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I have been pondering for a looooooonnngg time now about getting a milling machine. At first I was focused on the floor standing knee models, but now I am wondering if I should consider a bench model. I would like to here from you guys that have one would I get that much benefit from the larger machine. Or your thoughts on why you have the one you have. I know the benifits to going larger, but would a home hobby shop justify one. I have been looking at the Grizzly's and the Jet's. I really don't want a 3 phase and a converter. Any thoughts on the subject will be greatly appreciated.

http://www.grizzly.com/products/mach-specs.aspx?key=480000

http://www.jetwilton.com/us/manufacturing/en/products.html?node=4517&category=7186
 

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If I had to buy one tomorrow...this is what it would be:
http://www.grizzly.com/products/Drill-Mill-with-Stand/G0704
Love my DP in my basement, but thats the unit i'd like for my shop

I really don't want a 3 phase and a converter.
Any reason for that? Alot of nice/gently used "pro grade" ones can be had with 3ph fairly reasonably priced. I've got a guy trying to convince me to put a 3ph motor on my DP so I can run a VFD and be able to turn very slow RPM's...which is what I really want. Slowest my DP turns is something like 180 rpm...
 

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I've got the floor model. I've never used a bench model, but have seen them. For the chassis work I sometimes do, the bench ones seemed a little tight.

This is an Enco model I got back in the mid 90's. It's a knock off of a Bridgeport model (found that out after I got it). Being a little taller than some (well, you know that from the picture of the roof of the house :laugh:) I left the machine on the shipping palet. That came in handy when it was time to move it to the new house.

The drill is also Enco, nothing fancy, it works, and if I need to do some precision drilling I use the milling machine.

The small shear and break on the left is nice too. Very glad I got the stand for it. I use it more than any of these tools to cut up circuit boards than I run off in batches where you put a bunch of boards on one big board to reduce costs, then cut the big board up.

I'm all over small metal, I just don't have anything to work on big metal. This equipment is in the house since it wants to be in conditioned (and most importantly humidity control) space. I've seen machine shops in the basements of big buildings that were ruined in a few years due to rusting, even with de-humidifiers.

Pete
 

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First, I have to ask what the budget is?

I have a Grizzly mill/drill (old version of the 1005Z) with the round column-I hate with a passion as you may have read in another thread.

The main problem with the one Dave linked and other small ones is two fold: the spindle travel is only 2", and the table-to-spindle distance is only 13", so by the time you and a collet mounted tool bit or a drill chuck w/bit, and have your work mounted in a 4' vise on the table you have VERY little room to play with.

I am now looking for a used Bridgeport (I actually already have a deal in the works-but nothing definite) or a clone. 3 phase does not bother me in fact I see it as a asset if you power it with a VFD (variable frequency drive) rather than a RPC (rotary phase converter) since you get variable speed.

Another thing is a power feed on the table is almost necessary to get a nice finish when milling-cranking handles leaves marks in the finish.

This is about the smallest machine I would consider now for me: http://www.grizzly.com/outlet/Milling-Machine-w-Power-Feed/G6760
 

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The main problem with the one Dave linked and other small ones is two fold: the spindle travel is only 2", and the table-to-spindle distance is only 13", so by the time you and a collet mounted tool bit or a drill chuck w/bit, and have your work mounted in a 4' vise on the table you have VERY little room to play with.
Great info Ken, I never stopped to look deeply into the specs because I really havent been seriously shopping for one yet....I just remember reading some good reviews on it when I was researching mini-lathes....

3 phase does not bother me in fact I see it as a asset if you power it with a VFD (variable frequency drive) rather than a RPC (rotary phase converter) since you get variable speed.
If you could do it cheaply...would you think its a good idea to repower my DP with a 3ph and VFD as I mentioned above? I could prolly convert it over for 100.00 total....
 

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Great info Ken, I never stopped to look deeply into the specs because I really havent been seriously shopping for one yet....I just remember reading some good reviews on it when I was researching mini-lathes....



If you could do it cheaply...would you think its a good idea to repower my DP with a 3ph and VFD as I mentioned above? I could prolly convert it over for 100.00 total....
It's all in the details Dave! I don't think your going to get by spending only $100. A small VFD is about $150 (I used a Teco FM50 for my lathe) and a used motor will be another $100 or so...I just picked up a lightly used Baldor 1.5HP, 3PH, 1725 RPM motor of CL for $80 for I belt grinder project I want to build.

Two great VFD sources:

http://www.factorymation.com/

http://www.dealerselectric.com/
 

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It's all in the details Dave! I don't think your going to get by spending only $100. A small VFD is about $150 (I used a Teco FM50 for my lathe) and a used motor will be another $100 or so...I just picked up a lightly used Baldor 1.5HP, 3PH, 1725 RPM motor of CL for $80 for I belt grinder project I want to build.
Well, I wont be shopping new...most of my industrial equipment comes from a "weird setup"....guy attends industrial auctions of all sorts, buys lots of all kinds of stuff...everything from Fridges and Lockers to Milling Machines and tooling, loads up his vans, and hauls it home...he's got a store which he then sells the stuff in. Any nuts/bolts/fasteners, etc is .50 cents a lb. everything is priced "on the fly" LOL..
I can get my choice of 3ph motors for 10-25 bucks...phase converters & vfd's start at 10.00 and go up based on size...

I guess thats part of my secret to building stuff cheap! LOL...I've gotten so much stuff there its funny...Even my Milwaukee Portaband came from there...$50.00. Hydraulic motors, Pressure washer...same deal...cabinets in my basement, Chain & Sprockets, misc tooling, Jacobs Super Chuck for my DP, heck even the DP Itself came from there..etc...He's to the point he's scrapping out NIB 3ph motors...or if I could get a free burnt out motor of equal weight, I could have useable 3ph FREE cause to him, scrapping 2k lbs of burnt motors pays the same as 2k lbs of brand new motors.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you Dave and Pete for your input. Valued as always.

First, I have to ask what the budget is?
Good question, I think I would like to keep it under $6000. But like any one the cheaper the better. That is why I started investigating the bench tops.

The main problem with the one Dave linked and other small ones is two fold: the spindle travel is only 2", and the table-to-spindle distance is only 13", so by the time you and a collet mounted tool bit or a drill chuck w/bit, and have your work mounted in a 4' vise on the table you have VERY little room to play with.
Thanks Kenny, this is the kind of info I am looking for. Sounds like you are recommending the larger machines.

I am now looking for a used Bridgeport (I actually already have a deal in the works-but nothing definite) or a clone. 3 phase does not bother me in fact I see it as a asset if you power it with a VFD (variable frequency drive) rather than a RPC (rotary phase converter) since you get variable speed.]
As Dave also ask about my reluctance to 3 phase, I just see it as something else to add cost, maintain, and deal with. As Dave mentioned he would like VS on his DP. I too would LIKE IT, but I just feel I don't NEED IT. There is not one time that I used my DP that I said boy I sure wish I had VS. I am thinking that a mill would be the same way, though I have known to be wrong.

Another thing is a power feed on the table is almost necessary to get a nice finish when milling-cranking handles leaves marks in the finish.
You bring up another very good point. My first thought was I don't need it. But I am thinking more and more I want it.

This is about the smallest machine I would consider now for me: http://www.grizzly.com/outlet/Milling-Machine-w-Power-Feed/G6760
Thanks Kenny for your input. This machine was flying under my radar. Any thoughts on the Jet products?
 

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As Dave also ask about my reluctance to 3 phase, I just see it as something else to add cost, maintain, and deal with. As Dave mentioned he would like VS on his DP. I too would LIKE IT, but I just feel I don't NEED IT. There is not one time that I used my DP that I said boy I sure wish I had VS. I am thinking that a mill would be the same way, though I have known to be wrong.
Your points are valid Randy...very true.
As for why I want VS on my DP...Call me lazy, but having gone to college for this stuff...I like to use the correct feeds & speeds whenever possible...changing the belts is a major PITA. As it stands now I've got 2 preferred settings...one for less then 1/2" and one for more then 1/2"
But thats not the REAL Reason of my want of VS...Lower speeds...using the fixed speed motor and lowest belt settings gets me 200 rpm minimum (Jet 3/4 hp, 16 speed DP)...fine for bits up to 1/2" but when I'm using my 4" Hole saw or 1" Bits, I'd like slower speeds...IMO if they made a DP which could do like 50rpm, I'd be happy...Actually if I can set something like this up, mebbe I'd just buy another DP for the shop and forget about the milling machine.
 

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Randy. I would not hesitate buying a Jet machine. No personal experience but I know they have a good reputation in the metal and wood forums. i think they are made in Taiwan, which is a better choice than China any day. The nice thing about Grizzly is that they have fantastic support after the sale also.

These mills fit great into a corner also, so they don't take up a lot of floor space along a straight wall that so many other tools require.

Having seen the work you do, I just think that you will outgrow a benchtop mill in short order-I know I sure did! I bought mine used, and had not really done any research first, it's absolutely one purchase I regret.

One other thing I learned early on, buying the "machine" be it a lathe or a mill is the cheap part...it's the "tooling" that will break you! I assume you already have good hand tools, so I won't discuss that-but some stuff you will need for the mill I will list below, so you the 6K budget and a $3500 machine I think you be all set.

Vise
Parallels
Collet set
Clamp down set
Drill chuck w/R8 arbor
End mills
Face mill
DRO possibly (digital read out)
A way to "tram" the mill and vise, Indicol is very popular
I will think of more...


Give me an "idea" of the things you'd like to do?
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Your points are valid Randy...very true.
As for why I want VS on my DP...Call me lazy, but having gone to college for this stuff...I like to use the correct feeds & speeds whenever possible...changing the belts is a major PITA. As it stands now I've got 2 preferred settings...one for less then 1/2" and one for more then 1/2"
But thats not the REAL Reason of my want of VS...Lower speeds...using the fixed speed motor and lowest belt settings gets me 200 rpm minimum (Jet 3/4 hp, 16 speed DP)...fine for bits up to 1/2" but when I'm using my 4" Hole saw or 1" Bits, I'd like slower speeds...IMO if they made a DP which could do like 50rpm, I'd be happy...Actually if I can set something like this up, mebbe I'd just buy another DP for the shop and forget about the milling machine.
No Dave I am not calling you lazy, sounds like you have very valid reasons for VS on your DP. And yeah, I understand the published speeds and feeds. I guess I have a little different view point on it. I admit I usually run just a little slower than published speeds. I just feel I am not a production shop and do not have to get the max out me and the equipment. I do use cutting fluids. And currently I do push my DP to the limits for running large tooling, holes saws, bits, and end mills. Thanks for you insight.:thumbup1gif:
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Having seen the work you do, I just think that you will outgrow a benchtop mill in short order-I know I sure did! I bought mine used, and had not really done any research first, it's absolutely one purchase I regret.
This is GREAT feedback! Yeah, I know I can always upgrade. But we all know it comes a cost, one I would like to aviod.

One other thing I learned early on, buying the "machine" be it a lathe or a mill is the cheap part...it's the "tooling" that will break you! I assume you already have good hand tools, so I won't discuss that-but some stuff you will need for the mill I will list below, so you the 6K budget and a $3500 machine I think you be all set.

Vise
Parallels
Collet set
Clamp down set
Drill chuck w/R8 arbor
End mills
Face mill
DRO possibly (digital read out)
A way to "tram" the mill and vise, Indicol is very popular
I will think of more...
I am already slowly working on this. Thus the push for a mill.


Give me an "idea" of the things you'd like to do?
Well in isn't so much what I am looking to do as what I have wanted to do. I feel it is one of those pieces of equipment that will get used way more than I thought it would. You know like a welder or plasma cutter. And then of course there are the projects you will try to find uses for the equipment. Thanks again Kenny this is great.
 

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One other thing I learned early on, buying the "machine" be it a lathe or a mill is the cheap part...it's the "tooling" that will break you!
More than words, that's wisdom there :thumbup1gif:

Whatever you buy, add 30% to the budget to get all the doodads (collets, end mills, vices, clamp and holding stuff). I've had a machine shop make up a number of jigs to hold big pieces (chassis) on the table.

FWIF, this is why I keep saying no to a welder. It's not the cost of the welder, it's the cost of the gas, rods, pieces, table, helmet, cutter, grinder, painting gear, etc.

Another way to view it: The mill is the "printer", what will break you is the "ink cartridges".

As for the speed discussion, I'm lucky in that I'm always working .032 to .125 aluminum or die cast zinc, so I can leave everything at one speed. If I had to put a hole in 1/2" of metal I'd probably hurt myself :laugh:.

Pete
 

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FWIF, this is why I keep saying no to a welder. It's not the cost of the welder, it's the cost of the gas, rods, pieces, table, helmet, cutter, grinder, painting gear, etc.
But Pete, I am thinking this mill will be just like my welder, why was I so stubborn to wait so long in getting it. Like the welder I am sure I will use it all the time, more than I imagined. Do you have other things you bought and said man, I could have been using that long ago. Oh, here is another one, my battery operated grease gun.

In fact, what got me to thinking, again about a mill, is I am trying to make a restoration part for my 1950's Coke machine. In this case it is an electrical junction block, plastic, that finally broke on me. And machining on my drill press just isn't cutting it. Yeah, I am hacking my way through it, but boy if only I had a mill.:yahoo:
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
If I had to buy one tomorrow...this is what it would be:
http://www.grizzly.com/products/Drill-Mill-with-Stand/G0704
Love my DP in my basement, but thats the unit i'd like for my shop


Any reason for that? Alot of nice/gently used "pro grade" ones can be had with 3ph fairly reasonably priced. I've got a guy trying to convince me to put a 3ph motor on my DP so I can run a VFD and be able to turn very slow RPM's...which is what I really want. Slowest my DP turns is something like 180 rpm...
So Dave,
In light of the discussion here, would you still opt for a bench mount?

I really think Kenny has me leaning back towards the big machine. He makes some very valid points, as usuall.:tongue:
 

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So what do you guys think about the vertical/horiaontal mills? Is it worh it to have the horizontal option? You know the wish I had or didn't thing.

http://www.grizzly.com/products/Horizontal-Vertical-Mill/G3617

Man, I sure am drooling over those South Bend machines on Grizzly's site.
Grizz just bought the rights to the "South Bend" name, They say they are using all the old prints to build machines but who really knows...There has been LOTS of discussion on the PM and HSM boards about it.
http://www.practicalmachinist.com/vb/index.php
http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/

The horizontal thing does not ring my bell...adds to the price and complexity of the machine-and I just don't see it getting used. You just need to turn the work 90* and mill from the top, plus you can see what's going on that way. Spend the money on tooling or a DRO.
 

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So Dave,
In light of the discussion here, would you still opt for a bench mount?

I really think Kenny has me leaning back towards the big machine. He makes some very valid points, as usuall.:tongue:
Honestly, if anything I'm thinkin of the VFD/3Phase for my DP right now :laugh:
But to answer your question, I dunno...I would definetly like the Big machine for its capabilities but IMO the 2" of Quill travel is the spoiler...I've got something like 3.25" now and I cant say I'd want less.... If they put 4" of quill travel in it, I'd probably look harder at the little one.
Would boil down to money too...if I could score a nice used Bridgeport, I probably wouldnt hesitate...
And then I start to think like Pete...for the few times I would need/want it, and factoring in the space this would occupy....it might be best to just pay the few dollars it costs to have things made... Cause like Kenny said...just the tooling along starts to add up. I guess thats what the allure of the small one would be, not super expensive...if anything I'd call it a "Super Drill Press"...but the quill travel is still a sticking point...
 

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I don't have a mill; but if I had Randy's shop and budget he's listed, I'd go for a big floor model too. I'd also get a 3-axis DRO as counting handwheel graduations gets old quick, and I can see where a power feed would make for better appearance.

A buddy of mine has the same mill/drill as Kenny, and he has the same gripes with the round column. Also a floor model will be more stable due to its added weight.

I'd think of the mill in the same vein as a tractor, get something bigger than you think you'll need.
 
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