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Upgrading Mill


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Hi Group,

 

I am considering making an investment here soon.  Currently I use a Proxxon MF70 which is a great little machine - however I am now building in 1/36th plank on frame for the foreseeable future.  I picked up an Emco Unimat 3 a couple years ago from a member of this site which I will set up as my lathe and want a bigger dedicated mill.  

 

 

It seems the models that are most mentioned here are Sherline series or the Proxxon FF230.  I need the ability of a tilting table and or vise for either choice.  Most swear by Sherline - would love thoughts as to model and accessories needed for my specific needs of larger scale/complicated assemblies.  Sorry if my question here is redundant or been addressed.

 

Black Friday is approaching - so I am curious if either would potentially go on sale based on past history.  

 

Thanks

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Hi ChrisL.  If I had to make a choice over what mill I would still get a Sherline .  It really depends on how deep your pocket's are. They have a 14" Deluxe 8- direction Milling Machine which has a 15" extended Column upgrade, believe the cost was 1500, for the base package. They have a lot of accessories to fit all of your need's.  They have a tilting angle table, Manual Rotary table Milling vise, and a rotating base to hold the Vise.  Digital Readout to help you with the precision on your cutting. A sensitive Drilling attachment that you could also add. Works great when your using very small bit's so you don't break the bit's. It sort of lets you get a feeling of what the bit is doing. Of course it all comes at a price but I brought mine over the last few year's to help with the cost of it and have not regret it. You could go to their site, make a list of what you might need to get started and they  will give you a package deal. Once you get the base package, what ever that may be then you can get the accessories you really need and not have to put out a chunk of money. You can do that over time because you are buying a tool for a life time. Also If you purchase their lathe get the 17 inch one,  you can use  the mill accessories on the lathe which would cut down on the cost of the accessories. 

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Edited by garyshipwright
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Sherline equipment is modular.  The head which includes the motor, speed control, and spindle is the same for both the lathe and milling machine.  The head can be easily interchanged between the lathe and Mill by removing one set screw.  Rigidity is a key to accurate work, and the design of the joint between the head and column or lathe bed provides rigidity.  If you use a Mill often, but a lathe seldom, you could buy a mill and later just the lathe bed.  

 

Although pricy, Sherline offers a huge selection of accessories to complement the machines themselves.  IMHO, the skill in machining is often the setup to hold the parts accurately and rigidly, and that’s where accessories are needed.  I recently bought a rotary table to allow me to drill a series of equally spaced holes around the periphery of a disc.  In addition to the table, I was able to buy a fixture that accurately mounts in its center to hold a collet chuck (the same collets that fit the lathe).

 

Located in California, Sherline is easy to contact and they back up their products with excellent customer service.

 

Roger

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6 hours ago, ChrisLBren said:

I am now building in 1/36th plank on frame for the foreseeable future.

It hurts my brain to even think about how to run the numbers, but 1:36  may be 2-3 times the volume of 1:48.  If you are going to feature any vessels of significant size, your lumber needs will be significant.

I would not give any thought to setting up my lumber stock to be "just in time".   I would have enough for 3 vessels on hand and replace that PRN.   It is probably a sign of me aging,  but rolling the bones tells me that we are at an inflection point and among other things, lumber cost and availability will be more difficult than just an extrapolation of past behavior.  Do not depend on what is available today to be there tomorrow.

 

This is an interesting opportunity to exercise fantasy and imagination:

 

You already have experience with small mills and if if your use so far has you wanting to upgrade, this is probably not a frivolous exercise for you.  In your place, I would probably bite the bullet and make sure that what I bought was a serious machine.  One that is sturdy, precise, and accurate.  A machine that did not use proprietary  accessories.  I checked Little Machine Shop and found that the micro mill that I kept the link for, has been discontinued.  At this stage I would investigate what the professionals use and avoid anything that is mass market.

 

The present inventory seems to be:

 

"SIEG SX1P"  HiTorque Micro Mill, 2MT Spindle   $1000  120 lb
SIEG X2D Mini Mill    $800   180 lb
HiTorque Mini Mill    $1400   180 lb
HiTorque Mini Mill, Deluxe   $2100   190 lb

 

The practical factor is maybe that these machines are for milling iron or steel or blocks of Al.  For wood, the quality of the cutters and their edge is probably the key factor.

 

I expect that the ceiling rail tracks and the electric chain hoist needed to lift and move these machines will add to the overall cost.

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Sherline is great, they are built like tanks and the accessories are generally interchangeable between the mill and the lathe.  They have been around forever, and you can get replacement parts down to the individual screws, etc.  Very helpful customer service too.  Pricey, but their tools will last a lifetime.

Edited by Landlubber Mike
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7 hours ago, Jaager said:

I would not give any thought to setting up my lumber stock to be "just in time".   I would have enough for 3 vessels on hand and replace that PRN.   It is probably a sign of me aging,  but rolling the bones tells me that we are at an inflection point and among other things, lumber cost and availability will be more difficult than just an extrapolation of past behavior.  Do not depend on what is available today to be there tomorrow.

At the risk of being keel-hauled for inciting "thread drift," let me give this observation a big "Amen!" I'm sensing it already. Much of the material modelers are interested in, and until now used to sourcing easily or relatively so, is produced in limited quantities (relatively) and sold on fairly slim profit margins. The usual suspects local specialty lumberyards are disappearing and the selection of those that remain is dwindling. We've all watched long-established specialty modeling businesses selling milled modeling wood, parts, and so on, go begging when their owners get too old and tired to keep at it and try to sell a going small business to a new owner. It just ain't penciling out in this day and age. Add to the long list of craft skills ship modeling demands the ability to source your own raw lumber, drying it, and milling it to your own specs. 

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Thanks for the replies everyone - I believe I can make due with my existing mill to complete the keel parts on my LGV.  I would like to have own one for the more complex assemblies of the bow and stern parts.  A tilting table, vice, DRO and a mill that reaches 10000 rpm is necessary from the posts I have read so far.  Any additional thoughts are appreciated.  

 

No problem about "highjacking" this thread re wood supply.  I bought a flitch of Pear wood a few years back and had a local cabinet shop reduce it to useable boards in 3/8, 1/4 and 3/16.  I then dimension to spec with both the Proxxon planer and Byrnes Thickness Sander.  I have a nice supply, however, I did burn thru a lot of wood for the frames.  I cant imagine how much waste would have resulted using the "Hahn" method.  

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