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Central Machinery mill

8747 Views 25 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Viper Dude
How good are central machinery mills? I found one i might try to buy if its a good deal.
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Which one? I have the harbor freight green drill/mill and am happy with it.
Hello Dark Knight,
It depends upon the model you are selecting. The Harbor Freight Central Machinery mills are reasonably priced asian-made machines. I own one. Don't expect Bridgeport performance from these very light-duty bench-top mills. Go for the beefier models that use the R-8 taper tooling. Machinery mass equates to smoother cuts all else being equal.

Belt drive on a mill is fine. Electronic speed control is a bit overkill in my estimation on a mill and expensive to repair. An add-on digital readout (DRO) is a real treat to use on any machine. A rigid column is a must in my estimation. Some fellows fill the round columns with concrete to increase the beef.

I suggest going with the largest model that your shop space and wallet will allow. Bigger is Better !!!

Keep in mind that tooling is spendy stuff. Happy hunting !!!

Which one? I have the harbor freight green drill/mill and am happy with it.
sorry forgot central machinery complex machine drilling and milling #981 I think that is the model.

It is a bench top 1.5 horse power I was wondering how much could I do with it? Do you think it will be able to do a lot. I'm looking for a good deal the biggest problem I have is getting it into my garage. A want to be able to machine out alot. Maybe even receivers. I don't know much but it looks like most gun parts could be done on a bench top.
I don't know which model the #981 is, but I've included a picture of mine. Vz58 also has this model and helped me out when I first got it. He added a digital caliper to the down feed to get a better measurement of the down feed which is kind of vague at times. For getting it into the shop a engine hoist is great, but I bolted a 2500# eye bolt to the main beam in my garage and winched the mill off of a trailer and set it down on a base that I made out of unistrut with casters and levers on the bottem. This model is very capable although as Viperdude pointed out "it aint no bridgport". Is this the model? Since the picture I've added a 6" kurt milling vise as the little blue vise in the picture couldn't hold the work very well.
So far I've made a few receivers with the mill and modifed a bunch of suomi and a few pps43 bolts. I most recently fluted a 20" ar15 barrel with it.


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It's about the same thing just older like 1983. It comes with some tooling like vises and couple of cutters.

I want to get somthing that can make receviers, semi parts or help cut out weld. I think a bench top could do it.
Not to steal his thunder, but Coils also got one recently.

A lot of the early 80's import lathes and mills came from taiwan and are suppost to be made a little better.
Dark Knight,
The one your looking at is the lighter weight one, about 350 lbs, the one I got is the model #590 and is about 650 lbs. The one Moleman has shows 700 lbs on HF's site.
It's just a little smaller then the one I got, 4" stroke compared to 5". The table is a little smaller, 20"x6" mine is 28"x8". They both have 12 speeds, yours has a little slower low speed but the high speed is about the same.
OK that's just some of the minor differences, other then that they are almost the same, I don't know what they left out to get it 300 lbs lighter. You will need a solid & heavy bench/table to mount it to, being that light it might shimmy or hop if you get to hard on a cut.

As for cutting receivers, I think it would but for ones like milled receivers it would take a while and everything would have to be done with light cuts. But then again your not a business trying to pump them out as fast as you can, you want it for the hobby and save some money not paying the businessman his fees.

In my opinion, if you can get it for around $200 (you have to judge on it's condition and how hard it was used) it would be a decent starter/small project mill, if they want more then that you'll have to think about it hard.
But that's my $.02, it might be worth more but I'd think a mill almost 30 years old won't be in excellent condition.
And you have to think about the vise, if it looks like a nice quality vice that might make a difference in the price you think about, a good vise can run $100-200 easy. If it looks basic or low end, just think of it as a part of the mill and don't give it any value, a cheap vice is just that "cheap" and you can got one of those yourself.

If you decide to get it and there's no manual, let me know and I'll try to scan mine for you. But the manual isn't very good, the belt settings and exploded views are about the only really useful info in it. :D

Hope my rambling was useful
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Thanks for all replys guys. I think i'm going to wait and find something bigger.
From time to time HF puts out a 20% off coupon which says its not for special orders, but they'll let you use it on a mill or lathe. Plus have the heavy item shipped to the nearest store for free and pick it up.
Thanks alot viper dude, colis, and moleman. I'm just going to wait to get somthing bigger. I'm going to see if I can rent a lift when I move it.

You guys know anything about lagun mills?
Your welcome

You guys know anything about lagun mills?
I did a quick search and all the ones I saw were floor models, some of the older ones were copies of Bridgeport machines.
Did you come across one? What model?
Hello Dark Knight,
Lagun mills have a good reputation and hold resale value. I believe that they are made in Spain. They are full-sized machines like a Bridgeport mill.

Yeah I saw Lagun on ebay for a good price but it's 7 hours away a weighs like 2,000 pounds.

What I can't figure out is this. If I get a bench top with a 2 hp power motor like 17 inches from chuck to table. I think that should be plenty. What is the advantage of a floor model? other than a more stablity and being able to mill a bigger item. From the specs they can drill up to the same size whole, endmill is the same. I'm thinking for most gun parts i could just use a big bench top. Also I was thinking a bench top would be better for semi auto parts.

I'm not sure if this assumption is correct is that what you guys think?
No matter how big you buy a piece of machinery, eventually you will need to machine something that is too big to fit. Floor model = heavier and more solid. In addition to the extra capacity you get the large mass absorbs vibrations better and is more stable.
Floor model = heavier and more solid. In addition to the extra capacity you get the large mass absorbs vibrations better and is more stable.
Exactly, also most of the floor model machines have a lot more adjustments to trim plains into parellel or needed angles.

If you do decide to get a bench model get one of the heavier ones, like 600 lbs or so, the heavier the better. And yes they do work for most gun projects, just check out some of the sub gun builds, most of these were done using a bench mill.
But if you have the room and your budget allows it, get a floor model.
Hello Dark Knight,
Unlike the old Beach Boys song... vibrations in machining are never good !!
IF... You would like to do machining one day on car, motorcycle, airplane, or other machinery parts then the larger mill becomes most useful. IF... you may one day like to make some money doing work for paying friends (called customers) the larger machine can make real bux and do so faster than the small size. HP is only a part of the usefulness. Work volume is another parameter.

A crucial difference between a "floor type" mill and a beefy bench type is usually the table size and the ability to lower/raise that table. A large table by the way can mount two vises or accessories to handle more work.

Keep in mind that a powerful bench mill will require a sturdy base to support it. That combo can eat up shop space. Bench in this case is a misnomer.

index mill

thanks for all the replys.

I found this one for $1200 I can't find out the model number though. It has x power feed, quill power feed and a 9 x 42 table. Seems like an ok deal. I'd like to get a model number. I did some research on Index people seem to like you guys now much about them?


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Hello Dark Knight,
Check the spindle taper to see if it is a common one. I like the R-8 types as used on most Bridgeport mills and many current imports. A Standard #30 taper is neet too !! The Morse Tapers are a bit of a hassel to remove because they stick big time as do the #9 B & S (Brown & Sharpe) tapers.

Other things being equal the Index mill is a good machine. With a serial number and a couple pics the fellows at Practical Machinist - Largest Manufacturing Technology Forum on the Web can help identify your Index. There may even be an Index mill group on yahoo !!!

It seems that the price of machine tools is escallating lately. Maybe it is our crummy currency going south.

If you get this mill try to get all related tooling ie vise, collets, tool holders, tie downs, manuals, literature, etc. If the mill uses 3-phase electricity perhaps the seller has a coverter available for it (or for cheap).

Happy Shopping !!!!

I purchased this Bridgeport for $1500.00 several years ago. It is tight and in great shape. Looked much better after a good cleaning. Even came with a Bridgeport 8" mill vise. It uses the R8 collets. I have since added DRO's, moterized the X axis and added a power chuck/collet release to speed tool changes. It cuts smoothe as glass. I have used it to flycut several, flathead, 4-cyl, Jeep heads..PERFECT.

I used an imported benchtop mill-drill for some years...they are good drills and OK for VERY LIGHT/ SMALL, milling work. Way to much chatter for any serious millwork and the screws and nuts wear out too quickly. Too hard to find parts for. Buy American. A "Mill" without a "knee," is a waste of money. Let the ****** keep their junk machine tools.

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