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Warco Minor mill/drill

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Andrew Jenkins27/07/2020 20:42:55
15 forum posts

Hello everyone

Newbie alert! I have searched but not found on this forum info on whether the above named machine is any good?

I should point out I havent got it yet as its in storage, belongs to my brother who moved and as yet hasnt got his new workshop built! so any thoughts on this machine good or bad as I cant afford a different one!

Regards

Andy

Dave Halford28/07/2020 09:53:26
866 forum posts
8 photos

It's a round column mill with an awkward 3 pully belt drive, just ensure you don't need to move the head in the middle of a job. However it will drill and it will mill with a suitable milling cutter holder (not the drill chuck)

As you say "I cant afford a different one!" so it's fine.

Nicholas Farr28/07/2020 10:41:28
avatar
2405 forum posts
1188 photos

Hi Andrew, you may find this useful Warco Minor review.

Regards Nick.

Adrian 228/07/2020 12:09:25
82 forum posts
19 photos

Hello Andy, I have a Warco Minor, the round column can be a pain but there are work arounds. A DRO on the quill is

a must. Over all I am happy with it . It is solid and I have done some useful work with it. The build quality is better

than some later offerings. Being able to swing the head around can have its advantages when working on a large

job. Go for it.

Adrian.

Mick Dobson28/07/2020 12:16:46
21 forum posts
10 photos

Hello Andy,

I had one of these bought (new) in about 1994. It was a decent machine and quite sturdy, probably more so than the smaller ranges of dovetail machines on offer. The mil has reasonable capacity as well.

The round column is a limiting issue if moving the head between cuts when you need to go back to the same reference. I sold it on in 2008 and got a Super Major with dovetail column and powered head rise/fall etc.

Good luck, Mick

BCPROF28/07/2020 12:18:27
137 forum posts

Hi Andrew

A clone of the minor was my first milling machine . The manual was interesting " Please not to be installing the complex machine in a sunshine place " was the first instruction !. They are good , solid and heavy machines . Yes ,as others have said in the past about round column, mills they are a pain if you have to adjust the head but any mill is better than no mill so go for it

Brian

Russ B28/07/2020 12:58:14
575 forum posts
21 photos

Just my 2 pence, I think they're very good machines, I much prefer the reliability and pure power of the belt drive system to that of an electronic drive.

They're substantial enough to make good quality cuts on small parts, and certainly have the power, 2 points which can't be said for a lot of other similar sized machines.

Sure the round column means you lose x/y ordinates if/when you have to lower the head, but it's not hard to pick them up for the occasional times it has to happen, and with carefully selected tooling (mainly a set of stub drills) it's rarely an issue.

I can't think of a better machine for the price and sq footage, but thats all very personal, I don't need atom splitting accuracy, I like the power and reliability and heavy duty'ness of it.

 

* I should point out, there are 2 different sizes of this machine, they both look the same but next each, completely different, both capable, both solid. Some have plain tables with keep plates, some (most) have dovetail with tapered gibs. some have 8 speeds, some 10, some 12 etc. The older ones seem to have a better fit and finish than the newer ones I've had my hands on although I've owned 3 or 4 of the old ones, I've never owned a newer one so hard to pickout exactly why, could just need tweaking and setting up these days.

Edited By Russ B on 28/07/2020 13:04:19

Bazyle28/07/2020 13:55:37
avatar
5391 forum posts
206 photos

Again a user endorsement as it is a very good machine for hobby use and capable of anything you need to do on a 5in gauge loco for instance. Plenty of range on the z axis if you plan ahead far enough to put the head in the right place at the start, the danger is just being lazy or impatient to start.
One small problem not normally mentioned is that if you take too heavy a cut sideways the head might rotate so make sure that such a movement moves the cutter away from the work. Tends to happen when you forgot to properly tighten both bolts on the head after a move.

Howard Lewis28/07/2020 20:36:30
3536 forum posts
2 photos

I have owned it smaller sister, a RF25 (Economy ) for many years.

My solution to the loss of co ordinates when moving the head on the column was to follow Stan Bray's advice and install a bracket on the head into which a cheap DIY shop laser can be inserted, snugly. When you are happy about the position of the head, relative to the table, switch on the laser, Draw a line on the wall furthest from the machine where the beam falls.

DON'T look at the beam!

If you reposition the head so that the laser line always falls on the line on the wall, you should maintain a reasonable alignment.

Over ten feet any error should be of the order of 0.001", which should suffice for most work.

Don't overtighten the bolts for the internediate pulley carrier, to prevent cracking the casting.

If the pulleys are not aligned (motor in particular ) belt life will be shortened.

If the NVR switch buzzes, try tightening the securing screws! It worked for me.

HTH

Howard

Andrew Jenkins30/07/2020 19:39:15
15 forum posts

Hi Dave

Apologies for the late reply.

Posted by Dave Halford on 28/07/2020 09:53:26:

It's a round column mill with an awkward 3 pully belt drive, just ensure you don't need to move the head in the middle of a job. However it will drill and it will mill with a suitable milling cutter holder (not the drill chuck)

I'll bear that in mind.

Regards

Andy

Andrew Jenkins30/07/2020 19:40:32
15 forum posts

Hi Nicholas

Apologies for the late repl.

Posted by Nicholas Farr on 28/07/2020 10:41:28:

Hi Andrew, you may find this useful Warco Minor review.

Regards Nick.

I'll read that later!

Regards

Andy

Andrew Jenkins30/07/2020 19:42:53
15 forum posts

Hi Adrian

Apologies on the late reply.

Posted by Adrian 2 on 28/07/2020 12:09:25:

Hello Andy, I have a Warco Minor, the round column can be a pain but there are work arounds. A DRO on the quill is

a must. Over all I am happy with it . It is solid and I have done some useful work with it. The build quality is better

than some later offerings. Being able to swing the head around can have its advantages when working on a large

job. Go for it.

Adrian.

I'll look into a DRO in the future when I get the machine.

Regards

Andy

Andrew Jenkins30/07/2020 19:44:47
15 forum posts

Hi Mick

Apologies for the late reply.

Posted by Mick Dobson on 28/07/2020 12:16:46:

Hello Andy,

I had one of these bought (new) in about 1994. It was a decent machine and quite sturdy, probably more so than the smaller ranges of dovetail machines on offer. The mil has reasonable capacity as well.

The round column is a limiting issue if moving the head between cuts when you need to go back to the same reference. I sold it on in 2008 and got a Super Major with dovetail column and powered head rise/fall etc.

Good luck, Mick

Nice to see they can last for more than a couple of years!

Regards

Andy

Andrew Jenkins30/07/2020 19:47:54
15 forum posts

Hi Russ

Apologies for the late reply.

Posted by Russ B on 28/07/2020 12:58:14:

Just my 2 pence, I think they're very good machines, I much prefer the reliability and pure power of the belt drive system to that of an electronic drive.

They're substantial enough to make good quality cuts on small parts, and certainly have the power, 2 points which can't be said for a lot of other similar sized machines.

Sure the round column means you lose x/y ordinates if/when you have to lower the head, but it's not hard to pick them up for the occasional times it has to happen, and with carefully selected tooling (mainly a set of stub drills) it's rarely an issue.

I can't think of a better machine for the price and sq footage, but thats all very personal, I don't need atom splitting accuracy, I like the power and reliability and heavy duty'ness of it.

* I should point out, there are 2 different sizes of this machine, they both look the same but next each, completely different, both capable, both solid. Some have plain tables with keep plates, some (most) have dovetail with tapered gibs. some have 8 speeds, some 10, some 12 etc. The older ones seem to have a better fit and finish than the newer ones I've had my hands on although I've owned 3 or 4 of the old ones, I've never owned a newer one so hard to pickout exactly why, could just need tweaking and setting up these days.

Edited By Russ B on 28/07/2020 13:04:19

I'm not sure of the exact model my brother has but good to know that there are different 'Minors'.

Regards

Andy

Andrew Jenkins30/07/2020 19:50:00
15 forum posts

Hi Bazyle

Apologies for the late reply.

Posted by Bazyle on 28/07/2020 13:55:37:

Again a user endorsement as it is a very good machine for hobby use and capable of anything you need to do on a 5in gauge loco for instance. Plenty of range on the z axis if you plan ahead far enough to put the head in the right place at the start, the danger is just being lazy or impatient to start.
One small problem not normally mentioned is that if you take too heavy a cut sideways the head might rotate so make sure that such a movement moves the cutter away from the work. Tends to happen when you forgot to properly tighten both bolts on the head after a move.

Again more useful information from experienced users to help a novice like myself!

Regards

Andy

Andrew Jenkins30/07/2020 19:52:19
15 forum posts

Hi Howard

Apologies for the late reply.

Posted by Howard Lewis on 28/07/2020 20:36:30:

I have owned it smaller sister, a RF25 (Economy ) for many years.

My solution to the loss of co ordinates when moving the head on the column was to follow Stan Bray's advice and install a bracket on the head into which a cheap DIY shop laser can be inserted, snugly. When you are happy about the position of the head, relative to the table, switch on the laser, Draw a line on the wall furthest from the machine where the beam falls.

DON'T look at the beam!

If you reposition the head so that the laser line always falls on the line on the wall, you should maintain a reasonable alignment.

Over ten feet any error should be of the order of 0.001", which should suffice for most work.

Don't overtighten the bolts for the internediate pulley carrier, to prevent cracking the casting.

If the pulleys are not aligned (motor in particular ) belt life will be shortened.

If the NVR switch buzzes, try tightening the securing screws! It worked for me.

HTH

Howard

Again more useful user experince info for me to glean!

Regards

Andy

Andrew Jenkins30/07/2020 19:54:50
15 forum posts

Again thanks to all the above for taking time to reply!

Any body know how to multi quote? laugh

Andy

Speedy Builder530/07/2020 20:27:10
2077 forum posts
145 photos

I too have the Economy Mill - can be a pain changing from slow to fast speeds. I keep a second motor belt on the machine. The lower belt is used for high speeds whilst the higher belt is removed. For slow speeds, the lower belt is slipped off the pulleys and laid on the lower belt guard out of the way of the pulleys. The higher belt is slipped on for the lower speeds.

Ov course a variable speed motor would help, but that is increased cost etc etc (and another potential source of problems).

Andrew Jenkins30/07/2020 20:59:14
15 forum posts

Hi Speedy

Posted by Speedy Builder5 on 30/07/2020 20:27:10:

I too have the Economy Mill - can be a pain changing from slow to fast speeds. I keep a second motor belt on the machine. The lower belt is used for high speeds whilst the higher belt is removed. For slow speeds, the lower belt is slipped off the pulleys and laid on the lower belt guard out of the way of the pulleys. The higher belt is slipped on for the lower speeds.

Ov course a variable speed motor would help, but that is increased cost etc etc (and another potential source of problems).

Thanks for another useful tip! As you say a variable speed motor would be very useful but beyond my budget for now, maybe if i win the pools! laugh

Regards

Andy

peak430/07/2020 21:47:37
avatar
1153 forum posts
135 photos

I'm broadly with Adrian 2 on the ability to swing the head on the round column, whilst it can be a pain, it also has a major advantage for those of us who do jobs which are too big for our machines.
I don't have the Warco you hope to receive, but have a Dore Westbury, which also has a round column.

I've just been recommissioning a Herbert grinder, and wanted to mill a flat on a casting which was longer than the travel on the table, by several inches.
By swivelling the head from one side to the other, I was able to complete the job without needing to move and re-clamp the workpiece, which would have been something of a nightmare as it's bigger than the mill table.

Swung to the left;Herbert Junior Surface Grinder recommissioning.

And swung to the right;

Herbert Junior Surface Grinder recommissioning.

I also have Centec, with a more conventional dovetail column design, but could never have done the job on that at all.

Do enjoy your new toy when you get it; if your first efforts don't go to plan, don't get disheartened; just come back and ask more questions.

Bill

Edited By peak4 on 30/07/2020 21:49:57

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