phill

milling bits that won't kill your budget

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anybody know a place either online or in WV to get good quality milling bits that won't break the bank? Harbor freight bits are junk and my local Lowe's and Homedepot don't have any at all. I've upgraded my drill press with a pressicion vise and I have a 7"x10" mini lathe and I've had 72 hours worth of machine shop classes and I'm using that to start a small part time knife business for fun, mostly so my hobby can pay for itself. Any suggestions are GREATLY apriciated!

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Go find a small machine shop that does repair work. Explain to them what your up to and that you where wondering if you could get them to order you some with their next order. If they go for it you will get decent quality tooling at better prices than you will get alone and if not then you haven't lost anything but your time. Or just ask if they had a few worn ones they could part with and then sharpen them or just use them, doing hobby stuff and knife making you can probably get away with a couple of chipped tool edges easier than a working shop can.

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MSC, Enco, McMaster-Carr, Grainger, Fastenal, Wholesale Tool they all sell the good stuff from the US and EU ($$$) and asian imports ($), and have sales, sometimes at deep discounts.

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Get on MSC's mailing list, as they have monthly discounted items with milling cutters being a common item. Enco, J&L do the same so get on their lists too. When it comes to cutters, I will give the same advice as I do for drills, and taps. Buy the best that you can afford. CHEAP, not inexpensive, but cheap quality cost you in low performance, breakage, and poorer finishes. Get good tooling, and then take care of it. Learn your speeds, and feeds, and know what to look for in chip coloring.

HSS cutters will do a lot of work for you, but if you work with tough, or hard materials you may want to invest in a couple of solid carbide cutters as well. They can be a lifesaver at times. I have gotten spoiled at work because we use carbide tooling exclusively. I have found that cutters made in the USA, Europe, and Japan do well. Pass if it is made in China, Korea, India, Pakistan, as it is hit or miss in regards to quality. I wouldn't get too hung up on coatings like TiN for what you are doing. I used plain HSS cutters in my shop, and they worked fine for what we did.

My main concern is the fact that you want to do milling in a drill press. Adding a good vise does not make it a mill. Drills are designed to drill holes-vertical loading, not milling-side loading. Drill chucks do not grip endmills well, nor do the spindles run true enough most of the time giving poor results. I have seen several bench model mills on Craigslist for decent prices. The right tool will make life easier, and the end product better.

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Get on MSC's mailing list, as they have monthly discounted items with milling cutters being a common item. Enco, J&L do the same so get on their lists too. When it comes to cutters, I will give the same advice as I do for drills, and taps. Buy the best that you can afford. CHEAP, not inexpensive, but cheap quality cost you in low performance, breakage, and poorer finishes. Get good tooling, and then take care of it. Learn your speeds, and feeds, and know what to look for in chip coloring.

HSS cutters will do a lot of work for you, but if you work with tough, or hard materials you may want to invest in a couple of solid carbide cutters as well. They can be a lifesaver at times. I have gotten spoiled at work because we use carbide tooling exclusively. I have found that cutters made in the USA, Europe, and Japan do well. Pass if it is made in China, Korea, India, Pakistan, as it is hit or miss in regards to quality. I wouldn't get too hung up on coatings like TiN for what you are doing. I used plain HSS cutters in my shop, and they worked fine for what we did.

My main concern is the fact that you want to do milling in a drill press. Adding a good vise does not make it a mill. Drills are designed to drill holes-vertical loading, not milling-side loading. Drill chucks do not grip endmills well, nor do the spindles run true enough most of the time giving poor results. I have seen several bench model mills on Craigslist for decent prices. The right tool will make life easier, and the end product better.

thanx that's very helpful! my drill press mill (a term that I know just sounds stupid) is all I can aford right now so I've just gotta deal with it and do a lota cussing until I can upgrade. lol Carbide cutters it is cause I use hard and/or hardened metals for everything. Thanx again!

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Yikes ! As BGD said drills and even mill drills are not really meant for any kind of real milling. Solid Carbide is great but even for the smallest endmills you have to have the machine to run them. Without a decently rigid machine and a collet to hold them I would be very worried you will just chip/shatter anything made out of solid carbide, you just can't get away with holding them in a drill chuck. Proper annealing of the work piece, proper speeds and feeds, as much rigidity as you can get, and flood coolant will go a long way to letting you use HSS on previously hardened material. For you this might mean using a smaller endmill than the slot your trying to make and chewing both sides out, locking your machine up as much as possible, even clamping with c-clamps on those smaller machines will help, and having an old windex bottle filled with coolant and spraying coolant by hand, I'm guessing it doesn't have coolant on it, and using a brazing tip on a oxy torch to do a little local annealing on your work piece. All that said just give anything you can a try. If you can find solid carbide endmills that you can afford to break you might just pleasantly prove me wrong.

Drq

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Yikes ! As BGD said drills and even mill drills are not really meant for any kind of real milling. Solid Carbide is great but even for the smallest endmills you have to have the machine to run them. Without a decently rigid machine and a collet to hold them I would be very worried you will just chip/shatter anything made out of solid carbide, you just can't get away with holding them in a drill chuck. Proper annealing of the work piece, proper speeds and feeds, as much rigidity as you can get, and flood coolant will go a long way to letting you use HSS on previously hardened material. For you this might mean using a smaller endmill than the slot your trying to make and chewing both sides out, locking your machine up as much as possible, even clamping with c-clamps on those smaller machines will help, and having an old windex bottle filled with coolant and spraying coolant by hand, I'm guessing it doesn't have coolant on it, and using a brazing tip on a oxy torch to do a little local annealing on your work piece. All that said just give anything you can a try. If you can find solid carbide endmills that you can afford to break you might just pleasantly prove me wrong.

Drq

that's what I worry about is getting nice bits and destroying them with my lesser tools! I go through lots of coolant already so I've recently put a bucket with a spout and filter under my drill press to recycle it. I rarely do anything to hardened metals, normally just the blade if I deside to do something decorative after the knife's finished. I usually use weldable steel rod or rolled steel rod from lowe's for the handles and harden them a bit after I do all the cutting and drilling. I normally drill holes the length of the bar to the depth I want and use a dremel or angle grinder to turn the holes into a groove and go back, with the same size drill bit as the thickness of the blade, and try to even it out. There's gotta be a quicker, easier, and more accurate way! lol thanx

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Thats kinda what I was getting at trying to bum old tooling off a shop, at least if you break them your not out much. A lot of repair shops use their end mills mainly for cutting keyways, if the corners are chipped they're no longer any good for key ways, but if your using it to cut a through groove you can drill first and then feed your endmill in till you get to decent flutes.

As for machining being quicker and easier, and more accurate. Well yeah I guess lol. I've spend five days fixing one 8" bore, xxxx near had my arms fall off from drilling 700 1" hole in qt plate and you gotta remember that up to a few years ago the most accurate machines in the world had hand scraped ways.


In material I had real trouble getting a nice looking groove in for something like a bolster for a blade, I've done pretty much what you describe, drill undersized holes in a line, but then go and use an endmill to drill out the remaining material (lock your machine up as good as you can), and then using again an under sized endmill true the whole thing up and bring it out to the width you want.

What do you have for coolant ?

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Check Ebay for resharpened bits.

Sometimes they are "out of spec" by a couple thousandths, sometimes they are on spec but from places that only run new and sell back the used bits after they have run their hours. Sometimes you can get assortments.

Phil

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Hey Phil, You might try Grizzley Industrial, www.grizzley. com, or Travers, www.travers.com. Travers has far more tooling at a wide price range that may help. also, as for using a drill press for milling you may be dissappointed. I have an Anco drill press and a cross slide vise and it's fine to line up marks for drilling, but for milling it chattered so bad that the chuck would fall out. I hope you have better luck.

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I have an Anco drill press and a cross slide vise and it's fine to line up marks for drilling, but for milling it chattered so bad that the chuck would fall out. I hope you have better luck.


that is the real issue with using a drill press for a mill, the chuck will fall out and when it does it is often still spinning pretty fast and can cause damage. I was given the same precautions about a drill press not working well as a mill and I figured I would just go slow and that it would at least be better than cutting slots with a jewelers saw. Well about five minutes into my first cut the chuck was on the floor.

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that is the real issue with using a drill press for a mill, the chuck will fall out and when it does it is often still spinning pretty fast and can cause damage. I was given the same precautions about a drill press not working well as a mill and I figured I would just go slow and that it would at least be better than cutting slots with a jewelers saw. Well about five minutes into my first cut the chuck was on the floor.


Plus it's way too sloppy.

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