Proxxon mf70

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larsinist

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I am thinking to get a mill, and i see that the proxxon mf70 is cheap, how is the machine,can it cut steel??

i will use it to make snowmobile parts and stirling engine parts, but it needs to be able to cut steel

Or are there some other machines i can use

Lars
 

Swifty

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After looking at it on google, I would have thought that it is too lightweight to mill steel easily. The spindle speeds are way too fast, there is no quill stroke, so drilling holes will be a pain, it seems more suited to plastics, wood and aluminium etc.

Paul.
 

larsinist

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Thank you, then i will purchase the sieg super x2l, how is that machine, is it alot of backlash in it???

Lars
 

bazmak

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Hi Lars i bought the sx2l and its great.I would recommend the fixed column and R8 spindle.Have done a thread it works great.Backlash can be improved with minor mods. Regards barry
 

10K Pete

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Yep, don't jump to buy too quickly. You'll get lots of experienced answers
on this forum from folks who own that size machine. Be patient!

Pete
 

ship69

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@larsinist - What did you buy in the end? How did you get on?

I am looking for a very small milling machine to cut mild steel. It needs to be light enough to store away on a shelf over night as I don't have a dedicated workshop space.
 

Asm109

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Don't wait around for an answer, you resurrected a 6 year old thread and the OP has not been on this site since Dec 2015.
 

Bazzer

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@larsinist - What did you buy in the end? How did you get on?

I am looking for a very small milling machine to cut mild steel. It needs to be light enough to store away on a shelf over night as I don't have a dedicated workshop space.
Ship69

I have not used a MF70 but like most light machines with care it would cut mild steel, however what I can recommend is a second hand Unimat 3 with milling attachment, these are not cheap but are predominantly made from cast iron and steel.

Whilst not cheap you can almost regard them as an investment, they just don't loose money if looked after.

B.
 

aarggh

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As small (relative term there) mills go, I have one of these, and they are amazingly powerful in what I would consider quite a small footprint for a decent hobbyist mill that can produce industrial quality work:


The rigidity and grunt is there, and they give a fantastic finish. I think they're awesome value.
 

Bazzer

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Aarggh

A nice machine but the next level up from what Ship69 was talking about as 62Kg is not a quick lift onto a shelf.
 

aarggh

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Very true yes, I mentioned that one as I originally intended to get the MF70, but after digging found out about the abysmal duty cycle of the motor (why are they so bad?), and that it was essentially not a lot better than a really nicely made toy for any form of substantial work, of course small or fiddly work, no problem, and even bigger jobs could be done allowing for the limitations.

My point is that rigidity is absolutely key to getting a good finish efficiently, and I don't think there's a smaller mill than this one that comes close to the quality and tolerances? There are the hybrid ones that attach to a Sherline or Unimat, I own a Sherline kit, but I think these are more along the lines of drills than mills in finish and performance. Not that they're bad, I'm not inferring that in way at all, I just think they are a difficult way to achieve what should be an easy task.

You do get what you pay for, and I'm glad I went up in size and bought once, as I'd regret badly buying what I thought would be adequate even allowing for the limitations, and then find it's painful to use, and you really have to work to get a good result.

But, horses for courses, everyone's needs, tastes and budgets are different, what would annoy me may not necessarily annoy someone else.
 
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Bazzer

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I agree with you 100% that rigidity and mass are key for getting good finishes.

I have often wondered how the Sherline mills fair as they have some serious overhangs and seemingly less than rigid extensions.

Proxxon have a funny and interesting DNA IMO, I have had a couple of the small hand held tools that were designed for very specific jobs, I gave up after at least two examples failed, one on the 90 degree bevel drive and one on motor related issues, I vowed to never buy any more Proxxon.

However I had a need for a small electrically driven hand held polisher (polishing RC model paint finishes) and took the Proxxon route again, I must say that I am extremely pleased with the polisher.

I could forgive lightweight construction but like you say short duty cycles are pretty unforgiveable in this day and age, particularly with Proxxons engineering ability (which they surely have) and buying power.
 

aarggh

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The Sherline is a truly beautiful machine, and I absolutely love mine. Quality build, well designed, a delight to play with, but if I had to rely on it to produce any sort of quantity of product with a consistently good finish, I think I'd go nuts pretty quick.

I got into the CNC route early on, and made the classic rookie mistake of buying a pretty small machine easily within my means thinking it should do what I wanted. Boy was that a mistake, 5 CNC machines later I now have a 350kg beastie I imported from China a dozen years back that is the bees knee's. If I had've really thought about it more, I could have saved a small fortune by buying right the first time. I lost a lot of money on incremental upgrades to get to the final machine I now rely on.

Exact same goes for mills but even more so I think. Having CNC machines really hammered home the importance of mass and rigidity, to not only get a good finish, but to make work far easier and repeatable. I have the BF16 for small to medium sized stuff, and a big HM50 (NT40 holder, 3HP) knee mill for really hogging bigger stuff.

Among other Proxxon models I've had several of the Proxxon IBS/E grinders, they're great when they work, but they seem to die very easily. I think they don't handle electrical noise in the circuitry very well as I've had 3 control boards go. The DC Micromots seem to work fine, but they do suffer from over heating fairly quickly. God knows why they design them with an unusable duty cycle, one would almost suspect it's due to a lack of faith in their own build quality.

I bought my daughter the little Proxxon wood lathe, and you can only use if for up to a few minutes at a time, not much good for pens, or anything much really!
 

Bazzer

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I have visited the Sherline factory in California and had a tour of both the factory and the Craftsmanship Museum, I got the an overall impression of a quality company. If I did not have the Unimat 3 as my small lathe I would go down the Sherline route.

As a matter of interest what was you 5 off CNC route? I have been down a similar rout but would not say I was dissatisfied at each stop off point.

Here is my CNC journey

Stepfour Basic 540 CNC router, purchased 1993 and sold 2018 for the same as I paid for it. Used mostly for cutting carbon fibre and wood, great little machine.
Emco Compact 5 CNC lathe, purchased 2003 and sold 2016, still had original control, sold for £6.00 more than I paid for it.
Emco F1 CNC mill purchased 2013 and sold 2015, still had original control, made £350 on that.
CNC Step Gantry router purchased 2018 and still using it, it is actually working away as I am typing this reply.
Wabeco CC F1210 CNC mill purchased 2018 and still using it.

I have notionally the Unimat 3 to my Granddaughter (she is only 2) we will make some pens on that, I am really looking forwards to that.

I would love to get some inside intel. on the Proxxon engineering approach.
 

aarggh

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I have a couple of the Unimat SL1000's and another model I can't think of right now, but I think the Sherline overall is a better quality machine that holds a better tolerance, and is designed with a fairly decent robustness despite the small size, at least IMHO anyway.

I started out in CNC with a Sable-2015, a quite small but exceptionally well made machine that performed quite well, albeit slowly with a reduced DOC, I still have it and bought the high speed precision DC spindle from LukeChan (really well made spindle, recommend it highly!), I still use this machine for PCB work as it holds tolerances really well, and for the light engraving it just excels.

I couldn't have had it more than a month before I realised I made a mistake and should have gone bigger, so I bought a Chinese 6040 which was pretty much all I could afford. Luckily I got the model with the fully supported rails and the 800w spindle/VFD combo instead the crappy DC brushed motor that was more common on these machines. I'd learnt that much early on!

But that then started me down the rabbit hole of failing to get the infamous "blue box controller" with the rubbish TB6560 drivers to work, that was an absolute nightmare until I learnt enough that the actual design itself was completely flawed, and could never actually work (they were shoddy unworkable copies of the genuine YOUCNC drivers). I ended up buying a Gecko G540 for it (they seriously rock and are worth EVERY cent!), and finally had it performing beautifully, I would highly recommend the same machine, but always advise to plan for a Gecko with it if you actually want it to work.

After doing much bigger stuff on the 6040, I was well and truly hooked on CNC, and pretty much immediately realised I wasn't going to be happy long term with the 6040. The things you don't realise before buying are the immense scope of what you can do once you start in CNC, whole new worlds open up, so I straight away started planning for my next tax refund (as this was still very much just a serious hobby) to buy a bigger machine. I'd also got into milling around then and started to fully appreciate the extreme importance of power, rigidity and mass. So I spent ages going through several Chinese dealers direct, and as the Aussie dollar was really great at the time against the USD, imported a 6090, not the desktop one though, the big 350kg beast with large spindle/VFD, really nice linear rails and bearing trucks instead of the round supported rails. Cosmetically some of the work was inferior, but structurally and mechanically it was, and still is a superb machine that runs today as good as it did when I got it many years ago.

I've tried over the years to get the kids involved in creative activities, so have picked up a couple 3040's (great little machines), along with a couple home made 6040 type equivalents I'll eventually Frankenstein into a more solid purpose built machine.

And yes, making pens with the kids is such a joy (I love giving pens to friends, everyone likes a nice pen!), with my two youngest I helped guide them while they designed and machined a pen box, with a poem and dragonflies engraved on the lid, and engraved a message they'd written on the inside, along with a little embedded gold picture frame of them, and they of course made the 3 pens that went into this Mothers Day gift.

I think out of all the things their mum has gotten over the years, she treasures that one the most! Boy she was a blubbering mess when she opened it, and the satisfaction and pride the kids got out of it doing it mostly themselves was priceless!
 

Bazzer

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A very interesting account of your progress through the CNC World.

I personally suffer from very serious Sinophobia so I will just accept your accounts and hope that it does not fuel my phobia even more!!

I am surprised by your account of the TB6560 drivers, I thought they were a Toshiba design? Your report does sit in a similar place to other anecdotal evidence though.

Looking forwards to doing the pens.

B.
 

aarggh

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In OZ we're pretty stuffed when it comes to buying online, although the stance of China of late to OZ after the Covid investigation has put a lot of people off buying anything Chinese.

My 6090 cost me around $5k AUD all up including getting ripped off on local port and brokerage fees, but was still around a 1/5th of the cost of buying the exact same machine from any local supplier. So I'm stoked with it. For some years in OZ when hobby CNC started taking off, the only machine available at retail was the Piranha from the States. A piece of crap mostly plastic machine with the "Pro" version (and I use that term very lightly!) having some small aluminium extrusion to try and beef up parts of the machine as it flexed so much. This delight was around $7.5k AUD!

With the TB6560, the driver chip itself is a decent design, but with all the generic "blue box controllers", they attempted to produce cheap copies of the well designed YOUCNC drivers (which do work), but the actual PCB design was very poorly implemented. One glaring example is the amount that simply died for no apparent reason, this is because the IC's have a very specific power up/down sequence that must be adhered to. So with the BBC's simply powering the system off or on would randomly blow one or more of the drivers.

Add to this the complete lack of signal conditioning and noise protection, if they did work, they would randomly jump or lose steps because of the noise interference, or the mangling of the signals. I've seen a lot of people spend months and months trying to get these to work, and in the end a very small percentage sort of do get them working, in the same fashion that a stopped clock is right twice a day!

Add in that they don't cater for resonance like the Gecko's do so the machines run like crap, life's just too short to waste time on these garbage controllers IMHO.
 

Bazzer

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The controller on my CNC Step High Z 1000 is a work of art, it cost about £600.00 when bought with the machine and works faultlessly.

Like you say life is too short to waste on garbage, I want to be making things.

We had a mishap with our Chinese K40 laser cutter last November, to be fair it was no fault of the machine but operator error on my son in laws part, suffice to say that once the flames were put out the laser cutter looked like something out of the Chernobyl reactor basement !!

For replacing the laser cutter we managed to buy an English manufactured laser cutter (yes it does have some Chinese parts) principally it is English, yes it was more expensive than a Chinese laser cutter of the same spec and safety ratings but not by much, maybe in the order of 15% more expensive and it works great.
 

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