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hylander
09-07-2010, 3:27 PM
Specificly thinking of the ones sold by Harbor Freight and the likes, in
the $500-$600 price range, can't afford anything more.
Are they any good ?


Pro's
Con's

Dead*Reckoned
09-07-2010, 3:36 PM
Interested also. I'm thinking I might pick up a used one somewhere...

rockdogz
09-07-2010, 3:40 PM
I just started looking into this too. I like the looks of the Grizzly G0704. It's a step above the mini-mills. Check out cncguns.com (http://www.cncguns.com) and cnczone.com (http://www.cnczone.com).

Another good link:
Ray-Vin (how to machine your lower) (http://www.ray-vin.com/frtech.htm)

rabagley
09-07-2010, 3:52 PM
If you want to do 80% lowers and you have $500, get a good used drill press first (for about $100 on craigslist), buy the right jig and the tooling for it (the one at cncguns (http://www.cncguns.com/tooling.html) is designed to work with a drill press).

For $500, you'll get the beginnings of a tiny milling machine with no money left over for tooling. Whatever the price of the mill, expect to spend 100%-200% that to get enough tooling/measuring/equipment to handle most projects. Expect to spend 50% of the price of the mill to make any progress on one project.

If I was shopping for an inexpensive mill (which I am), I'd wait and save a few more pennies and use the info at http://www.littlemachineshop.com to help me out.

Specifically, I think this is the low-price benchtop winner: http://littlemachineshop.com/3900

That's a Sieg SX2 (super X2) with extended table and ways (Chris at littlemachineshop calls it a Sieg SX2L).

A step upwards from that is the Sieg SX3, and the best deal on that is available from Grizzly: http://www.grizzly.com/products/6-x-21-Mill-Drill/G0619

In either case, you're going to also need to have budget for tooling.

For the X2, I might get something like this pack of accessories: http://littlemachineshop.com/products/product_view.php?ProductID=3489&category=879658189

And for the X3, the equivalent (with the slightly bigger vise) kit: http://littlemachineshop.com/products/product_view.php?ProductID=3526&category=1963256900

But first, read through these pages on why you need each item and consider if you like Chris's kit or you want something else: http://littlemachineshop.com/Info/getting_started.php?FileName=GS_MiniMill_01.htm&d=0|2|13

(I'm not affiliated with littlemachineshop, but I do borrow one of their CNC mills at the LA crashspace, and I am a satisfied customer for smaller items).

rabagley
09-07-2010, 4:07 PM
I just started looking into this too. I like the looks of the Grizzly G0704. It's a step above the mini-mills. Check out cncguns.com (http://www.cncguns.com) and cnczone.com (http://www.cnczone.com).

Another good link:
Ray-Vin (how to machine your lower) (http://www.ray-vin.com/frtech.htm)

That does look like an interesting mill, but it's REALLY light weight and will have most of the same ridigity issues as the SX2 and other mini-mills. The controls do look good in the photo. Precision Matthews has the same line of mills (http://www.machinetoolonline.com/PM-MV-BenchMills.html) (Weiss) but doesn't offer any that small. Even the PM20MV weighs in almost 150lbs heavier.

I have a few questions for Grizzly on the specs. I'm a little suspicious of the 1HP motor claim when they also say 110V 3.2A. 340W of output power is about 1/2HP, not 1HP, so I seriously doubt that ~340W of input power is going to get there.

choprzrul
09-07-2010, 4:13 PM
What about these:

http://www.smithy.com/images/image/250x250/midas1220xl.jpg

http://www.smithy.com/index_inside.php?id=128


**EDIT**

Here's one: http://losangeles.craigslist.org/wst/tls/1938387374.html

.

rockdogz
09-07-2010, 4:17 PM
That does look like an interesting mill, but it's REALLY light weight and will have most of the same ridigity issues as the SX2 and other mini-mills. The controls do look good in the photo. Precision Matthews has the same line of mills (http://www.machinetoolonline.com/PM-MV-BenchMills.html) (Weiss) but doesn't offer any that small. Even the PM20MV weighs in almost 150lbs heavier.

I have a few questions for Grizzly on the specs. I'm a little suspicious of the 1HP motor claim when they also say 110V 3.2A. 340W of output power is about 1/2HP, not 1HP, so I seriously doubt that ~340W of input power is going to get there.
I believe the PM-20 is the same mill. Agreed on the motor output - check out http://www.g0704.com/ and this (long!) thread. (http://www.cnczone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=98694) This guy Hoss has done a LOT of work with the G0704 and found the motor to be less than 1HP (I think 3/4?) but was still able to take it from 2300 to over 5000 RPM by doing some mods such as replacing bearings and adding a belt drive. Interesting stuff!

bridgeport
09-07-2010, 5:04 PM
This is the only multi tool I would even consider. Any serious knob twisting requires a dedicated task specific machine. Lathe, Milling machine, etc.

http://www.shoptask.com/bridgemill_head.shtml

rabagley
09-07-2010, 5:19 PM
I believe the PM-20 is the same mill.

Whoops. Looks like you're right, I was reading from the wrong column. In any case, I think I'd rather have the littlemachineshop SX2L with a 500W brushless motor and belt drive, though it's a toss-up for whether the SX3 or one of the bigger Weiss machines.

rg_1111@yahoo.com
09-07-2010, 5:43 PM
I bought a cheap Harbor Freight Mill. It's just that Cheap Junk. I wont buy HF stuff anymore. Spend a little more for something better.
Check Enco out. They had a nice Milling machine for $1000 But it will last longer than a Harbor Freight

rabagley
09-07-2010, 6:42 PM
What about these:

http://www.smithy.com/images/image/250x250/midas1220xl.jpg

http://www.smithy.com/index_inside.php?id=128


**EDIT**

Here's one: http://losangeles.craigslist.org/wst/tls/1938387374.html

.

Two problems with that tool, 1) the mill head has a round column (which seriously limits rigidity and makes it REALLY hard to get back to zero after an axial adjustment). 2) a complaint common to most mill/lthe machines: the tiny little vises you can mount along with the tiny work envelope in mill mode make that a below average lathe and a terrible mill.

rabagley
09-07-2010, 7:00 PM
This is the only multi tool I would even consider. Any serious knob twisting requires a dedicated task specific machine. Lathe, Milling machine, etc.

http://www.shoptask.com/bridgemill_head.shtml

On discount, the base machine is $3000 before shipping (http://www.shoptask.com/SPECIAL%20PRICING.shtml). That's a good price for a sound multitool design, but is way, way outside the OP's stated budget.

I recommended a $100 used drill press plus a jig and bits made for a drill press. Does anyone else have a different recommendation for how to spend $500 to have 1) the ability to complete an 80% AR and 2) a few more useful tools in the garage?

I'll add to the chorus against Harbor Freight. Harbor Freight offers both a Sieg mill and a Rong-Fu mill. The Sieg is okay (it's an X2 model) but I'd buy one of the Sieg models I already mentioned (littlemachineshop for x2 and grizzly for x3). The Rong-Fu is total crap.

hylander
09-07-2010, 7:12 PM
I have a good table Top Drill Press ( Delta )
Was just wanting to try some Milling without spending a ton of money

Carsgunsandchics
09-07-2010, 7:21 PM
Friend of mine bought a Harbor Freight Display unit. About half the bolts were missing, which is why my friend wanted it. It cost him $125. With the money he saved he removed all the remaining bolts and bought quality nuts and bolts and taps to clean out the holes. It tightened up everything considerably. He removed all the factory "cheap" metal rulers and fastened real machinist rules. He later adapted a digital readout system/controls. Finished it off with a nice machinist vise. He wound up spending about $100 on fasteners. He's been happy with this setup for about 18years now. The machine is not that bad actually it's just the junk fasteners for the most part.

ojisan
09-07-2010, 7:24 PM
I have a good table Top Drill Press ( Delta )
Was just wanting to try some Milling without spending a ton of money

Great thread, thanx everybody for all the info!
I need something like one of these to make prototype parts.
It looks like it's a least a grand or more for a decent starter home set-up.
Careful shopping for a used machine of one the better types mentioned above with some tooling may be the best way to go on a budget.

jamesob
09-07-2010, 8:08 PM
i got a hf multi tool and it works just fine. the only thing bad about mine is that the measurements are in mm and not in inches. im happy with mine because everything i wanted done , it has done it so far.

gadjeep
09-07-2010, 8:21 PM
I'm saving my pennies for one of these: http://www.grizzly.com/products/Vertical-Mill/G3102

Not a tabletop for sure, but after using a real Bridgeport I'm going to wait until I can have a machine with a knee AND some mass to it. If I had the room I'd get a Bridgeport. You can find them used for less than some places want for their mini equipment.

jamesob
09-07-2010, 8:25 PM
I'm saving my pennies for one of these: http://www.grizzly.com/products/Vertical-Mill/G3102

Not a tabletop for sure, but after using a real Bridgeport I'm going to wait until I can have a machine with a knee AND some mass to it. If I had the room I'd get a Bridgeport. You can find them used for less than some places want for their mini equipment.

grizzly has another model thats bigger for around the same price.

hylander
09-07-2010, 8:31 PM
How about this Unit ?

http://www.littlemachineshop.com/3900

rabagley
09-07-2010, 10:37 PM
How about this Unit ?

http://www.littlemachineshop.com/3900

That's the one I mentioned in post #4. I think it's the best-of-breed mini mill and if the work envelope works for you and you understand and can accept the limited rigidity that a little machine provides, it's an amazing little machine.

That machine is a Sieg SX2 with an oversized table and XY ways. Here's a detailed review of the SX2 with stock table (it does pretty well). (http://www.mini-lathe.com/Mini_mill/Reviews/Sieg%20SX2/SX2.htm)

And oooohhhh, Sieg just released the SX4 mid-sized mill... (http://www.mini-lathe.com/Mini_mill/Reviews/SX4/SX4.htm) I know what I'm eagerly awaiting more info about... Not sure what to make of it though. Looks like a slightly bigger and much stiffer SX3, though they chose a MT4 spindle over R8, which seems odd...

bob_e95482
09-08-2010, 7:30 AM
I have an HF mill I bought used, with a vise, table, and some tooling, for $350. 110V, and R8 taper.

Roccobro
09-08-2010, 7:32 AM
Watch Craiglist. I got an older Enco sized like the Grizzly 3102 for $400. Came with some T- nuts, full set of R8 collets and other little stuff to get me going. Tooling has been $50 at a time, to the tune of $300. And I already had half the stuff needed to go. :p

I went this rout after thinking about the pain and aggravation a HF "bitmoore vise on a DP" would cause. Figured CG'ers in the area would see it the same way and donate when completing their paperweights on it. :D

Justin

woodey
09-08-2010, 11:31 AM
http://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/tls/1942183751.html $250
Table top to get your feet wet :D pretty ease to CNC also

hylander
09-08-2010, 8:59 PM
How about this ?

http://reno.craigslist.org/tls/1933017482.html

rabagley
09-08-2010, 10:17 PM
How about this ?

http://reno.craigslist.org/tls/1933017482.html

Wait for a square column mill. Round column mills are a serious PITA and you'll be wishing you'd waited or eventually just keeping it for a drill press.

ar15barrels
09-08-2010, 11:35 PM
You can usually get a fullsize used bridgeport 9x42 clone for $1200ish delivered in the LA area.
I got mine on eBay for $610 with a DRO on it, but it cost $600 to move it from san diego.
In the end, I paid the same price as buying local, but I got a great DRO with it...

hylander
09-09-2010, 5:24 PM
I'm thinking I will order this one.
Any reason I should not ?
Will this do the Job well ?
I know I need some tooling, so what do I need right off ?

http://littlemachineshop.com/3900

hylander
09-09-2010, 6:40 PM
Or what about this, it has DRO

http://www.grizzly.com/products/Drill-Mill-with-Stand/G0704

rabagley
09-09-2010, 7:38 PM
Or what about this, it has DRO

http://www.grizzly.com/products/Drill-Mill-with-Stand/G0704

Well, the DRO on that mill is a single scale on the spindle. You can retrofit the 4" version of this scale (http://cgi.ebay.com/140438412688) with a little planning. That's also a fine small mill, but personally, I think you'll be happier with the SX2L from littlemachineshop in your previous post. I don't think the stand is worth enough to justify the price difference and I think the littlemachineshop mill has the performance edge.

I'm thinking I will order this one.
Any reason I should not ?
The first thing I want to be able to do, is complete a couple of 80% Lowers.
Will this do the Job well ?
I know I need some tooling, so what do I need right off ?

http://littlemachineshop.com/3900

That will do fine on an 80% lower with the likely exception of three holes*. In addition to your favorite jig and recommended drills, you'll want a kit of basic accessories (http://littlemachineshop.com/products/product_view.php?ProductID=3489&category=879658189) that fits your mill (this kit will fit either mill since they're both R8). You'll use a lot of this for holding your 80% w/ jig and the collets/end mills will make the fire control pocket much easier than using drills

For the drilling, I personally would opt for a better chuck than littlemachineshop has available. Something like this: Jacobs keyless 3/8" JT2 chuck (http://cgi.ebay.com/310191508447) along with this JT2 to R8 arbor (http://cgi.ebay.com/230507469277). I personally choose to stay with a known US/German brand like Jacobs or Albrecht or Rohm on this component. One thing to watch out for with keyless chucks and that mill: the spindle to table distance gets eaten up pretty fast. The 3/8" chuck shouldn't be too big, but I'd be careful getting much bigger than 3/8".

Backing up for a moment: you're not me, and I'm going to cautiously say that if you want to have it all in one order, save a few dollars and get a good accuracy 1/2" chuck that will definitely fit the mill, go for this chuck (http://littlemachineshop.com/products/product_view.php?ProductID=3153&category=) and this arbor (http://littlemachineshop.com/products/product_view.php?ProductID=1676&category=). It's keyed, which is a slight annoyance, but like I said above, you can comfortably fit a bigger keyed chuck than a keyless chuck.

* The possible exceptions are drilling the bolt catch hole and the two takedown pin detent holes. I think you're going to have to use a drill press or a BIG mill for those holes just because you're going to need a lot of space between the spindle and the table to get everything in there. A mill is still a MUCH better way to open up the fire control pocket and either one of the little bench mills you've chosen will both serve you well on this first project.

Grumpyoldretiredcop
09-09-2010, 10:29 PM
Just laid my hands on a used Grizzly G8689 mini-mill with collet, several mill bits, vise, and rotary table for $300. I haunted Craigslist for a month looking for this. The Y ways need to be tightened up but everything else looks ready to go... just dirty.

Now that I've seen one, I'd agree with those who say it's a little small. However, it's about as big as one man can move unassisted (not that my back agrees with this statement), which makes it right for me.

I'll be making chips... in two weeks :D

http://i619.photobucket.com/albums/tt279/grumpyoldretiredcop/Mini-MillDetailViewofWays.jpg http://i619.photobucket.com/albums/tt279/grumpyoldretiredcop/Mini-MillFront.jpg http://i619.photobucket.com/albums/tt279/grumpyoldretiredcop/Mini-MillDetailViewofPowerPanel.jpg

hylander
09-09-2010, 10:48 PM
Wish there was one local to look at, I would hate to buy this thing only to find out it is to short.

Grumpyoldretiredcop
09-09-2010, 11:04 PM
Don't have to worry about those, they are already done on an 80% :)

Only have to do:
FCG area
Trigger hole
Trigger Pins
Safety Selector hole

Wish there was one local to look at, I would hate to buy this thing only to find out it is to short to do the work on the Lowers.

Looking at these specs, it doesn't look like there's any problems with milling the FCG pocket and drilling the holes listed. Plenty of travel.

X-Axis Travel 11.8" (300 mm)
Y-Axis Travel 5.1" (130 mm)
Z-Axis Travel 9.3" (235 mm)

ar15barrels
09-10-2010, 7:11 AM
Or what about this, it has DRO

http://www.grizzly.com/products/Drill-Mill-with-Stand/G0704

Buy the biggest/heaviest machine you can manage.
The extra weight makes it cut smoother by dampening out vibrations while cutting.
Also, the extra table travel is very helpful in that you won't have to break down your setups as often to work on parts that exceed your table travel.

rabagley
09-10-2010, 8:38 AM
Don't have to worry about those, they are already done on an 80% :)

Oh, I didn't notice that about the new 80% lowers. Then you're good.

wash
09-10-2010, 8:41 AM
The one that got away from me was a little horizontal mill with dual axis power feed and coolant pump.

It took up about 9 ft^2 of floor space and I think it weighed about 700 lbs.

Just big enough to do some real work but way smaller than a bridgeport.

The travel was small and the setups would be funky for a guy used to vertical milling but I figured I would get used to it.

Alas I was young and poor with no place to keep it so I had to pass on buying it.

I've had my hands on a Shoptask and while they are good for a 3in1 machine, they are limited in what they can handle.

desertdweller
09-10-2010, 2:19 PM
I have this one:

http://www.harborfreight.com/two-speed-variable-bench-mill-drill-machine-44991.html

Works just fine. I also have a Z-Axis Digital Read Out attached I got from ebay for about $35. I've done a half dozen 80%s.

PanchoVilla
09-10-2010, 2:39 PM
grumpyoldretiredcop, I saw that mill yesterday. I had decided a while ago that I was just going to get a Taig and save myself the time of converting it to CNC. I nearly changed my mind yesterday morning when I saw that thing, but decided to stick with my Taig plans. How much extra crap came with it? It looked like a pretty good deal with the vise and whatever else he had laying around.

hylander
09-10-2010, 4:25 PM
Well I wanted the Littlemachineshop, but after all the tax and shipping
it will be just over $800 :eek:
The local HF does not have any Mini-Mill's and they say they are discontinuing their Mini-Mills and will no longer sell them :confused:
Is there anywhere local to Sac that actually has Mills that I can put my grubby fingers on ?

How about these ?

http://sacramento.craigslist.org/tls/1935853481.html

http://reno.craigslist.org/tls/1887877608.html

rabagley
09-10-2010, 10:32 PM
I'm biased against round column mills. Any time you traverse the head up and down (the head, not the spindle), you have to rezero table X and Y. With a dovetail column mill (square column mill), you move the head, lock it down, keep on milling.

If $800 is too much, just keep watching craigslist for a small dovetail column mill. I do understand the sometimes unpleasant reality of budgets, but that's a very nice little mill for $800 shipped.

hylander
09-10-2010, 10:47 PM
I'm biased against round column mills. Any time you traverse the head up and down (the head, not the spindle), you have to rezero table X and Y. With a dovetail column mill (square column mill), you move the head, lock it down, keep on milling.

How hard is it to Re-Zero ?
Sorry for all the questions, but I no almost Zero about these things :o

ar15barrels
09-11-2010, 12:03 AM
How hard is it to Re-Zero ?
Sorry for all the questions, but I no almost Zero about these things :o

It depends on if you have a DRO or not.
If you have a DRO, you can specify a spot on the table or fixture as zero and then always work from there.
To re-zero, you woul just have to go to exactly that spot and hit zero on each axes.
If you are using handwheels, it's the same process, but you have to adjust the handwheel scales.

Re-zeroing is a pain in the butt.
You would be MUCH better to try to never have to re-zero.
Avoid raising and lowering the head on the post and you are fine with a round column machine.

Roccobro
09-11-2010, 7:09 AM
Whats the issue with centering the head?

-clueless as well

rabagley
09-11-2010, 8:22 AM
How hard is it to Re-Zero ?
Sorry for all the questions, but I no almost Zero about these things :o

Depends on how accurate you want the next cut. You'll have to remount some sort of measuring device (center finder, edge finder, dial indicator, etc.) and recompare to a reference mark attached to the table (a mark on your work or on the vise or a reference attached to the table). Then you'll need to remount your tool, which will probably require redetermining the tool's vertical offset (touch the work and mark your zero). Now start cutting.

I strongly recommend getting a class text for machine shop and a few other machining books besides.

Audel's Machine Shop Basics
Machine Shop Essentials
Machine Shop Trade Secrets
The Machinist's Bedside Reader (and Vols. II and III)
Milling, A Complete Course (Workshop Practice Series, lots of these are great)

Be aware, you're getting your tools out of the usual recommended order (usually, get a lathe and a drill press, spend a lot of time practicing and skill building, then get a mill).

rabagley
09-11-2010, 8:27 AM
Whats the issue with centering the head?

-clueless as well

Any time you put a piece of metal on the table and then start cutting, it's important to know where the tool is relative to the work. If you're just making the first cuts in a rough piece, it's not critical to be accurate. But if you've already started on the work and it's important that new cuts be accurate relative to the existing cuts (very common), you need to take time. This takes several minutes if you're new and still slows you down if you're an expert.

With a dovetail column mill, you don't have to repeat this process after raising or lowering the head. With a round column mill, you do. Also, the rigidity of round column mills is a LOT lower than dovetail column or knee mills (knee mill: the table moves up and down, not the head).

Excitable Boy
09-11-2010, 8:44 AM
A Mill/Drill like this would be a minimum IMHO. At around 700lbs, you've got enough rigidity to do reasonable work if you keep the cuts light.

http://www.grizzly.com/products/2-HP-Mill-Drill/G1006

I see machines like that fairly often in the $500.00 range with some tooling. You just have to watch Craig's List and the Recycler and be ready to move when you find the right one. I will agree that the round column does complicate things some, but it's still a useful tool.

Watch Craiglist. I got an older Enco sized like the Grizzly 3102 for $400. Came with some T- nuts, full set of R8 collets and other little stuff to get me going. Tooling has been $50 at a time, to the tune of $300. And I already had half the stuff needed to go. :p

Justin

That's a good deal!

You can usually get a fullsize used bridgeport 9x42 clone for $1200ish delivered in the LA area.
I got mine on eBay for $610 with a DRO on it, but it cost $600 to move it from san diego.
In the end, I paid the same price as buying local, but I got a great DRO with it...

While I think that deal is the exception rather than the rule, full size mills can be had in the $1200.00 - $1500.00 range with some regularity, at least in the LA area. Besides moving it and arranging power, you'll likely never regret having a real machine. That's what I paid for an all manual Bridgeport (not clone). I later upgraded it to a KBC Taiwanese BP clone in much better shape with a DRO for less money. It does a fine job on 80% lowers.

I feel that there is so much compromise in the mini mills as to make them not much more than toys.

YMMV

Excitable Boy
09-11-2010, 8:45 AM
Any time you put a piece of metal on the table and then start cutting, it's important to know where the tool is relative to the work. If you're just making the first cuts in a rough piece, it's not critical to be accurate. But if you've already started on the work and it's important that new cuts be accurate relative to the existing cuts (very common), you need to take time. This takes several minutes if you're new and still slows you down if you're an expert.

With a dovetail column mill, you don't have to repeat this process after raising or lowering the head. With a round column mill, you do. Also, the rigidity of round column mills is a LOT lower than dovetail column or knee mills (knee mill: the table moves up and down, not the head).

rabagley is absolutely correct on all points here. Before the two mills I mentioned above, I had a Rutland Tool round column mill drill. It was useful, but limited and a PIA to work on.

Joewy
09-11-2010, 8:49 AM
This is the only multi tool I would even consider. Any serious knob twisting requires a dedicated task specific machine. Lathe, Milling machine, etc.

http://www.shoptask.com/bridgemill_head.shtml


You need better equipment. :D
I have a Mazak Intregrex 400Y It has 7 axis and is similar to this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AV6m5_DZ-tk

I also use it to make cranks, cams and other parts that need multi axis.

rabagley
09-11-2010, 7:19 PM
You need better equipment. :D
I have a Mazak Intregrex 400Y It has 7 axis and is similar to this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AV6m5_DZ-tk

I also use it to make cranks, cams and other parts that need multi axis.

Not all of us have that kind of budget or space. I'm going to be spending $1800 on my mill (before tooling) and my whole workshop (including reloading bench and parking for two motorcycles) has to fit in a one car garage.

rabagley
09-11-2010, 7:34 PM
Re-zeroing is a pain in the butt.
You would be MUCH better to try to never have to re-zero.
Avoid raising and lowering the head on the post and you are fine with a round column machine.

And the question becomes: can he do all of his work for his project(s) within the Z movement of the spindle so that he doesn't have to raise or lower the head?

For an 80% lower, sure. For lots of other projects: what a pain.

hylander
09-11-2010, 7:47 PM
I found this local, new for $350 with a few collets a Vise and an
air upgrade "what ever that is"

http://www.harborfreight.com/two-speed-variable-bench-mill-drill-machine-44991.html

38super
09-11-2010, 8:39 PM
Light duty machine, light cuts, more time. You'll find the lead screw nut tolerances at the worst possible moment.

ar15barrels
09-11-2010, 8:55 PM
Not all of us have that kind of budget or space. I'm going to be spending $1800 on my mill (before tooling) and my whole workshop (including reloading bench and parking for two motorcycles) has to fit in a one car garage.

Get rid of one of the motorcycles and do this:

http://ar15barrels.com/gfx/shop2.jpg

I used to park a motorcycle down the middle, but I got sick of rolling it in and out each time I wanted to do something quick in the shop...

hylander
09-11-2010, 9:33 PM
You'll find the lead screw nut tolerances at the worst possible moment.

Whats that ? :o

ar15barrels
09-11-2010, 10:30 PM
Whats that ? :o

Each axes of the table (x & y) has a long screw that moves the table when you turn the crank.
The crank has a set of numbers on it that show you how much movement to expect.
On these smaller/lighter/cheaper machines, the numbers are more like estimates than reality.
So, say you need to crank over 4" from one hole to the next hole.
Let's say that each rotation of the hand crank is supposed to give you 0.1".
So, you crank over 40 turns and expect to be 4.000" away from the original location.
What you will find is that you are perhaps NOT exactly 4.000" over as you expect, but you are 3.994" over.
That 0.006" is the due to leadscrew tolerances.

Then you have slack in your leadscrew nut so you can only use the numbers on the handwheel going in one direction.
You will find that the handwheel will rotate perhaps 20 degrees or more before the table moves when you change directions.
This will quickly teach you that you have to aproach all critical locations from the same direction in order to even TRY to use the numbers on the handwheel.

A DRO helps with all this and I highly recommend you get a machine with a DRO on it.

hylander
09-11-2010, 11:00 PM
Thanks AR15 :)
Can't afford a DRO machine, Have to stay under $900 for a unit.
So with my price cap of $900 whats the best I can get

hylander
09-11-2010, 11:03 PM
Just laid my hands on a used Grizzly G8689 mini-mill with collet, several mill bits, vise, and rotary table for $300. I haunted Craigslist for a month looking for this. The Y ways need to be tightened up but everything else looks ready to go... just dirty.

Now that I've seen one, I'd agree with those who say it's a little small. However, it's about as big as one man can move unassisted (not that my back agrees with this statement), which makes it right for me.

I'll be making chips... in two weeks :D

http://i619.photobucket.com/albums/tt279/grumpyoldretiredcop/Mini-MillDetailViewofWays.jpg http://i619.photobucket.com/albums/tt279/grumpyoldretiredcop/Mini-MillFront.jpg http://i619.photobucket.com/albums/tt279/grumpyoldretiredcop/Mini-MillDetailViewofPowerPanel.jpg

Thanks

Grumpyoldretiredcop
09-12-2010, 12:04 AM
So will that unit finish an 80% Lower ?

It's going to finish a couple, as soon as I clean it up (it sat in the former owner's garage for several years, unused and uncared for). And after I get it mounted to a proper bench/stand.

ar15barrels
09-12-2010, 6:17 AM
So with my price cap of $900 whats the best I can get that will
do 80% Lowers ?

In skilled hands, any of these machines can finish out an 80% lower.
Without skilled hands, any of these machines will scrap a lot of parts while you are learning.
If you are only concerned about finishing out an 80% lower, buy a bunch of them so you can scrap a few until you get a usable one.
Otherwise, get a machine and practice making parts from simple bar stock until you have the fundementals down to do your 80% lowers.

saki302
09-12-2010, 6:55 AM
I bought one of the HF mini mills (like the grizzly) quite a few years back when they were on sale for $399.

So far, it's done 4 or 5 1919 sideplates (lost count- most were with friends), one set of 1919 internals, countless motorcycle projects, etc..

It works perfectly fine if you work within its limits- cut slowly with lube, and don't overwork the machine. It does chatter more than a big mill, but that's the price of lighter weight/cost.

I got running for under $500 with tooling- it takes standard heads (R8?) and I bought a drill chuck attachment which comes in handy sometimes. The small vise I got for around $50-60, it's served me fine. I got two small nicer ones at auction for $20, but haven;t bothered re-fitting one yet.

My tips- buy a spare gear set- you'll need it one day, when not having one will SUCK.

They sell a DRO conversion too- I got mine cheap on ebay years later, and it turns it into a precision tool. Skip the power feed- the power feed is pretty weak, and if you tighten the slop out of the table, it has a hard time travelling the full distance WITH CONTROL.

-Dave

hylander
09-12-2010, 6:08 PM
So what do you all think about these ?
Kinda leaning toward the GO704

http://www.grizzly.com/products/Mill-Drill/G0463

http://www.grizzly.com/products/Drill-Mill-with-Stand/G0704

http://www.grizzly.com/products/Mill-Drill-Milling-Machine-25/G1005Z

http://www.toolsplus1.com/rf31milldrill.htm

http://www.wttool.com/product-exec/product_id/46553/nm/R8_Mill_Drill_Machine_WT_

ar15barrels
09-12-2010, 7:23 PM
So what do you all think about these ?
Kinda leaning toward the GO704

I like the larger table and travels as well as the dovetail column and DRO on the quill.
Add a DRO on the table and you really have something there...

hylander
09-12-2010, 10:38 PM
I like the larger table and travels as well as the dovetail column and DRO on the quill.
Add a DRO on the table and you really have something there...

So do you think that unit would be fine for completing an AR Lower or two ?

eaglemike
09-12-2010, 11:05 PM
So do you think that unit would be fine for completing an AR Lower or two ?
Of course. People have done them on a drill press with a crossslide table. Any mill will be better than that. Always get the best machine possible. If you ever ran real junk, and then good stuff, you'll hate the junk.
But - and it's a big one - no matter which manual machine a person uses requires more concentration/focus than most people are used to. If one turns the handle the wrong way (very easy to do if one gets distracted) the part can be scrapped. The quality of machine makes a difference, but the skill of the user is very important. Think 2 or 3 times, cut once......
all the best,
Mike

rabagley
09-12-2010, 11:44 PM
Get rid of one of the motorcycles and do this:

http://ar15barrels.com/gfx/shop2.jpg

I used to park a motorcycle down the middle, but I got sick of rolling it in and out each time I wanted to do something quick in the shop...

Oh, don't worry. You'll be getting an invite to come over and help me set some of this stuff up.

Also, I haven't come across a good quart bottle to split that gallon of Rustlick soluble oil. I'll bring the gallon to class on Wednesday (first night is tomorrow, but Mondays are out for me this fall) and if you've got a quart bottle/can I can split out for you, bring it. Otherwise you're waiting for the next motorcycle oil change.

rabagley
09-12-2010, 11:56 PM
I found this local, new for $350 with a few collets a Vise and an
air upgrade "what ever that is"
Would this work for completing 80% Lowers ?

http://www.harborfreight.com/two-speed-variable-bench-mill-drill-machine-44991.html

Yes, that's a Sieg X2 and it's the classic mini-mill. That's a great price on that package. Jump on it.

The "air upgrade" is a pneumatic assist device that lifts the mill head (much like holds open the back of many an SUV). This replaces the very kludgey spring-arm device that comes stock, so is a good thing.

hylander
10-01-2010, 5:11 PM
OK:
I'm going to order one of these:
My issue with the Square Colmn is the very short Spindle travel :(
The 463 is 3.3" and the 704 is a mere 2" which means I will have to raise and lower the head constantly.
The only draw back I see of the RF-31 is having to move the Head on a rare occasion, it has 5" of Spindle travel :)
Input please

http://www.grizzly.com/products/Mill-Drill/G0463

http://www.grizzly.com/products/Drill-Mill-with-Stand/G0704

http://www.toolsplus1.com/rf31milldrill.htm

spacecase0
10-01-2010, 5:58 PM
I have a sherline mill (http://www.sherline.com/5400pg.htm)
http://www.sherline.com/
for a tiny light mill it does well as long as light cuts are made,
it is not misaligned from the factory like most of the smaller ones
it was $1200
but at least I can keep it in my apartment without it going through the floor

the lathe they sell does not work well for gun smithing , so I do not recommend the lathe they sell.

Roccobro
10-01-2010, 6:22 PM
The most cost effective mini lathe I can recommend is the Harbor Freight 9x20. It doesn't have all the problems of the 7x10 and the bed is plenty long for barrel work. And mods galore on Yahoo 9x20lathe forum.

Catch it on sale and use the 20% off coupon floating around. My machine has actually gone UP in value over the years. :D

Justin

bob_e95482
10-02-2010, 4:55 AM
With a round column mill, one can attach a laser on the head, and scribe an indexing line on the opposite wall.

hylander
10-02-2010, 8:33 PM
Well I'm going with this one.
In the last few days I have read of several issues with the other ones.

http://www.toolsplus1.com/rf31milldrill.htm (http://www.toolsplus1.com/rf31milldrill.htm)

38super
10-02-2010, 10:19 PM
I suggest ya'll wander over to Homegunsmith.com site, search for Fuzzbean. He's done some sporty stuff with 'economy' machinery. Mind you, this guy should be designing machinery, not modifying. Fairly good site for most build projects, seems to attract the master model maker types along with few FUGs like me.

Roccobro
10-11-2010, 12:18 PM
$600 floor sized Bridgeport in Chino. NOT MINE!
http://inlandempire.craigslist.org/tls/2000543534.html
http://images.craigslist.org/3nc3pb3o85Y15O65S4aab154aafcb44581a9c.jpg

Lets get this to a Cal Gunner!!!

Justin

hylander
10-16-2010, 1:27 PM
Finally got my RF-31 :)
Now I need to build a steel bench for it.
Where can I get some Angle Iron or Square Tubing ?

Carsgunsandchics
10-16-2010, 2:50 PM
Finally got my RF-31 :)
Now I need to build a steel bench for it.
Where can I get some Angle Iron or Square Tubing ?

http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b193/hylander7/Firearms/Smithing/Milling/Picture350.jpg

Blue Collar Supply on Florin Perkins just north of Fruitridge. Or just pick up one of those old Gov't steel desks that weigh about a ton and a half for $20.

hylander
10-16-2010, 9:44 PM
Carsgunsandchics:
Thanks for the Blue Collar Supply idea
Any Idea where to get one of those metel desks ?

Carsgunsandchics
10-16-2010, 10:23 PM
Any Idea where to get one of those metel desks ?

Denio's in Roseville usually has one or two desks. By the back fence if you go straight back from the large handicap parking area. There are a few spots where they sell stuff from storage units and such.
If not there then check craigslist, or even the local offsite illegal junk dump sites as no one wants them.

Roccobro
10-18-2010, 9:36 PM
Verdict?

Justin