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QSIMDO
04-09-2006, 10:24 PM
Can anyone tell me just what kind of performance one can expect from these machines?
I know they won't approach the level of a professional machine but I need to dismiss the neophyte lust I feel for a Bridgeport or even a Jet 836.

The machine won't make me good but I don't want to start off on the wrong foot with a piece of junk either.

Schutzhund
04-10-2006, 01:52 AM
Qsimdo,

If you cant get the info you need here, there is a Yahoo group of 6x26 owners here:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/6x26millingmachines/

Hope this helps.

QSIMDO
04-10-2006, 06:33 PM
Yeah...how's THIS for ya h4lf.....I'm a MEMBER at 6x26 and can't get an answer there either!

TECHSHOP
04-10-2006, 07:10 PM
QSIMDO:

I have most of the Griz flavor, slowly "rebuilding and repairing" it to operational status (long story, out there in prior posts), so I really have no good idea how well the thing works. All I can say, is it is the one I have got, so it is the one I will make work (someday). I have thought of joining the yahoo group (why reinvent every wheel) but arn't to sure of the "crap" that it might bring.

If you have specific questions, as to the machine, (or at least the parts I have) I'll try to answer, because I need to know more about this machine (and possible improvements) as I tear it down, and "make it just the way I want it".

japcas
04-10-2006, 08:29 PM
Can anyone tell me just what kind of performance one can expect from these machines?
I know they won't approach the level of a professional machine but I need to dismiss the neophyte lust I feel for a Bridgeport or even a Jet 836.

The machine won't make me good but I don't want to start off on the wrong foot with a piece of junk either.

Hello QSIMDO, this may not be exactly what you are asking but I will put in my two cents worth. First off tell us what you want to do with this machine. Secondly, what kind of budget do you have. These two things play a big role in your decision. I own one of the geared head dovetail column mills and I have been very happy with it. I know it is not the machine you asked about but I would say that the quality would be about the same, especially if both machines came from someone like grizzly. I do hobby work here at home mostly building parts for model ic engines. I installed a power feed on the x axis and a DRO from shooting star. Both of these upgrades were well worth the money. I find that I can hold most of my parts to within .001 when just doing general mill work which is plenty close enough for this kind of work. I like the spindle speeds offered as it will go down to 90 rpm so I can pull a decent size drill if I want to and it goes up to 2000 rpm for those small endmills. Also, speed changes are quick and easy. It seems quite rigid and I feel as though I make good time when making parts as far as metal removal is concerned although I don't abuse the machine or really try to push it that hard. By the way, I work full time in a shop and run machines such as bridgeports on up to horizontal boring mills so I feel that I have run a lot to compare it too and I still say that most people would be pleased with a machine like this for general hobby use. I wouldn't want to try to make money with it, but for my needs it works perfectly and it didn't break the bank getting it. I looked at the 6x26 machine for a long while before deciding to get the column mill. Just look at the specs and make sure that they fill the bill for what you are looking for in a milling machine. Hope this helps.

QSIMDO
04-10-2006, 10:00 PM
QSIMDO:

I have most of the Griz flavor, slowly "rebuilding and repairing" it to operational status (long story, out there in prior posts), so I really have no good idea how well the thing works. All I can say, is it is the one I have got, so it is the one I will make work (someday). I have thought of joining the yahoo group (why reinvent every wheel) but arn't to sure of the "crap" that it might bring.

If you have specific questions, as to the machine, (or at least the parts I have) I'll try to answer, because I need to know more about this machine (and possible improvements) as I tear it down, and "make it just the way I want it".


Thanks very much Tech, but what I'm trying to get is a sense of whether or not the mini-knee mill is something I'd grow out of in short order so that's why I need to know about their performance.

My interests are all across the board and for the same or not much more money I can get a Bridgeport, albeit of questionable repute. Size, the cost of repair parts and the underlying fact that I'm not a machinery rebuilder are what keep me from jumping on one of those.

Jet has their JVM 836, a " 3/4 Bridgeport " if you will that looks smack in between a bench mill and a full size machine. I can score one for $3k + a little, but not nonchalantly. Then live for months without tooling.

Earth shattering problems we have, eh?

QSIMDO
04-10-2006, 10:14 PM
japcas, thanks very much for chiming in as that's another question that's been bedeviling me.

What made you decide on the dovetail over the knee and what brand do you have?
What advantage did you as a pro see in the dovetail column style?

My interests while varied would not have me fooling with exotic metals and while my projects may end up of considerable size I always plan and design with the thought in mind that it's "just me" so componentry is always of reasonable size.

While I see the advantage of DRO's and power feeds these aren't options that I require going in.

Step at a time I reckon.

Too_Many_Tools
04-10-2006, 10:59 PM
QSIMDO:

I have most of the Griz flavor, slowly "rebuilding and repairing" it to operational status (long story, out there in prior posts), so I really have no good idea how well the thing works. All I can say, is it is the one I have got, so it is the one I will make work (someday). I have thought of joining the yahoo group (why reinvent every wheel) but arn't to sure of the "crap" that it might bring.

If you have specific questions, as to the machine, (or at least the parts I have) I'll try to answer, because I need to know more about this machine (and possible improvements) as I tear it down, and "make it just the way I want it".


Would you mind supplying a link to your problems with this machine?

I have one and have been very impressed with its capability.

Thanks

TMT

Schutzhund
04-11-2006, 12:38 AM
Yeah...how's THIS for ya h4lf.....I'm a MEMBER at 6x26 and can't get an answer there either!

Sheesh Q! I was just trying to help! You dont have to yell at me! :D

Keep an eye on this gentlemens site. Maybe contact him and ask for his opinion?

http://www.benchtest.com/w-grizz.html

I have been kickin around the idea of this same mill. As it stands it is a toss up between that and a Rong-Fu 45 clone (square column type).

The shortcomings I see in this little knee mill would be limited table size and limited Z axis.

For less money, the RF-45 clones have a 9x32 table and a nearly 20" distance from spindle to table depending on the model.

The 6x26 has 12" from spindle to table with the only cure being to fabricate a riser block. A 5" riser block will get you to 17"...still less than a stock RF-45 clone. Too date, nobody offers a riser block for these machines.

For these reasons I am leaning more toward a RF-45 clone. I will say that the Grizzly version with the power feed (G3103) looks to be very nicely finished from what I have seen and read about them.

Good luck in your quest. ;)

japcas
04-11-2006, 09:34 AM
japcas, thanks very much for chiming in as that's another question that's been bedeviling me.

What made you decide on the dovetail over the knee and what brand do you have?
What advantage did you as a pro see in the dovetail column style?

My interests while varied would not have me fooling with exotic metals and while my projects may end up of considerable size I always plan and design with the thought in mind that it's "just me" so componentry is always of reasonable size.

While I see the advantage of DRO's and power feeds these aren't options that I require going in.

Step at a time I reckon.

QSIMDO, I'm glad to help. I didn't want to try to sway you over with my reasons for buying the dovetail machine in the first column because I thought that you may have your mine made up on the 6x26 which is fine. I'm sure there are a lot of happy 6x26 owners out there. Since you asked, I will tell you what swayed me. First off, I bought the top tech brand from Penn tool. It lists for $1395.00 in their current 2006 sale catalog with a standard table or $1550 with the swivel table which I didn't feel like I needed. We have bigger cincinatti mills at work with swivel tables and I don't think I have ever swiveled the table for a job. For the size of work I do, I can just swivel the vise. Secondly, as Schutzhund said the spindle to table clearance is listed as 18.5 versus 11.2 on the knee mill. That is a big difference. Yeah, you could install a riser but you shouldn't have too and then I wonder if you installed a riser would the knee raise high enough to use short tooling without having to jack up the part off of the table to reach it. Spindle travel on my mill is listed at 5 inches but I just checked it and it is actually 4.1 but the knee mill is listed at 3.2, that's quite a lot although I would never use it unless I was deep drilling or boring. I always lower the head as close as possible to keep the spindle as short as possible for maximum rigidity. Table size and travel also won out on the column mill. Probably the biggest thing I didn't like about the knee mill was it's spindle speed range. The column mill will go down to 90 rpm which is needed for bigger drills and also for power tapping. Again, you could swap the motor and go 3 phase with a vfd but that is going to cost even more. The only thing the knee mill will do that the column mill won't is rotate the head but I don't think this would work to well on the 6x26. Generally on a bridgeport, when you rotate the head you usually have to use the dovetail to extend the head out a little to make up for the rotation so you can reach the part. The little knee mill doesn't allow this so it may not be very useful. Both machines let you tilt the head side to side so no difference there. The cabinet for both machines from penn tool is the same. Mine was decent but I wound up fastening it to my block wall with angle iron because it would shake when using a boring head, it was flexing a little at the bottom I guess. If I were doing it over, I would probably build the stand myself. I believe I could have build it stronger for the same amount of money. As far as the accessories I told you about, they aren't necessary right out of the box. You can have a lot of fun with it in stock form. I really like the dro but if I am doing a lot of milling the power feed comes in real handy so I would have a hard time saying which I would buy first. One last thing, if you decide to buy either machine from Penn tool, ask them if that is their best price. I was able to buy the machine and some tooling for less than the list price in the sales book even after they added shipping back in, and no I'm not afiiliated with them or anyone there, just a satisfied customer. I've had them do this on other items too. I hope this helps and if you decide to go with the column mill and need any help after you get it feel free to email me, I'll be glad to try and answer any questions you may have.

Peter N
04-11-2006, 12:15 PM
Thanks very much Tech, but what I'm trying to get is a sense of whether or not the mini-knee mill is something I'd grow out of in short order so that's why I need to know about their performance.

My interests are all across the board and for the same or not much more money I can get a Bridgeport, albeit of questionable repute. Size, the cost of repair parts and the underlying fact that I'm not a machinery rebuilder are what keep me from jumping on one of those.

Jet has their JVM 836, a " 3/4 Bridgeport " if you will that looks smack in between a bench mill and a full size machine. I can score one for $3k + a little, but not nonchalantly. Then live for months without tooling.

Earth shattering problems we have, eh?

I have a 6x26, the UK version from Warco http://www.warco.co.uk/index.asp.

If I had the space I would have gone for a Bridgeport, there were several available cheap locally and for all intents and purposes once you have a Bridgy in place, an HSM is not really going to be too worried about upgrades.
Most of us in the UK have much more limited space that you lucky buggers, and my workshop all has to fit into a small single car garage and share it with a washing machine:)

However, the 6x26 is a very capable little Mill but is a bit limited by the overall work envelope you have. The knee travel that others have mentioned I don't personally consider to be a problem at all. I have 13 3/4" from table to spindle, which is only 2 1/4" less then the 16" of a Bridgeport, and its easy to add a riser block if you need it, and 16" in the X axis travel and this again is adequate for what I need.
What I have found limiting is the maximum 6 1/2" in Y that you are stuck with. This weekend I had to mill up 2-off 6 1/2" x 2" x 3/8" plates with a 60deg angle on the long edge. The head pivots L-R so the angle is no problem, but even with a bit of creative workholding I had to move the part in the vice to cut the last 1/4".
With a Bridgeport you have 50% more Y travel, another 12" on the Ram, and the head can nod so this would have been a piece of cake.

As far as cutting metal within the work envelope it does very well. With solid carbide end mills it will happily slice into H13/EN30B steel thats been hardened to 52-54 HRC. Using a 3" inserted face mill with 6 SEHW cutters sets up a little too much chatter in the spindle (top support bearings aren't great and the spindle splines are not well matched) but taking out 3 inserts made this a lot smoother.

If you have space then try and get the Bridgeport, no question. You will grow into it rather than grow out of it. If you don't have the space then the 6x26 is a great little mill, but you may always hanker after something bigger.
I know I do.

Peter

SGW
04-11-2006, 12:39 PM
Is this http://www.grizzly.com/products/G3102 the milling machine in question?

I get the idea that these are a pretty decent machine. The main limitations I see are lack of Z space and no really low speed. 240 rpm is way too fast for, say, a 4" dia. slitting saw.

Both problems can be solved: a riser block, and a swap to a 3-phase motor with VFD. Whether it's worth the effort, or if it makes more sense to buy, say, a Jet JVM-836 (good machine) in the first place is your call.

Keep in mind that this is a long-term hobby. You'll have this thing 20 years or more, so spending a little more up front to get something good IMO is worth it. I've had my Jet JVM-830 (no longer sold) for 21 years now, and I'm continually glad that I stretched myself a little and got more machine than I thought I really needed.

Peter N
04-11-2006, 02:21 PM
Heres a picture to show the room there is in Z on these. To give some idea of scale, the vice jaws are 4" wide. This was part of a fixture for push fitting inserts I made a while ago.
The setup is a little bit unwieldly and light cuts were in order to stop chatter, but there was no other way to hold it.

http://www.btinternet.com/~p.neill/6x26_Z_Height.jpeg

Heres another picture to show the limits in Y travel. Different vice but again the jaw width is 4":

http://www.btinternet.com/~p.neill/Y_Axis_Limits.jpeg

This is a part of fixture to hold the saddle of my Myford lathe on the mag table of the surface grinder to take out a bit of wear:

http://www.btinternet.com/~p.neill/Grinding_Fixture2.jpeg

http://www.btinternet.com/~p.neill/Grinding_Fixture.jpeg



Peter

SGW
04-11-2006, 02:43 PM
Thinking about it some more (and seeing Peter's pictures) the concern about Z space may be a bit overblown. I've got about 12.5" clearance on my milling machine, which is somewhat larger (7"x30" table) than the one under consideration, and in 21 years I've always managed to get by, somehow, with the 12.5" clearance. Sometimes it's meant I've had to hold a reamer in a collet rather than in a drill chuck, for instance, but I've managed.

Not that I wouldn't like a bit more Z space...but it's never stopped me from doing things. It's just occasionally required a bit of creativity in setups.

But it all depends, in the end, on what kind of work you're doing.

david_r
04-11-2006, 03:47 PM
How easy are the speed changes on these? Are they like a drillpress with a floating intermediate pulley? My mill-drill is a real PITA to change speeds.

Peter N
04-11-2006, 04:08 PM
David, they do have the intermediate pulley but speed change is simple. Undo the rear clamp a half turn, move belts, tighten clamp.
Takes about half a minute.

Peter

TECHSHOP
04-11-2006, 06:20 PM
T-M-T (others, I am to slow to remember) :

I don't think I can track them all down, but here is a short list from memory (as I recall, no "order of importance").

No stand- had thought to build my own, then saw Penn Tools offering, reading thread, now back to home built thinking

Bad motor- capacitors "cut out" have them in the box of parts, have other motors "stored" around the shop, none are a "match" for direct replacement. Considering 3 phase/VFD solution, (hold up, presently no 220v in shop)

Spindle out, have removed bearings, have two replacements, need the third, someone (sorry I can't recall his handle, but thank you) here gave me the Fafnir and Barden numbers. (hold up, positive cash flow, and I don't have easy access to a press large enough to reasemble at home).

One shot oiler-shot

Griz has not posted the manual online, and other issues have made the folding money a little tight to order one from them, but 2006 is getting a little brighter.

There are a few other minor things, but mostly I want to "upgrade" as I rebuild, this is a "home shop" machine I have no intention to support my family with this machine (if it pays for its own tooling, thats OK.) The planed modifications will include, a DRO (I don't think CNC upgrades will "pay off" for my uses), riser, spindle "lock" and a few other things that I con't remember right now.

I have only mention the price I paid once (I won't repeat it, because I don't want to "gloat"). The machine fits the where I want to operate it at, and the weight of a BP in that location, would not work. I can drive to both Griz, Penn Tools in a day trip, MSC, Horrible Freight, and a few other ("nationals")are more local.

What I really need is a digi cam, and overcome my fear of pictures (no picture, it didn't happen), to "document" the progress.

I'll try to keep current, but it looks like I will be fairly busy in the real world after Easter Sunday.

QSIMDO
04-12-2006, 06:15 PM
Thank you all VERY much for the information!

Of course, now I'm reconsidering the dovetail mill that I summarily dismissed and shying further away from the 6x26 (not that there's all that much wrong with one!) that had my interest.
And I still may try to swing the Grizzly 836

Moreover, I'm just thankful I'm in a position to have a choice and extremely grateful to all who have shared their wisdom.

If luck is with me I hope to return the kindness.

TECHSHOP
04-12-2006, 06:47 PM
QSIMDO:

I thought I should add to my other posts in this thread, is that I purchased my machine from Griz, in its present condition. I am fairly sure that it was RTV (return to vender) under warrenty. I think Griz was "stripping" it for parts for other warrenty work. I think the machine (3102/3103) is a good foundation to build up from, the "missing" parts, are an "advantage" from my end.

The import (Griz) BP clones have a "non standard" motor mount. I would make one of my first projects an "adapter" to a "common standard" motor. Then "save" it for when the import motor lets the smoke out. I will be much more difficult to make when the mill stops spinning.

The place I work at has a newer Jet (3/4 BP) mill, I think it is "better" than my mill, but I can't directly compare it to a like Griz mill.

If you have "serious" doubts on the 6x26 mills abilities to do your tasks, then go with the "little BP" clone. It never hurts to have "too" much machine for 99% of you work everyday, and then really stress it when you need to..

QSIMDO
04-12-2006, 09:05 PM
QSIMDO:

It never hurts to have "too" much machine for 99% of you work everyday, and then really stress it when you need to..

True words!
I freely confess one of my worst traits is being scrimy.
I am a cheapskate, no mistake.
Invariably when I go to buy something I buy the least expensive or smallest or what have you and rue the decision 'til hell won't have any more.

Not this time.

No firm decision yet but it'll have more precision than I do, that's for sure.
Thanks again.

SGW
04-13-2006, 11:11 AM
This link http://www.jerry-howell.com/Machines.html shows a pretty nice shop setup, including the Jet JVM-836.