Author Topic: Which "house Mill"?  (Read 13751 times)

Online Jo

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Which "house Mill"?
« on: September 20, 2012, 01:02:45 PM »
Earlier this year I brought a Cowells Lathe to use as a "house Lathe" for those days when I felt a wimp and didn't want to spend time heating up the workshop on cold winter evenings. I have found it more than a little useful and constantly find myself doing the odd stud when the TV is boring.

So I am now thinking to extend the indoors workshop with a small mill, probably we would term it  micro mill. Options:

1, Cowells: I like the look of the Cowells Mill and have heard good noises about them. (I am aware of one for ?450 on sale at the moment but it does not have any tooling so I think it is over priced).

2, Sherline 2010-DRO. Not sure about CNC. Can anyone advise me is this good or bad or just totally different? ?1250.

3, Proxxon 230. I used to like Proxxon but both myself and a colleague have had motor's fail on these so I am very cautious on buying any more. ?850

4, Another BCA. These are wonderful but at 300Kgs :ShakeHead: it is a factor of 10 times the weight that I would like to have in the bedroom.

So guys can I have your advice and thoughts? Lets assume for now that money is no object :LittleDevil:

Jo
« Last Edit: September 20, 2012, 02:05:23 PM by Jo »
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Offline b.lindsey

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Re: Which "house Mill"?
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2012, 01:26:03 PM »
Jo,
It would seem that your choices are down to Cowells or Sherline. As a long time Sherline user I fine them to be nice little machines so long as you understand the limitations of mini or micro lathes and mills. I have never had any problems with either the motors or motor controllers with the exception of having to replave the toggle on/off switch on my lathe after 9 years or so. The one thing I would caution however as to the Sherline DRO is that it is an optical encoder system rather than a glass or similar scale based system on the manual machines. Backlash must therefore be programmed into the DRO and this can change over time so likely would require checking from time to time. If money were no object, I would lean toward the Cowells just from the looks of them but I have no hands on experience with one. They are rather proud of them (new at least) but it is one fine looking little machine.

Bill
« Last Edit: September 20, 2012, 02:01:26 PM by b.lindsey »

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Online Jo

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Re: Which "house Mill"?
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2012, 02:21:49 PM »
Honestly: I have seen the SIEG at the shows and was not impressed with the quality.

Jo
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Online Jo

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Re: Which "house Mill"?
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2012, 02:26:51 PM »
If money were no object, I would lean toward the Cowells just from the looks of them but I have no hands on experience with one. They are rather proud of them (new at least) but it is one fine looking little machine.

Bill

I have a slight bias towards the Cowells as I already have the most of the accessories as those from the lathe will fit straight on the bed. For instance if I take the indexing or dividing head and add them to the tailsock from the lathe I can happily mill longer items between centres. I would need to think about making a 2" rotary table :noidea:

But having never had a CNC I am still questioning that Sherline.

Jo
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Offline kellswaterri

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Re: Which "house Mill"?
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2012, 05:20:37 PM »
Hi Jo, snap up the Cowell,s quick, I think an excellent buy at that price...even without the tooling. My Cowell,s mill was new at ?1500.00 with add ons of ?100.00 of imperial collets.
I also have the sherline long bed lathe...as to the sherline mill I do not think that it is really rigid enough for what you need, wheras an Atom bomb would hardly shake the Cowell,s.,,plus the fact that extras for the Sherline need to come from Mill hill supplies u/k and are quite pricey.
All the best and keep her cutting...

Offline ProdEng

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Re: Which "house Mill"?
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2012, 07:58:57 AM »
Hi Jo,

I looked at the Cowell machine before I got a Sherline, my choice was based on size.  The Sherline has a bit more capacity needed for my only mill.  The Cowell is a lovely looking machine and a good choice if the table and travel are sufficient.  With so little power available rigidity is never going to be an issue with either machine.  If someone offered me a Cowell here for 450 pounds I would add it to my collection :-)
Jan in Perth

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Re: Which "house Mill"?
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2012, 09:40:27 AM »
I can't believe the 25kg Cowells mill is ?500 more expensive than my 415 kg Warco VMC!  :o

Online Jo

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Re: Which "house Mill"?
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2012, 09:48:20 AM »
My Cowells lathe :Love: cost me twice as much as I paid for my Myford S7B and it was worth every penny.

I missed that second hand mill but they turn up about every six months second hand at around ?500 so I will keep my eyes out for the next one :ThumbsUp:.

Jo
 
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fcheslop

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Re: Which "house Mill"?
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2012, 09:26:40 PM »
Theres only one house mill a Cowells

Offline geoff5269

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Re: Which "house Mill"?
« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2012, 11:39:28 AM »
HI
With all this talk of indoor workshops i thought i would show my Proxxon mini band saw, it only weighs 7kgs and sits on a shelf when not in use, but best of all it is ideal for cutting thin material or very small pieces. i have made a sliding tray that helps positioning the work for safe cutting. hope you can see this in the picture. I thought of having an indoor workshop for the winter but felt i would always be going outside again to get another tool i had forgotton, so as my workshop is in the garage against the house i put another radiator in there run off the house central heating and this has worked well.

Geoff

Online sco

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Re: Which "house Mill"?
« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2012, 01:34:14 PM »
Honestly: I have seen the SIEG at the shows and was not impressed with the quality.

Jo

Are the Sieg mills really that bad - I'm tempted by an SX2 PLUS; http://www.arceurotrade.co.uk/Catalogue/Machines-Accessories/Milling-Machines/Model-Super-X2-Plus-Mill

I know as delivered they are a bit of a sow's ear - has anyone turned one into a silk purse?
Ars longa, vita brevis.

Online Jo

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Re: Which "house Mill"?
« Reply #12 on: October 15, 2012, 01:46:52 PM »
I have considered using one as a set of castings to make something better :-\. But for me it comes down to do I want to make engines or improve machine tools?

Jo
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Offline Stuart

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Re: Which "house Mill"?
« Reply #13 on: October 15, 2012, 04:29:48 PM »
Honestly: I have seen the SIEG at the shows and was not impressed with the quality.

Jo

Are the Sieg mills really that bad - I'm tempted by an SX2 PLUS; http://www.arceurotrade.co.uk/Catalogue/Machines-Accessories/Milling-Machines/Model-Super-X2-Plus-Mill

I know as delivered they are a bit of a sow's ear - has anyone turned one into a silk purse?

go over and have a play with one at Arc's store

the Sieg stuff is not bad just a little rough round the edges ( I have a SX3 ) and it turns out very good work ( if used within it work envelop ) don't expect to hog off 6mm deep cuts in steel with a 20mm end mill,  that being said I have modified the quill top drive and fitted two sealed bearing on the belt pulley the original had one one and it wobbled ( as will any single ball race  they need to be in pairs to stop the wobble ) and I have replaced the main quill bearing with  slightly better ones and attended to the preload  ( they Sieg had fitted a thust bearing that was to small on the OD and to big on the ID ) with that done I have no quill rattle and a smooth spindle its does get a bit warm when run at top speed for two hours but thats OK with me


in all for what you pay for them they are good value if you don't mind cleaning them up and making sure that the adjustments are correct then you will be fine .


Stuart
My aim is for a accurate part with a good finish

Online sco

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Re: Which "house Mill"?
« Reply #14 on: October 15, 2012, 05:07:29 PM »
Honestly: I have seen the SIEG at the shows and was not impressed with the quality.

Jo

Are the Sieg mills really that bad - I'm tempted by an SX2 PLUS; http://www.arceurotrade.co.uk/Catalogue/Machines-Accessories/Milling-Machines/Model-Super-X2-Plus-Mill

I know as delivered they are a bit of a sow's ear - has anyone turned one into a silk purse?

go over and have a play with one at Arc's store

the Sieg stuff is not bad just a little rough round the edges ( I have a SX3 ) and it turns out very good work ( if used within it work envelop ) don't expect to hog off 6mm deep cuts in steel with a 20mm end mill,  that being said I have modified the quill top drive and fitted two sealed bearing on the belt pulley the original had one one and it wobbled ( as will any single ball race  they need to be in pairs to stop the wobble ) and I have replaced the main quill bearing with  slightly better ones and attended to the preload  ( they Sieg had fitted a thust bearing that was to small on the OD and to big on the ID ) with that done I have no quill rattle and a smooth spindle its does get a bit warm when run at top speed for two hours but thats OK with me


in all for what you pay for them they are good value if you don't mind cleaning them up and making sure that the adjustments are correct then you will be fine .


Stuart

Yes I've been to Arc's and had a look - the examples they had on display hadn't had the packing grease removed so they felt a bit sticky and it was dificult to tell how much backlash and general slop there was.  I don't need to make big cuts and mostly machine Aluminium so once fettled up I expect they would probably be ok.  I don't mind doing some machine improvement but it does sound like as sold they not quite fit for purpose - hence the need to upgrade the bearings etc.

I've looked at the Proxxon mills but they are limited on what tooling they can take - I really want a Wabeco but they are four times the price of the Sieg so not really a fair comparison.
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Offline Stuart

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Re: Which "house Mill"?
« Reply #15 on: October 15, 2012, 05:35:25 PM »
Let me qualify my comments a little I had to rebuild the quill after two years of work from new,

In that time it had made all the running gear for a 5 inch G loco and finished off another one, so it had done a fair amount of work before it needed work on it


 Stuart
My aim is for a accurate part with a good finish

Online sco

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Re: Which "house Mill"?
« Reply #16 on: October 15, 2012, 05:40:51 PM »
Let me qualify my comments a little I had to rebuild the quill after two years of work from new,

In that time it had made all the running gear for a 5 inch G loco and finished off another one, so it had done a fair amount of work before it needed work on it


 Stuart

And how much setup and fettling to begin with if you don't mind me asking?
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Offline Stuart

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Re: Which "house Mill"?
« Reply #17 on: October 15, 2012, 05:54:22 PM »
just a clean and adjust,  the main reason was I had to break it down to get it in the WS tables off, column off , a good clean adjust the  gibs as required  then it when to work

That was because I am on Crutches and needed to make it easier for next door  to move it for me


the only Machine that did not require attention/adjustment was my Myford connoisseur ( before the closed down ) that went into service after it was put in the WS by Myford themselves , but that was the machine that required a defect to be put right ( the out board HS bearings failed after 30 mins running  :Mad:

but look at the price difference between a mill and the Myford


Stuart
My aim is for a accurate part with a good finish

Online sco

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Re: Which "house Mill"?
« Reply #18 on: October 15, 2012, 08:44:09 PM »
Hmm thanks - I think!  There seems to be a gap in the market for a small high quality mill a couple of steps down from a Cowells.  The proxxon is close apart from the dodgy motor.
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Online Jo

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Re: Which "house Mill"?
« Reply #19 on: October 15, 2012, 10:02:36 PM »
The bigger one yes, but it is not cheap. You are well on the way to the price of a Cowells.

Jo
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Arbalest

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Re: Which "house Mill"?
« Reply #20 on: October 16, 2012, 10:21:13 AM »
I wonder how difficult/expensive it would be to make a small house mill? It could be made using ball screws, linear guides and one of those ready made X,Y tables. Just thinking out loud ...  :embarassed:

Offline Groomengineering

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Re: Which "house Mill"?
« Reply #21 on: October 16, 2012, 06:42:58 PM »
I've always kinda imagined a Dore-Westbury as a "house mill".  It's not as small as some, it has it's quirks, oh and you have to build it yourself, but....  :thinking:  Not sure if castings are still available, but I've seen several made from barstock. 

Cheers

Jeff
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Offline steamer

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Re: Which "house Mill"?
« Reply #22 on: October 16, 2012, 06:54:46 PM »
A LOT OF WORK!.......trust me on this one....

Dave
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Damned ijjit!

Online Jo

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Re: Which "house Mill"?
« Reply #23 on: October 16, 2012, 07:43:21 PM »
I had a work colleague today explaining why I really should just go out and buy a new house Mill... Boy I don't need encouragement.

Jo
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Arbalest

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Re: Which "house Mill"?
« Reply #24 on: October 17, 2012, 12:01:31 PM »
These any good? This is head and column only at ?475.00 but may form the basis of something?

http://www.homeandworkshop.co.uk/DSCN2171.jpg

Online Jo

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Re: Which "house Mill"?
« Reply #25 on: October 17, 2012, 12:23:34 PM »
I have an entire Prazimat mill ;D

A second is a bit big for what I am intending.

Jo
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Offline NickG

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Re: Which "house Mill"?
« Reply #26 on: October 18, 2012, 06:31:20 PM »
I've had a dore-westbury, it was versitile but crap, guess it's largely down to how well it's been made but I've always been wary of round column and quill feed only type machines. As I've said in another post, my chinese mill give OK results, but the quality is pretty naff, especially as I always draw comparisons with the harrison lathe.

Had a centec 2A which with a vertical head would have been a superb machine, just a bit small but also a bit heavy for a house mill!

Also had a Sherline, it was one of the earlier ones before they went to the more torquey DC motor. Must admit I haven't kept up with what they're doing but mine was excellent. Quite limited in capacity but great quality and gave great results for small stuff. That one lacked a quill feed though so not great for drilling, the head could tilt but obviously couldn't drill at an angle.

It was largely aluminium which was good to keep weight down and it's a stiff material but weight helps.

Nick

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Re: Which "house Mill"?
« Reply #27 on: October 18, 2012, 07:21:32 PM »

Online Jo

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Re: Which "house Mill"?
« Reply #28 on: October 18, 2012, 07:31:19 PM »
I'm waiting for Dave to give in and donate his to me ;D.

Jo
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Offline steamer

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Re: Which "house Mill"?
« Reply #29 on: October 18, 2012, 08:35:59 PM »
Mine has more accessories....... 8)

......yea yea......but you know it was the one time in my life I stepped in the bucket of proverbial and came out smelling nice!

Dave
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Online sco

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Re: Which "house Mill"?
« Reply #30 on: October 19, 2012, 04:45:58 PM »
If my pockets were deep enough I'd have one of these little fellas :naughty:

http://www.practicalmachinist.com/vb/attachments/f14/16887d1257189982-new-me-aciera-f1-aciera-f1-build-up-1d.jpg

There's one just appeared for sale on lathes.co.uk - no price though.

http://www.lathes.co.uk/page3.html
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