I've been using a small Sherline mill (made in USA) for around 15 years. Check em out.
I was thinking of buying a small milling machine to help me cut parts and whatnot, can anyone recommend a decent quality company or specific machine i should look into? if i can swing it i would love to get into a personal size CNC to give me a new hobby to aggravate myself, but i dont even know where to start looking.
I like the Sherline I have; its been in use ten years.
The Sherlines are great. They can't do heavy work, but for precision work on small pieces they are excellent.
Stay away from the round column mill/drills. Round column machines are an absolute PITA to set up. If it turns out you need to go a little bit above or below the spindle travel, you're screwed because you have to re-center the whole set up when you move the head.
I wouldn't get the Harbor Freight/Grizzly mini mill that has a tilting square column either, since it lacks some stiffness, but it is better than a round column.
Also, I cannot recommend any lathe/mill combo machine for the same reasons.
Any of the square column mills are excellent once you give them a fluff & buff and get them trammed.
This one looks good for a person needing a heavier machine than a Sherline.
I got the little machine shop solid column mini-mill. I'm pretty happy with it, it works pretty good as a more precise drill press and I've used it for milling the relief on titanium folder frames. It seems to work good, though I don't have any experience with larger mills. Now that I have it I kinda wish I saved up for a full CNC Taig mill.
thanks guys... i'll give them a look
I have a Sherline as well and am very pleased with it for knifemaking. If you are looking to machine larger items go larger if you are looking for a mill for knifemaking the Sherlines are very nicely made. -Burton
Is the Sherline sufficient for cutting nail nicks on slipjoints, even if you opt for cutting them with a flycutter over a dovetail cutter? Or would that overwork the machine?
I know a lot of slipjoint makers have really large mills, but it seems like some space could be saved on a smaller mill if you can use it for cutting nail nicks and relieving liners.
A lot of guys looking at the Small Machine Shop ("SMS") and Sherlines that wound up buying the Grizzly G0704 based on others' suggestions are very happy they did so. Take a look at Grizzly's G0704. I went thru this whole "first mill, what to buy?" thing and my head almost popped from all the reading and comparing I did. BTW, I'm not associated with Grizzly in any way. I decided on the G0704 but literally the day before I was to go get it I found a small knee mill locally for sale on Ebay. I made the seller an offer and since then I've been very happy with my Johansson mill (precursor to Atlas 8520). The 704's only about $200 more than the SMS mill and I think you get more for your $.
BTW, if Don has used a Sherline for that long I would say that is as good an endorsement as any.
BTW, you're making some good lookin folders!
I would definitely recommend it if you are looking for something heavier but not a big old knee mill. I have absolutely no problem milling out integral bolsters and even doing some machining on jigs and little helper tools for the shop. I can say I have never tilted the column, ever. If the solid column had been out when I was looking I would have bought it. I may still buy the conversion kit one day.
And thank you! That means a lot coming from a seasoned craftsman like yourself.
Will smaller mills like the Sherline cut fullers? I consider getting one eventually for folders and such. One day it wold be great to pour a slab for a bigger mill as well.
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