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Dore Westbury milling machine

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Kevan Shaw16/09/2020 21:20:46
14 forum posts
6 photos

Hi, I am looking for a small mill and have seen a few of these turn up at reasonable prices. As mostly amateur built I am rather hoping that the ones that have survived in use are likely to be of reasonably good construction as bad ones would have been scrapped by now!

What are these like as mills for model engineering? What are the capabilities and shortcomings? Should I consider one of these or are there better small cheap milling machines to consider?

thanks for your comments

Cornish Jack16/09/2020 21:33:55
1190 forum posts
163 photos

Kevan - I have one and it is my second. Quality is very much down to the original builder - mine have both been second or third hand. Brian Wood (forum member) is particularly well-versed in the pros and cons. From the viewpoint of an untrained 'bodger', I find them to be ideal for my purposes, especially since I have a Myford lathe and the two are compatible. I would expect there to be more expert assessments from other members.

rgds

Bill

Kettrinboy17/09/2020 13:31:37
90 forum posts
47 photos

Hi Kevan , there are two main versions , the MK1 and MK2 , if you can get one the MK2 is preferable as it has beefed up head castings compared to the MK1 and has longer travel on the quill which is handy as the main drawback with these and nearly all the other round column as opposed to dovetailed column mills is that you lose position if you have to move the head , you soon learn to get round this drawback though, but away from that as long as you dont make them take too big a cut and use feel to gauge the feed rate they will do a good job , myself I have a MK1 owned for over 40 yrs , ive often thought of getting a new machine like a Sieg or similar but my DW always seems to get the job done so ive just stuck with it , some of the DW,s ive seen for sale seem a bit overpriced ( over £1k) for what they are but around 5-700 quid should get you a decent one and maybe 3-500 a bit less so and even better if its got some of the original MES ancillaries like the excellent machine vice or rotary table that were available at the time the DW kits were sold.

regards Geoff

J Hancock17/09/2020 14:18:45
496 forum posts

Probably best that you try out (say) a Sieg X2 style machine then a Dore Westbury before you buy , somehow.

The DW is certainly versatile but that has its downsides.

Mike E.17/09/2020 14:29:33
avatar
209 forum posts
31 photos

I notice there are a couple of Dore Westbury mills currently offered on the " gandmtools " site.

Brian Wood17/09/2020 15:15:58
2316 forum posts
37 photos

Hello Kevan,

I noted Cornish Jack's comments--my own version is a Mk II with the gearbox in the head which I built about 28 years ago. It has served me well over all that time and done things which might have been very difficult or even impossible on a similar sized machine with a rigid back.

Some owners will condemn the round column and yes it can be a pain, but it has the real advantage of allowing you the freedom of use that a radial arm machine possesses. I use a laser lecture pointer mounted on the head to return to position, a matter of moments to use and over the length of the workshop for the beam it is accurate

It has one design weakness which could be disastrous and that is the key engaging the coarse pitch square thread in the column for height adjustment over the table. Mine cracked and because it is hidden inside the capstan it remains unseen. I was lucky and found mine in time by sheer luck to put it right. The fix is easy but of course it requires a lot of stripping down to get to the capstan

I specified my kit with a 3 MT bore, try and find one thus equipped if you can

Regards Brian

Neil Wyatt17/09/2020 17:17:51
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Moderator
18404 forum posts
718 photos
78 articles

The Mk2 is definitely better than the original.

It's worth remembering that most were built from 'part machined' kits so the bed (especially) tends to be accurate, but the quality of workmanship is a bit of a gamble; I'd tend to go for one that looks well-used but not worn out!

Neil

Aaron Davis 118/09/2020 10:19:58
1 forum posts

Hello Kevan,

I have a MKI and MKII hybrid, and rate them both, considering their size and price-point. Because they were hand-made it also means they can fixed/repaired and upgraded. Prices vary, but like all machinery you have to carefully inspect before purchasing, and you usually get what you pay for. There are some specific things to look for. A lot is down to the original build but also what the following owners do or don't do them. I've learned from hard experience that some problems are costly to put right. A good DW is a useful machine and a pleasure to use; a bad one is just plain frustrating. I agree with all of the above, but registration becomes less of a problem if you use a collet chuck (e.g. ER25), and plan ahead.

Prices:

Unseen, need work, tired (worn), desperate for space: £300-£500

Decent to good condition, components (including bearings) with plenty of life, accurate, smooth running, mostly standard, well maintained: £500-£750

Excellent condition, excellent build quality, well maintained, omponents (including bearings) with plenty of life, accurate, smooth running, with extras (e.g. DROs, drill stops, gearbox, VFD etc.); usually MKII but could be MKI: £750-£1200.

If you're anywhere near Surrey you're welcome to pop in, have a chat, and try the MKI; the MKII is still under construction.

I may sell the MKI when the MKII is done.

All best, Aaron

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