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machinists / metal workers . . .

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by =mike=, Apr 15, 2005.

  1. =mike=
    Joined: Mar 5, 2001
    Posts: 820

    =mike=
    Member

    So I went to Harbor Freight and got this little milling machine .
    [​IMG]
    it is pretty rinky dinky but for what I need it to do , I think it will be fine . I will be using it to cut out parts for tattoo machines & other little jobs . Here is what I need to know . How deep into the metal can you go with the mill ends . . . not very deep I imagine ? Also I need a new mill vise , the one I got from H.F. is total shit and wouldn't hold a ruller straight . I found a few on ebay but I don't know how good those are for $15 & but I don't want to spend $200 on one either . Any tricks or tips on running a little mill like this to keep it from tearing itself apart ? Ay other goodies anyone could think of I might want to get to make my milling experiance more enjoyable ?
     
  2. sawzall
    Joined: Jul 15, 2002
    Posts: 4,724

    sawzall
    Member


    mike

    the question your asking is about cutting rate..

    THis is my general rule (in my high school metal shop program) ...

    typically the depth of cut can only be the same as 1/2 the diameter of the cutting tool. So if your using a 1/4 inch dia 2 flute end mill the MAX depth of cut you can take is 1/8th inch..

    I am guessing that this little machine you bought is PRohably UNDERPOWERED.. so this estimate may be generous.. but that will get you in the ballpark

    good luck
    sawzall
     
  3. As far as milling you can go as deep as the flutes will let you. You may have to do several passes on what you are cutting. For how much you can cut per pass depends on what dia. the mill is and what material you are cutting. Use cutting fluid to prolong the life of your tooling. At work I do prototype stuff with steel, aluminum and plastics so my set-ups are always changing. Once you get used to milling you will be able to make all kinds of cool stuff rather then buying it from someone else.
     
  4. Sinner
    Joined: Nov 5, 2001
    Posts: 191

    Sinner
    Member

    And don't use an end mill in the drill chuck.
    It won't stay in and it will ruin the chuck.
    Use an end mill holder or a collet.
     

  5. Deuce Rails
    Joined: Feb 1, 2002
    Posts: 2,016

    Deuce Rails
    Member

    I have the Micro-Mark version of the same mill. (The nice thing about the Micro-Mark one is that one revolution of each handle moves the table 0.050", instead of whatever 2mm equals in inches.)

    You'll quickly get a sense of when you're asking the thing to cut too much, or too fast. I'd simply get started on some scrap pieces.

    www.littlemachineshop.com is an excellent source of accessories or replacement parts for these mills. They have all sorts of vises, all at reasonable prices and high quality.

    --Matt
     
  6. Rocket Scientist Chris
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 545

    Rocket Scientist Chris
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Check out Little Machine Shop. They sell everything you'll need for mini mills (micro mills like yours, too) and mini lathes. There's alot of good info, too! :)

    I have the Harbor Freight mini mill. It's a little bigger than your mill. It does a nice job, but it's not happy taking very deep cuts. In fact, I pretty much stay in the 1/8 inch range and make multiple passes. Don't even think of climb milling (cutting in the direction of tool rotation)! I made that mistake once and knocked my column out of alignment. Atleast my part and end mill didn't get damaged! :( As hefty as these little machines are, they don't have the rigidity of a larger tool. Once you've used your machine, you'll get a feel for what it can and cannot do. :)
     
  7. How deep a pass you make with your mill depends on tool speed and size and material.

    If you're just makeing a hole you can plunge all the way through just like a drill bit.

    Cut your tool size in half for a starting place. IE a 1/8 end mill is .125 so your cut shouldn't be more that .0625. and don't crowd it until you get a feel for it.

    Once you get a feel for it you will know how deep and how fast you can cut. but that should keep you from destroying too many tools to start.

    Does that make sense?
     
  8. Rocket Scientist Chris
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 545

    Rocket Scientist Chris
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Yes! It does! :) I guess I should have specified the tool size I was using the most (1/4 inch at the time). My mill has an R8 spindle, so it'll take any R8 collet a big Bridgport takes. I have used as large as a 1/2 inch end mill, but only take less that 1/8 inch deep cuts with it. I take even smaller cuts with my radius mills. The mini mill doesn't have the power for deep passes. :(

    I've had my mini mill for almost a yeart now and I'm still learning new stuff! I'm getting a mini lathe soon, too! :)
     
  9. torpedo8
    Joined: Mar 4, 2005
    Posts: 74

    torpedo8
    BANNED
    from hell

    i bought a mini bench top lathe a couple years back, just to mess around on.
    and i wish to god that i woulda saved my coin a bit longer and got a bigger lathe!!
    sure it works fine for small shit, but it sucks trying to drill a 1/2" hole in 3/4" bar stock!

    if you think that "this small lathe is good enough for what i do", trust me and get a lathe thats a lill bigger. You wont regret it!
     
  10. Rocket Scientist Chris
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 545

    Rocket Scientist Chris
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I really wish I had the room for a bigger lathe (and a full sized mill!). But, I'm still in the learning process. The tooling I'm buying to support my mini machines can easily be used on something bigger some day in the future. I'm fortunate to have a friend with a much bigger (seems like it's about a 12 inch swing) lathe. So, when I feel comfortable enough with running a lathe and need something bigger done, I can always use his lathe. :)
    The mini machines seem like very capable machines within their limits and good learning tools. Good "stepping stones" without a huge cash (or space!) commitment. :D
     
  11. =mike=
    Joined: Mar 5, 2001
    Posts: 820

    =mike=
    Member

    OKAY , so I spent most of the day in the garage ruining various bits of metal , including a few of my mill ends unfortunatley :) no fluid , will WD-40 do the same thing . . . I imagine anything is better than nothing ? This thing is pretty neat overall . The next siize up was $200 more and not in my budget right now . If I actually start doing some nice stuff with this little guy and feel like I need to upgrade , atleast I will know what I am doing .

    That site rules BTW . . . man I need to learn a whole new language concerning all the tool names & tearms . Anyhow , thanks for all the good advice , common sense most of it I guess as far as cutting passes & depth & stuff . Sometimes common sense isn't so common though ! If I make anything that looks like anything worth looking at I will post some pictures . Thanks again .
     
  12. No DW40 will not do. Try a little motor oil if that's all you can come up with, even 3 in 1 oil is better than DW40. The idea is to cool your tool.:D

    Edit: WD40 doh, I'm an idiot.
     
  13. Hotrob
    Joined: Mar 23, 2005
    Posts: 589

    Hotrob
    Member
    from DFW, TX

    =MIKE=That seems like a pretty nifty little tool I bet I could use one like that around my shop. What did you have to pay for it?
     
  14. krooser
    Joined: Jul 25, 2004
    Posts: 4,583

    krooser
    Member

    Here's my $400.00 mill...looks a little better since I cleaned it up....
     
  15. =mike=
    Joined: Mar 5, 2001
    Posts: 820

    =mike=
    Member

    Pork-n-Beaner , thanks man . I will use a little motor oil till I can go out and get some tooling oil .

    Hotrob , all said , it was about $450 for everything . That was the mill , a table vise ( paperweight ) , a box set of 10 various end mills , 2 end mill adaptors , and a one year warantee . It's really pretty neat .
     
  16. =mike=
    Joined: Mar 5, 2001
    Posts: 820

    =mike=
    Member

    Hey man I'm making little tidbits , not parts for Nasa ! That thing is bitchen though . They didn't have any one ton $400 mills when I was there yesterday :p
     
  17. Hotrob
    Joined: Mar 23, 2005
    Posts: 589

    Hotrob
    Member
    from DFW, TX

    =Mike=

    Have you used it yet?
    If so how does it seem to perform?
    I do a lot of Flat track racing and I want to start milling my own Sportster Heads.
     
  18. =mike=
    Joined: Mar 5, 2001
    Posts: 820

    =mike=
    Member

    So far , with the limited knowledge I have and the few things I hafe tried to do , I like it alot . It's easy to use and has the abbility to attach pretty large end mills . I think you could probably do a motorcycle head on it . If you are able to afford the next one up , $500 , it might be worth it . The stand tilts the head so you can get diagonal on your work . I don't know if that would make a difference , but it could be useful . Also , it has a little larger motor I think . . . if you are going to be actually making the heads from a billet , you might want a more substantial machine ?
     
  19. Hotrob
    Joined: Mar 23, 2005
    Posts: 589

    Hotrob
    Member
    from DFW, TX

    =Mike=

    I just want to shave the heads to up the compression. Building heads from scratch is way beyond my ability. I appreciate the vote of confidence though. Thanks for the input. I will let you have the thread back now. sorry for the distraction.
     
  20. torpedo8
    Joined: Mar 4, 2005
    Posts: 74

    torpedo8
    BANNED
    from hell


    tidbits hua? check out these parts i make! 3 universal grinders, 3 surface grinders, 3 centerless grinders, and a cnc gang lathe with NSK live tooling and diamond wheels

    yes, thats a nickel
    [​IMG]
     
  21. =mike=
    Joined: Mar 5, 2001
    Posts: 820

    =mike=
    Member


    in that case , it could probably do the trick for you . just use the largest end mill you could stuff up in there and go to town !

    Torpedo8 , that tall thingie there looks like some sort of jet for a carbeurator . . . ?
     
  22. Aren't the Harley heads counterbored to fit over the barrels,
    just like the old aircooled Vws ?

    In which case,your not going to be able do the job properly with a end mill,
    on a manual milling machine.



     
  23. Good to hear that your getting your feet wet with the new toy. This is just something to consider for just getting into milling. I was flippin' through a production tool catalog the other day and I saw a tool calculator. Basicly you punch in the tooling that you are useing and it calculates your suggested spindle speeds for you. It might help ya out until you get use to the proper speeds to get the most out of your tooling. I haven't been by the store to check it out yet. It was advertised for $50. Just a thought. :rolleyes:
     
  24. krooser
    Joined: Jul 25, 2004
    Posts: 4,583

    krooser
    Member

    Ton and a half.....
     
  25. Leadsled51
    Joined: Dec 21, 2001
    Posts: 333

    Leadsled51
    Member

    Couple of thoughts......Be very careful of using WD-40 to cool / lubricate anything but aluminum, the fumes-can catch fire (I think an episode of Southern Steel, they were turning something and a huge fireball erupted). Those charts used for cutting and turning are for starting points only. Ridgidity of machine, how long the cutting tool is, how many flutes are on the cutter, are just some of the factors involved. Be very careful about using the cheaper machines to do things such as milling heads. If the cutting head is not trammed in (cutting tool parallel to the table on the machine), as you move the cutter, it will cut grooves in the part you are machining. Also, make sure if you plunge straight down, you are using a center cutting mill. Some end mills have a hole in the center of the cutter, and are not designed to plunge into the metal. Good luck.
     
  26. PorknBeaner is right about using what you have on hand until you can get some "Official" cutting fluid.

    Fluid for steel can be found a lot of places.

    I've found that WD40 is an excellent fluid for machining aluminum.
    Drilling, tapping or turning. (And recognized as such by the participants of a couple of machinist boards I frequent.)

    Buy yourself a quart or gallon can, a WD40 sprayer if you wish although I just pour some WD40 into a clean tuna can and apply with a new/clean acid brush.

    Visit a machinist's forum as well.
    There are a lot of pro's on there, some of them using CNC and others doing some very precise work with sometimes exotic metals on machinery like you'd find in a home garage or shop.
    There are a lot of amateurs on there as well and the experienced guys and gals are very gracious in answering questions the newbies post. Lurk a bit till you see how it goes.

    My favorite: http://www.practicalmachinist.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=forum;f=1

    Running a close second: http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/ubbs/forumdisplay.cgi?action=topics&forum=General&number=1&DaysPrune=45&LastLogin=

    Make a point to visit the other forums within each site.
    Practical Machinist has a very interesting historical forum as well as a gunsmithing forum that - whether you like guns or not - is loaded with interesting machining techniques and information.
     
  27. if you're doing nothing but light cuts you can and should be able to get by w/out coolant ,specially on aluminum, and use compressed air. when I learned this trade in the "NAVY" we hardly ever used coolant as that was just another hasssle on board ship. If you can get the chips out and off the part as you cut most of the heat leaves with it and the tool stays cool prolonging tool life.

    I don't understand that half the diameter cut depth rule. Maybe in a school enviroment and costs of tooling and their replacement is a big issue. the biggest issues you'll have are horsepower and rigidity [this is starting to sound like a Tijuana nightclub act]. As you play and learn more you will find the design limitations of your machine. And you will undoubtedly bust a few cutters doing that so don't stick your face 6 inches away from the cutter. and always wear safety glasses.

    I've run my fair share of large and small production equipment and quite a variety of metals working for the world's #2 airplane manufacturer and "burying cutters" is an everyday occurence. 20 years ago used to run a 6 spindle 60 horse per spindle CNC and we regularly buried into titanium 8in long 3in diameter hoggers to rough out the part profile and pockets. But that machine was/is bigger than most houses.

    Visit the websites C9 recommended and ask questions here also, there are lots of machinists here, we maybe able to help. Don't buy a $50 feed and speed calculator, ask your tool supplier for a simple slide rule style calculator.And remember all those figures are based on ideal conditions which you may never be able to duplicate anywhere but in an R and D lab.

    good luck and let the chips fly
     
  28. Hotrob
    Joined: Mar 23, 2005
    Posts: 589

    Hotrob
    Member
    from DFW, TX


    Thats exactly right they have a recess of counter bore. Thats why I figured an end mill as opposed to a planer type mill.

    I have never done any type of machine work like that before so this is all academic untill I get some more schooling on the subject.
     
  29. I think you will find Harley heads are usually counterbored on a Lathe.
    Much easier,and you'll get a better seal.

    The hard part is making a fixture to hold the head.

    Some jobs are better off handled by experienced professionals,
    even if it costs a little more.








     

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