|42 forum posts|
Does anyone here own or has used this mill with any success,
I used to own a Sieg SC2 and quickly upgraded to a Myford ML7, i'm worried that i will have the same experience with the mill but at £1500 from Arc with the prep service it's a lot of money to play with and you don't get anywhere near the amount of metal you would for say a bridgeport, but unfortunately i don't have the space for anything bigger than the Sieg.
Am i going to have to spend the rest of my life making the mil work properly?
Many Thanks in advance for all your help!
|John Stevenson||24/05/2011 08:21:01|
4386 forum posts
Sounds like you won't be happy with less than a Bridgeport.
366 forum posts
I can never understand why anyone would,when buying a machine for hobby use would want to pay to have the thing stripped down, cleaned, and deburred by someone else.
What better way to find out all about the thing, than to D.I.Y. My feeling is that if you are not capable of doing this, then how are you going to make anything worthwhile with the thing.
For what it may be worth to you Nic, I recently bought a Chester Champion 20V and am very happy with it..( It is about the same size as the X3 ) I did strip and clean it, and it needed the minimum amount of ajustment to start producing decent work.
Having said that, unlike some folk who use this site, I am quite happy to work to a few thou, and do'nt seek to work to half an electron
P.S. I have no connection to Chester UK
|Nicholas Farr||24/05/2011 10:32:54|
1386 forum posts
Hi, I've been stripping down cleaning/repairing and rebuilding machines, a lot of them more complex than your average hobby machine, all my working life. It started when I was first able to use a screwdriver, because if my toys could come apart, then they did. My mother once asked why I used to take them apart almost five minutes after I had them, and apparently I said "to see how they work"
Disassembling machinary is not everyones cup of tea, and if you don't have the ability or confidence to take a brand new machine apart and rebuild it, it can be a very expensive learning curve.
Some people can use machines to make and build things that they have a control over, but don't always know, or need to know how the internals of the machine works. I would prep the machine myself, if I ever bought one.
Edited By Nicholas Farr on 24/05/2011 10:36:17
|1007 forum posts|
I would bet that machine will work inside a thou - mostly its down to the operator, and a state of mind. Not a state of mind about fanatical accuracy for accuracy's sake, but because if you machine a slot or something, the bit you have made has to fit something else, and things work better if they are straight and level and to depth and dimension. So you can, for example, allow for expansion when things get hot, so they work first time as intended. And so forth.
Which saves a lot of grief and wasted effort - it also allows you to make certain things. Certain parts of Stirling engines have to be made to very fine limits. Certain parts of Ramon Wilson's small 2 strokes need to be dead on, or they'll never start. So being able to work inside a thou is not to be sneezed at, and it keeps the scrap bin empty.
Going on from that, 2 points.
It is as easy towork to a dimension as not - all you have to do is set the dial correctly?
If you have an accuracy problem, generally the job has not been secured properly, or the dials/leadscrews are not too hot, in which case it is very easy on most mills for £20 -£30 to fit the digital vernier type readouts in lieu of a full DRO if that is acceptable, and then all one has ot do is be able ot control backlash.
As for this machine being OK or not and subject to upgrade in the next few minutes - unfortunately no one can help you on that. You have to decide what you want to make on it, and then work out, in general terms, the largest component you are going to have to fit on it. (or accept that for certain things you will have to sub out)
Have you actually handled one of these machines or gone to see one in the flesh at an exhibition? Do you like it?
There is I suppose a general suggestion one can make about milling machines- you get the biggest, heaviest, most stable with the longest table that you can fit in the workshop, becaue one can normally always do a small job with a big machine, but it is less easy to do a big job on a small machine, and, other things being equal, surface finish is usually dependent on mass and the ability to absorb vibration.
56 forum posts
Hi Please read Nicholas Hannigan post. again
|Steve Garnett||24/05/2011 11:44:57|
|837 forum posts|
I should say at the outset that I don't own one of these, but I did consider one at one stage. You don't appear to get loads of people saying not to touch them with a disinfected bargepole, or anything like that, and of course there are CNC conversions for them - which imply to me that they must be pretty stable machines, otherwise there wouldn't be a lot of point in doing the conversion.
The one thing that I definitely would consider though is getting the extended table version, as mgj suggests. I think that I'd far rather spend the money on that than having Arc doing a job that you can perfectly easily do yourself. Indeed, from what you are suggesting it almost sounds as though you don't trust them to do it anyway?
But ultimately, none of us can tell you absolutely whether this mill is suitable for you, as we don't have any indications at all of what you want it to do. My only experience at all of Sieg mills recently has been what happened to my bro-in-law. He has a much smaller one (X1 I think), and has managed to push it beyond its limit, smashing up the drive train in the process. But when you consider what he was trying (and up to a point succeeding) to flycut with it, I'm amazed that it attempted to do it at all. He made himself a dovetail flycutter out of 5 inserts mounted around a 2" diameter body, and apparently got on quite well until an expensive noise emanated from the drive assembly...
Upon reflection, I think you'll get on fine with a larger one!
|Les Jones 1||24/05/2011 12:21:57|
|1753 forum posts|
I have had an X3 (NOT SX3) for s few years and I am happy with its capabilities. If you are used to the rigidity of a Bridgeport then you will have to get used to taking lighter cuts.
|65 forum posts|
I have had one of these for nearly a year now, and it Was prepared by Arc. I don't have the space or the lifting gear presses ect to strip it down fully, and anyway wanted to get on with using it. Mine is excellent. Quiet with the DC brushless motor. Powerful and will flycut at 2" easily in cast iron aas well as using carbide facing cutters. The only trouble I have had is when trying to tram the tilta\ble head level I did not read the instructions and turned the locking knob anticlockwise and broke it needing a head strip to repait the mechanism which was more difficult to lift than you might expect. I yhave the long table and it is a bit tedious to wind all the way with no power X axis feed but one could make one or import it from over the pond. The manual is a bit basic, but the one for the Grizzly equivalent is freely downloadable and much better. I am happy with it therfore. It is my first mill and so I potter about learing how to use it but I have not regretted the outlay to date, in fact i wonder why i didn't buy one before!
Hope that helps
366 forum posts
mgj. you are right about the machine, I was being a bit fatuous. With a cheap DRO fitted i recently drilled over 1500 holes 2mm dia on 3mm centres in 1.5mm brass.
Had them checked in the standards dept of a local world class manufacturer, and all were correct to + or - 0.01 mm, and that will do for me
|Ian S C||24/05/2011 12:44:43|
5588 forum posts
Steve, your brother will have to get the metal gears to replace the brokenplastic ones, then take 4 of the inserts out of his fly cutter and take it quietly. The 2" cutter is proberbly a bit big, a single point 1" cutter would be a handy size.
The X 3 looks a goodsolid little machine to me, the long table would be well worth the extra cost. Here in NZ i would if buying, do my best to get a machine vice, and clamping set as discount, and build my own stand.
I,d have thought theSieg Super C6would be a good match for the mill, for the price of a Myford, even second hand, you could have two or three Sieg lathes, and I think just as accurate.
My only reservation would be the electronic control, but that is only because I have no expiriance of this system, and it,s proberbly OK, although I would like full motor speed when running at 50RPM. Ian S C
I was looking at the Super X 3, I see The X3 is a bit down on power but it has a high and low speed mechanical drive as well as the electronic speed control.
Edited By Ian S C on 24/05/2011 13:02:14
|113 forum posts|
Hi I brought a large seperate milling table for my small mill. its tiring winding the handles to traverse the table, so if the gibbs are not too tight, I use a battery operated hand drill with a socket to fit the handle locking nut, it probably wont work with your setup, but its a thought,
|Ian S C||24/05/2011 13:11:32|
5588 forum posts
John, I use a wind screen wiper motor driving via a bit of bike chain at 2:1 reduction, powered by a mains power supplythat gives me 17 volts, speed control is switched resistors (home made from bits of heater element wire), my mill is quiet a bit bigger than a Sieg X 3. I use my battery drill when I'm changing or reversing the jaws in the lathe chuck, you can't leave the sort of key in the chuck! Ian S C
|Steve Garnett||24/05/2011 13:59:55|
|837 forum posts|
He's actually my brother-in-law, and I've already told him about the metal gears. But if he insists on loading this tool up with five cutters, I can't really stop him; I rather suspect that he's treating this mill as a throw-away device. Personally, if I'd been making a cutter on this basis, I think I'd have gone for a 1" solution, but put 3 inserts on it, just to reduce the shock loading. And most definitely taken it easy.
My brother, who died in a road traffic accident best part of 40 years ago, trained as a mechanical engineer, and would have been absolutely horrified at what bro-in-law is doing, I suspect.
I'm sure that the X3S would cope rather better with this sort of thing - after all, there's over a horsepower available. And no manufacturer I'm aware of would put a motor on a mill that could immediately wreck it, I'd have thought. So I'd guess that this mill is actually capable of quite a lot.
|Ian S C||24/05/2011 15:32:42|
5588 forum posts
Steve For the work done on a machine that size HSS is all you need, you can make the cutter out of abit of a broken tap (threading not water), or center drill. I sort of get a bit rough with my machine, I'v got a single point flycutterthat has a 6" dia, the cutter is a carbide insert, brazed on to a 1/2" high tensile bolt, I tried HSS but the 90 RPM minimum speed was too fast, it takes of .25 mm on mild steel. Ian S C
|Steve Garnett||24/05/2011 17:07:47|
|837 forum posts|
|Ian, it's not me you have to convince! I'd cheerfully use a single-cut fly-cutter - but there again, I'd stick within sensible limits for the machine...|
|Stewart Hart||24/05/2011 17:36:20|
417 forum posts
I've had a Sieg x3 supper for over 2 years now and I'm more than happy with it, does everything I want of it.
Like you I have limited space and acess, to get it in my shop I stripped it down into four managable lumps, base, column, head and table, which was quite straight forward, cleaned it up and set it up as I rebult it. I've since fitted a DRO, and a power feed, I'd save your mony on the arc strip and build and do it youself and use the cash saved to buy a DRO you won't regret it.
|Tony Ray||28/05/2011 01:41:26|
|119 forum posts|
I have owned a Super X3 for about a year now. I did the prep myself based on the X3 prep guide on ARC'S website - there are a few differences but nothing too major. Its rated as a more complex prep by Arc but it's relatively straight forward. DO NOT attempt to strip the spindle ! I agree with Stewart - do it yourself
I have the R8 version - I like it as the taper release easily. I have an R8 ER32 but use the R8 collets in preference.
This is my first mill and I'll list the short comings as these are probably more informative than the positives.
1. Its not a Bridgeport - no suprises there !
2. The drawbar lightening / slackening method as supplied; you use a pin spanner at the collet end and a hex wrench at the drawbar end - its fiddly, awkward and can be hard to get good torque. But you can build something infinitely better using the mill and your lathe with just 4 simple components. PM me if you need more details.
3. Absence of a depth stop eg like on a drill press - again a little work with a lump of ally, some threaded studding a bit of bright angle & you are there
4. Column flex - viewed by many as the weakest part in that its open back allows some flexing - but not when you are being sensible.
5. Z axis leadscrew pitch is finer than the X3 to make raising the head a bit easier on the cranking arm but takes a while to crank up. On the web you will find solutions employing counterweights & pulleys - have not done it yet but I am tempted.
6. No powerfeed - again the info is on the web should you want to build one - mine will be based on a CNC design.
I had a problem with mine in that the motor stalled within a few days of running it - Arc were very helpful - I had probably over done it I sent the board back to them & was running again with a couple of days. Arc could not have been more helpful.
7. Tramming - because of the swivelling head resetting is tricky ( but I cut some 60 degree parts for a grinding rest and with it its a doddle) I'm still working on the best method for resetting tram & verifying but did it in less than 15 mins tonight.
8. Dial grads - X & Y are 0.02mm and are graduated from 0 to 90 ( 100 being 0 again) so you have to remember that eg 0 -90 is actually 1.8mm total travel. I'd prefer it graduated from 0 - 1.8mm similar to my Boxford. I'll probably make some dials one day ( If I don't DRO it in the meantime)
9. Supplied drill chuck run out is not good I need to replace it but use the ER 32 for accurate drilling.
10. Tapping mode is probably not as useful as it might seem.
11. Chuck guard - I removed mine & disabled the switch. I'm involved with H&S & consider that it was more of a risk than the swarf but I always wear Safety glasses.
12. As reported by others in appearance at least the Z gib strip looks poor - they report that reworking or replacing it makes things smoother but TBH I haven't and its OK .
13. Fine downfeed - is locked by turning a handwheel - it takes a bit of effort I called Arc when it would not work & it turned out I was not being manly enough !
14. Protection of the ways from swarf - bellows etc are available.
As far as the prep goes I'd allow a month, working in the evenings. Don't try to disconnect the two flexibles connecting the head to the control boards - you can remove the head and swivel it out of the way along with the back unit containing the boards.
I prepped min onthe pallet that it arrived on. I replaced the top Z axis bearing ( £3 or so) as it was gritty - Arc make us of a blind bearing puller I lashed something up & the bearing came out easily. The was a lot of casting sand / swarf in the main column so the strip down & adjustment was worthwhile. Once completed I hired an engine crane to lif it onto the bench - it might only be small but it is heavy !
Assuming you can't stretch to an Emco or something with European pedigree the other new choices are RF type machines which would appear to have their own drawbacks.
You might be able to get a used Raglan or some other compact machine but what will it cost, will it have a standard spindle taper, what condition will it be in what happens if something breaks ?
Spares for the Super X3 are almost off the shelf.
Do budget for tooling, clamps a vice etc - it all mounts up !
If possible try to get to see whatever you are considering before you buy.
|Clive Hartland||28/05/2011 08:37:50|
1856 forum posts
Mention is made of the EMCO series of mills, has anyone bought and used one?
The F1200E seems a good one and i am sorely tempted to get one.
I am not particularly interested in power feeds but maybe a DRO later.
Any insight would be interesting to me.
|94 forum posts|
You have hit the nail on its contentious head when you mention the need to strip and prepare a new machine. There are sources of mills similar to the Seig X3 which come prepared for use straight out of the box. Yes these cost a little more but compare prices in the up and ready to run case. For similar money you can also find belt drive machines. Look at the WARCO web site and there are other sources in the UK. I recommend comparison of the weight excluding packing as some machines have similar look but weigh in tens of Kg less and may therefore be less ridged.
If I were in the market for such a machine I would be looking for a VFD motor and no gears in the spindle drive. Tilting head is nice but make sure the tilting has a good solid lock that is accurate. I guess the more you pay the better your chances of getting a better mill but there are some lemons on the way!
Look at the reviews in MEW.
Regards - Pat
Edited By Pat on 28/05/2011 17:41:31
Please login to post a reply.
Love Model Engineering? Sign up to our emails for the latest news and special offers!
You can contact us by phone, mail or email about the magazines including becoming a contributor, submitting reader's letters or making queries about articles. You can also get in touch about this website, advertising or other general issues.
Click THIS LINK for full contact details.
For subscription issues please see THIS LINK.