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View Full Version : Frank Ford - Want to know about your Rusnok mill



Guero
11-10-2004, 06:49 PM
Frank, in the shop photos I noticed your Rusnok mill. When I was posted in Honduras from '96 - 2000 I used to visit a machine shop training unit set up by our Military Group, run by a crusty senior Warrant Officer. The had a Rusnok mill which was their "field deployable" milling machine. I never got a chance to look it over very carefully but have always been very curious about them. Would you mind telling me your thoughts on it? What's good about it and what isn't? I have looked on Ebay for used ones but thus far have not come across any. It seems to be a well made machine for light milling. Any input would be appreciated.
Ben Rich

happy02
11-11-2004, 08:50 AM
I once owned a Rusnok mill but traded it in on an old J-head Bridgeport. As I remember the little mill was light and had some size limitations. It has a round column and a 1/2 hp.motor and a step pulley arrangement. It used Erickson collets which were good but expensive. I don't remember the x/y travels but I don't think the table was much more than 1ft.long. The downfeed was short and I was forced to use screw machine drill bits after center drilling. It was a well made machine except for the reversing switch that I had to replace. How it would compare to the other mini mills like Shearline and others I cannot say but they look to be well made. For myself I would prefer a bit larger and heavier mill. I have been spoiled by the old Bridgeport. But if you are into small machining then the Rusnok and others of its size do fill a nich. Hope this helps.

[This message has been edited by happy02 (edited 11-11-2004).]

JCHannum
11-11-2004, 09:50 AM
The mill happy02 describes is manufactured by Rusnok. It is written up on Tony's lathes website. www.lathes.co.uk (http://www.lathes.co.uk) It is a very solid machine, and not to be compared with mini mills. I think it is still manufactured, and price will give you shivers.

The Rusnok head has also been adapted to many horizontal mills to give them vertical capacity.

Another small milling machine, this with a knee, is the Benchmaster. These are no longer manufactured, but appear from time to time on eBay. They lack downfeed on the quill and use MT#2 collets, but otherwise are very nice small machines.

Guero
11-11-2004, 11:22 AM
Thankee Happy02, John. I remember the Warrant Officer telling me that the Rusnok was expensive but also very well made. I'll start looking for Benchmasters on Ebay to get an idea as to prices. At this stage it is curiousity more than anything else as some day I hope to get a full-sized, probably Asian-built mill.
Ben Rich

Frank Ford
11-11-2004, 12:03 PM
It's a long story, so I'll spare you most of the details as to how I ended up with my Rusnok a few years ago. I have friend in Alaska who bought two Rusnoks on eBay and tried to interest me in one with missing parts. He's a bright guy with tons of machine experience, and he sold me on the Rusnok. But I outsmarted him - maybe. I called Andrew at Electro-Mecano in Milwaukee and ordered a new one. Later, my pal said he wished he'd done it that way rather than rebuilding and piecing together his machine.

Expensive - well, yes. Cost me about four grand by the time I'd gotten a full set of collets, a vise, some odds and end mills, and paid shipping.

It's small - X-Y travel is about 4 x 7 inches, and quill travel is 1-1/2 inches.

OK, those are the downsides. Other than that, it's a very well built solid little manual machine capable of holding some good tolerances when doing light milling operations. It's easy to dial out the backlash from the table screws.

This is the first machine I've owned on which I really don't mind changing the belt positions to get different speeds - the setup is very simple, slick and easy to use.

When I first looked up Rusnok on the Web, there was a skimpy web site run by an enthusiastic Rusnok owner in the Southwest by the name of Irv. He really enjoyed passing the word to prospective "Rusnokers."

In the last year I've acquired a full size BP clone (Sharp) and use it for most of my milling. It has DRO and, of course, much larger capacity. But, I won't be getting rid of the Rusnok. It's so handy to have a small precision mill that I can use for little work. Last month I needed to mill some flats on a few dozen little 3/16" shafts. Rusnok did the job so well, and was much better suited than the big guy. I can stick my face right down into the work to see what's going on, and I turn the table cranks without reaching way over to the side.

There are two models, a short and a tall one. I got the tall one, which simply has a higher column. No greater travel on the column, but more clearance over the table. For drilling I use regular jobber bits stuck right into the collets. The collets come in 1/64" increments, and each will collapse 1/32" without losing concentricity.

Should you be crazy enough to order one of these, you'll eventually get over the price, and have a swell little pal in your shop. I'm reminded of the 1921 Gibson mandolin and guitar catalog that contained this deathless and self-serving advertising line:

"Gives Satisfaction Long After the Price is Forgotten."

Guero
11-11-2004, 01:56 PM
Thankee, Frank. It sounds like the ideal mill for my little shop and I'll keep my eyes open in case I come across a used one selling for a low price. In the meantime, I'll bide my time and eventually (hopefully) buy a well-made Asian BP clone.
Ben Rich

HTRN
11-12-2004, 01:41 AM
I think Blue Ridge Machinery still sells them. They aren't cheap. The guy I bought My Sharp Knee Mill from sold his for something like $1500...

HTRN

------------------
This Old Shed (http://http:thisoldshed.tripod.com/enter.htm)

william_b_noble
08-07-2011, 01:50 PM
Electro-Mechano (http://www.electromechano.com) manufactures these mills, and they sell all the spare parts - they are very helpful. I am restoring one that was in a major fire - I am about to order $500 of parts to finish the job - the big aluminum belt housing that supports the motor melted, that is the major expense - other prices are not unreasonable (more than surplus, but much less than you would expect from manufacturer). I'm debating whether to use a VFD and a 3 phase motor, or just use a single phase motor - the motor was burned well beyond the crispy stage....

loose nut
08-07-2011, 03:28 PM
The best redeeming feature of these mills is that everything is moveable, the head moves in all plains and the table can be rotated, so they can be adjusted to a true Zero -Zero condition.

Robin R
08-07-2011, 08:47 PM
Electro-Mechano (http://www.electromechano.com) manufactures these mills, and they sell all the spare parts - they are very helpful. I am restoring one that was in a major fire - I am about to order $500 of parts to finish the job - the big aluminum belt housing that supports the motor melted, that is the major expense - other prices are not unreasonable (more than surplus, but much less than you would expect from manufacturer). I'm debating whether to use a VFD and a 3 phase motor, or just use a single phase motor - the motor was burned well beyond the crispy stage....

Is yours the one on Tony's site, it certainly fits the description you give.

hornluv
08-07-2011, 10:38 PM
Electro-Mechano (http://www.electromechano.com) manufactures these mills, and they sell all the spare parts - they are very helpful. I am restoring one that was in a major fire - I am about to order $500 of parts to finish the job - the big aluminum belt housing that supports the motor melted, that is the major expense - other prices are not unreasonable (more than surplus, but much less than you would expect from manufacturer). I'm debating whether to use a VFD and a 3 phase motor, or just use a single phase motor - the motor was burned well beyond the crispy stage....

I'm curious, why did you resurrect a 7 year old thread to say this?