View Full Version : which benchtop nc mill
08-16-2009, 01:21 PM
I can't decide on either a sherline, or a taig ! What do you think??
08-16-2009, 05:27 PM
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08-19-2009, 01:30 AM
There is also Prolight mills. There is servo and a stepper version. They are pretty well made. You can pick up used ones for ~1000
10-26-2009, 07:54 AM
I bought a Taig with the larger table. Ever small LOL.
10-26-2009, 11:52 AM
I bought a Tormach to make sure it was not to small, and it has already shrunk.
10-27-2009, 01:38 AM
Another option is the new Sieg machines which are built to be CNC and not a retro-fitted manual machine
I have been lookinga the Sieg 3501 and have talked with the Little Machine Shop and unfortunately they have not sold a machine to anyone in my area (Albuquerque). Does anyone have expereience with this machine?
A general question-my needs are for small parts, some of which would be perfect for NC (bicycle parts) but others are so simple (milling flats, putting in a hole pattern) that it seems like NC would be time consuming to program. The Sieg apparently can be operated in a manual mode via the key board, how well would this work?
01-30-2011, 08:11 PM
A guy at techshop was making bicycle parts on the prolights. Man, did that take forever. And between the low power of the motor and the cheesy morse taper 2 spindle you are looking at the same thing.
01-30-2011, 08:53 PM
A Prolight is a decent machine. Any I have seen and the one I own have a R8 Spindle. It cost me $1200.00 for new software and a PCI card that would allow me to use an XP computer. One of the issues with the used school machines is they usually are seperated from their computer and therefore their controller card. Keep in mind that the controller card will not fit in a laptop.
Mine is a stepper machine that is quite accurate but it is not a large production mill with coolant and toolchangers ect.
For protyping small parts it works well. To make a lot of the same parts you might consider a job shop.
Using Rhinocerous CAD and RhinoCam it is a decent set-up for for my needs. A lot of time I hand write the code on notepad if it is a simple contour and pocket part.
01-31-2011, 10:47 PM
I have a 3501 from LMS. I think its a fine machine, well built and accurate.
I also helped a commercial shop get a 3503 running. They didnt have time to learn Mach, so I went in and set it up for them and showed a couple guys how to run it. They run production parts on it every day with good results. Its been in operation for at least 8-9 months now.
As with all machines the major factor is the size of work you intend to do. If your work will fit the 3501 is a fine machine.
02-07-2011, 11:17 AM
I have a Taig, a more "real" mill (Grizzly G3102 6x26 knee mill), and build bicycles and bicycle parts.
The Taig is small, but does pretty well for parts that fit into it's work envelope. You need to take light cuts in steel, but it does better in aluminum. My only complaint is that I'd prefer if it were better engineered for dealing with flood coolant, since flood coolant makes a huge improvement on how the machine performs. The leadscrews and ways should be better protected from the coolant than they come from the factory. The base of the machine shouldn't fill with it either.
A used Taig is a good investment and a way to learn. If you need to upgrade later you can sell it without too much of a hit (or perhaps no hit at all). They are nice machines to learn on and replacement parts are cheap. I've owned small Sieg mills (not CNC ones) and I prefer the design and execution of the Taig. It is simple but effective.
I may upgrade someday, but the only upgrade that really catches my eye is the Tormach 770 or 1100, and those are roughly 10x the cost of my used Taig.
Operating my Taig manually isn't a big deal. However I use my manual mill for manual operations most of the time. I don't know if you build bicycle frames or do anything on that scale, but I find a manual machine is best for mitering tubes and dealing with larger cutters. When you work with the CNC you lose the physical feedback that you get from turning hand cranks.
02-07-2011, 06:23 PM
You ought to try mist coolant instead. All the advantages of flood on a small machine without the mess.
02-22-2011, 12:53 PM
I had a Smithy 3-in-1 and sold it because it was too much hassle to change over from mill to lathe etc... With the money I bought a used Sherline CNC Mill package and then a Sherline Lathe. Now I can say that I really miss having R8 and 5C collets. Sherline has about everything you could ask for in accessories but I never know what I will need until I need it. One issue I can't stand is the small morse tapers especially on the tail stock, but they do make adapters. and also the small tooling capacity is an issue, but then again, I am used to large industrial CNC Milling Machines. But if you work with things that small it probably works out good for you. I don't no anything about the other brands.