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Proxxon MF70 Milling Machine. Box-opening + initial review. Plus discussion?


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I ordered the Proxxon MF70 Micro Milling Machine from TBS Aachen, Germany, at 6pm on Friday 10th January 2014.  TBS despatched it late on Monday morning, and it arrived here today, just 48 hours later.
It was despatched by TBS using DHL.  When it got into the UK system it was Parcelforce who took it over, and delivered it to me.

[Picture 1:]  The outer box measured 29mm x 29mm x 56mm.  Nice thick, protective cardboard, and lots of those bits of expanded polystyrene that protect well, weigh nothing, and fly everywhere when you open the box.

[Picture 2:]  The product box.  No sign of damage in transit.  I'll keep it, just in case I get fed up with building model ships and decide to sell it on Ebay!

[Apologies for the poor lighting for pics 3 and 4.  I live in Wales.  It rains here, and it gets misty and dark.  Especially when I need to take nice, explanatory pictures.]

[Picture 3:]  First opening.  I took everything out and displayed it here.  No attempt (yet) to assemble it all, although it was uppermost in my mind to make sure everything was there.
It wasn't.  One of the little collets had apparently slipped out of the rack (displayed in the RH side of the pic) and was missing.  So straightaway I emailed TBS for a replacement!

[Picture 4:]  The assembled MF70, surrounded by the bits & pieces.  This was when I discovered that the 'missing' collet had actually been taken out of the rack and fitted in the machine's spindle.  So that meant a second, grovellingly apologetic, email to TBS!  They were nice about it though ...

The MF70 came fitted with an European 2-pin plug.  However TBS provided (without charging extra) a UK plug that snapped onto the European one and converted it.  So no problem!

Extras I bought with the MF70 were:
    A set of 1mm, 2mm, 3mm cutters (Proxxon 27116)
    A precision steel vice (Proxxon 24260, PM40)
The cutters were essential.  The vice less so, but it seemed a good idea to get it.  These extras arrived correctly and safely.

I've assembled the machine, and I've worked out how everything goes together.  But so far I haven't pinned down a piece of metal on it with intent to cause mayhem.  That will come later.

Questions invited!

 

[PS.  It grieves me to mention it, but buying this tool direct from Germany saved me about £80 over any deal I could have struck with Proxxon-selling, UK-based companies.  When I bought my FD150 lathe just before Christmas I secured a similar saving by buying from TBS.   WHY do UK-based companies have to sell their Proxxon products at such atrociously-unattractive, inflated prices?  I would have loved to support UK retailers here, but sorry - they do need  to be competitive!]

 

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Very nice, I have seen other modelers use this machine and they all seem to love it. Keep us posted as to when you start using it. Would like to hear what she is able to do and not do, there are always pros and cons on every machine no matter which company makes it. Please keep us posted and lots of pictures if you can. Stick some metal in and make chips and listen to the sound and learn the sounds of good speed and bad speeds, your ears will be one of your best tools for milling.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Today I had my first 'go' with the MF70.

I'm trying to make a gooseneck for the boom on my Anastasia build.  The bit of brass I used for this attempt was originally the earth pin from a UK (square pin) electrical plug, 4mm by 7.5mm.and about 30mm long.

It was my first attempt ever at milling.  Unless you count a few minutes of (heavily supervised) metalworking evening classes, back in, ooh, probably 1980.

I didn't break the 2mm cutter I was using (or anything else, come to that).  Everything worked more or less as I'd expected it to work.  My only little bitch was with the transverse control.  It was loose.  But the instructions explain easily how to correct that.  I'll do it tomorrow ...

My gooseneck ended up the right shape, more or less.  But far too big.  I was trying to do it freehand.  Stupid mistake.  For my next try tomorrow I'll have to use the live pin (4mm x 6mm) and the 1mm cutter.  And I'll measure everything much more precisely.

 

Plenty of power.  Accurate except for the loose transverse carrier.

I was expecting the swarf to be visibly brassy in appearance, but no -  it was like fine, grey hair except when I was stupid enough to get any of it on my fingers (when it itched like the horrible fibreglass that we use for loft insulation).   I'm using one of those little hand-held vacuum cleaners to clean up after my work - hope the swarf won't get in the motor and mess it up!

 

If this was a real review I think I'd give the MF70  4.5 stars out of five.  I haven't found any faults worth mentioning, but [a] I'm a newbie to all this, and I never give a 5/5 mark.  On principle.

 

 

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UV, this really isn't the right time to ask me to post pics of my efforts with the milling machine!  So far I've achieved nothing!  But I'm learning through my mistakes.  And with any luck, the third brass pin purloined from my electricity plug will actually provide me with the main part of the gooseneck I'm trying to make.
I'll also be using the machine to make the six little cleats I need for my 'Anastasia' build.
Basically, what the machine does is remove unwanted brass.  Or aluminium, or plastic.  But it does it very accurately!  So you start with a lump of metal that's (hopefully) close to the size and shape of your finished article, and you use the cutters to refine the lump into the exact thing you're wanting!  It's a bit like sculpture, except it goes in straight lines!
I've learned that it's better if [a] you know exactly the dimensions of the object that you're trying to make, and you've read the Proxxon manual and you know how to calibrate the milling machine to match those dimensions.
I may destroy a lot of brass - and aluminium - in my efforts to master the milling machine.  But I'll get there!

Thanks, Nigel, for the warning about bending the cutters!  So far, I'm probably more guilty of going too slow than of stressing the cutters!

Two points on the subject of safety:
Firstly, I'm thinking I ought to get a pair of goggles.  In the past I relied on my spectacles to protect my eyes when (eg) working at a lathe.  But the swarf from a machine like this is SO fine!  Gets everywhere!  You just touch the workpiece, and your fingers are coated with almost-invisible brass hairs!  Then if you rub your eyes to get a better view of your workpiece, believe me you're in trouble!   Luckily I saw the little bits of brass glinting on my fingers, and I stopped myself.
Secondly, it's imperative to fix this machine down!

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