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Discussion Starter #1
In about a month I will be purchasing my first mill. I want to get into custom work. What are some of the attachments/bits I need to get? Please include the purpose of any parts you list (sight channels, checkering, etc...) thanks!
 

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As a journeyman machinist for the last 25 years this is a very hard list to put in a post on a forum, the options are almost endless! I’ve got two large 40” Kennedy boxes at work full of mill tooling!
My suggestion is get basic set of mills and holders and start there. Figure out each thing you want to do and then ask for suggestions based on specific tasks.
 

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I'd start with a good vise that has hard and soft jaws, drill chuck, parallels, 1-2-3 blocks, collet set, drill set, basic end mills 1/4, 3/8, & 1/2". You'll need to look at Brownells for fixtures depending on what you're planning on doing unless you have the ability to make them yourself. As far as specialty tooling goes I think for the most part it's too expensive to buy it on an if come. Cross that bridge when you get to it.
 

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Buy as needed. Sounds a bit overly simplified, but I have wasted money on things I thought would be needed and quickly realized that they were not.

What mill are you purchasing?
 

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JandL,

If I may make a suggestion, perhaps rethink your mini mill purchase. Truth be told I tried the same thing, sadly they are just not up to the task. They are not heavy enough, they come with the wrong spindle, the table is very small and not very true. The head is too short with not enough vertical travel available etc etc. Do what you want, but I think you'll find you'll be spending the same money twice. Unfortunately that looks like what I'm going to be doing. Just my .02. Trying to save you the trouble. Either way, good luck.
 

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I have many leather bound books
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Discussion Starter #7
JandL,

If I may make a suggestion, perhaps rethink your mini mill purchase. Truth be told I tried the same thing, sadly they are just not up to the task. They are not heavy enough, they come with the wrong spindle, the table is very small and not very true. The head is too short with not enough vertical travel available etc etc. Do what you want, but I think you'll find you'll be spending the same money twice. Unfortunately that looks like what I'm going to be doing. Just my .02. Trying to save you the trouble. Either way, good luck.
Do you have any particular ones you recommend?
 

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Well it's not just "that" mini mill, it's all of them that suffer from the same issues. Reality is, to do the work properly you need a real mill. A knee mill will suffice and mills can be had around $2000 or so. I had what I believe to be the same thought that you do, "It'll get me by, I'm just doing some small things, just getting started, etc." However I think you'll find it's inadequate. I have seen on YouTube where a guy spent some more money to upgrade it with the proper spindle and changing the plastic gears out for a belt driven system but even after that he's still limited by the table size and vertical height. Additionally the cost would be about the same as the mill bringing you into the $1000-$1200 range almost halfway to a "real" mill. Hate to see you spend the same money twice.
 

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I have many leather bound books
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Discussion Starter #9
Well it's not just "that" mini mill, it's all of them that suffer from the same issues. Reality is, to do the work properly you need a real mill. A knee mill will suffice and mills can be had around $2000 or so. I had what I believe to be the same thought that you do, "It'll get me by, I'm just doing some small things, just getting started, etc." However I think you'll find it's inadequate. I have seen on YouTube where a guy spent some more money to upgrade it with the proper spindle and changing the plastic gears out for a belt driven system but even after that he's still limited by the table size and vertical height. Additionally the cost would be about the same as the mill bringing you into the $1000-$1200 range almost halfway to a "real" mill. Hate to see you spend the same money twice.
Thanks Ill definitely consider that. I guess the other part of that coin is I have 1.75K to spend in total and I was hoping to be able to get a lathe as well. Do you know the use of a lathe I would get if I already have a mill? I have never really understood what a lathe is used for but depending on its use I could wait and put the extra money on the mill.
 

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I found a Enco Mill Drill and 12x36 lathe on Craigslist for $1400. It cost me another $200 for the muscle to get it out of the basement. It was not easy to do to say the least. It’s the older Taiwanese machines not the newer Chinese. The mill is plenty of machine for gun work.


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I have many leather bound books
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Discussion Starter #12
Foc
I think it depends a little. Are you just going to do 1911 work or all around gunsmithing?
I want to be focused on 1911 but do all around gunsmithing to an extent
 

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I have many leather bound books
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Discussion Starter #13
I found a Enco Mill Drill and 12x36 lathe on Craigslist for $1400. It cost me another $200 for the muscle to get it out of the basement. It was not easy to do to say the least. It’s the older Taiwanese machines not the newer Chinese. The mill is plenty of machine for gun work.


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thats a good idea I hadn’t thought about craigslist or classifieds
 

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Rigidity in fixturing is important when milling, I would also say that avoiding a mini mill is probably best—but I'm no expert. Also, I agree with 'buying as you need' mentioned above. It's easy to go overboard.

R8 collets of course! MSC has decent sales sometimes—shop around!
 

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As a bonus this deal came with a ton of tooling. It was the main reason I bought it because it was really difficult to get this stuff out of the basement. I also have a round ram Bridgeport but I gravitate to the Mill Drill most of the time because it's easier to work with and I can see the work better on the smaller mill.
MillDrill.jpg
lathe.jpg
 
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