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View Full Version : Millrite, Rockwell, Clausing owners....



Paul Cataldo
04-28-2005, 08:29 PM
Fellas,
I'm trying to decide on a mill for my shop, and I would like to know if any of you who own the above mentioned mills, could chime in and tell me a little about the capacities/limits that you feel the machine is capable of?
I am trying to decide just how big of a project these smaller mills can handle.
I know a fellow, that feels his newer style Bridgeport mill, is not really meant for 3/4" shank tools. He feels the Bridgeports should be used for tools that are smaller than 3/4".
I understand with LIGHT cuts, larger tools might could be used.
I could just really use some opinions on this matter, and it would be GREAT to hear of any experiences you guys have had with the above mills.
Any info in helping me decide whether I should go with one of these mills, or a BP, would be very helpful.
As far as what I will be doing with the mill.
Well, that will vary greatly. All kinds of home projects. I cannot say that I will NEVER need to do a large project, but at the same time, most projects will be relatively small.
Still though, I would like to know what these machines (Millrites, Rockwells, Clausing) are capable of.
Thanks fellas...

precisionworks
04-28-2005, 11:48 PM
Paul,

Don't have any of the three you mentioned but think this may help.

I use an Enco 16 3/8" mill-drill & run it as hard as it will stand. Much of my milling is roughing or pocketing, for which I use 1" solid carbide end mills. The table gibs are just loose enough so the power feed can move the table. The SFM is at the max, as is chip load per tooth. At least half the chips are blue in mild steel.

Since my mill-drill has no trouble using 1" cutters, any of the three you're considering should do well. I know people who hesitate to run a 3/4" cutter in a BP or BP clone. Can't figure that out.

Most of my friends run bigger machines in their commercial shops. A ridgid setup, sharp cutter, proper helix, correct SFM & feed are as important (maybe more important) than the machine you're using. I rarely break or chip a solid carbide cutter even though they get used 75% of the time (the other 25% are cobalt).

------------------
Barry Milton

JCHannum
04-29-2005, 07:19 AM
I have a Rockwell vertical mill and am quite happy with it. I think the Rockwell and Clausing are close in work envelope, but prefer the Rockwell for a couple of reasons, the main being R-8 collets. It is also a simpler machine with fewer parts to break and wear out.

The Rockwell comes with 1/2 or 3/4 HP motors, and I have used up to 3/4" end mills with it. Light cuts being the order of the day with larger sizes. The physical size of the mill makes it ideal for model work and HSM type projects, so the use of larger tooling is academic.

I have had one Millrite, and it is a good machine, larger and heavier than the other two, but about 3/4 the size of a Bridgeport. They come with B&S taper or R-8 spindles. The B&S collets are harder to come by and don't offer as many options as R-8.

The biggest advantage of the Rockwell and Clausing mills is that they can be dismantled to smaller parts and easily installed in a basement or other area not accessible to a B'port or Millrite.

If you have the room and location, a Bridgeport is the best choice. If space is limited, the others will serve you well.

A good Rockwell, Clausing or Millrite may well cost between $1000 & $2000, a decent Bridgeport can be had for about the same money in many areas.

SGW
04-29-2005, 08:14 AM
A friend of mine has a Clausing 8530 (slightly larger table than the 8520, slightly larger leadscrews, I think) and he likes it a lot. A very accurate machine, assuming it's not been flogged to death. Morse #2 spindle, therefore limited to 1/2" dia. shanks on end mills.

For model-size work, it's a great machine. A lot of capability. You aren't going to re-bore a V-8 engine with it though...unless it's maybe a 1/4-scale V-8.....


[This message has been edited by SGW (edited 04-29-2005).]

MikeHenry
04-29-2005, 09:28 AM
I've got a Clausing 8520 and a friend has the Rockwell and both of us are quite happy with our choices. The Rockwell has a bit larger work envelope and R8 spindle, but the 8520 has a micrometer spindle stop and Clausing still sells quite a few spare parts.

I've not found the MT2 spindle in the 8520 to be a problem. Criterion sells an MT2 threaded arbor for their boring heads and 1/2" straight shanks or arbors work OK for me as far as flycutters and drill chucks go. I recently found a 3/4" EM holder with an MT2, drawbar threaded shank to use with a Tree boring head and Rotary Tech indexable flycutter so that pretty much sets me up for whatever I need to do.

Seems to me that the most important factor in selecting a used mill between the three brands is condition and price, in that order.

Mike

larry_g
04-29-2005, 10:39 AM
If your in the market for a smaller mill and come across an Index 40 or 55 I can reccomend them. They are in the same size range as what you mentioned and quite sturdy for their size. Index is also still in business and supports the machines. I have a 40 and would not want to part with it for any reasonable amount of money.
lg
no neat sig line.

Too_Many_Tools
04-29-2005, 11:47 AM
I think you would be happy with any of them.

The biggest problem you will likely have is finding one. It will take time...sometimes a lot of time.

I have been chasing small mills for 25 years. In that time, I have seen in person one Clausing, six Millrites and one Rockwell. Of those eight mills, only three were available for sale...the Clausing for $2200 and two of the Millrites for $2800 and $3500. In that same period of time, I have seen a significant number of Bridgeports that ranged from $1500 (a piece of rusty wornout junk) to $3000 and up for something one can be proud of owning. The smaller mills are highly sought after...much more than a lathe. My advice is that if you find one in good shape that won't require you to take out a second mortgage...BUY IT!!! If you change your mind later, you can always sell it for close to what you paid for it.

These days Ebay is THE place to look for these machines. Even with shipping costs and the risk of getting a lemon, it is still the most likely place you will find your smaller mill unless you live in a heavily industrialized area which most of us do not. Many of these machines were located in schools and the vast wave of school shop closings are behind us meaning the supply side of the equation is shrinking while demand is as high or higher. Those school mills are now sitting in someone's garage and they will either sell it to their friend if they upgrade or use it till they die.

TMT

ERBenoit
04-29-2005, 02:24 PM
I have a Rockwell vertical/horizontal. I aquired it about 12 years ago. Like TMT, indicated, it came from an industrial arts program from a junior high school. It was part of a "yard sale" of surplus/no longer used equipment, school and office supplies. Until I aquired it, it had NEVER been used. When I bought it I got: the owners manual, the factory inspection report, the vertical head, horizontal arbor and overarm support, 1- 6" milling machine vice, 1- 4" double angle milling vice, 3 sets Buck 1/8"-3/4"x1/16" R-8 collets, 3 boxes assorted endmills, milling cutters and slotting saws. All this for, beleive it or not, only $750.00. (When I went to pay for it, maybe I should have let them sell it to me for the $7.50 the cashier "assumed" the person calling the prices up form the shop meant).

I am VERY satisfied with it. It has done anything I have asked of it. The only things I don't particularly care for are: 1) No power quill feed, 2) Only 2 1/2" quill travel, 3) The manner in which the vertical head is mounted (round ram in 2 clamp rings, which are part of the base casting) makes tramming a PITA. It also gives you a leery feeling about taking a heavy cut. Owning and using one, the quality and capabilities of the mill, make those "faults" disappear. For as good as the mill is, I can live with these "faults". It is a VERY GOOD small/medium sized mill.

The Rockwell has a Bridgeport for a neighbor. That being the case, the Rockwell does not see a lot of use. What use it does get, is light work. ie. no hogging away excessive stock. I have only seen one other Rockwell. I alredy had the Rockwell when I was looking for a Bridgeport. I had went to check one out and the seller had a Rockwell just like the one I had. He did not have a vertical head for his though. I mentioned I had one with the vertical head also. He was willing to TRADE me the Bridgeport just for the Rockwell vertical head. I passed on the offer for the trade and the Bridgeport. Too many holes in the table and way damage. If you can find one in good shape, reasonably priced, I would not hesitate. Also as TMT indicated, I intend on keeping it as long as I live.



[This message has been edited by ERBenoit (edited 04-29-2005).]

ckalley
04-29-2005, 03:35 PM
I've had a MillRite for about 15 years and it's more than adequate for most small to medium size work. The main reason I got it was that my basemnet, at that time, had a low cieling and a BPT woundn't fit! It's a handy size machine especially if you don't have a lot of room

I have used a 2" HSS shell mill and a 2" 3-tooth Carbide face mill in it on Aluminum. You can't take a real deep cut and your feed rate needs to be slow, but I've taken a 1/16" deep, or a little better, cut no problem. The real limit is that the HP is kind of low and the belt will slip if you don't get the adjustment real tight. That's one weak point. The other is tiliting the head - there is nothing there to stop it so you have to watch it when you do tilt it.

All in all, I like the machine and it suits my needs pretty well. If I have anything big, I can always use te BPT at work after hours.
Craig

Paul Cataldo
04-29-2005, 04:00 PM
Thanks so much for taking the time to respond fellas.
Gosh, you guys really got it nice. BP next to Rockwells and Millrites and Clausings?
So happy for you fellas.
I'll be doing good just to be able to own a mill for once in my life...
Thanks for everyone's help. So nice to hear from you fellas!

dicks42000
04-29-2005, 11:21 PM
I've had 2 mills in my shop, an Elliott Milmor, about the same size as a Bridgeport; (Good general use vertical mill.) and a Rockwell vertical, that like most, came from a school. I would really like the horizontal/ vertical machine, but they are even rarer....Nice size for the home shop or light industrial use. Yes, the head is a bitch to tram in, but it can be done. Good simple machine. I've added coolant, a 1 HP spindle motor (Balanced) & power long. feed.
As for small horizontal mills in West. Canada, GOOD LUCK; I'm building a G. Ewen engine block mill....
Rick

mcassill
04-30-2005, 04:10 PM
Anyone want to take any wild guesses on what this one ends up bringing?
Mark
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=12584&item=7511420579&rd=1

BillB
04-30-2005, 05:43 PM
Lots of good comments in this thread. I have a Clausing 8520 & my machining mentor has a Rockwell vertical, we're both happy. I work on small stuff, but Bill will do anything possible within the work envelope of the machine.

Incidentally, he has modded his with power downfeed. Email me if you want to see some pics of his design.

The Rockwell does have a few design refinements, but in practice I have yet to need any of them. Weak point on the 8520 is the fine feed gear train. My machine came from a school; apparently they'd trashed one of the gears early in the machine's life and just removed it. No problem, the compound gear is still avalable from Clausing for $60. If they no longer make the part, you can get a print from them for a nominal fee. Bill took advantage of this to make 3 bases for 8520's to original spec a few years ago to replace missing ones.

With a Rockwell, you're on your own for parts.

Prices are up, and the machines are indeed sought after. An 8520 went for $1792 on eBay last week.

FWIW, at Cabin Fever Expo last Jan. I saw one 8520 and several Atlas horizontal or equivalent machines for sale. Paul, it might be worth the drive from Atlanta next year. The Cabin Fever folks could tell you in advance if there is one in the auction, and I could suggest a couple of the likely vendors you might contact. Iron Fever in Aug. is also a possiilty, but that show draws fewer vendors and attendees.

Grizzly carries a Rockwell/Clausing knockoff, but I've never actually seen one "in the flesh."

Good luck with your mill hunt.

BillB

[This message has been edited by BillB (edited 04-30-2005).]

MikeHenry
04-30-2005, 08:05 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Anyone want to take any wild guesses on what this one ends up bringing?
Mark
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=12584&item=7511420579&rd=1 (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=12584&item=7511420579&rd=1</font>[/quote])

Probably about as much as a Clausing or Rockwell horizontal mill, both of which are nearly as easy to move and a lot more machine for the buck.

Mike

shapeaholic
04-30-2005, 10:25 PM
Paul:
I have a nice Rockwell horizontal with a Bridgeport "M" head vertical installed. that I'd like to part with.
email me at
shapeaholic at yahoo dot ca if you want any further info.

Cheers
Pete

aussiePhil
02-26-2007, 09:31 PM
I've had 2 mills in my shop, an Elliott Milmor, about the same size as a Bridgeport; (Good general use vertical mill.) and a Rockwell vertical, that like most, came from a school. I would really like the horizontal/ vertical machine, but they are even rarer....Nice size for the home shop or light industrial use. Yes, the head is a bitch to tram in, but it can be done. Good simple machine. I've added coolant, a 1 HP spindle motor (Balanced) & power long. feed.
As for small horizontal mills in West. Canada, GOOD LUCK; I'm building a G. Ewen engine block mill....
Rick
Hi Rick
Im a newbie to the group. I now have an Elliott Milmor 10, and I have been searching for information/advise. Can you help? I have a parts list with a page missing - the 1st Section drawing -through the turret head. Any advice would be appreciated. Ive checked the Web - Lathes.com seams to be the only reference. This mill was built in London Uk. not sure of year - maybe 1960/70s
Thanx cheers
Phil

chriskat
02-26-2007, 09:49 PM
I have a Millrite that I've been happy with. I've only had it about a year and am no expert by any stretch. I've used a 2" three flute carbide facing mill taking .1" cuts in 6061 T6 without any real issue. I get a better finish if I take a smaller cut.

I've never had the belt slip, but then I haven't had it 15 years either.

The only thing I don't like is the tilting head. As has already been mentioned, there is nothing to stop it tilting so you have to be really careful unless you have a hoist of some sort to help.

Came from Ebay, Dempsey and Company in Richmond had it for sale. $800 including a swivel vise. I had to drive the four hours one way and rent a trailer but I think it was a bargain.

Jeff

chipmaker4130
02-26-2007, 10:56 PM
One more vote for the Millrite. I bought a 1985 Burke Millrite via eBay two years ago for $1200. It is in near perfect condition with a 1hp 3-phase motor and an infinately variable speed head. I've taken some very substantial cuts in fairly tough steel using carbide endmills, and as long as the setup is rigid and coolant is adequate I have no problems at all. It doesn't even slow down! Mine also has a worm drive for tilting the head, but the head only tilts in one direction.

Gordon

lazlo
02-26-2007, 11:06 PM
Another vote for the Millrite. I have a 1980 MVN with the 8x36" table, so it's about 7/8ths the size of a Bridgeport, and just about as rigid: the head is only 15 lbs lighter than the Bridgeport J-head (150 versus 168lbs for the Step-Pulley). It has a very stout 3-bearing spindle like the original J-head.

The only downside to the Millrite, in my opinion, is that the head doesn't have some of the features of the J-Head: a backgear and power downfeed, and both rapid and fine hand-feeds. The Millrites shipped either with fine feed or with rack-and-pinion rapid feed. I have the rapid downfeed (which I think is more useful overall), but I sure wish I had fine-feeds when I'm boring.

I "solved" the lack of a backgear with a VFD -- if I'm going to spin a 2" facemill, I set the belts to the lowest stock ratio (260 RPM) and drop that in half with the VFD. It'd be perfect with a 2 HP motor, where I could drop the RPM even further, and still have decent torque.

lazlo
02-26-2007, 11:10 PM
It is in near perfect condition with a 1hp 3-phase motor and an infinately variable speed head.

Wow, I didn't know the Millrite came with a Vari-speed head. Could you post some pictures?


Mine also has a worm drive for tilting the head, but the head only tilts in one direction.

The Millrites were available with a "Nod" head -- I passed on one in Houston with the Nod head and a 30-taper spindle (it was beat
to death). I haven't met a lot of Bridgeport owners who use either head tilt since it wacks your tram, but I did watch Brian (Versamill)
cut long dovetails with the head tilted down 30 -- pretty slick setup.

dicks42000
02-26-2007, 11:13 PM
Re Elliott Milmore mills.....
Sorry I can't be of much help with manuals etc. as I sold the machine about 8 years ago. Mine was early 80's vintage. I know the present owner of the machine, so I could ask him if he has a manual that could be scanned or copied, if he's still in business.
I'm surprised there's nothing on Tony's site (lathes.uk....) It's usually THE first reference I check. Have you tried to see what the great Google comes up with ?
Msg me back if you need more help.
Rick

CCWKen
02-26-2007, 11:21 PM
Anyone want to take any wild guesses on what this one ends up bringing?
Mark
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=12584&item=7511420579&rd=1


Evidently nothing. It's no longer listed. What was it?

lazlo
02-26-2007, 11:29 PM
Evidently nothing. It's no longer listed. What was it?

Hehe -- someone apparently made him an offer he couldn't refuse ;)

sidegrinder
02-26-2007, 11:42 PM
Hey guys, check out the date of that post--almost 2yrs old. I think fleabay only keeps completed auctions online for 30 days now...

CCWKen
02-26-2007, 11:51 PM
:rolleyes: :o
I hate when that happens.

lazlo
02-26-2007, 11:52 PM
Oh geez -- Paul must have gotten his mill 2 years ago! :rolleyes:

chipmaker4130
02-27-2007, 10:21 AM
These are photos of my '86 Burke VS mill.

http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t18/chipmaker4130/IMG_2069.jpg

http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t18/chipmaker4130/IMG_2070.jpg

lazlo
02-27-2007, 10:26 AM
These are photos of my '86 Burke VS mill.

Nice!

My 1980 has factory gray paint. What's amusing is that it has the Powermatic "Racing Green" paint underneath, so apparently if you paid the extra money for the gray paint, they pulled a green machine from the factory floor and repainted it. :)

You said you have a worm drive on the ball joint on your head? I see the parts in the Millrite manual, but it's drawn like it's intended for the Nod head. I wonder if I can order the worm drive parts and retrofit my ball joint...

John Williams
02-27-2007, 11:27 AM
Just saw this on metal web news -

FOR SALE - Mill
Mid sized vertical milling machine ,Clausen # 8520
Mid sized milling machine in excellant shape, Great for garage or cellar.
Asking: $2,150.00. Easily taken down and will fit in a pickup truck. Has an automatic cross feed that alone is worth $900.
Has a single phase 110 volt motor. This type of machine is very hard to come by.
It comes with 12 milling cutters, your choice of a vise, a precision type chuck, a Jacobs chuck, a cutoff saw arbor. It has a 6 inch x 24 inch table.
There is vertial little that can go wrong with this machine. You can use it for 10 years,,and get your money back.

Click here for Picture of the Mill

I am located in NJ near exit 124 South - on the Garden State Parkway, at the New Brunswick exit on theNJ Turnpike.
Email: Andrew Kulick
88 Standiford Ave.
Sayreville, NJ 08872 phone 732-257-5984

(01/23/2007)

chipmaker4130
02-27-2007, 11:37 AM
Lazlo, this is the setup I have for tilting the head. As you can see, the ram is solid (no knuckle for nodding). The worm stud is turned with the knee handle.

http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t18/chipmaker4130/IMG_2072.jpg