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04-22-2009, 12:51 AM #1
Recommend a GOOD Small Vertical Mill
I'd love to get a bridgeport but I can't get it into my basement. Too tall, too heavy. It seems that all the smaller ones are toys. Oh how I wish someone made a small shop vertical, 6 ft or less, single phase power, precise solid machining with a table feed preferred. About once every 3 years I see one on Ebay...an old limited edition something or the other but it's either gone or bid into the stratosphere. Any recommendation folks ?
04-22-2009, 01:08 AM #2
I've heard the Clausing 8520 is a decent little machine. Rockwell made a similar (same?) machine that's well-regarded too. From the photos I've seen, the 8520 is about a 3/4-scale Bridgeport. They're in the 900 pound range, if I recall correctly.
Head over to homeshopmachinist.net and post on their bulletin board. It's found under the "Interactive" drop-down menu. There are a number of people over there with pint-sized Bridgeports.
04-22-2009, 07:57 AM #3
Clausing or Rockwell would be a good choice. The Rockwell has the advantage of having an R8 taper (Clausing is usually MT2, sometimes B&S). Another option is a Burke Millrite- a little bigger than those two, but still smaller than a BP.
You could also pick up one of the many small horizontal mills that are out there and add a BP head to the overarm.
04-22-2009, 10:21 AM #4
Thanks guys..... I'm still trying to find the Buy and Sell at homeshopmachinist.net. Not a very user friendly site. I'm awaiting word back from their webmaster on where to find stuff there. I'm sorry also that the last thing I'd ever want is a horizontal mill with a vertical head....I've been there before.....YUK !!! I'm definitely looking for a smaller knee mill.
04-22-2009, 10:31 AM #5
You can get a real Bridgport in your basement if you want to. I know guys who have them in their basements right now and it can be done with some thought and a little work. A good griend just got one OUT of a guy's basement last weekend
04-22-2009, 10:41 AM #6
What kind of access do you have to your basement, and please define what for you are stratospheric price levels. I imagine that you have what? 7 1/2 ft of head room? Straight stairs?
04-22-2009, 11:38 AM #7
Homeshopmachinist does not allow buying & selling, that activity is referred here or to the MANY other sources.
However, for info on small mills you should get some good insight there, including the foreign makes - of which there are several that would fit your needs (if you are open to that approach) As a 'for instance' the couple mills described already, the Clausing and Rockwell, have been "cloned" by The Chinese, if you are curious about what they look like, dims, wt, specs in general then try using "6x26 milling machine" in a search.
04-22-2009, 02:10 PM #8
Is your location London, UK, or somewhere in America? If you're in the UK, there were small machines made there that you will probably have a lot less trouble finding than the American ones we have been suggesting. Off the top of my head I can think of Tom Senior and Geo. Taylor, but I know there were others.
04-22-2009, 02:20 PM #9
04-22-2009, 02:21 PM #10
How about a Millrite???? They are about 2/3 size of a Bridgeport. I don't see anything wrong with a horizontal with a vertical head either. You could get a nice Hardinge, and it breaks down to pieces that would go into most any basement.
04-22-2009, 06:20 PM #11
The Rockwell vertical mill only came with an
R8 taper. It is a little more robust than the
Clausing or Johasson mills (MT2 or B&S 7 taper).
The Millrite was available with R8, B&S 9, NMTB 30
and I believe MT 2 was offered too. It also had
the advantage of a dovetail ram on the headstock
and is heavier built than the others previously
04-22-2009, 06:31 PM #12
I have a Lagun FTV-1 in my basement, an inch or 2 from the ceiling and weighs more than a bridgeport. Came in 6 main pieces, and many other "little pieces" its coming back out in a few months. Just saying its usually doable...
04-22-2009, 06:48 PM #13
A square column mill-drill such as the Rong Fu 45 or its clones is another decent choice for a home shop. Prices, new, range from about $1500 to $6000 with the high price including a Taiwanese machine, with power cross and power downfeeds and a 3 axis glass scale DRO. These weigh 700 to 800 pounds. They typically handle a slightly larger work envelope than the 2/3rd size mills and are capable of working within .001 once properly setup and carefully used. These are R8 machines, and a significant step up from a round column mill drill since they'll keep location within a few thou. if you move the head up and down.
As you might suspect, they lack the rigidity to take heavy cuts. However, in this respect they're not much different than the small Rockwell or Clausing units. They also don't have features like single shot oilers, the scraping of the ways is a joke, and they probably wouldn't last long in production. But unless you find a used machine in good shape, you might do better with a new machine, with a power feed, and a cheap DRO for as little as $2000. Properly cared for they should last for many years in light home shop use.
With a little bit of rigging ingenuity a single person can put one of these just about anywhere.
04-22-2009, 06:57 PM #14
Marc...sorry I have 6 foot ceilings and I haven't seen a BP under 7 feet. We also have the problem of getting about 2 tons down stairs and last, but not least, dealing with multiphase power issues.
04-22-2009, 07:02 PM #15
I'm in London Canada. Actually I'm a retired machinist, both civilian and military and I never saw or used a horizontal mill running as a vertical that I liked. For a start, they all seemed to weigh twice as much as a vertical which would be a big problem for me (basement) and I have never seen one with a quill which is an absolute must. They also have limited head tilting ability. I don't pretend to have seen them all but the ones I have, I do not like working on them at all.
04-22-2009, 07:08 PM #16
Straigh stairs but I don't think my ceilings are much higher than 6 feet. I'd spend $5,000 on something nice but prefer around 3K. That kind of bugs me because I can get a nice used Bridgeport for 2K. I've looked at the Clausing 8520 and yes, that's pretty much what I'm looking for. I'm in Canada and finding somethig like that is pretty slim. I'd go as far as Detroit-Buffalo-Toronto triangle. If I had a great sense of comfort and value from photo's I might go as far south as Pennsylvania.
04-22-2009, 09:35 PM #17
It's compact, not really tall and can be take apart to go down the stairs. If you get a J or M head, you can have a quill.
Once I get my Branard into the basement, I plan on doing something just like that.
And, you can STILL use it as a horizontal!
04-22-2009, 09:39 PM #18
CM.. you have a PM
04-22-2009, 09:47 PM #19
I like what I'm seeing in the Millrite but I want to make sure we are on the same page as far as my research goes. Is the Millrite made by Powermatic/Burke ?
04-22-2009, 09:55 PM #20