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Thread: Recommendations for table-top drilling-milling machine

              
   
   
  1. #1
    Senior Member Hugues's Avatar
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    Recommendations for table-top drilling-milling machine

    Hi guys,

    I'm making some aluminium brackets for my GBS cells these days, but all the tools I have are hand-held. I would like to improve a bit the quality of these small parts i make and was thinking of buying a table-top drilling and if possible also milling machine.

    Do you have any recommendations ?

    Budget ? Well, i guess this is the kind of thing we should not buy on the cheap, but rather invest-in for the future. But i don't really know how much they cost. Aynthing good quality around 1'000 usd ?

    CNC is surely not possible in this price range, right ?

    The option to go to a local milling shop is not really possible where i live. First there are a few only, and when you enter and tell them you only need one piece they look at you like you are not even worth talking to.
    Regards from Switzerland
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    Ghost Rider Allen_okc's Avatar
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    this is something i found, i dont what prices are, im sure they are not cheap, but its place to start;

    http://torchmate.com/products/torchmate_2x2/

    the best things is to find a place near by that sells used equipment or an auction of a business going out of business...
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  3. #3
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    I have used a torchmate cnc plasma table quite a bit.

    Its a terrific machine for architectural or fabrication grade cutting. Because its plasma the cut quality is not great but for many applications that is fine. When the one I used was purchased it was $2500 for the table, electronics, and software. The plasma cutter we used with it was an additional $2500.

    If you are able to create CAD drawings and you make stuff a lot I highly recommend a torchmate. The machine required adjustment, could be better, and the cut is not like a laser but the cost of cutting is excellent compared to laser or water jet.


    Unfortunately I dont know of any decent table top mills for $1000. You can purchase a Grizzly mill for that price which will work ok but is not an excellent machine.

    Keep in mind these opinions are coming from a precision snob...

  4. #4
    Senior Member Hugues's Avatar
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    It's clear 1000 usd will not buy a CNC.

    Which one is more usefull ?
    A drill ?
    A milling machine ? All milling machines can drill, right ?
    A lathe ? I don't remember seeing many round parts in all your builds.

    I don't have the place for 3 separate machines, but some combo are interesting.

    Which minimal specs should I be looking for ?
    Regards from Switzerland
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    Senior Member __Tango's Avatar
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    Dan Sailer, the guy who built and races the ripperton bike in the australia was talking about a 3 way metal milling machine that he had shipped from china to australia for ~$6500USD. Check out this: http://www.diyelectriccar.com/forums...&postcount=523 (posts 523 and 525)
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    You can drill with milling machines but if you are strictly drilling a mill is overkill. That being said, a milling machine quickly becomes useful if you are doing more than basic projects. When we moved into our new shop last year the first machine we wired up was our Bridgeport. For working with aluminum and imprecise tolerances (+/- .015 in maybe) inexpensive table top mills are fine.

    I dont know what you can get locally but a machine like this: http://www.grizzly.com/products/Mini...-Machine/G8689 may be a good choice for you. Its not super rigid or accurate but will open up a good number of project opportunities.
    You could step up to a slightly bigger machine like this: http://www.grizzly.com/products/Mill-Drill/G0463 but I dont think it will offer you enough to be worth the additional price and space increase

    Not aimed specifically at you Hugues, but something to keep in mind when setting up a shop is that without all the tools you will run into limitations and very few people have them all. Even in my well equipped shop I regularly think "if only I had this other tool as well" Because of this I recommend approaching the problem not from "what tools do I need" to "what do I want to make". Once you figure out what you want to make you can look into the options for making. If you dont know exactly what you want to make it is very difficult to choose what tools to get because they all seem important.

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    Also used equipment is often the way to go.

  8. #8
    teddillard
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    My favorite milling machine is the one at Gotham Machine!

    This little thang is cute, tho... http://evmc2.wordpress.com/2011/07/2...ill-i-can-haz/
    Last edited by teddillard; 09 August 2012 at 1405.

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    Quote Originally Posted by teddillard View Post
    My favorite milling machine is the one at Gotham Machine!
    Thanks Ted.

    The mill Ted posted looks good. Another similar little mill comes from Sherline. They also make a lathe and a CNC conversion for both.
    http://www.sherline.com/
    Their stuff is more jeweler scale but very nice.

  10. #10
    Member Red's Avatar
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    Hugues,
    One option you might look at is milling table to mount on a drill press. I spent under $200.CAD at www.busybeetools.com and got a nice 2 axis table with a milling vise. It has been a great tool for multi hole drilling with accuracy. I used to have full use of a friends machine shop a few years ago, but I decided to leave the important machining to pros on my latest project.

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