View Full Version : Benchtop mills

12-02-2003, 12:19 AM
I'm relatively new to machine shop work, and because of space requirements I bought a Smithy combination machine. Now I feel the need to add a benchtop horizontal milling machine, but I need some advice. I've been looking at Atlas and Barker, but do not understand the differences between them. Can anyone give me some general advice about benchtop machines? Are there reasons to prefer one over the other? And are there other machines I should consider? I would like to stay under $1000 if I can.

Paul Treuhaft

12-02-2003, 12:35 AM
Atlas is significantly larger than the typical Barkers I see, which are 4 x 12 table or so. They apparently made bigger ones, but I never have sen one.
The Atlas is 4 x 18, IIRC.

The Atlas also has an overarm, which not all the small Barkers have, although some do. That will allow significantly heavier cuts.

The Atlas has back gears, and often a table drive power takeoff. The Barkers I see do not.

Bottom line is that the Atlas is a much nicer machine than any Barker I have seen.

Atlas info

Here you can see the table feed drive, but not the overarm

Bad photo of Barker

The UK site has no info on Barker

Al Messer
12-02-2003, 09:56 AM
It is a shame they are not still being manufactured.

12-02-2003, 11:45 AM

The Barkers are still being made. I have not looked at them lately but most, if not all, do not have handwheels on the table feeds.

12-02-2003, 08:37 PM
A new Barker PMO -- their smaller machine with the optional overarm support is listed at slightly over $3500!

Paul Treuhaft

12-02-2003, 09:45 PM
Barkers are primarily used as hand mills for production milling of small parts. I have never seen one that is easy to use as a conventional mill. The Y & Z screw feeds are for set-up and the table X axis is opperated by a rack and pinon lever. You can also downward plunge cut with a lever feed on the head on some models. For all around use get the Atlas or look for an old Burke, Rockwell, or Hardinge. All are about the same size only the last three come on their own stand.

G.A. Ewen
12-03-2003, 12:16 AM
Hi ptreuhaft,
As you are new to this BBS and you asked "are there other machines I should consider?", I just can't resist suggesting that you build your own.




[This message has been edited by G.A. Ewen (edited 12-03-2003).]

12-03-2003, 12:23 AM
I've thought about building one, but the only plans I know about are the Gingery ones. They look to me like about three years work given the limited amount of shop time I have!

Are there plans available for this model, which looks like it is based on an engine block?

I've never seen or used an horizontal miller, so I need some guidance on what features are most important and most useful.

Paul Treuhaft

G.A. Ewen
12-03-2003, 12:35 AM
The plans for this one can be found in the Feb/Mar 2002 issue of Machinist's Workshop.