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Need "pre-purchase" Info Quickly, Please.

azscooby

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#1
I've been looking for a small millfor my home shop and stumbled across this one.

https://phoenix.craigslist.org/evl/tls/5905160921.html

He's firm at $850. No tooling, says it "works fine". He's a machinist (or at least works at a shop) and the fact he didn't say it had any problems concerns me. EVERY machine has problems, or issues to be dealt with, especially one of this vintage.

For this area it's very difficult to find machinery and it's very expensive. So please don't say my Atlas 12x36 should only be worth $200 with no tooling.....I got it for $400 and he had two other guys
literally (yes, the real meaning of literally) waiting for me to look at it first.....he could have sold it for $800. Broken lathes with incomplete gear sets and little to no tooling go for $600. It's crazy when I see you guys post your opinion "how much it's worth" but then I see your location and it makes sense. I guess "location, location, location" can apply to more than real estate.

The mill in question doesn't come with any tooling and I know that can get expensive quickly, for lathes at least.

My $400 Atlas lathe had little to no tooling and I quickly put another $500 into it and still don't even have a steady rest. Missing change gears ($280 for replacements to get a full set, $200 QCTP...etc.)

But I do like the idea of a nice powerful machine vs. a smaller bench top import.

Any ideas on that machine? Is that an ok deal? I know it's a reputable brand and have read very good reviews of it, different than my Atlas (which is quickly frustrating me.)

Things to look for?

I'm going to take a look at it this weekend.

Mills this size don't come up very often. It's usually $4k+ shop machines, very few hobby sized equipment. I guess when the snowbirds come from the rust belt they leave their heavy iron behind?

Thanks for any info,
Brian
 

wawoodman

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#2
I think the thing to keep in mind is, it isn't a Bridgeport! As long as you stay within the operating envelope of the machine, it should be fine.

Check the spindle for bearing noises, and the table for smooth operation in all directions. Beyond that, it comes down to: are you willing to spend that much for it. As long as your kids won't miss any meals, I'd say go for it!
 

Whyemier

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#3
You'd probably have to pay near that for a good used bench mill. That being a knee mill and having some collets (?R8?) and hold down clamps (Per his description) says something. You won't have to wait to start using it. Looks like the left hand crank is missing, if there ever was one for that machine, or at least it is not attached. If it uses R8 collets a set is fairly cheap if you accept Chinese tooling. Same thing can be said for end mills. You can always save up for better ones but won't have to wait for that time to use the mill. A good vise of 'any' size would be nice too. I'd look for a power feed for the table also, just my thoughts on the matter.

Went and checked this site; http://www.lathes.co.uk/duro/ , looks like it didn't come with a left hand crank. Also would have hand a belt gaurd. But still a nice machine.

And it appears I may be wrong and it is a bench mill. Hmmmm?
 
Last edited:

azscooby

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#4
Can one of you guys explain the difference between a knee mill and a bench mill?

I understand bench mill and bench lath, for example, generally refer to smaller "bench" sized machines, but my google search to discover the difference was mostly unproductive.

Going to take a look at it this weekend.

I understand for it's size it has its limitations, but from reading hat guys that have them say, it sounds like a quite capable uni, especially compared to the HF units.

My needs are hobbyist's needs, not production.
 

Whyemier

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#5
From my understanding your looking at a Knee/Bench mill. I've always understood the knee mills have the crank that lifts the table (with a projecting knee below supporting) where as the bench mills tend to lower and raise the head of the mill. If I'm incorrect I would appreciate someone with more understanding to correct my thinking.

I like that it has dovetail rails also.
 

jtrain

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#6
I have a Benchmaster mill like that one, it uses MT2 collets and am very satisfied with it. I had mine apart and repacked the bearings. It has a 1/2 hp motor. The price is about double what I paid for my bare machine ,no collets, vice or hold down clamps, but I know I got a real good deal.
 

azscooby

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#7
Thanks again guys for th info.

Going to look at it at noon (Saturday) and it may work out because the guy is interested in a firearm I've had for sale.

He said he'd include a machinist vise and a rotary table for the trade (I was asking about $1100 for the item.). So that wI'm you'd also keep my funds free to purchase any other items it may need.

I wish I had done this before buying my Atlas 12x36....I would not have purchased it. I've put probably $500 into it and it still doesn't cut any better (more chatter same power) as my HF 7x14 mini lathe.

I was just looking out for a "oh, no way, those suck!" Type of comments.

Here's what the guys says it has..4 collets, 3/16, 3/8, 2x 1/2's...couple of 3/8's end mills and 3 fly cutters in addition to the "machinist vise" and an unknown rotary table...

I'll know more tomorrow.
 

azscooby

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#8
It's mine!!!

I did ok...really ok...and I was able to trade an AR-15 that I was trying to sell for a straight across deal, so that was really nice. That means I can use some of that unspent cash to tool up.

This thing is on fantastic shape! The tables move incredibly smooth and tight and it's extremely quiet with no noise and vibration.

He threw in a Rutland Company tool grinder that is really nice.

I'll post back later with pics and a complete inventory of what I got..

The only downside is a missing Pulley cover, which is nothing but aesthetics, but it sure looks nice....what are the chances of finding one of those?....

Chistmas is here!
 

brino

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#9
Congratulations on the new machines!

Yes please do post pictures when you can.

-brino
 

Eddyde

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#11
I wish I had done this before buying my Atlas 12x36....I would not have purchased it. I've put probably $500 into it and it still doesn't cut any better (more chatter same power) as my HF 7x14 mini lathe.

I was just looking out for a "oh, no way, those suck!" Type of comments.
Hum... wonder whats up with the excessive chatter on your lathe. Have you adjusted the gibbs? Also check the spindle bearings.

You wont get many putdown comments here, it's a friendly site!
 

ndnchf

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#12
I was wondering about the chatter comment too. My 12x24 Atlas had a similar issue a few years ago. But I adjusted all the gibs and that solved the problem. Mine cuts very nicely now.
 

azscooby

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#13
I'll get photos up for sure...my eagerness got the best of me and I started tearing it down for a thorough cleaning before I took any photos.

First thing I noticed was that is was very dirty, but relatively unused with very little sign of wear. Pulled the spindle out and the bearings wear packed with a thick gummy grease....but once cleaned they appear to be in good condition. When I had him run it before I bought it it ran smooth and very quiet. Bearing date of 1946, two years older than my Atlas.

When I get a chance I'll take some photos and post for sure. It was really dirty but is cleaning up very nicely.

On the chatter....ughhh....I've tightened down the gibs so tight they don't move and the compound still appears to rock, I can see movement...so something's not square. I've read about that issue before. I'll get more info shortly.

I do need to replace at least one bearing, 1606 bearing number (3/8 ID 29/32 OD ) I had to order it online as I couldn't find it lo ally. Anyone know where to buy bearings locally? The auto parts store was unsuccesful.

Pics incoming!
 

azscooby

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#15
Anyone have a pulley cover for sale? Bummer it didn't have one because I'm guessing it will be impossible to find. I would like it simply for completeness.

Still amazed at how quiet and smooth it runs. The bearings don't appear to have any significant wear but I am going to replace the "cups" with oil seals.


What should I use for lube for the bearings?
Thanks guys for all the info!
 

azscooby

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#17
Emailed the guy who made them but looks like all were spoken for. Oh well, I'll just keep looking.
 

Eddyde

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#18
An eBay search "Drill Press Belt Guard" shows a bunch of guards that look like they could be easily adapted to fit on that mill. I would put something there before using, Im not a fan of exposed belting.
 

bl00

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#20
Emailed the guy who made them but looks like all were spoken for. Oh well, I'll just keep looking.
You could contact this guy and see if he'll mail it to you. I spoke with him a couple months ago. He sold a Benchmaster, but the buyer forgot to take the pulley cover. He ran craigslist ads for several months asking the buyer to contact him, so I guess the guy never responded.
https://philadelphia.craigslist.org/tls/5921779564.html
 

azscooby

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#22
Just wanted to thank bl00 above for the tip on the CL ad. I emailed him and I was able to purchase the pulley guard for about $70 shipped! So pretty happy with that.

It's interesting to see that these must have been made specifially for each machine as I had to do a little modfication to get the pulley guard to fit, including grinding down the casting near the top where it makes contact with the spindle area.
 
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