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Choosing a mini mill

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Nick Welburn08/03/2021 20:50:10
52 forum posts

I’ve tried other options. A vertical drill fitting for the dremel, and a z slide on the lathe for milling.
these have been broadly unsuccessful. I think I may treat myself to a mini mill.
I’m after something of similar quality to my Amadeal lathe - that’s fine for my model making and home engineering.
Say a 5-600 budget can I get anything worth having?

not done it yet08/03/2021 21:13:39
5790 forum posts
20 photos

You have an Amadeal lathe - they also supply mills - try them?

Check out the other main mill suppliers and take your pick.

Personally I wouldn’t be buying on price alone. Arceurotrade would be my first (and likely only) port of call. There are not many new machines, from relable sellers, within your price specification.

A larger machine can be bought secondhand, of course. Are you contemplating new or a second use machine?

Edited By not done it yet on 08/03/2021 21:14:16

Nick Welburn08/03/2021 21:20:48
52 forum posts

I have no view on new or used. I’ll check out arc

Tomek08/03/2021 21:24:46
34 forum posts
23 photos

Amadeal xj12-300, slightly over your budget bit I don't think you'll find anything else around £600 unless you looking at the second hand market.

Nick Clarke 308/03/2021 21:26:33
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1159 forum posts
48 photos

There is only one machine in the ArcEurotrade range that matches your budget.

I bought the previous version which fitted not only my budget but also the space available in my garage workshop - milling machines need space round them!

The current version is more powerful and better specced so it might pay investigation.

My experience with Arc as a supplier is very good, but I cannot say from experience that it is unusual as I seem to go there first.

What you also need to consider is that tooling for a milling machine may cost a fair proportion of the cost of the basic machine.

Edited By Nick Clarke 3 on 08/03/2021 21:27:28

Pete.08/03/2021 21:39:47
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457 forum posts
60 photos

So other potential buyers can understand, why was the vertical slide you bought for the lathe not successful?

In short, you probably won't get anything worth having for 600, there's a thread on here about someone with a micro mill size machine struggling to use a 4mm end Mill, so if your intention is to mill metal, anything smaller than an x2 size machine will probably be an expensive disappointment, the micro mill is more for radio control car/plane/helicopter sort of modelling.

Nick Welburn08/03/2021 21:53:32
52 forum posts

Hi Pete,

The problem with the z slide is twofold.
Firstly the effect of play in the slides and the z bracket.
Secondly it’s too bloomin small to be of any real use. You can’t even get a full pass over a 10v sole plate on it.
You can roughly mill something and with a follow with wet and dry get some thing workable. But in the end I threw the cylinder in the 4 jaw and cut it down that way to much better effect.

Pete.08/03/2021 21:57:47
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457 forum posts
60 photos

I thought the size would be the main problem, I couldn't envisage how you could hold anything to something that small, I saw one of those round column mill drills on ebay yesterday for 300, they're not perfect, but they have a bit of weight to them, if you're willing to spend a bit of time cleaning something up, the used market might provide you with something for around 500

Nick Welburn08/03/2021 22:04:20
52 forum posts

I’ll have a look round but saving a few quid more and the sx2 seems wise.

Pete.08/03/2021 22:35:12
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457 forum posts
60 photos

Listed as a drill, so might not get much attention £300 mill I'd buy that for around £400, bit of a refurb and it'd be an OK machine.

Nick Clarke 309/03/2021 08:07:22
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1159 forum posts
48 photos
Posted by Pete. on 08/03/2021 21:39:47:

In short, you probably won't get anything worth having for 600, there's a thread on here about someone with a micro mill size machine struggling to use a 4mm end Mill, so if your intention is to mill metal, anything smaller than an x2 size machine will probably be an expensive disappointment, the micro mill is more for radio control car/plane/helicopter sort of modelling.

I have the SX1 and it quite happily runs a 10mm endmill in steel - I have not used larger but from my direct experience I don't think I will have a problem going up a bit larger should I ever need to. Taking light cuts flycutting is also possible - however I would not suggest moving up to the SX2 is a bad idea - just that I did not have the space, and should I need a larger machine I can always access that at the club workshop (post covid)

Ron Laden09/03/2021 11:17:27
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2178 forum posts
433 photos

Nick, one can only say from experience but I have the SX2P and for its size and price I think it very good indeed. It has been 100% reliable in the 2 years I have had it and its done all I have asked of it.

I bought it at a year old in as new condition but it is an ARC supplied machine. It's a 500 watt (output) motor and providing you treat it as a small bench top mill and don't do silly things with it, it has more than enough power for its size.

There are other options of course and it depends on your budget but from experience I can only speak well of the SX2P.

Pete.09/03/2021 16:36:18
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457 forum posts
60 photos

Nick, unless I missed something, which is quite possible, the new versions of the x1 and x2 both have 400mm tables, so I can't understand how one would take up more space than the other?

colin hawes09/03/2021 18:57:54
542 forum posts
18 photos
Posted by Pete. on 08/03/2021 22:35:12:

Listed as a drill, so might not get much attention £300 mill I'd buy that for around £400, bit of a refurb and it'd be an OK machine.

I don't think a drill with compound table would be suitable for milling as it is designed for vertical stress only and usually has no drawbar to retain a suitable chuck. Colin

Pete.09/03/2021 19:10:23
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457 forum posts
60 photos
Posted by colin hawes on 09/03/2021 18:57:54:
Posted by Pete. on 08/03/2021 22:35:12:

Listed as a drill, so might not get much attention £300 mill I'd buy that for around £400, bit of a refurb and it'd be an OK machine.

I don't think a drill with compound table would be suitable for milling as it is designed for vertical stress only and usually has no drawbar to retain a suitable chuck. Colin

Looks like the x y table is part of the machine, I think quite a few people on this forum own these round column Mills, maybe they could chime in on how good these machines are?

Nick Clarke 310/03/2021 09:56:28
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1159 forum posts
48 photos
Posted by Pete. on 09/03/2021 16:36:18:

Nick, unless I missed something, which is quite possible, the new versions of the x1 and x2 both have 400mm tables, so I can't understand how one would take up more space than the other?

'The depth front to back and height of column are slightly more on the SX2 and these were the dealbreaker. The space I had for it meant that the wide table was less of an issue, and part of the reason I went for the Sieg version from Arc and not the Clarke CMD10 (that and price!)

mgnbuk10/03/2021 10:40:24
960 forum posts
66 photos

I don't think a drill with compound table would be suitable for milling as it is designed for vertical stress only and usually has no drawbar to retain a suitable chuck

The machine shown appears to be an RF30 "mill-drill" AKA Warco Major - as Pete suggested, it appears to have been incorrectly described in the listing. The drawbar is clearly visible in the photo. These are a hefty lump - the better part of 300Kg machine only IIRC. My little Erde 100 trailer was probably overloaded bringing mine back from Stratford many years ago - it certainly got a bit bouncy on occasions coming home. The seller had an engine hoist to put it in the trailer, where it sat in the garage for 6 months when I got it home until I could borrow a similar hoist to remove it & set it on a stand.

Nigel B.

Pete.10/03/2021 16:56:11
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457 forum posts
60 photos

Thank you for confirming what it is Nigel, I thought it looked like there was a bit of weight to it, I think it'd make a nice machine for someone on a budget whose willing to put a bit of work in cleaning it up.

Pete.10/03/2021 17:26:38
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457 forum posts
60 photos
Posted by Nick Clarke 3 on 10/03/2021 09:56:28:
Posted by Pete. on 09/03/2021 16:36:18:

Nick, unless I missed something, which is quite possible, the new versions of the x1 and x2 both have 400mm tables, so I can't understand how one would take up more space than the other?

'The depth front to back and height of column are slightly more on the SX2 and these were the dealbreaker. The space I had for it meant that the wide table was less of an issue, and part of the reason I went for the Sieg version from Arc and not the Clarke CMD10 (that and price!)

You must be extremely tight for space, I never really gave much thought to the height or depth, as they're both quite small It's hard to picture a workbench that couldn't take those 2 dimensions, I did have one of the yellow Clarke x2's.

I was just trying to dissuade Nick from buying a smaller machine for the same reason I tried to dissuade him from buying that vertical slide for the lathe, a complete beginner is trying to understand the basics, and top trying to deal with clamping arrangements on a tiny vertical slide can be frustrating for the experienced, enough to put off a beginner from continuing.

A slightly larger machine is a bit more forgiving in novice hands, where as you know how to make it work to get around its limitations, I just didn't want him to end in the same situation, buying something that puts him off continuing.

Martin Cargill10/03/2021 18:25:58
157 forum posts

Nick. Where are you located? I have a Clarke CMD3000 that I am thinking of selling. I'm located in southern Scotland.

Martin

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