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Yet another 'which mill shall I buy'

But with some more direct questions!

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Iain Downs08/11/2019 16:50:52
516 forum posts
397 photos

Hi, all.

It looks like I might be coming into a bit of cash soon - quite unexpectedly. Nothing earth shattering, but enough to consider an upgrade from my CMD10 micro mill.

In my heart I would love to go for a second hand industrial machine, but I the overhead of finding one, the risks of it being dodgy, the sheer physical size and the likelihood if it being metric all suggest this is a bad idea. My shed is a small single garage and I expect a decent bridgeport would fill it. Even it if would fit through the door.

There are some new machines available from SPG and Amadeal which look interesting, but I can't find much about them.

Does anyone have experience of :-

AMADEAL AMAT45V or AMAT45FG

AMADEAL AMAT25LV.

SPG SP 2217 30B LV

SPG 2217-III LV

?

The AMAT45V is particular interesting as a 2.2KW machine for 1500 quid which is well priced.

The most likely fallback would be AN ARC SX3 HiTorque. Does anyone have experience with fitting DRO to this? (and where to source the bits).

The other thing I wanted to ask is about sticking a 150 - 300kg mill on a bench. My bench is home built and sturdy (about 8 foot by 2 foot 6, top is 2 layers of 3/4 ply, 4 times 4 x 4 legs and a 6 inch deep ply stiffener under the front and back)., but I don't know if it would be happy with that much weight at one end. 150 yes, 300?

Of course if someone has a small metric, scarcely used bridgeport they want to sell me for a good price, I could be talked around!

Thanks in advance for any pointers or advice.

Iain

bill ellis08/11/2019 16:56:09
56 forum posts
2 photos

Would not worry about the metric bit, just get an imperial Bridgeport and put a DRO on it. Unless you are 8ft tall I would leave one of those on the floor, you would need a very sturdy bench to carry 1000Kg cheeky

Chris Evans 608/11/2019 17:00:22
1502 forum posts

My Bridgeport does all I need. There are some about with the 36" table, don't come up for sale very often but desirable for those with limited space.

Thor08/11/2019 17:20:47
1137 forum posts
32 photos

Hi Iain ,

I have an old milling machine (with a brushed motor) similar to the AMAT25LV, different paintwork. Mine is the long table variety and I like the long table, as I can have a vice at one end and mount something else at the other end. I have had it for seven years and no troubles so far. Mine is with MT3 spindle, today I would have bought it with a R8 spindle. If you can afford and find room for the AMAT45, you will get a heavier machine with a gear head that will give you more torque at low speeds.

Thor

Mike Donnerstag08/11/2019 17:48:50
avatar
101 forum posts
13 photos

I've been considering the Sieg SX3 too. I understand that Machine DRO can supply the parts for the DRO, though as the mill is relatively easy to fit scales to (it has a square rather than angled base casting), they sell a 'universal kit' rather than one that is a custom fit. They recommended these to me: https://www.machine-dro.co.uk/dro-packages/universal-dro-packages/with-magnetic-encoders.html.

One advantage with the Sieg is the Z-axis handwheel being at a low level, rather than at the top of the column.

I'd much prefer a second-hand European-made machine, though I haven't found one that compares well to the Sieg, at least so far, as I'm looking for a milling machine with a quill head for drilling. For me, a Bridgeport or clone is far too bulky.

Mark Elen 108/11/2019 18:04:52
117 forum posts
201 photos

I have an SX3 that I bought from ARC a couple of years ago. I’m really just a beginner, but I’m happy with it.

I bought a DRO with it, along with glass scales, all from ARC. I shamelessly copied the bracket setup that is in the showroom at Leicester. It was the first job that I did with the mill.

I still haven’t got around to making the brackets for the z axis scale. If you want some photos, let me know.

If I was doing it now, I would be looking at the smaller magnetic scales, just for neatness.
Cheers

Mark

Bill Davies 208/11/2019 19:58:59
118 forum posts
10 photos

Iain, I have a Warco Geared Head Universal, which weighs 300kg or so. It is supported on a wooden stand made of pine approx 40 x 90 mm, with same sized timbers into recesses or dados in the legs, held together with M10 coach bolts. It wobbles slightly but supports the mill very well.

I ordered a metal stand at the time which was out of stock, so it arrived later. In the meantime, I built the wooden stand, which I prefer. It is taller and takes up less room. What to do with the metal stand?

Note that this stand is not a bench so no flexing of horizontal beams. But take comfort, Iain, from the scary-sounding 300 kg, as it is the same as 3 reasonably built chaps standing on a bench or table.

Bill

not done it yet09/11/2019 09:54:57
3556 forum posts
15 photos

Make that 4 blokes, unless they are either 2m tall, or overweight!

Vic09/11/2019 10:49:31
2330 forum posts
12 photos

Possibly over budget but what about a VMC?

**LINK**

There are quite a few of us on here that have them. When I got mine it was about £500 over budget but I’m so glad I got a knee mill in the end.

peak409/11/2019 11:12:46
avatar
901 forum posts
85 photos

Premier Machine Tools have a Tom Senior in at the moment; if not for you, someone else reading the thread might be interested.

Bill

Vic09/11/2019 11:28:21
2330 forum posts
12 photos

Another Tom here:

**LINK**

Colin Heseltine09/11/2019 11:41:44
345 forum posts
87 photos

Bear in mind that although a Bridgeport (or Bridgeport clone) looks difficult to get in through garage doors the head will rotate through 90 degrees and lower the overall height significantly. I have just installed a Gate PBM2000 (Bridgeport clone) in my workshop and I have roller shutters and these are slightly lower than a normal garage door. It still went through. Just make sure you have the internal height. If I needed to remove the draw bar I would need to rotate the head but this is not a huge task, but hopefully will not be required very often.

As Vic says above he is glad he got a knee mill. I have found it a revelation.

Colin

Mike London09/11/2019 17:03:21
4 forum posts

I would have to agree with the Bridgeport camp. My Bridgeport replaced a Myford VMC on a base in a standard single garage. Slightly bigger but fitted in the same space just had to allow a bit more room for table travel. Slightly taller but not by much.

But the biggest advantage was the available space under the quill (max 480mm). The ability to be able to have a largish piece of work on the table and be able to drop the table to facilitate changing large or long tools without losing alignment just makes me smile every time I do it!

old mart09/11/2019 21:38:05
785 forum posts
77 photos

I recon that the minimum spec for a mill should include an R8 spindle and leave the Morse tapers where they belong in drilling machines and lathe tailstocks.

XD 35110/11/2019 06:27:27
avatar
1362 forum posts
118 photos

So how many of you Bridgie owners use all the features ?

A Bridgeport is a toolmakers mill and not a heavy mill , yes it has some very useful abilities but they are things you will rarely use - like nodding the head etc.

You can get a Bridgeport clone for close to the same money that you will pay for a decent second hand Bridgeport but seriously do you really need all the features of a Bridgie ?

I prefer to set the workpiece up for angle milling or drilling as it is easier and doesn't require tramming the head afterwards .

I run a HM46 Hafco which i think there is a Chester equivalent and i have never felt the need for anything bigger .

Henry Brown10/11/2019 08:22:22
67 forum posts
4 photos

This year I bought an ex-display SEIG SX4, without the DRO, from Axminster and after a few teething problems it seems ideal for my needs. I'm just fitting it with magnetic X and Y scales and reading head from Machine DRO as it has Z built in, which has saved many hundreds of £! May be worth looking out for a second hand one?

bill ellis10/11/2019 08:46:34
56 forum posts
2 photos

Having had round column mills in the past and now owning a Bridgeport I would say the biggest factor for the latter is the ease of use. For model engineering the capacity is more than adequate and whilst some features may rarely be used they are there should the necessity arise. Although it may seem a daunting prospect to get a 1 tonne lump into the workshop once installed they do seem to shrink and not take up masses of space.

Of course the initial problem is getting a good example, there are still bargains to be had and also perfect specimens at extortionate prices. I would suggest that getting a medium priced example and making the 1st project on it a full stripdown and rebuild (you will need to sort 3 phase anyway). That way you will have a lifelong companion for your modelling needs and can forget about lack of headroom or table capacity. That may seem like a lot of hassle but treat it as another project, there are masses of instructional videos online to tell you what to do and how to do it.

SillyOldDuffer10/11/2019 09:44:56
4843 forum posts
1018 photos

Whilst the Bridgeport design is a time-proven winner, I haven't got room for one! They're also a step-up in weight, power, price and second-hand risk from the 4 machines listed by Iain, eg.

AMADEAL AMAT45V or AMAT45FG

AMADEAL AMAT25LV.

SPG SP 2217 30B LV

SPG 2217-III LV

The machines look to me to be typical Chinese fare and they are competitively priced. As such, they will probably perform similarly ± 33% to other comparable models depending on the exact configuration. Question is how well-finished / cost-cut / rough are they, and, how well will SPG or Amadeal behave if you happen to get a dud?

Judging by forum comments, ArcEuroTrade get the best customer support reviews, Warco replace or refund without much fuss, while Chester appear more awkward. Less feedback about Axminister (but I only recall positive comments), and almost nothing about MachineMart, ProMachineTools, ToolCo, Amadeal or SPG. (Or others!) Bearing in mind that not all customers are well-balanced I've not seen evidence of any British supplier being totally unreasonable.

However, unwise to draw unthinking conclusions from anything on the Internet, not even this wonderful forum! Lack of comment could indicate either total satisfaction or wanting to forget a bad experience. People are more likely to complain than applaud, and the performance of any company can change over time.

My gut feel is the machines listed by Iain are serviceable but probably less well finished than more expensive equivalents, and that both companies provide acceptable customer service. Anyone with Amadeal or SPG experience prepared to comment?

Dave

 

 

Edited By SillyOldDuffer on 10/11/2019 09:47:15

Peter Simpson 110/11/2019 10:27:25
118 forum posts
4 photos

I believe the majority of us would love a good quality Breidgeport, but they come with several downsides.

1. Cost of a good quality example.

2. Actual size.

3. Weight of the machine and the ability to move one around into its final workshop location.

If I was to buy a new milling machine I would plumb for a Warco VMC version. More than capable machine. They are a heavy lump. but they can be stripped down. to managable lumps.

I,m more than happy with my good used Tom Senior

Hollowpoint10/11/2019 10:34:19
240 forum posts
28 photos

I purchased a lathe from amadeal. The guy at the other end of the phone was pleasant and helpful. I asked If I could choose a different colour since I didn't like the white/navy they supply as standard. He was happy to supply one of the other colours they usually reserve for the more expensive full setups. The lathe was delivered next day as promised. There was some minor damage from transport when it arrived but after a quick call they agreed to send replacement parts, which they did very quickly. From my experience with them I would happily recommend them.

As for a milling machine, go for the VMC if you can afford it. It's a great machine! 

Edited By Hollowpoint on 10/11/2019 10:36:07

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