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What mills have you had

The obvious follow-on to the lathes thread...

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not done it yet21/07/2019 11:25:58
3341 forum posts
11 photos

A thread of what mills you have had and (perhaps) why you changed.

For me:

First was the CL500. Never really got on with it.

Non-descript Dore Westbury type, I think. Worked OK but was nowhere near sufficiently rigid. Sufficed for a couple of decades.

Raglan - super little mill. Not going to move it on in the foreseeable future. Only real downside for me is the size.

Centec 2B - bought for the all round ability. Vertical and horizontal. It won’t be going anywhere soon. It and the Raglan will see me out!

AStroud21/07/2019 12:08:32
8 forum posts
2 photos

A BCA Mk 3 if it qualifies as a mill. I have it because of space limitations and it is a joy to use. Downside it is limited to small work but it suits my projects.


Tony Pratt 121/07/2019 12:20:23
900 forum posts
2 photos

Dore Westbury which I built myself & again way too flimsy, Myford VME knee/turret mill, nice size & well made. Worked on many different types in industry.


Hollowpoint21/07/2019 12:57:12
216 forum posts
28 photos

My first and still the one I own today is my VMC knee mill, it was in a state when I bought it. It has no badges on it anywhere so I don't know if it's a Myford, warco or Chester varient but it has served me well.

I've since had several Dore Westbury machines which I restored before selling them on.

In the future I would like to replace the VMC with another but in better condition.

Brian H21/07/2019 13:14:51
1218 forum posts
92 photos

I was very lucky with my first mill; I worked at a company that had bought the mill to make the serrated steel plates that were used to set up the nozzles on the Harrier jump jet.

When the contract ended the machine was going to be dumped. I asked people in the toolroom who had used it for their opinions and all agreed that it was a good machine except that the DRO package did not work ( it wasn't needed for the Harrier job).

I asked the avionics dept foreman if he would have a look at what might be wrong and he returned 30 mins later to say that it was a faulty 3p resistor that had failed and he had replaced it.

Naturally I kept that to myself and offered £100 to take it off their hands as long as they delivered it to my home!

It weighed almost 5 tons and when I moved house it had to go as there was no room for it so it had to go.

I then bought a Graham Mill/drill which has been excellent since I fitted 2 axis DRO to it.

I'm now looking for either a small horizontal or an Omnimil 00 or a Centec with vertical head.


KWIL21/07/2019 13:21:33
3114 forum posts
56 photos

Astra L4 Horizontal, but also with non quill vertical head, bought as a project and totally refurbished.

Boxford VM30 (fitted with DRO) Horizontal PF

Bridgeport Series 1 long table (fitted with 4 axis DRO) all axis PF

Still have all of them.

Vic21/07/2019 13:24:59
2250 forum posts
11 photos

I had a well used Omnimill but had to sell it as the removal company wanted too much to shift it to the new house. I’ve now got a Warco VMC which is nice enough. It was over budget at the time but I’m so glad I got a mill with a knee. I think I’d struggle without as all the mills I’ve used have had them. If money had been no object I’d probably have bought something like an Aciera. I was offered a Bridgeport in good condition years ago for not a lot of money but they take up far too much space.

Colin Heseltine21/07/2019 14:11:42
325 forum posts
77 photos

Many years ago (1973) I bought a Harrison L5 lathe, an Excel No. 2 surface grinder and an Excel Shaper from Cannock Tech. Swapped the shaper for a big Cincinnatti No. 2 Vertical Mill which my dad did a lot of work on. Eventually got sold when my father moved house.

I then bought one of the small Proxxon BF40E mills which I used for making dolls house furniture. I then added a Chester Super Lux, followed by a Cowells vertical mill, an Aciera F12 and a BCA Mk3 jig borer. Just swapped the Super Lux for a Gates PBM2000 (Bridgeport clone). So far I have found the PBM2000 very nice to use especially having the knee and powerfeed on X & Y and power drawbar. Will soon have a power feed on the knee.

Hopefully will be able to start using it all when retire at end of this month (69).

FullaFlava21/07/2019 14:17:35
25 forum posts
38 photos

Like many it seems, I have a VMC, mine is an older Warco version, which I’ve put a DRO on but I’d like to further upgrade to an inverter drive.

i also have a BCA Mk3 which I haven’t used for some time so am considering moving it on unless a job crops up it’s ideal for.

Clive Foster21/07/2019 15:18:40
1835 forum posts
59 photos

Another ex BCA owner here, actually Union badge, but same difference. First mill and far too small for my work. Hadn't realised just how much physically larger a mill has to be than a lathe for same classes of work.

Moved on to a pretty much unique Chester Lux square column bench mill. One off bought in to test the market having two speed belt drive and a European built VFD integrated into the head instead of the usual gear arrangement. Price-performance-market equation clearly didn't work so I got it for very reasonable price. Good machine once I chased the Chinee assembly issues so common in that era out. Fitted DRO. But table and work envelope too small and I got fed up peering round the big cast iron box head. Sold on to a guy who said he was still very happy with it when I ran into him last year.

Built new workshop on redundancy in 2004 and put a Varispeed Bridgeport in. Came with seized head which had to be refurbished and added a Sino 3 axis DRO set.


Mick B121/07/2019 17:30:43
1182 forum posts
66 photos

I worked a few mills in the 70s - a biggish Varnamo vertical and a couple of Bridgeports. I still use a Bridgeport clone when I do volunteer work for the railway.

But I've never had one of my own. I use a vertical slide in my lathe, and so far I've been able to do everything I needed. I'd certainly like a mill, but it'll probably have to be a bench-sized one to fit the space and budget I have.

mechman4821/07/2019 17:42:17
2449 forum posts
376 photos

... First was the CL500. Never really got on with it.

Me too, not stable /rigid enough to do anything more than light milling cuts, now have a WM16 much better machine handles every thing I've given it to do.


Clive Steer21/07/2019 17:55:38
13 forum posts

I started off with a BCA Mk3 which is now fully tooled and I still have. However needing a little more capacity but having limited space I bought a cheap Tom Senior off eBay. Big mistake as it needed quite a bit of work so moved it on. Bought a Boxford VM30 and fitted it with a Bridgeport M head to provide a Quill capability. Added VFD and DRO to make very nice and compact machine which is just right for the work I do.


John Haine21/07/2019 18:36:33
2601 forum posts
133 photos

First was an Amolco, made from an old head and a newer base (when they were available) - OK but not very rigid. Then inherited my father's Aciera F1 - a beautiful Swiss machine but rather worn and much too small. I sold that and invested the proceeds in a Myford VMB which gives good service. More recently bought a Denford Novamill for CNC which is also very nice though I had to make my own electronics package. Starting again I'd get a larger CNC mill.

Gray21/07/2019 18:49:15
1003 forum posts
8 photos

First on was a Chester cobra combi machine, the mill is similar to a seig x1, good enough machine but rapidly outgrew it. Next came a Chester Model B Combi machine, regretted right from the off as it was not rigid enough and the mill was virtually useless.

After that I bought a Hyundai badged X2 clone, and also acquired a Warco ZX15 round column mill. Both did their job well but when the opportunity arose to purchase a fully tooled Ajax AJT4 turret mill, for less money that the tooling alone was worth, the small mills went. The Ajax is a big machine but is more than capable of everything I will need.

Brian Wood21/07/2019 18:55:23
1965 forum posts
37 photos

I made my Mk 2 Dore-Westbury which I still own, admittedly a light machine which now has variable speed drive, a big improvement. It get a lot of use.

A Tom Senior [Junior] horizontal mill, a lovely machine, which I use for gear cutting

And not listed as a category on it's own, an Elliott M 10 shaper


Mick Henshall21/07/2019 19:16:03
519 forum posts
29 photos

First an Adcock & Shipley horizontal made probably around the forties/fifties cost me £30 from a local firm still using it, and added a Warco WM14 a few years ago and fitted 2 axis dro,between them they do all I need

Mick 🇬🇧

Plasma21/07/2019 19:24:02
335 forum posts
41 photos

Raglan vertical current

Tom senior M1 current

Shaftesbury jig borer light mill current

Also have an Elliot 10 m shaper

peak421/07/2019 19:28:49
846 forum posts
71 photos

Dore Westbury Mk1

Centec 2B with later quill

Also have a Boxford shaper.


charadam21/07/2019 19:46:59
179 forum posts
6 photos

Centec 2B followed by a Boxford VM30. I think I will sell off the Boxford and go back to a shaper, since all the milling I have done for the last 4 years has been making stuff flat!

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