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  • Topic: mini 6 in 1 milling machine

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    • February 9, 2019 7:56 PM EST
      • Post Falls, Idaho
         
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      mini 6 in 1 milling machine

      Does anyone have any experience with THESE I think it would be fun to play with. I was looking for a mini drill press and don't really use a rotary tool enough to buy a variable speed one and a drill press stand for it. I also don't want to spend a fortune on a good one from say micromark. This will be a very limited use sort of thing so just can't see dropping a bunch of money even though I know "you get what you pay for". But like my harbor freight pin nailer and my harbor freight disc/belt sander I find cheaper tools work just fine for my limited use. So with that said I was looking at little bench top jewelry drill presses in the 50 buck range that would be about right where I want to be. But then stumbled on this. I could see having a lot of fun with it. But if its complete garbage I don't want to waste my money. Its $130 on Amazon. Ratings are somewhat lack luster but I kinda expected that. 

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    • February 9, 2019 9:34 PM EST
      • Peoria, NW of Phoenix, Arizona
         
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      As long as you don’t expect  precision and close tolerances, the only Harbor Freight tool I am not happy with is  my compound miter saw, its drives me nuts every time I use it to set it to square. But then again my Craftsman table saw is out of square too so my house is full o odd ball things

      This post was edited by Pete Lassen at February 10, 2019 10:36 AM EST
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      Butt Modeler #2

       

       

    • February 9, 2019 9:43 PM EST
      • Southern Oregon
         
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      Well no multi-tool is as good as individual tools of each type. But, for hobby use, unless your expecting to machine parts for live steam, it will probably work great.

      I know 130 bucks is a 130 bucks but when it comes to machine tools well, that's not so much, pay more than that for an impact driver.

    • February 9, 2019 10:18 PM EST
      • Vail, Az
         
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      I have one, I set it up with 3 or 4 reducing blocks to turn carving wax.

      It does fine on wax, I had fun playing with it, but I've never pushed it hard to see what it can do.

       

      edit: part 2

      I consider it a lathe and mill 1st.

      If you need a drill press, get a drill press.

      This is more like a toy that can do several tasks ok, but none well,

      kind of fussy and uses friction locks.

      This post was edited by John Caughey at February 9, 2019 11:13 PM EST
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      John

       

      The older I get, the less I know, please don't make me prove it.

       

       

    • February 9, 2019 11:15 PM EST
      • Post Falls, Idaho
         
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      John,

       

      Thanks. I am think I am gonna give it a try. The main thing i see myself doing with it is turning an milling brass and plastic for detail parts, cribbage pegs, etc. Nothing precision. 

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    • February 10, 2019 1:44 AM EST
      • Vail, Az
         
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      Good enough, we can compare frustrations er successes!

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      John

       

      The older I get, the less I know, please don't make me prove it.

       

       

    • February 10, 2019 3:27 AM EST
      • Bundaberg, Queensland Australia
         
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      Devon Sinsley said:

      John,

       

      Thanks. I am think I am gonna give it a try. The main thing i see myself doing with it is turning an milling brass and plastic for detail parts, cribbage pegs, etc. Nothing precision. 

      Bought mine for exactly the same reason, couldn't justify to myself the purchase of a lathe for some maybe/might happen in the future projects. 

      Bought mine years ago from Hobbyking for about $50 and have still not used it in anger yet (found a drill press at a garage sale).  Matter of fact I only just pulled it out of a cupboard and added it to the removalist pile in readiness for my move to my retirement abode.

    • February 10, 2019 2:25 PM EST
      • Burbank, CA
         
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      Devon Sinsley said:

      John,

       

      Thanks. I am think I am gonna give it a try. The main thing i see myself doing with it is turning an milling brass and plastic for detail parts, cribbage pegs, etc. Nothing precision. 

       

       

      Devon,

      I have to agree with Rick Marty and his comments about multi-use tools. Bottom line is that they are not sturdy enough to give you ANY kind of precision :). Save your money and buy individual tools for your work. A simple hand drill would be far better than this combo tool. You WILL be frustrated beyond belief with the results from this combo machine or ANY combo machine. Really a waste of good money. I am a retired tool&die maker by trade, so you know where I'm coming from :). 

      I built my Gene Allen ten-wheeler (1/8th scale) using a mill/drill combo machine. It weighs 800 pounds and yet it still flexes on heavy cuts. But I know how to use it and where I can get precision down to 0.001. But it takes experience to do this. The average hobbyist who hasn't done machining before, won't know how to get precision out of ANY in-expensive tool. I only use the mill/drill for milling ONLY. I have a separate drill press, 12X36 Clausing lathe. Another combo tool I have is a Shopsmith. Bought it brand new in 1978. I never use it as a table saw. I use it in combination with the Shopsmith bandsaw accessory or as a nice drill press for large work. The ONLY reason I have the mill/drill and shop smith is because I don't have the room in my shop for the full-size mill (Bridgeport). As it is now, I am cramped for space and it's 500 sq. ft.! Full-size Delta contractor shaper with 1-1/4 shaft, full 12 inch radial arm saw.

      Bottom line is that you can find individual tools for specific jobs. In fact, Amazon just sent me an email showing "reconditioned" tools available for about half the cost of new. They come with warrantees, too. Just remember exactly what you said at the start "I know you get what you pay for, but.......". And in tools (any tools), this could not be more true :). You mention that you want to mill or turn brass and plastic....don't be so cavalier concerning these materials :). Without being able to adjust speeds or only 3 or 4 different speeds at your disposal, you will be frustrated quickly. Please "rethink" this purchase :).

      This post was edited by Gary Armitstead at February 10, 2019 2:30 PM EST
    • February 10, 2019 6:06 PM EST
      • Post Falls, Idaho
         
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      I appreciate everyone's comments and considerations. Still in the fence. I cant afford quality milling equipment for a few one off parts. Just cant justify it. 

      As far as multi tools, I own THE multi tool. A Shopsmith. Does it compare to my stand alone equipment, not a chance. But is it useful, allows me to do things I otherwise would not get to do. 

       

      I havent decided to pull the trigger. But it NOT a case of not buying this or saving up for better stand alone equipment. It's a case of buy this or nothing at all. Milling equipment is a too expensive luxury I dont have 

       

      I asked because I am leary of these sorts of things and have had bad experiences with these sorts of purchases. But on the other hand I have had some good ones with cheap tools allowing me to do stuff I otherwise wouldn't. Tough call. 

       

      I do thank you all for the input. Its sincerely appreciated. IF i buy it I will let you know how it goes. 

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    • February 10, 2019 6:14 PM EST
      • Burke, Virginia
         
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      If you're just looking to fool around a bit with making some little stuff, you MIGHT consider getting a 3D printer instead.   They can still be frustrating, but it's really cool to be able to watch it print a part.  If you're not great with 3D design, you can just download stuff from Thingiverse and print it.  

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      Bruce

      http://jbrr.com/

       

    • February 10, 2019 7:40 PM EST
      • Vail, Az
         
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      Devon Sinsley said:

      I have considered this as well Bruce

      He's got Dan printing for him, better to use his talents else where.

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      John

       

      The older I get, the less I know, please don't make me prove it.

       

       

    • February 10, 2019 8:13 PM EST
      • Post Falls, Idaho
         
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      I also have club members printing for me as well.

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    • February 10, 2019 9:39 PM EST
      • Waverly, Alabama
         
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      Now the truth is coming out, everyone thinks Devon is producing all this great modeling on his own, but nope, he has a whole crew of little elves doing all the work while he sits back, gives orders and takes all the credit   Gives a whole new meaning to "Butt Modeler" doesn't it? 

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    • February 11, 2019 5:47 PM EST
      • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
         
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      A milling machine would be cool, but toy machine is a toy machine. Years ago I bought a Harbor Freight, bench top drill press, and while its not production grade, it does for me what it was advertised to do. And with a little creativity, I have turned some wood forms on it too, even though its not a lathe.

       

      Why would you look at that machine when you have a shop-smith?

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      Shannon car Shops
      Home of the infamous leg lamp

      I.A.R.R.R. Member #12

      and King Butt Modeler

    • February 11, 2019 6:13 PM EST
      • Post Falls, Idaho
         
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      David Maynard said:

      A milling machine would be cool, but toy machine is a toy machine. Years ago I bought a Harbor Freight, bench top drill press, and while its not production grade, it does for me what it was advertised to do. And with a little creativity, I have turned some wood forms on it too, even though its not a lathe.

       

      Why would you look at that machine when you have a shop-smith?

      Couple reasons. First my wife would have a real problem with me bringing my shopsmith inside, . This started out because I want a small drill press, Not a shop bench top, but a hobby bench top one I can use for repetitive drilling on my small projects and then have it tuck nicely away somewhere. Basically the same concept as why I bought a small belt.disc sander. I don't like going out in the shop and setting up the shopsmith to sand a tiny piece. The little sander works great and can fit in a cabinet. A small drill press would be the same way. While looking for them I cam across that and thought some of the other features would be fun to have as well; a mill/lathe mainly, for turning small brass and plastic pieces. I can do plastic on my shopsmith, never tried brass but I am assuming the light duty stuff I want to make I can pull off with it. But it would be nice to do it inside at my hobby bench. So a drill press snowballed into wondering about this and for 130 bucks if people found them useful for hobby work then it would be a cool little tool. 

       

      I was fully expecting the "don't buy a multi-tool, because they are never as good as individual machines" response, I hear it all the time on wood working forums about the ShopSmith. But as a ShopSmith owner I find great usefulness in its flexibility. Sure its not as good but a guy who is going to make a few bird houses it would work great as a single tool. Do I prefer my table saw to my shopsmith, yes. Do I prefer my router table to my shopsmith, yes. But it does great for a drill press for my needs. It is also very practical as a lathe, for most anything I will ever do. So on and so forth. Would I recommend one to a cabinet maker, heck no.

       

      I also fully expected the "don't buy cheap tools or you will be disappointed" answer. The same type of response I got on pin nailers and my harbor freight cheapy is still going strong as is my small belt disc sander. Again I wouldn't recommend them to someone who uses them professionally or intensively in a particular hobby. But they are more than adequate for what I do. So not all cheap tools are worthless. You expect limitations and work around them. The price point allows you to buy more of other stuff. And if it works to a persons satisfaction then why spend more just to say you spent more.

       

      So I know for 100% certain I will not be buying a quality mill or metal lathe. Just not gonna happen, way out of my price range. I don't want to just throw money away either. So if this tool sucks and will not do what I expect it to do adequately enough for what I want to do, then I want to know that too. But if people have used them with passable results for working on model parts then it would be a cool little toy to play with at a price point that won't be prohibitive. I am still on the fence. It has very mixed reviews with enough bad that I am leary still.

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    • February 11, 2019 6:33 PM EST
      • Burke, Virginia
         
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      Neat.   I love the smaller tools myself...

      So, if you just want to drill holes...why not something like this stand? (assuming you already have a rotary tool...)

      I have one and used it to drill holes when I was making my hoppers.

      And once you get a good transformer you can also get a bunch of neat mini tools, like this little belt sander from Micro-Mark

      They also have a VERY handy drill, jig saw, and a bunch of other really handy tools.   The transformer allows for variable speed for all of these.

      Of course, a mill might be cheaper.

      ____________________________________

      Bruce

      http://jbrr.com/

       

    • February 11, 2019 6:47 PM EST
      • Defending the State of Exile! ,
         
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      Devon IMO ...put the $130 elsewhere.

    • February 11, 2019 8:12 PM EST
      • Vail, Az
         
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      While it can never compare to Gary's professional tools and would be aggravating for him to try and use it, I don't regret buying my Unimat.

      I bought longer beds  and extra heads for speed reduction, because I want SOMEDAY *to build a Sterling Silver loco, probably in 0n3. I can turn the boiler in wax and cast it... And with Gary's beautiful drawings, I can make drivers with odd number of spokes. He drew them to fit my divider plate, the thingy with all the holes... He drew them for me, when it actually sounded like I could make my casting shop worth turning on... but my 'marks' all shied away at the thought of paying...

      I have a HF drill press, but mostly I free hand with the variable speed flex shaft.

       

      * should I live so long

      ____________________________________

      John

       

      The older I get, the less I know, please don't make me prove it.

       

       

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