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  #1  
Old 10-02-2010, 12:28 AM
hylander hylander is offline
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Need Mill Advise




So I need a Mill for home and Small gun projects.
I'm going to order one of these: Leaning toward the RF31.
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, also they are lighter.
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
I know if I raise or lower the Head it will loose registration, but that does not really bother me.
Input please

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

http://www.grizzly.com/products/Dril...th-Stand/G0704

http://www.toolsplus1.com/rf31milldrill.htm
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  #2  
Old 10-02-2010, 01:38 AM
WhitleyStu WhitleyStu is offline
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You might want to consider a mill/drill with a knee so you can have more verticle adjustment without having to rezero your setup. Just a thought...
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  #3  
Old 10-02-2010, 04:46 AM
william79906 william79906 is offline
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I know it's hard to do, and hard to justify, but if you can, save up for a while and buy a full size mill. You can find used brideports and other quality mills for a reasonable price online as well as through machinery dealers. The reason I recommend this is the chatter you get from a mini mill is horrible on larger projects. And after you start using a mill you won't want to stop or limit yourself to a mini. Also an r8 spindle is an amazing time saver as well as versitle. Good luck on whatever you decide. wm
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  #4  
Old 10-02-2010, 07:03 AM
schmeky schmeky is offline
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hylander,

I have the one attached below, I think the Grizzly you're looking at is the same as the HF mill; they are the Seig X2, a very popular mill. It's been great, but has it's limitations. The advice to get a bigger or "real" mill is good advice. If you're going to limit yourself to small pistol sized projects, a mini-mill is fine. Also, as recommended, definietly go with the R8 attachment option. I've had mine for over a year and it still amazes me how you can adapt projects to make this mill work well.

One thing to remember you may already know, you'll spend way more on tooling than the mill itself. Way more.

http://www.harborfreight.com/two-spe...ine-44991.html

Here's a before and after pic of some slide serrations I cleaned up on my mill:



Last edited by schmeky; 10-02-2010 at 07:09 AM.
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  #5  
Old 10-02-2010, 07:24 AM
Rinspeed Rinspeed is offline
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At work I use one of these Central Machinery mills and it works real well considering how much it cost. Of course the vise I have on it was almost as much. I agree with WhitleyStu though that having to rezero after changing vertical height can be a pain. If you have the space for a full size mill the market is saturated with used equipment but of course shipping is not cheap.





http://www.harborfreight.com/1-1-2-h...ine-33686.html
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  #6  
Old 10-02-2010, 09:10 AM
luv2ride luv2ride is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rinspeed View Post
At work I use one of these Central Machinery mills and it works real well considering how much it cost. Of course the vise I have on it was almost as much. I agree with WhitleyStu though that having to rezero after changing vertical height can be a pain. If you have the space for a full size mill the market is saturated with used equipment but of course shipping is not cheap.





http://www.harborfreight.com/1-1-2-h...ine-33686.html
I found one of those used locally and want to buy it but can't justify it right now. I want to use it for flat topping and sight cutting, maybe some french lines or something. What all are you going to use it for? The local guy wants $600 for it, wonder if he's looking for a pistol?
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  #7  
Old 10-02-2010, 04:02 PM
brindlpitt1 brindlpitt1 is offline
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I had been looking for a while. JET offered a nice machine but $1300.00
harbor freight had this one for $899.00
there ad said it is 1 1/2 horse 110 volt when I opened her up its clearly 2 horse and can be wired for 110 or 220

of course they offered me the warranty plan for a few dollars more when I declined they whipped out a 20% off coupon I got out the door for $909.00
with the warranty.

I have looked this all over and the only difference I see between it and the JET is the color.


And its going right on my kitchen table

That was in 06 as you can see from the pic I have been useing it for 4 years now and have never been happier with a big ticket purchase glad I didnt get any thing smaller. I hardly ever use my drill press at all any more. the mill is just so much better


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Last edited by brindlpitt1; 10-02-2010 at 04:19 PM.
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  #8  
Old 10-02-2010, 11:14 PM
ken_mays ken_mays is offline
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I have the same basic size mill as schmeky.



The biggest flaw it has its size. You can do a good bit of pistol work on it, but it's easy to spend half an hour setting up a cut only to find that the table won't move as far as you need it to.

Also, there seem to be only two sizes of milling vises for these mills: too big, and too small.
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  #9  
Old 10-03-2010, 12:23 AM
TGriffin TGriffin is offline
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My advice is, don't Buy it. For what you'll spend on a toy milling machine at Grizzly or Harbor Freight, you could get a used Bridgeport off Craig's List. A mill like that looks good in the store but once you start using it you'll find the lack of rigidity will limit you to very small cutters to prevent chatter and even then you won't get as good a surface finish as you would on a full size milling machine. It'll also be a lot easier to find tooling and accessories such as collets, vises, hold down hardware, rotary tables, digital readout, etc. for a full size mill. Any industrial supplier will carry it, or Craig's List again.

The only downside to something like a Bridgeport is that you'll need a phase converter to generate the 3 phase power to run it, but those can be found used as well. Did I mention Craig's List?

My mill is a Bridgeport clone made by DoAll. I've owned it for 25 years and use it all the time. It will last me the rest of my life, unlike one from HB or Grizzly. In the unlikely event that something does happen to break, parts are easy to find. One more thing to consider.

Tom

Last edited by TGriffin; 10-03-2010 at 12:25 AM.
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  #10  
Old 10-03-2010, 04:47 PM
hylander hylander is offline
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Thanks for the input
I'll most likely order the RF31, 2hp, R8 collet, Over 600 lb.
I will be doing mostly small projects so I don't see moving the Head very often on the same project a problem.

TGriffin : I would love a full size Mill but my limited space does not permit.
Also I have been watching Craigslist all day every day for a 200 mile radius for over a month and nothing Checked all the local shops for new and used, again nothing. Even the HF stores in my area do not carry any Mill's
Can't wait any longer, I have some AR 80% Lowers that need finished
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  #11  
Old 10-03-2010, 08:08 PM
BBBBill BBBBill is offline
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If you do decide on a mill that requires you to move the head up and down the column for clearance on various jobs, then plan to retram the head every time you move it if you want any accuracy at all in your work. Otherwise, you're asking for trouble on anything requireing accurate cuts. I did that for years on an old Chinese import that I had access to. I still do it on occasion with my Bridgeport just to see if anything has moved.
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  #12  
Old 10-04-2010, 06:51 AM
bntII bntII is offline
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You might want to look at this one.

Last edited by bntII; 10-04-2010 at 07:53 AM.
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  #13  
Old 10-04-2010, 07:51 AM
Joe C Joe C is offline
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Coming from someone that just in the past 6 months bought a mill, all I can say is Craigs List...

I got a Webb Champ 3VH with DRO and 3 axis power feed with less than 100 hours on it for under $6000.00 (this machine is worth over $18K). That included the three phase inverter, 10x54 table, SPI vise, and about $500.00 worth of cutters and attachments.

Be patient, look around, a lot, and as some of the other posters mentioned you can find something really nice for a bargain... I know a friend of mine got a nice BP1 the other day off of Craigs List for $1500.00...guy just needed to get rid of it right now...

Respectfully,
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  #14  
Old 10-04-2010, 08:11 AM
Bill Mannatt Bill Mannatt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe C View Post
Coming from someone that just in the past 6 months bought a mill, all I can say is Craigs List...

I got a Webb Champ 3VH with DRO and 3 axis power feed with less than 100 hours on it for under $6000.00 (this machine is worth over $18K). That included the three phase inverter, 10x54 table, SPI vise, and about $500.00 worth of cutters and attachments.

Be patient, look around, a lot, and as some of the other posters mentioned you can find something really nice for a bargain... I know a friend of mine got a nice BP1 the other day off of Craigs List for $1500.00...guy just needed to get rid of it right now...

Respectfully,
Yeah,good advice. Don't dink around with one of those hobby mills,too many good deals on real mills out there. Lots of used Bridgeports,Encos,Trees,and the like,do the legwork.Re-tramming the head every time after re-positioning vertically is a Mickey Mouse deal,not worth the proverbial "Tinker's "Damn!"".
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  #15  
Old 10-04-2010, 09:26 AM
ken_mays ken_mays is offline
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Nothing beats a good used Bridgeport that someone wants to get rid of... if you have the space. A full sized mill is out of the question for me at this time.

For what I do with mine, the mini-mill is adequate. I was also able to put DROs on it for about $200, which took it from "frustrating" to "pretty usable." You won't have a problem cutting sight dovetails and such, though I think machine checkering with a jig or rotary table is simply out of the question because the table's so small.

Doing 80% AR lowers on it is right at the utmost limit of what it can do. The most dicey operation on the 80% lower is tapping the buffer tube tower, which requires you to remove the spring arm from the head and run it up past its topmost limit.
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  #16  
Old 10-04-2010, 07:31 PM
hylander hylander is offline
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Thanks again guys
I would love a full size Mill, but space does not permit.
So the RF-31 is as big as I can go.
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  #17  
Old 10-04-2010, 10:52 PM
partsproduction partsproduction is offline
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By all means avoid round columns and those outrageously clumsy belt change nightmares of the mill/drills.

The machine shop is all about doing things that take ten seconds to do. It is amazing to realize what a huge breakthrough it is when you can find a way to do that thing in five seconds instead of ten. I know it sounds funny, but believe me, it is absolutely huge.

What you will find yourself doing with those awful belt change monstrosities is making do with the speed you have, and you will always be either wasting time or burning your tools.

Tramming the head on a vertical round column is a fricken waste of time the first time you have to do it, and it will eat you up over and over knowing you could have bought a machine designed by someone who understood what the machine will be used for. ()
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  #18  
Old 10-05-2010, 05:29 AM
hooks hooks is offline
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We have a taller Webb vert mill at work and installed a Kurt air operated collet closer. Absolutely the best time saver, back saver, all rolled into one.
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  #19  
Old 10-05-2010, 10:54 AM
partsproduction partsproduction is offline
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Quote:
We have a taller Webb vert mill at work and installed a Kurt air operated collet closer. Absolutely the best time saver, back saver, all rolled into one.
Yes, I bought one of those cheap $200 ones that use a butterfly air wrench, had to argue with the wife about the waste of money, (Every purchase in the shop is like that.) that simple tool has saved gazzilions of hours of wrenching and smacking with a hammer. The one I bought from a major tool supplier is made of plastic and nowhere near as nice (Or cheap!) as this;http://cgi.ebay.com/POWER-DRAWBAR-BR...item1c1615c485
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  #20  
Old 10-05-2010, 11:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by partsproduction View Post
By all means avoid round columns and those outrageously clumsy belt change nightmares of the mill/drills.

The machine shop is all about doing things that take ten seconds to do. It is amazing to realize what a huge breakthrough it is when you can find a way to do that thing in five seconds instead of ten. I know it sounds funny, but believe me, it is absolutely huge.

What you will find yourself doing with those awful belt change monstrosities is making do with the speed you have, and you will always be either wasting time or burning your tools.

Tramming the head on a vertical round column is a fricken waste of time the first time you have to do it, and it will eat you up over and over knowing you could have bought a machine designed by someone who understood what the machine will be used for ()

Yes, what the machines are used for. Keep everything in context. These folks are not in "partsproduction" they are hobbyists.
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Last edited by RdB; 10-05-2010 at 12:24 PM.
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  #21  
Old 10-05-2010, 02:44 PM
schmeky schmeky is offline
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^^^^^^ ^^^^^^
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  #22  
Old 10-05-2010, 03:08 PM
ssn vet ssn vet is offline
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I have the GO463 mill and like it a lot for a hobby mill. Fortunately, I have access to a Bridgeport clone at work. The Go463 is really a Sieg X3 with green paint on it. I'm about 75% done with a CNC conversion and can't wait to get creative.

Most of my machining has been in aluminum, yet if you head over to CNCZone.com and you'll find lot of guys using the larger hobby mills for gunsmith work. I'm hoping to do Novak sight cuts on my stainless Commander with mine.

The real issue is ridgidity. You will have to take lighter passes with a hobby mill and may not be able to achieve as smooth a finish.

The X3 is a lot more mill than an X2. Granted, it's not a Bridgeport, but just try lugging a Bridgeport down your basement steps .

I was seriously looking for a used Bridgeport on Craigslist this summer and found that they are not quite as readilly available as often touted (greater Boston area). And when found, they run ~$2-3K. Best bet was to get one at a bankruptcy auction. Just bring your flat bed truck and forklift along with you, to remove it that day.

I personally would not go with a round collumn mill. On the dove tail square collum mills, you lock the spindle in the completely retracted position and then raise and lower the head when machining. The ways can be snugged up quite a bit and you can still raise the head with little effort. And you can always tighten up the gib lock when cutting more challenging metals.

If you're not experienced with machining, you're going to love having a hobby mill and will learn a ton.

As mentioned, tooling adds up quickly. But your really don't need an $800 Kurt vise for hobby level jobs either.

Have a ball and post lots of pics of you projects.
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Last edited by ssn vet; 03-07-2011 at 12:12 PM.
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  #23  
Old 10-05-2010, 05:39 PM
Jolly Rogers Jolly Rogers is offline
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How does this mill from the Little Machine Shop match up?
http://littlemachineshop.com/product...3900&category=
Joe
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  #24  
Old 10-05-2010, 05:41 PM
hylander hylander is offline
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So between the RF-31 and the GO463, the 463 would be the better choice ?
The motor is onlu 3/4 HP compaired to the RF-31 is 2hp
Also is the 463 as ridged as the RF-31 ?
How about reliability ?
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  #25  
Old 10-06-2010, 02:16 PM
ssn vet ssn vet is offline
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Quote:
So between the RF-31 and the GO463, the 463 would be the better choice ?
I can't help you with that, as I have no experience with the round collumn mills. I'd suggest doing some investigation on one of the hobby machinist web sites. Or try the bench top machines forum over on the CNCzone.com

Here's a links I found while Googling RF-31 vs X3

http://www.shopfloortalk.com/forums/...ad.php?t=26576

Sounds like the RF-31 is a much more robust machine... but that square column mills are better suited for CNC conversion.

I know if I was going to buy another mill I'd get an RF-45 series machine. It's a serious machine, and yet can be moved around without a fork truck (though you'll want a couple sizeable friends).

Here's Hoss' write up on the different manufacturers making them...

http://www.hossmachine.info/RF-45_Clone.html
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Last edited by ssn vet; 10-06-2010 at 02:19 PM.
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