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Milling Machines, Horizontal Vs Vertical

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  • Milling Machines, Horizontal Vs Vertical

    Hi Folks,

    Been looking around for a decent miller. Finding lots of horizontals and verticals, but not much in the universal that I can afford. If you had to choose, would you go for a horizontal or vertical and why? I'm aiming for eventually making model hit and miss engines from casting kits. Any advice appreciated.


    PS Any particular models or features you'd require?

  • #2
    Go for the vertical. It's much more versatile, and if you really need to do horizontal type of milling or slotting, then you can get an attachment which will allow you to do that.



    • #3
      Vertical, definitely. Being able to X-Y position to drill and bore holes is extremely useful. Sometimes I wish I had a small horizontal mill as well, but not enough to go buy one.

      If you can fit it in, go for a good used Bridgeport. There are a gazillion around, the prices are generally pretty resonable, and it's true "industrial quality."

      For a smaller, new machine, take a look at the Jet JVM-626.
      Try to make a living, not a killing. -- Utah Phillips
      Don't believe everything you know. -- Bumper sticker
      Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
      There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
      Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
      Don't own anything you have to feed or paint. - Hood River Blackie


      • #4
        The main thing that makes a vertical turret mill so handy and versatile is the sensitive quill. As in a handle like a drill press, this makes power tapping, reaming and such easy to do.

        One can do almost everything else with a horizontal machine, but they lack that sensitive quill. Also for production jobs the horizontals can be more productive with multiple cutter set ups like straddle cutters and such.

        For everyday work a Bridgeport of clone can't be beat. Some of the clones are good, I've got a Roundtower made by Yung Fu, good machine.

        I was thinking the other day that if a fellow had a mill drill and a shaper, not much that couldn't be done with the pair. But a Bridgeport is much handier.


        • #5
          What you want is a small vertical turret mill, also known as a Bridgeport type. With what you are making you will be drilling,boring, milling, flycutting, ect. Horizontal attachments also available.
          Universal mills where I come from are horizontal mills with a swiveling table. In a tool and die shop they have specific valuable functions. In a home shop in my opinion their use would be limited. With what you are making you may not even use the thing. Vertical all the way.
          Good Luck, Steve


          • #6
            If you have the space go for one of each.

            I have a Clausing 8520 vertical knee mill that is perfect for my needs and bought a Clausing 8540 horizontal mill a while back. The 8540 is not yet operational and making it so is pretty low on the priority list as the vertical mill is best for my present jobs. They are both 1,000 lbs or less and can be pretty easily disassembled and moved to a basement shop.

            Mike, near Chicago
            Mike Henry near Chicago


            • #7
              Oil can,
              I would go for the vertical, there is no comparison for the sort of work you are talking about. A right angle attachment on the quill may come in handy now and again.
              I agree with LTC Steve, A "Universal" mill is not a combination of horizontal and vertical. It is a milling machine where the table is supported by a housing which swivels on top of the table, in a horizontal plane. This allows the milling of helices, eg milling flutes in drills, helical gears etc.
              You can get a milling machine with both horizontal and vertical spindles which is not universal.
              I don't want to offend anyone, but I would recommend a 2nd hand Bridgeport-size over a new smaller Mill/drill. Of course you need more room, and there may be problems if you don't have 3 phase power, but they are much better. Try and get as many "extras" thrown in as possible, eg vice and collets can be expensive for good quality.


              • #8
                I have a universal milling machine, with both spindles, and the table doesn't swivel. However it does have a vertical table, with a horizontal table that bolts to it. (Figure that one out in your head)
                Really a nice machine, outwork a BP any day, any way.
                David from jax
                (Yes I have a 2J BP to compare it to, and it is a Maho 600P)
                A serious accident is one that money can't fix.


                • #9
                  I have a universal, vertical horizontal machine. With this there is such a variety of work that can be done. I have only every used the universal table capacity once to do helical work. That universal feature would probably not be necessary unless you would like to get into some very ornate, decorative or die making work. My machine is a Dalih which resembles the Cincinnati machines but much more accurate and user friendly (my opinion). I would suggest the horizontal machine with the vertical head would be the best choice.


                  • #10
                    If you want a neat machine, find a sturdy horizontal, which is usually not hard to do cheap. They adapt a vertical head to the overarm. This was done a great deal in the past, Kearney Trecker had a stock piece to do this. That way you get best of both worlds, except for the ram extension of the Bridgeport clone. Also, most horizontals of any size come with powerfeed on all the axis, which is a plus. A Van Norman with an adapted Bridgeport head is a fantastic machine, able to do more than either machine could alone. Of course, if you have the space, having one of each is the way to go.
                    James Kilroy


                    • #11
                      I have a Rockwell Vertical/Horizontal mill available in NJ. More info here:


                      • #12
                        I'll add my vote about "universal" mill. If you ask for one of those you'll get a mill with an extra table axis (rotation). I don't see combined horizontal / vertical mills often. When I do they seem to be called, somewhat mysteriously, "horizontal / vertical mills".

                        Some mills can be arranged as either horizontal or vertical mills, though not both at once. The old benchtop Bench-Master comes to mind. Kearney & Trecker made some horizontals with big vertical heads powered off the horizontal spindle. Hardinge made a similar attachment for their UM and TM horizontals, although those mills are more often seen with a conventional Bridgeport M head fitted (or the H head, a Bridgeport head sold by Hardinge).

                        Horizontals equipped with vertical heads don't have the pivot axis around the column - the feature Bridgeport named their "turret" mills for when they were introduced in the late 1930s.


                        • #13
                          This is a horizontal and vertical mill.

                          Its Russian from Stankoimport. Has 2 motors and 2 12 speed gearboxes , power feed on all axis. Not your everyday find.

                          No you dont screw it to the wall the picture is rotated 90آ°


                          • #14
                            here see the picture the right way, whats up with that? silly?


                            • #15
                              <font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by sauer38h:

                              Horizontals equipped with vertical heads don't have the pivot axis around the column - the feature Bridgeport named their "turret" mills for when they were introduced in the late 1930s.
                              Mine does


                              through to


                              explains what is going on.

                              The mill is an Elliott O2 universal Omnimil, it's based on the Elliott/Victoria U2 horizontal mill, which was once very common in the UK and elsewhere, & it has a turret head fitted. One end of the turret ram carries the self-powered vertical head, the other end acts as the overarm for horizontal arbor support. mine's from the late 1960's. It *is* a universal mill, with swivelling table.