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Warco WM16 and Chester 20V owners

What do you think of your mill

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AdrianR27/04/2020 09:52:58
583 forum posts
36 photos

Hi

I would like to ask some questions about Warco WM16 and Chester 20V mills.

My Emco FB2 clone has some issues that I am not happy about and I don't want to buy a new machine and have the same issues.

My first questions are;

  • Can you do a plunge cut with a 2 flute slot drill without a pilot hole?
  • Can you cut slots that have a reliable width?
  • Can you use a dovetail cutter?
  • When raising/lowering the head is alignment preserved?
  • Do you think the column is rigid enough?
  • Have you had any issues with the motor or gears?
  • Anything you are not happy about with your mill?

Thanks

Adrian

not done it yet27/04/2020 10:21:29
6812 forum posts
20 photos

The search function will find you a fair bit of info.

2 flute cutters are used for plunge cutting on most mills?

I prefer to cut under-size and run a finishing cut - we are mostly hobbyists and most do not have hugely rigid machines! And time is not normally a huge issue.

Any mill will use a dovetail cutter - just depends on how you use it to do the job.

Alignment should be preserved, but some machines likely need ‘fettling’, dependent on what precision is required for the uses it is put to.

Are columns ever really more rigid than necessary on modern chinese offerings? They are built to a price, not quality, these days.

Motors and gears on these cheaper machines can always be an issue - often (I think) down to the operator trying to get more out of the machine than was ever put in it.

I don’t have one, but I have read so many threads on here and other fora.

AdrianR27/04/2020 14:05:05
583 forum posts
36 photos

Yes I have searched through the forum and found enough to put me off buying a variable speed brushed motor mill. I was hoping to hear from people who had more positive experiences.

To expand on my concerns. If I try to use a 2 flute cutter to do a plunge cut without a pilot hole, the mill head shakes violently. I end up with a hole that is around 2mm to larger, and defiantly not round. This is even if I try and creep the cutter in. The issue with slot width is due to the tool moving about 1mm towards the column when the quill is locked.

Having a round column with a single guide I expect that alignment is not that great. With a dovetail I expect it to be better. Good enough that I could bore a hole that is deeper than the quill travel.

On my mill when I cut a dovetail it ends up being quite wobbly due to the lack of rigidity. At the moment I do not feel confident I could even make Howard Halls advanced grinding rest.

I understand these mills are built down to the price, but I would like to feel confident that if I buy one of these mills I will end up with something better than I have now.

SillyOldDuffer27/04/2020 15:01:52
Moderator
8695 forum posts
1967 photos

As lathes.co.uk give the FB2 and clones a decent write up probably worth chasing down whatever is causing yours to misbehave. That 1mm movement is a major issue, perhaps wear or damage, maybe something just needs adjusting.

Although the FB2 is a small machine, in good condition it should be able to plunge with a 2 flute cutter, cut to size and do dovetails. But plunging and dovetailing both require rigidity; any lack of rigidity in the set-up will multiply the difficulties.

Can you put up some photos, including the end of your 2-flute cutter. Not all 2-flute cutters are designed to take centre cuts, there has to be some arrangement for dealing with cutting and swarf at the centre.

I have a WM18 and pleased with it. It has an 1100W brushed DC motor, no problems after 6 years! Always dangerous to generalise but blown controllers and damaged motors & gears seem to go with chaps who push too hard for too long, and those who start & stop the motor without winding the speed-control up and down. (My mill's electronics aren't smart enough to cope with this : it's roughly equivalent doing a boy-racer burn off at the traffic lights, not good for the innards!)

Mills are never rigid enough! It's a good question though because the WM16 / 20V family are a compromise. Better than most round column types but less stiff than a knee mill. Driven within it's capabilities my WM18 does all I want of it but it sure does have limitations.

Main shortcoming from new - no DRO. Once in a blue moon it would be nice to have power traverse, but not essential for what I do.

Dave

JasonB27/04/2020 16:04:23
avatar
Moderator
22751 forum posts
2653 photos
1 articles

What size slot drill are you trying to plunge, what make and into what material? and are you also using a 2-flute cutter for the slot, again what size, etc?

Plenty of good work done with an FB2 such as Graham Meek's work so either yours is knackered or methods of use need attention.

 

Edited By JasonB on 27/04/2020 17:17:12

AdrianR27/04/2020 17:37:03
583 forum posts
36 photos

I had a long discussion about these problems with Graham Meek and others in this thread **LINK**

Incidentally I cut two 8mm slots in 1/2" thick steel today. I used the method described in the previous thread. Chain drill, plunge each end, rough slot out small, then finish at size. I did one with the quill and the z axis locked, the other with the Z axis and the quill locked. No bad nasties happened, but the finish is poor.

Boiler Bri27/04/2020 17:55:12
avatar
842 forum posts
199 photos
Posted by SillyOldDuffer on 27/04/2020 15:01:52:

As lathes.co.uk give the FB2 and clones a decent write up probably worth chasing down whatever is causing yours to misbehave. That 1mm movement is a major issue, perhaps wear or damage, maybe something just needs adjusting.

Although the FB2 is a small machine, in good condition it should be able to plunge with a 2 flute cutter, cut to size and do dovetails. But plunging and dovetailing both require rigidity; any lack of rigidity in the set-up will multiply the difficulties.

Can you put up some photos, including the end of your 2-flute cutter. Not all 2-flute cutters are designed to take centre cuts, there has to be some arrangement for dealing with cutting and swarf at the centre.

I have a WM18 and pleased with it. It has an 1100W brushed DC motor, no problems after 6 years! Always dangerous to generalise but blown controllers and damaged motors & gears seem to go with chaps who push too hard for too long, and those who start & stop the motor without winding the speed-control up and down. (My mill's electronics aren't smart enough to cope with this : it's roughly equivalent doing a boy-racer burn off at the traffic lights, not good for the innards!)

Mills are never rigid enough! It's a good question though because the WM16 / 20V family are a compromise. Better than most round column types but less stiff than a knee mill. Driven within it's capabilities my WM18 does all I want of it but it sure does have limitations.

Main shortcoming from new - no DRO. Once in a blue moon it would be nice to have power traverse, but not essential for what I do.

Dave

I have the wm18 with the dro. It’s suitable for my 5” loco modelling. I usually have the dive lock nipped up a bit when I dive into a cut. I would always drill a hole first then put the slit drill down it.

Bigger stuff I do at work on a Bridgeport. Things for my 4” traction engine.

Yesterday I made some parts for hydrostatic lubrication and they came out ok even with winding the head height up and down.

I bought a drive for the table from Warco. It was NOT a direct fit so be warned If you decide to buy one.

All in all it suits my purpose and I get what I want from it

Made at a price to suit home use if I had the space I would look out for a Bridgeport

Bri



Martin of Wick27/04/2020 17:56:02
249 forum posts
5 photos

The answers for my WM16 in order of questions are:

Yes up to about 6mm in steel but you have to go slooow if you have any mechanical sympathy

In steels yes, but not in one hit - after roughing out, I generally do one side then t'other, never tried very small slots at one pass,' spect they would be oversize though.

Don't know - I expect it would be doable but slowly to respect the mechanical limitations of the mill

Yes

Nope

Not yet

Table too big, column too small, motor too noisy and no taper eject on the spindle not happy with slow heavy cuts.

The new fangled carbide tooling has been a boon for this mill and I have changed technique to suite - set RPM to maximum possible, shallow depth of cut, calculate a suitable lightish tooth load and twirl the handle to approximate the required feed. Basically treat as a manually operated high speed CNC mill hi speed lite cut repeated often until your arm gives up.  Much less shake rattle and roll.

 

 

 

 

Edited By Martin of Wick on 27/04/2020 18:01:03

Edited By Martin of Wick on 27/04/2020 18:04:01

Derek Greenhalgh28/04/2020 22:46:37
26 forum posts
4 photos

I have an HBM version of the warco 16 but has a couple of differences the motor is 1000w instead of 750 and also came with MT3, a few other minor details.

When i first trued slotting it rattled, banged and moved on the bench, wasn't bolted down as i was waiting for a suds tray. I was not very impressed at all. Once i got it bolted down it was only slightly better. I then took out and inspected all the gibs, took of the rough spots and adjusted them to the best of my ability, I'm now satisfied by its performance although bigger and better would be nice. Its a machine that tells you if your gibs are slack or table not locked if you try to push it, its not a bridgeport.

Derek

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