Will look into it. Thanks for the advise.
Look at craigs list in your area for older machinery, the biggest dissappoint I've had was hearing from a friend that someone he met at a yard sale had a nice old large lathe for sale cheap. Well as my luck would have it, my buddy couldn't remember his name or anything else. Why even tell somebody something like that, just stick a knife in me.
All I have is a chinese 9x20 lathe, and a chinese mill/drill, if you can get something american made for the same money get it, if not get what ever you can. I got what I did because I got tired of looking and I have a gun safe full of the products of my effort. With my meager tools I've made a flat bending jig and made several ak's (my friends have made many more on it), I've machined the internals to 4 semi 1919's, and I finished my semi Soumi M31 this summer. My point is you need your own machine tools more than you think.
My $.02 is that unless it's got an R-8 spindle taper and is a knee type mill, don't bother.
Most of the inexepensive mills require that you raise or lower the head/quill to make depth of cut adjustments. Extending the quill compromises rigidity and accuracy, meaning that you'll be taking a lot of light cuts as well as re-indicating the part every time you move the quill.
Having to move the head up/down also compromises accuracy and will prove to be quite inconvienient. You'll likely have to re tram the head every time you move it as well.
R-8 tooling is cheap and very plentiful, but I have yet to see anyone with a large assortment of Morse Taper tooling for endmills and such. Having said that, I wouldn't turn down a machine with a cat 40 or cat 50 spindle taper as both are easy to find, though the 50 taper stuff is fairly expensive.
Whatever you do, stay away from the oddball stuff like Jarno tapers or brown and sharpe tapers. Finding tooling for those won't be fun(or cheap) at all....
If someone told me that I never would have bought anything, its a little discouraging, keep in mind we are talking about a hobby machine not mass production, ruling out everything but a knee mill is kinda silly, and by the way, you don't have to reindicate everytime you move the quill on something like a larger mill/drill, the head yes. I keep most parts within .001-.002 to make things easy, so what kind of accuracy are you talking about? I don't want to sound sharp, but my foreman has a HF drill/mill and he has made .22 cal. gatling gun with it and his little 7x10 lathe, if you've been around awhile, you know guys trained on knee mills that couldn't make one to save their life. It is smart to know the limitations of the machine you get however. Most machines are limited by the user.Originally Posted by machinisttx
I didn't get a lathe until 2003 when my foreman recommended a HF lathe, I got the mill/drill a year later and I've made a lot with the two of them, adding 9 guns to my collection (not counting 3 ak's made using homemade weldpacks). Not bad for teaching myself how to use them both. 15 years ago however I ruled out anything but american made machines do to some advice someone gave me. Since then I've learned you must work with what you've got and something is better than nothing.
No kidding! there's guys in this hobby who can do more with a Dremel, than some can do on a Bridgeport! Just take a look at the incredible work Panacea Beachbum has done on a mini mill and small HF lathe. There seem to be quite a few machinist who frown on the home builder doing more with less.
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Here is a link to a good site. www.cnczone.com Some people over there have made cnc mills out of HF mills with servo motors. One thing that is suggested is to replace the lead screws with new ones that have tighter tolerance's.