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Top Tech Bench Knee Mill ~ R-8 Spindle

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  • Top Tech Bench Knee Mill ~ R-8 Spindle

    Hi all,
    Well here it goes I'm in the market for my first mill (I'm thinking my last .....so my wife says lol)ok so I'm looking at the Penn tool co. Top Tech Bench Knee Mill ~ R-8 Spindle http://www.penntoolco.com/catalog/pr...ategoryID=4487 I want to turn it into cnc that's basically the kind of stuff I do at work.....hey but don't quote me on that though.

    It looks good sitting here but is it a good machine?? space is a limiting factor .....well money is also (8th floor high rise building second room)

    Thanks

  • #2
    Ouch! 8th floor? There is an elevator right? I would'nt want to drag 800 lbs up eight flights of stairs...yikes!

    The belt drive should be good if limited noise is a consideration. I would also choose that style over a round column mill/drill any day.

    Someone on this board had one up for sale a while back. I dont remember who though. Maybe a search for G3102 would yield results.

    For what its worth, Grizzly sells a version of that Mill too.

    http://www.grizzly.com/products/G3102

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    • #3
      There is a Yahoo group for all variants of this 6x26 knee mill. I'd spend the evening reading the archives there.
      At $1500 it looks like a pretty good deal.

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      • #4
        I own most of the Griz version. Slowly bringing it back to operational status. The only thing "bad" I have to say (about the machine, not country of origin issues) is it could use more room between the table and tooling. It is a simple fix, if you have a large enough lathe, I just have to "guess" how much space I want, then make and install a riser.

        ------------------
        Today I will gladly share my experience and advice, for there no sweeter words than "I told you so."
        Today I will gladly share my experience and advice, for there no sweeter words than "I told you so."

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        • #5
          wow it looks good its now my desk top picture I might even make it an adventure and go get it in Muncy PA 743 miles

          Hey I cant thank you guys enough

          Marc

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          • #6
            I have the Wholesale Tools version of this mill and have been happy with it. You should also be able to break it down somewhat to move upstairs.

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            • #7
              FWIW, these are basically clones of the Clausing mill of similar size. The R-8 spindle is better than the two Clausing choices. Farbor Freight also offers a version. I believe it and maybe the Griz have the manuals on line. Charles

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              • #8
                I have the same machine... and I'm trying to convert it to cnc. x- and y-axis are reasonably straightforward, using 20mm dia.ballscrews (you just have to find the room for the nuts). the more difficult part is solving the backlashproblem on the z-axis...
                throwing out all the electronics leaves you with quite a lot of space inside the column. With very little effort you can make this a very neat machine...It's surprising that it's not a more popular mill. Try this man's site for an idea or two:
                http://www.iandalziel.co.uk/cncmill.htm

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                • #9
                  stuntrunt I got to ask you why change the screws? I really don't plan in doing so I'm just going to add stepper mottors, controler, and software to it. Now you got me thinking what am I missing here lol oh well c'est la vie.
                  Couple links for what im thinking using on this machine
                  Stepper mottor controler FET 4 model
                  http://www.stepperworld.com/

                  Stepper motors This brute will power the knee of a Bridgeport mill on a 1:1 ratio (so they say!) I don't know the needed torque to spin the knee of this mill but it sure sounds and looks right.
                  1780 OZ/IN NEMA34 STEPPER MOTOR
                  Ebay #7597281217

                  cnc software is still up in the air for now

                  Your opinion is gold to me people thanks

                  Marc

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                  • #10
                    I put some large steppers on it as well... As delivered, the machine is OK but I had a 0.3mm backlashproblem on the x- and y-axis. The nuts on those axis are a very basic split nut wihe an ajustmentscrew. you can get zero backlash but nothing will be able to turn the acme thread when you tighten it up. 0.3mm of play can be compensated somewhat by the software but it'll still show when you mill circles. Don't get me wrog, it's a very solid machine that'll take a licking no problem and no mill of the same price does better.
                    Are you really thinking of using the knee as your z-axis instead of the quill? Let me know how that goes, it's a rather heavy. I use the automatic feed that came on the x-axis to move the knee and I'm still thinking of a way to move the quill directly. here's another link:
                    http://www.matronics.com/cnc2/index.htm
                    Simple and effective (well... not the z-axis).

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                    • #11
                      <font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Schutzhund:
                      [/B]</font>
                      I can't stop staring at this picture. It strikes me that this size/type of machine is just about perfect for those of us who think we need a full-size bridgeport knee mill... but really don't.

                      I've spent two years looking for a good used bridgeport in my area (within reasonable shipping distance). Available used equipment in this area sucks. I'm done looking and am just going to buy an import. I could have been actually machining something for the last two years, instead of hopelessly searching craigslist every day.

                      The question now becomes... the pretty gray one from grizzly (two hours north of me) or the not so pretty red one from HF (40 minutes from my place) w/ 20% off coupon of course.
                      http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=40939

                      This one could be had for $1119.99 after sale price and coupon....????? Hmmmmmm

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                      • #12
                        lol Wayne02 funny cause I too have been looking for something smaller then the Bridgeport and yet bigger then the mini mills and I too can't stop staring at the picture I have the same reaction on the paint but will go for the better priced one no doubt.
                        Hey stuntrunt how goes it? about using the knee for Z axis this is more a personal matter then anything if the stepper thats advertised on Ebay can move the knee of a Bridgeport im hoping it will move this one no problem .....I hope lol hey by the way thanks for the links there great.

                        Thanks

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                        • #13
                          I have the WT version of this mill and am very pleased with it. I did a good bit of research before deciding on the WT, and found a spec on the HF machine that stopped me from that choice,---- and I never got a 'for sure' answer.

                          As already pointed out, the space between spindle and table is a bit skimpy, and thats where the HF version had a big question mark, it shows, (I think) something like 8"!! One thing that was pointed out that may be the reason for this is that HF doesnt show a stand for the mill, and the knee screw protrudes several inches into the cavity of the stand. So,--- could you drill a hole in a home built stand and gain the rest of the range, or does the HF version actually have a shorter screw??

                          My HF store doesnt carry this model, and I didnt want to hassle trying to get info over the phone, so I got the WT model ..... would be wise to find out this bit of info.

                          The WT has 12", spindle to table distance as delivered, and I pretty quickly made a 4" riser. The riser and a DC variable speed conversion has made this litte mill a real hoot for me....after using one of the mill/drills for several years
                          If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something........

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                          • #14
                            Aside from MarcusB's 8 floor challenge, in what areas would that mill be superior to a dovetail column mill?
                            http://www.industrialhobbies.com/Pro...olumn_mill.htm
                            Seems like the dovetail has better capacities and travel with the obvious exception of no head tilt or swivel.
                            Len

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                            • #15
                              <font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by QSIMDO:
                              Aside from MarcusB's 8 floor challenge, in what areas would that mill be superior to a dovetail column mill?
                              http://www.industrialhobbies.com/Pro...olumn_mill.htm
                              Seems like the dovetail has better capacities and travel with the obvious exception of no head tilt or swivel.
                              </font>
                              I wonder too why some of the guys don't look at the dovetail column mills. I have the model from penn tool and I have been very pleased with it. I have installed a dro and power feed on the x axis and it is amazing how accurate it is. I work in a machine shop full time and find that I haven't been disappointed with it as compared to a bridgeport. By the way the head will tilt 90 degrees either way, it just won't nod back and forth or swivel from side to side. It does have better travel limits and more distance from spindle to table than the knee mill also and lower speeds which helps out with the bigger drills and bigger cutters. I'm not knocking the knee mills, but I found the column mill met more of my wants when I was shopping for a mill. Grizzly also sells column mill. Well thats my two cents worth, might be worth checking out before purchasing something else. Let us know what you decide.
                              Jonathan P.

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