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Yet Another "Which Mill" question

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PHPaul

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#1
Let's say a fella wanted a mini mill, and he had a budget of $1200 for the machine, shipping and basic tooling.

Must-haves for the mill are:

R8 collet capability
Solid dovetail column
0 (or 100) - 2500 RPM speed range
More table travel is better.

Basic tooling is defined as:

Decent vise
Starter Kit of end mills
Decent selection of R8 collets
Edge and Center Finder
123 blocks?
V-blocks?

I already have a hold-down kit and a set of parallels, t-slot cleaner and center drills.

I'm looking primarily at Grizzly 0781 and Little Machine Shop's HiTorque line (they sure are proud of their shipping!)

So, 2 questions:

1. Does one of the listed machines have any particular advantage over the other.
1b. Is there another machine I should consider?

2. Is there other initial tooling I should consider?
 

wileel

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#2
After doing all of the research to select a machine myself I thing 1200 is going to be very tight...is it possible to hold out a while longer to get up to 2k?
It looks like that mill is popular and personally I think grizzly has decent shipping price, but both are fairly small...are you sure you this size will make you happy as well as fit all of your present and FUTURE projects?
 

PHPaul

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#3
Thank you for your thoughts.

I could stretch the budget to $1500 initially if I had to.

As to size, I think the ones I have listed are a good match for my Grizzly 8688 lathe. Both will be used primarily for model building in brass and aluminum with perhaps a few relatively small parts out of steel.
 

100LL

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#4
Would you consider used? A little patience and luck will award you with a high quality milling machine. High quality new machines are big bucks
 

PHPaul

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#5
I am indeed watching for a used unit. Craigslist of course, and a local/New England trader magazine called Uncle Henry's. Nothing yet.

I don't believe I'd go the EBay route as I'm not a very trusting individual and would want to put my hands on any used machine before I plunked down any cash.

Time is not an issue particularly either as I'd prefer to save up the "pin money" rather than dipping into savings. I have a little cash income from doing odd jobs for other folks that is mine to spend without having to get clearance from the Chief Financial Officer ;)
 

100LL

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#6
I’m just about done with eBay. Too many bad shipping experiences.

I found my milling machine on Craigslist locally but it took time. I didn’t steal it, but also felt like all the stuff I got was a good value.

There’s a great team here to help you look, with the top bird-dog being silverbullet. He has quite the gift of search :)
 

Eddyde

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#7
I have bought a couple of machines off eBay. However, they were close by and offered money back guarantee so I felt it was a safe bet, had good experiences with both buys. Also, if you see something you are interested in on eBay check Craigslist for the sellers area, people often list on both sites.
 

Ken from ontario

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#8
The first thing you notice with smaller mills is how small the tables are, and you soon wish you had a mill with a bigger and wider table, no matter how small I choose my projects I still get stuck sometimes when machining both ends of a workpiece.
 

hman

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#9
Between the two candidates you mention, I'd favor the LMS HiTorque. (1) The Grizzly has a tiltable column, like my HF 44991. As far as I'm concerned, it's not just a useless "feature," but also a source of weakness and instability. The column on the LMS is solidly bolted down to the base. (2) The LMS mill also has an air spring column "counterweight," while the Grizzly has the less capable spring arm. (3) The LMS is gearless, thus quieter than the geared Grizzly. And it has one less failure mechanism - stripped gear teeth.

PS - I'm glad to see that Grizzly has finally gone to the R8 spindle taper. At the time I was buying a mini, all Griz offered was an MT3 spindle. So I went with the HF. I've used the HF mini for some years now. And though it's small, it has pretty nice capabilities.
 

Chipper5783

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#10
Thank you for your thoughts.

I could stretch the budget to $1500 initially if I had to.

As to size, I think the ones I have listed are a good match for my Grizzly 8688 lathe. Both will be used primarily for model building in brass and aluminum with perhaps a few relatively small parts out of steel.
Keep putting off the purchase, and build up the account. Every bit of extra cash gets you additional capability. Tooling you can add a bit at a time, but the basic machine is what you'll be working with (stuck with). While waiting and building up that account, a nice used machine may come available.

Don't try to match the g8688 lathe. Match the mill to what you hope to use it for. As others ave pointed out, mill space gets eaten up in a hurry.

My Maho is a 12 x 8 x 12 (XYZ) - which makes it only 3" bigger in the Y - compared to the Griz 0781. The Maho is a great little mill (it has other redeeming features, such as over 10 times the amount of metal, a 40 taper, plenty of power and numerous attachments) but I have to be creative with most projects in order to fit in the work envelop.
 

Yester5

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#11
I use a LMS High Torque mini for 90% if my milling. It’s s great little machine. I used it for over a year while saving up for a DRO kit. I added that a few months ago and it’s made it even better.
Before that, I bought a Wong Fu (Buffalo Machine) used from a retiring gunsmith for $1000.00. I know that sounds a bit high, but it came with two nice “Kurt style” vises, a 12” rotary table, angle plates, parallels and around $2000.00 worth of tooling. Good deals are out there, just have to get lucky ;)



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

PHPaul

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#12
Found this reasonably locally on C-list. Price seems fair with vise and some tooling, and there's no shipping. Have an email in on it, will go look at it if it's still available. Likely grab it if it's in good shape.
 

Eddyde

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#14
Note, that looks like drill press vise which is not suitable for doing precision milling. Perhaps why his project didn't work out...
 

PHPaul

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#15
True, but it's a starting place and better than what I have currently. I expect I'll be beating up the VISA on tooling anyway.:D
 

Charles Spencer

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#16
I have bought a couple of machines off eBay. However, they were close by and offered money back guarantee so I felt it was a safe bet, had good experiences with both buys.
I did that when I sold a lathe on ebay. Got the payment but kept it in ebay so I could reverse it easily if the buyer wasn't happy. He was, it went fine.

PHPaul, I did a screenshot because they'll remove the Craigslist listing and then nobody will know what it was:
grizzly.jpg
 

PHPaul

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#17
Good idea, Charles. I have an appointment to go look at it tomorrow. I'll post back with the results.

Offhand, does anybody know the overall height of the machine? Best guess I can come up with from the literature is just under 70" which will work in my proposed location. Much taller and I'll have to re-think things.
 

PHPaul

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#18
Went and looked at the mill today and grabbed it. Story is the guy's Dad bought it to mill AR lowers, did one and quit.

I can make some educated guesses on why: I don't think he had the first clue what he was doing. Machine appears to have been uncrated, set up and put to work. Cosmoline still on the ways, dovetails and wheels, vise held down with random 5/8ths hex head hardware, two bolts on one side of the pedestal, none on the other, and if you look at the picture of the mill, it is completely plugged up with aluminum.

The machine itself is in good shape but dirty. I doubt it has a half-dozen hours on it. Came with a full set of R8 collets, a full set of (what appear to be inexpensive) TiN mills, a decent looking mag-base dial indicator, a mag-base work light, a handful of loose drills and mills and two inexpensive vises.

Considering the bare machine is $1400-ish new, plus shipping and I paid $1200 for everything, I feel like it was a fair deal. Not smoking, but decent.

I'll need to get a clamp set as the slots are smaller than the set I have for my other table. Could also use a recommendation for a lube system (I'm thinking koolmist but am open to suggestions) and the best lube/oil to protect the dovetails and table surfaces.

I'm stoked. Now to download the manual, finish cleaning it up and figure out how to use it...
 

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Eddyde

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#19
Looks like a pretty good deal indeed, Congratulations!
You have a mill now, you can make some smaller T-nuts :)
I like my Kool-mist, never even use the flood system. There are copies available on eBay supposedly work just as well for a lot le$$.
Vactra #2 way oil.
 

PHPaul

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#20
You have a mill now, you can make some smaller T-nuts :)
Well yeah, but I need the t-nuts to bolt the vise down to hold the material to make the t-nuts...I'm so confused...:rolleyes:

Thanks for the tips on way oil and coolant. I think one of the inexpensive mixing blocks and a cobbled up container will do for hobby work.
 
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