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Old 03-08-2017, 08:43 PM
reality checker reality checker is offline
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Default When you achieve mastery..



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when you achieve mastery of machines, you can make collets and bushings to do whatever you need to.

One man's trash becomes your treasure. Your vision changes, limits become other people's limits.

Once you understand machining deeply and completely, and when machines speak to you, you make whatever you desire.

It could take years of immersion or devotion, but once you gain that, nothing is out of your reach.

I doubt there are better prepping skills than to be able to use a charcoal foundry and pattern making skills to build or rebuild anything.
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Old 03-08-2017, 08:44 PM
The Old Coach The Old Coach is offline
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So what exactly is a knee mill; how does it differ?
A Bridgeport is a knee mill. The casting that supports the table (X & Y axes) can be moved vertically on the column. Almost all toolroom mills were knee types until CNC started to take over. The design was convenient because the drive trains for all three motions were inside the knee. Power came in by a driveshaft coming from the back of the column, which in turn was driven by a huge flat belt from a line shaft up on the ceiling. Noisy and dangerous, but when the design evolved there were no electric motors, never mind CNC. Even now, virtually all manual mills are knee types.

Today a lot of CNC machines have a fixed bed supporting the table axes, (X and Y) and the vertical motion goes up and down a column mounted behind the bed. Speaking as a machine tool engineer, (which I were one), there are advantages to both designs. Bed types are much better for large machines which have to handle a lot of weight, and are easier to enclose, knee types are more accessible for the operators. Bed types, generally speaking, have the potential to be more accurate than knee types. There's actually a lot more to it than that, but I'd have to write a book to cover it all.
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Old 03-08-2017, 10:50 PM
thequintessentialman thequintessentialman is online now
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This has been very helpful. Thanks for all the replies.
Probably I should have asked this earlier but what are some of the features I should examine more closely or look for. I'll be only a hobbyist; I'll be making some gun parts for starters and will eventually make some stuff for the wife's crafts (inevadible). What features are deal breakers and what are the things I'll regret not having once I figure it out?
 
Old 03-08-2017, 11:03 PM
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go larger than you think you need.. its easier to cut small pieces on a larger machine, than to cut large pieces on a smaller one. always check you beds and ways. more machines have been damaged by improper lifting and moving than anything else.
any machine can be repaired, but some are more cost effective than others.

never opt out for the cheap vise.
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Old 03-09-2017, 12:08 AM
mtnairkin mtnairkin is offline
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Unless you plan to do production work (and it doesn't sound like that is your purpose) you are likely to find the manual machine more practical.

Either a good used machine or a medium sized mill from someone like Grizzly should work well for you. They have two models of combination vertical and horizontal mills that would be very versatile.
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Old 03-09-2017, 01:03 AM
The Old Coach The Old Coach is offline
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The only true deal-breaker that I can think of at the moment is that the machine might use some rare and unobtainable sort of method for holding tools in the spindle. Old horizontals often used a shallow taper, like Morse or Brown & Sharpe. Avoid these. Most medium home-sized machines today use the Bridgeport "R-8" style collet that is pulled in by a drawbar. This is extremely versatile, aside from holding milling cutters it can mount a drill chuck or a boring head. Small tabletop machines will use a much smaller type collet that is closed by a threaded ring at the nose, like a wood router. Not so versatile, and extra tooling may either not exist or be much harder to find. My cheap Taiwanese benchtop mill/drill uses the R-8, which is probably one reason why it never got replaced with something bigger, as I originally intended 20 years ago, when I moved and had to give up my U.S.Burke MillRite. It let me use all the R-8 tooling I kept, and my 6" rotary table.

http://tool.wttool.com/tools/Mill%20Drill%20Machine
http://www.jettools.com/us/en/c/meta...ill-drills/390

The Jet machines with digital readout might be appealing. Having a DRO is sooooo convenient.

For MY gunsmithing work, I needed a table long enough to mount a barrel to drill/tap for scope mounting dovetails for the old Lyman/Litschert/Unertl scopes. You may not. A while ago I mentioned a fellow I know who made an entire Sharps action from solid using a mill like this one:

http://www.wttool.com/index/page/pro...Mill+%26+Drill
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Old 03-09-2017, 12:13 PM
P-Dub P-Dub is offline
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As a Quality Control professional I'll toss in my $0.02 about measuring equipment.

Buy or make an Indicoil, it's used for mounting your indicator to the quill of the machine. Also get a good quality .001" indicator. I'd suggest Starrett or Mitutoyo.

4" calipers are handy on a manual mill, and 6" calipers are good for general use.

A series of micrometers ranging from 1" up to 3" is a good start. I'm not a big fan of interchangeable anvils, but for home use, they should be OK.

The best way to scare up most of this is to go to garage / estate sales. There's a lot of old machinists who have retired and their toolbox has been sitting in the corner ever since. I once picked up a Starrett 0-1" mic for $20.00
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Old 03-11-2017, 07:10 AM
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+1 on estate sales. picked up a almost new in box lathe level for 10$ starrett. plus good mag base mounts, and as many dawg's and clamps as you can find. you cant have to many. ever. set up a dedicated grinder for your tool bits. nothing else touches it.
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Old 03-11-2017, 12:55 PM
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Default INDICOL and Interapid

If you are buying measuring tools for milling set up, the device that is attached to the quill of a mill to find a feature is an INDICOL, kind of a spindle clamp with adjustable rods and joints to bring your indicator over the feature.

The indicator chosen by most toolmakers (One of a kind parts guys) to mount in the INDICOL is an Interapid style. It has a joint and stem that makes it much quicker then the dovetail clamp style on others.

If I got 30 bucks for every hour I ran a manual mill, oh wait, I did.
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Old 03-13-2017, 07:51 AM
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If you want a quick answer for a good mill at a reasonable price, look at the Grizzly G0704 bench mill. It has a big work envelope, uses R8 tooling. It is NOT a knee mill, but for me that is not a deal killer. It is very accurate, well made. It's also the most popular mill for CNC conversions, so there is a ton of info out there.

You don't give your location, but in some parts of the country - Chicago, Ohio, Pennsylvania etc - machine tools are plentiful and cheap. If you are lucky that way, look for a Powermatic Millrite, a Rockwell, or a Clausing (in that order). These are all smaller knee mills. If it comes with a lot of tooling that will be a big plus. If you can find any of these under $1000 that doesn't look beat up, you should buy it.
Remember though that the newest U.S.-made mill is over 35 years old. It may have led an easy life in a lab or home shop, or it may have been used for rough work and been neglected. The best ones can cost more than a new Asian machine.
If you need any help evaluating a prospect, PM me and I'll help you with it.
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Old 03-14-2017, 09:37 PM
thequintessentialman thequintessentialman is online now
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I should have started this 40 years earlier... everything leads to more questions.

keep running across references to horizontal vs vertical mills. What's the advantage of one vs the other?
Old 03-14-2017, 10:03 PM
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I should have started this 40 years earlier... everything leads to more questions.

keep running across references to horizontal vs vertical mills. What's the advantage of one vs the other?
Manual horizontal mills are pretty much obsolete. They were the most common kind when parts were made in quantity using form cutters. (Making form cutters is almost a lost art today, but it once was a main task of toolrooms and toolmakers.) They are good at cutting long slots, and a few other jobs. I have a small one, but I've never needed it enough to fix it. It would be useful for cutting extractor slots in barrels. But I can and do rough them on the vertical, and finish off with files. Less trouble than getting the old horizontal in service. (It needs a new gib made.)

This is not to say that there aren't a great many horizontal machining centers in service. Not as easy to set up for flat parts, but the chips fall away, rather than accumulating in the cut. I've had to do with some very large ones used in the aerospace industry. Horizontals can be (but aren't always) more rigid than verticals, but that's not an issue when we talk about table-top size hobby machines.
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Old 03-15-2017, 11:03 AM
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+1 on obsolete manual horizontals.

I've worked in "dirt floor" machine shops where the machinery pre-dated WWII and I am currently working in one of the most advanced CNC machine shops on Vancouver Island.

Horizontals are not something the home machinist should bother with. Focus on a good quality knee-mill, a good quality metal lathe and if you can afford it / find it, a nice surface grinder.

With those, you can literally make just about anything.
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Old 03-19-2017, 09:50 PM
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I have a Jet Lathe GH1340w-1, (13" x 40" single phase) that I was going to post here. I am in Houston. Here is a link to pics and videos etc. If of any interest in purchasing, let me know any question you may have. Tooling and precision instruments available for purchase from to the buyer. https://www.flickr.com/photos/housto...57676487143176
Old 03-19-2017, 10:03 PM
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+1 on obsolete manual horizontals.

I've worked in "dirt floor" machine shops where the machinery pre-dated WWII and I am currently working in one of the most advanced CNC machine shops on Vancouver Island.

Horizontals are not something the home machinist should bother with. Focus on a good quality knee-mill, a good quality metal lathe and if you can afford it / find it, a nice surface grinder.

With those, you can literally make just about anything.
Im still in search of my"unicorn" a decent 40s,50s planishing hammer. one day, I will happen onto one.
Old 03-20-2017, 09:52 AM
mtnairkin mtnairkin is offline
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Quote:
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I should have started this 40 years earlier... everything leads to more questions.

keep running across references to horizontal vs vertical mills. What's the advantage of one vs the other?


A much simplified answer: A vertcal mill uses cutters similar to a drill bit. You can do a lot with this type machine. In fact they used to teach us that it was a machine that could duplicate itself.

A horizontal mill uses cutters similar to a heavy duty sawblade (from a diameter of a couple of inches to much larger). They usually can make long cuts (slots, grooves) better than a vertical mill because they are usually heavy duty and the cutter can be supported on both sides. The way the both cutters torque and climb is the issue.

Like I said, much simplified and the uses (and even the cutters) overlap a bunch but each type performs some jobs better than the other.

You mentioned gunsmithing and if you are going so far as to want to ever flute a barrel, using a horizontal mill would be the better choice. I mentioned the dual type machines from Grizzly because the combination adds versatility and the cost is reasonable. The tooling they use is standard and readily available anywhere.

I would not be tempted to buy just a horizontal mill if I didn't have a vertical but the combination at roughly the same price seems like a good way to go for a small operation.

DRO is very handy and simplifies life. In my opinion worth the money even for a home shop. The added cost of a quality CNC makes it prohibitive unless you are turning out hundreds (or thousands) of repetitive parts on a production basis. Most home based shops only do a one off part for a particular purpose. Depending on what you envision doing and how much money you are prepared to spend, A heavier floor model will perform much more accurately than a bench top model and the price merges in the $2000 range (for foreign made).

Nothing beats the older full sized US made ones (Southbend etc.)
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Old 03-20-2017, 12:15 PM
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+1 on the Digital Read Out (DRO) they're handier than a shirt pocket.

+1 on the old time US made machinery. Even if you have to buy one used and re-build it you'll have a much better machine than any brand new off-shore made machine.

Don't hesitate to ask questions. The only dumb question is the one you don't ask.
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Old Today, 11:21 AM
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I have a full size Bridgeport mill, 48" power table, DRO, variable speed 2 HP head. I also have a Clausing 5C collet manual lathe, I will be adding a DRO to this too.

I have a rotary table for the mill, comes in handy for lots of things. I have a Kalamazoo cut off saw that I picked up for $75. I make up anything I need for my hotrods. I was doing work for boat shops, but that got out of hand quickly. Even giving out sick high quotes, I could have all the work I ever wanted and then some.
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