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Nov 18, 2004, 03:53 PM
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Mill/Drill vs. Mill vs. Mill and Drill

I'm finally getting a dedicated shop area, and I'm starting to think about power tools. I've always wanted a mill & a lathe, so they're definitely on the list. My question is whether the mill will serve double duty as a drill press. If not, does a mill/drill make sense, or is a separate mill & drill press the way to go?
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Nov 19, 2004, 09:22 PM
Thats a hard question to answer, because it depends on you, your shop area and $$$.

A Mill Drill is a good compromise between a floor model mill and a mini mill. Although it does both functions fine it doesn't need the abuse a drill press gets. I cringe at the thought of doing some of the drilling on a mill that I'd not blink an eye at with a drill press, mainly larger cruder stuff.

Chances are you'll end up with a seperate drill press even if you get the mill drill, so if funds are limited get the mill drill first, and the drill press later. Also you'll end up spending several dollars on tooling, cutters, indicators, ect... for your mill and lathe no matter what size you get, so factor that in also.

Check this out, a inexpensive Digital Read Out that uses inevpensive Chineese scales/calipers...

Once you have run a mill with a DRO, you'll love it, and never want to go back!
It can even do some functions that you'd usually use a rotary table for, like for drilling holes in a round pattern it tells you where to put the next hole. And much easier to get accurate movements with.

BTW, my dedicated machine shop area is my kitchen, thats right, I'm single and Can!

Nov 20, 2004, 02:07 PM
Registered User
Originally Posted by umrk

Once you have run a mill with a DRO, you'll love it, and never want to go back!
It can even do some functions that you'd usually use a rotary table for, like for drilling holes in a round pattern it tells you where to put the next hole. And much easier to get accurate movements with.

Whilst I have no intention of hijacking the thread, could you elaborate a little more on drilling holes in a round pattern without a rotary table please?
Nov 20, 2004, 03:05 PM
I havent gotten my Sumatech DRO finished and installed yet (and never tried it on my friends mill with that capibility and a different DRO) but as I understand it...

You input the diameter of the pattern, and number of holes, either center up on where you want the pattern or on the first hole, and it tells you where to go for the next one. I think it actually calculates the offset (X,Y) and you move the table to zero for the next one, drill, then the next one... You could calcuate the same thing, BUT a DRO reads off of the table and the backlash in the tables movement is ignored. Unlike reading the scales on the wheels. You could do the same thing with dial indicators and calculating the holes placment yourself. But a DRO is much more handy!

For more info...
These guys can answer more accurately for this DRO.

BTW, Scott Shumatech is the brother of Jetset44 on this forum.

Nov 20, 2004, 03:47 PM
Registered User
cheers for that Mike, need to get a mill first, but looks like a rotary table in place of a DRO on costs....
Nov 25, 2004, 11:44 AM
Registered User
I went with the Mill/Drill too,
I don;t use it much but it nice to have when needed.
Nov 25, 2004, 12:27 PM
Investing in better or more versitale tools/machines is rarely if ever regretted. I hate to see guys buy a drill press and one of those cheap X Y tables thinking they'll end up with a mill. IMHO your better off buying fewer and better, and add as you go.


My Enco gearhead mill drill right after getting it inside and bolted back togeather...
Nov 25, 2004, 12:43 PM
Registered User
I think I have used mine maybe 3-4 times since buying it and getting the tooling needed to run it.
Not bad for $399 but if I was to use it every day I would have bought the better one.
I also bought a lathe and tooled it up to death and that is my favorite machine at the moment, And now that my new Partner is TS engineering, And is the the maker of the famous QCTP for the mini lathes, I have some more tool holders on there way :"D
Thanks Rene
Funny thing is that I ordered and received my QCTP before my lathe even showed up. And this was before I had the chance to become friends and partners with Rene.
Funny world we live in.
Now if we need a part we use these (see pic)

We make these too (see other pic)
Last edited by Littlescreamers; Nov 25, 2004 at 12:46 PM.
Nov 25, 2004, 12:49 PM
Man, those look like some expensive sand blast cabinets!

One of these days I hope to make up a CNC lathe and mill, but nowhere in that class. I'm happy for you, sweet, but those won't fit in my kitchen, errr...machine shop.

Its nice being single, no one to say" NO, You cant do that!"
Nov 25, 2004, 12:53 PM
Registered User
Don't feel bad there not mine either, I have built a shop in a spare bedroom, And the wife put up with it, It works good for me
Nov 25, 2004, 01:04 PM
Must be nice just having access to those!

One bedroom is my computer room (and ex-hobby shop), another is my Hobby Shop now (used to be her hobby room), and the Kitchen the Machine Shop. I've been wondering if I really need that couch in the Living Room lately. Works for me!

Too many projects and too little time. I've been scrounging parts for a CNC router for a few years. Hope to get a mini mill to convert to CNC one of these days........

It never ends.


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