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  • #31
    Originally posted by TexasKnifeMaker
    From there, I am recommended the Micro mill/drill (item 47158-5vga from HarborFreight); the Sieg X1 for $320. The mill is truely the solution to my 'real' problem of cutting slots in the guards for my knives.
    Jacque, you really need to go to Harbor Freight and look at the X1 in person. It's a tiny little thing -- you can almost put it in your pocket

    Are you making the guards of your knives out of stainless? I'm not sure that X1 will give you nice finish in stainless...
    "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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    • #32
      If the only milling job you've identified is cutting the slots in the guard, I'd still suggest getting the lathe, first. You can do so much more with the lathe, including cutting the slots you need, that I think you'll find it more useful than a mill, to start with.

      Shop around, and don't let anxiety force you into buying something (anything!) until you're sure it'll do what you want. The mini mills are capable of doing fine work, but they are limited, even more, I think, than the mini lathes. If you can fight the urge to spend your money, immediately, you'll be better served with larger, more rigid machines, and they don't have to cost any more than the new imports.

      Having said that, don't let me talk you out of getting what you want, even if it's not what I've recommended. We used a round-column mill/drill and a 7" lathe to make some beautiful knives, and turned a tidy profit. You can do it, too.

      Comment


      • #33
        Originally posted by kevindsingleton
        The mini mills are capable of doing fine work, but they are limited, even more, I think, than the mini lathes.

        We used a round-column mill/drill and a 7" lathe to make some beautiful knives, and turned a tidy profit.
        Kevin, he's talking about the Micro-mill, not the mini-mill. I did some relatively heavy work on a round-column Mill/Drill, but that's a 750 lb, 2 HP machine.

        The Sieg X1 is a 100 lb, 1/8 HP machine:

        http://www.harborfreightusa.com/usa/...bCategoryName=

        By the way Jacque, Harbor Freight has a bullet-proof return policy, and those little mills are small enough that you can pick up the cardboard box and carry it out of the store. You might consider swinging by your local Dallas Harbor Freight, looking at the Micro-Mill and the Mini-Mill, and then bringing one home to try it. If it doesn't do what you want, just bring it back within 30 days...
        Last edited by lazlo; 05-06-2008, 02:08 PM.
        "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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        • #34
          Thanks for your patience here, guys. Taking the first step is the hardest. From what everyone is saying, a fella should really have a lathe and a mill. If I get the lathe with milling attachment, I have very limited milling capabilities and being able to mill is the basic problem I'm trying to solve. If I get just a mill, I have no lathe turning capabilities at all. So, If I get a milling attachment for about $150, I have enough money for a Microlux 7x14 with a face plate and both rests for $750. If I step up to a HF micro-mill for $320 I can spend about $450 for Cummins 7x12 which includes face plate and rests (if ToolsNow.com ever gets them back in stock without changing the price). If I go to the more powerful mill, the HF mini 2-speed at $580, I have to wait until I have a bit more money to buy a lathe (the Cummins being the least expensive). The lathe that really looks best on paper is the LatheMaster 8x14 with accessories for around $920 (incl's s&h). But, that leaves no room for milling - which is the original problem. Anyway, I plan on a trip to Harbor Freight later this week. I have not seen a review on the LatheMaster machine. Does anyone have any experience with that one??

          You guys really don't know how much I appreciate your opinions and you trying to help me get started.
          Thanks,
          Jacque

          p.s. - I know I'm nowhere near being capable of this - I need experience and training first. But, can anyone point me to a website or a book on making cap'n'ball pistols. If I'm going to do more than my knives with the lathe/mill that's probably the direction I'd go. They would complement each other.
          Eagon Leather & Knives

          Comment


          • #35
            Originally posted by TexasKnifeMaker
            So, If I get a milling attachment for about $150, I have enough money for a Microlux 7x14 with a face plate and both rests for $750.
            Milling on a lathe is a dicey affair, even on a 1500 lb machine. Don't expect to do any serious milling on a 7x10/7x14 lathe.
            "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

            Comment


            • #36
              Check out the Cummins web site for a mini mill. They have the same as the HF mini mill but for $399 plus shipping.
              I am knifemaker also and purchased a HF mini mill a while back. It works great for slotting guards and I am finding many other uses.
              My next purchase will be a Cummins 7x12.
              Last edited by nc cooter; 05-06-2008, 08:03 PM.
              Mike Broach

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              • #37
                Lazlo - you and others have been pretty consistant at saying one should get a big enough tool for the job, get the most you can afford, and, I think, most importantly, get the RIGHT tool for the job. I have been worried about milling on a lathe - it sounded like using a screw driver for a hammer. Might get the job done, but - - -. Mike Broach, you have hit the nail on the head. I had not noticed the mini-mill at ToolsNow.com before. I'm assuming that is the Cummins site refered to. That $400 mini-mill combined with the $400 7x12 lathe is the perfect starter solution for me, also. I already have my name on the call list for the 7x12 (they are out of stock) and when they call, I will order both. Wish we were neighbors, we could share. This isn't cast in stone. I'd still like to hear opinions on the LatheMaster 8x14.

                Jacque
                Eagon Leather & Knives

                Comment


                • #38
                  I bought a milling slide attachment when I got my 10x24 bench lathe in the early 1980s. That was a much sturdier lathe than the 7 or 9X jobs. You can see it in the background in these photos:

                  http://www.eurospares.com/sl125mx.jpg

                  It only took a couple of attempts to do anything before it became obvious that for my needs milling on the lathe wasn't going to do the jobl, and I bought a new 9x42 B'port clone.

                  If you are doing knife stuff a decent sized mill/drill is probably going to be adequate, and way more useful than a milling slide on the lathe.

                  cheers,
                  Michael

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    If you only have room for a small machine, then you only have room for a small machine, but dabbling in blacksmithing and more recently knife making myself, I think you'll find that a mediums sized lathe is more usefull. Something like a SB 9A or similiar would be great. (Or bigger )

                    Right now I have a Smithy Midas 1220, their smallest model. The lathe portion, maybe a 9 by 30 is about the right size for most stuff. I've used it to make all sorts of accessories for my anvil.


                    Your post did make me wonder though ... just for the purpose of putting a slot in a guard, why not hot punch it or even cold punch it with a home-made hydraulic press? You wouldn't need an excessive amount of force just to punch little rectangular holes in say 1/8" or 3/16" steel. Personally I would think about spending some time and making a hardy tool - sort of a swage block and fuller - for hot punching. Or just buy a 20 ton or larger bottle jack from HF to make a press to punch your rectangular slots.

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Fasttrack
                      Your post did make me wonder though ... just for the purpose of putting a slot in a guard, why not hot punch it or even cold punch it - - - .
                      You'd still have to hand fit it to the blade with a file. I have done this by just drilling undersize holes to start the slot and doing the final fit with the file. It's very easy to overshoot the mark and have a slot that's too wide or not square to the blade. I think the mill will have a great advantage. The guard still needs to be press fitted on. And, control of the mill must be manual, if you want to call the knife 'handmade'. Any CNC work makes it 'machine-made' IMHO.
                      Jacque
                      Eagon Leather & Knives

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Jacque, if you want the Cummins lathe, you better get one pretty quick. Their tool truck spent all day yesterday in my little town. The lathe was 399. and their sale flyer stated they were selling all Cummins branded stuff, because of a court mandated liquidation sale. They might be coming to a location near you.
                        James

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          Originally posted by J. Randall
                          their sale flyer stated they were selling all Cummins branded stuff, because of a court mandated liquidation sale. They might be coming to a location near you.
                          James
                          Well, I called them, again. And, again, they told me that they had the mini-mills in stock; they were out of the mini-lathe because of popularity - couldn't keep them in stock; and they had more lathes on order. I don't know if they are lying to me or to James. But, they doen't seem to be telling us the same story. I am a bit confused about their products in regards to metric vs. imperial. LMS says they are metric; their person on the phone said they are 'both'; they don't indicated either in their adverts. Does anybody know for sure?? I'm about to give up on ToolsNow.com and go the Micro-Mark way. Micro-Mark says they are imperial, have metal gears and a load of other attractive things, just not accessories (faceplate and rests are not included).

                          Comments about ToolsNow(aka Cummins) or Micro-Mark??

                          Jacque

                          p.s. ToolsNow will have a truck sorta near me (60-70 miles) next week. If I can get a good feeling about ToolsNow, it would save a lot of money. Thanks.
                          Last edited by TexasKnifeMaker; 06-29-2008, 12:08 AM.
                          Eagon Leather & Knives

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            Decision Made

                            I finally found the LMS page that compare mills the same why they compare lathes. All the mills are imperial (some are marked in both; but the movement on all except the Microlux is 1/8" or .0625". The microlux is .050" and they try to imply that the others are metric. Oddly enough, all of the corresponding sellers lathes are metric except for microlux. Anyway, the ToolsNow truck will be at a town 70 miles from me next week. I will attempt to buy both the lathe and the mill from them at that time. Here's the comparison charts

                            http://www.littlemachineshop.com/Inf...he_compare.php
                            http://www.littlemachineshop.com/Inf...ll_compare.php

                            My Thanks!!! to all who helped me thru this. The education has been great.
                            I'm going to start a new thread next week asking for suggestions on books for a beginner.
                            Regards,
                            Jacque
                            Eagon Leather & Knives

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              No, No, back away form the crap shack on wheels. Get a South bend 9. That's the real deal like a Peter Wright anvil. The SB9, is the Ford F150 of lathes, the lathes from even 50 years back still get more coverage in the press ("hey that's my lathe on the cover'), more add on parts and tools for them. It's the Remington 700, the 1911, it just so happens they aren't made any more, but they are deep discounted and available all over the place.

                              I personally wouldn't buy a lathe to do the job of a mill, but milling guards is pretty simple application. If one were to describe the lathe in mill terms, it is designed to vary cutter depth and side to side position, but not to center the guard under the cutter. So to the extent that your guards are of similar width, or can be easily jigged to correct center, you are going to find it easy to do the job on the lathe.

                              What you would do is, insert a block of metal in the place the tool holder goes. Square it to the spindle by running it up against the spindle/faceplate/chuck and tightening it down. Back that off and insert say a 3/4" cutter in the lathe chuck or collet system. Bring the block back in play and advance it and traverse it until you have milled a slot in the block. Remove the block and drill screw holes into the top so you can retain your guard with grub screws. If you are using 3/4" brass guard stock you now have a custom fitted fixture to center it to the slot mill every time. Heck, if you had a mill you wouldt just have to adjust it more to get it to return to center. The good news is you still have 3 sides for other guard widths.

                              Many of us have been down the mini tool, combo tool, Chinese tool path already. I wish someone had pulled me aside when I bought mine.

                              You can use your lathe, or mill to make a lot of useful knifemakers things:

                              Gas burners; forge parts; Alex Macdonald rolling mill; 2x72 grinder parts; tube bending dies; skull crusher finials; parts for trip hammers; etc... a lot of these good things are big for a mini mill and could be frustrating to turn given the cutting power of some of these tools.
                              Last edited by Blacksmith; 05-09-2008, 03:36 AM.

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                              • #45
                                Well, I finally made it to Harbor Freight today to see the mini-mill and the 7x12 lathe. I was pleasantly suprised by the size of the mill - just a bit larger than I expected. a mini-mill will suit me just fine for the milling jobs I have in mind. But the 7x12 size lathe - an other story - small does not begin to describe this lathe. I don' think you could make anything larger than toothpicks with it (I do exaggerate - I'm sure it's ok for really small stuff). But they did have a 9x20 size for comparision. That's more like what I pictured in my mind. So, for my cramped shop space, the smallest that is now considerable is the 8x14 LatheMaster. I couldn't find any 9x20 South Bend's on Craigslist or Ebay. If any one knows of one, I'm open to suggestions.

                                Many thanks for all your suggestions and help.

                                Hope I can return the favor some day.

                                Jacque
                                Eagon Leather & Knives

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