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Small mill X2 and surfacing

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  • Small mill X2 and surfacing

    I am wanting to get an end mill for surfacing in an Sieg X2. I am looking at the indexable ones. ie

    I have not even used my mill yet (got distracted after ordering...:-( )

    My question is what is a reasonable size end mill for this size machine? Would a 2" - 3 cutter be too large? I am thinking of lighter cuts covering a larger area but a 3" sounds ridiculous to me for this size mill so I am wondering if even a 2" is too large?

    Having very little experience with this, I thought I should ask before I go blindly ordering....



  • #2
    My personal opinion is that mill would struggle with a 3/4" end mill, electronic 4/5 HP not a lot of oomph.


    • #3
      I don't think an X2 has either enough power or rigidity to swing a 3 inch facemill. Does a flycutter not do what you wish to do? Lighter cuts over a larger area is the kingdom of the flycutter.


      • #4
        I was just looking at the specs of the machine because I wasn't sure what spindle speeds it has. You'll need to run it pretty slow if you want to try large diameter cutters. Anyway, I'm confused by their spindle speeds they make it sound like there's some sort of infinitely variable speed control. If it's not the right type of motor with the right type of speed controller, then running it below max speed will only give you a fraction of the motor's rated power. If it's capable of running below full speed without losing power then you could probably get away with 1/2" diameter end mill, taking light cuts. Like Sun God said, though, you may want to consider a fly cutter. Again, you'll need to run low speed. If you're running a 1" diameter HSS cutter, cutting mild steel, you'll want a little under 400rpm, I think. If you're cutting tool steel it's about half of that, even. If you're working with aluminum it would be more like 1100rpm.

        A lot of my initial frustrations with milling ended up being due to spindle speeds versus cutter diameter versus material being cut. You can find various sources online for recommended surface feet per minute for cutting various metals using various types of cutters. From there you can use a calculator like this one: to find the appropriate spindle speed.


        • #5
          I have never used a fly cutter.....perhaps that will do it. I saw a good sale on at Enco and thought I would jump on something. Glad I asked.

          I purchased an accessory kit with the machine but I expect they are a lower quality selection of end mills....and don't expect them to last long. I think one of the biggest things I will be doing with the machine is surfacing material so thought that a slightly larger, carbide insert cutter head, set for very fine cuts, might work well for me.

          I should play with what I got I guess first.....and try to be patient....not a virtue of mine....;-)

          I am very new at this and not touched the mill since mounting it on the stand. I was hoping to jump into some projects soon.



          • #6
            Longtime X2 owner here. I have a 2 1/2" 5 insert face mill that I use on occasion. It is a little big for the mill but the mill will pull it. If you are doing aluminum or soft steel it is ok. With steel, I try not to do more than .010" cuts. As for rigidity, that is a valid point, I would first do a search to see how others have upgraded the tilt in the back to make it more stable. Also, if you are going to push the mill make sure you upgrade to metal gears(little Machine shop sells an upgrade kit) or a belt drive kit. If you use the mill much, you will do this at some point. I think though IMHO the best size for a face mill for the X2 is 1.5". You can go bigger, but you have to know you are pushing the limits.


            • #7
              Newbie X2 owner here. Think about the X table travel -- about 9" in my case. To make a full pass with a 2" cutter, your work cannot be longer than 5".

              I don't have much experience with the mill yet, but I know that the electronically controlled motor in the 7x10 Mini-lathe (which is very similar to the X2 mill) loses a lot of torque in the lower RPM range. Once you get up to 25-50% power, it seems to be able to achieve some decent grunt though.

              Check out this flycutter: Obviously, you'd want a bit less diameter on an X2, but you could put two roughing bits in it for faster material removal or a roughing and a finishing bit, as Frank did, for good finish. I do not believe this type of tool would require any more spindle HP than a traditional flycutter, because only one bit is fully engaged in the work at any given point in it's rotation. Similarly, you could get a 4-insert face mill and just put two inserts in it.

              Anyway, I'd be inclined to use a 1" cutter to keep the RPM up and just take two or three passes for wide material. If the mill is well trammed (in both Y and X) the difference will be mainly just be cosmetic.

              Speaking of tram, ShawnR if you haven't already, check the base-to-column alignment as well as the spindle alignment (these are in addition to the usual tramming procedure). I just did mine last night: I had to shim up the front of the column base .0035" to align the column in Y. Thankfully, spindle alignment (AKA Rollie's Dad's) was already quite good for Y but it was out .002" over 1" in X, so I had to adjust that too. Then I could finally tram it normally.
              Last edited by tylernt; 01-14-2014, 01:08 PM.


              • #8
                The mill has a slightly bigger motor and it has a better speed control. If I were to try and face anything on that small of a machine I would look at something that uses the ADKT inserts. They make them in small sizes, 1/2" to 1" and thats about as big as I would go.