Need milling machine advice!

Need milling machine advice!

Joined: July 24th, 2010, 1:44 am

May 21st, 2012, 11:58 pm #1

Years ago I bought a discontinued Harbour Freight mill drill for cheap and would like to replace it with a beefier machine. Here's a pic of the machine..........

Matter of fact, the HF mill I bought has a piddly MT2 spindle, parts are starting to deform (like the center pulley bracket) and some even fall off on occasion, however my main complaint is that it's stressing the machine to mill even a 1/2" slot in steel so I "sneak up" on the slots to keep chatter down.

Well......I noticed that Grizzly has what appears to be an adaquate milling machine for my purposes (I don't mill engine blocks....LOL) Here it is at about $1700 including shipping......
http://www.grizzly.com/products/6-x-21-Mill-Drill/G0619
It has a 1hp direct drive motor with a R8 spindle, and the head rides on a "dovetail column".

Then I notice that Grizzly also offers this belt drive 2HP machine for less than $1500 including shipping..........
http://www.grizzly.com/products/2-HP-Mill-Drill/G1006
This mill has a round column like my HF mill and so far I really haven't had a problem with the "round column" and I'm wondering if there are any major advantages to a dove tail column.

By the way, the round column machine at around 675 pounds weighs about 50% more that the more expensive direct drive machine.

Any feedback/opinions are welcome!
Last edited by nced1 on May 22nd, 2012, 12:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: January 1st, 2012, 11:50 pm

May 22nd, 2012, 12:33 am #2

I would prefer a dovetail column but in that price range, I would probably stick with the round column. That one looks like most of the full size, generic mill/drills. Here is another one from Grizzly. It is a little smaller but has a nice looking stand (total weight is even more than the other):

http://www.grizzly.com/products/Drill-M ... able/G0705

Once you get it set up, fill the base part way with ready mix concrete. I did that to mine. It cuts down on vibration.

My similar mill/drill has a sheet metal stand like this:

http://www.grizzly.com/products/Machine ... 1126/G5944

Harbor Freight also carries the generic mill/drill.

http://www.harborfreight.com/1-1-2-half ... 33686.html
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 12:14 am

May 22nd, 2012, 2:29 am #3

Years ago I bought a discontinued Harbour Freight mill drill for cheap and would like to replace it with a beefier machine. Here's a pic of the machine..........

Matter of fact, the HF mill I bought has a piddly MT2 spindle, parts are starting to deform (like the center pulley bracket) and some even fall off on occasion, however my main complaint is that it's stressing the machine to mill even a 1/2" slot in steel so I "sneak up" on the slots to keep chatter down.

Well......I noticed that Grizzly has what appears to be an adaquate milling machine for my purposes (I don't mill engine blocks....LOL) Here it is at about $1700 including shipping......
http://www.grizzly.com/products/6-x-21-Mill-Drill/G0619
It has a 1hp direct drive motor with a R8 spindle, and the head rides on a "dovetail column".

Then I notice that Grizzly also offers this belt drive 2HP machine for less than $1500 including shipping..........
http://www.grizzly.com/products/2-HP-Mill-Drill/G1006
This mill has a round column like my HF mill and so far I really haven't had a problem with the "round column" and I'm wondering if there are any major advantages to a dove tail column.

By the way, the round column machine at around 675 pounds weighs about 50% more that the more expensive direct drive machine.

Any feedback/opinions are welcome!
Your second reference might be made by Rong Fu. Biggest trouble with any of the bench mills is day light under the spindle. Seems like you have come to grips with that however.

For $1500, in the North East, you could pick up a run out Bridgeport knock off. (craigs list) But that's more machine.
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Joined: August 20th, 2006, 5:36 am

May 22nd, 2012, 5:26 pm #4

Years ago I bought a discontinued Harbour Freight mill drill for cheap and would like to replace it with a beefier machine. Here's a pic of the machine..........

Matter of fact, the HF mill I bought has a piddly MT2 spindle, parts are starting to deform (like the center pulley bracket) and some even fall off on occasion, however my main complaint is that it's stressing the machine to mill even a 1/2" slot in steel so I "sneak up" on the slots to keep chatter down.

Well......I noticed that Grizzly has what appears to be an adaquate milling machine for my purposes (I don't mill engine blocks....LOL) Here it is at about $1700 including shipping......
http://www.grizzly.com/products/6-x-21-Mill-Drill/G0619
It has a 1hp direct drive motor with a R8 spindle, and the head rides on a "dovetail column".

Then I notice that Grizzly also offers this belt drive 2HP machine for less than $1500 including shipping..........
http://www.grizzly.com/products/2-HP-Mill-Drill/G1006
This mill has a round column like my HF mill and so far I really haven't had a problem with the "round column" and I'm wondering if there are any major advantages to a dove tail column.

By the way, the round column machine at around 675 pounds weighs about 50% more that the more expensive direct drive machine.

Any feedback/opinions are welcome!
Good machine, but I don't know how much you'll gain in weight and capacity over what you have. Mine doesn't chatter particularly, but I do get a fair amount of vibration when making heavy cuts. Part of that is due to the stand it's on, I made it from 1-1/8" concrete form plywood, but it's still basically an open box. I have plans to reinforce it and increase the weight, but just haven't gotten to it yet. At first I had the mill just sitting on the stand, it got a lot better when I finally got it bolted to it, so I'm thinking some additional stiffening and weight will make a big difference. BTW, this is what is referred to generically as a Sieg XS-3, there are some minor structural differences between the various importers, but the main difference is paint color . Grizzly tends to be a bit more expensive than their competition, but they have a very good reputation for customer service, something I can attest to, and I think they have tighter standards than their competition, too. Biggest down side to this machine for me is speed, it tops out at only 1800 rpm, which is kind of slow for a lot of what we do. Power feed would be really nice, too.

The biggest down side I've heard with the round column mill/drills is that just raising and lowering the head will take it out of tram. And I don't know about you, but I'm constantly raising and lowering the head on my mill. The dovetail column is much better in that regard, but moving up to a true knee mill, even a small one, would be the best bet, something like thishttp://www.grizzly.com/products/Vertical-Mill/G0728 Of course, it's also $1000 more than the 0619. And at that point, you could probably find a used Bridgeport or similar in decent shape. Of course, something like that will also have a much bigger foot print, so if space is an issue... Not much help, huh? Later.

Dave

Last edited by daved20319 on May 22nd, 2012, 5:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: July 24th, 2010, 1:44 am

May 22nd, 2012, 10:11 pm #5

and I've always been able to do the "raising and lowering" I needed with only the quill. Because of this I'm wondering if the round column is even an issue.
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Joined: August 20th, 2006, 5:36 am

May 22nd, 2012, 10:52 pm #6

That could well be a big part of your issue with chatter. The longer that thing is extended, the more it flexes, and flex equals chatter. I use mine as a precision drill press a lot, so I'm constantly swapping the drill chuck in and out. It has its own R8 shank, but is still a lot longer than an end mill in a collet. Thus, the need to raise and lower the head all the time.

Just to be clear, Ed, the sum total of my milling experience is with the machine I have, which I've had for maybe a year. What I posted earlier is based on lots of research on the whole subject of machining rather than personal experience, so I'm sure no expert . I get along with machinery, and I seem to have a knack for figuring stuff out and making it work, but I also spend a lot of time reinventing the wheel. But I guess that's all part of the fun, too. Later.

Dave
Last edited by daved20319 on May 22nd, 2012, 10:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: January 1st, 2012, 11:50 pm

May 22nd, 2012, 11:51 pm #7

I use only the quill to adjust height. I rarely raise or lower the head. For holes, I put a center drill in the collet and then drill the correct hole later with a drill press. I rarely use the drill chuck in the mill/drill since I would have to raise the head.

Looking at the round column, vs the dove tail column. The quill on the round column looks much larger diameter.

If I get any chatter, or it sounds like it is straining, I back off the depth of the cut and make extra passes.

I would love to have a Bridgeport but at least you don't need a fork lift to install a mill/drill.

---------
I just looked it up:

The dovetail mill/drill has a 2.35 inch diameter quill.

I believe the RF type mill/drills have a 3 inch diameter quill.
Last edited by Scotchmo1957 on May 23rd, 2012, 12:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: July 24th, 2010, 1:44 am

May 23rd, 2012, 12:45 am #8

That could well be a big part of your issue with chatter. The longer that thing is extended, the more it flexes, and flex equals chatter. I use mine as a precision drill press a lot, so I'm constantly swapping the drill chuck in and out. It has its own R8 shank, but is still a lot longer than an end mill in a collet. Thus, the need to raise and lower the head all the time.

Just to be clear, Ed, the sum total of my milling experience is with the machine I have, which I've had for maybe a year. What I posted earlier is based on lots of research on the whole subject of machining rather than personal experience, so I'm sure no expert . I get along with machinery, and I seem to have a knack for figuring stuff out and making it work, but I also spend a lot of time reinventing the wheel. But I guess that's all part of the fun, too. Later.

Dave
with the movable table! If/when I get a sturdier mill I plan to do a bit of restoration/fixing of the HF mill/drill and use it as a drill press. Like you I have my drill chuck mounted on a MT2 shank, however whenever I do some milling I replace the drill chuck with a MT2 collet that holds the end mill bit. I found that if I mounted the endmill in the chuck I got WAY too much chatter, even with light cuts.


Here is a pic of using my HF mill drill to mill the slot in a home brewed R9 piston shell.
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Joined: September 21st, 2007, 12:13 pm

May 23rd, 2012, 6:45 pm #9

Years ago I bought a discontinued Harbour Freight mill drill for cheap and would like to replace it with a beefier machine. Here's a pic of the machine..........

Matter of fact, the HF mill I bought has a piddly MT2 spindle, parts are starting to deform (like the center pulley bracket) and some even fall off on occasion, however my main complaint is that it's stressing the machine to mill even a 1/2" slot in steel so I "sneak up" on the slots to keep chatter down.

Well......I noticed that Grizzly has what appears to be an adaquate milling machine for my purposes (I don't mill engine blocks....LOL) Here it is at about $1700 including shipping......
http://www.grizzly.com/products/6-x-21-Mill-Drill/G0619
It has a 1hp direct drive motor with a R8 spindle, and the head rides on a "dovetail column".

Then I notice that Grizzly also offers this belt drive 2HP machine for less than $1500 including shipping..........
http://www.grizzly.com/products/2-HP-Mill-Drill/G1006
This mill has a round column like my HF mill and so far I really haven't had a problem with the "round column" and I'm wondering if there are any major advantages to a dove tail column.

By the way, the round column machine at around 675 pounds weighs about 50% more that the more expensive direct drive machine.

Any feedback/opinions are welcome!
round column or square w/gibbs for a mill, I'd go with the square. As mentioned that one Grizzly is a Sieg X3 or maybe an X3S (Super) these are pretty well made and ought to take of most home jobs that will fit on the table. The Sieg X3's are re-badged by many suppliers, look for the best deal you can find, preferably for an X3Super and buy from there.
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Joined: July 24th, 2010, 1:44 am

June 26th, 2012, 12:56 pm #10

Years ago I bought a discontinued Harbour Freight mill drill for cheap and would like to replace it with a beefier machine. Here's a pic of the machine..........

Matter of fact, the HF mill I bought has a piddly MT2 spindle, parts are starting to deform (like the center pulley bracket) and some even fall off on occasion, however my main complaint is that it's stressing the machine to mill even a 1/2" slot in steel so I "sneak up" on the slots to keep chatter down.

Well......I noticed that Grizzly has what appears to be an adaquate milling machine for my purposes (I don't mill engine blocks....LOL) Here it is at about $1700 including shipping......
http://www.grizzly.com/products/6-x-21-Mill-Drill/G0619
It has a 1hp direct drive motor with a R8 spindle, and the head rides on a "dovetail column".

Then I notice that Grizzly also offers this belt drive 2HP machine for less than $1500 including shipping..........
http://www.grizzly.com/products/2-HP-Mill-Drill/G1006
This mill has a round column like my HF mill and so far I really haven't had a problem with the "round column" and I'm wondering if there are any major advantages to a dove tail column.

By the way, the round column machine at around 675 pounds weighs about 50% more that the more expensive direct drive machine.

Any feedback/opinions are welcome!
http://www.grizzly.com/products/Drill-M ... tand/G0704

It's currently set up and I've done the "break in" procedure as instructed in the manual.

I haven't made any chips with it yet but the DRO is pretty slick, the mill has a R8 spindle instead of the MT2 spindle if the old HF machine. I also received this set of collets for the mill.........
http://www.grizzly.com/products/12-pc-P ... -Set/G1646
and this set of endmills..........
http://www.grizzly.com/products/10-pc-2 ... -TiN/G9763
With the old mill/drill I had one MT2 x 3/8" bore collet so all my cutting tools were 3/8" shank. LOL....I chuckle when I think of all the work I did with such a minimal setup! Now I have the ability to use a wider range of cutters, however I am under the impression that I'll still have to use light cuts and slow feeds if using the larger end mills cutters.

Anywhoo.....the digital readout is cool, the dovetail column is nice, the 1hp motor is good, however the gear drive is pretty noisy compared to the ole belt driven HF mill/drill.

While this mill is still in the "Nerf mill" category weighing less than 300 pounds, it's definitely more machine than I have been using!
I ended up giving the old HF mill/drill to a friend to use as a bench top drill press and I do have to admit that it was a real good drill press! LOL

OK, a question.........
I've always used 4 flute end mills so what's the practical purposes of a 4 flute end mill vs a 2 flute end mill?
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