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View Full Version : US made bench mills and other mystries



Teenage_Machinist
10-20-2008, 09:24 PM
First and foremost: Why is there such a variation in the size of lathes but not in mills? Lathes range from the sherline/taig/unimat minaturist's lathes to the mini-lathe, too small to do the work of a mill, to the SB 9's and similar sized imports, up to 16x40 and larger. There are both imports and old American iron (and new) all the way. However the only american mills that I know to be common are: Taig, Sherline, Bridgeport style of various sizes be it lagun, cincinatti, ect, and a small "2/3s of a bridgeport" size that has been importified. There are import mills too, but most of them are the univerally loathed rong fu style. I see that there are mini mill, X3, rong fu style along wiht some dovetail or square column mills, and then the bilgeparts.

Any comments, or knowledge of benchtop USA made mills?

2: Who in their right mind makes an automactic tool changer for a minimill?

rantbot
10-20-2008, 09:47 PM
It seems that you're asking "why are benchtop mills made small enough to fit on a benchtop?"

Teenage_Machinist
10-20-2008, 09:54 PM
No. It is "why is there no mid-sized or benchtop US made mill?"

lane
10-20-2008, 09:57 PM
From what little I know . Most American made bench top machines were mad as 2nd operation machines for industry only. All this bench top stuff made now and imported is made for hobbyist . Are a shop may use some as a 2nd opp. machine
Small here was Lincoln millers . Burk millers Barker millers Rockwell vertical for schools and the little Clausing vertical. The Atlas machines were for home shop people.

Frank Ford
10-20-2008, 09:59 PM
There's a fine little all-American bench mill called Rusnok:

http://www.frets.com/ForumPix/rusnok.jpg

lane
10-20-2008, 10:00 PM
No. It is "why is there no mid-sized or benchtop US made mill?"
Because we do not build and machinery in this country any more . If we did no one could afford it and the company would go broke waiting on us HSM to buy it.

JCHannum
10-20-2008, 10:01 PM
Cruise the mills on Tony's site. There are plenty of good, stout, benchtop mills. Benchmaster, Barker, Childs P&W, and the list goes on.

The Rusnock is still made today as far as I know, but I doubt many here would be in a big hurry to buy one.

http://www.lathes.co.uk/index.html

dan s
10-20-2008, 10:41 PM
if you look around, you can even find bench top sized horizontal mills.
http://www.lathes.co.uk/atlasmiller/index.html

J Tiers
10-20-2008, 10:52 PM
if you look around, you can even find bench top sized horizontal mills.
http://www.lathes.co.uk/atlasmiller/index.html

Or Lewis..... bad picture (it is the one the seller emailed me) but shows V-head
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/0803/jstanley/hm1.jpg

Small but can work hard
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/0803/jstanley/slabcut.jpg

Also Jefferson, and some from the usual suspects.... varying from really benchtop, to "bench-filling" but still not huge.

lazlo
10-20-2008, 11:03 PM
Who in their right mind makes an automactic tool changer for a minimill?

I was amused at the $1700 automatic tool changer that Little Machine Shop sells for the mini-mill. Neat design, but it seems a little odd to spend $1700 for an accessory for a $400 mill? :)

http://www.littlemachineshop.com/products/product_view.php?ProductID=3134&category=
http://www.littlemachineshop.com/Products/Images/480/480.2937.jpg

Cool video of the toolchanger in action:

http://www.littlemachineshop.com/video/ToolChangeDemo.mpg

lazlo
10-20-2008, 11:08 PM
There's a fine little all-American bench mill called Rusnok:

Pretty little mill Frank. The other American bench mill that comes to mind is the Benchmaster, featured in Rudy Kouhoupt's videos:

http://www.lathes.co.uk/benchmaster/img0.gif

macona
10-20-2008, 11:16 PM
Hardinge also made some small horizontal and vertical mills. They pop up every now and then for pretty reasonable prices.

That changer is such a waste of money for a mini mill. I tried making a pneumatic power drawbar to work with the tormach tooling system. I have a small 4 stack air cylinder for a push type power draw bar and built a drawbar using belleville washers. It worked great. Until you tried to cut with it. Not enough draw pressure to hold the tool in. And i was using much higher drawbar tension than these guys system!

lazlo
10-20-2008, 11:22 PM
Hardinge also made some small horizontal and vertical mills.

The Hardinge TM/UM is a nice little mill, but since the drive system is in the base, I'm not sure that really qualifies as a benchtop?

Teenage_Machinist
10-20-2008, 11:27 PM
Seems like they all are old are unusual. Seems like if Sherline can rival the minilathes on cost, somebody should make an American version of the X3.

macona
10-21-2008, 01:58 AM
Somebody does make a American version of the X3

The Haas Office Mill:

http://www.haascnc.com/VMC_MODEL_OM.asp#VMCTreeModel

Or a tad bigger:

http://www.haascnc.com/details_VMC_NEW.asp?ID=39#VMCTreeModel

Frankly, few buying new machines are interested in manual operation.

A well built American made mill built to the standards of an old Hardinge would easily be $10k+. There is just no market for them at that price.

JCHannum
10-21-2008, 07:00 AM
Actually, the Rusnok is not too unreasonable, a bit over $3500. It is a small mill, but they are very well made. http://www.campbelltools.com/rusnokmill.html

It is not American, but these folks also have the Prazi bench mill in the same price range.
http://www.campbelltools.com/prazi/prazimill.htm

Others come to mind, Nichols for one. Maybe someone else can come up with some other names, but I seem to recall one or two others that are still manufactured. Most will be production mills, with lever feeds rather than handwheels, but they are still available for production.

oldtiffie
10-21-2008, 07:16 AM
Or Lewis..... bad picture (it is the one the seller emailed me) but shows V-head
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/0803/jstanley/hm1.jpg

Small but can work hard
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/0803/jstanley/slabcut.jpg

Also Jefferson, and some from the usual suspects.... varying from really benchtop, to "bench-filling" but still not huge.

Thanks JT.

That "triangulated" "stiffener" is the best and most effective solution to a well-known perennial problem that I've seen. Using "hangers" from over-head "arms" has not always been a good solution. It sure does show what a "(too?) small" mill can do with a good cutter if prepared properly and in the right hands.

The use of the slab mill "going for it" certainly makes the point!!

Benta
10-21-2008, 07:59 AM
JCHannum, the Prazi BF400 is just toy, where the round column will drive you nuts when changing Z location.
The F1200E is a different story alltogether, very well built and sturdy, made by Walter Blombach in Germany.

Benta.

J Tiers
10-21-2008, 08:05 AM
Tiffie, the slab mill is a bit of a ringer..............

if anything, it takes LESS power to run the slab mill than it takes to run a "plain" milling cutter..... And it beats on the machine a LOT less. So it is a little deceiving, but the pile of chips that can be produced is indeed impressive.

I just wish there were narrower cutters made with really aggressive helixes on them.

oldtiffie
10-21-2008, 08:18 AM
It's one super "ringer" though JT.

As you are aware, the reason for the spiral is to impart a series of shearing loads/cuts instead of flat out "impact" loads as will be the case if using say a straight-fluted carbide cutter for wood (think router) on steel. But to take your point, one of my pet dislikes is side and face cutters or "tee-slot" cutters with no spirals. Alternating spirals on alternating teeth make them run very well too.

If I could find spiral-toothed dove-tail cutters I would be very pleased indeed!

I am very impressed with that mill.

I notice that the spiral and direction of cut on that slab milling cutter is causing the reaction forces to push the arbor toward the mill body and so spare the draw-bolt the problem of resisting it.

Is that the mill you made the arbors for?

oldtiffie
10-21-2008, 09:16 AM
Seems like they all are old are unusual. Seems like if Sherline can rival the minilathes on cost, somebody should make an American version of the X3.


Somebody does make a American version of the X3

The Haas Office Mill:

http://www.haascnc.com/VMC_MODEL_OM.asp#VMCTreeModel

Or a tad bigger:


http://www.haascnc.com/details_VMC_NEW.asp?ID=39#VMCTreeModel

Frankly, few buying new machines are interested in manual operation.

A well built American made mill built to the standards of an old Hardinge would easily be $10k+. There is just no market for them at that price.

Loved it - simply loved it!!!

ikrase says someone in the US should make a "knock-off" of the Chinese "Seig" X3 mill-drill and mocona advises that not only is there one of 'em but several of 'em.

There's gonna be some chokin' and splutterin' when some of the "old American Iron" crowd read this.

I better be off as I'm laughing so hard that at least two of my sphincters are in over-load and about to "give way" - together!!

Which ones?

Try this list - I'm pretty sure you will know which ones I mean.

[Edit] - added Wiki link to sphincter
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sphincter
[End edit]

(I'm gonna choke if I keep this up!!!)

JCHannum
10-21-2008, 09:30 AM
JCHannum, the Prazi BF400 is just toy, where the round column will drive you nuts when changing Z location.
The F1200E is a different story alltogether, very well built and sturdy, made by Walter Blombach in Germany.

Benta.
I have not seen the Prazi in person, but by the photos of it, it looks like a variation of the Emco milling head, if not the same machine. I have two of the Emcos right now. They have a fixed leadscrew to adjust the head position which should maintain the head position when changing height. I haven't tried it with an indicator to see how accurate it actually is.

The larger machines are beauts. Looks like they are what Seig is knocking off with their dovetail machines.

oldtiffie
10-21-2008, 09:40 AM
Here's the F1200E:
http://www.mdaprecision.com/Products/Wabeco%20Products/MILLS/Mills%20manual/F1200E/F1200E.html

at:
http://www.google.com.au/search?hl=en&q=F1200E+&btnG=Google+Search&meta=

Nice - but expensive?

Benta
10-21-2008, 11:04 AM
"Nice - but expensive?"

To be honest, I don't know what the American importers are smoking. In Germany you get the F1200E for around 2000 Euro which is well below 3000 US$.

Benta.

Richard-TX
10-21-2008, 12:04 PM
"Nice - but expensive?"

To be honest, I don't know what the American importers are smoking. In Germany you get the F1200E for around 2000 Euro which is well below 3000 US$.

Benta.

Depending on when the pricing was published, one euro was worth $1.65 earlier this year.

lazlo
10-21-2008, 01:11 PM
I have not seen the Prazi in person, but by the photos of it, it looks like a variation of the Emco milling head, if not the same machine.

I never understood that either Jim. If you read Tony's entry on Prazi, it looks like Prazi is Emco.

J Tiers
10-21-2008, 07:29 PM
Is that the mill you made the arbors for?

Yes it is. And the mill helped, by cutting the keyways on its own arbors.

BTW, you will be amused to learn that the motor on this mill is about 1/4 HP..... I can't be sure, because the tag is not readable, but the size is right for that.

But with a substantial pulley ratio in two steps PLUS the back gears, the mill will pull a cutter through about anything at 30 to 60 RPM, which is actually a decent FPM of 30 to 60 with the usual 4" cutter.

Obviously it will go faster as well, but if I have learned one thing about horizontal mills, it is to cut the RPM and kick up the feed..... Then they begin to purr right through the material with surprisingly little strain. The overarm support cuts the chatter a lot.

BTW, you may have noticed that the overarm support actually is NOT as good as it should be. If I could put the fastening point directly in line with the arbor, it would take more reaction off the arbor and bearings..... As it is now, there is an ability for the Arbor support to pivot around the overarm, because only the overarm is really supported.....

The really heavy production mills fixed that by having an "H" shaped brace that held the arbor support on both sides. I can't do that with the present system, but if I ever make a new arbor support bracket, it will be included!

Teenage_Machinist
10-21-2008, 07:32 PM
Sorry for looking stupid. But there sure are not as many as lathes?


South Mend 9, 10 or larger, Myford, and also imports new and old from sub-taig size to big toolroom. But I had never heard of a non-sherline or taig bench mill made other than China and if they were common....

You see lathes from sherline to toolroomsize

Mills: Taig Sherline Chinese..... Bridgeport with the Rong-Fu styles in the middle, and not too many "old iron" bench mills, unlike lathes.

Odd that the various mills are round column.

JCHannum
10-21-2008, 08:01 PM
Did you take the time to look through Tony's website? There are plenty of bench sized milling machines that are not round column.

Teenage_Machinist
10-30-2008, 01:28 AM
Interesting.... I just saw a Benchmaster on Craigslist, and that thing was WAAAAYYYY into used bridgeport territory.

derekm
10-30-2008, 08:24 AM
Interesting.... I just saw a Benchmaster on Craigslist, and that thing was WAAAAYYYY into used bridgeport territory.
Good bench sized "old iron" mills are pricey over here too. You will pay the price of Bridgeport for a Centec 2A which is a half sized horiz/vert combo )(link (http://www.lathes.co.uk/centec/index.html)).

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Centec-2A-Universal-Milling-Machine_W0QQitemZ200242678883QQcmdZViewItem?hash=i tem200242678883&_trkparms=72%3A1298%7C39%3A1%7C66%3A2%7C65%3A12%7C 240%3A1318&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14

going for 1350

or this with a starting price of 600

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Centec-2-vertical-mill-240-ac_W0QQitemZ160294524969QQcmdZViewItem?hash=item16 0294524969&_trkparms=72%3A1298%7C39%3A1%7C66%3A2%7C65%3A12%7C 240%3A1318&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14



Both of these mills are pre 1958 but they have the vital "goes in the back of an estate car " factor.