Author Topic: Mini Mill  (Read 3560 times)

chips and more

Re: Mini Mill
« Reply #15 on: February 03, 2020, 11:10:32 AM »
If you have no immediate milling projects and just looking for a milling machine. I would consider something very universal and common…like a Bridgeport series I milling machine or the like. Like said, a mini mill is like a “tinker toy” to most folks. And a milling attachment for a lathe is tinker toy and then some. But don’t get me wrong, I do mostly micro machining. My chips/swarf is so small you need a loupe to see it! Would I buy an Import mini mill or lathe for my micro machining projects…NO! That kind of machinery cannot give me the finesse needed. Yes, there are folks that make darn nice projects with mini mills and milling attachments, I bow to them! But, I will use what I have.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2020, 11:19:23 AM by chips and more »


Re: Mini Mill
« Reply #16 on: February 03, 2020, 11:25:15 AM »
I should also add, I think a Bridgeport is the answer to all my questions, but they are out of my price range at the moment and the foreseeable future. The bigger question is what will get me by, learning, and making chips in the mean time until I can get one. A free clone is extremely interesting. I'm not terribly afraid of a project, and I likely am years away from making anything that requires the accuracy a grade A machine would bring.
Gisholt No. 5 Turret Lathe
Lincoln 225/125 AC/DC Arc Welder


Re: Mini Mill
« Reply #17 on: February 03, 2020, 01:34:16 PM »
Having started my machine life with a mini mill, let me tell you a few things.
1: it taught me a lot on how to work within the limitations of a machine. I broke the plastic gears within 10 minutes of owning it (no, in not kidding... I sheared a gear off with a small fly cutter on my very first cut). Lessons that helped me understand the bigger machinery. If your first lathe is a 10hp gisholt (literally!), It'll be more difficult to learn and understand feeds and speeds and the like because a machine that big will just eat up whatever you throw at it without complaining. You'll be breaking inserts or tooling and not fully understanding why. Where a small machine will give up long before the tool will forcing you to understand how to cut properly and efficiently.

2: I regretted spending so much on such a small machine I almost immediately wanted to upgrade. From the first day I wanted a bigger mill.

3: for some reason the small machines retain their value incredibly well. There are 1001 upgrade kits available to buy or plans to use to make parts to make the mini machines much better. They're not expensive to make yourself, and as such, the machines retain probably 90% of their value. So, per say, if you put a mini machine on credit and paid it off, you can sell it for cash for almost the amount you spent. Giving you cash in hand to buy a bigger machine. Which is exactly what I did. I bought the Craftex mini mill on sale for $1100, used it, learned how to machine, made parts for it (belt drive, dro kits, power feed, etc), sold it a year later for $900. I had some extra cash on hand from a job and I went and over spent on my current mill.

So there's pros and cons... They are toys... They have their place... But I'd suggest not chucking up the mini mill in the gisholt as a joke... But it would look funny...

If you have the spare time in life, if it were me, I'd take Ken's mill and rebuild it.

That's my two cents anyways.


Re: Mini Mill
« Reply #18 on: February 03, 2020, 07:02:20 PM »
Like Terry, I have a Clausing 8520. I also would rather have got a Bridgeport, but didn't have the money, space, or way to move it at the time.
I could go on and on about the reasons, but my advice would be to save your pennies and keep looking until you find what you want for the price you're willing to spend.
SB 9A, Clausing 8520, Sanford MG 612