Harbor Freight sells it titled as a "mini mill" but it is actually a Sieg X2 mill and is produced for several other companies who sell it for more money than HF.
Before you go thinking its just HF junk tool stuff. I have heard many good things about these small garage/home shop mills. There is a TON of aftermarket parts avalable for it, including CNC kits, digital readout, and belt drive kits.
From what I have seen I am impressed and Im thinking about buying one. I already have a southbend lathe in the garage and now I want a mill. However I havent been able to find one that is: in my budget, not huge (my garage is already cramped as is), and isnt three phase. These Sieg X2's meet all of my requirements and the cool part is I can purchase and build upgrades for it over time making the price of having one completely built up (which can apparently be a couple grand) easier on the wallet.
I pretty much have my mind set on purchasing one in the neer future, so I guess Im really just looking to see if any other fellow jeep guys have one.
i've got very easy access to a Grizzly similar to this, about twice the size of what you're looking at. It's barely useful for anything.
I go out of my way, sometimes driving over an hour, to use a full size Bridgeport Series II. It still takes less time & effort.
You don't need 3-phase to run a 3-phase system...you just need an electrician to wire in the appropriate conversion stuff.
Thanks for the input, I was looking at that Grizzly a bit ago.
Here is the thing; I dont like to go use up favors (from the two machinist I know) for dinking around with simple stuff.
Why do I really want one? To learn the basics of milling for myself. Wheeling, breaking and rebuilding my jeep is a big enough hobby in it self but that is only about half the year for me and I can only make it up to a mt. to snowboard so often. Id like to play around with this thing over the winter.
Also concerning the 3 phase; Its is also (unfortunatly) not "MY" house/garage and its not in my place to have a electrician come in to wire the place up.
I do not own one..But I did sell them for over 5 years as the manager for one of their stores.For what it is"a small
mill"..you will do OK.Not a high return rate on this item in our store.Seemed to hold up well.Buy the extended warranty if available..Just my .02 cents.
If you have a 220 plug for a welder or drier you can make a setup for it that just plugs into that so there's no permanent modifications to your house. You need to buy or build a rotary phase converter to get three phase. They really aren't very hard to build. Laying out your system is the hardest part after you understand how it works. You can search on google or PM me and I'll try to explain it. I have been using one we built for a couple of years now. It's been flawless. We have built two more since mine. The other option for three phase is to run a Variable Frequency Drive. The advantage to these is they allow you to vary the Hz to change the speed of the motor. One cool thing about three phase is you can change directions while in motion if you want to. This is especially useful for power tapping without using a tap head. Of course you don't want to do this with a regular hand tap. Based on what I've seen, I'd stay away from the Harbor Freight Machinery if you want to make anything accurate. If you just want to play with a mill to get down the basics of how to use one then it would probably be fine for that.
Why do I really want one? To learn the basics of milling for myself.
thats one of the problems - these things aren't setup much like a real Bridgeport and are NOT good to learn on.
my suggestion - take classes at the local community college for machining. they'll usually let you use the machines whenever you want, as long as class isn't in there and they're open. on top of that, find a small time local machine shop in the area and see if you can rent time on the machines. most of the local machine shops will have old school manual Bridgeport's, but barely ever use them...most all use a CNC of some sort for production.
Have you considered one of the bigger bench top mills? I know they are more money but you'll soon find yourself wishing you'd have gotten something more rigid. I looked at the link and yes they don't cost as much as smoe of the others but you're not getting much either.
By all means pursue metal working though. It's a great trade.
^^^^^This is what you should get to start with. It's much more rigid than the other you looked at. Rigidity is the name of the game in cutting steel. It makes for better work and also your cutters will last much longer.
Look for "Liquidation Houses" that specialize in machine shop equipment.
Here in Virginia, we have "Dempsey and Company" in Richmond. I'm sure there is probably something similar in most large "industrial areas" (read major cities).
apparently my father gets fliers in the mail for liquidation and auctions all the time, he has himself on lists for mainly wood machines but he says that he can get info on metal machines too. hopefully i can get a good deal in the neer future. ill post here with my findings.
Don't be afraid to look at used tools either. I picked up a little Jet 2hp mill from a place that buys up old machines and then sells them.. I ended up getting this for $700...
Nice! I picked up this Clausing 8520 with base, and Rusnok head for 400 bucks off craigslist not too long ago. It doesn't mill like a full size bridgeport, but it will hang with the best of the smaller mills. I just ordered a 3 axis digital readout and a coolant system, so I will have a little over 900 bucks into the setup. Not too shabby I guess. I love old American steel.
Lowered, Dubbed, and Spinning
Why wear a flip flop on your left foot, and a steel toe on the right?