View Full Version : Benchtop mill, Any recommendations
04-06-2010, 05:54 PM
O.K., If I am going to build a good CNC milling machine, a good thing to have is a CNC milling machine - which might obviate the need to build one.
There seem to be a number of useful looking second hand training machines around from Denford, Boxford and Emco, (and maybe others that I haven't heard about) that might either fit the bill, or form the basis of a conversion to Mach3. There are also some tempting looking new machines on the market from Syil and Arc Euro Trade.
My basic spec is for a desktop machine width (left to right) less than 1000mm, depth (front to back) less than 600mm - although for a really good machine I may suck my gut in to get past.
Any recommendations, either for, or at least as important, what to avoid.
04-06-2010, 07:11 PM
There seem to be a few Denford Triacs about, I put in a bid on one that exisited on ebay for less than a mayflies lifetime before disappearing. There is a Denford Starmill on ebay at the moment. But what is specifically good or bad about each each make/model?
all denford machines are worth buying they just vary in size and capability, the triac being the larger of their desktop range. The starmill is a much smaller machine than the triac, roughly about half the size. Going on the sizes you gave the triac fits the bill, or the boxford 260vmc. How much were you intending to spend.
04-06-2010, 09:00 PM
Whatever is best value. I havn't dismissed the Syil X4 Speedmaster at £4150, but would have to be convinced of it giving good value - and being resellable without too much loss if not. On the other hand, if I bought a Bedford 190 at £850 and it was a poor basis because of design problems then I would regard that as a waste of money. I guess I am asking for things like "avoid XXXXXX as it can't machine cold butter" or "There is no practical way to fit good steppers/servos to YYYYY"
the 190 is a pretty good machine, but the 260 he's selling at £1000 is a better bet.
10-06-2010, 07:47 PM
The Boxford 190 and 260 milling machines look very well built, but the second hand ones I have been thinking about come without software. on first look, it seems that the software will cost more thatn the second hand price of the machines.
Does anybody have any knowledge or informed opinions on the Boxford CNC mills suitableity for conversion to Mach3?
i've converted a 260vmc to mach 3 and it's relatively easy to do. If you don't feel confident to do it i can help you or do the conversion for you.
10-06-2010, 08:19 PM
I'm pretty confident, but as they say, "pride cometh before a fall and confidence before a cock-up". Is the 260vmc bigger than the 190? The reason I ask is that the specification for the 190 is exactly as big as the space I have got for it - The specs for the 190 are on the Boxford site, but not for the 260.
the 260 is a lot bigger than the 190, and it's a much more capapble machine. For the price difference i would buy the 260, from memory the base of the 260 is at least a metre wide, and weighs around 250 kilos. Same size as a triac roughly.
10-06-2010, 11:28 PM
Sadly there really isn't quite enough space for the 260, or for a Denford Triac. I would also have to admit that I rarely have any need to do any big milling, so it looks like Boxford 190s and Denford Starmills are the likely choice at the moment. Is the Emco F1 of the same sort of size? Is that also a useful and/or convertibla machine?
i've not looked at the emco F1, so i can't really help there.
Going back to the 190 or the starmill, i prefer the denford range of machines. But saying that the 190 has a nice toolchange feature, and it maybe a little bit larger than the starmill.
The main limit of these smaller machines, is the "Z" travel. I'm sure the starmill has 115mm z movement, which doesn't allow much in the way of a vice or tooling, especially if you're going to need to use drills.
My first venture into cnc was a lovely Denford Novamill, and although it's a great machine, it's let down by the same small "Z" axis movement. Next up was the Boxford 260vmc, and then the Denford Triac. I'm happy with the Triac, it gives me everything i could ask for in a benchtop cnc mill, even though i only mill small items the extra space is there if needed.
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