Monday, January 15, 2018

One Small Step for Machine Kind

After having a metal lathe for a while, and really wanting to be able to mill some stuff (for no reason), and (after receiving a 25% off coupon at Horror Fright) I finally knuckled under.  I bought their mini mill.  I ordered it two weeks ago, and received it within 4 days of the order (uh, for freight, that's pretty good).  It shipped via FedEx, and it was boxed up pretty well :

I didn't have immediate time to do anything with it, so the crate sat in the garage for a week and a half.  Today, in order to celebrate diversity, I cracked white wood open to reveal a tool of many colors.  I have to say, it was packed to be protected, too.  Full of styrofoam, my sweet wife said I looked like I cussed a few times trying to get it out.  Ultimately, I dismantled the crate to get to the styrofoam, and then the styrofoam easily popped out.

After taking a quick inventory, I was wondering why I had another handle for the milling head wheel.  The paper said it was a "drawbar".  Someone in China probably didn't realize that a drawbar is a bit different, but hey, it appears like what it was intended for will work fine..

The chuck came mounted in the spindle (R8), and it definitely looks like it is not square (tipped sideways).  That is something easily remedied after tramming a drill press table.  Once I get the space for the mill, I'll clean it all the way up and tram it in.  Hearing that the thread pitch for the tables was not on the half inch, the second thing I did was check the wheel dials, and sure enough, the table is on 0.625" per full turn, while the headstock is 0.60 or 0.060" per rotation :

Well, that is definitely not a deal breaker.  For as cheap as this was, I think it will get my foot in the door on milling, and it will fit my current needs well.  Here is my list of to-do's :

  1. Belt Drive Upgrade (big difference in noise and reducing chattering of endmills from the plastic gears)
  2. Changing headstock spring and moving to a constant force piston
  3. Add a DRO
  4. Square vice or vice jaws
  5. Collets instead of the chuck (already done)
  6. Light on the work area
  7. Traverse endmills (better end mills than the cheap Chinese stuff)
  8. Plastic covers  for the tables/ways (so you have less to clean up)
  9. Depth gauge to work in tight areas (e.g. under the headstock)
  10. Leather wrapping the motor to reduce noise.
  11. Change lead screws from 0.625 pitch to 0.50 pitch)
  12. CnC changes

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