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Used mini milling machines?

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  • Used mini milling machines?

    I'm trying to find used mini milling machines. I'm going to be making small knives, small tools, and small gears to run different things. I'm having trouble finding any of these small bench milling machines. I was told to look under RC on the web, but was unable to find what I needed. Does anybody know were I can find one for a reasonable price. I've almost come to the conclusion that I am going to have to make one. I saw an old one made by Twister that would have fit the bill (with a few modifications), but the owner was not willing to part with it. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!


  • #2
    How mini do you mean?

    try , , , or any or the line suppliers sunch as grizzly, Enco, Travers, balh, blah, blah.

    Rarely is anything good cheap, so be prepared for sticker shock. You would be well advised to look for full sized equipment if you have the space as respectable gear is going to cost you one way or the other. There is no free lunch, unfortunately.

    if you are unsue as to what to buy and you have no experience I highly recommned that you finde a school or colledge that offers a class to get you aqauinted with the equipment before even bothering to run out an but anything. My reason for this is that once you have some experience you will be able to tell if you really want a machine and what you will to put up with and wthat is unacceptable in a machine and the accessories. Note also that small machines usually have a premium attached to them as far as attachments go, wereas the dead serious machines (Emco, Wabeco, Prazi) use industrial tooling.

    [This message has been edited by Thrud (edited 11-16-2002).]


    • #3
      E*bay will have them posted once in a while. Depending on where you are, shipping might be as much as the mill, so consider carefully and don't let a bad case of " I want it" cloud your thinking. Harbor freight and grizzly have shipping fixed and in the long run it is usually cheaper.
      Personal experiance has left me with some wisdom that I would like to share... You will rarely use / need / want to mess with a mill in knifemaking. You will use a small lathe ( mini or jewelers size )all afternoon, but almost never need a mill.
      As you comptemplate your needs, keep that in mind. I have a 3 in 1 that I got many years ago that I use on my knives.It has been almost perfect for that application, and depending on where you want to go , it might be a consideration. Small gears and small tools fabracation would depend on what you consider small, and what kind of material that you are machining.One last thing to keep in mind. Machining is additive, the chips get in your blood and you become obbsessed with trying something new, over and over. You'll dream all night about how to make something, and then spend all day thinking it over some more. Food will lose it's appeel,and friends will stop talking to you.Beware of the darkside of getting a lathe or mill.
      I agree with Thurd that a night class at your local tech school will enlighten you alot.


      • #4
        I agree with the comments above; in addition, as a Sherline 5400 mill owner, I'll say that it's a good mill for truly small work.
        I upgraded to a Prazi 450 which is about 30% larger, but at 3 times the price! I'm happy with this mill too.


        • #5
          Until a year ago, I'd never ran a metal lathe in my life. I bought and re-built a old South Bend lathe and turned it on for the first time, November 2001. I'm now on my second lathe (sold the SB) and now own a mill drill with VFD and DRO. I've spent a couple, three, thousand (at least!) in the past 12 months for tooling and misl stuff. Don't buy the first tool!! You can never go back!! Enco and MSC catalogs will be your reading material instead of TV. You will join newsgroups and learn about differant ways to do metalworking. Your wife will always know where to find you and metalworking magazines will be read cover to cover when they arrive.
          Don't buy that first tool... take up golf or something else... you can never go back!
          Retired - Journeyman Refrigeration Pipefitter - Master Electrician - Fine Line Automation CNC 4x4 Router


          • #6
            How about the one sold by Micro Lux??


            • #7
              It depends on what you consider as reasonably priced. The small machines just don't seem to often be sold, as folks find out how useful they are, and hold on to them.

              Unless you are building complicated folding knives, a mill isn't that usefull. If you are planning on building such knives, then you will have to put out the $ on a machine that will be capable of the accuracy needed.

              Building your own tools is possible, but it's sort of a catch 22 situation. You either already need to have a machine shop to do the work, or you need alot of time to do it with minimal tools. Time that could be spent earning $ to buy a tool that will likely be better then what you'll build, and you'll likely get it quicker as well.

              As was mentioned, check out sherline and Taig. They make good accurate tools that are reasonably priced, and do superb work within their limitations.


              • #8
                Homier ( sells the same mini mill as harbor freight and grizzly, but for 100 bucks less. It's $399.00. To read a review of the mini mill, go to www. and follow the links.


                • #9
                  I followed your suggestion and learned that the Homier/Grizzly handwheels move things in 1/16" per turn. MicroLux moves .050" per turn of the wheel. Do any of the mini mills have .100" feed per turn?


                  • #10
                    I have known many knifemakers over the years. I am a traditional knife maker, that forges and grinds a lot. But many knifemakers do use mini mills, micro mills and the same sized lathes. Several that I visit from time to time, have CNC machines these days.
                    I have started to use my mini 7 x 10 mill to mill the edge bevel on the blade. To do shaping for articulated (I know too big a word)handles. The uses are limited by the operator and his pocket book. I still use my homemake 2 x 72 belt grinders, my large set of files and many other tools, but some things will change with my knife making process.



                    • #11
                      I think it may already be too late for me. I am constantly looking thruogh old tools and scrap metal for things that I can use to build a machine. I looked through the entire Grainger's cat. and got a whole bunch of ideas on controls that I could incorperate. Where I seem to bog down is deciding which motor to use. Is there an industry standard as far as voltage is concerned ie. AC or DC, and why. If I had the money I think I would invest in a CNC machine. Oh the thing I could make.



                      • #12
                        For $20,000 you can buy a brand new Haas Toolroom Mill. can be used as a manual or CNC. I would buy one of these long before I would buy a new Bridgeport (soon to be made by Hardinge, we hope) or a Quality clone. Great machine.

                        HSM and MW has ads for them now.