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kenb
03-11-2004, 11:29 PM
Greetings,

I've been saving my pennies for quite some time now, and I've been considering purchasing a new Mill/Drill combo for my workshop in the near future. My workshop is only 13' x 8' and already provides a roof for my Myford ML7 lathe, drill press, workbench, PT Boat and all my other junk, so space is a bit of an issue over here. Most of the milling I intend to do will be aluminum; but I want something that is capable of some steel work as well, so I'm unsure if one of these units is the way to go.
I thought I would show you folks what I'm looking at, in case any of you have had any personal experience with units like these. Although this isn't nessesarily the make or model I will end up purchasing, this machine is a pretty good representation of what I'm looking at:

http://www.bellmachineryltd.com/new_kingpdm25.htm

I realize that these units are a little on the light-weight side when it comes to milling machines, so I thought it would be a good idea to see what feedback the readership here may have to offer. Feel free to say it like it is, cuz' I don't want to end up owning a toy that isn't much use for serious modelling work.

Cheers!
kenb

Dick Bear
03-12-2004, 03:20 AM
Hi Kenb,
I haven't checked the exchange rate on The two dollars (Canada/USA) but I can tell you that I purchased a complete Bridgeport mill for under $2,500 US. It has a digital X/Y read-out, multiple vises and outfitting it with a $150 phase converter I'm able to run it off my normal 110V. The frieght was substantial from Florida but I figure I have a great machine that is capable of milling more than I'll ever learn to do for years and years.

Just a thought ... there are used mills available that are begging a home under this economy.

Dick

snotzalot
03-12-2004, 04:32 AM
Hi Ken,

Try reading the following Yahoo "Mill Drill" group:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/drillmill/?yguid=77308368

ep-98-z
03-12-2004, 04:39 AM
kenb,
Everyone contemplating buying a milling machine goes through the same pro-con/trade-off thought process.
It all comes down to what you want to machine. Small widgets in aluminum, you can surely get away with a small bench top machine. Anything beyond that, you'll want to consider something bigger.
After years of begging and paying too much for simple machine work, I ended up purchasing a nice used Bridgeport with a 2 HP Vari-speed head, DRO, vice and a few collets for $2700. It has a 3-phase motor so I run it with a VFD.
Every time I use the machine I can't stop smiling. :D
The other thing to remember is if you can buy a machine at a fair price and take good care of it, down the road you will probably be able to get most of your investment back at resale.

ralph
03-12-2004, 05:32 AM
Ken,

I bought a RF-31 Mill/Drill combo several years ago and I limp thru with it. At the time Bridgeports prices were high. At present BP and some smaller mills are low and I would replace mine if the right bargain comes along. My mill/drill is accurate, but not sturdy. It protests any heavy cuts in steel. It lacks the movable knee and relies on quill feed for cutting depth which aggravates the sturdiness problem. The lack of knee movement also makes it time consuming to set up. Speed changes are also time consuming.

Hemirambler
03-12-2004, 09:08 AM
I think you can't get a better testimony than the one you just got from Ralph!!

My thougths are that if you were gonna consider buying a NEW one then Don't Waste your money - if you stumbled across a deal then heck why not - at least until soemthing better comes along.


However IF you were gonna drop any thing more than a few hundred I would STOP and reconsider. Hardinge makes a neat small mill as did Clausing and some others. And while they aren't gonna be knocking your door down to get you one - they ARE out there adn IMHO are WORTH finding. Impatience can be costly.


Jacin in Ohio

(Very Happy Bridgeport owner)

James(Western Canada)
03-12-2004, 11:20 AM
I can't vouch for this outfit, or the eqpt they are selling, but their ads have appeared for the last couple years in the local Buy & Sell.
Have a look, and tell us if the quality/prices look OK.

http://www.machen.bc.ca/millingdrilling.htm

James(Western Canada)

Chuck Krueger
03-14-2004, 04:16 PM
Kenb,
There two kinds of tools in this world. Getters and lever-rites. Mill/Drill machines are lever-rites. You leave it right where it's at. I'm always checking the used section of the want-ads in the paper. Over the past two years or so the cost of used Bridgeport's with DRO has dropped $1000.00- $1500.00. Clear out some junk and
loose change in tke bottem of your pocket and do it right.
Chuck

kenb
03-15-2004, 10:11 PM
I think I changed my mind about buying a mill/drill combo! :lol:

These responses pretty much cleared up any questions I had about the capabilities of these machines:
Dick wrote: Just a thought ... there are used mills available that are begging a home under this economy.
ep-98-z wrote: Small widgets in aluminum, you can surely get away with a small bench top machine. Anything beyond that, you'll want to consider something bigger.
ralph wrote: I bought a RF-31 Mill/Drill combo several years ago and I limp thru with it.
hemirambler wrote: However IF you were gonna drop any thing more than a few hundred I would STOP and reconsider.
Chuck Krueger wrote: Clear out some junk and
loose change in tke bottem of your pocket and do it right.

Thanks for the sound advice guys, I'm glad I asked! I think I'll check out some used equipment to see what's available in the small mill category.
Having attempted milling on my Myford ML7 with the milling attachment that mounts on the cross-slide, I'd like to try milling with a machine that will just sit still while I'm working.
Besides Hardinge and Clausing, are there any other small mill manufacturers I should keep an eye out for?

Regards,
kenb

ralph
03-16-2004, 12:02 AM
Besides Hardinge and Clausing, are there any other small mill manufacturers I should keep an eye out for?

Don't forget Bridgeport. If possible stay with an R-8 Taper machine. accessories are more common and as a result less expensive in the used market.

Hemirambler
03-16-2004, 04:05 AM
I'm all for a Bridgeport too - I onlt mentioned the others as they are smaller.

I do recall seeing a "mini bridgeport" (maybe Enco - imported for sure about 2/3 the size of a Bridgeport - other than that it was a close copy - not sure of the spindle - but like Ralph suggests - R8 is about as cheap as you can get in terms of buying acessories for it.

Actually though when you get right down to it a bridgeport really doesn't take up all that much room - if you were gonna set i tup as a free standing unit - I'd just hold out for a Bridgeport - heck the older ones are CHEAP .

If you wanted a Bench top unit well then that changes things.

Most important - what type of work do you foresee yourself doing???




Jacin in Ohio


SOMB

Kerry Pinkerton
03-16-2004, 04:30 PM
I'd agree on passing on the mill/drill. I had one and sold it for a grand, paid 1500 for a nice series 1 BP with DRO's. Can't believe the difference. Like building a fire with matches instead of flint and steel.

BP or the many clones are mostly good. DRO's are WONDERFUL and the older units are cheap. 1250-2000 for a nice unit in this part of the world.

Butch Duke
03-16-2004, 05:10 PM
Hello Kend
I have to agree with every one else that is saying that a bridgeport is a better machine. But if you can find what you are looking for cheap like I did, it should serve your needs all right. But keep in mind if you have the tool sickness you will be looking for a bigger one. I think if you are just doing small Now I now that I will get some flack on this one ( GRIN ). I have not had any problems doing any steel as of yet. I do know that if I was trying to hog allot of material It would groan a little, so I just take lighter cuts. I do like it more for multiple drilling & I also like the use of rotating the head to drill on some lager parts that I have secured to the bed & they were touching the floor.
Just some more food for thought.

Specialty Interests
metal fabrication
& painting
360/373/7650
Butch