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Mill accesories

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  • Mill accesories

    As in anything, I know there will be a learning curve. Now being ready to purchase the neccesary tooling to make chips, I would love to draw on everyones experience. Like where to skimp on name brands, and where not to, as well as sizes of things, what tooling, etc. I do not have anything, not even a vice. My budget to get going is near 1K. My usage will be fabricating componets associated carts, motorcycles, and engine mods. I typically like to buy American, or atleast not Chinese. Although I also understand the value of a has taken a couple years to get to this point. As alway's, the direction and experience is very apreciated.

  • #2
    If you don't mind the yahoo groups, there is one for these machines - good source of info

    Kurt clones seem to be the vise of choice. Most use 4 or 5" size but some use the 6".

    You'll also need a clamping kit - the cheaper ones seem to work just fine.

    Selection of endmills - size & type depends on the type of material you'll be cutting. I've had good results with Polish made.

    R8 spindle? - collets or endmill holders sized to hold the endmills.

    Get a drill chuck with it? If it's like the one that came with my RF 30 it's completely useless as a chuck...not heavy enough for a doorstop...not bad as a paperweight. Expect to invest in a decent chuck (unless you get a better one with the machine)

    Did you get a brazed carbide facemill with it? I suggested - use it till it's dull, then buy a good carbide insert replacement. Dedends on how much face milling you do. If you do buy a facemill, don't go too large. These machines don't have the rigidity for it. I use a 2 1/2" and wouldn't want any larger.

    Boring head is a nice item to have. I bought an import with a set of carbide tipped bars.
    Works well...and much less $ than name brand.

    Guess I'll leave it at that for now.

    Good Luck!

    [This message has been edited by Herb W (edited 11-13-2002).]


    • #3
      Hmmm...let's see.

      My general strategy is to buy the best I can get of things that get a lot of use. If I'm going to use something only twice a year, I'm less finicky, as long as something of lesser quality will do the job.

      SO: that means, really good collets. I got Hardinge. With a milling machine, you can get by with three (3/16", 3/8", 1/2") if you really need to, and five (add 5/8", 3/4") will cover just about everything, so buying really good collets doesn't need to be horrendously expensive. In any case, I can see no reason to buy more than those five to start with. If a specific need comes up for another size, buy it then.

      Also a really good vise. I've got a 4" Kurt. In the perverse nature of these things, a 4" Kurt costs an amazing amount more than the more common larger sizes. I'm not sure the 4" Kurt is necessarily better than some of the top-quality imports, at least not twice the price better, but whatever vise you get make sure it's a really good one. It's one of the use-it-all-the-time items. A rotary base is marginally convenient, but you won't use it much. Probably better to put the money into a rotary table (below).

      A clamping kit is worth the money. You can futz with pieces of threaded rod and hardware store nuts and such, but the convenience of having the ready-made set, with step blocks and all, plus a rack to store everything, is worth the money.

      A good drill chuck. A Jacobs plain-bearing chuck, 0-1/2", will be adequate. I've got one on a 5/8" straight shank, which is a little cheaper than the R8 shank. It goes in my 5/8" collet.

      At some point you'll need a boring head. The Criterion boring heads are really nice, but I've got a 2" round "quality import" clone from Travers Tool that I can't find any fault with. Get the shank to match your spindle taper, R8 or Morse or whatever it is. A boring head gets a significant amount of side load (unlike a drill chuck), and holding a boring head with a straight shank in a collet does NOT work anywhere near as well as having a boring head with an R8 shank. Guess how I know this....

      A rotary table will be more generally useful than a rotating base for your vise. If you need to rotate the vise, put it on the rotary table. Get a horizontal/vertical model, and it can take the place (somewhat) of a dividing head. As for size, it seems as though it's never large enough, becuase you need so much space outside the workpiece for clamps. I've got a 9", and that's often smaller than I'd like. It is, however, probably a reasonable upper bound for being proportionate to the size of my milling machine and also being about at the limit of what I can lift. I got it used.

      Check out used machinery dealers for all this stuff, expect perhaps the drill chuck. Used drill chucks typically seem to be pretty bad. Used collet can also be pretty whacked, but it is possible to find good ones. Heck...ANY of it can be pretty whacked, but if you're selective, used accessories can be a good deal.

      [This message has been edited by SGW (edited 11-13-2002).]
      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
        Thank You!


        • #5
          the basic setup for your mill would be:
          1. a vise, 4" or 6" Kurt clone - Taiwan made is best - avoid India and China
          2. R8 end mill holders 3/8", 1/2" to start with. Most endmills 9/16" or less can be bought with 3/8 or 1/2 shanks. I prefer end mill holders to collets in this range - much beefier and hold the end mills better (Bison is an excellent import from Poland)
          3. a reasonable set of parallels, imports are fine, just not the real cheap ones.
          4. a decent keyless chuck, Rohm Supra is a good performer and the proper R8 to J?? adapter to go with it.

          that will get you going without spending the rest of your mad money. I believe you said you purchased your mill from Penn Tools - they are also a good choice for most of the above, but the Rohm chucks are on sale from Enco this month for less than $60 !

          good luck


          • #6
            One of the items you might like is a fly cutter. This is a good item to make and is a good learning job, too. The others have stated alot of good info. Read it a few times to make up your list. Good luck.


            • #7
              The three most important things for the mill is: (These can also suck all the money out of yor pockets!)

              1)collets buy good ones as you need them and good endmills

              2)clamping kit - Teco and Mitee-Bite make some nice clamping attachments - you can never have too many clamps (welders & wood workers old saying)

              3)reliable vise 6". A Kurt Anglock or similar is the norm.

              My preference is hardened steel vises like a toolmakers vise (smaller work) or Girardi Modular vises (the King, baby!)

              My Swedish friend prefers a large 4 jaw chuck for most milling he does.

              Cutting tools - if you already know how to mill buy T-15 or carbide right off. Otherwise HSS until you lern how not to screw them up then T-15, M-42, or Carbide. You will also require a good bench grinder to sharpen HSS tools. Many of the older guys will mave a bone of contention with my recommendation of buying the better quality cutting tools (especially for newbies) but I have always found the slightly higher cost is justified in longer life, superior cuts, and superior quality.

              Get/make a Dividing head or rotary table as you need them - they can often be picked up at industrial banckruptcy sales for little money.

              Boring head should always be mounted on the native spindle taper of the machine id est: R-8, MT#2,3 NST30,40,50 etc.
              ***Do not buy them with a straight shank and expect to get good work out of them in a collet***

              A VFD is handy down the line if you do not have one, as is a power drawbar.


              • #8
                After I purchased my RF-45, the gentlemen of this forum recommended a 4 in. vise, so I purchased a taiwan kurt clone from Travers in the 4 in. size. The 6in. would be a real pain to move around because of the weight. The 4in. is about all I want to lug around. The name on the vise was Benato and of decent quality,after I removed the sharp edges. I'm happy with it for $150 with a swivel base.



                • #9
                  Thanks to everyone for thier time!

                  I did end up spending most of my 1K budget. I spent a chunk of it on a Kurt 4in. w/ swivel base. Other items were, a Precise clamping kit, a couple Bison holders, Rohm chuck, some Japanese collets.

                  I have alway's believed in paying for quality (can't say I have alway's fallowed it), and hopefully it being a greater value down the road.

                  Have compiled a "need list", and will pick away as needed.

                  I must add, my experience with the guy's at Penn Tool, has been super.

                  [This message has been edited by ochster (edited 11-14-2002).]

                  [This message has been edited by ochster (edited 11-14-2002).]