Mini mills

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    How do you guys like the mini mills? The table seems so small I wonder how you folks do the stuff you do with it. I can do very limited milling work on my SuperShop but the table has to much vibration in it to do anything serious plus Im only using a cheapo X,Y compound vise. I either need to build a solid table or just buy a whole machine. Im leaning towards building a table because the SuperShop power head is rock solid and has R8 already. I would compare the power head to an X3. The head wont tilt though so I would have to make the table be able to tilt if I go that route.

    The table I can build but I still need to put a compound table on top of it. So far Ive been looking at the table off of a mini mill

    This one off of Ebay

    Or possibly this one from Grizzly

    The problem I have is the more money I spend on a table the closer I get to the price of a complete mini mill.

    Has anyone used that cheap Ebay table?
    You guys with mini mills, how do you like them?
    Give me some feedback guys. I need to think about doing something soon as Im really getting tired of being on the edge of an accident with my shakey mill table.


    I love my mini mill and it is GREAT. Yes it has limitations but having no mill is a huge limitation. The variable speed is a great feature. And the biggest upgrades that really make the machine work great are:

    1. A DRO by SMW Precision
    2. A motorized feed for the table
    3. A belt drive unit.

    The belt drive and motorized feed really make it a pleasure to use. The DRO is great but you can alway mill to a scribed line until you can afford one.

    I would buy another one in a second if I had to.


    I would really like to get a Dro for mine!


    I got my mill about 3 years ago and i hated the dam thing 🙁 . I looked for the cheapest version which is maybe a mistake , as there was differant grades of machine out there , but you paid for it. I wish id got the X3 but as always funds and the fact that i couldnt pick up the X3 by myself ment i went with the X2.
    The Head is fine for the work that you can fit on the table , i personaly dont like the fact that the head can tilt and never used the function. Once ive tramed the mill to within .03 i dont want to tilt it to muck that up , i use a tilting angle block for that . I made a point of running the mill a slow as possiable because the gears make a huge amount of noise at high speed , so the belt drive is realy a must. Wish id got round to it sooner 😀 .
    As far as the table gose ,the lead screws are ok but the nuts on my M/C are bad , backlash and if you fully tighten them in position they lock the lead screw solid because nothing is square 🙁 . Even if the mill works ok ,i think replacing the lead screws and nuts would increase the performance greatly.
    I got this mill with the intension of CNC it , ive got a 4 axis CNC Hobbie controler bourd already made , brackets are finished , so all i need to do is replace the lead screws and nuts with trapezoid screws and delrin nuts . So motor drive was never an option but a DRO would make machining alot faster , just to dam expensive over here.
    As far as the rotary table gose , i got a 4″ , you can fit bigger but i knew i wanted to fit a chuck to it ( ive only got a 100mm chuck of my lathe), and as soon as you do the working height of the M/C is greatly reduced . Yet to buy a 80mm chuck which should hold most things and give me enough room to put a drill in .
    As in everthing its swings and roundabouts so making you own mill up might be a good idea………. 😀


    Thanks for the feedback guys. Its really appreciated. Bubba, I know a tilting headstock isnt a huge advantage but there are a few things you can do with it. One thing I really like is being able to tilt it a few thousands when using a fly cutter. You tilt it just enough so the trailing edge of the cutter doesnt touch the surface and only the leading edge makes the cut. You cant get some fantastic finishes that way. Also, Ive read on here about some of the guys being able to tilt an end mill to the side and get almost the same cut as a large ballnose cutter.

    After reading what you guys have said and others have said in the past Im really leaning toward this one

    The table looks rock solid and the table is not huge but not tiny either. It also comes with the power feed.


    Being able to tilt the head is always good but i think the problem with the X2 mill is that it pivots at the bottom of the vertical slide . This leads to weak point , you can measure the push off by leaning on it . Alot of guys make brackets and fix the vertical solid , which helps alot with vibration . A mill that adjusts at head of the mill will be easier to adjust and more solid. As you say it dose have its uses for tramming and to make a larger cutting arc but i dont think ive ever used it 😀 .
    The table youve chosen looks more larger and solid than the X2 , got to be a good thing 😀 .How you going to attach your head ? 😕 .


    one thing to consider with the minimills….and you might allready know this since you allready got a mill…….but tooling.

    i recently got a minimill….
    mill $400
    vise 90
    varius attachment kit to mount stuff on the table..70 bucks
    beltdrive since gears broke rather fast 130
    endmills 50
    rotary table 150 (needed for barrel bands and such)
    R8 collets cant remember but 30-50
    airspring (not needed but nice)
    various other tools

    and the whole deal is running close to 1200 bucks for a pretty basic setup….still need somekind of dro…probably gonna be single axis dro, insetad of having it all on one display…they seem much cheaper but that is next…reading the dials on the table is a pain in the ass for longer cuts.

    for minimum setup i would think you need about 3-400 in tooling alone…much more expensive than what the lathe tools costed to get started which was about 100 bucks


    Use my old Deckel mill from year 1952 😯

    Still going strong, did fit today the heavy “multi cutter”? (Picture 1 )

    Long hole drilling ( picture 2 ).

    found the tool on a scrapyard yard, for a few bucks / Euro’s




    Buba, it will be a work in progress on the table but I will post pics when its done. I cant start the bench until I get the compound table to see how big and what clearances I need to make. The table will be freestanding around four foot high. I estimate it will weigh around 250 to 300 pounds when its done and the compound is on it. My mill head has a sliding table with T slots below it when in the vertical position so it will bolt to the side of the compound table/bench when in use. My mill head/multi tool weighs almost 500 pounds on its own. It is a very solid machine but the work table is crap for mill work. I think it will be super solid when done and if not I will get a crap load of sand bags to throw in the base when its in use if needed.

    Cyg, I hear you. I already have some tooling but not much and I doubt I will ever have enough ). At least that stuff you can buy piece by piece without the missus freaking out or even finding out. Like they have a clue whats in the garage anyway.

    Ewoodie, I love that mill you have. How much does that horizontal table attachment weigh and how the hell do you get it bolted up there on your own? Then there is that rotary you have. That thing must weigh about as much. Everything I have has to be able to roll off to the sides of the garage when not in use so I cant really go with the big stuff (.

    I saw this on Ebay and almost cried.

    Not one bid on it and only 2 days left. If I was closer I would be all over that. You could convert that back to manual fairy easy Im betting and the accesories are already worth more than the starting bid. WoK needs to stop by there on his way back from the nookie palace and make a pick up.


    I got this one from Grizzly a year ago. It works great! The hav a dro system for a very good price! They are at[/img%5D


    Thats where Im getting the compound table from. If I had space and a bigger budget I would be looking at something like that.


    I ordered this table today.

    Ive already got most of the metal I need to build the base but I want the table in hand before I cut anything. I went with this table over the other one because of the extra travel and its such a common table there are tons of mods and info out there for it. LOL, with this table and the metal I have ready this stand/base is gonna be over 350 pounds now. Thats not counting the 500 pounds my machine weighs.

    The table blew my toy budget so I will have to wait a bit for more mill toys. I do have a bid pending on a hold down clamp kit on Ebay and Ive already been looking at vise’s. What vise’s are you guys using and please dont everyone say they have a Kurt. I just cant justify one of those anytime soon so will have to go with a clone. I was thinking of a 6 inch for that table.


    You can get some nice Kurt-style vices for a reasonable price, I got my 4″ vice for $80 from Enco


    Holy crap! They want to charge me over 200 bucks just for shipping. They are located in CA and Im in AZ. I had a 300 lb. AC unit shipped from Florida just last year for less than that and that was to my door with a lift gate. Another 400 bucks and I could pick up a complete mill from Harbor Freight and pay no shipping.


    I am using this vise and it is really a nice one. A Kurt Knock off

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