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Thread: Decent drill/mill for a rooky

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
    nekshot's Avatar
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    Decent drill/mill for a rooky

    Northern Tool and Equipment has a cute bench drill press that could serve a rooky for all of his life. If I was downsizing (yup looking ahead) right now I would get this unit for my retirement years. Please understand this is a mini mill so don't chop it all up with your locomotive rebuild skills! I like it! Klutch mini milling machine. 649.99
    Look twice, shoot once.

  2. #2
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    If you are willing to take your time and not hog your cuts you can accomplish a lot of work with a small machine. I might look at next size up just for stronger built unit.

  3. #3
    Boolit Mold
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    Something I learned a long time ago, A milling machine can never be too big however it can be too small. I know where your coming from and you'll have a lot of fun with it but it will grow smaller with every project. Have fun, stay safe.

    Kurt

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    I have the Harbor Freight version of that mill. You can find them on sale sometimes and you can also use their 25% off coupon that they send out in emails and flyers.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    The HF mill that uses R8 tooling (VERY IMPORTANT!!!!!!!) is very nice. I have one and use it all the time for small hobby work. I also have a BIG heavy mill for big rough heavy work. And 2 Sherline “toy” mill/lathes for clockwork and minature work.

    the HF mill can be VASTLY improved by adding the belt drive kit from LittleMachineShop.com. It removes those horrible NOISY internal plastic drive gears and use a ultra-quite belt drive on the variable speed motor. Check it out. Well worth the $$ it costs. And elimiates any vibration from the stupid grinding gears to give you smooth ripple-free finishes.

    Add a good little milling vice (NOT anything from HF!). and you’ve got a small compact ACCURATE mill/drill you can use for a ton of small projects. And it uses standard R8 tooling!!!!!!!! Avoid the smaller one they sell like the plague!!!!!! Horrible tool. Had one early on and gave it away.

    Good luck in your choosing!

    Banger

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
    NoZombies's Avatar
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    The little machine won't be doing any big work, but for small gun related stuff, it's really not bad. I installed a 3" screwless vise on mine, and it was an excellent size for the machine. Don't underestimate the R8 tooling either, it makes finding quality used tooling a lot cheaper.
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  7. #7
    Boolit Master

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    It's going to depend on your plans, what your skill level is and adaptability for you to make the machine fit the work. Yes, toy sized machines can do an amazing amount of work but your setups are going to be time consuming and sometimes looking like something out of Rube Goldberg. If your new at this, buy some books, apply what you read and learn. Get it, learn to use it to it's fullest potential and have a blast. If you are interested on what tiny tools are capable of handling with the proper setup, check this guy out. What he does with Sherline equipment is amazing to say the least. http://www.modelenginemaker.com/inde...topicseen.html.


    We accumulate our opinions at an age when our understanding is at its weakest. Georg C. Lichtenberg

    At what point, then, is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, If it ever reach us it must spring up amongst us; it cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time, or die by suicide. A. Lincoln

  8. #8
    Boolit Master

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    All kidding aside its the beginners that really benefit from the heavier solider machines the most. As they get over zealous and push the limits more. A lot can be done with a small light machine it just takes longer with them. The touted / praised bridgeports were never sold and being super solid machines but as being universal and able to do a lot more. with all the adjustments in the head ram and the swivel they can be set up to do almost anything.
    You want a solid machine pick up a cincinatti vertical mill with fixed head ( no swivel joints, or sliding ram), a milwalkee or cincinatti horizontal mill. These all were beasts capable of moving a lot of material fast.
    The introduction of the ball lead screws made a big difference in mills allowing for both climb and conventional milling, they also did away with the playin the lead screws. R8 tooling is about the standard now, but don't over look some of the quick change either.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master

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    If Country Gent sold you on the idea of a horizontal mill. Try to find a Burke hand mill, I find them quite often, usually in good shape and cheap. NMTB 30 spindle, small enough to fit in the corner and with enough power to do anything the hobbyist will want to tackle. And, they are really cute


    We accumulate our opinions at an age when our understanding is at its weakest. Georg C. Lichtenberg

    At what point, then, is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, If it ever reach us it must spring up amongst us; it cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time, or die by suicide. A. Lincoln

  10. #10
    Boolit Master Moleman-'s Avatar
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    Take a look at this machine. https://www.harborfreight.com/1-1-2-...ine-33686.html I've had it for about 9-10 years now. I would like to replace it with a bridgeport or clone to get a longer table as otherwise it does what I want it to. Currently working on a 357Max/357Mag/38 special octagon barrel for a 336 Marlin and would of liked to of gone with a 24" barrel, but there just isn't room to easily do it.

    It uses R8 tooling, standard hold down kits, has decent power, and is basic/reliable with the belt drive. Down side is it's heavy (which is also good) there's play in the Z axis that's hard to take out but easy enough to work around, and the round column means you'll have to find your zero again on a part if you need to raise the head because you didn't plan ahead and set the machine up with a tool change (drill chuck is usually the change that would cause an issue).
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  11. #11
    Boolit Master

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    We had a milwalkee horizontal in the first shop I worked in school. we milled 1 1/2" square on 2" cold roll round stock in 2 passes. Had 2 10" face mills spaced to 1 1/2" and the fixture centered. Place shaft mill 2 flats turn 90* and mill the second 2. some of these were 6" long and the mill never shook shimmed or grunted. Another job was milling a 2 1/2* angle on a plate of 6" hot roll 8 inches long. here a hob mill with the 2 1/2 degree angle was mounted and the new face cut in one pass. Horizontal mills, Shapers, all get a bad rap. They are capable of so really heavy work and metal removal.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master

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    At the risk of thread drift..... I know what you mean, I'm really fond of horizontal mill performance. Currently I have a K&T #2CK, Burke #4, Hardinge TM and a Nichols. Yep, it's an illness


    We accumulate our opinions at an age when our understanding is at its weakest. Georg C. Lichtenberg

    At what point, then, is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, If it ever reach us it must spring up amongst us; it cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time, or die by suicide. A. Lincoln

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    Horizontals are nice and have their place. But if one was to make room for in a shop and buy a mill, the hands-down choice today would be a good vertical mill. Bridgeport comes to mind!!!!! You can do darned near anything on a good rugged vertical where your limited to mainly horizontal actions on the horizontal.

    If all you are going to do is make hex gun barrels, then mabe your choice would be a horizontal. I prefer to make barrels on my lathes. And a vertical mill offers so many possibilities for limitless things.

    My choice (I have 5 of them) is vertical.

    banger

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    If I can only have one mill, it has to be a "toolmakers mill"; AKA, a knee mill. If I had room for one additional mill, it might be a universal; Van Norman is my first choice.
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  15. #15
    Boolit Master

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    I do a bunch of stuff on a horizontal mill that yes, granted is easier to setup on a vertical mill (e.g. dovetails) but setups can be a bit time consuming. That having been said, I still use a Lagun FTV-1 as my main mill to use. And yes, I completely agree, knee mills are better in most cases. I picked up a Van Norman 16S a few years ago. One of the few versions with a quill. Nice to have a drilling/power down feed option. I'm starting to use it more as time goes on, much more machine than the FTV-1.


    We accumulate our opinions at an age when our understanding is at its weakest. Georg C. Lichtenberg

    At what point, then, is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, If it ever reach us it must spring up amongst us; it cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time, or die by suicide. A. Lincoln

  16. #16
    Boolit Master kens's Avatar
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    Please keep this thread on track.
    the OP did not mention anything about a Bridgeport, nor horizontal mill, nor tool room mill, nor any such machinery.
    Please stay on track, and comment about a small, benchtop (size) mill for a rookie, such as myself.
    I too, am looking at one of those 'little' mills.
    In this thread I had hoped to gain much information, but alas, the most information here is all about somebody having (using) a full size mill, horizontal or otherwise.
    Please stay with the OP, I might learn something.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by kens View Post
    Please keep this thread on track.
    the OP did not mention anything about a Bridgeport, nor horizontal mill, nor tool room mill, nor any such machinery.
    Please stay on track, and comment about a small, benchtop (size) mill for a rookie, such as myself.
    I too, am looking at one of those 'little' mills.
    In this thread I had hoped to gain much information, but alas, the most information here is all about somebody having (using) a full size mill, horizontal or otherwise.
    Please stay with the OP, I might learn something.
    Well, as several said before above, the little red (not the larger green one ) HF mill with R8 quill is probably one of the best for a starter. Small, inexpensive, uses R8, and can do precision drilling AND light to medium milling. And once you grow into machining, you can always sell it and go for a bigger one!

    HF and other companies sell the exact same mill/drill just in different colors and brands! Shop around. I bought mine 2 miles down the street at the HF store with a 20% coupon. I have used it A LOT (!!!!!!!) for smaller lighter work. Easier than chucking a 1/16” mill in a HUGE HEAVY mill across the shop. You can even add motorized table travel as I have on my big one. They even sell a DRO set for it! You can sink a bunch more money in that little mill if you want.

    An excellent little mill for a beginner. What else do you need to know?????????

    Bangerjim

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    I have ran Cincinnati and Kearny & Trecker mills a lot in addition to a variety of Bridgeport and Excello mills.

    In general horizontals are not that useful for gun work or tool making.
    Horizontals are great heavy duty production machines for mowing off lots of metal.
    EDG

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    I had a import bench top for years. I did some pretty good work on it. I have upgraded to a clausing knee mill. They are smaller than a bridgeport, they don't take up any more room than a bench top. The only downside is they take MT2 tooling, are hard to find in good shape and can be a little "pricey". Another option is a Benchmaster.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    I appreciate your input as I was hoping to give another viable option to those wanting a machine but funds are tight. The part of this machine that I liked was all the R8 collets that come with it. You really only need to buy specific tool bit for your job. I assume it has a drill chuck with it also. Even if you never get into metal work the drill press option for normal garage repair and wood work is endless. This almost tempts me to down size now!! They will deliver it to my address!
    Look twice, shoot once.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check