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Old 03-10-2007, 07:56 PM #1
Dead_Body
 
 
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So.... You want to buy a milling machine.

So you want to buy a milling machine. Let's look at a few basics before you leap in.

First let's get the topics listed. That'll give you some idea of the questions to be asking yourself as you read down through the more detailed chapters to follow.
  1. Budget. The allmighty buck.
  2. Machine specs. What the numbers mean.
  3. Size matters. Table size and travel and vertical room for tooling and workpieces.
  4. Mass of the machine. Mass absorbs vibration that leads to chatter.
  5. Basic tooling. What you need to get started.
  6. Samples of machines and some opinions on them.
  7. Setting up your new toy
  8. Links to good sites.

1) Budget. The allmighty buck.-
Buying any of the milling machines in any size is a big dollar item. Any machine worth buying at all is going to cost in the $400 and up range and you'll easily spend another $200 to $300 just to get a decent vise, clamping kit and cutter set to get started. As you use your mill more and acquire more tooling the cost of the tooling will easily outstrip the original mill cost in most cases.

So this is not one of those "I'm bored and it's raining out so I'll buy a milling machine and make a DM7 out of a bar of soap" sort of deals. We're talking a serious commitment in cash and time to buy and learn to effectively use a milling machine. And any machine worth having for the scale of projects you'll find in the paintball world will probably require a budget of $700 to $1500 depending on your choices.

If I haven't scared you off already then let's have a look at the things to consider.


2) Machine specs. What the numbers mean.-
Lots of names and numbers but what do they mean? Let's look at these first so you know what we'll be talking about in the rest of the article. Here are the ones you'll see the most often.
  • Table size- this is simply the size of the table. The length and width.
  • Table travel- the amount of side to side and forward and back travel of the table. This is often expressed as X travel and Y travel. X travel is side to side and Y travel is front to back. On knee mills with vertical table travel there's a Z travel as well.
  • Table to Spindle Height- the amount of vertical room you have when the head is at the maximum upwards movent and the head's spindle is fully up. This does not include any toolbit's or holders. Just the raw machine. On machines with adjustable height tables it'll imply that the table is in the lowest point of its travel.
  • Spindle travel or quill travel- the head on a basic mill/drill has a drill press like spindle or quill that also travels. On the mill/drill machines you do your graduated depths of cut with this travel. The movement of the head on the column is only done to move the head and not for cutting. On knee style mills the vertical table travel can be used while cutting.
  • Swing- this is basicaly the distance from the rear pillar to the spindle center. It's supposed to be the diameter of the biggest "wheel" it would spin. So the true distance is 1/2 the spec given.
  • Spindle taper- This is the type and size of the taper in the spindle. You will need to buy endmill holders and other tooling that fits this taper. These days many machines come with R-8 tapers but it's not unusual to find machines with a #3 Morse Taper, or MT3 taper for short.
  • Speeds- this gives you the number of speeds and their values. This is important to finding the correct speed to use with each cutter. More on this later.
  • Overall size- Pretty much self explanatory.
  • Motor size or power- Again pretty self explanatory. More power means more abilty to cut things. Watch out for 230 volts on the larger machines if you don't have 230 volts available where you'll be putting the machine.
  • Weight- Be sure you're looking at the machine weight and not the shipping weight. Actual weight is typically around 2/3 of the shipping weight if the actual weight is not given.

3) Size Matters-
In machine tools size counts. "Cute" is not something you want to think of when you look at any machine tools. But size is relative. If you're making wrist watch gears or parts then a suitable machine may be able to fit in the palm of your hand. For paintball related projects you need a paintball sized machine. And THIS is where the discussion on what is a "paintball sized machine" comes in. Some of this will be determined by your budget and some by size and storage factors. But I'm hoping that I can impress on you that there is no point in buying a machine because it is all you can afford but that will just frustrate you by being too small and limited. If you don't learn anything else from this writeup I'm hoping that you'll see why it's not a good thing to buy a machine because it's cheaper. After all. You wouldn't buy a little kid's hammer to bust up a concrete walkway would you?

It's more than just size for size's sake. You need room on the table to mount clamping setups, mount a vise, mount a rotary table, mount any custom fixtures you make and at the same time you need room for the actual piece being machined and the milling cutter that's making the chips. This room for tooling is often forgotten but it's very important. Not all your milling projects will be held in a low profile vise. At some point you'll want to do something like make your own valve tool for an autococker. That means some way to make indexed cuts. That means an indexing holder to hold the part being machined. More about the options for this stuff in the tooling section. But the point is that just because you can wedge a gun body onto the bed it doesn't mean you'll have the room you need to do the work you want to do by the time you add the cutter and the vise or other holding setup. For table travel you want to have at least as much as the length of a marker body so you can perform uninterrupted cuts for the full length. As a practical minimum, and I do mean minimum, I'd like to see a table size that is 4 inches by 16 inches with travels that are 4 inches by 10 inches. That's a paintball sized table and movements. But it will not leave you much options for other work or even clamping down any special fixtures you make up for paintball sized projects. A far more useable table and travel would be 6 x 18 inches in size with 12 to 14 inch X travel by 8 inch Y travel. This last machine would be one that you won't outgrow in a hobby type use any time soon.

Vertical clearance from table to spindle is more difficult to pin down. For a typical body milling operation you only need about 2.5 inches for the vise. Another 2 or so for the body and another 2 to 4 for the cutter and holder. So about 6.5 to 8 inches depending on options. But if you want to add other tooling options like a simple 5C collet indexer or a rotary table or other vertically oriented holders and projects you'll need a good 5 to 6 inches more pretty darn quickly. And what happens if you want to flycut the end of the body's barrel bore to sleeve in a new barrel thread or something like that? Suddenly you're talking about a big angle plate and the marker body standing on end and you need to accomadate the length of the body plus the cutter. You'll be looking for 12 to 14 inches of table to spindle nose height pretty quickly. Certainly any less than 10 inches and you'll find that there's stuff you want to do but can't in many more cases.

Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3 of this long post.....
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Old 03-10-2007, 08:01 PM #2
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The point of all this is that it's false economy to choose a small very minimal machine if you find that you can't do a lot of things with it. There's more to life than just halfblockng. I know that sounds like nonsense but try to stop and consider that. For example, what if you wanted to work down into the slot of a trigger frame? A typicaly frame is a good 5 inches tall and to do this work it obviously needs to be clamped vertically. Plus you need room for your cutter and the holder for the cutter. You'll soon find that you need about 8 to 9 inches of vertical height for such a project.

4) Mass-
Obviously the mass of the machine is mostly related to it's size. Mass plays an important part in absorbing the motor's energy at the tool bit to smoothen the shocks running through the machine. Mass helps to absorb vibration and avoid chattering that leads to ugly looking cuts and you thinking that the machine is going to self destruct.

Just as importantly lots of mass means thicker castings and thicker column walls. And that all means more rigidity in the machine. A light machine that can flex is going to do so and your work will suffer. If you're trying to decide on two machines that are similar in size and close in price then pick the heavier one. For the same reasons pick the one that has the larger column as well. Even as little as 1/4 inch difference in the column diameter will mean a far bigger jump in the rigidity of the column. It works on the cube of the diameter or some suchthing so a little increase in diameter in the column provides a far greater increase in the stiffness.

5)Tooling-
A milling machine's best buddy is the vise you use with it. A good vise is just as important as the mill itself. You will need a MILLING vise. No, the cheap drill press vise is NOT good enough. In fact most drill press vises are not even any good for a drill press. I'm shocked when I go into the machine tool stores and see the scrap metal that they are selling as vises these days.

A good vise for any purpose will have a fixed jaw that is sqaure to the bed of the vise and the bed of the vise will be parallel to the base. The movable jaw will have some amount of vertical play as well as some side to side. On a drill press vise this should be just barely visible. On a milling machine vise you might be able to barely FEEL the tilting of the jaw but you should not have enough movement that you can see if. If you can then you need to shim it out. Milling machine vises also have a longer back bearing contact area to help limit this tilting. Milling vises have a far better standard for being square and parallel, having a movable jaw that can't wobble around and providing the clamping pressure needed without using a pry bar on the screw shaft. A good paintball sized vise is a 4 inch wide jaw by 4 to 6 inch opening and will weigh about 8 to 16 lbs depending on the size you get and if it has a swivel base. Frankly for our use I don't recommend a swiveling base. It's just extra cost without the extra value. Now a TILTING vise is another story. If you find a tilting vise for a decent price then that can provide a lot more options in your cuts and shaping and I highly recommend one. However such a vise is a LOT taller. Mine is about 5 inches tall to the top of the jaws. Again this requirement for tooling adds to the size of machine you need to hold everything. See how it all comes together?

There is also something called a Kurt vise. This uses a unique method of running the feed screw through to a floating block inside the movable jaw housing in such a way that when you tighten the work the jaw is also pulled down towards the bed of the vise. The Kurt company licensed it but the idea is showing up in some chinese copies that are listed as K style vises or are described as having a lockdown jaw. They go for a little more money but if you like them it's actually a good idea. However I've found that the ones I've seen have issues with other factors and I've stuck with the plain styles of better quality.

Here's an example of a complete waste of metal.... Avoid this style at all costs for any purpose. I don't know how any of the companies can sell these and still sleep at nights.
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/pho...0999/30999.gif

A typical "flat" milling vise that would be a good start....
http://busybeetools.com/pictures/b2108.jpg

A swivel base vise....
http://images.grizzly.com/grizzlycom...00/g/g5971.jpg

A tilting vise....
http://www.mini-lathe.com/Mini_mill/...Angle_vise.jpg

A lockdown or K style vise. Looks the same but the difference is hidden.
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/pho...4999/44983.gif

A site with a nice discussion of one man's vise experiences....
http://www.mini-lathe.com/Mini_mill/...ises/Vises.htm


A 3/8 inch clamping kit is also a good idea. Not everything can be held in a vise. The T nuts, clamping nuts, various length studs and other parts will come in very handy for clamping the vise, special fixtures, angle plates, quick indexers and many other things to the table of your mill.

A nice set of end mills will be needed. If you can't swing for a full set right away then pick up a few here and there as you can and when you find them on sale. The TiN (Titanium Nitride) coated cutters will last longer and are pretty common these days. But if you come across some regular HSS (High Speed Steel) cutters on sale don't pass them up. You'll want to build up towards a set that has from 1/8 to 5/8 inch for a smaller machine and perhaps add on 3/4 and 1 inch for a bigger machine. For slots you want to use 2 flute cutters. For surfacing using the end or milling ledges you want to use the 4 flute cutters. Practically it's very seldom you need to surface with the 1/8 to 1/4 sizes so just having 2 flute cutters for those sizes is not a big deal. And the same with the larger sizes. It's very seldom you need to cut a 3/4 or 1 inch slot. Those sizes are generally used to surface only in our scale of work on paintball guns. For the sizes in between get both 2 and 4 flute cutters. Some round nose cutters are nice to have for doing decorative grooves. For full half circle ball end cutters you want to use 2 flutes. For radiused flat end cutters that are used for making radiused corner cuts the 4 flute style is more commonly used.

To hold your end mills you need an end mill holder (imagine that... ). Many machines come with common drill chucks. You'll find that with the intermittent cutting operation of end mills that they will walk the jaws of a drill chuck open. Tightening the snot out of the chuck to try to avoid this will just lead to premature chuck wear and still won't hold the end mills well enough to avoid all the troubles unless you take very light cuts. Far lighter than the machine is truly capable of making. Also these drill chucks often have a lot of overhang which leads to chatter thanks to the leverage and the flex where the chuck meets the arbor. The less overhang you can get with your holders the better. Some folks use collets to hold the shanks of the cutter. The only problem with this is that collets don't provide a lot of locking pressure on the cutter. And because of the way end mills are made if you perform an aggressive cut you can actually make the cutter walk it's way out of the collet and you end up with a cut that gets deeper as it goes along. That'll ruin your day. A proper end mill holder has a precision hole to fit the shank and a set screw that fits into the flat on the shank of the cutter. This locks it against pulling forward when cutting and also against the torque. This is especially important if you have a Morse Taper machine since by the time you tighten the drawbar tight enough to prevent the cutter moving it becomes next to impossible to hit the drawbar hard enough to get the collet to snap free without putting a lot of shock into the spindle bearings and that results in a short bearing life. With end mill holders you'll need one for each of the range of shank sizes you have. Typically this would be 3/8, 1/2 and 5/8 for a minimal sized paintball mill. And perhaps 3/4 as well if you have one of the larger machines.

The type of cutters and holders described above are Weldon shank cutters. There is another less common but excellent style and that is the threaded shank Clarkson style. The Clarkson style system is far nicer than the Weldon shank system but they are a lot more money. If you are interested try Googling for "clarkson end mill" or "clarkson chuck" and read up on the system. For CNC work it would be the way to go though since the cutters will reset to the same place each and every time. Something to think about.

Here's a nice set of R-8 holders for Weldon shank cutters. Note how they have a fairly small amount of overhang for all but the biggest 3/4 inch shank holder.
Endmill holders
http://www.littlemachineshop.com/Pro...0/480.1258.jpg

There are many other cutters you can get to do many special jobs. Get them as you require them. Often these cutters will require that you also get a new arbor to hold them in the spindle. Slitting saws and arbors, woodruffe key cutters and corner radiusing cutters are just a few of the many options.

Part 3 below....
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Old 03-10-2007, 08:03 PM #3
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One milling operation that is really cool is indexed cutting. With an indexing arrangement you can cut hexs for wrenches to fit stuff or truly accurate flats on two sides for this. I recently took an hour to make my own autococker valve tool rather than go to the store or mail away for one. The simple 5C collet indexer was the key to this project. Without it I would not have any way to cut the accurately sized hex that was needed. A typical quick indexer that is good for down to 1 degree increments is shown here....

5c Spin indexer http://www.use-enco.com/CGI/INSRIT?P...&PARTPG=INLMK3

Those are the basics for tooling to get you started. As you work with these and want to get into doing more you can make up your own special fixtures and devise ways of making multiple cuts to achieve shapes you couldn't get otherwise.

A big part of any machine of this sort is that you will spend as much and in many cases more on the tooling and accessories as you will on the machine. Many folks would say twice as much on the tooling and accessories is the rule. For this reason it makes a lot of sense to not just jump into a milling machine because you're bored. This is a hobby all it's own that deserves the proper attention. With a bit of care the machine and much of the tooling will last for your whole life. So take the time to consider this and shop intelligiently instead of buying a machine that you can afford but just barely.

6)Sample Machines-
OK, let's look at some of the machines out there and discuss them based on the information we've seen so far. Most of these are pictures copied from the websites of the suppliers in the links shown in the very last section.

I should start this by stating that I have not used any of the machines noted below but I have used machines in different size ranges and have gotten a feel for what is possible and practical on each size range in terms of cutters and chattering. On the other hand sizing up the dimensions on the tables and vertical clearance is pretty much a given. My tooling is the same size as your tooling will be so when I suggest that you need such and such amount of room it's based on what I found for myself in the past.

And a last note before we get to the machines. Any of the machines out of China or India will need to be stripped down, checked for sand or cutting swarf and then cleaned and reassembled. My lathe came with enough casting sand or grinding dust in the places where only oil should be that I feel it would have acted like grinding compound and ruined the machines in short order. So definetly take the time to break them down pretty much completely and clean and lube them before putting together.

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=47158
With the very low cost of this one and others like it I'm sure it's the first thing many of you will look at. However you'll quickly find that you will run out of room in the work area once you start adding in cutter holders (MT2, very hard or impossible to find), vise, workpiece, etc. Any special arrangements will be very hard to accomadate. And I suspect that the small skinny size of the vertical column will lead to a lot of chatter in all but the smallest cutters used in softer materials. All in all not a machine for paintball scale work using paintball scale tooling. I'm sure some of you can make it work for some jobs but it'll always be a compromise and many cuts will not be possible due to the machine's limitations in size and mass. Definetly not recommended for paintball work.

http://www.taigtools.com/mmill.html
At first glance this machine seems to fill the needs for a small but useable paintball milling machine. The table is a minimal but not far off size, the table travels are great and the table to spindle distance is workable if not great. The problem is that the head shaft is based on the micro lathe and it is small. Too small to take larger end mill shanks of 1/2 inch diameter. Which is likely just fine since the shaft would probably flex and chatter like a magpie at the loads. So while this would work you'll be limited to 3/8 shank cutters and smaller mill diameters and will need to sort of worry your way through any larger jobs or anything at all involving machining steel. It'll likely work OK as a hobby machine in aluminium and plastics but any work in steel will require very light cuts and LOTS of patience. This machine definetly would be on the very bottom of my list of acceptable models. If I'm all wet on any of this and any owners of these machines want to chime in I'd be happy to be told otherwise.

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=44991
Harbour Freight and Grizzly Tools both have this same machine but in different colors. It's the Sieg X2 machine that you can find info on at this link...
http://www.siegind.com/Products/br-x2-lathe.htm
This is the absolute rock bottom minimum machine that I think is capable of doing paintball gun projects. It's table size is slightly under the minimum but not by much. Table travel is 9inches on the X and 4 inches on the Y axis. So it won't be enough to run the whole length of a body in one go in some cases. The table to spindle distance isn't given on the sites I looked at but it appears to be about 10 inches. Again that's a rock bottom minimum in my books. Weight of the machine is listed on the Sieg site at 110 lbs. That's about minimum to absorb the milling vibrations from even lighter cuts. Finally the table movement is handled by lead screws that are 16 tpi so the graduations on the smallish dials are done to 62.5 thousandths. If you're working by the numbers you'll need to watch for that oddball half thou when crossing the zero mark. Same with the vertical travel.

I'm neutral on this machine. It is probably big enough but it is definetly the minimum size of machine I'd suggest. If you get it and find that it's not very happy working on paintball guns then don't come crying to me.

Here's a link to a very detailed writeup on this machine......
http://www.mini-lathe.com/Mini_mill/...er_mill_p1.htm

I see that the author mentions about a lot of lost movement in the vertical travel fine control. This is typical of the styles that use a worm drive to the big crank. My own mill uses the same style of drive and has the same lost travel and vague motion. I got around this by adding a 1 inch travel dial guage to my quil and rely on that for readouts of depth when I need them. One day I'm going to clamp on a 6 inch travel caliper instead so I don't have any issues with the depth of travel.


http://www.grizzly.com/products/G0463
This is a far better machine for paintball milling. It's the next size up the scale with both Harbour Frieght and Grizzly having versions but in different colors. The table is a much better size, the X travel is enough to deal with one long full length body cut. The machine is heavy enough to not complain with any sort of reasonable cutting operation and the table to spindle distance is large enough to deal with most setups. As a machine shop hobbyist this is not a machine that you will outgrow unless you move on to much larger projects. It's not cheap but it'll do the job for you for years to come. This machine is the Sieg S3 that is sold under some different names. There's a review site link shown below and appears to be a dedicated user group for support. All in all a very nice hobby tabletop milling machine. This one I feel very safe in recomending.

Review of a Sieg midi-mill http://www.mini-lathe.com/X3_mill/Sx3rvw/SX3-4.htm

http://www.grizzly.com/products/G1005Z
Another option. It's roughly the same specs as the G0463 shown above but it's a little heavier, has a little more table to spindle but has a drill press column rather than a big square rigid pillar. I think I like the G0463 a little better. Also the G0463 is overall slightly smaller. In this close comparison the factors the G0463 has going for it outweigh the slightly greater mass and slightly larger table to spindle specs.

This is actually the same machine that I have in my own shop. Mine is an earlier form of it with a metal cover up top but the specs are all the same and I recognize the castings. I can state that it is capable of doing some fairly heavy hobby style cuts even in steel and has proven to be a good machine for me. It still has it's share of design problems that I'm slowly upgrading to deal with. If I was doing it all over again I'd go for the S3/G0463 machine as it would suit my needs just fine.

http://www.grizzly.com/products/G3358
Now here's a powerhouse. This thing could mill your whole gun to shavings in one pass and not even break a sweat. It'll run on 110 but you'll probably want to set it up with a 20 amp circuit and heavier guage wire. If you need to do much heavier jobs where it'll be working harder I'd recommend you set it up for 220volts. It's easily got enough table size and travel to handle anything paintball related and has more than enough table to spindle distance for anything paintball related.

Part 4 of 3 coming below...
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Old 03-10-2007, 08:07 PM #4
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7) Setting up your new toy-
So you just got it unpacked and it's time to try it out. WAIT! First you want to find a good solid stand or bench to sit it on. These machines generate a fair about of motion and vibration and with some of the extremes of pulling on it and table offsets with tooling setups it's quite possible to tip them over since they tend to be very top heavy. But it's equally important that your machine be set onto a flat and aligned surface. This means bolting it down onto a good base and testing for equal footing as you do so.

In trying to think about low tech ways to ensure that you are not twisting the base as you bolt down your machine I have come up with this method that assumes that you'll be mounting it to a solid and massive wooden bench. If you are mounting it to a metal stand then skip the part about the foundation plates. If you think you can mount a milling machine of any sort to a kitchen table or a desk top then think again. Those are far too flexible over the long run and the flexing will allow the machine to chatter and vibrate much easier. Solid work starts with a solid foundation. Don't cheat or you're just cheating yourself.

Get two plates of 3 inch wide by 3/8 or 1/2 steel that are about 4 to 5 inches wider than the base. Drill holes for the mounting bolts so there's one plate at the rear and one at the front and the pads on the base sit centered on the plate. These are your foundation plates that will spread the stress and pressure from the mounting bolts out over more wood so the wood doesn't just bruise and compress away from the mounting bolts. Drill your bench as required to match your machine in the spot where it'll live.

Set it all up and pinch down the two rear bolts lightly for now and leave the front bolts loose. I hope I don't need to tell you to use BIG washers or even another smaller but sizable pressure spreading plate underneath with the nuts....

Now wedge up the front of the machine with a washer or something similar so that you can slip about a .010 or so feeler guage under the front corner pads. The actual size of the gap isn't critical. I only suggest around .010 so you are using a size that is stiff enough to feel the pressure without it buckling. Use different guages or combos of guages until you have a good feel for any difference in gap from side to side. What you need to do now is get a shim for the larger side that matches the difference in the two sides. Model airplane or model railroad hobby shops have aluminum and brass sheet stock that can be used for such shims. Pop and food cans are also a good source of shim stock. Anyhow, make up your shim and then place it and tighten the front bolts down. Because it's a wood bench in this case I would not recommend tightening the snot out of the bolts but they should have around 15 to 20 foot pounds of torque on them. Any more and you risk compressing the wood past it's elastic point even with the plates.

If you have a steel stand then do the same shim tests but you don't need any of the bolts to be tight. Just in place. Also you can tighten the bolts up to more like 20 to 39 foot lbs when done.

8) Links to good sites-
Suppliers links-

http://www.littlemachineshop.com/
http://www.use-enco.com
http://www.harborfreight.com
http://www.mini-lathe.com
http://www.grizzly.com



Some review and background links-
One man's vise experiences http://www.mini-lathe.com/Mini_mill/...ises/Vises.htm
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Old 03-10-2007, 08:13 PM #5
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Old 03-10-2007, 08:16 PM #6
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jesus, nice thread man. about time
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Old 03-10-2007, 08:18 PM #7
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i didnt read cause im a broke *** 15yr old and cant afford a milling machine, but im sure it's full of detail cause it's 4 posts long

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Old 03-10-2007, 08:26 PM #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrZucchiniHead View Post
i didnt read cause im a broke *** 15yr old and cant afford a milling machine, but im sure it's full of detail cause it's 4 posts long

sticky
Coming up soon will be a sequel about using low budget hand tools and actual SKILLZ to do most of what you can do with a machine but without anything that plugs in. Milling for the broke*** 15 year old is not only possible but practical. But it does require that you learn some skills that were taught to your grandfather's generation and use actual hand and eye coordination.

In this Age of the Dremel far too many folks have forgotten that you can do some very real and effective work that does not require electricity other than for lighting.


And for those of you that may have the machines listed in the Samples I welcome you to provide confirmation or contradiction to what I posted. It's all good and definetly would add to the thread. As I said I was going on my experience with similar equipment.
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Old 03-10-2007, 08:36 PM #9
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very nice and informative write up from the bits i read. although even if it gets stickied, as much as i hate to say it. it aint gunna stop the 12-14 year olds wondering if the harbour freight micro mill will automatically mill their spyders into egos
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Old 03-10-2007, 08:55 PM #10
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Originally Posted by Dead_Body View Post
Coming up soon will be a sequel about using low budget hand tools and actual SKILLZ to do most of what you can do with a machine but without anything that plugs in. Milling for the broke*** 15 year old is not only possible but practical. But it does require that you learn some skills that were taught to your grandfather's generation and use actual hand and eye coordination.

In this Age of the Dremel far too many folks have forgotten that you can do some very real and effective work that does not require electricity other than for lighting.


And for those of you that may have the machines listed in the Samples I welcome you to provide confirmation or contradiction to what I posted. It's all good and definetly would add to the thread. As I said I was going on my experience with similar equipment.
sweet, my grandather and my dad used to be a wood carvers and have a bunch of tools that could probably be used on aluminum.

waiting for that guide. :waits:
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Old 03-10-2007, 09:16 PM #11
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dang good job. i probably wont ever read more then the first post but awsome job
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Old 03-10-2007, 09:33 PM #12
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Hell Of a start there Dead!!!
Couple of things I would like to add...
So you go and empty your bank acount out and buy yourself a nice mill,tooling and vice. Look out "dye" move over "angel"..."fill in name" has a mill.
The FIRST thing you should do once you get your mill set up is lock up every marker you own!! go to your local scrap yard and see what you can find for junk aluminium. A mill is a great machine once you know what your doing, but nothing turns your marker into a large chunk of alloy scrap faster. One screw up with a end mill turning 2000+rpm and its history!
Also just to be a old fart here get a face shield not just safety glasses but a nice full face tilt up shield. those alloy chips that fly off are sharp and moving quick.
True story, One of our guys was hogging out a alloy block for a job. Really moving a lot of metal per pass of the cutter, the chips were flying all over. He was standing by the mill when one of the chips cut open his neck 2" long. It missed his jugular vein by about 1/2". He was wearing glasses to protect his eyes but a face shield would have stopped a trip to hospital.
Also you want to go and get a gallon or 2 of WD-40 and spray the cutter and work with it almost constantly while milling. Aluninium has a nasty habit of sticking to tools.
One more thing GO SLOW take off only a small amount of metal per pass. A little and often is the rule!! this will give you a much nicer finish to the cut and reduce tool chatter.
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Old 03-10-2007, 09:39 PM #13
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Originally Posted by MrZucchiniHead View Post
sweet, my grandather and my dad used to be a wood carvers and have a bunch of tools that could probably be used on aluminum.

waiting for that guide. :waits:
If you even THINK about using good old world wood carving chisels on aluminium I'll personally come down and make you eat the end of my Automag!

Seriously, if these are good quality old world carving tools they deserve better. Especially if they made their livings with them which would imply that they are of finer quality. The steel is chosen to do well with wood and won't be good for other materials.

I've done some wood carving of my own and hope to do more of it after I retire in a few years.

Have you thought about learning to carve yourself?

It's a great hobby and a rapidly dissapearring skill. Especially in the age of the almighty Video Game Experience. Unfortunetly it takes skill and patience to learn and to do. Things that seem to be in very short supply these days.
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Old 03-10-2007, 09:48 PM #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrZucchiniHead View Post
sweet, my grandather and my dad used to be a wood carvers and have a bunch of tools that could probably be used on aluminum.

waiting for that guide. :waits:
If you use wood tools on spinning aluminium 2 things are 100% garenteed to happen. #1 you will ruin a good tool and the alloy your trying to turn. #2 you will end up eating the tool, you stick a gouge in a fraction too deep and it will be ripped out of your hands and slammed up under your chin!!
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Old 03-10-2007, 09:53 PM #15
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sexy thread
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Old 03-10-2007, 10:04 PM #16
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thank u, i have been looking for the info for a little while. most info is on cnc machine.
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Old 03-10-2007, 10:20 PM #17
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man, cant wate for the hand tutorial thread... my dads got a good ol' dremmel downstairs.
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Old 03-10-2007, 10:36 PM #18
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i have a little request. would you be able to PM me pics of what your mill that you use looks like. and im also waiting on the hand tools one, because i love working with dremels and anything that involves using my hands.
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Old 03-10-2007, 10:41 PM #19
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anything you can do with a bench grinder? i kinda have mine just like sitting here in my garage.
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Old 03-10-2007, 10:46 PM #20
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using a bench grinder for almost anything paintball related is a definate nono, even worse then a dremel.
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Old 03-10-2007, 10:48 PM #21
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thats why i asked, i used it for shaving down a flat spot on delrin, thats about it
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