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Horizontal Milling Attachments

Will it Work?

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martyn nutland05/10/2020 14:13:03
133 forum posts
7 photos


I'm considering investing(?!) in a horizontal milling attachment for my machine. This is a very expensive piece of kit in my terms and I wonder if experienced machinists would advise going ahead; or otherwise.

I'm running a Warco Economy. I fancy the horizontal device from Chronos (almost certainly a Vertex) because it has a support for the outer end of the arbor, although I can't, for the life of me, see from the photograph on their on-line catalogue how that would fit to the Warco.

Also, I'm looking at one (more expensive and definitely another Vertex) from Gate Tool Services that has no outer end support. That worries me although it seems it would fit my machine.

Important factor...I want to use the attachment just for more convenient use of my slit saws on some jobs and for some light gear shaping - for example bronze vernier couplings for magnetos.

Any views, experiences, however damning, would help me greatly;

Very many thanks in advance.


DC31k05/10/2020 14:32:48
686 forum posts
2 photos

A picture or a link to a picture of a Warco Economy would be useful.

All I could find was something that said it is the same machine as a ZX25.

A link to the Chronos offering would also help. Is it this: ?

Rotagrip will also sell one so it is worth looking for info., prices and pictures there also. Somewhere on their site, they have the full Vertex catalogue for download.

The attachment is designed for Bridgeport-style turret mills with a ram. You extend the ram and clamp the arbor support to the dovetails on the underside of the ram.

I think you may face considerable challenges in making this device work on your machine.

Dave Halford05/10/2020 14:53:34
2050 forum posts
23 photos


Isn't your spindle MT3?

Howard Lewis05/10/2020 17:32:48
6113 forum posts
14 photos

The Warco Economy (RF25 ) has a 3MT spindle (Mine has! ) but the SCT attachment shown by Chronos is R8.

And where does the dovetail outer support fit?, Not on the machine base surely since the Quill position is then fixed, so that there is no means of adjusting depth of cut?

Does not seem doable, to me.


Howard Lewis05/10/2020 17:32:50
6113 forum posts
14 photos

The RDG one is 30 INT, so again not suitable for a 3 MT spindle, even if a location can be found for the outer support.

Edited By Howard Lewis on 05/10/2020 17:35:51

Edited By Howard Lewis on 05/10/2020 17:36:28

Nigel McBurney 105/10/2020 18:07:07
1000 forum posts
3 photos

If you have the space I would buy a horizontal only mill ,probably cheaper than an attachment which might not fit your machine also attachments such as these are not that rigid.

Bazyle05/10/2020 18:35:18
6324 forum posts
222 photos

Just use your lathe. Much less money would pay for an aror and some fixtures to modify things as needed.

Ineresting attachments though, thanks for bringing it up.

DC31k05/10/2020 18:52:42
686 forum posts
2 photos
Posted by Nigel McBurney 1 on 05/10/2020 18:07:07:

...also attachments such as these are not that rigid.

Could you please expand a little on this statement.

At one end it is clamped to the ram dovetails so the ram does the same job as the overarm on a horizontal machine; at the other it has a death grip on a large diameter quill.

ChrisH05/10/2020 19:23:49
1018 forum posts
30 photos

Just for the record, I have a Warco Economy Mill/Drill - just been using it in fact - and for the life of me I cannot see how this attachment from Chronos would fit to anything on the mill or would work. Don't think it is designed for this type of mill at all, as others have posted; avoid wasting your money!

Very expensive item, more than half what I paid for the Economy 9 years ago or so too!

The ones from Gate Tool Services, as said, even more expensive, work on the cantilever beam principal with a short overhang, but they would not fit the Economy mill as it's quill diameter is only 83.80mm and the attachment is to fit quill diameters of 85.725-86mm diameter. And they weigh a ton, 12kg for the smallest one one, do you really want that weight hanging off your quill?

You could get a load of other tooling and/or materials, or a good DRO system (if you haven't already got one for the Economy mill), for that sort of money! Just saying.


gary05/10/2020 19:25:24
140 forum posts
28 photos

hi martin, i had a universal milling machine for about 5 years and only used in horizontal mode once in that time. is it really worth the expense ? gary

Oily Rag05/10/2020 21:39:39
540 forum posts
184 photos

In contrast to Gary I have Universal mills and I use them all the time in differing set-ups. Horizontal and vertical are a 10 minute change over and when in the designated horizontal mode has a 'proper' overarm support. So it can gang mill, spit out gears, helical and spur as well as bevels (needs a change of table to a swivelling 'quartering' table for bevels). I also have an attachment for slotting and a High speed vertical head (10,000 rpm). There is not much it will not do.

As the OP mentioned vernier couplings for magneto drives - is it not easier to drill a plate and use a pin drive to accomplish this? say a 19/20 hole combination? Many years ago I made some Manx Norton OHC verniers by this method and have also made both vernier and 'slip wheels' for motorsport cam drives. Just need a good rotary table for this method. Gears though, even spur gears or hobbed spurs, are better made with an outer support on the cutter arbor.

Oily Rag05/10/2020 22:14:31
540 forum posts
184 photos

With reference to the Manx vernier coupling drive here is a photo of the system incorporated into the bevel drive cam drive gear on a SOHC early 1950's engine, later DOHC's had verniers on the individual cams:-

sohc manx ls vernier coupling.jpg

martyn nutland07/10/2020 14:45:07
133 forum posts
7 photos

As always, many thanks for the observations and guidance. I think you have helped me avoid wasting much money.

I suspected the attachment offered by Chronos is only suitable for Bridgeports or Bridgeport clones. Even then I can't see how the dovetail support would fit onto the Bridgeports I have seen. The GTS item might go onto a Warco, although the taper is an issue. And there again, who would risk that weight of unsupported 'gubbins' hanging off the Warco spindle? Furthermore, as we all know, rigidity is 'all' in milling, and as has been pointed out, none of these set-ups, especially the GTS one, is going to be very rigid.

I don't think I can afford a horizontal mill or have sufficient work for one; neither do I really have the space.

However, I already have a three-slot rotary table that will configure vertically as well as horizontally, plus a dedicated three-jaw, self-centring chuck for it. If I bought another four slot rotary table (superior to the three) that came with indexing plates, I think I could contrive set-ups that would do everything I was hoping for with the horizontal 'attachment'. Yes?

Thanks again for all the valuable guidance.

Best Martyn

not done it yet07/10/2020 15:11:04
6812 forum posts
20 photos

I don't think I can afford a horizontal mill or have sufficient work for one; neither do I really have the space.

They are why I bought a Centec, when I wanted a vertical mill🙂 .

Baz07/10/2020 15:16:27
724 forum posts
2 photos

Martyn instead of paying out for a four slot rotary table why not put a sub plate on the top, a chunk of steel about 16mm thick fixed down into tee nuts in your three slots then you have the choice of peppering the top with tapped holes or cutting the four tee slots that you require, only downside is you loose a bit of height due to sub plate thickness.

Andrew Tinsley07/10/2020 15:21:48
1630 forum posts
  • Small horizontal mills are very cheap as there is little demand for them. Buy one and it will cost significantly less than the add on from Chronos. They usually have a small footprint, so you could squeeze it in even a small workshop.


Dunc07/10/2020 15:57:15
138 forum posts

There was an article by Ted Hansen, "A Horizontal Milling Attachment" meant for use with the mini-lathe. The article appeared in the Mar/Apr issue of The Home Shop Machinist. It can accept cutters up to 4 inches diameter. It is fabricated primarily from one inch square steel tubing welded up. You can obtain, I believe, individual issues or article reprints. Please note - the usual disclaimer - I have no interest(s) in that organization.

The author mentions that the attachment can be modified to suit the various mini-lathe bed-lengths; I expect - although I have not done it - that the center height could also be modified.

Look on "" for "Target Milling & Tool Grinding Attachment". This device was the basis for Mr. Hansen's project.

Baz07/10/2020 19:22:48
724 forum posts
2 photos

I have one of the Target horizontal milling attachments, used it quite a few times for small slitting saws and side and face cutters and it worked well, then along came a Sharp horizontal and vertical mill, not used the attachment much since then but still a handy thing for the small cutters as it has a half inch diameter arbor.

martyn nutland09/10/2020 08:21:54
133 forum posts
7 photos

Thanks for the additions. I can certainly work something out on this basis but accept 'attachments' are definitely 'out'.

Thanks again everybody.


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