• Scam Alert. Members are reminded to NOT send money to buy anything. Don't buy things remote and have it shipped - go get it yourself, pay in person, and take your equipment with you. Scammers have burned people on this forum. Urgency, secrecy, excuses, selling for friend, newish members, FUD, are RED FLAGS. A video conference call is not adequate assurance. Face to face interactions are required. Please report suspicions to the forum admins. Stay Safe - anyone can get scammed.

Tool Tooling up a milling machine

Tool

justin1

Super User
Now that my milling machine is more or less completed I'm looking to spend some money on tools for it and looking for advice on were to cheap out and we're quality wins out for getting going.

It would be nice to buy all name brand stuff and top quality butttt I would like be able to have more functionality now rather then later then change out some of the "beginner stuff" later.

Wouldn't mind buying good used stuff but it's pretty slim Pickens on the west coast and shipping some stuff just doesn't seem worth it.

I want to buy a new Kurt 6" vise as my current vise has almost 1/8 of jaw lift I can't seem to work around but curious if there is any other comparable brands out there in same price range.

Also would like to pick up rotary table and some indexable tooling and collet holders and shell mill few other bits and bobs. This is the stuff Im thinking of cheaping out on as some of it can be tuned. As I'm not currently looking at doing any production type work so i think there is some quality flexibility here.

I would also like to hear what you guys can't live without that you would recommend picking up. And wouldn't mind know we're to guys source out your carbide end mills or other consumables

Also wouldn't mind recommendations on what carbide inserts to stay away from if there is any odd ball stuff out there that is cheap but not worth it.

Thank you for reading look forward to some input also for those curious on my budget it's around 3k lol. So in the machining world probly won't get me super far.

*Side note now that I'm thinking of it most of the work I would like to do will be maintenance and restoration type work would also like to dip toes in some engine rebuilding capabilities but have read knee mills aren't considered the best for that type work.
 

phaxtris

(Ryan)
Premium Member
Premium Member
+1 on carbides/shell mills/etc from Ali, cheap, and good enough for us hobby guys on manual mills...you can spend 100$ and have a decent selection of end mills + spares, add another 75 and get a shell mill, good to go for a while

Collet blocks are a nice to have and not super expensive

Cheap hold downs work fine

Cheap 123 blocks (2 sets is nice) and cheap parallels work fine, and a must have

Don't go crazy, you can really spend a small fortune on tools you *might* use, buy the basics and anything special buy as needed
 

justin1

Super User
@John Conroy

Ye I don't want to cheap out on vise as I want to be able to trust it as a reference was just curious if there were other companies like Kurt or if it was just Kurt or Chinese stuff.

@phaxtris

Ok I was cruzing AliExpress the other day looking at shell mills it's amazing the price difference between aliexpress and Amazon for basicly same stuff.

And ye it doesn't take much to get carried away on tooling I was looking at same 4" sandvick shell mills with some inserts on ebay used and that was around 600$ pretty easy shipped from states

I would like standerize the inserts if possible seems like the tnmg style inserts give most bang for buck and aren't that expensive even for new old stock sandvick stuff
 

DPittman

Ultra Member
Premium Member
Ye I don't want to cheap out on vise as I want to be able to trust it as a reference was just curious if there were other companies like Kurt or if it was just Kurt or Chinese stuff.
I've got the kbc version of the Vertex milling vise. It was made in Taiwan and more expensive than the average Chinese Kurt clone and much cheaper than a real Kurt vise. I've been happy with my vise and it did not require any work to make it usefull. I've never owned or operated a real Kurt vise so I can't really compare, but I would make my purchase again if needed.

 

Doggggboy

Ultra Member
try Home Depot for parallels and 123 blocks, Walmart online sells insert tooling as well.
Both of these are just drop shippers from China. I've bought parallels and angle blocks from them and everything is shipped and tracked from the mainland. Not necessarily a bad thing though as the return policy is easier. Just bring it back to the store as opposed to shipping it back. The shipping is slow, around 2 to 3 weeks. It's all about the price if you're using these guys rather than Amazon or Alibaba.
 

justin1

Super User
try Home Depot for parallels and 123 blocks, Walmart online sells insert tooling as well.
Will have to check home Depot when I pick up some more paint don't remember them having that kinda stuff I image it's an order in type deal like Walmart.

@phaxtris
Mk good to know is it a finish issue? As I plan on using the shell mills for roughing mostly as lots of the metal I'll be chewing away at will be various scrap and want to make if more useful sizes. I got a cast "metal havnt been bothered to check if it's cast iron or steel yet" 2ton forklift counter weight sitting on the lawn that I'm trying to figure out best way to turn into plate lol.

I like to buy metal as I need if I need to know grade of steel if it's for something more important then just dicking around with lol.
 

Dabbler

ersatz engineer
Regarding milling vises
Thomas Skinner has a model Autowell ATW-689 that goes on sale from time to time. If you can charm your local dealer, you might get the last sale price. I bought mine new, as well as a Kurt DX6 new. Functionally they are identical. I'd say the work stop on the DX6 is a very nice-to-have, but not at a 300-400$ premium.

On our Classifieds or Member Spotted Deals post vises from time to time.

Hold downs
I have 2 or 3 hold down kits, and they are very useful and very cheap used, or not so bad new, if they are offshore. The offshore ones perform just fine.

You will need an edge finder - I use an offshore one, it is accurate to 2 tenths or so.

If you are doing restoration, you will need at least one large angle plate. Don't buy it until you need it.

I used a cheap offshore boring head for years. I've now upgraded to a better one, finally

Consider a cheap spin indexer and HSS 2 flute end mills for very light cutting, but it will do a lot of things that you might be tempted to buy a full index head or multi-position rotary table to do. If you get collet blocks, make sure you get the kind that will work with your spin indexer, and then you don't need several types of collets (ask me how I know)

Really, don't 'tool up' - get what you really need when you need it. Spend the money making chips and mistakes, That is the fastest way to get from a new mill to experienced mill hand.
 

justin1

Super User
I've got the kbc version of the Vertex milling vise. It was made in Taiwan and more expensive than the average Chinese Kurt clone and much cheaper than a real Kurt vise. I've been happy with my vise and it did not require any work to make it usefull. I've never owned or operated a real Kurt vise so I can't really compare, but I would make my purchase again if needed.


I'll have to look into there vises it's tempting to buy 2 vises and run in tandem or have the option to anyways. But I am leaning towards spending the money on scratch and dent Kurt 6" as I think I can get away with fixturing any odd ball stuff.

As I don't see me wearing out the vise or out growing my current mill anytime soon as it's a 10x50 5hp and can't see me going any bigger in the mill department probly go bigger in the lathe department tho. A shaft lathe would be nice I think

@Dabbler

Ill look in to here vise aswell. I was kinda looking into indexing head but figured I maybe able to get more function out of rotary table with a servo strapped to it. Will have to look at the spin indexer aswell

One of the first things I picked up was an cheap edge finder and a collet able test arm with .0001 and .0005 indicators the tenths one being mituyo and the other just a kbc brand one lol
 
Last edited:

Chipper5783

Well-Known Member
The possible tooling list is nearly endless! The suggestions above are all good. If you can afford it, then see comments above. If you are tight on cash, purchase what you need for whatever project you are working on - that way the tool will get used at least once.

I don’t follow the advice I provide here, I have whacks of tools that I have never used! I really doubt I’m the only one here guilty of that.
 

justin1

Super User
The possible tooling list is nearly endless! The suggestions above are all good. If you can afford it, then see comments above. If you are tight on cash, purchase what you need for whatever project you are working on - that way the tool will get used at least once.

I don’t follow the advice I provide here, I have whacks of tools that I have never used! I really doubt I’m the only one here guilty of that.
Ye I got a good collect of stuff forming of one off stuff I miss when you could just rent some stuff some Canadian tire instead of buying the special automotive shit.

As far welding and industrial stuff I got a good collection of stuff forming that gets used often enough to keep around lol. Got some enough specialty rod to work on nuclear sub.

Ye I don't want to go crazy with buying tooling for mill I really want to get a good foundation of tools that I can use to make more tooling and take on some bigger projects without waiting for 2 months for new tools just to forget what I was doing an dwhy I needed the tools I ordered agian.
 

TorontoBuilder

Ultra Member
One option, if you can convince one of the many many members from Calgary to pick up and ship your purchase to you, is to try to get deal on a vise at auction. In my area these 6" GS vises sell about $300 - 400 at auction.


 

justin1

Super User
One option, if you can convince one of the many many members from Calgary to pick up and ship your purchase to you, is to try to get deal on a vise at auction. In my area these 6" GS vises sell about $300 - 400 at auction.


I got a buddy in Calgary could make something work with auctions, I haven't had much luck with auctions locally as people seem to just bid for the thrill of it. Last time I was at one I watched a 20 year old 1/3 HP drill press sell for more then brand new and they had to pay premiums on it still lol.
 

DavidR8

Scrap maker
Administrator
Moderator
Premium Member
I
@John Conroy

Ye I don't want to cheap out on vise as I want to be able to trust it as a reference was just curious if there were other companies like Kurt or if it was just Kurt or Chinese stuff.

@phaxtris

Ok I was cruzing AliExpress the other day looking at shell mills it's amazing the price difference between aliexpress and Amazon for basicly same stuff.

And ye it doesn't take much to get carried away on tooling I was looking at same 4" sandvick shell mills with some inserts on ebay used and that was around 600$ pretty easy shipped from states

I would like standerize the inserts if possible seems like the tnmg style inserts give most bang for buck and aren't that expensive even for new old stock sandvick stuff
I have a Glacern vise on my mill and it's been fantastic.
 
I have 2 6" vises, 3 4" vises and tilting tool makers vise.

Recommendation a good vise 4" or 6" is good start and also get a tilting tool makers vise.

Rotary table is is something on my list but I have not been in the need for one as there are work arounds.

Carbide well start from local sources, buy what you need when you need it. Don't over invest. Once you get some experience buy the best and least expensive.

As a Canadian Source Accusize is a great supplier with good customer service.
 

justin1

Super User
I have 2 6" vises, 3 4" vises and tilting tool makers vise.

Recommendation a good vise 4" or 6" is good start and also get a tilting tool makers vise.

Rotary table is is something on my list but I have not been in the need for one as there are work arounds.

Carbide well start from local sources, buy what you need when you need it. Don't over invest. Once you get some experience buy the best and least expensive.

As a Canadian Source Accusize is a great supplier with good customer service.
I'll add tool makers vise to list of stuff to look into and I'm curious about your work around for rotary table as I was dicking around with making a low profile safety for my .270 and didn't really have good way of doing some of the curved features with out a rotary table so my safety looks pretty crummy but works will make a version 2 when I get better at milling stuff
 
Top