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Not a model engineer looking for mill advice

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Patryk Socha23/07/2018 16:54:09
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22 forum posts

Hi there.

First thing off, I would like to apologize. I am not a model engineer and quite frankly, a week or two ago I had no idea what model engineering is. (Now I know how mad people can be! ) I would like also to apologise as I have registered here specifically to ask this one question. The reason behind it is that it seems to me that you guys are experts when it comes to machining at home workshop, and your forum was coming up a lot on the google searches I was doing.

I am coming from the slightly different background, as I would describe myself more as electronic/computer/robotics tinkerer/maker. Arduino projects/ 3d printers sort of a thing. I am in the process of designing and building my own large-scale 3D printer and I have hit a point where there is something I would need to be machined in metal, rather than 3d printed. Started to look at the cost of machining it and it seemed very prohibitive. Then it hit me! As I am right now also building a workshop, why not to get myself milling machine too? Started to look online, found some YouTube videos and I have become absolutely fascinated by machining metal.

So there is it. I need help with finding something for me. I never worked on a mill, when was a teenager I have done a course for a car mechanic, and I have seen people working on a lathe, that is it. My all experience... I have gone through all the standard research already research already, so I am starting to have some picture of what I want. Most articles online focus on the American market, so it not always applies here in the UK. The best advice seems to be to look on eBay/Gumtree for a used machine. In general, great advise, as I would love to buy used one to learn and then to see if my needs will grow, however, ebays auctions seem to be focusing around large, industrial style machines. And as much as I fell in love with the Bridgeport, there is no way floating floor in my workshop will be able to take that kind of weight. So I think I am looking for benchtop machine. A good one for as little money as possible (cost of workshop blew a massive hole in my pocket). Would like something quiet (neighbours) (brushless/belt drive?), with a reasonable build volume. Probably, 90% of the time I will be milling in aluminium. As I like sticking electronics on everything that I touch, and my 3d printing experience, I would like something easy for CNC conversion but would like to keep the manual operation as well (not sure if this is possible). I think parts I would be making probably will be rather on the small size (a tennis ball?), stepper motor brackets, etc.

Well, forgive me my very chaotic and long post, but I feel torn in several directions. And advice is welcome.

Regards, Patryk

Patryk Socha23/07/2018 18:18:30
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22 forum posts

Sorry, it was too messy. and I was unable to edit OP... Need advice on what machine, if used, where to look for one except eBay. What kind of spindle taper, and why. what Kind of tooling I will need to get started. What brand? I noticed many of those machines look identical to each other, minus some cosmetics, but are from different brands. I do appreciate these machines are probably manufactured by the same factory in China, but then why choose one brand over the other? I should also mention that I am also looking at getting a lathe as well, but I don't foresee using it more than a mill, therefore I will get something very small for making spacers, knobs, etc (although it would be cool to make my own 3D printer hotend....)

Edited By Patryk Socha on 23/07/2018 18:19:03

Edited By Patryk Socha on 23/07/2018 18:19:27

John Haine23/07/2018 18:43:05
2610 forum posts
133 photos

Many people start with the Sieg X1 which is supplied by Arc Euro Trade (see link above right) amongst many other suppliers. Arc have a useful variant with long bed and in my experience give good customer service. It has been converted by several people to CNC, and many other people have made useful mods - see here for example. It has an MT2 spindle taper in which you can use MT2 finger collets direct or an ER collet chuck (at the expense of ~50mm of machining height). Other mills are available and YMMV. Apart from the machine you need collets and/or chuck, a drilling chuck, a suitable machine vice and clamping components, and a few decent cutters to start.

Arc also have Sieg lathes, and in my experience I use the lathe as much as a mill.

For info I have a Myford Super 7 converted to CNC, a Myford VMB manual mill, and a Denford Novamill for which I built the electronics.

jann west23/07/2018 18:59:20
50 forum posts

I would say a sieg x2.x would be the best bet ... available from arceurotrade/axminster/chester/warco/ebay/all the usual suspects.

Easy to CNC, good work envelope for people unsure of their use, can be lifted by one person, lotsa mods.

Have fun!

XD 35123/07/2018 19:10:33
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1327 forum posts
112 photos

I would probably steer towards an X2 instead of an X1 for a mill and a C2 for a lathe :but all this really depends on what size stuff you want to work with .

I will repeat what i have stated many times before - if you are not really into restoring machines - buy new unless you know the person selling the used machine and know its history , there are just to many pitfalls a newcomer can fall into with used machinery .

Ketan at Arc will look after you .

Patryk Socha23/07/2018 19:15:23
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22 forum posts

Sieg seems to be coming up a lot online too... So which one of the say Warco machines is an equivalent of Sieg X2?

This would be an overkill for me but my life experience teaches me that I always regret going for smaller/cheaper kit as later I wish I had gone bigger.... So today I have found this: **LINK**

Spec seems to be quite good for that price, in USA this machine is sold as Precision Matthews.... Warco has similar ones, albeit a little bit more expensive.... Why pick one supplier over the other if machines are nearly identical?

Patryk Socha23/07/2018 19:17:31
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22 forum posts
Posted by XD 351 on 23/07/2018 19:10:33:

I would probably steer towards an X2 instead of an X1 for a mill and a C2 for a lathe :but all this really depends on what size stuff you want to work with .

I will repeat what i have stated many times before - if you are not really into restoring machines - buy new unless you know the person selling the used machine and know its history , there are just to many pitfalls a newcomer can fall into with used machinery .

Ketan at Arc will look after you .

Agree. Plus as a complete newbie, I will probably nor realise for very long that something is off until it is too late...

XD 35123/07/2018 19:59:45
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1327 forum posts
112 photos

There are many suppliers of these machines around the world but even though they look very similar there are a couple of factories in China that produce them - some are better than others .

As you are totally new to this hobby and machining telling the diffrence betwwen a good machine and a dud may be a bit difficult and the specs for various machines from different suppliers can change , things like motor power , table size etc - at least with Arc you are buying from a well respected seller and have the piece of mind that there is backup should there be an issue with anything - which i would doubt there would be .

Edited By XD 351 on 23/07/2018 20:00:52

Nige23/07/2018 20:05:05
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370 forum posts
65 photos

Whereabouts are you in U.K. Patryk, if you are within travelling distance of Peterborough you are welcome to visit me and take a look at a Sieg 2.7 mill. Kettle is always on 😀👍

Neil Wyatt23/07/2018 20:09:34
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Moderator
16585 forum posts
687 photos
75 articles

Hi Patryk,

If you get a digital sub to MEW, you will be able to access our online archive as well which has lots of articles that will introduce you to milling, but mostly Jason Ballamy's series Milling for Beginners which has been in every other issue starting with MEW 261.

Sorry for such a blatant plug but I'm sure it would help you.

Neil

P.S. we are into arduinos and 3D printing too, we aren't totally weird...

Neil Wyatt23/07/2018 20:11:42
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Moderator
16585 forum posts
687 photos
75 articles
Posted by Patryk Socha on 23/07/2018 19:15:23:

Sieg seems to be coming up a lot online too... So which one of the say Warco machines is an equivalent of Sieg X2?

This would be an overkill for me but my life experience teaches me that I always regret going for smaller/cheaper kit as later I wish I had gone bigger.... So today I have found this: **LINK**

Spec seems to be quite good for that price, in USA this machine is sold as Precision Matthews.... Warco has similar ones, albeit a little bit more expensive.... Why pick one supplier over the other if machines are nearly identical?

Looks to be equivalent to an X3 mill.

Reasons for choosing a supplier are generally linked to spares availability and customer support. Machine tools are not like consumer goods, they typically take setting up and time to learn to use, suck in accessories and tooling, and the results will reflect you patience, skill and approach, not just the spec of the machine. Rather like getting a 3D printer set up and dialled, but with more variables!

A company selling their 'first milling machine' may not have as much experience with helping out new purchasers as a company that's been in the business 20+ years.

Plus, although lots of machines look the same, the detail specs can be very different, including 'hidden' elements like bearings, motor controllers and even levels of QC.

Naturally it costs a lot more to run a proper showroom and warehouse than run out of a container somewhere, but this also reflects the backup you'll get.

Neil

Edited By Neil Wyatt on 23/07/2018 20:26:31

Frances IoM23/07/2018 20:17:02
643 forum posts
24 photos
whatever mill you go for you want some DRO on it so allow for that in your costings - you can probably get away without DRO on the lathe but on the mills they will transform operation
Jon23/07/2018 20:30:02
989 forum posts
46 photos

Castings come from the same place and sent to a couple of producers to similar spec.

Personally i would beef the floor up if only in the area its going to sit.

Looks a good price on your first link ideal to learn on. Has many better features and a better layout.
However its flimsy like the rest, will do the jobs - eventually if times not a concern. Budget in R8 collets as well.

Other concern vice height, job height, cutters used all take up head height. More so when a drill chuck is fitted and ER collets.
Assume a shallow vice, base of vice job would sit would be 1 to 1 1/2" from bed straight away. Less so if sat it up higher to machine the sides out, could lose at this point 4" straight away.
Drill chuck will take 108mm, 10mm drill another 92mm fully sat in chuck theres another 8"
So far were up to 12" (305mm) check max travel from bed!

Only other problem can see is in your link, the length of the bed looks too long and thin off a small foot print. Will bow visually.

The more the head height is upwards will develop more runout and or flex/chatter.

Nige23/07/2018 20:35:24
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370 forum posts
65 photos

Yes a DRO might be desirable and it would change the way you use the mill but it isnt essential. You will learn more about the mechanics and process's of milling if you start without a DRO as a great many people do. You will also save yourself several hundred pounds 😊

Peter G. Shaw23/07/2018 20:58:11
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986 forum posts
39 photos

Patryk,

If you are considering a Sieg X2 type or equivalent, may I suggest, don't! I have a clone, and it's not exactly the best! You will find that there are one heck of a lot of modifications on the internet to bring these machines up to an acceptable standard. Our esteemed editor, Mr Wyatt no less, has an X2, and has published a number of modifications himself. Mine is an X2 clone - I won't say who by or who sold it as it is no longer available, but it is every bit as bad some of the reports, and indeed I am slowly incorporating some of Neil's modifications into mine.

What I would suggest is that you have a good look at the Arc Euro Trade offering, they have three versions of an upgraded X2. You may be interested to know that Arc stopped selling the original X2 because of all the problems.

Regards,

Peter G. Shaw

Patryk Socha23/07/2018 21:10:35
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22 forum posts
Posted by Nige on 23/07/2018 20:05:05:

Whereabouts are you in U.K. Patryk, if you are within travelling distance of Peterborough you are welcome to visit me and take a look at a Sieg 2.7 mill. Kettle is always on 😀👍

Thank you very much. I am more in the Milton Keynes area, but sometimes I have clients in East Anglia, so I will be sure to give you a ring.

 

Posted by Neil Wyatt on 23/07/2018 20:09:34:

Hi Patryk,

If you get a digital sub to MEW, you will be able to access our online archive as well which has lots of articles that will introduce you to milling, but mostly Jason Ballamy's series Milling for Beginners which has been in every other issue starting with MEW 261.

Sorry for such a blatant plug but I'm sure it would help you.

Neil

P.S. we are into arduinos and 3D printing too, we aren't totally weird...

I think I will do that, just need to wait couple more days, all the bank accounts have been obliterated!

Shame, I like weird people

 

Posted by Neil Wyatt on 23/07/2018 20:11:42:
Posted by Patryk Socha on 23/07/2018 19:15:23:

Sieg seems to be coming up a lot online too... So which one of the say Warco machines is an equivalent of Sieg X2?

This would be an overkill for me but my life experience teaches me that I always regret going for smaller/cheaper kit as later I wish I had gone bigger.... So today I have found this: **LINK**

Spec seems to be quite good for that price, in USA this machine is sold as Precision Matthews.... Warco has similar ones, albeit a little bit more expensive.... Why pick one supplier over the other if machines are nearly identical?

Looks to be equivalent to an X3 mill.

Reasons for choosing a supplier are generally linked to spares availability and customer support. Machine tools are not like consumer goods, they typically take setting up and time to learn to use, suck in accessories and tooling, and the results will reflect you patience, skill and approach, not just the spec of the machine. Rather like getting a 3D printer set up and dialled, but with more variables!

A company selling their 'first milling machine' may not have as much experience with helping out new purchasers as a company that's been in the business 20+ years.

Plus, although lots of machines look the same, the detail specs can be very different, including 'hidden' elements like bearings, motor controllers and even levels of QC.

Naturally it costs a lot more to run a proper showroom and warehouse than run out of a container somewhere, but this also reflects the backup you'll get.

Neil

 

And this is it is all a bit confusing. There is no way for me to know what components and materials have been used, where the cuts have been made... At least Sieg seems to be people favourite here... That is probably a good indication...

 

Posted by Frances IoM on 23/07/2018 20:17:02:
whatever mill you go for you want some DRO on it so allow for that in your costings - you can probably get away without DRO on the lathe but on the mills they will transform operation

 

Yes, I feel it is a must. But the way I want to do it is to initially experience the machine as it is and learn to operate it on optical indicators. Then add DRO, as a project. Seems to be simple enough.

Posted by Jon on 23/07/2018 20:30:02:

Castings come from the same place and sent to a couple of producers to similar spec.

Personally i would beef the floor up if only in the area its going to sit.

Looks a good price on your first link ideal to learn on. Has many better features and a better layout.
However its flimsy like the rest, will do the jobs - eventually if times not a concern. Budget in R8 collets as well.

Other concern vice height, job height, cutters used all take up head height. More so when a drill chuck is fitted and ER collets.
Assume a shallow vice, base of vice job would sit would be 1 to 1 1/2" from bed straight away. Less so if sat it up higher to machine the sides out, could lose at this point 4" straight away.
Drill chuck will take 108mm, 10mm drill another 92mm fully sat in chuck theres another 8"
So far were up to 12" (305mm) check max travel from bed!

Only other problem can see is in your link, the length of the bed looks too long and thin off a small foot print. Will bow visually.

The more the head height is upwards will develop more runout and or flex/chatter.

 

A couple of good points here too, you are right, I am assuming that the table will be infinitely rigid! I have already made this mistake this month! Thank you. I am afraid that beefing up the floor is not an option any longer, so to quote great AvE "sometimes you've got to piss with the c... you've got!"

 

 

Edited By Patryk Socha on 23/07/2018 21

Patryk Socha23/07/2018 21:10:55
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22 forum posts
Posted by Nige on 23/07/2018 20:35:24:

Yes a DRO might be desirable and it would change the way you use the mill but it isnt essential. You will learn more about the mechanics and process's of milling if you start without a DRO as a great many people do. You will also save yourself several hundred pounds 😊

My plan exactly!

Patryk Socha23/07/2018 21:14:06
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22 forum posts
Posted by Peter G. Shaw on 23/07/2018 20:58:11:

Patryk,

If you are considering a Sieg X2 type or equivalent, may I suggest, don't! I have a clone, and it's not exactly the best! You will find that there are one heck of a lot of modifications on the internet to bring these machines up to an acceptable standard. Our esteemed editor, Mr Wyatt no less, has an X2, and has published a number of modifications himself. Mine is an X2 clone - I won't say who by or who sold it as it is no longer available, but it is every bit as bad some of the reports, and indeed I am slowly incorporating some of Neil's modifications into mine.

What I would suggest is that you have a good look at the Arc Euro Trade offering, they have three versions of an upgraded X2. You may be interested to know that Arc stopped selling the original X2 because of all the problems.

Regards,

Peter G. Shaw

 

 

So far I was leaning towards SX2.7 (X3 a little bit too expensive). Does it still fall into X2 problems?

Edited By Patryk Socha on 23/07/2018 21:14:38

Edited By Patryk Socha on 23/07/2018 21:15:25

Nige23/07/2018 21:24:15
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370 forum posts
65 photos

Patryk: I have a new SX2.7 and very happy with it and found no problems so far in the time I have had it. Come and take a look, I'll send you a PM.

Patryk Socha23/07/2018 21:49:24
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22 forum posts

And what about Warco? They seem to have a large selection of machines, and apparently around for 20 years? Any opinions?

As much as I love this machine **LINK** at its price I start to realise that probably there is no support for it, nor warranty of any sorts....

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