Suggestions for a mini-mill

Ausbrooks

KNIFE MAKER
Laurence- on the milling w. a drill press idea- it may be possible with the machine you have but I would not recommend it as when your spindle starts to loosen up you will kick yourself.
DeMo- All points in thread true- I however went cheap route as I just wanted one for folder locks and occasional small milling job and bought a Harbor Freight Central Mach. new for $300 with the discount coupon on sale. Had bridgeport collets and vise, tooling, left in toolbox from machinist days so very low investment setup.
Paul
 

Bert the Welder

Well-Known Member
Yeah, Paul is correct from my reading. Sorry Lawrence. You could do some VERY light pressure stuff on the X/Y plain, but research definitely backs what Paul says. Presses just aren't build to do those things. I'd not risk it. Then you'll be out a drill press and still not have a Mill. May want to take the X/Y table money and pool it for a sm. Mill.
Your Jet looks like it has similar spec's to my old Industrial Craftsman; Beer can size chuck and 2hp( likely more like a 1.5 ) Got it used, barely, and cheap off an old fella going into a "home".
On the bright side, you're in the U.S. and not stuck on an island! :lol:
 

rhinoknives

Well-Known Member
This Drill press has the 5/8" chuck and a 1 1/2hp. It has Plenty of power when drilling! I guess I will play it safe and not use it as a mill. I have only run it less than say 30 hours since I purchased it. I now have four drill presses and no mill.
 

Bert the Welder

Well-Known Member
DOH! :cool:

Maybe someone has 4 mills and no press.......

I'm the Norm Abrams of angle grinders. I hate changing disks..... ha ha and have 3 presses at current count. Looking to get a small one for the wood shop.....maybe :nothing:
 
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Buddy Gaines

Well-Known Member
I have an old Central Machinery round column mill I picked up from a guy, listed on craigslist, for $300. It is belt driven, 1/2 h.p. It has a MT2 spindle and I put an ER20 collet chuck on it. It is useful to me to locate and space holes, slots, ect.. It does not have a fine feed "Z' axis, but I make do with it. I find that I get better cuts using high quality four flute carbide endmills. I have dealt with Grizzly before and have always found them very helpful. I like the first Grizzly mill you have listed also.
 

exitium

Well-Known Member
Also remember that you'll wind up spending at least as much on tooling as you do on the mill. I didn't really believe that when I got mine...
Aint that the truth! Ive got the g0704 myself and have much more than the cost of the mill itself in vices, end mills, bits, DRO, parallels, various measuring tools etc.
 

Clay McNichols

New Member
I have one of the grizzly 463's that has held up well over the years that my dad used it for knife making. Ive been using it for about 6 months, and am impressed on how tight it still is.
 

scott.livesey

Dealer - Purveyor
could any of these mills be updated with a 3 phase motor and vfd, so you would not have to worry with belts or plastic gears?
scott
 

pandaman1966

Well-Known Member
I used to be in business with a retired Mechanical Engineer, we modified a few mills and were in the process starting a company converting them to CNC.

Many of the sub $1000 mills are all made by the same Chinese company Seig,

The ones you find at Harbor frieght and Grizzly and other are all made by Seig, but there is a difference.

We were in talks with Seig to import them directly from china and then we were going to modify to CNC and sell them to hobbist etc.....

well before we got to the marketing my partner died suddenly, he was the money man etc, but I still have two of mills, and my dream of being a importer was dead.

But, I learned a ton of stuff about these small mills.

I like the Grizzly brand the best for two reasons. but first let me explain how Seig sells them.

When you are buyer like Grizzly or Harbor Freight, Sieg gives you options on the the Guides, bearings and motors etc, they usually offer 2 or 3 levels of quality.....

Well as you know, Harbor Freight buy the cheap end and Grizzly asks for the better guide, motors etc,,,,yes the cost more, but its worth a few dollars more.....

Grizzly is my choice because:

1. They choose a higher quality parts from the manufacture
2. Also, Grizzly carries parts for every machine they sell, in stock.....Harbor Freight and others don't...

The mills used to come in three models X1, X2 and the big one X3 I have the X3....they now make a couple of bigger ones....

I know of knife maker who had a X2 that he modified and made all kinds of parts (He bought the cheap Harbor Freight and did fine)
he even cuts Titanium with his little X2 he modified to CNC.....

He has since upgraded to a TorMach mill because he does a lot more production now....

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8SC-01ZKmzTIa2Usn6fexQ here is a like to his YouTube Channel, he has 214 Video and if you go back about a year or so he gives a ton of good machine tips about his X2


Well that's my 2 cents hope it helps

Pandaman
 

Dennis Morland

KNIFE MAKER
Pandaman
That is the type of information that I was looking for, thank you. I was leaning towards the Grizzly and now I am pretty confident, I will select one of their models. Which one??? I'm still working on it.
DeMo
 

Travis Fry

Well-Known Member
The littlemachineshop mill is also a Seig X2, with even better parts, a belt drive, and a fixed (not tiltable) column. If you're gonna get a Seig, I'd go with theirs (and I plan to). You'll pay a little more up front, but you'll end up converting to belt drive anyway, so why not just get it all at once?
 

Bert the Welder

Well-Known Member
Good info Pandaman. Nice to here from those with experience like you. I'm still going with the King as Grizzly is in the States and it just not economical to bring one up here. So much for "free" trade. :34:
 

AkWildman

Well-Known Member
I will be getting one from little machine shop,just trying to get s better deal on shipping,312 bucks is the best deal I have found so far .
 

Dennis Morland

KNIFE MAKER
Jon

I haven't pulled the plug, just yet. I need to clean out the front of my garage and make some room for this purchase. I am going to get the Grizzly - probably some time after the first of the year. I also want to update my knife oven.

My wife said, "You better make some room or all your stuff will end up in the front yard!" I am fairly certain she was not limiting it to just my knife making stuff. :3:

DeMo
 

Jon Kelly

Well-Known Member
In order to meet the needs of my budget, shop space, and portability I chose the LMS mini-mill linked above. These guys seem to be very knowledgeable when it comes to their products and I am confident they will help me with any issues that may arise. If I outgrow it that means business is good and I can look into something bigger at that time. I will be sure to post my findings as I explore this machine.
 

Jon Kelly

Well-Known Member
If all I ever do with this is mill guard slots it is money well spent! What a sweet, and quiet machine. Here's what less than ten minutes looks like.....
 
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