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New mini mill-which tools?

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David Brown 931/03/2015 19:03:18
75 forum posts
4 photos

I am planning on buying a Sieg SX2 Plus min mill from Arc Euro Trade (R8.) Which tools do I need? I am planning to buy their tilting vice.

ER Collets seem to be recomended, but which size? I can't buy too much straight away as there won't be that much money left!

I am planning to make things out of mainly aluminium, possibly occasionally steel, maybe stainless, mostly small parts for tescopes. Which cutters would be best? I only have a drill press, router and plunge saw at the moment so I have a lot to learn!


CotswoldsPhil31/03/2015 19:54:54
196 forum posts
112 photos

Hello David and welcome,

I have been using an R8 spindle mill (Naerok) for a number of years with just 4 * R8 collets (imperial in my case); no need for an ER chuck + collets to start with, link ArcEuro - 4 piece collet set - 6,10,12 & 16 @ £16.33, they grip end-mills very well, and take up less headroom.

An R8 adapter for slitting saws would extend your capability, not sure if the machine is delivered with a drill chuck,


Edited By CotswoldsPhil on 31/03/2015 19:57:06

Neil Wyatt31/03/2015 19:59:34
18888 forum posts
734 photos
80 articles

Hello David, I have an X2.

The most useful ER collets are 6, 8, 10 and 12 for holding metric cutters with those size shanks. I would probably just get one of the standard metric sets with the holder as this give you the most useful sizes.

Do get a clamping set not only will it help you fix the vice in place, but you WILL find it useful for 101 different work mounting tasks.

I've just seen some new carbide cutters from Arc, razor-sharp but as a beginner I'd suggest starting with HSS tools as they are more forgiving (i.e. less likely to chip).

Make sure you look up Arc's preparation guide to make sure you get the best possible start.


John Haine31/03/2015 20:02:40
4403 forum posts
261 photos

I second getting a few R8 collets first. Apart from gripping like mad they will give you another couple of inches daylight above the table.

michael warren 131/03/2015 20:16:15
2 forum posts
5 photos

Hi David, good choice to go with the r8 spindle, there is a large range of tooling out there, I use the r8 collets wich phil has mentioned, you can buy these singular as well so you can build up a nice selection as time goes bye, the er collets are also very handy, I have a set of er25 collets which range from 2 - 16 mm the good thing with these is, that you can hold any diameter drill, end mill, slot drill and taps between 2 and 16 mm, also these collets will also hold any imperial tooling too, between 5/64 & 5/8 of an inch, also the r8 fly cutter would be an idea, you will need some 5/16 tool steel, but this will cut ally nicely, also a morse taper 1 and 2 adaptor, I could go on but this should get you started regards mike

Breva31/03/2015 20:22:01
87 forum posts
7 photos

Hi David,

Good luck with the new Mill

One of the few extras that I bought when I first got my mill was a set of parallels. They are not strictly an essential but they have proven to be a good investment.

They have many uses in the setting up of jobs on the mill. I wouldn't be without them now.


Paul Lousick01/04/2015 04:19:41
1896 forum posts
669 photos

Hi David,

Make sure that the tilting vice which you buy has a good locking arrangement for the tilt. I have a similar one which can move under heavy loads.


JasonB01/04/2015 07:36:50
21967 forum posts
2531 photos
1 articles

I'd actually go for a standard vice over the tilting one unless you can forsee a lot of angular work, remember you can tilt the work one way in a standard vice.

Lever type DTI an a small magnetic base so you can set the vice jaws true to the mills x- axis.

Although you have a drill press you may well find the mill better for drilling as you can use it to place holes by co-ordinates which is likely more accurate than marking out and drilling so a drill chuck would be useful.

Some form of edge & centre finder so you can locate the part in the vice or on the table and then know how much to take off.

As Neil has said one of the hold down sets if you don't want to make your own tee nuts, etc. The ER holders can usually be bought with a basic set of 6 collets in teh popular sizes. Avoid sets of unbranded cutters that can look like a good buy as they are often not good quality. A few branded cutters would be better, the FC-3 ones are quite reasonable but also talk to Ketan about cutters he may be able to supply something suitable.


Harold Hall 101/04/2015 09:25:05
418 forum posts
4 photos

As has been rightly said, David, you will need some clamps for securing items to the work table, but as you say cash is going to be tight in the early stages I would suggest making your own. This will leave more money for items you cannot make.

See here for some ideas, particularly photographs 3 and 8. The lighter weight clamps are also more adaptable for using on an angle plate or the lathes faceplate. You can, in the first case, make a couple of temporary tee nuts using a hack saw so as to secure your vice for making more.


David Brown 904/04/2015 13:10:53
75 forum posts
4 photos

Thanks for all the advice. I have ordered the Sieg SX2 Plus from Arc. I went up to Leceister as I wanted to have a look at it to be sure I can fit it in my small flat. It should be fine. I would have like something bigger perhaps but have no room!

Ketan was very helpful and actually discouraged me from buying some things staight away, this must be pretty rare!

I got the R8 collets and a few other things. Now I need to order a chest for it to go on, probably from Halfords.

I won't be doing much with the mill for a while, as I need to concentrate on making progress on grinding my 20 inch telescope mirror, before I start making the telescope! When I get round to milling something I will post again.


Bazyle04/04/2015 15:13:55
6168 forum posts
222 photos

Wow, a 20 inch is big. I assume you have done a more conventional 8 in already.

If you didn't get the clamp set and are squeezed on funds I'd suggest looking at Howard Halls site for clamping ideas.

Vic04/04/2015 16:23:29
3012 forum posts
8 photos

I couldn't afford a clamping kit for my first mill so just bought some of the basic elements for £1 each at one of the shows. £10 bought all the bits I needed once added to some threaded rod I already had. I made my own Tee nuts as the ones in the kit didn't fit my mill anyway. If you can get step blocks and straps at a good price just buy what you need.

Ian S C05/04/2015 11:02:37
7468 forum posts
230 photos

Bazyle, do you mean Harold Hall?

Ian S C

Russell Eberhardt05/04/2015 11:31:11
2725 forum posts
86 photos
Posted by JasonB on 01/04/2015 07:36:50:

Some form of edge & centre finder so you can locate the part in the vice or on the table and then know how much to take off.

I have centre and edge finders but still tend to use the old cigarette paper and sticky pin more. The cig. paper for edge finding is quicker than setting up the edge finder and takes account of the diameter of the cutter.

And yes, if on a budget, don't buy clamps. Make them. It's a good first project for learning how to use the mill and will give you exactly what you need.


Bazyle05/04/2015 12:03:22
6168 forum posts
222 photos
Posted by Ian S C on 05/04/2015 11:02:37:

Bazyle, do you mean Harold Hall?

Ian S C

oops, sorry Harold I somehow missed your post and was practicing getting things wrong yesterday. Lucky I'm on holiday and not in my workshop.

bricky05/04/2015 21:26:47
542 forum posts
68 photos

I have a laser edge finder an opticle centre finder and a mechanical edge finder and like Russell I still use a stickt pin and fag paper,for both edge finding and feeling the cutter onto the work.


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