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Value of Busy Bee mill?


Active Member

There is a tag sale coming up very soon in the GTA that is offering a Busy Bee mill among other things. I think I have to go and decide basically on the spot whether to buy or not--won't know the price until I get there.


Assuming it comes with the DRO and mounted vise, what do you think a reasonable price would be? $500 would be good, right? $1,000 would be very iffy?

I'm pretty sure it says "Busy Bee" rather than Craftex. I believe that makes it at least 35 years old. From other items offered, the previous owner did radio controlled planes and boats so I believe this was mostly used for very small work at a hobbiest level.

This is a "Rung Foo" mill, isn't it? Model 30 or 25 or some such? I know they are not highly regarded but there is no way I'm getting a 2,000 pound Bridgeport down the basement stairs. I think I understand the problems with a round column mill and I think I can live with them. I don't have any mill now.

Are there any major common problems with these particular mills? Any parts that are regularly known to fail?

Thanks for any info,

Mill-drill on one hand...no mill at all on the other....the first option wins hands down.

I have had a similar mill-drill (same vise but no DRO) for going on 20 years and like you suggest the shortfalls of one can mostly be overcome with a little due-diligence & and a lot of fore-planning. Mine is a bit heavier built in the column area.

I would bet that setting up a new one same as the one in the photo would end up being somewhere in the $2500-3500 range so I don't think even at $1000 bucks you would be getting hurt out of line.

The one thing I would certainly recommend if you do purchase this one is to consider adding a power feed for the table slide...I would really really miss mine.


Well-Known Member
If it comes with stuff then easy $1000, you could spend more than that on what i see sitting around if it is included (vice, clamp set, parallels and dro... what is in the wood box?) i expect as much as $1500 as my speculation of asking price


Active Member
If it comes with stuff then easy $1000, you could spend more than that on what i see sitting around if it is included (vice, clamp set, parallels and dro... what is in the wood box?) i expect as much as $1500 as my speculation of asking price
I think it is idiotic that they are doing this as a tag sale. The way it works, you go early in the morning and record your name in a sign-in book. When the sale opens, the first people (20-30?) in the book go in and select what they want. So I could be #2 on the sign-in book and not even get a chance at the mill if that's what #1 has their eye on.

I have no idea what may be included or not with the mill. For example, the vise is mounted on the table as shown in the picture but by the time of the sale may be separate and have its own price tag. I presume the clamp sets will be separate. I don't know what's in the wood or plastic boxes. I've got to think that there are collets or end-mill holders somewhere but there was no picture of those. Probably a drawer full of end mills, as well. Won't know where to look and there'll be multiple other buyers routing around looking for deals.

I've gone to a couple of other sales run by this company. I've never seen them offer big-ticket machines before. In one I went to, there were many tables of small tools--most with no price sticker. I noticed some nice vintage carving tools and grabbed 8 or 9. On eBay these would go for $12 to $20 each. When I got to the table to pay for them, the guy looked at me and said "Is 50 cents each okay?" Needless to say, I agreed.



Active Member
After my post yesterday complaining about this being run as a tag sale, I dug into the hosting company's web site. I found this little gem: "For some of the more expensive items, in order to make the most money, we take offers and sell to the highest offer at the end of the sale."

Effectively, for certain items they run a sealed tender auction--my least favourite way to buy something.. If this is what actually happens, I'm going to put in a moderately low bid. Given the machine is ~35 years old, it could well have a lot of wear and backlash. Motor bearings and spindle bearings could be due for replacement. If the multi-step pulleys are worn down, they would be a bear to replace. I don't mind doing a bunch of maintenance if the initial price reflects that the machine needs a lot of work.

Oh well, hopefully I can pick up a few other things I want at the sale. A set of parallels and an adjustable parallel. V-blocks, clamping kit, ... Perhaps I'll have something to gloat about on the weekend.



Active Member
So, I did go to the first day of the sale and bought a few things. They were asking $850 for the Busy Bee B096 mill/drill plus $95 for the vise. No one could demonstrate that the mill or DRO would actually operate. OTOH, the controls seemed to operate easily and without obviously huge backlash, etc. No one had stepped up to buy the mill or vise before I left the sale. I'm not sure what was going to happen on the second day of the sale. Normally, they will discount the listed price to get the stuff sold. The $850 price wasn't _bad_ but I didn't think it was a hot deal for 35 yo Asian machine, either.

There was also a Busy Bee DF-1224G lathe offered at $1,800. I didn't really look at it in detail (the sale was crowded) but again the price struck me as being on the high side for another 35 yo Asian offering. Both machines were basically cleaned to showroom condition, however, and showed extremely minimal 'patina'.

What did I buy?


The surface plate is 18 X 24 and has no obvious abuse. The round metal piece seems to have been used on the bench as there are hammer marks and whatnot. The clamping set seems to be complete and the user-made bars in front of it seem to be related. The plastic bag contains a set of square india stones. The red pouch is a Starret hole gauge set--0.125 to 0.500. (Couldn't pass that up for $3, gloat!) The 24-drawer organizer has a decent selection of screws, nuts and washers for $10. There wasn't much metal stock available but I did grab the chunk of 1/2 by 1-1/2 cold-rolled for $5. I think the previous owner was using the other pieces as parallels as there are a couple of pecks on the edges. I actually can't use the MT3 fly cutter but I grabbed it anyway for $10. And, a set of 5 zero-flute countersinks for $5.

I also snatched a Kennedy tool box for cheap:

IMG_3232.JPG IMG_3233.JPG

I didn't need the box and really had no where to put it. So I added it to the deal when I sold my Atlas 10-F lathe later that day! In effect, selling the box made everything else I purchased at the sale "free"!


Tom Kitta

Active Member
Well for Ontario in semi action format where you cannot test a mill the $850 (no tax all in price?) is OK - but as you said not that great. We had similar mill sell for 850 at auction in AB so total with fees was like $1000. The $850 at private sale would be a good price. In AB $1000 at private sale would be a good price as well. Maybe up to say $1200. There is one listed at $1500 now here in about same condition which I feel is too high.

Items you got seem like good buys price wise. We also get similar small items at private sales for the same price. They are "estate sale" finds.