Micro Mills?


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backbencher
December 24, 2012, 01:54 AM
I'm likely to have some time on my hands over the next year, & I've always been interested in home machining. Unfortunately, I'll have a postal delivery weight limit, so I can't even get a mini-mill. However, I figured an inexpensive micro-mill would allow me to learn my way around a milling machine. Would this be a good place to start?

http://www.amazon.com/Proxxon-37110-Micro-Mill-MF/dp/B0017PTAHG

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backbencher

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Kp321
December 24, 2012, 11:29 AM
I think you would be very limited in what you could do with this machine. Minimum speed is 5000 rpm which rules out much work on steel.
Check out Grizzly Tools. They have a showroom in Springfield, MO which is not too far unless you are in South Texas.

Kp321
December 24, 2012, 11:32 AM
I think you would be very limited in what you could do with this machine. Minimum speed is 5000 rpm which rules out much work on steel.
Check out Grizzly Tools. They have a showroom in Springfield, MO which is not too far unless you are in South Texas.

backbencher
December 24, 2012, 12:51 PM
The lightest Grizzly mill I've seen is their mini-mill, w/ a shipping weight of 100 lbs - way over my postal weight limit. I'm looking to learn how to do things, not turn out product. Is there a better micro-mill to learn on? Or is what one learns on a micro-mill not applicable to larger mills?

rcmodel
December 24, 2012, 01:05 PM
Go here and read all about micro-mills:

http://www.mini-lathe.com/

I have a Harbor Freight micro-lathe, and it does everything a big lathe does, the same way.
Just not on very big parts is all!
http://www.harborfreight.com/7-inch-x-10-inch-precision-mini-lathe-93212.html

I do use it a lot making or modifying reloading stuff, as well as making small parts for gunsmith work.

I'm still wondering what part of Texas you live in that doesn't have some method of shipping heavy items besides the post office though?

rc

backbencher
December 24, 2012, 02:38 PM
"I'm still wondering what part of Texas you live in that doesn't have some method of shipping heavy items besides the post office though?"

"I'm likely to have some time on my hands over the next year...I'll have a postal delivery weight limit"

; ) Thanks for the suggestions. I bought a Northern Tool/Harbor Freight 3 in 1 mini-machine for my brother some years back & that was the last time I looked @ small mills & lathes.

ghitch75
December 24, 2012, 02:51 PM
i have a Sherline lathe and mill...have made a lot of gun parts with them...

http://www.sherline.com/

beag_nut
December 26, 2012, 10:12 PM
I don't know how much one can learn about mills with that Proxxon model. The collets won't even accept an edge finder or center finder. You won't be able to use a fly cutter, either. All it can do is very small machining and precision drilling (point-to-point).
You still haven't said why you can't have something a little heavier shipped to you. Live in an apartment?

backbencher
December 26, 2012, 10:30 PM
beag, Thanks for the review of the Proxxon - I take it the small Sherline's can do such things?

rcmodel
December 26, 2012, 10:32 PM
Homeless guy with an electrical outlet at the park bench light pole?? :confused:

Anyway he has been MIA since before Christmas.

Maybe he got a Bridgeport mill delivered by a pack mule somehow and is too busy making thngs now? :D

rc

backbencher
December 26, 2012, 10:38 PM
rc, the only problem w/ that is less charitable cities have arrested homeless folks for stealing electricity - by charging their telephones. I doubt the cops would be more sympathetic if I plugged in a mill - made in the US thought it might be. I do have my eye on something big enough to be a Bridgeport, but will have to acquire a garage 1st. In the meantime, I'd like to learn - if it's worthwhile to learn on such a tiny machine. Seemingly it might be more useful to buy a micro lathe 1st?

rcmodel
December 26, 2012, 10:51 PM
Hey!
You are back!!

Hope you understand I was just joking around with you! :D

But you still never told us why there is a 100 pound weight limit in any part of Texas, not self-imposed by you sticking with USPS only?

What if you needed a new Ice Box from Monkey Ward, or wood stove from Sears & Sawbuck??

Or a new flywheel for your 1926 John Deere D tractor from Waterloo, Iowa?

How would you get it there??



Seemingly it might be more useful to buy a micro lathe 1st?I'd hate to steer you wrong.
But I bought a Chinese micro-lathe.

I also bought a decent cross-feed milling table for my pretty decent floor stand drill press.
And it works fairly decent for light duty milling.
But it is certainly not a real milling machine by a very large stretch of the imagination!
And I wouldn't try to mill dovetail sight slots in a $350 1911 slide with it!

It just seems there are a lot more things I need to center-drill, or turn down to size, or chuck up & polish, or shape round & tapered, or chase the threads on with a thread chaser file.
Then there is to mill square slots, and long grooves, and cross-slots, and stuff.

(The micro lathe doesn't cut thread so hot, unless you can read Chinese instructions to set up the gear sets right??
I can't!)

I once was a Tool & Die machinist, and had access to a whole shop full of machine tools.
But I probably made or repaired more parts on a lathe in a month then I made on a mill in three years.

rc

VVelox
December 26, 2012, 11:22 PM
ghitch75, what sort of parts?

Generally from what I've read on most metal working forums is those are a bit to light to really to fine work given the give in them.

VVelox
December 26, 2012, 11:26 PM
I've had the bug to build a semi auto tube fed rifle in .44 mag for awhile and have been researching milling machines for a bit. To date the one below is minimum I would feel okay going with in regards to a mill.

http://www.grizzly.com/products/6-x-21-Mill-Drill/G0619

ghitch75
December 26, 2012, 11:27 PM
firing pins,pins,hammers,triggers,ejectors,guide rods,ect.....small parts

rcmodel
December 26, 2012, 11:45 PM
#1 Rule of gunsmith machining:

Round parts (Firing pins, straight headed Pins, Tapered pins, Screws, Guide rods, Reloading dies, Bullet seating stems, Rifle barrel Threads & Chambers, etc) are made on a lathe.

Weird shaped parts like Hammers, Triggers, Ejectors, etc.) are made with a hacksaw and files.
Until you can afford a big bad mill +, $5-$10 grand worth of tooling for it, you won't be making much of anything for guns on it.
And maybe a surface grinder with a magnetic chuck.
Oh, and learn how to heat treat the hammers and triggers and other parts you make too.


Two of the best old-time gunsmiths I have worked with in my life never owned a milling machine until they were almost too old to learn how to use it!

They sure as heck owned a Lathe, and lot of really good files & stones, and gas torches, and belt grinders though!!
Thats what they made a living with!

rc

ljnowell
December 26, 2012, 11:55 PM
I would love to have one of those lathes RC, I imagine thats a right handy little setup.

ghitch75
December 26, 2012, 11:58 PM
i can't cut finished pieces with the little mill......but rough cuts then finish with files and oh my god a Dremel....might not be the right way but it works for me.....

rcmodel
December 27, 2012, 12:02 AM
Again, go here to see just some of the stuff they can and cannot do:

http://www.mini-lathe.com/

rc

backbencher
December 27, 2012, 01:49 AM
rcmodel, I'm not aware of any delivery weight limit in Texas - but yes, I was aware you were joking. Thanks for the instructions - now, did your gunsmith friends not make gun parts on mini-mills b/c they were unaffordable @ the time, or b/c mini-mills are useless to make small gun parts?

VV, you know Ruger's already built one of those, right?

rcmodel
December 27, 2012, 02:13 AM
Sir.
You are confusing me even further then I am usually confused.

In your post #4 you said:
The lightest Grizzly mill I've seen is their mini-mill, w/ a shipping weight of 100 lbs - way over my postal weight limit.

I think all of us assumed from that you were unable to have a machine weighing over 100 pounds shipped to wherever it is you live in Texas.

And several of us questioned why that might be??
But we never got an answer from you so far as I know.

Then in post #16, I told you everything I know about gunsmith machine tools and what gunsmiths actually use to make a living with most of the time.

I said they all had a lathe, but not all of them had a milling machine.
Chinese mini-milling machines & lathes are a fairly recent innovation in machine tools in the USA.

Then you ask:
did your gunsmith friends not make gun parts on mini-mills b/c they were unaffordable @ the time, or b/c mini-mills are useless to make small gun parts?Old gunsmiths I knew didn't have Chinese Mini-Mills or Chinese Mini-lathes, because China hadn't taken over the cheap U.S. machine tool market at that time.
And there were no such things as cheap Chinese mini-tools.

So I just don't know what else to tell you I haven't already told you??

Cause thats everything I know about it.

rc

backbencher
December 27, 2012, 03:29 AM
rc, You've been quite helpful. I think many in this thread are confusing the present with the future. I do not intend to buy a mill @ this moment. At this moment I am living in Texas. In the future, I hope to buy a very small mill that I can get through the mail.

What I was getting @ w/ my gunsmith question - you indicated that back in the day, gunsmiths used a hacksaw to make small gun parts - what is left unanswered, are the inexpensive Chinese mini-mills & American micro-mills useful to make small gun parts today? Or are we all really better off w/ a hacksaw & files?

VVelox
December 27, 2012, 09:09 AM
backbencher, yeah. I want one with a 10 round mag though. That and so far it has been a interesting project to research. :)

backbencher
December 27, 2012, 02:13 PM
VV, might look for an old one of these - http://www.tromix.com/

Apparently Tromix used to make a .44" Rem Mag AR, not sure what the mag capacity was.

Romeo 33 Delta
December 27, 2012, 03:02 PM
I'm a happy Sherline user as well. Both their lathe and milling machine.

mdemetz
December 27, 2012, 04:58 PM
Another Sherline sized. (http://www.taigtools.com/)

Twmaster
January 22, 2013, 07:20 PM
If you want the best no-frills small milling machine you should look at the Taig. http://www.taigtools.com/mmill.html

Those Sherline mills are very good quality but boy do you pay for them. The Taig is rugged and affordable.

I owned one until I moved to Texas. I'd buy another if I had somewhere to use it. Avoid the Chinese mills. Seriously. Avoid.

While I did not make too many 'gun' parts on my mill (As RC points out the lathe is the workhorse) I did mill a few slides for new sights etc.

backbencher
January 23, 2013, 09:01 PM
Yeah, the Taig looks interesting, but I think I've emailed 'em already & they don't have a 240V motor, which may be what I need. We'll see - if I have the time, I'll post my setup here when I get it.

beag_nut
January 23, 2013, 09:12 PM
Yeah, the Taig looks interesting, but I think I've emailed 'em already & they don't have a 240V motor, which may be what I need. We'll see - if I have the time, I'll post my setup here when I get it.
You could always get a step-up transformer.

4v50 Gary
January 23, 2013, 10:16 PM
I think you're better off taking a machine shop class at some JC. I enrolled in an evening machine shop course myself.

Last night I fixed a dinged up test bar by redrilling the center holes and then facing it on both ends. Afterwards a carbide bit was used to faced a Mauser 98 receiver.

Good times.

Surculus
January 23, 2013, 10:32 PM
In the future, I hope to buy a very small mill that I can get through the mail.

Where are you thinking of living that FedEx or UPS don't deliver?

FWIW, the shipping wt. may be 100#, but the mini-mill I bought came in 2 parcels, so individually <100#.

If you go that route, remember that you'll spend far more on tooling than the cost of the mill itself: you'll need a mill vise, end mills, drill chuck, etc. etc.

As someone else pointed out, better to take a course in traditional machining at a local community college first. That's what I did, & I'm very glad I did so!

RustHunter87
January 24, 2013, 09:50 AM
I agree with Gary, its much easier to learn the basics on a bigger machine, those mini mills require high speeds and Tiny tools that break easy.

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