## Small mill for scales

• 78
Thinking about getting a small mill for flattening and squaring off - anybody have any recommendations for something not too big?

No room (or budget) for a Bridgeport unfortunately :meh:
• 1
I'm super interested in this also. I've looked at some smaller mills, but not a lot of great reviews.
• 2
Hi, I have also been looking into getting a milling machine. I am leaning toward the Grizzly Benchtop G0761, but the $2000 tag is a bit steep (especially when you add in the cost for tooling to go along with it). If all you are going to be doing is squaring handle materials, you could probably go with one of the even smaller benchtop mills that come in around$700(ish).
• 47
How small? There are a bunch of chinese ones on Ali Express for what seem to be pretty reasonable prices. I suppose, with those, you run the risk of potentially unvetted electronic components. Maybe keep it unplugged when not in use? My buddy ended up with some no-name China export pseudo benchtop mill/drill press deal. He uses it to machine incomplete rifle lowers with pretty decent success. He's not chasing .0005 accuracy, though, so I can't speak to the little machine's repeatability.
• 78
Been thinking of getting a cheap Chinese machine but never actually seen one - wondering if quality is an issue
• 47
Just from looking, it appears that the majority of the ali express ones are the same machine with different paint/stickers. That seems to be pretty typical on Ali Express ( it is for guitars, anyhow. I've bought several off the site and there is definitely a commonality. Some large factory is making them for a bunch of retailers). The downside, in my experience, has been that you just gotta buy one to see if its shit or not. I've been fortunate with guitar purchases in that I know what I want and I know what I'm looking at. I'm able to tell pretty quickly if something is gonna be a turd. Not the case with these machines. Not for me, anyhow. I bet a machinist could look the specs and photos over to see if they're worth even considering.
• 78
Just wondering - this seems nice & small, do you guys think this would be powerful enough to work with wood (for scales)?
• 21
@Chop Knives evening Craig, ive been looking for a long while for a decent cheapish mill and found one of the major things to consider is the rear post, the cheaper mills seem to be flimsy and in turn is inaccurate due to it flexing, especially the meatier cut you make.
• 78
I know what you mean Dan. I’m hoping as most are designed for milling alu & mild steel that wood should be a breeze.

I know I need to drop a grand for something solid but I think it would be overkill - and I could do with finding something more affordable.
• 21
@Chop Knives keep your eyes on this site, they have some great machines pop up, even get in touch with them and tell them what you are after

http://fusies.co.uk/
• 78
that’s a great find!
• 1

I own one of these mills, for the money I think its great. If you are only doing jobs with fairly soft materials it will do fine. I am thinking of having a go milling fullers but not sure how it will get along with steel, but as long as I only do light passes I feel it should be ok. And having the larger table is a bonus. Also Arc euro trade are a great company to deal with in my experience.
• 47
@Chop Knives https://www.harborfreight.com/two-speed-variable-bench-mill-drill-machine-44991.html

I doubt this is available in Europe, but I got some comments from a buddy who has one of these. He mostly uses it for messing around milling receivers on rifles. He said, essentially, that he isn't bummed that he spent the money on it, but he's not real excited about it, either. He added a machinist vise to the table and it does ok for him. I would think it would be fine at just milling the sides and faces of handle material flat.
• 2
Craig, what about something like a surface grinder attachment for your grinder and some sort of vise or clamping attachment to hold scales on it? I heard this idea somewhere recently, I forget where though. Nice thing would be you might get a surface grinder attachment with the ability to flatten scales for around what you’d spend on a mill. Maybe this sort of vise would sit on the magnetic chuck? https://www.robotshop.com/en/carbide3d-low-profile-vise-nomad.html?gclid=Cj0KCQiA1sriBRD-ARIsABYdwwFlDeJgX_sPKRHr3x-2izGB-a5hu_PY_vLxnz9PTVEXVnS1xr1jkyYaAvd9EALw_wcB

Edit: looks like a small toolmakers vise and a cheap set of thin parallels might do the job, and there are cheaper options for toolmakers buses than what I linked to, though that one is nice and looks like a convenient size.
• 2
Craig have you looked at CNC routers for this application? In addition to flattening the scale material you can automate some of the profiling and shaping as well. There are quite a few options out there such as Shapeoko, XCarve, or Nextwave Automation. They’re available in a variety of sizes and price points.

I just purchased the Piranha FX from Nextwave and I looking forward to getting it set up over the next few weeks. I’ll be sure to post some info here once I’m up and running.
• 1
https://littlemachineshop.com/products/product_category.php?category=1387807683

I've owned the Fixed Column mini mill for 5 years and have loved it. We converted to cnc with the cnc fusion kit and its been a wonderful machine.
• 43
I saw a video on youtube, but I cannot remember who it was. But in any case, he used a small router table with a cheap trim router mounted in it, with a small round over bit in it. The bearing ran on the center of the knife and rounded the edges beautifully. Might be with looking into?
• 0
Little machine shop has really great mills
• 14
My mc mechanic is a machinist. Reviews and he told me not to buy the small ones. Im getting a medium sized used one when I find one. They need weight to get decent results. Oh, all them tools....
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