Looking to buy small milling machine

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zillerfish

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Looking for a 'bench size' milling machine (vert or horiz), preferably with some age but will consider anything.

If you have something that fits the bill and is for sale let me know.

Im in Kent but will travel for the right machine

Cheers,

Ed
 

awake

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Ed, I have a bench top mill that I am thinking about selling. Of course, traveling to Angier, NC, USA might be a bit further than you were thinking ... :)
 

bikr7549

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What do you have Andy? Just curious as it is always good to get feedback form real users of these machines.
 

awake

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Hah. I have a machine that was affectionately known as "Big Red" by the small community of its owners. There used to be a Yahoo group devoted to it, but I don't know if any such group is still active. I looked through old pictures and could only find a couple that showed the whole thing:

Setup.jpg


ModifiedMill.jpg


In terms of design, it is a round-column mill drill, but somewhat less capable than the familiar Rong-Fu style. Rather than the head of the mill traveling up and down the column, the column itself moves up and down in the base. It has a Morse 2 taper rather than an R8. Originally it was set up with a two-belt style speed selection - maybe 9 speeds? 12? I don't recall exactly, but years ago I converted it to use a treadmill motor (apparently after both of those pictures above, since they still show the original motor in place). I kept some of the pulleys and the two belts so that I could change ratios to get increased torque at slow speeds or vice-versa, but for the most part I just use the speed control knob.

Other enhancements that I made over the years included a way to lock the head to the column more securely so that it couldn't move off line under heavy cutting pressure. (The head is made to be able to swing to the left or right, and the factory method of securing it is simply a couple of clamp bolts.) I also added a fine-feed control to the quill, and a quill "DRO" - actually just a modified 6" electronic caliper, but it worked very well, other than using batteries faster than I would have liked. The latter two modifications are visible in the pictures above.

In terms of capacity, it is not as large a table as a Rong-Fu, but is larger than the "mini-mills" that were the next step down from a Rong-Fu type mill-drill. The table does have one really irritating characteristic: the table screws are 6 tpi. Yes, that's right - slightly better than a 7 tpi screw, but far worse than a 5 or 8 or 10 tpi. It would have benefited from an X/Y DRO, but I never got around to fitting one; instead I got very good at determining how many times to turn the dial and where on the dial with 166.666666 divisions I needed to wind up.

And in fact, despite its limitations and drawbacks, I used it for many years to accomplish a wide variety of projects with a pretty high degree of accuracy. A few years ago I saw a good deal on a Bridgeport and bought it, but I kept the mill drill, thinking I would find it useful to have a second mill, or even that I might set it up primarily for precision drilling and power tapping - the treadmill motor can be instantly reversed. As it turns out, I haven't used it even once since I got the BP ... so I really should let it go to someone who needs a starter mill. At that point the only responsible thing to do would be to use the space freed up to add another tool. Right? Right?
 

rogerbh

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Hi zillerfish
I have a mill very much like Awakes but with several refinements, fine feed to the quill, a larger table, No3 morse etc. I have done quite a lot of work and been happy with it, its a bigger than I would like but as they say you can do small jobs with a big machine but not big jobs with a small machine.
You are the first person on here that I know comes from Kent, where about are you I am from Ashford.
 

Danuzzo

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Have you considered the "micro" size such as the Peatol (Taig)? The Taig (made in USA) is a very nice little machine, that might fit the bill, depending on the type of work you intend. I guess in your neck of the woods, it is called Peatol.
 

packrat

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Hi zillerfish,,You could look at the Rong-Fu style mill/drill that awake is referring to, the good thing about them is the R8 spindle, the
one I have is made by JET but lots of brand names for them.. The other day a Bridgeport mill showed up on the classified ads here for
about $3000.00 USD but the wife would kill me if I came home with that big of a machine, good luck with your search..
 

Woodster

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Hi zillerfish, have a look at Amadeal - AMADEAL Ltd. They're in east London, so not far from Kent and not too far from the Olympic park. They have a nice selection you can go and have a butchers at.
 

goldstar31

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Im in Kent but will travel for the right machine

Cheers,

Ed
After having to escape from 'lockdown' yesterday, I'm wondering whether the idea is actually legal.
I've been in lockdown since the end of February- the Chinese New Year etc and as a 90 yo and with a crate of health problems have only had food etc left at least 2 meters from my door. There is a current social rule.
Yesterday, I was left with the interesting decision of possibly dying from the virus of which I am well qualified to get or if, I survive, be blind without medical attention. As I said, interesting especially having one through what really was 10 years of war. Goldstar31 is NOT written as a whim.
So armed with an old paint spray mask my son whipped me into the local Newcastle hospital and still showing a over length shock of neglected hair and this confounded 'gas mask' we were overtaken by the road traffic police who pulled a couple of males in a car. Unless you are 'in essential work' or getting food or for health reasons( as I was), the law is being broken.

So I'm locked down again- awaiting more hospital attention in 10 weeks time. I think

Norman
 

awake

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Norman, I am sorry you got pulled by the police on top of dealing with difficult medical choices. I hope they were understanding!
 

zillerfish

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Ed, I have a bench top mill that I am thinking about selling. Of course, traveling to Angier, NC, USA might be a bit further than you were thinking ... :)
Fraid so...but I bet it woud have been worth it !
 

zillerfish

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After having to escape from 'lockdown' yesterday, I'm wondering whether the idea is actually legal.
I've been in lockdown since the end of February- the Chinese New Year etc and as a 90 yo and with a crate of health problems have only had food etc left at least 2 meters from my door. There is a current social rule.
Yesterday, I was left with the interesting decision of possibly dying from the virus of which I am well qualified to get or if, I survive, be blind without medical attention. As I said, interesting especially having one through what really was 10 years of war. Goldstar31 is NOT written as a whim.
So armed with an old paint spray mask my son whipped me into the local Newcastle hospital and still showing a over length shock of neglected hair and this confounded 'gas mask' we were overtaken by the road traffic police who pulled a couple of males in a car. Unless you are 'in essential work' or getting food or for health reasons( as I was), the law is being broken.

So I'm locked down again- awaiting more hospital attention in 10 weeks time. I think

Norman
Naturally I would wait until lockdown over in agreement with vendor ....
 

goldstar31

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In the middle of this awful virus, my mind went back to Oberameragau- it was supposed to be on this year again anfd the Blac Death plague. I was supposed to be in the Tirol and my mind drifted to my late wife at Maythofen, Zillertal, and then to the Inn and onto the Donau( Danube) and then bird watching at its mouth in the Black Sea.
Thanks for the memory

Norman
 

SmithDoor

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The group is still up and running.
My mill is on the front cover.
I have found it still being made today.
I found it right size mill for my work.
I install power feed and I can a BS-00 dividing head.

Dave

Hah. I have a machine that was affectionately known as "Big Red" by the small community of its owners. There used to be a Yahoo group devoted to it, but I don't know if any such group is still active. I looked through old pictures and could only find a couple that showed the whole thing:

View attachment 115609

View attachment 115610

In terms of design, it is a round-column mill drill, but somewhat less capable than the familiar Rong-Fu style. Rather than the head of the mill traveling up and down the column, the column itself moves up and down in the base. It has a Morse 2 taper rather than an R8. Originally it was set up with a two-belt style speed selection - maybe 9 speeds? 12? I don't recall exactly, but years ago I converted it to use a treadmill motor (apparently after both of those pictures above, since they still show the original motor in place). I kept some of the pulleys and the two belts so that I could change ratios to get increased torque at slow speeds or vice-versa, but for the most part I just use the speed control knob.

Other enhancements that I made over the years included a way to lock the head to the column more securely so that it couldn't move off line under heavy cutting pressure. (The head is made to be able to swing to the left or right, and the factory method of securing it is simply a couple of clamp bolts.) I also added a fine-feed control to the quill, and a quill "DRO" - actually just a modified 6" electronic caliper, but it worked very well, other than using batteries faster than I would have liked. The latter two modifications are visible in the pictures above.

In terms of capacity, it is not as large a table as a Rong-Fu, but is larger than the "mini-mills" that were the next step down from a Rong-Fu type mill-drill. The table does have one really irritating characteristic: the table screws are 6 tpi. Yes, that's right - slightly better than a 7 tpi screw, but far worse than a 5 or 8 or 10 tpi. It would have benefited from an X/Y DRO, but I never got around to fitting one; instead I got very good at determining how many times to turn the dial and where on the dial with 166.666666 divisions I needed to wind up.

And in fact, despite its limitations and drawbacks, I used it for many years to accomplish a wide variety of projects with a pretty high degree of accuracy. A few years ago I saw a good deal on a Bridgeport and bought it, but I kept the mill drill, thinking I would find it useful to have a second mill, or even that I might set it up primarily for precision drilling and power tapping - the treadmill motor can be instantly reversed. As it turns out, I haven't used it even once since I got the BP ... so I really should let it go to someone who needs a starter mill. At that point the only responsible thing to do would be to use the space freed up to add another tool. Right? Right?
 

awake

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Dave, thanks for the link! I had no idea that the group was still active, much less that the mill/drill was still in production!

When I bought it, it was the best compromise for me in terms of space, budget, weight, capacity. The Rong Fu type had more capacity and the possibly more desirable R8 spindle, but was way more expensive. Meanwhile, the mini-mill versions that were available at the time were just too small and under-powered. Then I happened on the last unit in the store when HF decided to discontinue this model, so it was on a terrific sale ... and for some reason, they also honored the 20% off coupon that I had on top of that.

All that to say, especially given the great deal on its price, this mill/drill has more than paid for itself, giving me great service through the years. But once I had a full-sized BP, it just hasn't gotten a lick of use ... other than as a platform to hold various odds and ends!
 

jdurnya

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i cant help you as far as size as im running bridgeports.. but my only suggestion is to buy a machine thats as precise as you need it.. if you are just doing running hardware you can get away with most anything.. but if you intend to work on engines.. bearing housings, induction systems etc you need to buy as precise a machine as you can afford... the old addage of " a good machinist can make great parts on a crappy machine while a poor machinist will make crappy parts on a great machine " is true.. but only to a point... tolerances are tolerances... esp at 25,000 rpms...
 
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