View Full Version : I'm looking for a Bench top mill, who makes them

11-29-2005, 09:32 PM
I'm looking for a bench top style mill. I need something smaller that a typical size mill, I only have a small 8' X 12" building. I have saw some on EBay but I don't want to jump into anything without researching it first. I have bought too much junk because I hurried into buying something only to find that I could have got exactly what I wanted had I only looked around some. Sound familiar to anyone? I need something that two guys can move or at least take apart and move. I prefer single phase. Something I can put DRO on if I chose would be cool, but not absolute. A good stout machine for its size that can be reliable. I know they have thier limits, but I don't think that is too much to ask, with the technology we have. Right? So who makes a deceit mill of that size? Any suggestions?

J Tiers
11-29-2005, 10:37 PM
Playing off your mistyping, I could say lots of folks make "deceit" mills...... starting at Harbor Freight.....

Benchtop has a lot of meanings.... from round column mill-drills, to nice old small P&W horizontals, and everything in between.

Any reason a small Rockwell or Clausing (used) floor-standing mill would be bad? Those can be small and handy, with a table in the 6 x 24 inch range.....

11-29-2005, 11:39 PM
There's no such thing as a "typical" size mill. I remember a shop with a row of mills which each had work envelopes bigger than your building. I know another shop which has nothing bigger than a Sixis. "Typical" is a flexible concept.

Narrow things down a bit. Vertical vs horizontal, knee mill vs. mill-drill? New vs used? What's your budget? There's everything from Chinese knockoffs of Clausings at one end, to Deckel and beyond at the other.

Many users are happy with their mill-drills. I hate the things, myself, but the smaller ones fit on a bench top. There are really small "desk top" mills from Taig and Sherline. Aside from mill-drills and desk top mills, the only new "bench top" mills are verticals from China, and they won't really fit on a bench top. There are some vertical mills which really do fit on a bench top, but they're long out of production. The Hardinge BB vertical and the Bench-Master come to mind. Some of the old horizontal mills could be considered bench top machines. Tony Griffiths' page at http://www.lathes.co.uk/page21.html lists some very small mills.

Spacewise, 8x12' isn't bad. I have a couple of lathes, a saw, a heavy bench, and a Bridgeport in a 9x12' area. The mill has a small table (32") - a 48" table might be a bit of a squeeze. A Bridgeport can be moved solo if you aren't in a rush.

11-30-2005, 12:56 AM
If I were shopping for myself at home this looks about right.


11-30-2005, 03:52 AM
Depends what you want to do. Models and that sort of stuff the little asian mills are ok. The X2 is the cheaper bench top but they have one fitted with extra bits X3 same size table and so on but looks as if it has handwheel control in all axis. There is cnc available. see suppliers in HSM.
Wish I had seen X3 before I got my X2.
Best of luck,

11-30-2005, 06:13 AM
As above, depends on your needs. Myself, for general use find a vertical mill most versatile. Had a small shop-space so I got a Rockwell that I could move moderately easily.
(Still 1200-1400 lbs. I think.) It does most (90 %)of what I do, except some of the bigger jobs. Bridgeport-style maybe what I need now.
I got into gear & sprocket cutting, in a small way, & set-up on a horizontal mill is so much easier. There are no mid-size horizontal mills that I've seen for sale around southern BC, so I decided to go George Ewen's route & build an engine-mill. ( Found several huge worn out horizontals & 1 tiny toy one...) Works for now and is an excuse to play in the shop....
A mill-drill might work at first, but most of us outgrow them. Not that good for commercial type use either. Maybe consider the better small Asian knee mills or a Clausing or Rockwell size mill, or go for broke on a Bridgeport or clone.

11-30-2005, 01:00 PM
I would go for one of the square column mills.

I have heard good things about both the X3 "Small Mill" and the square column Rong Fu 45 clones. Both are benchtop mills. The X3 weighs around 350 lbs with a table size of 6 3/8 x 21 3/4. The RF-45 clones weigh in at 700-800 lbs with a table size of 9-1/2 x 31-1/2 or so varying by manufacturer.


( The Grizzly version is 1HP 3 phase 220v )


http://tedatum.com/thms/ <--- look under "Workshop" lots of info on the Sieg X3

11-30-2005, 05:44 PM
I'm looking for a vertical mill. The Sherlines that I have saw are too small. 8"x18" or larger X and Y movement would be good. Something to work alongside a 10" Logan lathe. I'm going to talk with an electrician this weekend about 3 phase, but I haven't made up my mind yet.$ will make it for me. A floor standing model would be great but I have a weight limit, a wood floor. I don't want to go crazy reinforcing the floor. I hope to build a real shop in a few years. Are the Clausing or Rockwell hard to find? What is the price range on them? Got a picture of one? I would like to find a good used mill but I'm not ruling out new machines. I rather not spend over $2500. I don't mind adding DRO and horizontal power feed later.

[This message has been edited by Rob (edited 11-30-2005).]

11-30-2005, 05:58 PM
If floor load is a problem then spread out the load. Build a frame from 2x4s with 3/4" ply on both sides to whatever size spans enough joists to be acceptable. A 4' x 4' frame should do it nicely for many machines.

11-30-2005, 11:16 PM
Tony G's site, linked above, has pics and other info on Clausing and Rockwell mills. Clausings come up for sale more often. They are popular and therefore more expensive. Rockwells, though somewhat more capable mills, seem to be relatively bargain-priced. Clausing weighs around 600 pounds. Rockwell is quite a bit heavier. You should be able to get decent specimens of either for 'way under $2500.

12-01-2005, 04:49 PM
Anyone familiar with the Sieg at Lathemaster?


12-05-2005, 09:52 PM
I'd like to thank everyone for their help. I found exactly what I needed. A guy e-mailed me with a Rockwell 21-100 Mill for sale. It fits the bill perfectly.

[This message has been edited by Rob (edited 12-05-2005).]