Worth it compared to x2?

Discussion in 'Tools' started by datosi81, Jan 29, 2018.

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  1. Jan 29, 2018 #1

    datosi81

    datosi81

    datosi81

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    Hi all,
    Haven’t been active in years with a career change and a baby, but have got back into it a few months ago.

    Still using my Grizzly 8689 and it hasn’t been too bad. I found a generic round column mill/drill on Craigslist that claims to be never used/brand new, just sat for a while. I’m aware of the reputation these mills have but the price is significantly cheaper than my other plan (sell the x2 and buy the larger solid column x2 from LMS).

    I guess my question is are the issues you hear about with these mills (retramming necessary when raising or lowering head) make it not worth it in general or only when compared to similar sized machines? Or another way of asking, is the mill/drill despite its shortcomings, still “better” more capable than my current x2?

    Thanks
     
  2. Jan 29, 2018 #2

    Blogwitch

    Blogwitch

    Blogwitch

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    My first mill was a round column Rong Fu one, and that lasted me for years, there was nothing that it couldn't do, with a bit of forwards planning and ingenuity.

    It isn't tramming that you have to worry about but when you move the head up or down you lose position on what you had bolted to the table, plus, the quill will require sorting with a large spring as it has a tendency to drop and so damage the job. It is a fairly easy but crucial modification.

    Here is a picture of mine, ready to machine the rear end of a 7 foot long chopper frame. As I said, with a bit of thought, almost anything can be achieved. Try doing that on your flimsy X2.

    [​IMG]

    BTW, I am now over 100lbs lighter.


    John
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2018
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  3. Jan 29, 2018 #3

    datosi81

    datosi81

    datosi81

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    Impressive! My initial thought was based just on the shear size and weight it has to be an all around better option than upgrading my x2 to a slightly beefier x2. I realize there are better options out there but not in the $4-500 range.

    So the issue with moving the head is it rotating around the column to some extent? I was under the impression people had issue with tram in the X and Y axis due to the column itself not being perfectly true and straight. Kinda banana shaped, effecting tilt and nod where once you zeroed it you were good, but move the head and you’re starting from scratch.

    Btw congrats on the weight loss. Your loss must be my gain...30lbs of it anyway
    I guess that’s comes with the territory of fatherhood
     
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  4. Jan 29, 2018 #4

    fcheslop

    fcheslop

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    Location:
    The land of the Prince Bishops
    Iv owned an RF25 since 1984 and its had some abuse in its time
    I did have a tensator spring fitting to take up the backlash in the quill although this has now cracked.It worked a bit like the Stanley tape measure and did away with the one of the most annoying problems.The quill dropping just when you didnt need it.
    In all the years of use its had three sets of quill bearings ,two new feed nuts and a set of pulley bearings
    The column is a pain at times but all in all for a machine that at the time cost less than £400 when nothing else other than castings was available its been good value
    Im not going to say its an accurate machine as in toolroom but its built a lot of toy engines for me
    My machine has recently cracked around the heads lower locking bolt so will need replacing but have no idea with what
    best wishes
    frazer
     
  5. Jan 29, 2018 #5

    vederstein

    vederstein

    vederstein

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    I have both an X2 and a Chinese geared head round column mill-drill (Horrible Freight blah blah blah...).

    The mill-drill is far more capable than the X2.

    This build log should give you an idea of what it can do.

    ...Ved.
     
  6. Jan 30, 2018 #6

    Blogwitch

    Blogwitch

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    Datos,

    Mine was the same RF25 as Frazer above and in my mind, those mill drills with a round column, for such a low cost, bring large mill capabilities within the reach of a lot of the cash strapped model engineers. All they need is a little understanding of what happens when you move something and a couple of easy mods, then they could be a machine that you want to hang onto.

    I had my RF and an old Atlas 10F lathe, and I worked wonders in my shop.

    BTW, the weight loss was due to the big 'C' which is hopefully now almost behind me, but I don't want the weight back.

    John
     
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  7. Jan 31, 2018 #7

    Wizard69

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    Well #1 i don't see the point in replacing one X2 with another! So dont go that route.

    With all round column mills the big issue is loss of registration if you move the entire head up or down. How much of a problem this is depends upon what you are working on and the methods of accomplishing that work. It can be very frustrating or not a problem at all.

    At the price you are talking about there is another way to look at this, for $400 you will get one hell of a drill press so even if you upgrade down the road the machine can reman useful in your shop. Ive spent more on a new drill press and frankly it is a pretty crappy press. Most of the round column variants would make a far better drill press than a purpose built press. So what im saying is this machine is a great investment even if you supplement it will a box column milling machine down the road.

    In a nut shell if you have the shop space this is a great deal. Even if the round column has you considering a replacement down the road you will have a very useful machine in your shop for other tasks.
     
  8. Jan 31, 2018 #8

    Naiveambition

    Naiveambition

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    A side note on the quill. I have a rf45 clone and besides the round column they are pretty much identical, as mine is square.
    I also had problems with the quill dropping at the worst possible time and after some time I noticed that it only really happened when I was using after the drilling. If I unlocked it from fine downfeed and placed it where I needed it , then locked the fine downfeed, it happened every time. So the only solution that worked was to keep the fine df locked and recess the quill all the way back to zero or all the way up in the head then come back down to my position. After this I eliminated it 98% of the time
    So if I am drilling , after the operation, I recess the quill, lock it in, give 5- 10 turns of the fine df then recess, my problems go away.
     
  9. Feb 1, 2018 #9

    datosi81

    datosi81

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    Thanks for the input guys. It seems It might be worth the money regardless. And if I can get it for $400 I can’t imagine not getting that much back out of it down the road if I do upgrade.

    I’ll update if I can strike a deal
     
  10. Feb 8, 2018 #10

    datosi81

    datosi81

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    Unfortunately it was all for naught. Mill was sold before I could get down there.

    Another option popped up on Craigslist about two hours from me. MSC but the model number doesn’t return any info on a google search. Looks like a decent size machine for my purposes but still smaller than a Bridgeport clone. Anybody know about this mill? View attachment IMG_1847.jpg
     
  11. Feb 8, 2018 #11

    ShopShoe

    ShopShoe

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    datosi81,

    Your last post looks very interesting, if it is not worn out. I have seen many posts about these "mini knee mills" and those who have them seem to like them. (Somebody please chime in here.)

    If you are not aware, Little Machine Shop also sells the rigid column to convert your X2, and other parts to extend its capabilities. If I were in your situation and had the space, I'd try to do that AND buy one of the other options you have considered, but I love redundant capability as I am usually working on several things at the same time.

    If you are looking at larger tooling cutting larger hunks of steel, you probably want the additional power, not to mention the additional rigidity of the machines you are thinking of getting.

    Please let us know how you get on.

    --ShopShoe
     
  12. Feb 8, 2018 #12

    datosi81

    datosi81

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    Shopshoe, I’ve looked at the solid column conversion but would likely do that and the larger table, so now it’s not so far off in price from the whole mill, especially if I then turn around and sell my current mill. But if I can score the small knee mill for a good price I’d rather the money go there and still have the old X2 for smaller jobs/backup etc.

    It seems the knee mill pic I attached is basically like the one that harbor freight and others sell. I just had no frame of reference in size. So my assumption is it’s probably a 28x6 table or thereabouts. I’m also assuming it puts the weight at somewhere near 800lbs, which is probably just small enough to use in my basement little shop and not have to setup in the garage.
     
  13. Feb 8, 2018 #13

    petertha

    petertha

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    Others might have better info, but that style of mill comes under various colors & labels. I suspect a bit more stout than my RF-45 & its a knee style vs. RF-45 entirely on the quill. The better of the era were typically from Taiwan, but the current Chinese flavors might have caught up & be about the same. Somewhat similar to this modern Grizzly for example.
    http://www.grizzly.com/products/8-x-30-Vertical-Mill-with-Power-Feed/G0731

    Because of the belt drive, they are quiet & apparently make very nice VFD motor conversions.
     

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