X2 or heavy duty mill which one to buy?

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Naiveambition

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I am looking at a mill and trying to decide between two different ones, and was hoping members could shed some light on them.

The first is the x2 from harbor freight and with coupon can be had for bout 500$
I like this for price and the many options available for upgrade, ( cnc , dro, etc) and also having dovetail column. Figure price with cnc will b 1000$ which makes the other mill the alternate.
But am. Pretty worried about y movement being 4 inches, that sounds too small. Am sure to run into something that is bigger than a model so... How big is some stuff that can be done on this mill?



The other is the round column heavy duty mill with 9 inch y movement, which sounds pretty nice for bench machine. This also is able to upgrade to cnc, but doesn't seem as popular. Heard complaints about z axis. This one is only 400$ more amd more than. Doubles everything from righty to workable dimensions. Or so it seems. Are their problems that I am unaware of that I should stay away from this unit other other?

image.jpg
 

RonGinger

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I dont like the round columns for the setup issues. Your useful Z travel is really only the Quill travel since you loose position whenever you raise the head.

Look at the high torque mini mill from Little Machine Shop. It is their version of the X2, but with many improvements- better spindle motor, larger table, longer travel and elimination of that useless swivel joint on the column. We used those mill as the base of our CNC mill conversion class at the CNC workshop the past 2 years. It will also be of much higher quality than from Harbor Freight, and it will cost a bit more, but life is like that, better usually costs more.
 

velocette

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Hi
Really it it is horses for courses. What projects have you got in mind to do with your mill. I have experience with an X2 Mill Drill and it now does a good job of work.

On delivery I was not very impressed by the mill BUT the price was Very reasonable. A complete strip down and cleanup was undertaken to remove preservative gunk and lapping of the ways completed and assembled.

Not entirely satisfied a complete rebuild was undertaken check my other postings for more info

The results are that I now have Mill Drill that is now a capable machine not just a collection of assembled parts.

Round column machines my experience is very limited to the odd hole drilled or slots cut.

Can I pick up on the comment from "RonGinger"

""I dont like the round columns for the setup issues. Your useful Z travel is really only the Quill travel since you loose position whenever you raise the head.""

Fair enough Ron BUT there is a solution to that. Make sure that the mill is level and true mount a laser pointer at a 90 deg angle to the spindle and project the beam parallel to the table.

With a target made about 100 mm wide and at least the height of the "Z" Axis travel with a Straight Line and parallel to the sides mounted a couple of metres away with the line at the true vertical and the Laser Dot centred on the line the head can be raised or lowered the full travel.

If you go the X2 route then "RonGinger" is on the right track This is a far superior machine to the one in the Photo

Eric
 
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canadianhorsepower

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I have one similar to the BIG one with a 5 inch round
had it since 2005 and I'm very happy with it. The column
never moved on me. I installed a DRO on it and now have an
XYZ motor feed on it. I live in Canada and they sell for 1900.00
bare bone. But like "velocette" said all depend of your plan of work
will gyve the proper answer. I have that mill and also a small "same size
then the small one " EMCO CNC. on the other hand I have a 12x36 lathe
and a small Taig lathe. Bottom line size doesn't matter ...the job does
happy shoping
 

Anko

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Hi

I got the mini mill for a couple of years now and is perfect for model making, with a little work and mods of course.
And its able to handle steel too, with little cuts and a lot of patience.

The problem with the mini-mill is when you want to make bigger parts, like machine parts or other bigger things, its very frustrating the small table travels.

If its for model maker porpose I will recomend it, for some more general work you should go for the bigger mill affordable (and lathe too)

In general with these machines, the bigger the better.

Hope to help

Saludos
 

Naiveambition

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For the most part it will be used for model making ventures
But at the same time I would like to start building bigger motors and kindA get
Away from micro- engineering. So sooner or later will want bigger things
But nothing on the charts now. Just trying to get a relative concensus on what the public thinks of these machines. I suppose accuracy in the end will win over size since this is what brought me to want a mill. I spend an obscene amount of time sizing before ever getting to actual machining. Milling square seems to be easy on a mill and a definite timesaver, hence the larger machine. Thanx everyone for their views, they are all considered worthwhile views. Still undecided though but do agree with the Little Machine shop mill to be a more viable option.
 

BillyHill

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I've had an X2 (Harbor Freight) for over a decade. I cant compare it to a round column because I've never owned one but IMO having an X2 and a drill press is much better than having a drill press with an XY table, which is how I view the round column "mill". Even if it's more "rigid".

I don't have to worry about rigidity because anything big goes on the knee mill, but if I had my druthers I'd opt for a (then $400.00 now) $500.00 X2 plus a $35.00 10" drill press and be ahead of the game.
 

canadianhorsepower

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I cant compare it to a round column because I've never owned one
how can you compare something you never had, you're only venting and just to make thing worst you contradic yourself

I view the round column "mill". Even if it's more "rigid".
giving you\re opinion is a bit more important than giving an unknown idea
assuming things side track people that need serious information
 

BillyHill

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how can you compare something you never had, you're only venting and just to make thing worst you contradic yourself

giving you\re opinion is a bit more important than giving an unknown idea
assuming things side track people that need serious information

I can compare them because, well... they're two entirely different beasts.

A couple months ago I traded a rotary phase converter from a friend to help him get his so-called "mill" set up and running. It's not much more than a drill press with a decent XY table on it. Nothing like the X2 mill I bought back in 2002, size being irrelevant.

My "opinion" is not based on unknown things (sorry for the double negative ;) ). It is based on decades of cranking handles and making chips on more types of mills than I can remember.

An X2 is more "mill" than the round columned mill/drill pictured above. Regardless of it's size and rigidity.

Period. :hDe:
 
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Bob_P

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I've had an X2 for about 6 months now. I bought one with an extended table and fitted a gas spring mod which was well worth doing. I've added a set of DROs and work light. I'm waiting for a UK supplier to offer an x feed drive. I ordered the gas spring kit from the US and the import tax was a killer. Perhaps I'll make my own, there are a few examples on the web. I can't comment of the other mill, but really pleased with my X2.
Bob..
 

rodw

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I know people do some amazing work with small machines but I see quite a few photos of people's shops with an X3 on their bench. I had to buy the stand to put mine on due to lack of bench space though! I am only new at this but the Super X3 I bought I think is an awesome machine and the X2 simply is just not big enough in my book but if it fits your needs and wallet go for it. Before you commit, maybe run a tape measure over the X3 or SX3 (and your budget) and see if it will fit in your shop. You won't be disappointed by it and it gets your work envelope to a more respectable size which seems to be worrying you.
 

ZipSnipe

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Well I disagree that the x2 is more mill than the round column but I will say that it is smaller, easier to set up.

I just missed buying a round column mill like that one and the thing that stopped me was, the thing was huge, 700lbs of milling muscle, you could bolt an x2 to its table and mill it flat.

Point is, the x2 is a great lil started mill, I think its better than a Taig or Sherline just for its drilling capability alone. Plenty of mods that you can do to it , to make it an even better mill. And I would probably go with that Little Machine Shop x2 with the bigger table.

I also agree with Rod, the X3 is a great lil mill and with LMS larger table add on, makes it the best deal out there in my opinion.
 

BillyHill

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Well I disagree that the x2 is more mill than the round column but I will say that it is smaller, easier to set up.
I don't mean it's more mill because it's more rigid. I said that earlier. It's more mill because it has more features that are millish. You know, the little things that make it easier for you to set up???

For example, the ability to tram the head is a biggie. I see nothing on that round column that lets you tram it. And the one I worked on had no neutral. It also had no spindle brake among other things.

Feature for feature the X2 is more "mill" than the round column "mills".

Seems some folks here tend to read more into things than there really are. I guess that's typical of any forum though. (Not really talking about you zippy, I was referring to the post by canadian.)
 
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canadianhorsepower

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Seems some folks here tend to read more into things than there really are. I guess that's typical of any forum though. (Not really talking about you zippy, I was referring to the post by the canadian.)



Billy, dont ba nasty:mad: and if you can't find how to tram the column on those round mill
only shows, that you don't have a clew about what your talking about refering to those mill.
Like i said before assuming thing is miss leading others, smarten up if you can
 

BillyHill

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Billy, dont ba nasty:mad: and if you can't find how to tram the column on those round mill
only shows, that you don't have a clew about what your talking about refering to those mill.
Like i said before assuming thing is miss leading others, smarten up if you can
LoL. Take a deep breath, canadianhorsepoower. Not sure what was nasty in my reply but lets move beyond that.

I have never looked into tramming a head on the mill pictured or the one I helped a friend with. Looks like the base and head are connected with no pivot points. Perhaps you would be so kind as to explain to me how it's done? If I'm wrong and those column mills DO have the features that an X2 has I'll happily admit I'm wrong like a man and move on. :cool:
 

canadianhorsepower

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Not sure what was nasty in my reply but lets move beyond that.
we are all multi cultural on this forum and that coment about canadian was not needed.

Perhaps you would be so kind as to explain to me how it's done?
If you look where the column attached to the base there is 4 bolts you simply lose them and shim
"if needed" to have a perfect tram. Now if you think it's not solid enought, don't drive any 4x4
american model, that's how caster and camber is done with shims.

[ I'm wrong and those column mills DO have the features that an X2 has I'll happily admit I'm wrong like a man and move on/QUOTE]

The traming set up is not like the SX2 I agree the head does not tilt on these bigger model. If tilting head is so great
why did little machine shop removed it on their same model. This is not about being wright or wrong were human being
and some how we will be wrong or wright some days.

I had a seig s2 for a while and didnt like it, you can review my comment I never said anything wrong about it.
I can tell you that my Emco CNC cost me over $30,000. and I had to shim the dam thing.
I have a taig and love it, some people don't I can't tell them they are wrong it's their opinion.
I personaly think that when someone is looking for an opinion on something we should comment on the good experience
we had with a special model, then he decide what suit's him best

cheers
 

Tin Falcon

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First of all I will say fantastic work can be done with both machines.
Consider all machines from harbor freight and most asian import machines pre built kits. I have an x-2. in my experience the import machines have rough edges that need to be smoothed out you may need to make new gibs you defintly need to disassemble clean debur and lubricate. it is not a bad idea to replace the gib adjusting hardware. it seems like they install all the socket head screws no one will buy in these machines.

If you can afford it the x-3 seems to be a well liked machine.

both machines you show have there draw backs but nothing that can not be overcome.

Tin
 

BillyHill

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we are all multi cultural on this forum and that coment about canadian was not needed.
I see. My apologies. I inadvertently added "the" when it should have just read the first part of your name, canadian. I did not mean to insult you, I'm part Canadian.

As a point of contrast, notice I didn't get upset when you were being sarcastic to me in each of your posts. I won't come out and call you a hypocrite but I will caution you to be more careful in the future about how you word things.

I'm wrong and those column mills DO have the features that an X2 has I'll happily admit I'm wrong like a man and move on
The traming set up is not like the SX2 I agree the head does not tilt on these bigger model.
Sounds like the machine was not meant to be trammed and shimming it is actually a hack. Am I accurate in that assumption?

How about a neutral so you can swing an indicator?

What about a spindle brake?

How about the collet system? The one I used was very cumbersome to get to to change tools. It seems to encourage people not to change it and use the drill chuck instead.

I stand by my statement that that machine is not very "millish".

And don't confuse that with my opinion of whether it's better or worse than a similar machine in the form of an X2.
 

canadianhorsepower

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Quote:
I'm wrong and those column mills DO have the features that an X2 has I'll happily admit I'm wrong like a man and move on
this was your quote not mine

this is the administrator quote
both machines you show have there draw backs but nothing that can not be overcome.
and that is beeing fair to all of us
anyway my point here is not to win something but to be fair weather people likes my choice
or not, but hey I'll never be wrong in my mind. I think that my wife is the best one on hearth
tell me I'm wrong cheers
 
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