milling machine related


Staff member
Id bet not one guy in 500 has a milling machine in their garage, but for the few guys that make the leap to having the tool to do the custom work,
when I was in college I had several classes in how too use larger machine tools like lathes and mills,edm machines etc.
(this was well before computer controls)
I thought I had the basics down rather well, as I was rather skilled if you were to judge by the grading parameters, at the time.
we were only given a dozen or so simple tasks like to machine a steel block to a precise 2" x 3"x 4" size ,
drill a precise size hole and cut a steel rod that would slide through that hole with less than .0003-.0002 clearance,
but it gave you a feel for the machine function
once I decided I wanted a mill I looked for a deal on a used mill,
and could not find one in decent shape at a reasonable cost, I eventually found the FOX mill on sale
(about $5k delivered to a local dock, then I paid about $300 to have a guy move it to my shop)
then the realization hit that the collets, tooling, cutters vise, coolant pump were all needed in addition to the basic mill.
and yes Id forgotten some of the basics so I needed to read and watch videos, but over time the mill has saved me far more than it costs.
, most of us always want but darn few of us can afford to buy, after you have one and learn how to use, the more advanced tools like a mill,lathe and a TIG WELDER, even for very basic work, its amazing how things progress and together with a decent TIG welder the WHOLE concept of building/fabricating and modifying O.E.M. or custom parts becomes far less intimidating
A mill will easily cost you 7-12 times what a drill press will, but its also easily capable of doing FAR FAR MORE than a dill press can do, in fact a skilled MILL operator with access to a LATHE and the correct tooling for both machines and a WELDER can make about 80% of the common parts and tools and accessories youll use on a car, its a huge investment but it also allows you to do custom fabrication, and repairs man parts modification that most guys only dream about doing.
going into the MILL purchase I had no reasonable or realistic expectation that the tooling to allow the mill to function correctly would require a great deal more accessory purchases than I expected, or what the cost of those accessories might be, this is and was MY fault of course for not researching the project further before the purchase was made.
the first thing I found was I needed bit chucks, collets and cutters and a coolant pump, plus a much better quality mill vise to hold material, all of which did not come with the basic MILL,.I don,t know how I could have been so unrealistic , I guess its mostly because every mill i ever used in college or a machine shop already had those accessories .
but if I had been realistic I should have realized that the tooling and accessories would easily add $800-$1500 more to have a functioning mill.
once you have access to larger machine tools you obviously need to learn how to use them, below Ive posted some useful links and educational links.
you obviously need a good vise on the mill to hold material, a coolant pump to flow coolant to prevent burning up tooling and bits and the collets and end mills or other tooling to allow you to actually machine and drill metal.


viewtopic.php?f=27&t=993&p=4129&hilit=mill+bits#p4129 ... ing&page=2 ... achine.htm ... -Operation ... chine.html

viewtopic.php?f=27&t=2198 ... achine.htm

theres info, with videos included, in the link and more videos below
theres a ton of valid info that you would need in these links that will allow you to gain a basic understanding of whats required to use a milling machine or lathe

yes I know this stuff is only of interest if you actually want to know how things get machined or if you own a milling machine, but it never hurts a darn thing to have the basic concepts down when some machine shop starts to B.S. you about the difficulty of doing some things, if you've got a good grasp on what you want done and how its accomplished you'll make smarted decisions.
the milling machine and the LATHE are the two real basic powered machine tools that allow most machine work to get done, add a decent welder and you can do a great deal of the work on your car or fabricate many custom parts

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Staff member
obviously youll want to shop for a good used mill because the cost can be pennies on the dollar compared to a new mill, but think thru your budget and goals and check the local bargain trader , magazines, Craigs, newspaper classifieds list etc.
keep in mind a MILL can do what a drill press can, but it can also do a great deal more ... able/G0705

viewtopic.php?f=27&t=993 ... ise/T10064

yeah, the tools, set-up jigs, and major tooling accessories,
like precision adjustable angle vises and gauges ,cutters, drill bits etc required
adds up faster than most people can even believe, but on the plus side having the tooling,
and being forced to learn how too use the tools, makes this and many hobbies much more cost effective than having to buy everything
having access to decent tools and having acquired the skills to use them is a huge advantage,, if you don,t have what you need its easily fabricated,

opens up a huge increase in your ability and vastly increases your skills.
just yesterday I found that one of the guys I'd loaned a valve adjustment valve cover too,
had failed to return I grabbed a tall cast valve cover that was in less than pristine condition
and milled a 2" wide 90% of its length open access slot out of the upper surface on my mill,
vaguely similar the the picture posted below of a stamped valve cover
so that valve adjustments are far less messy/ something that is far harder to accomplish with hand tools.

so I now have two if the original valve covers ever returned as promised..

keep in mind its the tooling, the mill vise and cutters, cooling fluid pump and a bunch of smaller parts that make use of the mill functional, and all that adds up fast, so having a mills great, but youll have at least a couple thousand dollars in small parts and accessories and tooling, before your ready to build and fabricate custom parts, and the best mill in the worlds fairly useless without a precision vise large and solid enough to firmly hold the work and correct tooling to mill or drill the parts being fabricated



most of us have new years resolutions where we try to improve over the last years,
most of us want to do the common, deals of loosing weight, exercising more, make more money etc.
but on this thread, Id like you to post ,what LARGER new tool are you looking to acquire?
theres hundreds of things most of us wish we had that are on a wish list we are working on?
is it a CAR LIFT?
an engine crane with engine leveler?
a new torque wrench?
better jack stands?
a better engine stand?
IR temp gun?
new larger tool chest?
oil change drain/collection tank?
better battery charger?
solvent parts cleaner sink?
belt sander?
cross cut miter saw?
welding table?
engine test stand?
flow bench?
car ramps?
a paint spray booth?
a cam degree wheel?
dial indicators?
new multi meter?
new trouble code scanner?
valve spring compressors?
exhaust gas analyzer?
air compressor?
paint spray guns?
air ratchet tools
a bead blaster,
new TIG or MIG welder?
hydraulic press?

if you can afford to buy one a MILL is a great shop tool addition



foxmill.jpg ... 49-/T20828
and every drill press or mill needs an adjustable vise
sb1217.jpg ... ise/SB1217
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Staff member
Well, theres little doubt stress levels effect my memory ,
I broke a small bracket on my welder cart,yesterday.
(so Im thinking, no big deal, thats easily repaired)
and I,m SO glad I purchased both my welders and a decent mill before I retired, because I sure could never afford those tools now... in fact I just for grins looked at the current cost of a similar mill and see the cost is at least 75% higher than it was back 10-15 years ago when I purchased most of my larger machine tools,
and after re-welding it, I placed the bracket that required machine work,in the mills vice, and I started looking for the appropriate mill bit to re-machine the bracket..

it never hurts to look over operating instructions for various machine tools,
you might be amazed at how often youll gain some insight or pick up a tip or two, in the process.
yes youll make stupid mistakes, try to learn exactly what you did wrong and not repeat the process, ask detailed questions, and if you can find a skilled mentor.
a great deal of power tool use is a skill you learn by working with the tool and watching others who can give valid advice.
you obviously will need the correct tooling, some idea of how to go about machining the parts,
drill bits, end mills and a decent vise to solidly hold the components you work on, and a constant bath of cutting and cooling fluid flowing over the machined areas


I purchased a fox milling machine several years ago when I got frustrated at local shops absurdly over billing me for darn simple milling machine work, I may or may not have made the smartest financial move as the cost of the mill is only a small part as you need rather extensive accessories and tooling before the machines useful and I'll admit I was not expecting those components to cost almost as much as the mill.

  • Weighing in at over 2400 lbs of cast iron and hardened precision ground steel, Model M1003 has the size and stability to handle the toughest jobs. With a 2 HP motor driving 8 speeds from 78 to 2400 RPM, 3 speed quill feed with a micrometer depth stop and auto reverse, and a variable speed longitudinal power feed, this machine has the ability to do the most complex and precise jobs. This brute has both power and finesse!
  • One-shot pump lubrication
  • Auto down feed
  • Quill feeds/spindle rev.: .0019", .0035", .0058" Auto stop with micro adjustable stop
  • R-8 spindle Longitudinal power feed
  • Hardened and ground table surface Chrome plated, precision-ground quill
  • Adjustable micrometer quill depth stop
  • Motor: 2 HP, 110V/220V, single-phase, TEFC, prewired to 220V
  • Spindle travel: 5"
  • Table size: 9" x 49"
  • Table travel (longitudinal): 27"
  • Table travel (cross): 12"
  • Max. dist. spindle to table: 18-3/4"
  • Max. dist. spindle to column: 18-1/2"
  • Knee travel: 16"
  • Head tilt: 45° both ways
  • Head swivel: 90° both ways
  • T-slots: 3 on 2-1/2" centers, 1/2" studs
  • Speeds: 8 Range of speeds: 78, 98, 197, 278, 670, 850, 1700 and 2400 RPM
  • Approximate shipping weight: 2405 lbs.

sfmill2.png ... 49-/T20828
I looked for easily 30 minutes every place, in the shop I could think of. I could think of,no place I might have left a set of mill bits...I gave up and called a friend and asked to borrow a mill bit,of the correct type and size, which he was glad to lend, I got home, inserted the bit in the mill,and I finished the job which took only about 12-13 minutes, most of that time was used measuring and set-up time and then I pulled the mill bit, after I finished, oiled it down and placed it in a plastic zip-loc bag.
my friend was leaving on some short trip yesterday, as I borrowed the bit and asked me to return the bit the next day (today) rather than later that day.
well Im thinking where can I place the bit where I won,t forget to bring it with me,and they won,t get lost. and the obvious answer is in my car trunk or glove compartment so I walk outside , pop the car trunk and there in a large Tupperware box is all my missing mill bits, I suddenly remember I placed them in the trunk on top of the spare tire so I would have access to them when I went over to that same friends shop when we were fabricating custom accessory brackets for his race car a few weeks earlier.
like I said getting senile sucks!


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