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Best manual mill for 'dream shop'?

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  • Best manual mill for 'dream shop'?

    Hello all,

    I'm Ken, a longtime lurker, and I just joined up.

    It's easy in my area to find good machine tools, and so I am thinking about finally building my 'dream shop'.

    I'm wondering what is the very best true industrial manual mill? I'm looking for what would be considered a mill equivalent to a Monarch 10EE lathe.

    Basically, what would you buy if you were given a chance? Bridgeport, Tree,
    or 'other'?

    Thank you,
    ken

  • #2
    Originally posted by ken5881
    Hello all,

    I'm Ken, a longtime lurker, and I just joined up.

    It's easy in my area to find good machine tools, and so I am thinking about finally building my 'dream shop'.

    I'm wondering what is the very best true industrial manual mill? I'm looking for what would be considered a mill equivalent to a Monarch 10EE lathe.

    Basically, what would you buy if you were given a chance? Bridgeport, Tree,
    or 'other'?

    Thank you,
    ken
    First, tell us where this cornucopia of high end tools is. I may want to move there, or at least visit!

    I don't have the experience to give you real advice, but I've never felt bad having a Bridgeport. I bought on name brand, and condition of course.
    Dan from Raleigh, NC

    If it's stupid but it works, it's not stupid.
    _____________________
    "What is your host's purpose for the party? Surely not for you to enjoy yourself; if that were their sole purpose, they'd have sent champagne and women over to your place by taxi." P.J. O'Rourke

    Comment


    • #3
      A Deckel FP1 with all the bells & whistles would be a good starting point.

      http://www.lathes.co.uk/deckel/index.html
      Jim H.

      Comment


      • #4
        Frankly, I don't think you should choose the absolutely best mill. Since you're buying used and, presumably, going to put it in a home shop, I'd suggest something that is good yet easy to find parts and tools for and have them more or less affordable.

        In this respect, I'd vote for a Bridgy in a decent condition with power feeds and DRO.
        Mike
        WI/IL border, USA

        Comment


        • #5
          Mill

          A Deckel is really and truly a high end machine, but I would find it very inconvenient not to have a quill for drilling, reaming and tapping. The Bridgeport style of mill became the popular one out of a lot of designs for a good reason. It's quick and easy to do the most used operations involved in milling and quick and easy to adjust and change over. There are a lot of copies to choose from, some may be better than B'port, but that is a rather subjective call. Whatever you get, a DRO will make all your projects more accurate and more enjoyable.
          Last edited by Toolguy; 10-07-2010, 10:24 AM.
          Kansas City area

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          • #6
            Geez, what fun. My Tree is hard to beat, and I think much stouter that a B'Port, but a Deckel FP2 in the corner... or how about a B&S Omniversal..or a Abene...or a Huron...now were talking.
            Last edited by daryl bane; 10-07-2010, 10:37 AM.

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            • #7
              Sounds like you could have a few machines - how much space do you have? Monster Cincinnatti horizontal mills are going dirt cheap and would make a nice second mill.
              Last edited by jep24601; 10-07-2010, 12:10 PM.
              "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel"

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by daryl bane
                Geez, what fun. My Tree is hard to beat, and I think much stouter that a B'Port, but a Deckel FP2 in the corner... or how about a B&S Omniversal..now we're talking.
                The Excello 602. Bridgport on steroids -- massive knee, oversized quill, the head extension joint done right.

                I posted this comparison awhile ago:

                Deckel FP-1 1200 lbs X: 11.8" Y: 6.3" Z: 13.4"
                Bridgeport J-Head: 1900 lbs
                Beaver Mk II VBRP: 2138 lbs
                Tree 2UVR: 2500 lbs
                Lagun FTV-1: 2750 lbs
                Excello 602: 2900 lbs
                Deckel FP-2: 3300 lbs
                Wells-Index 860: 3600 lbs
                TOS FNK 25: 3740 lbs
                Deckel FP-3: 3750 lbs

                The FP-1 is a tiny machine, with a tiny (and weird) work envelope. If you're looking for an uber machine, the FP-2/3 is more equivalent to the "toolroom" verticals.

                The other ultimate mill, IMHO, is the Index 860 -- horizontal/vertical. It's massive, beautifully made, and the horizontal spindle acts as a riser for the vertical spindle.
                Last edited by lazlo; 10-07-2010, 11:17 AM.
                "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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                • #9
                  The Deckel does have a quill, but, the dream shop would have dedicated drilling and tapping machines as well.
                  Jim H.

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                  • #10
                    I have an Aciera F4 next to my 10EE. They are in the same league as far as I am concerned. The colors even match. The F4 is bigger and heavier than a Deckel FP1 but slightly smaller than an FP2. My F4 has 40-taper spindles, but 30-taper was standard. The F4 vertical quill is the slickest I've seen on a mill. 40-taper is way, way better than R-8 in terms of rigidity, and tooling is widely available and cheap on eBay.

                    In my mind, the uber-machine to have next to your 10EE is a Deckel FPxNC with Dialog 4 control and a flip-head style vertical head (6300 RPM). Despite being a 1986 design, it is still close to state of the art for onesy/twosy type jobs. You can buy a brand new Kunzmann, but it'll set you back the price of a small house.

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                    • #11
                      To answer MrDan's question...

                      I live in central WI, within easy trailering distance of Milwaukee, Chicago, or Minneapolis, and Detroit is across Lake Michigan from me. Of course, I'd go farther for the 'right one'.

                      Yes, I am thinking about filling a home shop. I can't think of a better time to find good tools due to the economy, and if I'm going to do this right I'm looking for the absolute best I can find.

                      What would I like to find? Right now I'm looking for both a vertical and horizontal mill, built anytime since WWII. DRO's and power feeds are not that important to me. Accuracy and quality is, though. Bridgeports are fairly common around here, and I have tried a Tree vertical mill but it wasn't in very good condition. I saw an Excello awhile back but it had multiple issues.

                      Thank you,
                      Ken

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                      • #12
                        That would be a Deckel FP3. The FP1 is too small. Of course it would be completely refurbished by Franz Singer.

                        But I have to admit, I always liked the Huron head.


                        Nick

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ken5881
                          DRO's and power feeds are not that important to me.
                          Thank you,
                          Ken
                          Why no DRO? I'd rather have a good DRO on a so-so machine than no DRO on the nicest manual mill there is. Have you ever used a DRO? Once you do, you'll never look back. If you're OK with buying a best-in-class machine, then I'd guess you have $$$ for a DRO.

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                          • #14
                            Once you do, you'll never look back.
                            No, I think he is right. No stinking DRO.
                            But don't trust him when he says that we all life in the same century.


                            Nick

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by rklopp
                              Why no DRO? I'd rather have a good DRO on a so-so machine than no DRO on the nicest manual mill there is. Have you ever used a DRO? Once you do, you'll never look back. If you're OK with buying a best-in-class machine, then I'd guess you have $$$ for a DRO.
                              I putzed around on my Sq Column mill for a year or so and finally mounted a DRO, man I will never look back. I love having the DRO on the mill.

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