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Thread: New Mill/Drill Questions
01-02-2005, 07:14 AM #21
Nice work PHiers . [img]smile.gif[/img]
01-02-2005, 01:58 PM #22
I was in the same situation about five years ago. I did puchase a mill drill and have been happy with my purchase do date. I figured I would keep the mill/drill as a compliment to a knee mill and share R8 tooling.
I now have the makings of a great basement shop and still have the mill/drill. I have recently purchased a 3 axis CNC knee mill. I can use the CNC in manual mode with handwheels or full auto. The only drawback is I don't have a donwfeed handle for the quill. So there is no "feel" when drilling. The mill/drill will make a great companion to my CNC mill. I've known personally of others that have a full CNC mill for their home shop and ultimately purchased a mill/drill type of machine for small quick milling jobs and drill press type functionality.
01-04-2005, 11:43 AM #23
Joe Michaels: "The head is locked to the swivel by means of three studs with nylon locking nuts and split-lock washers. If you loosen the head to tram it in, you have to contend with the split-lock washers, so have to back off the nuts a bit in order to get things to where the head can be "bumped"..."
Joe, those split-lock washers don't belong there. Remove them and toss (the lock washers not the mill ). They just make things more difficult and have no usefull purpose.
yipsilant, a mill/drill makes a very handy drill press. Just make sure you don't spend more on a new mill/drill than what a used bridgeport type goes for. It may be very close.
01-04-2005, 12:46 PM #24
The Box-Column Mill/drill belongs to my buddy. As I noted, he bought it from Enco, on sale. This was my first experience with the light duty Chinese machines. I did not recommend the purchase of them to my buddy. It turns out my buddy had asked a mutual friend, a retired mold and diemaker, about obtaining a lathe and mill for home shop use. The two of them work on resurrecting really sorry hit-n-miss engines and do some very fine work. As I did, this other guy advised my buddy to hang in there and watch for auctions or private sales of used US built machine tools. My buddy got impatient and had found Enco on-line. He asked the retired mold and diemaker about Enco. As luck would have it, the retired Mold and Diemaker had seen some stuff from Enco about 40 years ago and it had been first rate. Not knowing how times had changed, the retired mold and diemaker told my buddy that what he had seen of Enco's products were all well made, albeit 40 odd years ago. So, sight unseen and not asking anyone else, my buddy went ahead and bought the mill/drill and lathe from Enco. From what I have been reading about theses type sof machine tools, the same model/design can be offered by any number of vendors, with varying degrees of finish/accuracy. Enco, apparently, is bottom of the barrel. After that first experience with the mill/drill, I came up with a few improvements which will be "beginning machine shop exercsies" for my buddy. I had planned on having my buddy toss the split lock washers and make up some solid collars (a beginning lathe exercise) from some scrap 1141 shaft steel. I will be getting him some metric heavy hex nuts and will get rid of the nylon-insert locking nuts. My other plan is to have him make a set of "jacking dogs"- another beginning exercise. The jacking dogs will provide fine adjustment for tramming in the head. This will be a milling exercise and will then wind up mounted on either side of the saddle to buck the head into square (at least Left-to-right) to the table. A little fixturing off the depth stop rod and a dial indicator will be mounted for more precise depth-of-cut measurement. This should get the mill/drill into some sort of condition for more accurate work.
I still hold with the idea that a mill/drill is a compromise machine that will never be a really good mill. The basic design just doesn't lend itself to it. A small knee-type mill of the same size/weight class would be a major improvment over the mill/drill design. I know the Chinese firms are offering small knee-type vertical mills ont he order of what Rockwell or Clausing had built in the USA. I am not sure the price diffence between the box column mill/drill and the Chinese-built small knee type vertical mills or if there is an improvement in the overall quality. It is a shame that for the sum of money my buddy paid, he first has to start modifying to get the machine into some kind of accurate condition. As I wrote, the fit and finish of the machine are "cobby"- it just doesn;t feel like a real machine tool. Surfaces on castings that should have been machined- such as where the locking nuts seat for swivelling the head- are left as rough cast. Worse yet, the tee slots of the table were never milled out- left as cast (probably formed by dry sand cores). This makes putting locator keys on the vise base an impossibility. Feel of the feed screws in the nuts is too sloppy and will only get worse. I suppose the lousy quality of the mill/drill and lathe will make a better home shop machinist out of my buddy as he will start off having to learn and do a bit more.
01-04-2005, 01:56 PM #25
I've got a Clausing knee mill with a Bridgeport M head, and while it isn't the ideal machine, it's exactly what you're looking for and would do what you need it to. I love mine, and plan to keep it even when I eventually get a larger mill. I was in your situation when I bought it - no 220, tiny shop in a rented apartment - and even though I've moved to a much bigger shop, I've kept the machine. Of course, I can't afford something bigger right now, but I've kept it because I like it, too! It does have a three phase motor, but I got around that with a 110-to-220 VFD. It's an accurate machine, though you can't tilt the head fore and aft, but then you don't need to - it was built right from the start. What's more, it disassembles easily in half an hour, and can be moved by two people, no problem. I moved mine the first two times in a Honda Civic hatchback. It weighs around 700 lbs. True, the #2 morse taper spindle is a compromise, but it doesn't sound like you'll be doing much heavy work, and at least it isn't something bizarre like the Rusnok or Tree collets. I briefly considered an import, and I'm glad I decided against it. With this machine, I just put it together and used it, no repairs or modifications necessary. Granted, that's not always the case with older machines, but at least they're generally of better quality to begin with. Resale value is something else to consider - not because you're looking to make a killing on your investment, but because these machines hold their value for a reason, which is what you're paying for. I'd hold out for a Clausing or Rockwell. Some folks are advocating getting the Bridgeport now, and while that would be nice, it doesn't seem realistic given your spatial constraints. Good luck!
01-04-2005, 02:08 PM #26From here we go to Mill only machines
01-04-2005, 02:52 PM #27
I bought a ENCO 10x54 milling machine about 14 yrs ago, when I first started my business. We still use it today, seems someone runs it almost every day. We do repair work and this mill has seen everything from aluminum to bronze to stainless steel. We cut keyways in stainless steel every week with this thing, anything from 3/16" to 3/4" keyways. It's always performed admirably for me, I didnt realize it was a piece of crap until I started reading this forum. Not sure where you are coming from about the tramming in the head, as this mill has 4 bolts on the head for swiveling and 3 bolts on the side for locking down the tilting feature. Bores like a champ and runs very quiet. The lockdown bolts on the table / knee do exactly what they are supposed to do. Maybe you just got ahold of a bad machine, but I know plenty of shops around who use these mills and don't complain.
01-04-2005, 03:07 PM #28
One thing you guys arent taking into consideration- he lives in Seattle. There are no used machinery dealers in Seattle. Or in all of Western Washington. There might be one left in Portland Oregon, 4 hours away by car, but he doesnt have a car. There are no sources here for oddball collet or taper sizes. NONE. If you buy something that needs a jarno, or a B&S, or anything MSC doesnt carry, forget it. The last used machinery dealer in Seattle, which closed a year or so ago, sold used, very used, bridgeports, with lots of holes drilled in the table, for $4000 and up. I have never seen a used Rockwell or Clausing small mill for sale here- that isnt to say there arent any, but they are very scarce, and would easily sell for $2000 to $3000 in Washington. M heads from a private party are usually in that range too.
So while your advice is 100% correct in New York, or anywhere east of the missisippi, but out here its just a recipe for frustration, big time.
Chinese mill drills have a lot of limitations, but they can produce good work if you are careful. They are a compromise, and not the perfect machine. But in Washington State, you can actually be making parts with one, and learning what to look for in a used mill, instead of just bench racing. So my advice is just buy a grizzly or jet, the best you can afford, and you can always sell it to the next guy if it really drives you that crazy. My guess is for paintball guns, it would be fine.
01-04-2005, 03:18 PM #29
I think before buying any expensive machinery one needs to really evaluate the material to be worked on it?
Are you making smaller things forever or maybe at some point might be working bigger stock?
I bought a JET mill/drill and find it suits my needs very well. It does make a good drill press but I seldom use it as such except for 1" holes. Besides its easy to move around the shop as needed, and performs quite well on a heavy welded stand with locking castors. The few occasions a larger machine is needed, I find the local machine shop is happy to provide at nominal expense.
For sure bigger is more rigid, more powerful and maybe more accurate. However, consider that we don't usually buy a crawler bulldozer for our gardens.
01-04-2005, 05:02 PM #30
In your post, you mention your machine as having a 10" x 54" table. I believe the Enco machine you own is a knee-type milling machine, something on the order of a "Bridgeport Clone". By virtue of its design, a "Bridgeport" type machine is a real milling machine. With the type machine you can tram the head in two directions and set depth of cut using the knee of the machine- as you would expect to do on a turret head/knee type vertical mill. If you were to compare it to a mill/drill, it is comparing apples & oranges.
I have to defer to your description of the used machine tool situation in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. Living in the Northeastern USA, we take the availability of used US made machine tools & parts for granted. It is hard to imagine that in the Pacific Northwest there are no more of the used small-to-medium machine tool dealers. Of course, in the Northeasern USA, these guys are a fast-vanishing breed as well.
That being said, I would say a good choice of mill for a newcomer such Ypsilant is a small knee type mill offered by Jet or Grizzly. It is something on the order of what Rockwell or Clausing built. Assuming it is made with any kind of accuracy- good fits to the parts- it should be able to do anything a home shop machinist making smaller parts (and just starting out) needs. With a movable quill, it can also drill. I do not know how the parts are finished/fit on Grizzly's machines, but it IS a knee type mill which otherwise seems to fit the parameters which Ypsilant has described. If I am not mistaken, it is about 300 dolars more than the box-column mill/drill. From what I have read in other posts, chasing down a used Rockwell or Clausing mill may be an impossibility in the Pacific Northwest. The little knee mill offered by Grizzly would be the next best thing and has Grizzly to provide parts and service.
01-04-2005, 09:06 PM #31
There are no used machinery dealers in Seattle.
Ries, thank you for your information. That certainly takes the wind out of my sails…I would rather not buy a Chinese or Taiwanese Mill/Drill if I can help it. The next question is, how much does it cost to ship a mill from the Northeast? Crate-up the mill, transport it to the Train, and pick it up from the Train in Seattle. That sounds expensive.
I also find it hard to believe that Seattle lacks a used Machine Market. Boeing is based here and they use lots of machines? I will keep looking and see what happens. Maybe something will turn up at Boeing Surplus, I can only hope.
On the lookout for a Rockwell Model 21-122 Horizontal/Vertical Mill. Wish me luck.
Thanks for all the great information,
- Matthew Konecke
01-04-2005, 09:36 PM #32
They say plain old newspaper classifieds is one way to find old machine tools. Given the expense and complications of arranging shipping, I think you're likely better off getting an inexpensive import machine from Grizzly- at least you can get started using something and they'll ship it. Perhaps something in the $700 range- not especially nice, but better than nothing. I did more than enough armchair milling before I found that BP, the real thing is much better- and humbling.
But waiting around is a real drag... at some point you might get lucky and snag that Rockwell. Though I think its more likely you'll pick up a hint that ones for sale 2 states away and then it'll be time to hit up some friend w/ a pickup truck for a weekend of male bonding.
The dealer I bought from (in Baltimore) had a couple small South Bend shapers at one point. Eventually a gunsmith down in South Carolina heard about them, bought them sight unseen and drove up to get them. Apparently they do a nice job machining pistol slides... I'll bet you'll find your Rockwell sort of like that. They look like really nice machines.
01-04-2005, 09:59 PM #33
I agree with Greg, the classified ads are a good way to find tools. Here in the northwest, the Little Nickel is a free classified ad newspaper, and it is worth checking every week. And nowadays, the classified ads from the newspapers are available online for free, so you should check there too.
There are occasional deals on used machine tools available up here- person to person. Just no dealers.
Matthew- it sounds as if you are a young person just getting into machining. In that case, you should go down to Boeing Surplus once, to look around. Good deals on end mills, drill bits, and the like, but rarely anything like a used bridgeport. I was down there a couple weeks ago, and the only recognizable machine tool was a Sip Jig Borer, at something like $8000, and weighing in at around 4 or 5 tons. Would be great for drilling holes, but wont fit on a bench- in fact, it was probably too tall to fit in most garages. Other than that, there were a few very overpriced riveters, ($3k to 5k) and some custom built machinery that will probably be scrapped. Nada Mas.
You should also make a field trip to Pacific Industrial, or whatever their name is this week- the only industrial scrapyard that I know of that is left in Seattle, on 4th avenue just north of Spokane, right next to the art deco fire station. Oddball stuff, with the very occasional used machine. New Jet tools. Lots of cool junk, but not cheap. Last year I saw a Buffalo No. O ironworker there, which on the east coast would be worth about $500. They wanted $4500. For a fifty year old, clapped out, very small mechanical ironworker.
You can check the Boeing Surplus Website-
they have a new system of auctions for larger tools, and a milling machine may come up there once in a while. But Boeing stopped using bridgeports in production in about the 1960's- You might find a deal on a 30' x 100' ingersoll spar mill, but not much hope for toolroom stuff.
You could also look at Bob Powells Seattle area metalworking page- http://www.dogpatch.com/bobp/bobfaq.htm
and click on Seattle area resources.
Bob tells it like it is- not much left in this town, as real estate prices have driven all the scrapyards, used equipment dealers, and surplus stores away. Far Away.
If you decide to go import, you should check out the guys at Equipment sales and surplus- they sell all the Jet "surplus" machines- damaged in shipping, cosmetic defects, showroom samples, etc, and often will cut you a good deal on Jet machines.
As far as shipping goes, figure a minimum of $500 to ship a mill. Even from California. You could go to the Machinetools.com,
and subscribe for free to machine tools west, which is a monthly ad magazine of machine tools for sale in California. I have had to buy the occasional machine from there, then pay shipping. Prices down there are still very high by east coast standards, but at least there are some tools for sale.
I dont mean to be a big wet blanket- you can find tools around here, if you look all the time, and are ready to pounce when you find em. But they arent just laying around like coconuts under trees, like they are in some places. You have to do your homework, and be a good thing finder, and there are always things to be found.
01-06-2005, 01:18 AM #34
Speaking of tramming, how do I tram my round column mill/drill?
01-06-2005, 02:04 AM #35
BTW Toolbert = Dogpatch = Bob Powell
One of these days I'll update the page with a "free advice" section. Right now that is:
1. Watch ebay, sort by "nearest you",
2. The P/I classifieds (Tools, Auctions)
3. The Capital Press auction sheet:
4. CALL the Boeing Surplus machine tool desk at 425-965-4470 and tell them what you are looking for,
5. Post to rec.crafts.metalworking and to the Yahoo groups puget-sound-metal and kitsap-metal,
6. Tell everyone you run into what you are looking for.
I haven't had contact with a dealer since Hallidie closed in '02 but in that time two friends have each found killer deals on 15"x50" lathes, by being in the right place at right time. Patience and preparedness...
I figure what killed the dealers here (Seattle) was the decimation of 80-90% of the machine shops by Boeing going to global sourcing over the last 10 years. Any shop looking for used machinery had plenty of pickings at auctions, no need to support a dealer. The last dealer, Hallidie, was healthy, but unfortunately for the rest of us the owner owned the building, prime Seattle real estate, there was no way anyone could buy out the business and afford to keep operating it. Now there are few to no auctions.
01-06-2005, 02:29 AM #36
Buy something you like. Save up. Why spend $500 on something you will grow to hate, but feel guilty and compelled to use because you spent money on it?
There was a mill-drill in our shop at NMSU, but it had an "old broken" chuck, so it didn't work so well.It had maybe .005 of runout (!).
One day, the new chuck arrived and it was installed. The machine still had .005 of runout. And made bad noises. I wouldn't even drill a hole with the damn thing, much less even THINK of putting an endmill on it.
01-06-2005, 09:55 AM #37
01-06-2005, 09:58 AM #38
01-06-2005, 10:15 AM #39
01-07-2005, 11:08 PM #40
I went the mill-drill route to start. It gets the job done but it is not a Bridgeport. The round column creates some PITA when it comes to rigidity and moving the head for elevation.
I am also in the Seattle vicinity, about 15 miles East of Kent. Decent used equipment or dealers are just about impossible to find around here. Most of the dealers I contacted earlier are no longer around and they weren't much good anyway.I was able to purchase a used Bridgeport copy from my previous employer, brought it home over a year ago and it sits next to the MD waiting for me to get it running off single phase. The local papers.. Little Nickle, Buy-N-Sell etc. have an item show up every once in a while. Usually priced twice what it's worth IMO. It is not really a matter of selecting the one you want as it is finding anything at all that will do. The best bet around here is to have connections with the local shops. The only problem with that is you have to get in line behind the guys that work there.
Boeing surplus is not what it used to be as far as selection or price. The insiders get any of the good stuff before it even hits the floor. You run the risk of being trampled if you are in line at opening time just to pick over the minimal stuff they do have. It's amazing how many people rush in to grab hand fulls of broken and dull tools and beat up computers. Don't feel you are missing out by not being there every chance you get.