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small milling machine

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by rustyrazor, Sep 8, 2012.

  1. rustyrazor

    rustyrazor KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 13, 2011
    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.

    cheers

    Royce
     
  2. Don Hanson III

    Don Hanson III KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 3, 2002
    I've been using a small Sherline mill (made in USA) for around 15 years. Check em out.
     
  3. Fred.Rowe

    Fred.Rowe Dealer / Materials Provider Dealer / Materials Provider

    May 2, 2004
    I like the Sherline I have; its been in use ten years.
     
  4. gomipile

    gomipile

    Apr 17, 2010
    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.
     
  5. Don Hanson III

    Don Hanson III KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 3, 2002
    Good advise. And I agree on the Sherline not for heavy work. But it will do anything I've ever needed to do for knife work. I use solid carbide cutters and run them at high speed and use the correct feed rates.

    This one looks good for a person needing a heavier machine than a Sherline.

    http://littlemachineshop.com/products/product_view.php?ProductID=3960
     
  6. TILLER

    TILLER Basic Member Basic Member

    74
    Jan 1, 2011
    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.
     
  7. rustyrazor

    rustyrazor KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 13, 2011
    thanks guys... i'll give them a look
     
  8. Burton Harruff

    Burton Harruff

    Oct 1, 2007
    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
     
  9. Matt Browning

    Matt Browning

    41
    Oct 7, 2010
    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.
     
  10. Don Hanson III

    Don Hanson III KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 3, 2002
    I'm cutting nail nicks with a fly cutter on the Sherline. I used to think it didn't have enough ass to do it, but it does it quite well. That said, a larger mill would be better for this kind of work.
     
  11. Splat

    Splat

    890
    Nov 19, 2006
    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. :eek: 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 $.
     
  12. J. Oeser

    J. Oeser

    May 13, 2009
    I have this LMS version but in the tilting column. For making slip joints and whatever else I need it to do I have not had any problems. I also use a fly cutter for my nail nicks and a slitting saw for my long pulls with out any problem. I have contemplated getting the solid column conversion but in reality the mill does everything I need without any issues as is. I also put away my drill press and use this exclusively for drilling as well. Keeps things nice and accurate.


    BTW, if Don has used a Sherline for that long I would say that is as good an endorsement as any.
     
  13. Don Hanson III

    Don Hanson III KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 3, 2002
    Thanks Jared, the Sherline has served me well, very well. But I feel the need for a heavier mill sometimes. Been thinking of getting one of the LMS w/solid column. I do like the tilting head on the Sherline, but don't think I'd want a tilting column?

    BTW, you're making some good lookin folders!
     
  14. J. Oeser

    J. Oeser

    May 13, 2009
    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.

     
  15. Daniel Fairly Knives

    Daniel Fairly Knives Full Time Knifemaker Moderator

    Jan 9, 2011
    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.
     
  16. Don Hanson III

    Don Hanson III KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 3, 2002
    Yes, the Sherline will cut fullers just fine. But not sword length. :)
     
  17. Don Hanson III

    Don Hanson III KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 3, 2002
    Thanks for the info. I really don't want a big old knee mill and have ruled out a mill/drill w/round column. One of these might just do it for me.
     
  18. crimsonfalcon07

    crimsonfalcon07

    Dec 27, 2010
    That's a bummer. After all, I'm cutting my fullers with an angle grinder right now :( and as a consequence, have found this thread very interesting. What if you cut in the fuller to the length of the table, and then just reclamp the blade in a different position and cut in the rest? Would that work? I have never used a milling machine before, so pardon the noob question. I'm just full of those today.
     
  19. Daniel Fairly Knives

    Daniel Fairly Knives Full Time Knifemaker Moderator

    Jan 9, 2011
    Thanks Don!
     
  20. Don Hanson III

    Don Hanson III KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 3, 2002
    I have never been good at "reclamping' on the mill. And no, the Sherline is just too small for sword fullers.

    Need larger mill for this type of work.
     

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