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What mill to buy to match my 12" lathe

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  • What mill to buy to match my 12" lathe

    Hello all- Nice info on this forum. I am a marine engineer that does hydraulics, mechanical, welding and fitting, diesel, and electrical. I have never touched a lathe or other metal shop tools.

    I am just now retiring and in the process of trying to put together a small machine shop for my property. I am thinking about being able to do some small machine work to accompany my other skills that will supplement my retirement.

    With that in mind I just bought out a small home shop that was closing down. I got an Atlas/Craftsman commercial 12" lathe, metal band saw, drill press, 400 rpm mag drill with a 1" chuck, a Dipstick 160 mig/tig/stick machine with high freq attachment and a stand up belt/disk sander. That was 2500 delivered to my container.

    How about that for leap of faith. Sight unseen off Craig's List. They dropped it at my dad's house a few hours back and he said it all looked in good nick. Crazy hu?

    Now I want a mill that will fit with the tools that I already have. I have a small budget and am looking for ideas? I see some mills off Ebay or Craig's List and the Central Macine at Harbor Freight seems to get good reviews for 1000 bucks. I am looking for a mill that will accompany the 12" lathe that I already have.

    Also I see on Harbor Freight there is a 9" lathe that is getting good reviews for about 800. Is that just crazy imported junk or it that worth having? I ask because I have a container that I am shipping back to New Zealand so I want to get as much equipment that I can use at one time.

    Also are there some other tools that I should be loading up on? I am able to buy used in the states now and am sending a 40ft container to our home in New Zealand. In NZ I can also buy similar tools, as well as new China imports. There is just something about the older, heavy tools that seems "right."

    I know these questions may sound a little "newbie" but I'm hoping to get a head start from the knowledge of the group.

    Thanks for any advice you all might have.

    Scott

  • #2
    Originally posted by yachtwork View Post
    There is just something about the older, heavy tools that seems "right."
    not your fault, but this is the most tired old debate there is. The reasons for what you observe is the difference between something being built to a performance standard for commercial/industrial use....and something built to the lowest price possible for weekend warriors with big budget constraints. There is no comparison imo.....however I also do not know how people buy machines sight unseen at a distance.....so its a conundrum. The HF stuff seems bottom of the barrel.

    The "right" mill for your situation is a full sized vertical knee mill. Bridgeport is the most common, but there are other slightly heavier excellent choices (mine for example is an XLO).

    all just imo of course
    Last edited by Mcgyver; 12-29-2016, 11:29 AM.
    in Toronto Ontario - where are you?

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    • #3
      Agreed, you'd be best off getting an older industrial grade machine for sure. But if space is a concern, there are a couple of smaller knee mills, I guess you'd call them pedestal mount, one made by Rockwell and one made by Clausing, you see them from time to time if you keep your eyes peeled. Since they're such conveniently sized knee mills for most home shops, they tend to command a premium though. If you have the space you can pick up the bigger machines for less, so a Bridgeport-sized knee mill would probably be the best all-around bet if you could accommodate it. Tree and Lagun seem to pop up in my area every now and then, and of course there are always some Bridgeports around... but it can be tough to find a Bridgeport in good shape, and they seem to sell for more than they should.

      Where are you located? Knowing that might help us to help you.
      Max
      http://joyofprecision.com/

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      • #4
        at the least a Clausing 8520 or a Rockwell. don't even look at a mill drill.

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        • #5
          Looking at the OP, it appears he will be shipping from somewhere in the US to New Zealand. A little consideration of the US 120/240V 60 Hz vs 220V 50 Hz down there might save in the long run.

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          • #6
            Knee mill, Bridgeport or better. Of course I would say the same thing if your lathe was a Sherline...

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            • #7
              Here I'd buy a Bridgeport as parts are always available & resale is always higher.

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              • #8
                Brideport, hands down
                If size is an issue, the older (pre 1960 ) Brideports had 9 " knees (Y travel) and step drive J heads that came in just under 2,000 pounds weight
                The later models had 12" knees and varispeed J heads that can weigh over 2300 pounds (approx)
                The 1940's model had a smaller "M" head ......just make sure if you look at one, that it has the Morse taper # 2 spindle !

                Rich
                Green Bay, WI

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                • #9
                  If you can find a Burke/Millrite vertical mill, it will be easier to deal with size-wise and it is still a very capable machine. I've had one for 15 years now and only a very few times have I run out of table travel. I think it would be a good fit with your other equipment. I particularly like the vari-speed head on mine.
                  Southwest Utah

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                  • #10
                    Many 32" table Bridgeports out there if space is a problem. I'd get a J head over an M head as it has a 5" quill travel vs 3.5" & R8 collets. Millrite made a horiz/vert mill I believe, that would be a very handy machine.

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                    • #11
                      What mill to buy to match my 12" lathe

                      My Bridgeport is circa 1950, with the step pulley J head. I prefer the step pulley and vector drive VFD combo. It's simpler, and easier to maintain. Lathes you can get by with smaller sizes if needed. With milling machines, you always want the mass and rigidity, if nothing else, expensive end mills last longer.


                      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by mars-red View Post
                        Agreed, you'd be best off getting an older industrial grade machine for sure. But if space is a concern, there are a couple of smaller knee mills, I guess you'd call them pedestal mount, one made by Rockwell and one made by Clausing, you see them from time to time if you keep your eyes peeled. Since they're such conveniently sized knee mills for most home shops, they tend to command a premium though. If you have the space you can pick up the bigger machines for less, so a Bridgeport-sized knee mill would probably be the best all-around bet if you could accommodate it. Tree and Lagun seem to pop up in my area every now and then, and of course there are always some Bridgeports around... but it can be tough to find a Bridgeport in good shape, and they seem to sell for more than they should.

                        Where are you located? Knowing that might help us to help you.
                        Great information. Where am I located? Funny you should ask. I am in the Caribbean working on a boat, thus the buying sight unseen. My container is in Sacramento California and it will all be shipped to Whangarei New Zealand.

                        Thanks again to the forum for the help and information

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                        • #13
                          I have this and it has served me well. I also have a 12" lathe.

                          http://www.globalindustrial.com/p/me...FQgJaQod12cMvA

                          I got it on ebay for less than 1k.

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                          • #14
                            Here's a Lagun mill in the San Francisco bay area:

                            http://www.ebay.com/itm/LAGUN-REPUBL...cAAOSwo4pYRo0R

                            Lagun is like a heavy duty Bridgeport. Well built. They are still business so parts are not an issue.

                            Mike

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                            • #15
                              Wow, what great info. Okay, a used Bridgeport milling machine it is.

                              I am seeing Bridgeport milling machines on Ebay from 1500 to 5k. I guess that old thing about condition, and what tooling comes with it. Just to be sure this is the type of thing I am looking for?

                              http://www.ebay.com/itm/Bridgeport-M...QAAOSw5cNYPJb7

                              Anybody on the forum around the West side of the USA that might have a Brigeport milling machine feel free to PM me.

                              Thanks again.

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