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I Forge Iron

homemade milling machine build

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The title says it all, had this project in the works for a while now and it's finally gotten to the point that it looks like something so i figured now it's the time to post some pics and details. 

It's built pretty much entirely from scrap, save for fasteners. The column is 8" well casing, capped with an 8" square of 1/2" plate, then the head is blocked 6" higher for the head mount on 4" pipe. The head itself is a 1 1/4" pipe with a heavily machined T on the end for the spindle. The spindle is mounted in tapered roller bearings, threaded at the nose 1" x 10 tpi for fittings like boring heads and fly cutters. More details to follow.



The drive is going to be 4 step step pulley primary reduction, then a 2" to 6" final reduction to the spindle, which should make the bottom end speed with the 1725 rpm motor, about 200 rpm. The angle iron brackets that hold the head are bored to fit the horizontal pipe. They'll be split and fasteners added to clamp the  head (it'll look like main bearing caps). Then the angle of the head can be turned left or right and clamped if needed. When the drive and the head is complete I'll add guards over the spindle pulley then it's on to the slide ways! 

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  • 8 months later...

finally got this finished, added a cheap x/y table till i can make a better version, belt guard, paint, z axis, and built a cabinet with the surface plate in the top pull out drawer, plus everything else as far as basic accessories go. I know this isnt really a machining heavy forum but someone may find interest in seeing how a blacksmith builds a milling machine!




final product with pretty much finished cabinet


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Thanks for posting this. I admit that when I saw the first picture in your post from last year, I thought "What is this guy doing?" Of course, the next picture cleared it up. I'm no machinist, but would like to pick it up some day. 

Is it rigid enough to suit you? 

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its as rigid as a 3/4" spindle can reasonably be expected to be honestly. the bearings  have about .0005 or so runout but thats peanuts for what i do.

rigidity is very good in the head assembly  but the table isn't made as well as i would like and I've spent a good deal of time removing backlash and defects. What I'm going to do is use this table (in addition to hand scraping) to bootstrap my way up to a better made system. At that point the x/y table will be sent to the drill press where its more suited to purpose.

Honestly the whole thing was done as a practice project to help me hone my machining and machine building skills in a way that would yield something useful in the process. If i just wanted or needed a mill, buying one would really be a simpler way to go!

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  That is a nice machine, Ed.  Its very satisfying cutting metal on a tool you built yourself.  I built Gingerys shaper many years ago and learned a lot from doing it.  It lasted a long time but eventually fell apart and into the rolloff it went (minus a few MAPs).  It bit me once in a careless moment so I wasnt too sad to see it go. :)



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