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  #1  
Old 10-18-2006, 03:53 AM
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Brett Holmes Brett Holmes is offline
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help me choose a mill.

hi guys, i have decided i want a mill, i could try to say need but after all we dont need any of the fancy tools but gee do i want one.
anyway, my biggest problem is a lack of options here in the land down under.
i plan on useing it for the general stuff, and for milling integral bolsters on folders and hopefully fully integral blades. may even try milling the bevels like don robinson does. So this makes me think i might want to go a bit more heavy duty than the standard mini mill.
i have seen one on ebay that looks alright for 1300AUD (aprox 980USD) i know nothing about mills so was hopeing you guys might be able to help. i dont intend on buying untill maybe march or later because i dont have any where neer that kind of cash, so luckily i have a long time to look.

here is the one im considering, what do you think? http://cgi.ebay.com.au/ZX30-MILLING-...QQcmdZViewItem

the same seller also has a mini mill for about half the price but im not sure if its going to be a bit small for some serious use. he also sells a combo, lathe/mill/drill for about the same as this mill which im considering, is there any disadvantage to haveing the lathe?? curently im thinking its like getting a free lathe.

look forward to any help you guys can give,
brett


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  #2  
Old 10-18-2006, 08:46 AM
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Don Robinson Don Robinson is offline
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Hi, Brett!

Brett, I suggest you get a small KNEE mill. It will do everything better and more accurately than the one you posted. If you need to settle for less, then find the heaviest one you can with a square column. The round column machines are less accurate when you have to move the head down.

The main difference in a knee mill is that instead of moving the head down to the work, you move the table, which is mounted on the knee, up to the spindle. More accurate and rigid.
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  #3  
Old 10-18-2006, 09:35 AM
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Ray Rogers Ray Rogers is offline
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For the kind of knives you want to make I would avoid a mini-mill, you'll need something bigger. There are two issues to consider, as I see it:

1. You said you want a mill for knife making. The mill you found on eBay would work pretty good for that, it is almost identical to the one I have used for the last 7 years. However, that particular mill lists an MT3 taper so you might want to check on the availability of tooling for MT3 in your area. These mills are also available in R8 taper which is much more popular in the USA.

You also want as much table travel as possible if you plan to make fixed blade integrals. At about 20" this mill is not bad but more would be better.

2. In addition to knife making you said the mill would also be used for 'general stuff'. That's where the trouble starts. That round column bench top mill is fine for knife making but 'general stuff' could easily require the knee mill Don recommended. I have made hundreds of folders and have never had to raise or lower the head while making one so the round column works fine foe me. But, 'general stuff' will require you to raise the head and maintain registration sooner or later and the knee mill is king for that type of job. Problem is, it will take divine intervention for you to find a good one in your price range, especially one big enough for integrals.

Bottom line: look at the weight (you want 300+ kgs), the column size (at least 3" and 4" is better), the travel of the table, and the taper as mentioned above. These are your minimum concerns where knife making is the primary purpose of the mill. If God smiles on you and you can get a big enough knee mill in good shape then go for it ....


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  #4  
Old 10-18-2006, 12:51 PM
LYNN DRURY LYNN DRURY is offline
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Mill

You Can Get A Knee Mill From Harbor Freight For About $1300. I Have One And It Does Everything I Want It To.


Lynn Drury
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  #5  
Old 10-18-2006, 04:46 PM
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Don Robinson Don Robinson is offline
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Good on you, Lynn.

I haven't heard anything from you since the Knife-List.

Jump on it, Brett. See if it comes with a clamp set and vise.
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  #6  
Old 10-18-2006, 06:54 PM
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Brett Holmes Brett Holmes is offline
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thanks for all your help so far guys,

Quote:
Originally Posted by LYNN DRURY
You Can Get A Knee Mill From Harbor Freight For About $1300. I Have One And It Does Everything I Want It To.


Lynn Drury
gee you guys just love to rub it in my face how available tools are over there dont you, if we had a harbor freight here in australia i would be there every week poring through their stuff.

don i had no idea about the square vs round idea, ill have to be on the look out for that, thats the problem im haveing, because ive never used a mill i have no idea what to look for.

ray, thanks a bunch for your input, this one is listed as 340kg and 4 1/2" collum so thats ok, i guess that mostly leaves the up and down travel as the problem. Also my mistake when i say general stuff i meant general knife stuff, milling guard slots and things like that.


im hopeing to find somewhere that sells second hand machinery, because that will certainly get me a bigger machine for my money, but i guess i'll just have to wait and see.

thanks guys,
brett


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  #7  
Old 10-18-2006, 08:04 PM
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Brett Holmes Brett Holmes is offline
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hey guys,
on there it sais ""max. spindle travel:130mm"" i assume that means the up and down movement of the spinning thingy. and there's a small hand wheel on the front which i assume moves this, wouldnt you be able to use that for your up and down movement and so long as 130mm was enough then you wouldnt have to mave the whole head down? or is it just used for drilling?

brett


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  #8  
Old 10-18-2006, 09:01 PM
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Don Robinson Don Robinson is offline
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Brett, when you use a milling cutter or end mill, you want the tool as close to the bottom spindle bearing as possible. The amount you move the spindle down to the work is called "tool overhang". So instead of having too much overhang by lowering the spindle you either lower the work head or raise the knee/table.

Too much spindle overhang causes the cutter to deflect, grab, chatter and other bad affects.

Now I'm not saying the machine you found won't work, I'm simply saying a knee mill is better if you can find or afford one.

One other way to prevent excessive overhang is to use a riser block or parallels under the work piece to raise the work up and lessen spindle overhang.

You've seen the tilting table I use on my milling machine. When it's indicated in level it makes a great riser block.

There are at least 101 different ways to do anything in a machine shop.

Whatever you do, buy a machine with an R8 collet spindle.

If I can help you with milling or anything else, I'm just an email away. In the meantime, these questions and answers on the forum help others to learn.

Good questions.

By the way, don't tell anyone, but on the first day of an apprentice's training I used to tell them all that "There are 101 different ways to do anything, but you do it exactly the way I tell you or I'll fire you!

Last edited by Don Robinson; 10-20-2006 at 08:01 AM. Reason: edited 5C collet to R8 collet
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  #9  
Old 10-19-2006, 09:41 AM
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Ray Rogers Ray Rogers is offline
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Brett,

Yes, moving the spindle thingy is all the up and down travel you'll need for knife making. I agree 100% with most everything Don said and if you want,the best possible solution, can afford the best possible solution, can find a way to acquire the best possible solution, then you will do well to follow his advice. But, if you don't get quite that lucky and can't find that bargain to match your budget don't feel too bad about it. A heavy table top mill will do everything you need for knife making and it will do it with as much precision as the job requires if you do your part ....


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  #10  
Old 10-19-2006, 11:14 AM
BMiller BMiller is offline
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Don/Ray,

Explain what the difference is between a 5C collet and an R8 taper. I'm thinking its the same general part but different sizes. Thanks,

Bill
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  #11  
Old 10-19-2006, 12:17 PM
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Ray Rogers Ray Rogers is offline
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It is the same general part and does the same job but they attach to the spindle in different ways. I've never used 5C and 'm sure Don has and if he favors them I'd be willing to bet it's because they are inherently more precise. I don't think the 5C requires a draw bar to mount them and the R8 does (comes with the mill) but some people aren't fond of draw bars and maybe Don feels that way too.

But, as I've been saying all along, you're making knives and not running a job shop. For most of us that means there is a limit to just exactly how much precision you need and/or want to pay for. R8 is the standard Bridgeport taper. In the USA (Brett is in Australia so it might be different there) R8 tooling is very, very common and extremely cheap. It is solid and more than accurate enough for what we do. 5C isn't much different in price for most tools and at least as many different kinds of tools are available in 5C as are available in R8 but the mills set up to accept a 5C collet are not the mills most knife makers usually feel they can afford. In case you missed Brett's point at the beginning of his question, HE'S NOT RICH.

If it should happen that Brett can find a knee mill in his price range and it accepts 5C collets and he finds that 5C is readily available in Australia then I think he should buy that mill. But, if divine intervention is lacking in his area and that miracle doesn't come about, my opinion is that the mill on eBay will do everything he needs to do for knife making but he should check availability for MT3 tooling (which that mill requires) or get the same mill in R8 (because I doubt it can be had in 5C)....


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  #12  
Old 10-20-2006, 07:59 AM
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I meant R8 collet instead of 5c. The 5c collets are used in lathes. Sorry about that. I'll go back and edit that post.

Thanks for bringing that to my attention.
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  #13  
Old 10-20-2006, 01:31 PM
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Ray Rogers Ray Rogers is offline
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OK, so Don had a 'senior moment'. We all do it and I do it more often than I'd care to admit. But, it does simplify the issue at hand, R8 or MT3? That mill is available in R8 (because lots of places offer that mill in R8, I have one)and if you end up buying that mill, then I'd sure try hard to get it in R8 taper. Any knee mill worth having would also be R8.

Bottom line: no matter what type or brand of mill, new or used, that you end up with an R8 taper is preferred or, if you must accept MT3, make sure you have all the MT3 tooling available that you want and that you like the prices on it ...


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