Milling machine for shop with 80-1/2" ceiling
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    Default Milling machine for shop with 80-1/2" ceiling

    The shop space I have has a ceiling of 80-1/2 inches. Looking around, it looks like you need at least 84". I could theoretically cut a hole into the ceiling between the rafters, but i'd like to avoid that. I had originally been looking for a hobby size mill (Rockwell 21-100, Clausing 8520, etc), but the larger machines are much more available in my area, for between 1k-5k and I can reluctantly live with parking my car outside year-round.

    I saw on a different post that a cincinatti toolmaster only needs 72". Does anyone have any suggestions for other shorter stature machines I should be searching for or keeping an eye out for? Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Domodude17 View Post
    The shop space I have has a ceiling of 80-1/2 inches. Looking around, it looks like you need at least 84". I could theoretically cut a hole into the ceiling between the rafters, but i'd like to avoid that. I had originally been looking for a hobby size mill (Rockwell 21-100, Clausing 8520, etc), but the larger machines are much more available in my area, for between 1k-5k and I can reluctantly live with parking my car outside year-round.

    I saw on a different post that a cincinatti toolmaster only needs 72". Does anyone have any suggestions for other shorter stature machines I should be searching for or keeping an eye out for? Thanks!
    I would usually recommend a Millrite mill, but looking at the manual it is 82" tall.

    Burke Machine Tool Co. - Publication Reprints - Millrite maintenance instructions and parts list | VintageMachinery.org

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    Quote Originally Posted by crrmeyer View Post
    I would usually recommend a Millrite mill, but looking at the manual it is 82" tall.

    Burke Machine Tool Co. - Publication Reprints - Millrite maintenance instructions and parts list | VintageMachinery.org

    Bridgeport 1hp j-head with pancake motor.

    b14e1b37-34d5-4ba9-9648-4b5d03cd6da6.jpg

    79” ceiling, with an inch to spare!

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    Saw cut the concrete pad.
    --------------OR------------
    Unbolt garage walls and raise building

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    Early Index (aka Wells Index) mills such as the model 40 or 55 were in the 74" to 76" tall range. Later larger ones like the 747 were 82" even with the 1HP pancake motor on the step pulley version.

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    Don't forget the drawbar in all your measuring... DAMHIKT

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    Low headroom special:


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    Deckel FP2.

    Schaublin 13.

    Lots of low headroom mills.

    But if you own the house, Get right on a wee reno in the garage and buy whatever's cheapest. Punching out enough space to put a taller mill in there is a decent weekend project.

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    Jim, what model Hardinge is that mill?

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    An Abene would be pretty nice, if you could find one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rudd View Post
    Don't forget the drawbar in all your measuring... DAMHIKT
    I guess you can always tilt the head if you have to remove the drawbar.

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    When I purchased my mill, I went through almost the exact same thing. My shop, at the time, was in a trailer and the ceiling was at a number very close to yours. A general caution that I learned in the process is that specs. can mean different things. So you need to be real careful about any specs. or even actual measurements that you are given. For a vertical mill, it is the MAXIMUM height that counts and that may not be the height that the seller lists. Many people think the most important height is the minimum that can be had by lowering the head so that it can fit through a doorway. That may be important and in some situations it may be the controlling/deciding factor. One place where I worked had a large, open area with a vertical clearance over 16 feet. BUT the tallest door leading to it was less than 7 feet high and that was a problem. Anything taller had to be brought in sideways or in pieces. A real PITA.

    Anyway, back to my trailer shop. I knew that I would be there for several years before I could move into a larger shop, which I have now, so the mill had to fit, not only through the door in it's minimal configuration, but also under the ceiling at it's max or at least close to that. I also wanted to avoid certain things, like round column mills. I did have to do a lot of checking and looking, but in the end, I was able to find several models to choose from. The one that I purchased has a minimum height of 72.5" (not what the specs. say) and a maximum of 78" with the head at it's highest point on the dovetail column. We are not supposed to talk about such things here so I will PM you with further details. That model is no longer available, but there are many similar ones that are.

    If you do not like the route that I took, then you just need to keep looking. There are suitable mills out there. Persistence pays off.

    PS: I have rarely had to remove my drawbar, but my head does tilt 90 degrees so that was never a real problem. I did remove the drawbar on another mill to repair it and add a better thrust washer so I guess that could be a consideration.

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    I read, probably here, one guy had his mill in the basement. He drilled. a hole in the floor of a upstairs closet for the drawbar when he had to make a new one. Normally the hole had a big cover or cork in it to keep out shop smells. I guess if a collet got stuck he had to go upstairs to pound on the drawbar from the closet.
    Bill D

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    Quote Originally Posted by Domodude17 View Post
    The shop space I have has a ceiling of 80-1/2 inches.
    My USMT Quartet combo mill drawbar is around 79", my ceilings 96", so I can get at it with a deadblow - as #9 B&S do need now and then.

    I still have to rotate the head if/as/when the drawbar must be PULLED.

    Easy solution is any of many horizontal mills - not all of them small. Then a vertical head attached, regardless of which one you use mostly. The 40-taper K&T angle head when on the Quartet's 5 HP spindle doesn't add ANY vertical height. OTOH, it eats a good deal of daylight.

    Abene has been mentioned. Some of the Van Normans may fit as well?

    The larger sliding head Nichols is about as small as I'd want, but that really depends on what you plan to DO with your mill.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill D View Post
    I read, probably here, one guy had his mill in the basement. He drilled. a hole in the floor of a upstairs closet for the drawbar when he had to make a new one. Normally the hole had a big cover or cork in it to keep out shop smells. I guess if a collet got stuck he had to go upstairs to pound on the drawbar from the closet.
    Bill D
    There was a guy that drilled a hole up through the wood floor and put a brass plate over it. Lucky for him it came up under the couch. That was a member here, I forget who it was. I wonder if his wife ever cleaned under the couch or wanted the furniture rearranged and he got busted.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dualkit View Post
    There was a guy that drilled a hole up through the wood floor and put a brass plate over it. Lucky for him it came up under the couch. That was a member here, I forget who it was. I wonder if his wife ever cleaned under the couch or wanted the furniture rearranged and he got busted.
    Meah... machinists aren't exactly FORBIDDEN to do a touch of high-precision reinforced woodworking, alloy framing, through-body porcelain tiling or laminate veneering.

    Gar-ron-tee if any among us wanted an "invisible" flush hatch set in the middle of an entrance hallway, living room, kitchen, bath, commercial basketball court, heavy-metal nightclub dance-hall floor, or heavy jet aircraft RUNWAY, it could get done well-enough and bank-vault strong enough, too!

    Whom else would one ASK? A hollywood set scenery painter to FAKE it?



    Not as if yah had to do a hundred of them... but "that, too", if need be, and then..,, sumbudy has a "bizness", so "BFD".

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    This is a little off topic...

    Height restriction never stopped my dad for bringing home a Avey No. 3 upright drill press that stood up 9 foot tall with the belt guard installed. It stuck up between the ceiling joists of the shop and don't ask how we did it. Never again!!!

    I have a Index 645 mill that is very close to 80" tall. As all said, let the motor hang up in the ceiling joists!

    Ken

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    Quote Originally Posted by thermite View Post
    but that really depends on what you plan to DO with your mill.
    Yup, this idea of buying a mill to fit the building, not the job needed, is very "harry homeshop" and the conversation needs to go to homeshopmachinist.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4GSR View Post
    This is a little off topic...

    Height restriction never stopped my dad for bringing home a Avey No. 3 upright drill press that stood up 9 foot tall with the belt guard installed. It stuck up between the ceiling joists of the shop and don't ask how we did it. Never again!!!

    I have a Index 645 mill that is very close to 80" tall. As all said, let the motor hang up in the ceiling joists!

    Ken
    /Frustration mode ON/

    It doesn't HAVE to do. We be making a problem out of BYPASSING the most obvious of solutions. WHERE or on WHAT, a(ny) vertical head is MOUNTED.

    Yah LIKE a BirdPort head? Well.. they began LIFE as add-ons to horizontals. They are as good at that as they ever were.

    Yah do NOT like working with a horizontal's primary spindle?

    Just don't tool it up nor spin it up!

    Whatcha CAN use is more commonly than not a stouter knee and table than a BirdPort, and built from the factory with all-axes powered, and equipped with rapids as well.

    Add yer favorite head, BirdPort or other, mounted lower down? Yah STILL have plenty of "daylight" atop an all-around stouter chassis.

    Cheaply, too.

    Even "Grand Old" horizontals don't bring a lot of coin in a CNC'ed world.

    Middleweights often less-yet.

    Who knows? Yah MIGHT even find a USE for that "second choice" horizontal spindle ever' once in a while.

    /Frustration mode OFF/

    Put a gun to my head, I may even use the silly-annoying VERTICAL wimp-head now and then.


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    Quote Originally Posted by GregSY View Post
    Jim, what model Hardinge is that mill?
    That's a hardinge UM miller. An $800 wreck that I bought from dave sobel about 25 years ago.
    I even have a b'port M head that fits on it, but I never mount that up anymore. No need.


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