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jwoitasek
12-13-2001, 12:00 PM
Hello,
Any folks out there using one of these Rong Fu Mill drills??
Any good/bad points?
Thanks
JRW

martin_vanmeter
12-13-2001, 05:02 PM
There is a Yahoo Group who all own RF 30/31 type mills. They know all the tricks about using these beasts.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mill_drill/?yguid=7484283

I have an RF-31 (Harbor Freight version #2119, no longer sold, current version made in China instead of Taiwan) and it is fine for the general milling I do. I will add a x-axis drive unit and an inexpensive 6" DRO on the quill (the Taiwanese idea of .001" dial marks is not real close).

All that said, it is a stop-gap machine until I can afford or find a used knee mill.

George Hodge
12-13-2001, 11:18 PM
Hey,I have a Jet 16 M/D. It's been great after some fine tuning and add ons. I made a variable speed table feed,from a Dayton gearmotor and a Router speed control. I added a gas strut,same as used to hold up a car hood,to assist raising the mill head. Used 2 ballheaded bolts,one on the base and one on the head. Works great,need to do some figuring to determine the correct mounting location. I'm in the process of installing a variable speed mechanism for the drive motor.

Thrud
12-14-2001, 12:21 AM
The RF45 is sold in these parts. It has a cast iron frame that is dovetailed for the head to travel up/dowm. It seems well made (for the money) and can be ordered with an R-8 Bridgeport spindle or a NT30 spindle on special order. This is the only "small" (1800 Lbs.) machine I know of that has the NT30. The head is gear change but the AC motor looks cheezy. There are smaller RF mill/drills with round columns but this one looks pretty good (even has scraped ways!) for $3,800 (Canadian). It does seem pretty solid.

Dave

jkmccoy
12-14-2001, 12:59 AM
I echo Martin's comment - check out the mill/drill group on Yahoo. There's lots of really good information on these machines.

I have the Enco incarnation. I'm really happy with it. It's a great mill. Plenty powerful and plenty accurate. The main difference between one of these and a knee mill is the size of the workpiece. If you are mainly working on small parts (under 6x18") the mill/drill will probably do everything you need.

J. Kelly McCoy
West Texas
http://www.wcc.net/~jkmccoy

Asmodeus
12-14-2001, 01:24 AM
i personally think that for the price of what you would pay for a rong fu mill/drill combo you could get a better and possibly identical unit from grizzly for much cheaper... i don't know how grizzly stuff is in comparison to quality, but i havn't seen anyone so far slam dunk grizzly for anything more then cosmetic and maybe minor mechanical stuff...

rong fu looks like good stuff, but seems really limited for the money...

KenS
12-16-2001, 08:21 AM
azmodeus--huh?

The grizzly machines are Taiwan made as are rong-fu, jet, and a host of others sold under proprietorship--company names. You are recommending grizzly over rong-fu and they are the same thing.

jwoitasek,

Rong-Fu, in general belong to the superior class of asian machinery. The chinese made versions, as are sold by HF are noticably inferior in fit, smoothness, and finish. So you're off to a good start. Nevermind talk of the superiority of Jet or others--it's mostly Ford-Chevy talk.

You have a built in limitation in that your head will not swing if yours is belt driven and that only means that you'll need to set up your angle cuts on the table using one of the various devices for that- a tilt table, a rotary, a tilt angle vise (for very light cutting). You also have less room from table to bit than some do while having more than some others do. In general, people learn to live with what they have and are seldom stopped but sometimes slowed in reaching their goal of completed work.

Yahoo groups are great places to learn and bounce ideas around.

SGW
12-16-2001, 02:24 PM
In my experience, not everything made in Taiwan (or anyplace else, for that matter) is of equal quality. Machines that may "look just the same in the picture" can be wildly different in fit and finish when one actually sees them.

I think there are Asian machine tool companies that build machines to any level of quality (or to put it another way, to any price) a dealer wants. If a dealer wants a machine he can sell for $1499.95, that's what he'll get. If another dealer wants a higher-quality machine, he can get it, but he'll have to sell it for $2500. The machines will "look just the same in the picture," but the quality isn't the same.

Thrud
12-16-2001, 04:37 PM
Gents

I must agree with SGW, he is 100% right! If you check through back issues of Fine Woodworking they had an excellent article about the Taiwan OEMs. Delta has their stuff made there - no one bitches about Delta quality. Some of the best Bridgeport type machines are Taiwanese and extremely good machines - you will not see them advertised though - you have to go to macinery dealerships for those babies.

You really must compare apples to apples, and yes, you almost always get what you pay for...

Dave

[This message has been edited by Thrud (edited 12-23-2001).]

sch
12-17-2001, 05:53 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by George Hodge:
[B]Hey,I have a Jet 16 M/D. It's been great after some fine tuning and add ons. I made a variable speed table feed,from a Dayton gearmotor and a Router speed control. I added a gas strut,same as used to hold up a car hood,to assist raising the mill head. Used 2 ballheaded bolts,one on the base and one on the head. Works great,need to do some figuring to determine the correct mounting location.

Any possibility of a pix of the strut install and part # for the strut-they come in lots of lengths and lift forces. Thanks
Steve

mike thomas
12-17-2001, 08:11 PM
I am sitting here looking at an Enco flier. The sale end date is 1/31/02. They have a one hp 21 inch gear head RF mill/drill on sale. It features the tilting head and free shipping at $1595. They also list the RF belt drive 2hp at $1109 plus shipping. That makes the price fairly close, maybe within $200. Any ideas which is the better? One can add options with either unit. The similar Enco units are also on sale.

rmatel
12-17-2001, 09:47 PM
Dave,
I never did like that expression; it's backwards. It should be "You don't always get what you pay for but you usually pay for what you get" ;-)
Bob

Thrud
12-18-2001, 01:36 AM
Bob,

Excellent point - Touche! (enough puns)

That is what I love about the English language. Saying what you mean rarely means what you say and meaning what you say is not what you meant to say in the first place. Therefore, I quote Homer Simpson in saying: "Doh! I say, Doh!" Or, was that Foghorn Legghorn? I get the two confused. That is my excuse and I am sticking to it!

Dave

mike thomas
12-18-2001, 01:45 AM
After reading my prior post, me thinks I was not quite clear. Seeing the posts about the RF30/31, and Dave's mention of the RF45, I looked in a couple of catalogs to see what was being discussed. I did not find any RF45's for sale, just the two RF mill/drills I mentioned. Ken had mentioned the belt vs. gear head, and I posted the info I found to provide a pricing perspective, and hopefully to get a better idea of the limitations and advantages of each.
I do the little milling that I need on a Palmgren lathe attachment, and as of yet have no need for a mill. However, the catalog search that I did made me curious about the differences in hp and the repeatability (rigidity?) of the RF tilting head. I am not looking for purchase advice, just an explanation of different niches that these machines fill. Thanks, Mike

SGW
12-18-2001, 08:14 AM
Well...I can't make specific useful comments about the Rong Fu mill/drills as I've never seen them. Regarding tilt head or not, however, I can say that I've tilted the head on my milling machine maybe a dozen times in the 16 years I've owned it. It isn't a feature you're likely to use very much. Of course, when you DO have a situation where it's useful, then it sure is nice to have the capability. Even if you can't tilt the head though, there are often other alternatives for setup that you can use to get the job done; they'll just be more inconvenient. And you may need a rotating base on your milling vise or something like that, as an alternative, which you may not have either.

Ron LaDow
12-18-2001, 11:38 AM
SGW,
When I got my mill, I needed either a rotating head or a tilting vise. The problem is that the mill/drills don't have a lot of space between the quill and the table.
I could have gotten a tilt vise in there, or I could have gotten a cutting tool in there. Unfortunately, I needed both.
Dave,
Could you repeat that?
Ron LaDow

Asmodeus
12-18-2001, 01:38 PM
ken,

please don't take offense to this, but being taiwan made means nothing in the end really... are they made by the same company or manufacturer, are they even made in the same factory...? what grade of iron or steel did they use that day...? when it comes to quality issues, i've seen everything from the worst the overseas has to offer to some of the best stuff rivaling and in some cases surpassing what america has to offer... sure, nothing can really compare to a real bridgeport or cincinnati, but just because it comes from taiwan doesn't mean its bad...

i'm not a job shop, i'm just a guy who wants to outfit his garage with some gear that will make my life easier in creating the things that i need... if something breaks, i can either fix it or make a new part, etc. etc. that's what i think most people want... most of the guys who have machine shops or something that they make money at already know what they want and need to buy and do so...

but for the average joe schmoe who wants to outfit himself with tools that will make their lives easier then the problem really isn't about getting the best, because with tools the best usually means the most expensive, but rather getting what will do the most work at the least price possible... i'd rather work smart then hard, but sometimes even i realize that i might have to put a little upfront effort into the prep of my work... whether that means i have to modify a machine, a tool, my work, or whatever, so if i can save a little bit of cash on decently made taiwanese machine instead of US iron then that's exactly what i'll do and in reality so should most people...


<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by KenS:
azmodeus--huh?

The grizzly machines are Taiwan made as are rong-fu, jet, and a host of others sold under proprietorship--company names. You are recommending grizzly over rong-fu and they are the same thing.

jwoitasek,

Rong-Fu, in general belong to the superior class of asian machinery. The chinese made versions, as are sold by HF are noticably inferior in fit, smoothness, and finish. So you're off to a good start. Nevermind talk of the superiority of Jet or others--it's mostly Ford-Chevy talk.

You have a built in limitation in that your head will not swing if yours is belt driven and that only means that you'll need to set up your angle cuts on the table using one of the various devices for that- a tilt table, a rotary, a tilt angle vise (for very light cutting). You also have less room from table to bit than some do while having more than some others do. In general, people learn to live with what they have and are seldom stopped but sometimes slowed in reaching their goal of completed work.

Yahoo groups are great places to learn and bounce ideas around.</font>

mike thomas
12-18-2001, 08:30 PM
I have a friend with basically the same interests in machining that I have. He has a nice B'port mill and while I have access to it, I have never felt the need. He could probably get by, and the "by" is important, with the same milling attachment as I use, as he only uses a portion of his table as large as my hand. The mill he has is nice, but it takes up a considerable portion of his shop. I have thought that I would like to make a single shot action, and this would be my reason for considering a mill. I had been thinking during this discussion that a mill/drill would probably meet my needs, as table surface area would not be a major consideration. However, I had not considered the distance from quill to table. My thoughts had centered on whether or not one would be able to get enough power for large cuts, rigidity for nice work and still save floor space. At this point it seems as if it might be reasonable to trade floor space for capacity. I also now know not to get hung up on the tilt feature to the point of letting a good deal slip by. Thanks guys.

Ron LaDow
12-18-2001, 08:39 PM
Mike,
I also watch shop space like a hawk. I'm in SF, and real estate is hard to come by.
I probably could have afforded one of the B'port clones, but I couldn't give up the parking space; if my wife had to park on the street and walk in the rain, that mill would get REAL expensive.
If you can possibly find the space and the bucks, that 'junior' knee mill offered by most of the normal suppliers will do just fine. I got KBC, but I looked at both theirs and ENCO's and couldn't find a difference.
Ron LaDow

George Hodge
12-18-2001, 11:27 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by sch:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by George Hodge:
[B]Hey,I have a Jet 16 M/D. It's been great after some fine tuning and add ons. I made a variable speed table feed,from a Dayton gearmotor and a Router speed control. I added a gas strut,same as used to hold up a car hood,to assist raising the mill head. Used 2 ballheaded bolts,one on the base and one on the head. Works great,need to do some figuring to determine the correct mounting location.

Any possibility of a pix of the strut install and part # for the strut-they come in lots of lengths and lift forces. Thanks
Steve</font>

Steve,I bought a ammunition box full of struts that had been sitting in the rain.All of them new still in the bubble/cardboard packages.I'll measure the one I'm using and see if it has a number on it. It has ball sockets on each end. I found that it raises the mill head great,one finger instead of two hands.The head lowers fine,except the strut bottoms out before the head. I'll see about some photos for you. I need to put a photo of my Jacobs #14 Spiral Gear Drill Chuck on here too. Still haven't located a chuck key. George

Thrud
12-19-2001, 02:49 AM
Mike,

The cardinal rule of machine buying is: if the don't have it, why the hell not? Ask the dealer of the mills if they can get a picture/pricing for the RF45. As I said, it can be ordered with a R-8 or NT30 spindle taper (drool, drool). Did I mention that 1800 pounds still needs a 2' stand to bring it to a nice height? It is not your typical mill/drill. It is a serious, very stiff, tool. The vertical support for the head is about 18" square and forms a big "L" with the base. A very nice mill - but I would put a good TEFC motor (with VFD would be nice) on it and dump the crappy one it comes with.

Ron,
Repeat what, that all the girls dig big tools? Or, about being held hostage to a stinkin' car when I could have a spacious workshop (with a furnace even - sniff, sniff)? It burns my butt every time some smart-ass comes in the shop and "reminds" me about his 24'x48' home shop with slab heating, three hot tanks, overhead hoist(s), and, and...room for BIG tools! I feels yer pain, brother.

Asmodeus;
I admit it, I have way to much Scottsman in me. When I buy my tools I always balance the pros and cons of cost/utility/quality and do I REALLY require it? The country of origin means little in this shrinking world. Quality and value for the money spent is what it is about.

George,
I am still keeping an eye out for that goofy key for you - don't give up yet!

Dave
ho, ho, merry xmas - pass the turkey, smashed 'taters & gravy (Hmmmmmmm, g-r-a-v-y!)

docn8as
12-19-2001, 07:47 PM
Mike....after u purchase ur mill,be prepared for a slotter/shaper/slotting rig for mill/ file to clean up the corners ofthat s.s. action..( unless u use one of de Hass'ugly circular block designs)....have always been partial to hiwalls ,but in truth ,the relatively weak ballards did better in 32-40./38/55 & particularly 32-35 stevens ,schuetzen loaded....even liked the lowall in .22hornet ...,& contrary to current thought ,i once saw a lowall in 218 masburn( 218 bee w/ shldr blown out & sharpened)in louisville around 1950....it was stamped MASHBURN ARMS st louis if i remembercorrectly......i never put anything more than k hornet on them, but really beleive small head of .222 would work w/ 45000 or so pressure ....have seen some interesting alterations for rimless ctrdg on win. actions.....think if i made up a lo wall .222 ,i would short chamber it ,to make sure somebody didnt put a blue pill in it!!!
best wishes
docn8as

mike thomas
12-19-2001, 09:57 PM
Doc, I was thinking of asking your opinion of the deHaas design. I think your "ugly" answered that question. Anyway this project is quite a bit down the road. The Mauser project is coming along quite nicely. Sorta looks like somebody else made it. I blue next week. Mike

docn8as
12-20-2001, 02:12 AM
Mike .building ur own rifle is one of two firsts u will always remember.......if ur partial to the old slo rust blue look ,consider hand polishing w/ 240 -320 wet/dry& maybe LIGHT acid etch for just a tad of "bite", before tank dunking.(practice the etch on similar piece first ..%7-%10 hcl)..used a %10 nitric once to blue a case hardened action lever.( case hardened stuff likes to turn red w/out an etch)..left it on too long & turned out a dullblack parkerized finish.....if u want the modern hi shine ,forget the above. if u need to make up ur own salts ,ammonium nitrate fertilizer, %34.and household lye has worked well for 50 yrs (mixed OUTDOORS) & is easy on the pocket book.... sounds like ur well on the way to a fine rifle & can say,"i did it my way"....
best wishes for the holidays
docn8as

JCHannum
12-21-2001, 01:51 PM
deHaas round locking actions may be ugly, but they are probably very strong, look to be easy building as well. What about his Chicopee action? You can build that with only a drill press.

------------------
Jim H.

docn8as
12-21-2001, 06:55 PM
J.C.....need to go back & look at some of de haas stuff...been more than 20 yeara & maybe my CLASSIC tastes have diminished somewhat
best wishes
docn8as

JCHannum
12-21-2001, 11:31 PM
Doc, classics are still classics. Can't beat a Hi wall, or real nice Ballard or Stevens, skip the engraving, give me a nice color case anytime. But for what can be made in the home shop, you may have to make some concessions, and for the first pass these may not be too bad. There is a whole lot of learning in them.

------------------
Jim H.

KenS
12-22-2001, 07:41 AM
Asmodeus,

Not to belabor the issue--it's only that I happen to know that the Rong-Fu factory makes or has made some of both Jet and Grizzly models at times, but that isn't why I posted to you in the manner that I did. In my view, there is a relatively new machining hobbyist who began this thread possibly owning a machine and looking for pointers on how to use it. I think it is far more appropriate for him to be encouraged then for anyone to risk instilling doubt into him over something as nebulous as the relative quality of Taiwanese products and thereby discouraging him.

edited to add 'possibly'

[This message has been edited by KenS (edited 12-22-2001).]