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  • Mill comparison

    I'm looking to upgrade my old RF mill/drill to something better, and I need opinions and or advice on which is a better deal. Has anyone owned on of these mills. The first point is "why not get a bridgy clone", I wish, but there are a couple of reasons
    1-I could probably get one for a song now that machine shops are folding left and right but I don't really need anything that big.
    2-3PH power, not insurmountable
    3-To big, not enough room in shop
    4-can't get it to the shop, 5' wide gate downhill on grass, a disaster waiting to happen
    5-can't sing!!!!!!




    This one is the larger of the two, heavier, has 220 volt 1 HP motor but has a smaller table with less travel and is belt driven which isn't a deal breaker but a gear head would be nice.



    The second one is basically a square columned dovetailed version of the old RF mill/drills. It has a bigger table with more travel, this would be useful, but only has a 110 volt 1 1/2 HP motor.

    My main questions are:

    1--will the difference in the motors 110/220 and HP make much of a difference in power, life expectancy, usefulness etc.
    2--does it make much of a difference weather it is a knee type mill or has a movable head on dovetails for vertical alignment, some of the new Seig mills have this feature, how are they.

    Any opinions on this would be helpful, there isn't much difference in price , so it's a matter of what is the best choice and this has me impaled on the horns of a dilemma. Thanks
    Last edited by loose nut; 04-13-2008, 10:01 AM.
    The shortest distance between two points is a circle of infinite diameter.

    Bluewater Model Engineering Society at https://sites.google.com/site/bluewatermes/

  • #2
    edit..............
    Last edited by rockrat; 04-13-2008, 10:17 AM.
    Civil engineers build targets, Mechanical engineers build weapons.

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    • #3
      What are you wanting to do? That is, what type of machining are you looking at? Small parts cut in wax? Large castings? If we know what direction your headding, we can give you a good start on what to look for between the two.

      My initial thought is that the lower mill has a round arm holding the head. I have always wondered if that type of setup would move if taking a heavy cut.

      As for the one at the top, I bought my father something sort of simialr from the Green Bear. He loves it. I used it once and found it quite rigid. That mill looks similar to one that is sold at Harbor Freight. Seems that there a few fellows around here with the clone version of it. I'm sure that they will chime in.

      rock~
      Civil engineers build targets, Mechanical engineers build weapons.

      Comment


      • #4
        Rock, mostly I'm a model builder but I do some light machining for friends, car parts, gears, splined shafts etc. in brass, steel, aluminum or whatever. The pictures on your reply are reversed so I'm not sure which one is the one your father has, the one on the stand has a shaft which might twist as you said, I don't know if that's a problem or not, the other has a square column with dove tails, would it be stiffer and more stable. The description doesn't say how much vertical travel there is on the one marked zx45.
        The shortest distance between two points is a circle of infinite diameter.

        Bluewater Model Engineering Society at https://sites.google.com/site/bluewatermes/

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        • #5
          I had a 6x26 mill, very capable but ultimately let down by the minimal travel in Y (only 6"). Belt drive is not a problem, nice and quiet and perfectly capable of transmitting all the power you need, and speed changes are not really onerous.
          As for power, well my Bridgy has a 2-speed motor with 1hp on low speed and 2 on higher speed, so I think that 1hp or 1.5hp on the gear head will be more than adequate for your needs. Don't know what difference 110/220 would make.

          On balance I'd choose the machine with the larger travel, there will come a time when you want this.

          Peter

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          • #6
            Originally posted by loose nut
            The pictures on your reply are reversed so I'm not sure which one is the one your father has,
            The one you have there marked ZX45.
            He has the griz G0463
            http://www.grizzly.com/products/Mill-Drill/G0463

            The head on his does not tilt. He has to use an angle vise or other setup. Some of the mills similar to the zx45 there that I have seen have a tilting head with decent hold-downs on the head. Also, I saw one somewhere with the motor wire cover off and it had a changeover for 220v. This might not be the same on yours, but I'd check for sure if it is a decision item on your list.

            rock~
            Last edited by rockrat; 04-13-2008, 10:27 AM.
            Civil engineers build targets, Mechanical engineers build weapons.

            Comment


            • #7
              Peter, your right about changing the belts that's what I do now and it's not a big deal but the motor rating bothers me. I was always told that 220 was better than 110 because you get more work for your buck and the 110 has to work a lot harder for the same output.

              Rock, the grizzly GO4063 looks like a Seig which is similar in function to the zx45 but a bit smaller and probably a better machine. Do you find that it was rigid enough to do some serious milling, within the capacity of the machine, to make it a good machine.

              We can't get Grizzly products here or I would have a lot at there models.

              The old mill/drill I have been using for the last 22 years (and have made a lot of parts on, and I have really pushed to the limits at times) was a POS from the get go so anything would be an improvement.
              The shortest distance between two points is a circle of infinite diameter.

              Bluewater Model Engineering Society at https://sites.google.com/site/bluewatermes/

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              • #8
                Got to go back later, thanks
                The shortest distance between two points is a circle of infinite diameter.

                Bluewater Model Engineering Society at https://sites.google.com/site/bluewatermes/

                Comment


                • #9
                  I have owned a 6x26 also, but not the dovetailed ZX...

                  The 6x26 gives just about all the features of a Bridgeport, just in a smaller work envelope. The knee is -- IMO-- is just about the 'goodest' feature to have on a mill,-- however, as mentioned the work envelope is limited, especially the Y. The belts are not a problem and little more effort to change than to shift gears. It is a very solid and capable machine .... I liked it and its features so much, I moved up to a full sized Bridgeport clone.

                  I dont think the hp will be a factor either way.

                  The ZX is becoming more and more popular.... I follow the yahoo site for mill-drills -- http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mill_drill/ and the dove tails seem to be prompting more threads than the old style round column mill drills. Reaching over and back to crank the handle for raising/lowering the head prompts some comments and have spawned a spate of 'mods' to give it a boost, however my impression is that the mill is overall being received very well and finding a home in many home shops.

                  If I was just starting out,-- I really dont know which I'd pick...
                  If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something........

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                  • #10
                    Provided your branch circuit meets code the 115 / 220 volt difference
                    is of absolutely NO consequence. Volts x Amps are all that matter.
                    The horsepower difference just means a slightly heavier or lighter
                    maximum depth of cut possible, all other parameters being the same.
                    ...lew...

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Bill Pace
                      If I was just starting out,-- I really don't know which I'd pick...
                      I'm hot starting out but I have the same problem. I like the knee mill but the table size and travel are a bit small for what I do (some of the time), it looks like the zx45 model gives the same result but just gets there in a different manner.
                      The shortest distance between two points is a circle of infinite diameter.

                      Bluewater Model Engineering Society at https://sites.google.com/site/bluewatermes/

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by loose nut
                        This one is the larger of the two, heavier, has 220 volt 1 HP motor but has a smaller table with less travel and is belt driven which isn't a deal breaker but a gear head would be nice.
                        I actually think my mill is extra smooth because there is not a single gear between the motor and cutter, gears can be harsh and also set up patterns with the cutter, belts are like having a vibration damper in-between --- just my two cents.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by loose nut
                          Rock, the grizzly GO4063 looks like a Seig which is similar in function to the zx45 but a bit smaller and probably a better machine. Do you find that it was rigid enough to do some serious milling, within the capacity of the machine, to make it a good machine.

                          We can't get Grizzly products here or I would have a lot at there models.
                          I think that it is indeed a good mill for the size. Seemed rigid for what I did. My father swamped a muzzleloader barrel on it without much trouble. As for size, I wonder if Griz has a larger size. I havent looked.

                          As for the availability, what kind of taxes are you faced with when importing? Seems as though there was a thread on this a while back.

                          rock~
                          Civil engineers build targets, Mechanical engineers build weapons.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by A.K. Boomer
                            I actually think my mill is extra smooth because there is not a single gear between the motor and cutter, gears can be harsh and also set up patterns with the cutter, belts are like having a vibration damper in-between
                            Yeah, that's true about any machine tool with a gear head. The ZX45 heads are pretty noisy...

                            The 6x26's I've seen are pretty nice, and once you have a knee, you'll never go back, but the 6x26's do have a limited work envelope. On the other, it looks pretty easy to make a riser block for it, and I'm sure I've seen at least one article in HSM or MW about it.

                            By the way, the 6x26's are a Chicom clone of the Clausing 8520, which sell used for about what the 6x26's sell new. So you might want to keep an eye for one...
                            "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

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                            • #15
                              Can't speak to the little knee mill, but love my Industrial Hobbies, which is an RF45. There's quite an active community out there of those mills, while I come across the little knees less often. Could be just that I'm not looking for them as hard though.

                              One thing, if you think you'd ever CNC it, you're better off with a bed mill like the RF-45 than a knee mill. All the travels issues are one problem, but the knee usually forces you to CNC the quill rather than the table for Z, and that's a major compromise.

                              Cheers,

                              BW
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