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I would like to get a small milling machine for some basic repairs/maching operations. I don't want to spend a ton of cash so the bigger/better machines are out. I want power feed in both directions on the table, but power down feed is not necessary. Something with an R8, or MT3 taper would be around the right size. Any suggestions, like Grizzly, or Craftex ect. Something in that price range anyway. Which machine in this range performs the best, is the most rigid and user friendly?? Their are a few options but I've owned some of the cheaper lathes and their is a difference in the quality of even the cheap stuff.

Any suggestions from you guys would be greatly appreciated, thanks

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Sorry I don't have any input. But I am interrested, how much does one of those machines go for Grizzly or Craftex? Whats the weight on one. I was looking at some used mills on Ebay that were just too huge. And the price was out there, most were 3 phase power too. Are the machines you talked about 240V or are they also 3 phase?

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most are 240volt, and in Canada a decent size is usually around $2000 to $3500 with zero tooling of course. That's where you can spend allot. Weights vary, buy heavy would sum it up.

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I work on machine tools for a living. Any mill with a round vertical section will have a hard time hold any tolerance at all when cutting in the x or y direction. (to much flex and twist) you want a heavy machine. look for a used machine like a size 1 bridgeport with tooling. A bridgeport machine will be 3 phase, so you will need a phase generator. Jet makes a mill with a single phase motor that would be fine for home use.

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I'll second the Jet brand. Not the best, but by far, not the worst.

Give Enco.com a try or J&L

Find the heaviest unit you can - weight means more material, which means more ridgidity.

For a smaller unit, like you're describing, go with an R-8 collet setup. You can find just about anything in R-8.

Take a look at the local tech schools - they may have used machinery or a line on it. Heck, go talk to local machine shops. Someone, somewhere has an old Bridgeport sitting in a corner collecting dust, wanting to be used. (I just sold one for 1000.00)

As stated, if you can find a three phase unit, go with it. Phase-Matic makes a decent little solid state converter box that will run up to 5 hp. It's simple and fairly inexpensive. (I may even have one laying around if you're interested)

Good luck!

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I agree with Whutrut. Bridgeport makes the best vertical mill, in my opinion. Very sturdy in all axes. Many of these can be found by checking out a used machinery dealer or thru a manufacturing auction. Jet now makes many models of drill stands, mills, grinders, etc. We have a few, they are great for the hobbyist, and okay for a machine shop.

Another nice feature you may want to consider is getting the DRO (digital read-out).

Especially if you are not familiar or comfortable with watching your dials. Either way you will need to learn how to use them. DRO just makes your x and y calculations simpler.

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Yeah I'd love to find a used bridgeport. I scored huge with my lathe. A colchester 12x36 that was sitting in this guys garage for years. I removed the inch of dust to find the unit nearly brand new. If I could find a similar mill I'd be really happy.

Thanks for the responces.

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I think if you hold out and watch the classifieds and have the cash in hand

you will find a nice used machine. Any tooling would be a bonus. a new vice can run $ 400-600. and a DRO would be great? they use a glass scale and have no moving parts. the same concept as digital calipers.

:banghead:

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I have a Harbor Freight Mini-Mill that I use to make my own (gasp) firearms receivers. It works great and its a small (which isn't really an asset for machine tools) benchtop machine.

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