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Old 11-23-2009, 11:34 PM
Crescent Crescent is offline
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Default Buying a milling machine...which one?

Hi guys. New to the forum, but looks like a great site.

I'm looking at buying a knee type milling machine for home use. I've been looking at several sites, Grizzly in particular and my budget is about 3k. If it's recommended I can wait and save up for a more expensive machine. So are the Grizzly mills worth it? I've been advised by more than one person to not buy mills made in China, but seems most are.

Anyways, opinions please on where to buy, where the product is made, or anything else of interest. Thanks.
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Old 11-23-2009, 11:49 PM
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Welcome aboard, Crescent.
I'll offer no advise but I do predict you'll get quite a lot of it.
We love helping to spend other people's money.
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Old 11-24-2009, 12:07 AM
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Quote:
I've been looking at several sites, Grizzly in particular and my budget is about 3k. If it's recommended I can wait and save up for a more expensive machine. So are the Grizzly mills worth it? I've been advised by more than one person to not buy mills made in China, but seems most are.
Crescent, welcome to the site.

First off, while I do have some time spent on mills, I'm not anywhere as knowledgeable as some here at SFT. But I can see/spot quality and worth in something used or new, imported or not.

I searched for, found, passed on, missed more used mills than I could shake a stick at. Never finding something I could use in larger more serious mills that did not/would not warrant some serious refurb or parts replacement.

What I did do though was to look at those mills in the 3K range, one of which is the ENCO model that OldMan(SFT member) has had for about a year now, and what looks to be the same mill(though re badged) from Grizzly, Model G0484. I bought the Griz' mill and am now damn proud happy to now own it. I think it has turned out to be a great value and useful presence in the little shop at the farm. I'm very very happy with it.



While not a 'knee' mill, it does/did have a few features included that the ENCO did not.

As far as price on the Griz, it was/may still be, on special and did come with some neat extras that I would have had to buy or add.

What it came down to is that for $2,195(If memory serves) I was able to have that extra $800 bucks in my pocket to buy a butt load of extras to support the mills needed uses. New 6" vise, two RT's, indexer, cutters, etc etc etc. (and I add to the toy inventory list at the shop weekly.

While I have not used the mill extensively, I have had the few moments to see it does a very good job considering it's size and pricing. It is very stable, holds tolerances well and looks to be a keeper. I'm very satisfied and wouldn't hesitate to buy another one of like size if the need presented itself.

Again, considering imports, it's just not the same 'crap shoot' as it once was. I own several large pieces of machinery like this Griz mill and am very happy, with them in particular and as well very satisfied with the customer service and needs when dealing with the Griz' staff for any reason.

FWIW, I'm presently(and very soon to purchase) a new larger lathe and it will surely be an import, but it's a toss up between a Precision Matthews and a Grizzly.

http://www.shopfloortalk.com/forums/...ad.php?t=21440

Good luck in your hunt.
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Last edited by LW Hiway; 11-24-2009 at 02:28 AM.
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Old 11-24-2009, 05:53 AM
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platypus20 platypus20 is offline
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Small knee mills

Grizzly G3102 or G3103, the basic 6" x 26" mill, similar to those sold by many others, including Busy Bee (Canada) in the $2500-3000 range. About 1/2 scale compared to a Bridgeport. Very workable.

Jet JVM 836 or the Grizzly G6760 (basically the same unit) a 3/4 scale mill with a table thats 8" x 36". A good well rounded machine. $3800-4500 depending on options. Again very workable, I have a Jet.

Used equipment, depending where you live these can dirt cheap or very expensive, depending on the manufacturing base and the economy, lots of companies closing, sometimes equals cheap mills (and lathes). Depending on condition can be very workable, I also have a small Bridgeport.

The Grizzly and the Jet can be bought as single phase units, where as used equipment tends to be 3 phase, not an impossible problem, just one that will involve some additional cost (changing to a single phase motor, using an inverter VFD, or phase converter).

Real depends on how much you want to spend, the sales the equipment manufacturers are offering, and how quick you want it, or if you are looking for a project to work on.

Jack
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Old 11-24-2009, 06:06 AM
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In your location, the motor voltage will need to match your mains voltage. I believe that Canada & BC are 120/240, but I've seen some Canadian equipment that was set for other voltages. Almost any full size knee mill (Bridgeport design) will come with a 3ph motor, which means a rotary converter or VFD will be needed unless you already have 3ph power available.

In a used machine, a very nice Bridgeport can be had for $3k-$4k. The place I would look first is J&L Scraping Service. Outstanding work, and you know what you are paying for.

Another machine to look at is the Beaver Mk2. British made, popular in Canada & BC. Prices run a little less than a Bridgeport, but the machine (in good condition) is every bit as nice as a Bpt.

Quote:
I've been advised by more than one person to not buy mills made in China
If you need one right now, want to buy new, and have a $3k budget, China is the only game in town. I buy almost all machine tools & tooling used, either from eBay or from a local machinery rep. Visit a used machinery dealer and see what's available. If you have the time & the patience, you can end up with a really nice machine for what you want to spend.
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Old 11-24-2009, 06:21 AM
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Default new mill

Hi Crescent and Welcome! Just been through the same dilema. Buy import and be sorry later or keep dreaming? I was shopping in the same price range as you. After fighting a Jet drill press for years I came to the conclusion it WAS NOT, REPEAT WAS NOT GOING TO COME FROM CHINA! With the economy tanked their are quite alot of good mills on e-bay. My problem is none are in the midwest. Shipping would be $800-$1200. What would it be like when it got here?
Well not to drag this out I found a nice Bridgeport on Craigs list only 25 miles away. Was able to run it before making a commitment. A bonus was it had been converted to single phase power. Came equipped with vice, Trac dro,
a USA made x axis power feed. Buyer loaded on my trailer with his forklift and a friend unloaded it with his. No cost. I believe "Betty Bridgeport" and I will get along just fine. My final two cents---- Buy from China, They use our money to refine their atomic arsenal to send it back to us someday.
Lathe man
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Old 11-24-2009, 10:27 AM
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Quote:
Buy from China, They use our money to refine their atomic arsenal to send it back to us someday.
+1

China is taking America over without ever firing a shot. Cheap clothing at Wal-Wart, cheap machine tools everywhere, cheap drywall that causes people to get sick, etc. There are so many high quality machine tools available from lots of different sources - if you don't need it right now.
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  #8  
Old 11-24-2009, 10:52 PM
Crescent Crescent is offline
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Thanks very much guys. Some excellent responses there. Aargg, I still don't know which way to go, but I'm armed with more info. I'll keep you all posted.

Thanks again.
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Old 11-24-2009, 11:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crescent View Post
Aargg, I still don't know which way to go, but ...
<snip>
Ah, some frustration?

Crescent, I didn't advise about a mill simply because I don't own one, may never own one.
But I want to point out a "truth" that has proven to serve me well over the years. My best decisions, most enjoyable tools and machines seem to come to me when I've set the table properly.

By that I mean I have a few pieces of equipment among my favorite things in my little shop that simply appeared when I didn't necessarily expect them or wasn't even actively shopping for them.
I never expected to own my old 22inch Clausing drill press or the old KysorJohnson bandsaw, for instance. They're both homely and well worn but I love having them because they made themselves mine very cheaply.
Alternatively, many of my worst choices have resulted from trying to force a decision.
Relax and enjoy your journey; it's so much more fun.

An old friend of mine used to say, "you can't push a piece of string but it's amazing what you can pull in with one."

</sermon over>

BTW, have you ever heard of cutter's vise?
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"Passionate hatred can give meaning and purpose to an empty life. Thus people haunted by the purposelessness of their lives try to find a new content not only by dedicating themselves to a holy cause but also by nursing a fanatical grievance. A mass movement offers them unlimited opportunities for both."
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  #10  
Old 11-24-2009, 11:40 PM
Crescent Crescent is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cutter View Post
Ah, some frustration?

Crescent, I didn't advise about a mill simply because I don't own one, may never own one.
But I want to point out a "truth" that has proven to serve me well over the years. My best decisions, most enjoyable tools and machines seem to come to me when I've set the table properly.

By that I mean I have a few pieces of equipment among my favorite things in my little shop that simply appeared when I didn't necessarily expect them or wasn't even actively shopping for them.
I never expected to own my old 22inch Clausing drill press or the old KysorJohnson bandsaw, for instance. They're both homely and well worn but I love having them because they made themselves mine very cheaply.
Alternatively, many of my worst choices have resulted from trying to force a decision.
Relax and enjoy your journey; it's so much more fun.

An old friend of mine used to say, "you can't push a piece of string but it's amazing what you can pull in with one."

</sermon over>

BTW, have you ever heard of cutter's vise?
Nope, never heard of a cutters vise.
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