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What are the uses of milling machine?

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  • What are the uses of milling machine?

    I am a bit confused or rather misinformed as to what are the uses or utilization of milling machine, I read a lot about them but I could not find exact answer to few questions, I do a lot of fabrications and it looks like a milling setup could help.

    Could a milling machine be used to create parts like radio bezel?

    Is there a way to use it to say create "thread" on a metal or plastic cylinder (like creating a bolt of specific thread), could it also be used to create the nut that goes with it.

    What is the recommended price range/brand name for an entry level setup but one that could be eventually expanded if proven useful (I am not looking for a dead-end setup)?

    Also, I understand form posts by Giuliano that some sort of CNC interface is available? is it too expensive, where do I get the software from if interested.

    Too many questions, sorry, but I could not find any where the info I need.

    Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    suffice to say, there is not much you CAN'T make with a decent CNC setup. If you're looking to create external threads or non-standard internal threads, you need a lathe with the proper tools.

    i'd look at the CNC Jr. from CNC Masters. (i think just cncmasters.com) That gets you everything you need to go full 3-axis CNC for about $6000. It weighs somewhere in the neighborhood of 800lbs so make sure you've got space and support for it.
    Et ipsa scientia potestas est.

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    • #3
      If that's a bit out of your budget, take a look at http://www.cnczone.com/ and build your own...
      I installed my carpc into my pet Kangaroo, mate.

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      • #4
        we actually have a combination mill/lathe setup in our shop. It's called a "shop fox" google that and you'll probably turn it up. If you're not needing CNC right away, that thing is good and cheap to start with. i think it was only about $3000-$4000... not bad when you consider you're getting two different machines. So long as you don't abuse it ;-)
        Et ipsa scientia potestas est.

        Worklog for my 2007 Civic Si ...f*** it...
        Pictures of the Corolla (retired)here
        Need to make something? Here are a few ideas.

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        • #5
          Great info, thank you guys.
          Sorry to ask a lot, but another question just came up, Can I do big items on it, say 3' L by 6" W by 3" deep - I think it depends on how big the table is.

          How is the learning curve, is it steep? I am very good with all types of machines and very handy.

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          • #6
            Hey, this is actually my first post here, been a long time lurker. (Hey everyone.)

            The size of the object depends on how big the CNC table is, and how far the router can move. And are you good with software? And 3D drawings? If so it's pretty much similar to printing as long as everything is set up properly.

            PS: If you do get one, you think I can use it if I pay for time? I'm in NJ as well.

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            • #7
              welcome arjun!

              one of the nifty things about CNC is the sheer precision you have with the system. The truth is, the part envelope can be overcome by dividing your model into sections and machining each individually. This is easier to do with some materials than others, but when you're doing softer stuff like wood, plastic or foam, you can machine a part of virtually any size... one piece at a time, and the edges should line up pretty darn close.
              Et ipsa scientia potestas est.

              Worklog for my 2007 Civic Si ...f*** it...
              Pictures of the Corolla (retired)here
              Need to make something? Here are a few ideas.

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              • #8
                Micromark.com

                How about this one?

                http://www.ares-server.com/Ares/Ares...oduct&ID=82573
                Testing Street Deck and Centrafuse on G4

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                • #9
                  those are good for really soft things like foam and most woods, but my biggest worry about those are the kinds of vibrations you can get and tool *****ages that can happen with a cheaply built mill. May not be bad to start with at all, but i figure if you're going to spend the cash to get a CNC machine put together, you might as well make sure it can grow with you as you develop your designs and go to stronger and more permanent materials.
                  Et ipsa scientia potestas est.

                  Worklog for my 2007 Civic Si ...f*** it...
                  Pictures of the Corolla (retired)here
                  Need to make something? Here are a few ideas.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by GoHybrid View Post
                    those are good for really soft things like foam and most woods, but my biggest worry about those are the kinds of vibrations you can get and tool *****ages that can happen with a cheaply built mill. May not be bad to start with at all, but i figure if you're going to spend the cash to get a CNC machine put together, you might as well make sure it can grow with you as you develop your designs and go to stronger and more permanent materials.
                    I would most definitely want to work with metal as well as soft materials,it would really suck if it broke while doing metal work but I thought the $600 price tag is more appropriate versus the $6,000.00 which sounds like overkill in my case
                    But if you really think I will grow into it fast enough maybe Ill go with your suggestion instead! (I was almost ready to place my order with "mikromark" which I had been putting toghether for a couple of days when I stumbled onto this discussion)
                    Testing Street Deck and Centrafuse on G4

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                    • #11
                      kingtut have been to visit your local workshop machinery outlet? We have one near us (yes I know it's a long way from you) that sells the complete range of mills and lathes. Everything from huge pieces of equipment you need a crane for, through to mills small enough to make you wonder if your wife would notice it in the corner of the shop. I was really surprised at how much equipment was targeted at the home enthusiast. The closest I have found on line is Harbour Freight.
                      Carputer Haiku (thanks Ian Hughes)
                      Serious error.
                      All shortcuts have disappeared.
                      Screen. Mind. Both are blank.

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                      • #12
                        spiro: think of this as you might think of any other tool you purchase. The truth is, you could probably get away with a very inexpensive mill, but the accuracy of your parts, the life of the tools, and your materials costs can suffer... not to mention the headache of dealing with it.

                        a mill happens to be one of the more expensive tools because of the precision that is required to build one effectively, but if metals going to be your thing, you definitely need a machine with the grunt to cut through it easily. Another thing to consider (maybe i missed it so correct me if i'm wrong-) but there are no means of dispensing coolant with the micromark mill. That's a big drawback when working on metal. Expect short tool life and lower machining quality as the tools dull from overheating.

                        In my experience, there's a balance that must be struck when machining metals. You need a sharp tool that reduces the amount of power needed to make a cut, but you need enough power to make that cut without bogging the motor down (which causes vibration, loosening bits, loss of accuracy, ruined parts). Sometimes you can make up for lower power with higher speed, but then you have heat to contend with. So you see when you have an appropriately powered mill with at least the option to run coolant, you can set yourself up to machine a wide variety of metals in an efficient manner.
                        Et ipsa scientia potestas est.

                        Worklog for my 2007 Civic Si ...f*** it...
                        Pictures of the Corolla (retired)here
                        Need to make something? Here are a few ideas.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by GoHybrid View Post
                          spiro: think of this as you might think of any other tool you purchase. The truth is, you could probably get away with a very inexpensive mill, but the accuracy of your parts, the life of the tools, and your materials costs can suffer... not to mention the headache of dealing with it.

                          a mill happens to be one of the more expensive tools because of the precision that is required to build one effectively, but if metals going to be your thing, you definitely need a machine with the grunt to cut through it easily. Another thing to consider (maybe i missed it so correct me if i'm wrong-) but there are no means of dispensing coolant with the micromark mill. That's a big drawback when working on metal. Expect short tool life and lower machining quality as the tools dull from overheating.

                          In my experience, there's a balance that must be struck when machining metals. You need a sharp tool that reduces the amount of power needed to make a cut, but you need enough power to make that cut without bogging the motor down (which causes vibration, loosening bits, loss of accuracy, ruined parts). Sometimes you can make up for lower power with higher speed, but then you have heat to contend with. So you see when you have an appropriately powered mill with at least the option to run coolant, you can set yourself up to machine a wide variety of metals in an efficient manner.
                          thanks GoHybrid!
                          I didnt even consider the "coolant dispensing" part.....you just saved me some headaches....well...I guess I ll have to spring for something more professional
                          like what you're suggesting.
                          The truth is I know you're right, I just don't wanna admit it because it will cost me a few $k extra! and its something that I ll use once in a blue moon...but on the other hand it definitely helps the economy

                          Thanks
                          Testing Street Deck and Centrafuse on G4

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                          • #14
                            it's that whole, "if it sounds too good to be true...." thing right?
                            Et ipsa scientia potestas est.

                            Worklog for my 2007 Civic Si ...f*** it...
                            Pictures of the Corolla (retired)here
                            Need to make something? Here are a few ideas.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Clearly, you get what you pay for. My only obstacle -beside the money- would be the software, learning to draw in 3D and do perspective is time consuming. Time to start saving...

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