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Thread: Micro milling machines

  1. #1
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    Default Micro milling machines

    Has anyone had any experience with any of these?
    http://www.axminster.co.uk/product-A...kII-719673.htm
    or
    http://www.axminster.co.uk/product-P...hine-30262.htm

    Prices are 320 or 255 respectively (which seems pretty cheap)

  2. #2
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    both links are dead
    Eat Sleep Lase Repeat


    Aluminium Optic Mounts

    http://www.laser-man.co.uk/opticmounts/

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    Whatever size you get, I guarantee you will always curse yourself for not buying something bigger
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    Quote Originally Posted by andy_con View Post
    both links are dead
    Try it now......

  5. #5
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    ive been looking at something like this -

    http://www.machinemart.co.uk/shop/pr...hes-milldrills

    very similar spec to the one you are looking at. the place where i get my laser case made said they would turn the ends of some bigger flutes down for me. so i can use like 10mm or 12mm in it
    Eat Sleep Lase Repeat


    Aluminium Optic Mounts

    http://www.laser-man.co.uk/opticmounts/

  6. #6
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    Hi Guys I think it's their site. Have been looking at a few of their different models and was seeing things ok but the links have gone dead in only the last few minutes.

    Hi RGbee,

    I personally haven't used these machines but I've just been looking at the specs.

    The first one is a good start. the second one won't be suitable. The RPM of there spindle is to high and it wouldn't have enough torque. Also it can't hold a big enough tool.

    If you could push your budget to buy the Axminster-SIEG-X2-Mini-Mill you would not regret spending the extra money.
    http://www.axminster.co.uk/product-A...ill-568039.htm

    Look at a mill as a long term investment and buy the best you can afford.
    Motor torque, machine rigidity are probably the most important factors to consider.

    If you buy a mill that is too light duty you will curse it every day.

    Maybe PM Dave, he is getting good results from his little mill.

    Feel free to ask any more specific questions.

    Good luck with your future milling

    Kit

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    Get a Sieg X1,2,3
    Preferably the X3!
    If I didn't have my little CNC, then I'd already have bought an X3

    Axminster spray paint Sieg machines, rebadge them, and increase the price.
    ArcEuroTrade sell the same Sieg machines for less:
    http://www.arceurotrade.co.uk/Catalo...es-Accessories
    Got a C3 and it's ok - wouldn't go any smaller to be honest...

    Don't just base it upon specs listed... you want a good "metal bulk" in the machine to ensure rigidity. Bigger = better.
    If the new prices are too expensive, check out G&M tools. 2nd hand everything, but some damn good deals to be found... you can also waggle the price with them

    Also, regardless of what machine you buy, be prepared to spend half a day+ stripping it down, cleaning, lubricating, aligning, and general tinkering with it to get it running well.
    DON'T run them straight out the box, because that will shorten the life somewhat, and give poor machining results.

    Ta,
    Dan
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    I have a Sieg x3 here, and its pretty sweet for my uses..
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  9. #9
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    I have the one that SIEG used to make before that generation, and the tables are the same. It's made in China and remarked by many companies. The cross slides are difficult to turn under load, unless you buy a bearing retrofit. Also, unless you get the R8 version, the tooling is not so much a standard size and can be expensive, at least in the US. And this is not a English/Metric thing, I can get metric tooling just as easily as I can get the Bridgeport R8.

    I spend just as much time adjusting the gibs as I spend milling on the mini-mill.
    I should have never have sold the Sherline, the table was better built, even though it was half the travel of the minimill.

    If you get the mill, your still looking at at least half that price or more again in tooling. A decent small vise with repeatability is another 100$.

    The mini-lathe family is very good for the price. I have had few problems with it, and took it into work a few years ago, for a project and it held a bit better then one half thou (.0005 inch) turning a 6" long 3/4" diameter brass rod down to 1/2 inch between the ball bearning center and the jaws. US machinists work in "thou"s or smaller for the most part unless the drawings are metric.

    If your willing to limit your practice to small alumnimum, soft iron, and brass stock, you have a chance if the width of the cut is small and the depth of the cut is not deep. If you can pre-shape your stock, with a good bandsaw, you can finish it on the minimill,but if your buying it to hog out large chunks of even soft metal, your better off spending the money on beer to get evening access to a manual mill. These can be found collecting dust and setting in a corner of a shop that has went CNC. Once you learn on a bridgeport etc, you will be annoyed at the small minimill.

    And the gears in the head are Delrin, not metal. They break. If you do not unlock the head after changing a tool, and you turn on the power, you'll snap a plastic spindle gear about 1 in 3 times. You'll find a lot of retrofit kits for this family, for the ways and the head parts.


    Some things to read.

    http://www.mini-lathe.com/mini_mill/...s/versions.htm
    littlemachineshop.com/

    Rong Fu stuff as sold in the US:

    http://www.grizzly.com/products/cate...spx?key=480000

    I have no experience with the Proxon. It looks stiffer in Z, but without seeing how the table is done, I cannot advise you either way.

    If your willing to spend 2x-3x the time needed to actually do the milling of a part , then consider a mini-mill.

    Would I invest the almost 700$ again, No, I'd locate a used bridgeport, which in the US can be as low as 1200$ if you spend your time hunting. Or I'd go one size up from the minimill.

    Also watch out for lathe/mill combinations, they are usually a lathe with special effects.

    For my former job we bought a Chinese mill drill for 60 cents a pound. It weighted in a 250 pounds or so, It was a great precision drill press and gave me a way to make minor changes in the evening, when the main shop was closed. However by using a rack and pinion just clamped, not welded, on the outside of the column, setting and keeping the Z at a given height was nearly impossible.

    Mini-lathe, sure, its a much better design.

    Minimill, (X2) nope, not on your life. You've got 3-3.5 inches of usuable travel with it, and trying to flycut a plane is out, the manual drive results in toolmarks if you do not go very, very slow.

    I'd rather have a beat up 1950 M series bridgeport. We have one at my current work, worn to hell, beat to hell, and not maintained properly for 20 years, and I can still get parts for it. Probably worth about L300, too.

    Tap in to the local hobby machinists and pros,they can probably find you something better.

    Looking at recent posts, I can see the new name for mine is X2.

    Also, Minimill needs a dedicated heavy table on a stiff floor. The thing weights a ton and I have to tear it down to move it.

    The X3 looks a lot stiffer and better made. It was not available to me when I bought the "x2" some years ago. What I have would be called a X2, but was just a minimill back then.

    Steve
    Last edited by mixedgas; 06-14-2010 at 05:17.
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  10. #10
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    The thing about mills is that they HAVE to be rigid, and there is no such thing as too big.

    You can do good precision work on a well set up big machine (given a good set of collets), much more easily then you can by forcing a small machine.

    One other observation, low speeds are useful, the figure of merit is not how fast the spindle can run, but what the lowest speed is.

    If you go for the S3 (about as small as I would willingly use), do download the guide to stripping and setting up that arcEuro trade have, you do not want to run straight out of the box.

    You can probably find something like a tom senior for the same order of money if you have the space for it, and that is a much more useful machine. Don't be too worried by the fact that it will be three phase input, that is what inverter drives are for.

    lathes.co.uk is a good place to look for used machine tools.

    Regards, Dan.

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