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canonicalman
10-07-2008, 03:08 PM
I'm looking at the Harbor Freight mini knee mill vertical milling machine, #40939.
see: http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=40939

Does anyone have any experience with this machine? It looks like it could be a good small mill as an alternative to the mill/drills that are available.

MickeyD
10-07-2008, 03:25 PM
That is known as a 6x26. Generally pretty good smaller machines, they do seem to be falling out of favor to the newer dovetailed RF-45 style machines. I had the WT version of it and was quite happy, other than it was sort of small. Yahoo has a good 6x26 group, as well as the archives here.

Mike of the North
10-07-2008, 03:48 PM
I don't know where you live but around Detroit used Bridgeports come up on Craigslist from time to time for that price, if you have the room I would consider that a better option.
http://detroit.craigslist.org/tls/866809921.html

canonicalman
10-07-2008, 03:53 PM
Thanks for the comments. I would love a Bridgeport, but I don't have the room. The machine would need to go in my basement which is only accessible by stairs.

A small machine would suit most of my needs. I'm considering a mill/drill but I saw this machine and thought it would be a more rigid platform.

Do these machines have metric or inch lead screws? Can they take a standard power feed unit?

I will check the 6x26 group as well.

Peter N
10-07-2008, 04:04 PM
I had a 626 from Warco in the UK before I got a Bridgy.
Very capable little machine that can do lots of good things. However, what really made me go for the Bridgeport was the minimal 6" travel on the Y axis, which drove me mad on a few occasions.

No problem with fitting power feeds, as you can see from the Warco picture below.

Peter


http://www.warco.co.uk/productimages/pictures/003017.jpg

RobbieKnobbie
10-07-2008, 05:20 PM
They're really nice machines. I researched them a little ways back and read lots of good comments (excepting the obvious size limitations). I even went so far as to go to the Grizzley showroom - about 3 hours from me - with the intent of buying one. Unfortunately (or fortunately, as it turns out) they were sold out at the moment.

I can say that the Griz version costs a little more than the HF clone (which I've never seen in person) but the fit and finish are very nice anf it had a nice, pretty solid feel to it.

As luck would have it I went home and found a 3/4 size Enco bridgeport clone on craigslist for 1200 the next weekend and haven't looked back since.

MTNGUN
10-07-2008, 06:07 PM
Been using one in daily production (see my other thread) for five or six years, and quite like it.

No used Bridgeports in my neighborhood, so HF is a viable option for me.

It is the only mill I have ever used, so I cannot compare it to anything.

1/8" per turn of the handle.

The motor appears to be quite a bit better than the typical Chinese motor. The motor and contactors are still going strong.

I have replaced the lamp, the hinges on the pulley cover, the v-belts, and the rubber chip guard. Did some minor wiring repairs, can't remember what they were.

There was some slop in the quill at full travel. I added a couple of brass-padded setscrews to fix that.

As it comes from the factory, the bearing preload on the lead screws is not adjusted properly and gives the impression of having a lot of backlash. There is a takeup nut, find it, throw some lube on the bearings while you are at it, and snug up the preload. That's standard procedure for any HF machine tool.

It is not a full size machine, but it is not a piece of junk, either. It is a real mill, worth considering.

Fasttrack
10-07-2008, 06:42 PM
1/8" turn per handle? How in the world do you get anything done? I couldn't do it... I'm so used to .2 per rotation that I'd be way the heck off everytime I tried to move the table.

I'm so used to counting ".2, .4, .6" etc in my head each time I see the ball whir around that it'd probably take me a couple of months to un-learn the habit! :D

I looked at one of those mills too but decided that, since I already have a 3-in-1 and I now have room for larger machines, that I'd rather wait and look for a much larger used machine. It didn't seem too bad though - in fact I would put it up slightly higher in fit and finish than the other machines they had on the floor, but that may just be chance.

Mad Scientist
10-07-2008, 10:55 PM
I have the Enco clone of this machine got it about ten years ago, then awhile back added a DRO and have been very satisfied with it. It is big enough so you can make some decent sized parts on it but not so big you can’t get it into the basement.
It disassembles easily so it can be brought in in-pieces.

Highpower
10-08-2008, 11:39 AM
They're really nice machines. I researched them a little ways back and read lots of good comments (excepting the obvious size limitations). I even went so far as to go to the Grizzley showroom - about 3 hours from me - with the intent of buying one. Unfortunately (or fortunately, as it turns out) they were sold out at the moment.

I can say that the Griz version costs a little more than the HF clone (which I've never seen in person) but the fit and finish are very nice anf it had a nice, pretty solid feel to it.

As luck would have it I went home and found a 3/4 size Enco bridgeport clone on craigslist for 1200 the next weekend and haven't looked back since.
I am in the same camp as RobbieKnobbie here. I started out looking for the Harbor Freight 6X26, but none of the local stores had any and couldn't order one due to it's back order status. Also tried the nearest Grizzly outlet to me - again, none in stock and back ordered. So I started looking for something similar at Enco's web site and ran across the same 8X36 that RobbieKnobbie has. Long story, short.... I bought it and haven't looked back since either. :D

Turns out that I got my Enco mill for the same amount I would have paid for the Grizzly 6X26. My basement is very small and also accessed by stairs, and I was able to disassemble mill outside and bring in parts one at a time, and re-assemble inside.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v82/Highpwr/Projects/Mill_Assembled.jpg

canonicalman
10-08-2008, 11:50 AM
Thanks for the many replies. I suspected that the lead screws are metric, and it sounds like they are on the HF machine. That wouldn't do for me.

MickeyD suggests the RF-45 or clone like enco:
http://www.use-enco.com/CGI/INPDFF?PMPAGE=531&PMCTLG=00

Which do you guys think is better in terms of rigidity and accuracy? The 6x26 or the RF-45?

A bigger machine is just out of the question.

Corm
10-08-2008, 01:22 PM
You could always put a DRO on it, and then you wouldn't care about the metric lead screws.... Once you have a DRO, you'll never want to go back to reading the lead screw dials again

MTNGUN
10-08-2008, 03:20 PM
I suspected that the lead screws are metric, and it sounds like they are on the HF machine.

1/8" per turn is metric ???

Dunno about the diameter of the lead screws, if that is what you mean.

AlleyCat
10-08-2008, 03:55 PM
I have the Jet model JVM-626 version of this mill. Bought it new in 1986. I use it to make parts for my product line. Most of these parts are very small so I use dial indicators and rarely use the dials on the machine. The lead screws are 8 TPI so that's .125" per revolution. I have no complaints about the machine and it's served me well for many years.

smiller6912
10-08-2008, 04:01 PM
1/8" per turn is metric ???

Dunno about the diameter of the lead screws, if that is what you mean.

The PDF manual on the HF web site says that the lead screw is 1"-8 thd.

And, if it were me, I would prefer the 6x36 over the RF-45 machine just because it's a knee machine (if I did my homework correctly).

Mad Scientist
10-08-2008, 06:46 PM
The 6x26 weighs about twice as much so I would expect it to be the stronger of the two.
The lead screw on mine has 8 TPI.
The maximum table travel is 7 ¾ x 20.
(There been a few time I would liked more then the 7 ¾”)
The maximum distance from table top to collet is also 20”.

This machine is made in Taiwan which seems to have a little better quality control then China. When it was brand new I measured less the ½ thousand difference at the extremes of the table travel. However do not be to surprised when the starting capacitor in the motor explodes, I rewired the motor to run on 220volts only to find the starting capacitor was rated for 110. Also on the hand wheels there was some flashing left over from their casting process, grinding this off was the only modification that I made aside from painting it green. :D

MickeyD
10-08-2008, 11:16 PM
I really enjoyed my 6x26, it was a pleasant machine to use. The downside of it was the spindle to column distance was pretty short, and it was easy to run out of room under the spindle, especially when using a drill chuck with bit or a boring head. You can get a spacer to raise the head a little, but the spindle to column is something you are stuck with. But for smaller work, they are nice.

wierdscience
10-09-2008, 12:25 AM
Have you looked at this mill?

http://www.grizzly.com/products/9-x-32-Gear-Head-Mill-Drill-with-Stand/G0484

Same money,more daylight under the quill.

fishfrnzy
10-09-2008, 01:01 AM
I have the enco version that is about 20 years old. It has 7/8 # 8 screw. It has .125 handdle revolution. It has worked well for me. If you get this one you'll want to buy or make the 5" riser for the column if your going to do any drilling with it. You run out of height pretty quick with chuck + drill + vise. Not alot of verticle adjustment but seems pretty solid

Thomas Staubo
10-09-2008, 04:33 PM
Just to clear up a thing that I have been wondering about:

The size indication of a milling machine (e.g. 6X26), does it tell the length of travel in Y and X respectively?


.

MickeyD
10-09-2008, 04:42 PM
No, 6x26 is the size of the table. Depending on which one you get, travel is about 6" on the Y axis and 16" on the X, and the specs on most of them vary by an inch or so, depending on which way the round. This is just like your standard late model Bridgeport 9x42, which has about 12x24 in travel.

canonicalman
10-09-2008, 05:17 PM
can the head move fore and back in what is the 'ram' direction on a bridgeport? This fore and back movement of the head seems to be the reason that necessitates a movable knee to position the table up and down. If the head doesn't move fore and back perhaps the RF-45 style where the head moves up and down rather than the table is the better design?

MickeyD
10-09-2008, 05:51 PM
No, but the head can tilt right and left. plus the quill does move like on a BP.

loose nut
10-09-2008, 06:48 PM
When I went to buy my new mill I was after the 6 x 26 model but when I got to the store it was sitting right beside an ZX 45 (RF 45) and I opted for it instead. A lot more travel on the table, a much bigger table, more distance from the table to spindle etc. I most respects, with some exceptions, it will out preform the 626 and is a fairly rigid machine for the capacity. The finish on work is also very good.

Why does it matter if the mill has a knee, the RF 45 type mill head moves up and down on dovetailed ways so it is just as versatile as the 626 in that respect.

mike82352
10-29-2008, 11:41 PM
I have the HF 6x26 and am very pleased with it. I did rewire the machine and added a VFD (Just a twist of the knob to change speeds) I did this only because I already had the VFD. I have had issues with the small amount of space bettween the table and head when trying to use a large drill chuck. I just put the drill bit in a collet and this gives me enough room for most jobs. I really think that the HF and the grizzly machine is the same machine. I saw a grizzly when it was apart and it was painted red inside ( The same color that the HF is ) Grizzly does put some nicer looking handles on there machine. I would love to have a bigger machine if I had room, but so far this one has worked out great. If you buy the HF, the stand that I got made the machine about four inches to high for me, so a quick trip over to my buddys house and a few min. with a plasma cutter and the stand was four inchs shorter. Could have done it with a cut saw, but the plasma was much easier.
Mike