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New Milling Machine - advice requested

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Ignatz14/06/2018 11:59:20
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I have finally come around to the conclusion that it is time for me to upgrade my current milling machine - a somewhat tired, old CH-10M vertical mill/drill - because it just lacks the range, rigidity and precision for the bits of hobby work that I want to do. ch-10m mini mill - a.jpg

Any comments that would help me to make a more informed decision would be richly appreciated. [ By the way, I'm located here on the continent which might be a factor in terms of availability and/or shipping. ]

The space in my shop doesn't allow for one of those beefy, old industrial units and so it sort of looks like I'm in the market for one of the Warco's, Optimum's or what have you. I'm thinking that the ultimate size of the unit should not be more than two fellows working together could comfortably move.

Note: I'm sort of suspecting that a lot of those machines come out of the same factory, but may differ in terms of attention to detail and/or fit and finish.

 
 
Paul H 114/06/2018 13:52:14
28 forum posts

Living in France and having bought my lathe and mill from the UK a couple of years ago, don't be put off by shipping. I put a lot of research into what I wanted to buy and including shipping I got a much better deal than buying from any of the mainland European suppliers I found. I do not know why but for what seemed to be the same machine the price was always much higher. All the companies in the UK I contacted were happy to ship to France and it was not an unusual request for them.

With respect to size my mill is an equivalent of the Warco WM18. I am not terribly strong but from the crate being unloaded outside the workshop to putting it into place on the bench I built, I did everything alone. I built an angle iron drilling machine stand with good sized castors and used that to move the machine. Afterwards I installed the drilling machine.

One question I would ask all the suppliers you approach is what kind of variable speed controller board they use, do they always stock the spare boards and what price. Same for motors. That is if you are going for electronic variable speed (most of the machines in this size) with a DC motor as opposed to gears.

Paul

mechman4814/06/2018 14:52:38
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I have a WM16 mill & find it more than capable for carrying out 'Hobby' work. I used a engine hoist that I'd bought when I converted my garage so with the help of that & SWMBO, the mill, & lathe were put on to their respective stands easily enough, so a WM18 size should be manageable with two reasonably fit guys, & be able to fit into a quite small space.

George.

Thor14/06/2018 17:28:22
1088 forum posts
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Like Paul and George I have a bench mounted milling machine, mine is slightly bigger than the WM16 and a bit smaller than the WM18. Today I would have bought the larger of the two.

Thor

Ignatz14/06/2018 20:19:02
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Thank you. Those are all helpful comments. But, there are two things I forgot to ask.

First of all: Assuming that I set up one of those mills correctly, using quality cutters, what kind of tolerances might I reasonably expect to hold?

Secondly: If to equip the mill with digital readouts is it better to purchase the unit with the DRO factory-installed or are there any advantages to attaching the required unit (or some other DRO) by myself?

 
David George 114/06/2018 20:33:11
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815 forum posts
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I bought a Chester Champion 16V mill and could get within a thou with care and then I bought an M DRO 3 axis kit DRO and it has made it even better and as I fitted it myself it was cheaper than having it refitted. I would have had the 20V but space on my bench is restricted.

David

Niels Abildgaard14/06/2018 21:25:57
215 forum posts
58 photos

I have this one

**LINK**

I removed work table and sviveling spindle head (15 minutes work) before putting it in place.Peace of cake for two seventy year oldies.

**LINK**

Tranport from Holland to Denmark was less than 100€ and I very happy with it.

I misplaced a hole 2mm and measured the misplacing to 1.98mm.Not bad

Ignatz14/06/2018 21:53:08
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Niels, love that second picture. What kind of tolerances does that puppy hold? laugh

 
Meunier15/06/2018 21:42:36
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Ignatz, like several others here, I bought a WM18/stand/vice/halogen light and several other bits from Warco last year and shipping cost £132 to S.W.France. All arrived in fine condition with less than a week shipping delay.
Very happy with the Mill.
DaveD

JasonB16/06/2018 07:14:25
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I think holding tolerances is as much to do with user and tooling as it is with the basic machine. I have a Sieg X3 and can happily make IC engines that run upto 10,000rpm with no seals, gaskets or piston rings on my machine and at the other end of the scale steam engines that will tick over very smoothly on 1 or 2 psi of air.

Eric Cox16/06/2018 10:01:20
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501 forum posts
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looking at Niels link the HBM BF 25 looks identicle to a Warco wm 14. The cost of the HBM is €1199.99 ( £966 ) and the Warco is €1036 ( £835 ). Even with shipping the warco might work out slightly cheaper.

Ignatz16/06/2018 10:52:05
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Besides the initial cost, I'm curious about the supposed tolerances of any mill I purchase.

To date, the only company I have found that makes any claims about their tolerances is Optimum in Germany.

They claim that the runout of the spindle on their smaller mills is only 0.015mm (= 0.0005905494 inch)... although I'm sure that bad collet holders and/or tooling could negate that in a heartbeat.

Are there any other companies that make claims regarding the accuracy of their milling machine offerings?

 
 

Edited By Ignatz on 16/06/2018 10:53:30

Thor16/06/2018 10:57:44
1088 forum posts
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Posted by Eric Cox on 16/06/2018 10:01:20:

looking at Niels link the HBM BF 25 looks identicle to a Warco wm 14. The cost of the HBM is €1199.99 ( £966 ) and the Warco is €1036 ( £835 ). Even with shipping the warco might work out slightly cheaper.

The HBM BF 25 is heavier, has a more powerful motor and a MT 3 spindle taper, I have the long table version and it has served me well for 5 years. I still wish I had bought the BF 30 (WM 18). The runout on the spindle taper on my BF 25 is slightly less than 0.01mm

Thor

Edited By Thor on 16/06/2018 10:59:47

SillyOldDuffer16/06/2018 12:29:41
4415 forum posts
957 photos
Posted by Ignatz on 16/06/2018 10:52:05:

Besides the initial cost, I'm curious about the supposed tolerances of any mill I purchase.

To date, the only company I have found that makes any claims about their tolerances is Optimum in Germany.

They claim that the runout of the spindle on their smaller mills is only 0.015mm (= 0.0005905494 inch)... although I'm sure that bad collet holders and/or tooling could negate that in a heartbeat.

Are there any other companies that make claims regarding the accuracy of their milling machine offerings?

 
 

Edited By Ignatz on 16/06/2018 10:53:30

Have a look at Buck and Hickman.

I'm not sure what to make of Optimum. They appear to be selling the usual kit with more inspections. You might be shelling out for peace of mind rather than a better made or assembled machine. I'd love to know how Optimum compare in practice to the more common rebrandings. Anyone have one?

Dave

JasonB16/06/2018 12:34:27
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Posted by SillyOldDuffer on 16/06/2018 12:29:41:
. I'd love to know how Optimum compare in practice to the more common rebrandings. Anyone have one?

Dave

Brian John's lathe springs to mindsurprise

mgnbuk16/06/2018 13:04:52
506 forum posts
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I'm not sure what to make of Optimum Anyone have one?

IIRC Stefan Gotteswinter on YouTube has one of the larger Optimums. Seems like a reasonable machine that he didn't have to do too much to to get it working as he wanted - which is probably at a higher level than most !

Nigel B

Ian S C16/06/2018 13:09:22
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Jason, I was just thinking the same as I read through the thread. Have you heard from Brian lately?

Ian S C

Mike E.16/06/2018 13:29:56
191 forum posts
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Have a look on the gandmtools.co.uk site. Currently there are several moderate size single phase milling machines which may be of interest , including a Myford VMB.

Neil Wyatt16/06/2018 14:22:21
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Posted by Ignatz on 16/06/2018 10:52:05:
They claim that the runout of the spindle on their smaller mills is only 0.015mm (= 0.0005905494 inch)... although I'm sure that bad collet holders and/or tooling could negate that in a heartbeat.

Better than half a thou is pretty much a typical figure for small milling machines.

Most suppliers won't quote a figure because even if tested at a factory in the far east, it can be out of adjustment when it reaches the customer and installation and adjustment are beyond their control.

Neil

Ignatz16/06/2018 14:57:43
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90 forum posts
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I'm one step closer to (having to) make a decision on a new mill...

... the low range in this little thing just tore out some gear teeth (ouch! ouch!) angry

This leaves me with a device that is even more handicapped than before.

By the way, does anyone know if the gears for this old thing can still be obtained? I'd hate to try to sell it on in only semi-working condition.

 

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