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Awesome New Mill- Is it worth it?

Discussion in 'A BEGINNER'S FORUM (Learn How To Machine Here!)' started by JetMech, Jun 12, 2017.

  1. JetMech

    JetMech United States Active Member Active Member

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    Yes, his presence on forums and the great rep he has here are large factors in my decision to go with them.

    I bet you're right about the one man show with helpers, does seem that way.

    I've emailed him, Jeff, and the sales email explaining my desire to buy the mill. I suspect I will hear back soon, I can undestand how busy a sole proprietor must be!

    In fact, I DO want to work with him, because I'd rather support him than Grizz.

    I agree Matt seems like straight shooter, that's why I'm willing to buy a "return" that he says will work. Hopefully I hear from him soon!
     
  2. Silverbullet

    Silverbullet Active Member Active Member

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    I vote variable speed, if you ever want to power tap you want as slow as possible. Even using a fly cutter on aluminum you wouldn't run real fast . Tiny drills and endmills yes . Just my thoughts.
     
  3. JetMech

    JetMech United States Active Member Active Member

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    This is a great reply with some clearly sage advice. I appreciate your input, and I agree with it although I have some limitations that make it so that I do have to make some compromises.

    For one, your description of "you want a mill to just play around with occasionally that is fine" is exactly right, that is exactly my usage case. I'm no pro, just dick around with stuff in my garage. This is a toy for me. I do not expect to bore large holes. (a HUGE hole to me is 2")

    We've been discussing the torque issue, my plan is to convert the mill myself and if I do, I can put a pretty stout motor on it. I'm glad you say that if I'm intending to mess around at high speed with aluminum that the 727 with variable speed is a good choice, bacuse that's my situation exactly.

    I will enjoy being able to slow it down and slot a steel bar occasionally, but that's about as far as I'd go with steel. For me, the 727 represents quite a weight increase from "mini mills" and should handle my "hard metal" projects pretty well. If I really needed a "real" mill I'd buy one of these Craigslist Bridgeports with all the feeds and stuff for $5k.

    I mean, milling for me right now means using the miserable milling attachment on my craptastic HF lathe, I did it one time and now I'm shopping mills. . .

    However, I do understand and agree with the idea that a "deal" should not preclude buying the right machine.

    The fact is, I'd probably be pretty happy with the home-converted 727m, I think, but some things you point out really get me thinking:

    My needs/limitations are:

    -I need to be able to move it myself, but PM 727 is 475 lbs. and PM30MV is 530 lbs, not a huge difference. Both will need a crane or disassembly for me to move.
    -Don't wish to afford the space for knee mill. 30mv is about 7 inches wider, I could afford that.
    -Want to work aluminum, and plus bascially everyone says get the variable speed.

    So if it were apples to apples, the comparison would be:

    PM727V (the upcoming variable speed model) at 1799 vs the PM30MV at 1899. Geez, 100 bucks is nothing here- obviously get the bigger mill!

    And also, if you look at the ad copy, they state:
    • More Information below under the DESCRIPTION Tab below – It is NOT just the same old model with just a belt drive upgrade – Be sure to compare carefully
    Well, here's the thing- I might be wrong, but from the pics I've seen and from emails from PM the new PM727V IS just the same mill as the M version, but with variable speed drive. I don't even think it gets belt conversion at all! (The pic shows the gearbox controls are still there. . .)

    So maybe running a gearbox really really fast isn't a good idea, and it's noisy! I love quiet machines, and in my expereince, they get used and enjoyed more.

    So now let me let the other shoe drop.


    The original deal was that I called looking for the PM727M, and also inquired if any "discount" machines are available, and indeed, they had one 727M that was a return, and was partially disassembled. PM offered the mill as is, for a substantial discount.

    It was what I wanted, and although the new PM727V was to come out this very week, it was over $600 more than my "discount" mill would be.

    At that price, it was attractive to buy it, put it back together, and use the savings to put on better motor and controller than what the factory version offered. That was my plan. No warranty, though.

    However, I'm starting to wonder if that deal will go through or if they've thought better of it.

    Futher, if my suspicion is correct and the PM727V actually retains the gearbox and runs it fast, then maybe an even-faster conversion is unwise, and will surely make the kind of noise I hate. . .

    So, if the cheap mill falls through or if I decide against it, then at full price, it's pretty obvious you go with the larger, belt driven mill.

    More money, yes, but better, quieter, mill, with warranty, less assembly required= shorter route to making chips!



    You Sir, may have just saved me from a grievous error. If the cheap mill is off the table, or even if it isn't, I'll probably be happier withthe larger mill.


    Yes, more money- but when I buy, the pain of letting the cash go is temporary and quickly forgotten. The pain of spending all your scrill and not getting what you want is long lived, and will confront you every time you turn the machine on or even look at it, ask me how I know this. . .

    Belt drive is a biggie

    Already ran 240v for my Unisaw

    Damn, I was really looking at using my savings to tool up, but this MKSJ character has me going back to the drawing board. . . off to really look close at PM30MV

    Dude, if you're a PM shill you're a great one. . . heh heh!
     
  4. Alan H

    Alan H United States H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Thanks for the clarification. If it's PM/QMT, no worries. They are outstanding for customer service.

    I have two machines and lots of tooling I bought from them. I can praise their service and will buy from them again if the need arises.
     
  5. JetMech

    JetMech United States Active Member Active Member

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    Variable is clearly the way to go. Full-on feature creep ensues.

    Heck, I'm talking about a PM30MV now, but disappointingly, top speed is only 2200 rpm. . . Maybe some custom pulleys would fix that. . .
     
  6. JetMech

    JetMech United States Active Member Active Member

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    Well, their slow response may have allowed me to be talked into a larger mill- score for them, I guess!
     
  7. Bob Korves

    Bob Korves H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I can well understand the issue of not having room for a bigger mill, but not the issue of having to lift it. An engine hoist can be rented, or borrowed from a friend or neighbor. A motorcycle lifting table would work as well. There are many other methods of lifting it. Hell, I could crib one up with lumber, 1 1/2" at a time if I had to. Once it is in place, it is in place. If moving it around is an issue, then mount it on casters from the beginning, but you are done with lifting it. I have a 13x40 lathe, a knee mill, and a 6x18 surface grinder, and do not even own a pickup or trailer or a tow hitch. I have friends who help me, and I help them as well... We recently moved Ulma Doctor's large treasure trove of machines, and the easiest machine to move was a ~4000-5000 pound CNC mill. Piece of cake... Lots of people move heavy machinery into basements having steep stairs with turns in them, and get them back out again when it is time to move, without any special purpose equipment. Do not be afraid of moving or lifting a machine, only with understanding and respecting the possible dangers and then mitigating them.
     
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  8. wrmiller

    wrmiller Chief Tinkerer H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Lots of good information here. The short answer is as stated above. Small cutters in aluminum = higher spindle rpm the better. If you occasionally work in steel, simply slow your rpm/feedrate and depth of cut. I had a early PM25 that I converted to belt drive (it was already variable speed), and it could cut anything within it's size envelope, including titanium and SS. BUT...as said above, you need to adjust your settings for any given cutter/material/setup. These machines will talk to you if you listen. They will tell you if they are not happy with your current selections. Sometimes quite loudly! :D

    IMO geared head machines are for slow(er), heavier cuts in steel. And for guys who want to use it as a overpriced drill press. But that's just an opinion, YMMV.
     
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  9. mksj

    mksj Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    The nice thing about variable speed is you can dial the speed to suit the material and cutting parameters. With aluminum, you also need some way to evacuate the chips and provide some form of coolant, or just some air and a can of WD40. There is a learning curve with different materials, so when using aluminum you want to do climb cutting to get the best finish and not regrind the chips.

    The top speed of 2200-2400 RPM is plenty, you only need higher speeds for smaller cutters at high feed rates, more CNC territory or very small cutters. More Hp = bigger end mills, faster feeds and quicker material removal. My gearhead mill went to 3000 RPM, never used it past around 2400 RPM. If I needed a lot of material removal I put in a 1/2" or 3/4" roughing end mill and the chips would fly, which will not be a problem with a 2Hp motor. At the end of the day having double the Hp will go a long way and make the mill much more usable over a wider speed range. As far as I am aware all these gear head mills, but the two speed VFD should have less gears whirling around. As other have mentioned, weight is usually a concern with your first mill, and then you realize that weight is your friend (rigidity) when it comes to mills and lathes. A 500lB machine should be very manageable, a good starting point and even if you just drill some holes with it and occasionally mill a part, a whole lot of fun.

    Well looked at the PM-30MV, the picture of the mill shows it as a belt drive and the RPM range of Low 50-1500 and High 1400-3000. So it does not match up with what is in the description. Definitely worth some questions when you connect with them. Otherwise the way to go over the vs. the PM927.
    http://www.precisionmatthews.com/shop/pm-30mv/
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2017
  10. JetMech

    JetMech United States Active Member Active Member

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    Sure, all true, and I've done similar stuff, such as getting my Unisaw out of the truck bed alone, done with ramps and cribbing and cleats that prevented runaway sliding.

    And If I did get a PM30MV, I'm not sure how much bigger/heavier a bench type mill could get!

    I just don't need or want bridgeport weight, and for me, I don't like to put myself in any situation I can't handle by myself. I do sort of foresee needing to buy the crane, or rent or borrow one. My main issue is I don't want to store it just to use it one time.

    I have considered putting an I beam with hoist in there to handle things like this.

    The real answer, Bob, is I've got to talk my wife into letting us move from the burbs, get my 1000 sq. ft. shop built, then I WILL fill it up with ridiculous, heavy old iron! I just need to move to where I will die first so my widow has to deal with it!
     
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  11. Bob Korves

    Bob Korves H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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  12. JetMech

    JetMech United States Active Member Active Member

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    Heh heh, I went over there to see the same thing. Looking hard at the PM30MV and liking it.

    But really, if you're getting into 1400 lbs of bench mill, and at that point you really might as well go full knee mill.

    I'm pretty satisfied the PM30MV will be a great "starter" mill for me, heh heh.
     
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  13. JetMech

    JetMech United States Active Member Active Member

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    Thanks for your input, reinforces everything that I'm coming to understand about the subject. It really sounds like I can't go wrong, and the differences are really just minor convenience issues.

    Of course, that hasn't stopped me from letting you guys fuel my feature creep, and now I'm looking at way more mill than I really anticipated.

    Great!
     
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  14. JetMech

    JetMech United States Active Member Active Member

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    Man, you are the "man." Unless you're a woman. And these days, I think there are a few more choices. . .

    J/K but I really do appreciate your input. I just put my wife nearly to sleep with a comparison of the two and the pros and cons. Not kidding.

    And it's true, I wasn't really looking at the PM30MV, but now that I am it leaves me wondering, what in the world is the purpose of introducing the PM 727V? It's a lot less mill at nearly the same price. . .
     
  15. Bob Korves

    Bob Korves H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Come to the BarZ Summer Bash and perhaps WIN a PM-30MV for the price of a single raffle ticket:
     
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  16. wrmiller

    wrmiller Chief Tinkerer H-M Supporter-Premium

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    FWIW, I really wanted the PM30 that Matt was carrying back in the Ziess(sp) days, but he sold the last one literally just before I called. And he didn't have the 940 back then either. I did have a all-black Charter Oak mill that I called El Hefe, and it was a beast. It could take any cut my 935 can, but I had to put some serious work into it to get it to that point, including re-machining and scraping pretty much everything. About a year's worth IIRC. Not something I'd recommend to the casual home/hobby machinist.

    Oh, and this forum and the guys who hang out here are more than happy to help you spend WAY more than you ever intended to. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. :D
     
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  17. Bob Korves

    Bob Korves H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    JetMech, if I win the PM-30MV I will give you first chance at it...
     
  18. JetMech

    JetMech United States Active Member Active Member

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    That's cool, but I don't have that kind of luck. . .

    Where is that being held?
     
  19. JetMech

    JetMech United States Active Member Active Member

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    Oh sure, I"m sure you guys will recommend all sorts of goodies, I know that I will spend the mills price again at least on tooling. I already have a few basics, but man there are some neat toys out there.

    I do think that buying an essentially ready-to-go machine will be agood start for me at my experience level. But then there is z-axis power, x axis power, DRO, all kinds of good stuff to get int he future, along with the never-ending catalog of tooling temptations. . .

    And then I want to jettison my HF lathe for the PM1030V, that is until you guys convince me I really need a 14x40. . .
     
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  20. wrmiller

    wrmiller Chief Tinkerer H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Naw...I may 'suggest' a 1340GT. But I will admit to being a bit biased as I do have one. And love it. :)
     
  21. Bob Korves

    Bob Korves H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Rancho Cucamonga, Los Angeles area, Saturday, June 24th, 8:00-5:00. That was only a tiny portion of the raffle and door prizes being given away there. It is pretty hard not to win something, and you get a nice goody bag just for attending. This will be my third year, now attending the third annual Bash. Most fun a machinist can have with his clothes on. Oh, wait, there is also a ool there, but no skinny dipping... Stan says there is no "P" in pool... There may still be a couple openings to attend, there will be about 300 machinists there, swap meet, demonstrations, contests, vendors, about 20 YouTube machining video creators, and a great lunch is included. $30. This is at Stan's home/shop.
     
  22. brino

    brino Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    ....and are they offering discount international flights?
    (with return air freight for my prize)
    -brino
     
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  23. Reeltor

    Reeltor United States Active User Active Member

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    Your comment above that the PM30MV will be a great STARTER mill is a red flag to me. If there is any concern at all, in the back of your mind that you will need to upgrade to a "full knee mill"( if there is any way to swing the additional cost financially) then do it now. Buy once and it only hurts once, buy now and then upgrade and take a hit on selling the bench mill, to me is a more expensive way to go.

    What is the old saying? In for a penny in for a pound? Either way you go, you will get a fine machine, personally, I would stay away from a return/no warranty partly assembled unit. You never know what the original owner did to it ---fried the electronics comes to mind.

    good luck and have fun with your new machine
     
  24. Bob Korves

    Bob Korves H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Or, simply do not buy new machines. If you are any kind of a horse trader, you can sell a used machine, that was purchased used, for at least as much as you have into it. Then an upgrade is all upgrade cost, not a loss as well as an upgrade. I refuse to take the large depreciation cost of buying new machines. Others simply do not want other people's used stuff and are willing to pay extra for it. Whatever works...
     
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  25. JetMech

    JetMech United States Active Member Active Member

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    I'll upgrade the lathe later, since I already have one. Don't worry, I know the value of the larger weight and size, but I will probably stick smaller than that. I've turned down a LeBlond (the one in my pic) at a very low price, because of the difficultyof moving it. Dude just kept going lower and lower, trying to get me to solve his problem of getting rid of it. . .

    The PM 1340gt is really nice. . .
     
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  26. JetMech

    JetMech United States Active Member Active Member

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    That sounds really awesome, and I guess I'm a little closer than the guy inthe next post, but I have the same question- when I win the mill, how do I get it home?

    Just for kicks, I wonder what UPS would quote on a 600 lb box. . .
     
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  27. JetMech

    JetMech United States Active Member Active Member

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    HA! It worked, I knew that would spool someone up. . .

    What you guys need to know is I started shopping last year, looking at mini-mills, and now I'm looking at the second heaviest bench mill available! (From PM)

    There will always be a guy that says, the "next one up" but I've already taken that advice a few times in a row!

    That bench mill is way MORE than I need. I'm a casual, lazy hobbyist so it's never going to see production work.

    I do unsderstand about buying once, but it's not a great concern to me, since I do not wish to house or move a knee mill, yet. I will do so when i get a larger shop. So to have a mill now means to do this, and it's just a toy for me.

    I will enjoy the thing every time I use it, thinking of the mini mill and how this is better. If I do need the capability of a knee mill, I can take that operation to work and run it on our brand new Sharp $30,000 mill at work.

    And when I do finally buy that knee mill, who says I'd sell this one?


    On another note, I am taking the advice here to skip the other mill, primarily due to it's gear drive but also warranty, assembly issues. It is from PM, though. . .

    By the way, I'm not intersted in that mill but if anyone else is, then Matt at PM has a partially disassembled PM727M that was a return, Matt says it will work fine.

    If you are intersted, call and ask about it, and he may offer youthe substantial discount he offered me. Could be areal score for the person who wants that model.
     
  28. Alan H

    Alan H United States H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    JetMech,
    Have you searched for used machines in your area?

    I searched for used machines in my area for years. They are scarce and overpriced. When you do find them, they are typically worn slap out and candidates for the furnace at the scrap fed steel mill. I finally gave up and bought new and am glad that I did. I had an older worn out machine for years and the upgrade has been fantastic.

    Is Kansas City rich enough in content of used stuff to make the hunt worthwhile?
     
  29. JetMech

    JetMech United States Active Member Active Member

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    Heh heh, the old 'arn curmudgeons have already enticed me into their ranks. I shopped large table saws for a while, and was about settled on a 120v hybrid model, but guys like you convinced me the old Unisaw off Craigslist was the better saw, and cheaper. Just have to deal with 240v and the weight, which is of course an advantage once in place.

    Well, after watching the list for a while, I despaired of one ever coming up. I use the Kansas City CL and it's got lots of traffic, but not like LA. Well, one finally came up and I went an hour away to see it. It was very old, but in good shape, with an 8' genuine Biesemeyer fence and huge outfeed table to suit, it had come out of a cabinet shop.

    Well, it wasn't exactly what I was looking for, and it was a tad above my price, so I made an offer of 75% that was rejected. I left my number, and a month later he called back, up against his deployment, no where to store it and on the way to Afghanistan. I hated that it went down like that, but on the other hand it was take my money or take nothing and abandon it, so I did him a favor really.

    I took it home, wired it up, and loosely bolted the fence on, put a craptastic blade on it and made some cuts. Damn, that thing cuts better than any saw I'd ever had! Once it was bolted up and tuned, it cuts like buddah, with glue line rips. Awesome.

    Serial # research indicated it was a 1938 model, nearly twice my own age! (I'm catching up to it though. . .)

    So I got a great saw at a killer price and could no doubt sellit for more than I paid, so I believe youon your advice. . .

    I already got the old 'arn bug.

    I'll get the BP someday, when I have more room. And have the experience to evaluate one. Unlike Unisaws, those are onCL all day long.
     
  30. JetMech

    JetMech United States Active Member Active Member

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    Heh, I was going to get into this on the last post a bit, but didn't want to appear argumentative. I appreciate everything I'm hearing here, and agree with 99%.

    As far as KC CL goes, it's ok. It's a big city, but not a very vital one.

    My Unisaw story above is the barn find, true, but it's rare. I watched Unisaws for a while and when they (rarley) did come up, they were worn out junk at premium prices. Everything is like that, especially lathes. I basically went and looked at every Logan, SB, craftsman, that LeBlond, many others. Everyone wanted a grand for their clapped out, converted from spindle-shaft drive 40's SB or they wanted 2 grand for their clapped out, questionably repainted Logan. All of it was like that.

    I ended up buying a used HF 8x16 for about half of new price, or $500, but it came with many extras such as the milling attachment (which is "desirable" but useless) BUT the dude was fire-saling stuff that didn't really belong to him so I talked him into throwing in ALL of their tooling, if I bumped it to $550.

    That tooling was over $500 worth of sandvik holders and inserts. . . So for $550 I came home with well over $1500 worth of stuff, it's served me well and I'll sell that lathe, in miuch better shape, to someone for at least that much, while keeping the nicest tooling!


    But man, I'm with you- looking for machines around here is crapshoot, might get lucky but it will take time, effort, and some failures to get great deals that way. If I bought an old BP I wouldn't really know what to look for. Same dude from above tried to sell me his for 5 grand. . .
     

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