I would like to get started in this hobby. I currently make lots of wood chips and saw dust.Since I'm the guy who measures 4 or 5 times before I mess up my first wood cut, I need all the help I can get. I have made numerous jigs, guides, clamping fixtures for for my wood shop. Some to be more precise, all to be safer. A couple have been taken to the machine shop to get professionally made out of aluminum. Now I'd like to make them myself since as a kid I wanted to be a machinist, ended up a cable TV engineer, and am still a "kid" or so my kids tell me.
I've ordered my first 2 books from Amazon based on recommendations I've seen here so thanks already folks.
Most of the things I want to make are relatively simple devices. Adjustable guides and clamps, nothing exotic. As far as tolerances go, I don't believe tolerances as often discussed here apply to woodworking but, I also believe technical excellence is ALWAYS a valid goal.
So with all that said I would like to get some input on Mill Drills.
Is a Mill Drill a good way to get started?
I've seen sooooo many on the Net and seem to "think" a Grizzly(G1006) or Jet would do what I want. I want new not used/abused. I wouldn't know the difference between something wrong with the machine or is it me? I want my learning experience to be as stable as practicle within limits. As a private pilot there is saying, " a pilot with money soon has more airplane than he can safely handle". This of course contradicts my feelings that he who dies with the most tools wins.
Are Jet and Grizzly quality machines considering the cost?
Other machine Brands similar to Jet and Grizzly?
Are there any machines/suppliers who I should not even consider?
Any suggestions at all to the beginner on any topic is appreciated. My search through the local library has been without reward. Technical stuff is available but nothing as simple as the proper way to attach a vise to a table. Or maybe a glossary of terms with a simple explanation of what differnt tools/accesories are used for.Also looking to find and evening class somewhere here in CT to attend to get me started. Any On-line apprentice courses out there?
Anybody here in New England willing to take an "Indentured Servant"?
My wife is ready to throw me out since she found out the real reason why I built her a new laundry room in the basement. She did not accept my explanation that wood chips and metal chips cannot occupy the same room.
Thanks in advance folks
First of all!
"She did not accept my explanation that wood chips and metal chips cannot occupy the same room."
It sounds good to me. I wish I had thought of that.
By what you say about what you will be making a mill-drill may be just the thing for you, but be forwarned that once one has gotten a few projects under his belt and is feeling pretty good about it, one starts to think of bigger and better things to make.
And when that happens a mill drill just ain't big enough.
IMHO one should get all the machine(s) one can afford or has room (another important factor) for. In my instance I aquired an older bridgeport and an older lathe, I have since replaced the lathe with a bigger and better one. See the pattern beginning to take shape here? This does not mean that everyone will do so. I did because in my real job these were the tools I used all day every day and it made my choice easy.
One can aquire a Bridgeport in reasonable condition for $1500.00 to $2500.00. And a lathe can be found for less or more depending on condition and size.
Reading material!!!! Pick a copy of Home Shop Machinist or Machinist Workshop and you will find many advertisements for a great variety of how to books.
I am located in Linwood, Ma. I don't know where Berlin Conn. is but if you have questions e-mail me at anytime. If you are having a particular problem, or just want to talk about what you doing, getting together is certainly possible.
There are no dumb questions when your learning something new so don't feel foolish asking any question at this BB. There is a whole lot of experience in this group and all are willing to help.
So good luck in you new endeavor and I know you will find it rewarding and fun.
I do not know what you have in mind for projects, but I would recommend a lathe for your first machine. A 10" or 12" at least. With that and a milling attachment, you can do simple milling projects. If you continue with the hobby, you will find many more things for the lathe than the mill.
A mill drill is a compromise between a mill and a drill, and lacks some of the finer points of a milling machine. While a lathe with a milling attachment is a compromise as a milling machine, it still is a lathe, the most useful machine you will ever own.
I sympathise with you about your wife. Mine seems to think you should put cars in the garage.
I agree with the above posts. If you even think you might want to do some larger work, try and find a 10 or 12 inch lathe. Mill drills are good, but once the bug bites (and it bites hard too) you may well soon out grow it.
It would be alot easier to explain once to your wife about the machines than trying to explain 2 or 3 times.
One good point about starting with smaller machines is they may be easier to find as someone may be up grading to larger stuff. If you do start smaller you also may be able to help someone else just starting by selling you small stuff to them.
Welcome here. Please join in, and good luck.
Besides the he who dies with the most tools rule...(I'm winning in my neighborhood by the way), my best friend has another rule. If you've borrowed it twice, its time to go buy one. Wood and metal don't mix well, but you gotta do what you can with the space and $ you have. As far as getting started, my first mill was a milling attachment on a 9" Logan. Ive since graduated to a very nice 10" South bend and an enco mill drill. The guys are right though, I'm going to look for a bridgeport next. I'd also like to find a surface grinder and a shaper. Got all the Wood tools too.
Be safe, but don't be afraid to make some scrap metal. Clamp down a piece of metal and take some cuts and see what it does. Do some climb milling and conventional milling, and take off different amounts, and get a "feel" for the machine and discover its limits. Oh yea, I know its not the typical male thing to do, but when I get a new piece of machinery or tool, I actually read the the directions. They can tell you a lot. You might also want to check your local high school, if they still have a metal working shop as mine does, I would gladly loan some metal working books if someone stopped into my shop and asked.
Be aware of the fact that this machining thing is more of a disease than a hobby. Once you get started you can't quit. After you get the mill you're going to be lusting for a lathe. Then you'll get the machineshop supply catalogs and you'll be drooling over all the goodies that are available there, somethings you need, somethings you would just love to have. I have a rong-Fu RF-45 mill/drill, not a bad piece of equipment. I'm not sure I'd want to run a bridgeport because then I'd probably want one of those also. What I like the most about this "hobby" is when I need something I make it myself. Listen to those on this forum because they'll help you get over the rough spots,they have helped me tremendously. Welcome to the wonderful world of machining.
I bought a new Jet JMD-15 mill/drill last spring. It only took 2 days with it to realize what a PITA it was not to be able to maintain alignment while raising or lowering the head. And, 1 more day to realize that it would have been REALLY nice to be able to tilt the head left and right like the asian gearhead mills. I wanted to avoid the asian gearbox, however.
There are some newer options showing up in mill/drills with dovetailed columns, tilt heads, etc. Also, the smaller knee mills seem to be popular.
I agree with Chris on the disease thing. I jumped into home maching after around 25 years without and foolishly thought it would be less expensive than my other hobbies Now my main reading materials are MSC, Rutland and Enco catalogs. Take it slow though ... you can make lots of stuff yourself and take time to evaluate what tools give the most bang for the buck.
I'm not too far from you- over in Cheshire. I'd be happy to give you a hand and/or advise. You can e-mail me at email@example.com if you like.
Bkman, I'm sure you've heard another saying us pilots use when flying: The three most useless things while flying are runway behind you, altitude above you, and fuel in the fuel truck.
That said, it relates to this post by saying that a mill drill may be too small for your use. If you have woodworking gear then you probably have a decent drill press.
If you want to make fixtures and jigs, a larger mill and a lathe 12"X 36" minimum may serve you better.
Think of it this way, you wouldn't buy a 152 to haul people across the Rocky Mountains.
When getting a new machine, ask the question "Is this going to be too small" instead of "Is this big enough?" It may seem like the same thing, but it gets you thinking right.
On the disease thing, it isn't a disease as far as guys are concerned. It's just what guys do! Your wife WILL ask why you need it. That's a woman thing. Guys don't need a reason, it's what we do. We accumulate stuff! There is no "WHY!" Like, why don't you read the book.... Why isn't that project done... etc. My answer now is that I still set goals, I just don't put time limits on them!
Darn, I'm rambling again!