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A little help choosing between Sieg X3 and SX3

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  • A little help choosing between Sieg X3 and SX3

    I need a little help choosing which small mill to purchase. It's likely I'll purchase either the Sieg X3 or the Sieg SX3 (I don't have the capacity for a mill larger than about 400-500 lbs., must run off of 110v) That said, here's the choice:

    X3 Advantages:
    - 5/8" longer quill; useful because I WILL be using this as a drill press frequently;
    - In theory, more rigidity because the head doesn't tilt;
    - Wider RPM range from 0-2000 (I've heard of a hack that will get it to 4000)
    - $400 less in price (would help pay for half the DRO).

    SX3 Advantages:
    - 25% more HP (a 1 HP motor as opposed to 3/4)
    - Tilting Head
    - DRO for quill is built in (semi-superfluous if I'm adding DRO).
    - Brushless single speed DC motor with belt drive. (I think the X3 is gear driven? from a universal variable speed motor? Not entirely sure.)
    - (I did not add its so-called tapping capabilities as an advantage because most reviews indicate it doesn't work well as a tapping machine.)

    If it were your choice, which model gives the advantage?

    Just anticipating a few more questions about the machine's use:
    - With either mill I'll be fitting 3-axis DRO (probably the Shooting Star model sold by LittleMachineShop), but not CNC.
    - At this point I can't see using the tilting head (but you never know what the future holds).
    - The machine will get lots of use as a drill press.
    - My skills at machining include the sum total of one college class on the mill.
    - The mill will be used as a "maintenance support" machine, to repair broken items or make replacements of broken items.

    Last edited by Bolster; 10-27-2009, 01:48 PM.

  • #2
    When I bought my X3, I ask about the same questions. I decided that I did not really need the tilting head. In the year that I have had it there might have been one time I could have used it, but my angle vice done the job. As for tapping, all the tapping I do is very small holes 1/4 or smaller and I don't think I would want to risk breaking a tap off in a piece I was building.
    I have a Shooting Star 3 axis DRO on mine and LMS table drive. Love them both. I don't think you could talk me out of the DRO. Best thing I have ever bought.
    I think you have answered most of your questions yourself. How much do you have to spend on a mill seems to be the answer. One thing to remember is, the cost of the machine is just the start, then the real expence begines.
    Buy one and enjoy.

    I would rather have tools that I never use, than not have a tool I need.
    Oregon Coast


    • #3
      Originally posted by lugnut
      When I bought my X3, I ask about the same questions....
      I think you have answered most of your questions yourself... Buy one and enjoy.
      Good point, and thanks for the reply... like you, I don't think I'd ever use the tapping function. The tilting head? Maybe. The higher horsepower? Probably. I have budgeted $2500, but the real constraint is space and weight since the garage is small and I move houses every couple of years. (I like the RF-45 alternative but at 600 lbs moving it would be a trial, even in pieces, and it's tall, too!)

      Are the variable motor+belt+gears in the X3 vs. the belt+DC motor in the SX3 an important point of difference? I've seen some people post like that's a big deal, and worth the additional price of the SX3. I understand the SX3 is quieter, but would there be any other important difference regarding the drive train? (Other than the SX3 being a full horse?)

      I don't mean to be asking questions that have been asked to death, so if you're aware of threads that deal with the whole X3 vs. SX3 issue, would you be so kind as to post them? I haven't found many.
      Last edited by Bolster; 10-27-2009, 04:28 PM.


      • #4
        I've had a Grizzly X-3 for almost 3 years and don't find the gear head the least bit irritating. In low range, it'll get down to less than a 100 rpm with excellent "grunt" torque. Plenty of power to do what I need to do and the gears aren't too noisy at all. (IMO)

        Thank goodness I changed my mind at the last moment. I ALMOST bought a round column mill because of the quieter belt drive. Geez, I'd be a raving nut-case by now with all the tool changing/up & down head moves and speed changing I do. The speed control works very good at the touch of the knob. I did get a cheepo HF contact tach/sfm meter to more accurately mark the speed control knob.

        Head tilt? Naah. It's flexible enough already...don't need to add anything else between the column and the spindle.

        I think they just wanted a higher priced version to sell. (Flame suit on.)

        "Accuracy is the sum total of your compensating mistakes."

        "The thing I hate about an argument is that it always interrupts a discussion." G. K. Chesterton


        • #5
          What helped me decide on the X3 from Harbor Freight was that I was able to use the Harbor Freight 20% off coupon.


          • #6
            Glad I searched, I have almost the same X3 vs sX3 questions, and similar uses.
            I'm still not sure, but am creeping towards a better idea.

            On the Harbor Freight front, my local shop only ever has the micro units (X2s? for about $500)

            Do some Harbor Freight stores carry the X3 models, or has someone figured out how to use the 20% off coupon via mail order?

            If so, then that would lock in HF as my vendor, and then I'd just have to decide on X3 vs super X3

            Anyone already make the decision and have any after the fact opinions?

            Last edited by roger albert; 01-27-2010, 10:43 PM.


            • #7
              Tormach has just started selling a new model that is about 2/3 the size of their original PCNC 1100 model. It's designed to be easily disassembled for moving to a basement and uses most of the Tormach accessories. It has a 10,000 rpm spindle and needs only 120 VAC service.
              Mike Henry near Chicago


              • #8

                leaning towards the X3 now, since HarborFreight has it, and not the super X3 (which I hadn't realized earlier) and their website now shows it's price as having been reduced to 699 from 999. Plus, they said I can use the 20% off coupon.

                Reading more about it, I'm confused on tapers. It mentions spindle taper as R8, which seems to be standard on some of the somewhat larger machines, meaning tooling could move if I upsized later (does this sound right?)

                Anyway, it also mentions another taper, chuck-taper, as being JT6.

                I know this should be obvious, but for this newb, it is not. What is chuck taper, and why do I care about that? (or, do I?)



                • #9
                  JT6 taper is the taper in the back of a drill chuck, I'm guessing it's short for Jacobs Taper, with the #6 denoting the size.


                  • #10
                    Robin is right, JT does stand for Jacobs Taper.

                    As for why you care, you need an arbor to adopt it to your machine; you can use a 6JT to R8 or 3MT arbor to allow the chuck to go directly into the spindle, or one that goes from the 6JT to a 1/2" shank for use in a collet.

                    If the arbor isn't included/installed (not sure on the X3), you'll need to press the arbor in somehow.

                    On a side note, does anyone know if you can use the HF 20% coupon for mail orders, or if you can have them order it do the store and still use it? The coupons do make a note that it is only valid for in stock merchandise, but this could be either warehouse or individual store stocks.