View Full Version : Looking for recommendations...

02-18-2011, 06:20 PM
The wife decided I was over due for a big thank you, so has given me the go ahead on getting a small mill. Guess I'll keep her for awhile longer after all :-). Anyway, I have a budget of around $2000, which needs to include both the machine and some basic tooling. I've been looking at the Grizzly 0619, it has plenty of capacity for the work I anticipate doing, and will be a good compliment to my old Grizzly 12x24 lathe. But I don't know enough to even know what I don't know, yet, so any suggestions on machines and tooling would be much appreciated.

BTW, not looking for production machinery, the machining is an escalation of my airgun hobby, and will be my primary focus. Mostly working on my own guns, but with the hope of making a few bucks working for others, as well. Thanks.


02-18-2011, 07:16 PM
I have that mill's earlier brother and love it; the G0463 at over $300.00 cheaper. It has exactly the same work envelope but no swivel head, tach or fancy motor drive.

Hopefully someone here has the "Super" X-3 and will comment on how well the extra features work in the real world. I've made a lot of chips in the 6 yrs. I've had mine and it has always worked hard without a wimper. Good value for the money IMO.

By the way, if you have to price out all the tooling to the wife that you'll need long term, carefully choose the perfect candle-lit, touch-feely, rosy-glow moment.:D It NEVER ends.

02-18-2011, 08:02 PM
I just sold my G0619 and upgraded to a fullsize Tree 2UVR.

It was a good little mill for what it was, but for the same price, you can own a big boy mill. It's limited in it's capacity, and it's not all that rigid. If you don't have a lot of space and don't plan on doing a lot of steel...or taking your sweet time if you are doing a lot of steel, then it'll be fine. After having used the Tree, I'll never even consider any of the lighter duty machines again....it was a stepping stone.

My recommendation, if you have the space, is to get a used bridgeport size machine.....You can get them with some tooling used for $1000-1500...I just passed up another tree 2UVR that came with a vise and some tooling for $550...cuz I don't have the room. You'll be better off with the bigger machine, but if you don't have the room, I think the G0619 is a decent mill. Lots more rigid than the mini mill, fairly heavy (about 400lbs), and has nice features. The tach is of value, as is the quill DRO. The tapping feature is OK, but I never used it much. I did turn out some very precise work on it though.

As far as tooling goes, here's my "starter package"...much of which I still use constantly.

-Mill table hold down set ($35)
-import 20pc endmill HSS endmill set ...around $50
-import TiN coated 115pc drill set...around $50
-buy good quality taps as you need them
-get a 4" or 5" import mill vise
-2" boring head set

That'll get you started, then start picking up various angle plates, 123 blocks, little fixturing aids as you think you might need them...or you can make them. A mill is considerably more involved to tool up than a lathe, but it also becomes a considerably more versatile tool....

I like Shars for cheap tooling....in my experience, their quality has been very good compared to other chinese tool sellers.

Since you've got a lathe, you can make flycutters that are considerably better than most of the store bought stuff.
Since you've got a lathe, you can make other stuff.

02-18-2011, 10:01 PM
Heres what I got:
Otherwise known as an 'IH clone' (industral hobbies)

Its $2099.. So you'll have to wimper and whine for a little while for tooling, But another $200 should get you started if you spend wisely.
1000lbs of mill is just AWSOME though, and it disassembles into about a 200lb table, 200lb head, and 600lb base+collumn (Iv never taken the collumn off, But I suspect it would be something like 250/350lbs for collumn/base)

If you can spare the space.. id get it! If not, theres an RF45 clone for slightly cheaper.. Lot less X/Y/Z travel however.. And the extra mass of the IH clone is really nice.
Never regeted it for a second, I can totaly make it rock and roll doing cuts, And could still see doing with more rigidity.. But the next step up is $$$$.

Seriously, For $2000, the IH mill is the best, biggest new mill you'll find.
And really. thats only a tiny bit more then the $1400~ for the G0619 in the grand sheme of things.

Other alteratives... Hunt for a good used one.. but without having used a mill, you'll likey not know exactly how to test for accuracy/quality/wear. Could easily end up with a lemon.

The guys at machinetoolswarehouse give decent support too.
Not sure exactly where to get one that cheap in the USA however.