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Armilite

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What about a TAIG mill? I have a little TAIG lathe and I love it, it’s really a great tool.
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For light duty Small Stuff there fine. An Emco Compact 5 CNC Lathe will do many things. Some even had a (4) Tool ATC. Many Schools used them. They made a CNC Mill also, but light Duty Plastics and Aluminum.
 

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ScaleBirdsScott

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Taig can do the trick or a Seig X2/3, not much experience with either tho.

When it comes to machining, being able to hit +/- .001 provided the operator does their bit should be a given. In the hand work world it doesn't needs get so fine tuned but in the machining world .010 seems like a mile.
 

stanislavz

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Don't reject a 3 phase machine for that reason alone. Very easy to run on single phase. A good deal on an old machine is not such a good deal if it has a Brown & Shape #9 taper in the spindle. A BP / clone is popular because of commonality and you can always sell it and recoup your $$ when you're done with it.
But you can get tons of tools for them just by ebaying for milling cutters job lot. IE - i got clarkson collet for threaded shank milling cutters, and ~ 15 kg of cutters for a fraction of price of er 32 collets with holder.
And taper can be sleeved for any other smaller type.
 

Aviacs

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The Morse taper and B&S taper and the ilk will slip more readily than R-8 and Cat
MT + B & S will not "slip more readily" than R-8. If drawbar retained (as would be in a mill) the tapers lock so much better than R-8. In fact a common complaint of those systems is how difficult they are to remove. It's not uncommon to hear of a mill with such a taper (Jarno or B & S) that no one has been able to get the last arbor out of for a few decades.

R8 is a relatively wimpy, relatively fast change system originated with Bridgeport, that has become ubiquitous & hence inexpensive as well. It is a good system for light duty mills like Bridgeports, but neither the best nor most accurate. R8 is so famous for slipping that it is common in industrial setting to remove the key - when the R-8 taper slips in heavy cuts, the key cuts up the tool shank and breaks off locking it in place, and the mess becomes very time consuming to take apart and clean up.

Cat (& the National Tapers it was more or less derived from) includes the taper for locating, and is flank drive as well. No comparison to any of the above.

For a small shop, R8 economy, facility, and the fact that it can be sourced everywhere is a plus. I do think it is the best "starter" system. R8 collets and holders will swallow larger size shanks up into the quill than some other similar size systems (good: keeps the forces closer to the bearings) It could, of course be argued that you can fit tools in R8 holders that shouldn't be driven on that size mill or holder, but there's a lot to be said for versatility and convenience, let the operator make the decisions and size the cuts and feed accordingly.

NT30 is a step up, with import tooling is is also not noticeably more expensive to tool up. NT40 is a heavier duty system, does start to become more costly.

There's not a lot wrong with drawbar retained Jarno, B & S, & MT tapers which are more secure than R8; except that they are inconvenient, and they are not common, hence more expensive new, and fewer options for versatility. As someone else posted, if you are given such a machine, get an ER 40, 30, & maybe a 25 collet chucks; and a good drill chuck, and use it.
 

Armilite

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I recently Traded a used home built Sled Trailer I had $400 in it, used it for 10+ Years and a used 1993 Arctic Cat 550 EXT I had around $900 in it, had used it for 10+ Years equals $1300 for both for this used CNC 9" x 20" Techno Lathe. Was missing some Tooling and Tool Post. I have cleaned it up, bought some of the Tolling for less than $150, still need a Tool Post. Runs Off a PC. Their Software is kinda Generic, thinking of upgrading it to either Mach 3/4 or the Acorn System. 1st photo is one off ebay running their Software. I have a Dell Tower I'm setting up to run mine.
 

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addicted2climbing

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Acorn Controller Setup to retrofit many different machines fairly cheap.
Armlite... definitley choose Centroid Acorn over any Mach setup. Im planning to use an Acorn on the Avid Router I am waiting on and if I like it enough will also change out my Tormach 1100 to Acorn. Peaople say its way better.

Marc
 

Armilite

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Armlite... definitely choose Centroid Acorn over any Mach setup. I'm planning to use an Acorn on the Avid Router I am waiting on and if I like it enough will also change out my Tormach 1100 to Acorn. People say its way better.

Marc
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I definitely like Acorns Software better. If I upgrade to Acorn I might have to upgrade the Motors also. For now, I just want to get it up and running. Then I'll work on the upgrades. I'm not interested in Big Production runs. I want something Simple to use that even the Wife and grandkids could even make something.
 

Geraldc

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avoid anything with a round column.
I have had one for years and no problem.
What Turd said! I have a Rong Fu mill/drill. It is an older Taiwanese machine with a round column. It will do light milling well. Because of the round column, if you have to raise or lower the head, you lose your zero. I can usually avoid raising or lowering the head with careful setup to allow enough room for tool changes. Not always.
I fitted a laser pointer to mine and a reference line on the opposite wall.
I have done jobs a lot larger than the table by swinging the head round.

Negative side - belt drives are a pain.
.
 

Aviacs

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There are various levels of round column mill-drills.
When the actual Rongfu et al, Taiwan made units with 28" tables, 7.5" x 24" table travels & R8 spindle only cost $600 - 800 brand new (mid 1980's), they were quite good value. Everything has gone up by multiples, though, so harder to make a determination. Also, back then there was no 'net, nor ebay, and auctions were dealer focused inside arrangements.

I was making parts, tooling, tools, and hardware for another woodwhacker (pool table builder) in the early 80's using a cross slide on an import DP :^) He was tied in with a housewares importer to bring in woodworking equipment. At one point a Morgon large size Taiwan mill drill came in with some furniture and linens that they didn't know what to do with. He realized he could get a lot more productivity out of me if it was set up in my shop, so one of his guys delivered and installed it.

Over the next 40ish years i built up a decent manual machine shop with most of the toys.
Used the Morgon so hard the first 10 years that i did a full re-scrape on it, better than factory.
Face it - most of the time when we step up to a mill, the parts are small, though often complex.
With a 6" angloc on one end, and a Hardinge dividing head on the other, it still gets more routine use than my full size 30 taper turret mill.

As others noted, given an accepted work envelop size, the only real downside is no knee; and that is not hard to work around. Also, there is a sensitive downfeed for single point boring; but no power/autofeed to it. (I rigged one up on mine.) Even the smaller M-D's are possibly decent starter machines, for someone making small parts only. At a price point. It's still possible around here, though getting scarcer, to hit BP style machines without the BP brand, for under a couple $G's. The "problem" is that more and more people are realizing that a BP size machine in the garage is not really overkill, and with the advent of cheap VFD's very casual hobbyists are no longer scared of "3 phase" so the prices get bid up.

smt
 
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Dana

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I have had one for years and no problem.

I fitted a laser pointer to mine and a reference line on the opposite wall.
I have done jobs a lot larger than the table by swinging the head round.

Negative side - belt drives are a pain.
I too attached a laser to mine but have yet to actually use it, it seems like a cumbersome setup. A mirror on the wall and a mark back on the mill head might make more sense, but when I need to raise or lower the head during a job I just put the edge finder back in.

Belt drives are a indeed PITA, which is why I added the DC variable speed drive. It was almost free with a donated treadmill, but introduced me to the wonderful world of Arduino to control the treadmill motor controller.
 

Aviacs

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Since Asian machine tool builders in the late 70's - 80's mostly copied western machines, dumbed them down, and shipped them out at a fraction of the cost; i was perplexed where the "mill-drill" idea came from. When the early 'net came along & more exposure to Euro machines, it was obvious. When this manual version of the Fehlmann Picomax was current, it seems to have cost about the same as 3 or 4 Bridgeports at the time. There were people who preferred the Fehlman, being more accurate in the work size envelop, and better spindles for jig-bore work. Watchmakers, say. The Swiss machines have a key in the column, and IIUC, an automatic hydraulic lock when you move the head up or down. Spindle location apparently repeats with sub-.001 accuracy.
1642209818465.png1642209818465.png

The company is still in business and apparently selling well enough.

smt
 
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