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What mills have you had

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

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Phil P21/07/2019 19:52:04
529 forum posts
143 photos

Centec 2A

Centec 2B

Adcock Shipley 1ES, with Bridgeport head grafted on to horizontal overarm

Alexander Master Toolmaker

Boley & Leinen Jig Borer (predecessor to BCA)

Still got the last two.


BCPROF21/07/2019 19:54:33
114 forum posts

Warco Major clone

Seig X3. Good but fried the circuit board

Warco VMC Will outlast me !!


John Reese21/07/2019 20:19:54
799 forum posts


1. Cincinnati Contourmaster with broken tracer. Gone

2. Cincinnati Ho. 2 horizontal. Gone

3. Sharp, copy of Bridgeport. Still have it

4. Rong Fu 45. Still have it.

steamdave21/07/2019 20:20:24
418 forum posts
32 photos

I started off with an Emco FB2. Super machine for smaller work. An acquaintance wanted to buy it off me, so off it went and the proceeds went to 'upgrade' to a Wabeco F1410. The less said about it, the better.

Also had a Thiel 158, ex Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft Co. from 1971. Just about every attachment came with it. Again a super machine, but me being of a senior age I sold it while I had a buyer, along with my Harrison M300. Manual metal machine users are very few and far between in Ireland, and it was a stage in downsizing the workshop.

The Emerald Isle

Mark Rand21/07/2019 22:07:29
802 forum posts

Used a vertical slide on ML7's for a while.

(Another unlisted one) Got a Royal 10" shaper in 2003. Did a lot of useful work with it. Recently finished giving it a proper overhaul and will put it on Adam Stevenson's site when I remember.

Inherited a WW2 no-name BCA Mk2 from dad. Don't know if dad made them or it was a real 'war job' but the feed screws are 7/16" BSW. Haven't rebuilt it yet, but had thought of turning it into a 4-5 axis CNC machine.

Mk1 Beaver VBRP with 48" table. This took four years to rebuild (seems to be standard for any rebuild I do). Built a 7.5" riser block for it that gives it a very useful working envelope. Picked up a Beaver slotting head from a dealer for £60, which was daft money, given what Bridgeport ones go for. Recently finished fitting a DRO based around Allendale/M-DRO mag scales and a Shumatec DRO-550 head.


PS:- there seem to be a lot of BCA machines out there!

Edited By Mark Rand on 21/07/2019 22:09:43

Alistair Robertson 121/07/2019 22:28:42
61 forum posts
6 photos

I have had a Polish AJAX horizontal that came out of the Hillman Imp factory in Linwood. We used it for 24 hours a day on one job for about 6 years and I was sad to see it go but we didn't have a job for it.

I had a Huron for a few years which was a wonderful milling machine. Designed by people (in France) who had worked out how a manual machine should work, a bit like a Dean, Smith and Grace lathe. I sold it for twice the price I paid for it after 10 years!

Various Bridgeports including a round head machine that came out of the Hughes Aircraft Factory at Culver City in California and would have been used to build the "Spruce Goose" aircraft. I still have that one with all the Hughes Aircraft and local Californian dealer name plates.

A Schaublin 53, another very well designed machine and very rare in the UK.

A fully kitted out Aciera F1 which I still have.

Spurry21/07/2019 22:54:20
166 forum posts
59 photos

First mill was a Warco VMC. After that experience, I said I would never have anything from Warco again..

Next was an old Bridgport which kept me out of trouble for a bit.

After a chat with John Stevenson at one of the shows, and relating my VMC story to him, he advised a WM40.

I'm pleased I took his advice and I'm very happy with the second WM40 machine they delivered. (It's only needed a few mods).

thaiguzzi22/07/2019 06:32:29
597 forum posts
131 photos
Posted by Hollowpoint on 21/07/2019 12:57:12:

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.

If the VMC has not been repainted, the factory finish should tell you who originally sold it here.

Green for Warco, Grey or a blue for Chester etc.

my mills;

Denbigh horizontal with a no-quill vertical head fitted (a monster).

Beaver mk I heavier duty version of the BP (sadly regrettably sold when i moved).

Tom Senior M1 with the TS quill feed vertical head (current).

Edited By thaiguzzi on 22/07/2019 06:36:39

JA22/07/2019 08:48:42
800 forum posts
44 photos

The only milling machine I have owned, and still own, is a Wabeco F1210. I bought it in 2006 and it has been well used. It has outlasted a friend's Warco bought soon after. I have fitted a table drive (Dave Haythornthwaite's design from 2006 MEW), a good DRO (both very useful) and a tachometer (bling).

To be honest, the machine is a bit small and not very robust. I tolerate its failings since I do not have clue about a possible replacement.

Ian McVickers22/07/2019 09:22:09
149 forum posts
77 photos

Centec 2A with the fine feed vertical head. Nice little machine but just too small. Really should have kept it.

Warco GH Universal, just about to go up for sale.

Omnimill 00

Joseph Noci 122/07/2019 10:13:47
549 forum posts
836 photos

An unknown horizontal mill, and many FB2's...


CNC FB2.jpg

DRO'ed FB2

fb2 mill.jpg

FB2 base and column with J&S spindle

j&s mill.jpg

The Horizontal Mill

The Big Mill


Jon Freeman 222/07/2019 11:49:52
10 forum posts

1980s - Hobbymat Yellow Peril - dreadful mistake.

2000s - Chinese Bridgport clone from Chester with Newall DRO - use this often, good machine, will see me out

2010 or thereabouts Sieg KX3 CNC - produced some useful and interesting work with this but very little used now (for so many jobs not quite enough Y travel).

Andy Carruthers22/07/2019 11:59:30
262 forum posts
23 photos

Tom Senior M1 - Retrofitted DRO and rev counter, investigating X axis motor for both left and right. Needs a proper control panel and lighting rather than the eclectic kit of parts slung together

larry phelan 122/07/2019 12:59:54
527 forum posts
11 photos

Alas, only one ! A Chester Lux ,which will no doubt see me out.

Nigel Graham 222/07/2019 23:30:58
443 forum posts

"My" first was one I rescued from a local scrap-yard for our club workshop, to replace a hefty great shaping-machine.

It really was a museum-piece. Made by the French company HURE, probably in 1880s or so, it was an early universal-mill with an L-shaped turret. One arm carried the horizontal spindle of unknown taper (I made a fitting for it, to carry a 3-jaw lathe chuck). The other arm carried the vertical spindle with a curious precursor to the Autolock principle. The collet- or tool- holder had a large nut resembling a union nut, but with one thread where you'd expect, and a second, finer one in the smaller diameter. We never discovered how it was meant to be used - probably with long-lost tooling.

To change spindles entailed slipping 2 or 3 flat belts off, removing a dog from the turret rim, rotating that and replacing the dog in a second V-notch, then fitting a second set of belts. With its confection of plain cast-iron pulleys on steel spindles, the whole thing was almost too much for the 3ph, 3HP motor donated from the displaced shaper. (The rented workshop had a 3ph mains supply.)

Subsequently I replaced it with a (Denbigh?) horizontal mill surplus at my work-place. The Hure found a happy new home at Weston Zoyland Pumping-station museum for a while, then a change of direction sent it to a new owner. I learnt that by a fluke - the new owner happened to a friend of one of my caving-club fellow members! Then this year, visiting the Museum, I told one of the volunteers of that machine. He knew of it, and said it's moved on again. It gives one a rather warm feeling knowing that my rescuee for all of £30 (in the 1980s) is still in good hands.

I believe HURE still trades, making very large, very sophisticated NC machining-centres.


So whilst nominally those were my mills, my own first were a WARCO mill-drill with round column, and a Denbigh H4 horizontal. Both were second-hand but the Denbigh, from a bereavement sale, was in the most intriguingly ramshackle workshop I have ever seen, in an old sheet-steel garage next to a house.

It had been built for line-shaft drive so its owner had blessed with an angle-iron tower above the machine, carrying an old 1ph motor with belt drive to a Ford 3-speed car gearbox thence by chain to a motorcycle sprocket screwed to the standard cone-pulley on the mill's spindle.

The Warco has found a new home, replaced by a Myford VMC now sporting an Allendale DRO set and awaiting the 3ph conversion still up in my bedroom.

The Denbigh is in a queue of tasks and projects but I intend to put it back into service, as a small but potentially useful machine. The original arbour was badly worn but I found a replacement at an exhibition. The spindle taper is a convenient 3MT.


I did have a Centec 2A and fitted it with a Tony Griffiths raising-block, but when I moved home a few years later, something had to go and it was that, as more saleable than the Denbigh.

I do though also have a BCA jig-borer that came with a 3ph inverter of unknown history and condition for its original motor, so I crossed Messrs Newton's and Tesla's palms with silver yet again, for the full 3ph set.

Daniel23/07/2019 09:00:28
254 forum posts
39 photos

My first mill was a Becker. A universal mill which had lost it's horizontal attachments somewhere along it's long life. I can only imagine that it found itself in France as part of the war rehabilitation effort.



It has now been replaced by a Weiss WMD30LV, my present mill.

Still have the Becker, but it couldn't manage the speeds neccesary for the smaller cutters.

And I do like the VFD. laugh



Russ B23/07/2019 09:40:41
549 forum posts
21 photos

I'll probably miss a few ....

Sieg SX1L from ArcEuroTrade - really great little machine once I'd removed the tilting column however the 100-150w motor was a pretty serious issue, I'd still happily have that machine now if it weren't for that.

Bridgeport dual speed motor belt driven (J head was it?) with mechanical variable speed cross feed on the table. Easily my favourite machine, it could tackle anything and had a shaper on the back, I loved it, but it was 7 feet tall and took up half the width of my domestic garage by the time you'd allowed enough space to rotate the ram and move the table left and right. Miss it, but it was impractical in a garage my size, maybe one day I'll be able to have one.

RF-30 machine, really heavy duty piece of kit, round column means you lose x/y coordination when raising/lowering the head which has to be done quite alot when changing from end mills in the spindle collets to drills in a chuck etc, can be worked around with stubby drills & hold everything in an ER collet - solid, reliable, and with the mentioned work around, very useable, would outlast me.

RF45 - seriously big hunk of kit for a desktop, the quick speed changes on the mill head was handy (bought at auction it was going cheap, sold to a friend + £100 for my troubles/transport)

Astra L4 horizontal and vertical mill - probably the nicest machine I've owned, it was so capable, but so small, it had to go! Being a horiztonal mill, the vertical milling was done via a knuckle type head mounted directly on the horizontal spindle, leaving very very little room down to the table. It was a very very small machine with very limited x,y travel, ideal if you only want to make small things on a 3.5" lathe but no good for my general purpose, I miss it, and i dont miss it at the same time!

My current machine and I don't think I'll ever sell it, unless a VMF falls in to my lap(... Frank.... ahem.... just in case you need the space in crete.... wink) Myford VMC with 5 micron M-DRO scales and central lube system, the slides and screws are the smoothest of any machine I've ever used, they're on par with bad ballscrews, it's a dream to use, I will make a small column riser if/when needed as it's ever so slightly tight but it's not given me any real trouble yet (I've got two pieces of stock the right size for a 3.5" raiser, I'll use one and sell the other once made).

I had to get a small mill for general use and heavy duty drilling at work and I went with an RF30 clone as it's just a solid piece of kit, belt drive, very little to go wrong - someone drilled the table within a week, bloody apprentices and electricians....... angry

vic newey23/07/2019 11:39:18
38 forum posts
40 photos

I have only ever owned one, it's an Emco Mentor 4 speed geared head. I bought it in the 1980's originating from a school workshop.

Gary Wooding23/07/2019 13:26:16
595 forum posts
141 photos

My first was a vertical slide on a Boxford BUD, but I now have a Centec 2B with the Mk3 VH and power-feed. I've fitted VFDs to both spindle and power-feed, a 3-axis Newel DRO, and a Raising block.

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