is adequate.
 

Tim9

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#9
The Rung Fu Clones are nice machines IMO. They have enough mass to do some decent cuts and weighing @ 750 lbs... They can be fairly easily moved when you break them down...IE... remove the head and table and now each chunk is about 200-250lbs The RF 45 is what I have and even though mine is old and has some wear... It still performs well.
I have the Top Tech DM 45 from Penn Tools. http://www.penntoolco.com/dm-45pf/
 

Asm109

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#10
I don't know these machines at all so I will not comment on that. I second the idea to buy the biggest, heaviest machine that will fit in your space.
Avoiding chatter, having enough space to add a rotary table or indexer is priceless. Not having enough room on the machine is a project killer.
I have used mills with DROs and power feeds. Its nice and my boss appreciates that I can work faster with them. At home my mill has neither and it doesn't bother me to count turns, take the time to blue and make layouts on parts. Its an old school way of working and it seems fitting to me. Given my mill was manufactured the same year I was born and both of us are nearly ready to collect SS.
 

tjb

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#11
I learned the hard way: "Buy it cheap, buy it twice. Buy it right, buy it once." And there are two ways to make the mistake of buying 'cheap'. One way is too low a capacity on a reasonably decent machine (new or used); the other is buying a heavier duty machine that is worn out.

I live on a farm, have built a few street rods, and have developed an interest in machining. In every instance - tractors, cars, machines, and tools of all sorts - in my experience, it's rare to enter into a new endeavor knowing what you'll want a year or two later (sometimes, a month or two later). It's just about a near certainty that as a novice you won't appreciate how much you'll want the extra size/weight/capacity/etc. once you've gained some experience. A little bit of practice and a normal learning curve, and you'll wish you went with the heavier duty option. Bells and whistles, like power feed, DRO, etc. can always be added.

Regards,
Terry
 

Ray C

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#12
Both. Bigger/Heavier and Better Equipped to the extent possible -within the class of parts you intend to make.

+1 on the suggestions of Precision Matthews.
 

brino

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#13
Given my mill was manufactured the same year I was born and both of us are nearly ready to collect SS.
I wish the cheques would start rolling in for my 1916 Cincinatti!
-brino
 

astjp2

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#14
They make bridgeports not much larger than that Rong Fu... and you will get way more capability. I have seen 8x36 bridgeports and with a good axis summing DRO, you wont want for a better machine, just a larger one later. Tooling and vises are not cheap. Good luck Tim
 

Tim9

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They make bridgeports not much larger than that Rong Fu... and you will get way more capability. I have seen 8x36 bridgeports and with a good axis summing DRO, you wont want for a better machine, just a larger one later. Tooling and vises are not cheap. Good luck Tim
I totally agreed. Sure bigger is better. That said... some of us don’t live on the East Coast where the manufacturing base makes selection of machines wide and easy. Living in New Orleans, I just don’t see many Bridgeports show up on the second hand market. We do see a some big oil field and ship repair machinery.... huge lathes and such. Anyway not a lot to choose from.
I was only commenting on the Asian mills to the O P’s question. That said, my RF 45 has served me well. It got me in the game and for a learning tool I have no complaints. I did locate a larger mill. It’s not a full size Bridgeport.... more like a 3/4 size.... it’s a Burke Millrite. But even it was to big for the size of my makeshift workshop.
I had to drive 200 miles to get it and then drive 200 miles back home. And it’s been in storage. I can’t wait till I finish building my workshop with a concrete floor. Then I’ll move on up to it. Since it’s also an R8 spindle arbor tooling purchased to date wasn’t money waisted.
 
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