Page 1 of 6 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 60

Thread: Column vs Dovetail for new mill

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Posts
    5

    Default Column vs Dovetail for new mill

    Hi,

    I am looking at getting a small mill/drill to learn/practice a bit more machining and to make small projects.

    I have about $2000 NZD (ish) to spend, noting that I will need to spend almost the same again for tooling.

    After a lot of research I decided that I wanted a dovetail machine.... However, at my price point I have also looked at a round column mill/drill and on comparison of the specs (cutting capabilities, motor size, belt vs geared etc)the round column seems to give more bang for buck....

    But it is round column and there would be the indexing issues unless I modded it.

    Here are the links to the two machines. What would you guys go with?


    https://www.machineryhouse.co.nz/M650

    https://www.machineryhouse.co.nz/M121

    Ps. I have kept an eye out for 'old iron' as well and had a bid on a Harrison Milling Machine last week. However I have a Hercus lathe to restore when I have time so really could do without a lot of work for this tool.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    379

    Default

    https://www.machineryhouse.co.nz/M123

    You'll regret scrimping $500 to go with the much scrawnier, smaller Optimum machine, and the round-column mill-drills are not a workable option due to column indexing issues.

    As much as I loathe HAFCO, they're pretty much the only game in town down here. Their imported RF-45 (dovetail mill drill) clone is basically the cheapest level of fit and finish available that still works, so if there's another importer I'd definitely take a look at their version in person and compare the fit and finish and quality.

    I would also do my best to avoid the MT3 spindle on a milling machine. Try and go for a self-releasing taper like R8 or a 30 taper spindle. MT3 always seems like a good idea at first, but beating on the drawbar gets real tiresome.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    USA MD 21030
    Posts
    4,705

    Default

    I have a Harbor Freight round column mill-drill that I bought for around $600 in 2003, and it has worked out pretty well. I used a Bridgeport in the machine shop class I took in 2016, and I was able to do most of the class projects using my mill at home.

    So the first mill you are considering is about $1650 before tax:


    Your other choice is about $100 more, and is the round column type. It does have a slightly larger table 820x240mm compared to 700x180.


    My main objection to my mill is that it is difficult to adjust the quill for Z-axis, while the dovetail column type offers more precise vertical adjustment. The electronic speed control is more convenient than the belt drive on the round column, but may not offer as much torque. I would go with the M650 dovetail machine.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    29,672

    Default

    I use the knee enough on my mill that I recommend going with the dovetail column type if there is any way to do that.

    It happens that I do not have a quill on the vertical head (it is a horizontal with added vertical head), but even with a quill, I probably would have had to move the head a fair bit, judging by how much I often need to move the knee up and down. This is usually in cases where I need to do some milling, and then drill holes without changing the setup. The length of drill plus the chuck exceed the capability of the usual quill movement.

    You might evade that issue for drilling by using a collet chuck setup for ER collets, so that you could use drills or end mills in the same holder, especially if you had a set of screw machine length drills, which are similar in length to end mills.

    But even so, the dovetail column is just a lot nicer to use, whether it is a knee and column type, or, presumably, a bed type mill with a dovetail column, such as illustrated in first picture of last post above.
    1601

    Keep eye on ball.
    Hashim Khan

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Edmonton Alberta
    Posts
    1,200

    Default

    X2 on what JTiers said,I used a round column Belt Drive Mill Drill for 25 yrs. I upgraded to a lot bigger gearhead knee style Mill and really like it.The RF 45 gearhead Mill-Drill with dovetail column would be a great machine.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Chilliwack, B.C.
    Posts
    11,369

    Default

    I have the round column, and it now has a guide bar attachment to keep the alignment. Works well, and I find that I seldom use the ability to rotate the head around the column- almost exclusively the vertical alignment is what's important. Depth of throat is important, so look at that when you're checking out dovetail machines.
    I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    Helsinki, Finland, Europe
    Posts
    2,658

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave022 View Post
    Hi,

    I am looking at getting a small mill/drill to learn/practice a bit more machining and to make small projects.

    I have about $2000 NZD (ish) to spend, noting that I will need to spend almost the same again for tooling.

    After a lot of research I decided that I wanted a dovetail machine.... However, at my price point I have also looked at a round column mill/drill and on comparison of the specs (cutting capabilities, motor size, belt vs geared etc)the round column seems to give more bang for buck....

    But it is round column and there would be the indexing issues unless I modded it.

    Here are the links to the two machines. What would you guys go with?


    https://www.machineryhouse.co.nz/M650

    https://www.machineryhouse.co.nz/M121

    Ps. I have kept an eye out for 'old iron' as well and had a bid on a Harrison Milling Machine last week. However I have a Hercus lathe to restore when I have time so really could do without a lot of work for this tool.
    If milling use only I'd take the dovetail column if you don't have any bigger parts in mind. Preferably with something else than morse taper.

    If you don't have bench drill I'd take round colum mill as it has 105 mm extra working space between table and spindle and is much more usable if you need to drill something.
    The dovetail column version has only 350mm between table and spindle and that sucks as soon as you add drill chuck and vice.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Toronto Ontario Canada
    Posts
    732

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MattiJ View Post
    If milling use only I'd take the dovetail column if you don't have any bigger parts in mind. Preferably with something else than morse taper.

    If you don't have bench drill I'd take round colum mill as it has 105 mm extra working space between table and spindle and is much more usable if you need to drill something.
    The dovetail column version has only 350mm between table and spindle and that sucks as soon as you add drill chuck and vice.
    I had only a small round column mill for about 10 years.
    It was all that was available and reasonably priced when I bought it in 1981.
    I found it a wonderful step up from using a vertical slide. However, I supplemented it with a large horizontal mill, and later replaced it with a small Knee mill.
    In my view any mill is better than no mill and a big strong mill is likely to give long term satisfaction.
    Regards David Powell.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Buffalo NY
    Posts
    4,059

    Default



    Of those listed, this is the only one I would consider. The other dovetail column mill
    is considerably smaller than the one I have pictured. It just looks big in the web site
    photos. Don't waste you time on anything less than this one. You will not be happy.

    -Doozer

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    NW Illinois
    Posts
    614

    Default

    I would also suggest the Rong Fu 45. The smaller machines that lack step pulleys or back gears are severely lacking in toeque at lower speeds.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •