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The New AMAT25LV

Miling Machine

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Absolute Beginner28/05/2015 14:13:52
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103 forum posts

Hello all,

This is my first post. Having gone around and around and around (really dizzy) in circles trying to decide on a milling machine for home projects, not locos, or steam or clock .......Ham Radio aerial stuff......now don't all not off.....I was about to place an order finally for a AMA25LV with AMADEAL as they had one in stock with DRO fitted to X,Y and Z axis.

Having been put off from the 626 turret type mill with "distance to table issues" the ARC X3 for costs to DRO, the Warco VM16 as they could not confirm delivery with me when I contacted them and finally feeling the VM18 was going to be to big to manhandle into my little shed.

Then all of sudden Edward at Amdeal through a spanner into the works by suggesting I take a look at the AMAT25LV - A new machine with 1000w brushless motor and belt drive to head...no plastic gears to snap me thinks ?plus the ability to run at greater speeds....great im thinking as 99.99% of my working will be with aluminium.

SO my million dollar question is has anybody out there got one of these machines and how about AMdeal as a supplier.......of cause I will have to wait approx. 5 weeks for it to arrive, and then I will have to fit my DRO and yes its more money.....or should I just by a AMA25LV tats in stock or a VM18 or a Chester 626 turret mill and make a head spacer .........im just going around and around in circles again....any suggestions or help much appreiated

Gary Wooding28/05/2015 17:30:00
635 forum posts
153 photos

Maybe I read it wrong, but the headroom of the AMA25LV is 280mm, that of the Chester 626 is 320mm, and the Warco VMC is 345mm. Not sure why the difference between the Chester and Warco, 'cos I thought they were essentially identical.

Absolute Beginner28/05/2015 22:29:13
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103 forum posts

It depends which spec you believe I think. The VM16 distance to table is 750mm and isn't this the same macjine a the AMA25LV - there spec states vertical travel as 380mm.

Anyway the real question was has anyone experience with the AMAT25LV

Thor29/05/2015 05:44:25
1175 forum posts
35 photos

I don't have the AMAT25LV but a very similar milling machine, even same paintjob. Mine is a few years old with a brushed motor, and the max distance from table to spindle (MT 3) is just over 315mm. There is a photo of it in my album.

Thor

Redpiperbob29/05/2015 06:22:22
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70 forum posts
35 photos

Hi ?

I have the SPG version of this AMAT25LV machine . I have had it one year and have been very pleased with it.

Bob

Edited By Redpiperbob on 29/05/2015 06:22:48

mechman4829/05/2015 08:31:26
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2588 forum posts
392 photos

Hi ?

I have the Warco WM 16 which is a very similar machine apart from the colour scheme & the MT, have had it since Aug 2012 & so far I've been very satisfied with it, it has done all I give it to do with no issues other than a noisy gear train... which is common to all these machines, but have remedied this with a minor mod, & an oil leak, so fingers crossed all will stay ok.

George

Vic29/05/2015 12:05:39
2434 forum posts
12 photos

I have a Warco VMC which I'm well pleased with. The Z "issue" that some speak of is, I've found, easily dealt with in most cases by using stub drills. I've never found the spindle to table distance to be an issue for me in milling operations, only hole drilling at times. The design of the machine would have benefitted with an extra two inches of daylight but don't let that put you off as the machine has distinct advantages over some other machines. I guess the bottom line is would I buy one again, and the answer is yes! I'd still like a modest raiser though if I had a lathe big enough to make one. sad

Absolute Beginner29/05/2015 20:09:29
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103 forum posts
Posted by Vic on 29/05/2015 12:05:39:

I have a Warco VMC which I'm well pleased with. The Z "issue" that some speak of is, I've found, easily dealt with in most cases by using stub drills. I've never found the spindle to table distance to be an issue for me in milling operations, only hole drilling at times. The design of the machine would have benefitted with an extra two inches of daylight but don't let that put you off as the machine has distinct advantages over some other machines. I guess the bottom line is would I buy one again, and the answer is yes! I'd still like a modest raiser though if I had a lathe big enough to make one. sad

It seems a shame that you have to resort to using stub drills. Well I thank everyone for their comments. I think I am going to have to revaluate all the machines on offer yet again as I seem to be getting conflicting comments on all the machines mentioned.

I want to be able to drill materials without having to continually raise the table and having to resort to stub drills. What makes it even worse is that I have now built a bench where the VMC would have stood. Me thinking that a bench top mill might be the answer. How about the VM18 then ? At this rate I am going to have to put an extension onto the shed and get a Bridgeport ...I think it will work out cheaper

Oompa Lumpa29/05/2015 20:42:13
888 forum posts
271 photos

Have you considered the Chester Super Lux?

Very nice and great big table, DRO as standard.

graham.

Martin Whittle29/05/2015 21:15:22
88 forum posts
9 photos

+1 vote for Warco WM16. I have been very happy with mine, with no major problems since purchase about 18 months ago at a Warco open day, slightly used.

I was contemplating a somewhat smaller machine before I bought it; but I absolutely agree with recommendations you will receive in respect of buying the largest machine you an afford or accommodate - I am glad I went for at least this size.

Depending on your intended use, you might find little problems with the workspace height. I have pushed the envelope occasionally when working on larger workpieces, or when using a dividing head (BS0) including 4 jaw chuck to mount the work, which does use a lot of height! It can help to use use drills in an ER holder, or use milling cutters instead of a drill, even if not the most immediately ideal solution, in this case.

You will surely have fun with your mill when you get it!

Martin

Edited By Martin Whittle on 29/05/2015 21:16:05

Steven Vine29/05/2015 22:02:50
340 forum posts
30 photos

Absolute Beginner

I've been going around in circles for a couple of years now. Here are a few personal idle thoughts to open this out a bit more. My opinion ,desire, and final decision, will probably change again next week!

That VMC. Most people who have one seem to be pleased with it and would get it again (though there are a few that would not). I keep coming back to the VMC because it has a knee, a belt drive, and a conventional common motor. There are no gears or electronics board to go wrong further down the line in years to come (but then who's to say they will go wrong!). My engineer Uncle brushed off the height and travel limitation issues with the comment ' there are always ways to get around things'. He does a lot of his work on a Centec, though he does have a bigger mill. Anyway, let's say a 13mm drill bit sticks out of a chuck by 120mm ish. Say you need another 20mm to insert and remove the bit to avoid moving your work in the xy. Say your keyless chuck sticks out 100mm. That's around 240mm of your 345mm taken up. That leaves you 105mm for a vice and/or work piece. If your workpiece is 105mm tall then it could be clamped directly to the table and worked on. If your workpiece is smaller then it can go in the vice. If you are using a 6mm drill bit then you will have another 40mm or more to play with. You could always drill the big stuff in a decent Drill Press, and avoid the height limitations on the VMC. If you were certain you will be working on big stuff all day long, day in day out, then your decision would be easy. You could make a head spacer, which is a simple thing to do. That will overcome many problems and should give you bags of room. End mills and their holders will probably work out around 100mm or more less than the 13mm drill bit and chuck set up, so you will be able to attack most bigger workpieces (100+105mm) without too much trouble and heartache I would have thought. As is always mentioned, your choice of machine will depend on the type of machining you will be doing. As a home machinist/hobbyist you probably have no clea idea what you will be machining further down the line, hence the dilemma of going for rigidity/mass with small daylight, or a lighter machine with bags of daylight. Coupled with the fact that your mill choice has to be fitted within the confines of a meagre sized workplace/shed and you have a nightmare decision to make. If you were buying a machine for paid work purposes then you would have a much better idea of the size you would need; which would keep you from going around in circles so much, and lead you to a firmer decision.

Some guy on another forum (I think it was JS) commented on the fact that you WILL be running out of daylight and travel as you progress in your work. He also commented that the difference in the weight between a VMC and say a RF45 is not enormous. What I got from that comment was that the daylight was more valuable than the mass/rigidity advantage of the VMC. This started me in circles again, as I then started to favour the RF45 type with the greater travel. But then I preferred the belt drive and knee of the VMC. Dizzy or what!

I'm sure if you got a VMC and altered your bench, or if you got the biggest bench mill that you could possible stand on your bench, then you would end up being very pleased with either. If you hit a limitation further down the line then you will overcome it.

Maybe having a get out plan will push you towards a decision. Buy one that you fancy the most and that seems to be the best deal and easiste to get hold of, safe in the thought that you can always sell it on in good condition at a later date for not too much loss (there will be buyers) and move onto a different machine more suitable to your needs at that time. Once you got a machine though, you'll love it and it will be a keeper, despite its limitations.

Steve

Vic29/05/2015 22:25:23
2434 forum posts
12 photos

I had similar thoughts Steve. Very little to go wrong on the VMC in terms of the drive. It's also difficult to beat a knee mill if you've used one before. I'm sure I could get used to something like an X3 or similar but I doubt I'd like it and I'd be worried about the variable speed drive packing up some time down the road. If the spindle to table difference was a real problem for me I would already have got someone to make a spacer for me.

MalcB30/05/2015 08:14:53
257 forum posts
31 photos

I looked at the bench mills and was put off either by plastic driving gears or variable drives driven by cards. I would ask myself how long are the replacement electronics going to be available and at what cost also how could you easily diagnose issues yourself. Great for a few years under warranty but after that?

I have managed a comprehensive CNC and conventional machine shop for many years and the complexity of the electronics is NOT something I wanted in a home workshop.

The VMC machines as mentioned are easy to work on and very easy to upgrade. I lifted my head with a 100mm spacer made on my 4 1/2" Boxford. I have seen articles on using 6" spacers, but I reckon the machine would not be comfortable to use at this height. The single phase motors can be easily replaced with a good 3 phase inverter run unit to give a controlled variable speed drive that is a more workable option.

You have to ask yourself what would be most desireable if setting up a home workshop where space and costs were not a major decider. For me it would be a nice Hardinge or Monarch toolroom lathe and a Bridgeport turret mill as main stay equipment. Bridgeports havnt become an industry standard for nothing.. They have long earned their reputation as a highly desirable and versatile machine. The VMC,s are just "wanna be" reduced scale models of the Bridgeport type turret mills. A bench mill wouldn't,t be in the equation.

I was lucky in getting a used 626 machine with full 3 axis readout and power feed, with a new motor fitted. At the time I was torn between the Seig X3 super and the VMC which is now only a tad dearer than the Seig. The VMC was a no brainer and I very nearly bought an ex demo 626 from Chester but the 30 day only warranty killed the deal as at the same time a used one appeared on the market which I bought.

Looking at many articles, there are many satisfied users of bench mills and quite rightly so, as they fit space limited workshops really well. There are however bench mill users that want to upgrade to turret mills.

If you have the space, the cash, then it may be prudent to remove this last scenario and launch straight in for a VMC.

John Haine30/05/2015 08:23:04
2904 forum posts
149 photos

To get more height, I bought a Myford VMB, the later version that was taller. They come up second hand from time to time. I've found it generally very good.

Roger Vane30/05/2015 09:20:48
95 forum posts
18 photos

I would go for the VMC every time. If the 'daylight; on the Z-axis is a problem then you can always make and fit a raising block. I made a 4" raising block on a Myford S7 (my articles in MEW 215 on) - needs care but can be done.

If buying new then I would also consider going for R8 and a 3 phase motor / inverter. The R8 is far more 'machine and user' friendly than 3 MT and tooling is readily available. As for the motor, this transforms the machine and avoids constant belt changing - speed variation at the turn of a knob, plus a 'jog' facility. I wanted to buy 3ph (240V), R8 and imperial spec which is non-standard. Warco ordered this for me as a special - delivery took a while but it was well worth the wait. Buying 3ph at the outset will avoid the cost of the motor if you decide to upgrade to VFD in the future.

If you do go this way then I doubt that you'll regret it.

Mike Bondarczuk30/05/2015 09:41:33
91 forum posts
6 photos

I would support everything Roger has advised and that is the way I eventually went after starting with a small Amadeal bench-top mill which proved to be inadequate for my limited needs.

The only thing I still need to add to my 626 is a 4" riser and I will be reading the article numerous times before starting cutting.

I do have the luxury of having 4 DRO's on my mill with the extra one being on the quill, though an x-axis drive is also on my to-do list.

The only thing I would change the 626 for is a Bridgeport but workshop ceiling height limitations are a potential hazard as is the 3 phase conversion, which looks challenging to have all functions working correctly.

Based on my experiences of almost two years now with the 626 I can thoroughly recommend that type of knee mill as a great way to go.

Mike

Roger Vane30/05/2015 09:59:06
95 forum posts
18 photos

Something that I forgot to mention was the DRO - only 3 axis at the moment, but well worth fitting. As far as the X-axis is concerned, then if you fit a slim scale to the front of the table then you will not lose any Y-axis travel (as you would if the scale is fitted to the back of the table). Losing the table stops? - no problem as you can fit an alternative arrangement in front of the scale (sounds like I'm plugging my articles, but this add-on is written up in MEW 196).

Mike - would appreciate a couple of pictures of your arrangement for the quill DRO if possible as I'm still considering how to fit one

Vic30/05/2015 10:10:32
2434 forum posts
12 photos

Another machine worth looking at if you can get a good one is the Omnimill.

http://www.lathes.co.uk/elliottmillers/page2.html

Vertical and Horizontal spindles and a wide range of head movement make this a great home workshop machine. Another nice machine is the Harrison vertical mill.

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