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Best Milling Machine Ever????

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Jacob Williams23/02/2020 17:29:29
5 forum posts

Right Gents.

We all know that the Dean Smith and Grace Lathe are the 'Rolls Royce' manual lathes but the question i want to ask you all is who made the best milling machine ever?

If you could buy only one Milling machine , any price what would you have?

Johnboy2523/02/2020 17:38:01
249 forum posts
3 photos

I bought what I considered the best - a Bridgeport BR2J2 Series 1 👍

Baz23/02/2020 17:43:58
333 forum posts

DSG are not bad, I have worked on quite a few but far prefer Holbrook lathes, models B8 and C10 in particular, as for mills, large one would have to be Huron and for a small mill something like Aciera F3.

SillyOldDuffer23/02/2020 18:16:37
5370 forum posts
1090 photos

How about a Doosan Mynx - CNC, 22kW, 6000rpm, 30 tool auto-changer, and a table the size of a double-bed? If you need to ask the price, you can't afford it!

As always choosing tools, purpose changes the answer. Small workshop high-accuracy suggests a jig-borer, but there's a good reason Bridgeports are popular for general purpose use. Beyond Bridgeports, milling machines get really big. Horizontals are good for shifting metal quickly, while Verticals are more versatile.

An unlimited budget catapults us into the world of modern manufacturing, where many CNC machines completely out-class manual lathes and milling machines. Made by firms most of us have never heard of! As they cost as much as a small country to own and run, very unlikely any of us will ever have one in his shed. Shame!

Ages ago I read a 'best lathe' debate on one of the other forums. The winner was judged to be slightly better at clearing the ton and half of swarf it produced per shift. (4 tons a day.) Must be nice to own the sort of lathe that comes with a conveyor belt, but I don't really need one.


Mick B123/02/2020 18:35:35
1451 forum posts
77 photos

Back in the late 70s when I was machining for pay, I was running a big Swedish Varnamo vertical mill in an instrument workshop. I was like a Bridgeport with extra muscle. It could whack off cubic inches per minute with a shell end mill, or it could precision-drill 1mm holes on hundredth-mm tolerances on size and position. I dunno if it was the best, but I liked it and it could do anything it was required to. It had rapid traverse at least on both horizontal axes, and I think probably on the knee too.

It may have been an FV-3KM.

Edited By Mick B1 on 23/02/2020 19:01:11

Tony Pratt 123/02/2020 19:04:50
1029 forum posts
3 photos

I would go for a turret mill with CNC control.


Bazyle23/02/2020 19:07:47
5013 forum posts
198 photos

Depends on the size you want/can fit in your workshop. Perhaps a Centec 2B with the better vertical head set up (I don't have one so not sure of the configuration but have seen comments on here about there being different versions) then you get the horizontal capability too, and some are universal ie swivelling table. Or the Elliott Juniormil which is also H/V. A slightly bigger equivalent is now available new again in the Chester model T or even bigger from Chester and Warco.

Paul Kemp23/02/2020 19:09:13
391 forum posts
18 photos

Easy, the best one is mine!


Graham Meek23/02/2020 19:25:16
167 forum posts
139 photos

My choice would be if money was no object, an Emco F3.



Chris Evans 623/02/2020 19:34:29
1592 forum posts

After 50 years in toolmaking I have used a good few. most accurate and pleasurable to use was a swiss Schaublin. But for a versatile machine and one is in my workshop, A Bridgeport turret mill.

Neil Wyatt23/02/2020 19:48:07
17394 forum posts
690 photos
77 articles

The one you enjoy using


Andrew Johnston23/02/2020 21:49:32
5204 forum posts
599 photos

Wrong question. No single mill will do everything well, so you need more than one. Same for lathes, you should have more than one. smile


Clive Hartland23/02/2020 22:19:07
2518 forum posts
40 photos

Schaublin, 13. I had the use at work of this machine and it was manual and a lovely machine to use. It had all the extras and could carry out any operation. It cost £17000 and was recently sold for £ 4500. and then appeared on the market priced at £8000. Nice profit for someone.

Mike Poole23/02/2020 22:22:37
2446 forum posts
53 photos


one of these is quite interesting.


Hopper24/02/2020 00:02:51
4166 forum posts
89 photos

Andrew is right. There is no one-size-fits-all ultimate mill. Horses for courses.

The best mill I used at work was the old Cincinnati mills, both horizontal and vertical. Those things were SOLID and shifted metal rapidly yet with good precision. The Cadillac of mills.

For home workshop I've been impressed by a mate's SEIG SX3. Big enough to do motorbike work. Precise enough for modelling (he made a 9 cyl radial engine on it). Well made and reliable. And very reasonably priced. The Toyota Corolla of mills.

KWIL24/02/2020 08:57:59
3165 forum posts
62 photos

The only problem with the old Cincinnatis is they are a big as a housesmiley

Nigel McBurney 124/02/2020 10:29:10
662 forum posts
3 photos

Keeping things in proportion,ie machines up to 2 tons, I really rate a Deckel FP 3 best mill I ever worked on,new in 1967 with some eqipment £5k approaching jig boring accuracy with its glass measuing scales,though 5k would have bought a 4 bed house in southern england in those days. Cincinnatti and Milwaukee had very good reputations,Aside from major uk manufacturing companies ,the smaller trade shops liked Bridgeports,Beavers, a lot of shops had one Huron a big lump ,the french Dufors were very popular. In more recent time the TOS large turret mills had a reasonable reputation as they had a 40 int spindle and 3 axis power feeds.I have never worked on a Bridgeport but it must be the best all round tool for a modell maker if the space is available,though my beef with turret mills is the heads going out of tram and the two way knuckle joint lacks rigity. Reading lots of posts on modern machine tools there seems end less problems with motor drives,electronic controls ,running out of power,spindles stalling.Touch wood My 1973 S7 and 1968 Fobco keep on going doing the job they were rated for ,My Elliott Omnimill is ok but Elliotts were really only in the third division of machine tools,though it is capable meeting my current needs.The one thing I like about the continental toolmaking mills is the squarer table with multiple T slots rather than the standard long 3 slot tables of uk and US mills.

Vidar24/02/2020 10:37:43
56 forum posts

For me the one I got is a lot better than all the ones I don't have.

That aside, a nice little Deckel would be a welcome supplement to the shop.

Bazyle24/02/2020 13:03:23
5013 forum posts
198 photos
Posted by Mike Poole on 23/02/2020 22:22:37:


one of these is quite interesting.


The Hexapod mill. It was pictured on the cover of ME about 10 years ago. One time editor of ME Mike Chrisp's son was involved with it I think.

Vic24/02/2020 13:21:07
2434 forum posts
12 photos

I’ve always liked the look of the late Aciera F3.

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