Mini-mills, from what I’ve heard, are a sensible “hobby-shop” alternative to picking up an old used Bridgeport. They seem to hold up pretty well and they’re a whole lot smaller and lighter (read: no riggers needed to move one in to your shop), they don’t need to be rebuilt (yet) and for making the occasional part out of aluminum or mild steel, it seems like you can’t go wrong.
Here’s a good site with a comparison chart of what’s available, at the LittleMachineShop.
Here’s the one I want: the HiTorque Mini Mill.
…and the specs:
|End Milling Capacity||0.6″ (16 mm)|
|Face Milling Capacity||1.2″ (30 mm)|
|Drilling Capacity||0.5″ (13 mm)|
|Table Size||18.1″ x 4.7″ (460 mm x 120 mm)|
|T-slots||3 slots 0.47″ (12.0 mm) wide|
|X-Axis Travel||11.8″ (300 mm)|
|Y-Axis Travel||5.1″ (130 mm)|
|Z-Axis Travel||9.3″ (235 mm)|
|Throat||6.5″ (165 mm)|
|X- and Y-Axis Feed Screws||0.062″ (1.59 mm) per rotation|
|Head Tilt||45°- 0° – 45°|
|Positioning Accuracy||0.0004″ (0.010 mm)|
|Spindle Motor||0.67 hp (500 Watts)|
|Spindle Speed||100 – 2500 RPM|
|Power Requirements||120 V 60 Hz 8 Amps|
|Machine Weight||121 lbs (55 kg)|
|Overall Dimensions (W x D x H)||23.2″ x 19.7″ x 29.1″ (590 mm x 500 mmx 740 mm)|
|Shipping Weight||164 lbs (75 kg)|
|Shipping Dimensions (W x D x H)||23.6″ x 23.6″ x 29.9″ (600 mm x 600 mmx 760 mm)|
(I loves me a good spec chart…)
…and the price? $689, without tooling.
So, i can haz tooling too plz? Check this package out: The Tooling Kit (R8 Mini Mill). That oughta be enough to get me into some serious trouble…
This comment from my buddy Bryce, Machinist Extraordinaire:
“Looks perfect for you. I would consider the belt drive speed increaser. 2500 rpm is not a lot for a small mill like this. Cutting aluminum you can’t go too fast. I regularly run a 4 inch face mill at 15,000 rpm. on the machining centers.
.0625/ turn is a little awkward, but hopefullly the dials are marked in thousands.”