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Dovetail Column Mills

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  • Dovetail Column Mills

    I've been looking at different mills (to buy) lately and have become interested in the gear driven dovetail column mills. Grizzly has one in their 2003 catalog and there are several others out there similar to it. I have a couple of questions about the Grizzly and this style of mill in general.

    1. The grizzly has a 3ph motor so I would run this off of a vfd or static converter. Do you think the 1hp motor run like this would be too weak?

    2. The mill sold by house of tools includes a motorized head elevation device. Would this be a highly desirable thing to have, how hard is it to crank one of these things up by hand?

    Grizzly mill:
    House Of Tools:


  • #2
    I have an RF 45 that I will take over a round column any day. The column is easy to crank by hand. I do not know if the motor is a big deal. I have seen that one at House of Tools. That's where I bought by RF45 last year. I think my RF45 is a bit heavier and a bit more beefy. That mill from Grizzly does seem like a good deal but less quality than an RF45 which I think they copied.If I had to do it all over I would invest a little more in a knee type mill. Get a knee mill if yuo can.



    • #3
      I've been looking at knee mills too. The swing and spindle to table distance and X-axis stroke are very important considerations for me, the 45 style machines have what I'm looking for in this regard.

      Many of the knee mills I've looked at fall short in one of these important capacities or have some other undesirable trait. The grizzly woodmill for instance doesn't reverse and runs too fast but otherwise has enough capacity.

      I've considered the cheapest grizzly and enco BP clones and the grizzly 3616, I've also found a small bemato BP clone mill.

      All these cost more, I guess my question now would be what do you get from these machines that you wouldn't from one of the dovetail column mills?

      G3616 =
      BMT1250 =



      • #4

        If you get a 3phase machine do yourself a favor and get a good VFD - forget the static convertor. Wehn shopping for a VFD keep in mind the HP of your machine as the VFD may need to be larger than you think to proper handle the motor if run off single phase power rather than 3 phase. Mor instance, MyMitsubishi Intelligent 3HP unit is derated to 1.5 HP when operated off single phase.

        The VFD's make machining much easier.

        The machine at the "House of Fools" is acceptable, but it is possible to get a better mid sized knee mill (at least here in Edmonton) by checking with the numerous machinery dealers here. A little footwork and some homework will net you some good machines - having the money at hand to move on a choice unit when they come up give you an advantage - they seldom last long.


        • #5
          In what way are the knee mills better than these dovetail column mill / drills?



          • #6
            No machine is neccessarily better than any other. I mentioned them so that you do not close yourself off to the possiblity of a machine that might be better. Explore your options before plunking the cash down and make sure you are satisfied with the machines construction. For the size of machine, the House of tools machine is not bad, and does have some heft but you can get better if you look.


            • #7
              One thing to think of is if you ever want to go to three axis cnc you'll most likely like a bed mill better.