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Precision Matthews Mills or What Should I buy???

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cdhumiston

Plastic
Joined
May 11, 2022
Hello to all! I am a custom knife maker and I've been looking at milling machines.

A fellow maker sent me here for sage advice!

Has anyone used or own a Precision Matthews Mill? They look pretty nice and very upgradeable.

Let's say I have a $5K maximum budget. Give me some mill options...

I'm convinced I need a mill so help me spend my money well!

PM-932M MILLING MACHINE $4699 with PDF and DRO​
PM-932M Main Features:
Heavier Class Milling Machine, (1100 LBS With Base) For More Rigidity, And Greater Cutting Ability
Larger Knee Mill Style Table Handles, for Much Better Control By Hand
True Inch Pitch Leadscrews on X and Y Axis, 10 TPI Screws (.100″ Per Turn) For Easier Operation
Available With Power Down Feed on Spindle (PDF Model Only) For Boring Operations
Optional Stand is Heavy Duty Cast Iron, For Better Vibration Dampening and Rigidity
Longest In Class, 3 Year Warranty
 

52 Ford

Stainless
Joined
May 20, 2021
Hello to all! I am a custom knife maker and I've been looking at milling machines.

A fellow maker sent me here for sage advice!

Has anyone used or own a Precision Matthews Mill? They look pretty nice and very upgradeable.

Let's say I have a $5K maximum budget. Give me some mill options...

I'm convinced I need a mill so help me spend my money well!

PM-932M MILLING MACHINE $4699 with PDF and DRO​
PM-932M Main Features:
Heavier Class Milling Machine, (1100 LBS With Base) For More Rigidity, And Greater Cutting Ability
Larger Knee Mill Style Table Handles, for Much Better Control By Hand
True Inch Pitch Leadscrews on X and Y Axis, 10 TPI Screws (.100″ Per Turn) For Easier Operation
Available With Power Down Feed on Spindle (PDF Model Only) For Boring Operations
Optional Stand is Heavy Duty Cast Iron, For Better Vibration Dampening and Rigidity
Longest In Class, 3 Year Warranty

Are you opposed to getting a used machine? Lots of good, used, Bridgeport style machines to be had for under $5,000.

I checked a couple of the SoCal Craigslist's and a few online machinery dealers that had equipment in California and saw some Laguna, Bridgeport, and some others.

You're prolly looking at around a 2,000 pound machine if you get something like a 2HP Bridgeport.

The gripe I have with the PM mill is that it's made in China. That said, that doesn't mean it's bad.

Abom79 seems to like the TL1660 (I think that's the right model number) lathe he bought from them.

Sent using Morse code on - .- .--. .- - .- .-.. -.-
 

memphisjed

Stainless
Joined
Jan 21, 2019
Location
Memphis
keep your money handy and look slowly for a used knee mill (bridgeport/clone). The extra space and noodling are fun to have ability. Most here will suggest real vmc...
Going manual on a new machine is not something I can see doing. I was in same spot, spent time window shopping, found a newer used cnc bport clone and lathe for almost the same budget delivered.

3200 rpm spindle would get old fast, That mill will not have the frame to push a bigger bit and smaller bits like to go fast.
 

52 Ford

Stainless
Joined
May 20, 2021
keep your money handy and look slowly for a used knee mill (bridgeport/clone). The extra space and noodling are fun to have ability. Most here will suggest real vmc...
Going manual on a new machine is not something I can see doing. I was in same spot, spent time window shopping, found a newer used cnc bport clone and lathe for almost the same budget delivered.

3200 rpm spindle would get old fast, That mill will not have the frame to push a bigger bit and smaller bits like to go fast.

Stefan Gotteswinter (look him up on YouTube) has done a LOT of really tiny machining on his import mill that's that size.

I agree with the part about extra space.

Not sure what noodling has to do with it. I know some dudes that do go noodling. Crazy. For those who don't know, it's where you walk out in a river, stick your hands blindly in holes in hopes of having a big catfish bite you. Then you pull the catfish out. Like fishing, but you use your hand as bait. I was fishing with one of them one time. They saw a big turtle in the pond. Asked me if they could get in the pond and catch it.... a snapping turtle.

Anywho... what was I saying?

Sent using Morse code on - .- .--. .- - .- .-.. -.-
 

memphisjed

Stainless
Joined
Jan 21, 2019
Location
Memphis
I am not anti small mill, there are small mills I would like - jewelry/dental scale. Just if you are getting a mill for knifes and tooling why not get a knee mill? Real vmc not an option or best fit. For less than a grand more (and patience) OP can get double the machine weight, more hp, more rpm, and cnc ability.
noodling is swinging the head in or out, tilt is left/right.

Or same cost, more hp, more rpm, bigger travel, and enclosure.... MR-1 CNC Gantry Mill | Langmuir Systems
 
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52 Ford

Stainless
Joined
May 20, 2021
I am not anti small mill, there are small mills I would like - jewelry/dental scale. Just if you are getting a mill for knifes and tooling why not get a knee mill? Real vmc not an option or best fit. For less than a grand more (and patience) OP can get double the machine weight, more hp, more rpm, and cnc ability.
noodling is swinging the head in or out, tilt is left/right.

Or same cost, more hp, more rpm, bigger travel, and enclosure.... MR-1 CNC Gantry Mill | Langmuir Systems
I don't disagree with you. If I could only have one mill, it'd be a Bridgeport style knee mill. Lots of options open up when you can tilt and nod the head.

Yeah, I was tryna be funny regarding the noodling bit. Seriously, though. Look up a video of catfish noodling.

That MR-1 looks like a pretty good deal.

Could be more of a hassle than it's worth if you're doing 1 off parts, though.

Sent using Morse code on - .- .--. .- - .- .-.. -.-
 

cudafamily

Plastic
Joined
Oct 31, 2013
Location
Evansville, IN
A PM932 is pretty much useless unless you want it as a drill press. Had one and it has a lot of shortcomings. Motor would get to hot to touch after 15 minutes of use, excessive play in the spindle column fit (not sure if it was even ground), head is not that stable for anything but very light cuts. Any used Bport type machine even if clapped out would give you superior results.
 

cdhumiston

Plastic
Joined
May 11, 2022
Thanks for all the advice and input thus far. Let me just say, I don't have the space for a full size 2000-pound beast. As it is all my machines are on wheeled carts so I can move them around as needed. I know I can't be rolling a mill around, but I need something that doesn't take up half my garage!
 

Gordon Heaton

Stainless
Joined
Feb 19, 2007
Location
St. George, Utah
Look for a Burke/Powermatic Millright. It actually outperforms its size. Naturally, condition is everything but these were made well with quality materials and craftsmanship so lots are still in great shape. Finding one is the hard part.
 

michiganbuck

Diamond
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Location
Mt Clemens, Michigan 48035
A PM 932 mill or like will mill knife wood handles and mill aluminum OK, likely it will do very poorly on any knife steel. For around $4k it is an overpriced precision drill press machine IMHO.

The chattering noise you see/hear on videos cutting aluminum is because the machine is not solid enough to resist cutting forces.

For drilling handles and handle holes you can't beat a small layout table and a surface gauge and a decent bur simple drill press.
 
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