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Robert D.

Mills....

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So I am in the process of packing up my shop, I am selling my house and cashing in on all that sweet sweet equity I have built in the last 5 years. 

This is going to leave me a decent amount of money to play with for the next year. As my current Drill Press sucks, and I want to start getting serious about making folders I have decided my yearly upgrade will be a Mill this year.  I am looking to buy something in the >1k range because I am also going to build a heat treat oven once I move. 

So I am looking for suggestions on what to look at, the Grizzly G0781 does not look too bad, but I dont know enough about this type of hardware to make even a slightly ignorant argument in its defense other then " Well I like mah Grizzly 2x72 " 

So I figured I would come to the experts, Please sirs, May I have some more ( Wisdom ) 

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That unit will do nicely for folder making , but the machine tool hobby is a deep rabbit hole..........;)

You also need to factor in the cost of tooling for it (ie)  a mill vise, end mill cutters, drill bits, a hold down clamp set, and

other specialty tools, like I said,  deep ..............:D

(Milling machine).........A device used to make tooling for lathes

(Lathe)........A device used to make tooling for milling machines

In other words you have to buy tools to make more tools to make stuff

so you can buy more tools to make more stuff..............vicious circle it is.

You will become another junkie like me and many others.

There is a forum for people who suffer from this addiction

called the hobbymachinist.com check it out.....................................B)

 

My handle on that site is Norseman C.B., I welcome you to the madness !!

Edited by Clifford Brewer

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Clifford hit it right on the head.  That's a good looking unit, hard to say without getting hands on it but, properly mounted, it should do the job nicely.  Plan on at least a few hundred bucks more to get a decent vise and the basics of the tooling you'll need.  A lot of the fixturing you can build yourself if necessary, but then you're spending time and effort doing that instead of making blades.

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I will have to check that site out, as I am sure I will have tons of additional questions once I actually buy one.  And I am sure I will make a ton of mistakes with it at first.  But the new place has a much smaller garage then my current home does. So any tool that can be dual use and take up the smallest possible footprint is going to help. It also has an HOA and is a rental while we sort out my girlfriends Car accident situation ( tboned back in January, still sorting out medical and settlement crap ) so I am trying to go as minimal impact to the location as possible.  My Charcoal forge wont be going with me ( its just a pile of bricks anyways ) and I dont know how the rental company is going to feel about a propane forge in the garage. 

But on the flip side, i get a mill, and an entire unfinished basement to myself. I can make do with strictly stock removal for a year. 

 

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That's an interesting little tool, Robert.  I miss my Index vertical milling machine.  Probably wish 20 times a month I had it still.  Have thought over and over about that combo mill/lathe that Harbor Freight sells, but I know a couple of firearms people who own it who tell me it has way too many shortcomings.  I'm just getting into this knife making "thing" and see almost on a daily basis the need for a machine like that.   Everyone I know who has purchased any of their wood working equipment has been more than happy.  They make the Shop Fox line of tools as their premier line and I have their heavy cabinet saw.  I have used The commercial Uni-Saws all my life and can tell you the Shop Fox is as good or better than any Uni-Saw.   I don't think, if I could afford the G0781, I'd hesitate buying it........................though the Scottish in me would like to talk with someone who has it in their shop who could review it's pro's and con's.  Just my .02 cents worth.

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Those cheaper mills do ok as long as you understand its limitations. You're probably not going to do much face milling with it, and milling slots for guards, etc. take small passes, .015" or .020" and take it slow. Give the machine time to cut. Most of those machines have plastic gears, or are belt driven, so you can slip the belt or strip the gears easily if you push them too hard. 

 

Most people who complain about these lower end machines try to push them past their limits, and then get frustrated when it wont perform like a Bridgeport will. 

 

It's important to remember too that those mini mills are designed more for precision drilling then actual milling. The spindles are not incredibly strong along the X and Y, but they are pretty solid in the Z. 

 

Even a high end DMG Mori 5 axis has its limits, and you need to work within them. 

 

As a machinist, I will recommend this to you: buy as big of a machine as you can afford and fit into your shop. You can do small work on a large mill, you cant do large work on a small mill. 

 

Hope this helps. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Will Wilcox said:

You can do small work on a large mill, you cant do large work on a small mill.  

 

That's really good advice, Will.  Hard to take sometimes when we "really" want a piece of equipment and a miniature comes along that is advertised to do what we want.......when it really probably won't.

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I may also be a bit biased, but I'll echo Will in saying I'll take a large mill that's hard to move over a small mill any day. I've got two for general machining (and smithing); my bigger one is about the size of a Bridgeport that I got for $600 and it still has frosting on the ways, and the small one is still about 1,000lbs which I scored for $125. The rule of thumb is, the bigger the machine, the better the deal you can get because they're just hard to move. If you find something like a Bridgeport, it's perfectly doable with a Uhaul trailer and an engine hoist, especially if you break it apart, but it's still a pain. Food for thought. Then again, what kind of space do you have? If it's downstairs and only accessible through a bulkhead, I wouldn't recommend getting a bigger machine...Food for thought. Also, always remember that tooling will double the cost of the machine, so if you can get a big machine with lots of tooling, that's the jackpot right there. B)

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Well the main concern is space to be honest, The garage I currently have would fit a larger machine no problem, my new garage when I move at the end of the month while still two car, is MUCH smaller and I have already been told no driveway parking ( HOA rules ) so the smaller the footprint the better. 

I am not totally sold on the Grizzly, if there are better options in the 1k or so range I will gladly entertain them. I just need to bank as much of this equity as I can, I am selling my house for twice what I bought it for 5 years ago, and am needing to buy twice as much house in a market that is quickly approaching San Francisco / Silicon Valley with regards to housing costs to stay " local " to my work and my kids schools. 

 

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