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Thread: Mini Mil or Alternative Tool

  1. #1
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    Mini Mil or Alternative Tool

    I am a flute maker and can see now that I wish I had bought a mini mill....not a really expensive one but a decent one.But now I am almost 63 and don't see it or can't justify the purchase.

    I was just wondering is there another method or tool that would maybe do what a mini mill would? I would be cutting small precise grooves....light cuts and doing the hole placements for the flutes. It would be so much easier setting this up than the way I am now. (Right now I have a router box which basically will hold my small plunge Dewalt router as I route the small groove in the blank that is help beneath it.....It works good but still needs some tweaks to it.....

  2. #2
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    Don't stop doing something you love because you are "too old". You may have twenty or thirty years still in you. Buy the tool you want.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the encouragement Jamie!

  4. #4
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    I agree 100% with Jamie. Almost 63 doesn’t equal almost done! Go for it!

  5. #5
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    Nov 2013
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    Leland, NC
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    Sure enough, you will be 83 and thinking, darn, I should have bought that mill!

    Besides, even if you get flattened by a semi next month you would have enjoyed using it a few times at least.

    I am now almost 70, I bought my mini mill about a year ago. It is from Micro Mark. I upgraded it with digital readouts, an air spring and made a bunch of tooling for it. Best darn thing I have done in a long time. It is way better than my old drill press. Lots of stroke so I can go from a counter sink to a large drill without having to jack the table up and down. Power? WOW! Mine has a brushless DC motor on it. I can put a 2 inch forstner bit in, set the RPM to about 100 and it just torques right thru maple. My old drill press could never run that slow and it would bog down. Life is good, go buy the thing.

  6. #6
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    Thanks a lot guys! Ill check that Micromark Minimill out too!!

  7. #7
    Almost three years ago, at age 63, I built a beast of a CNC router. My plan is to use it for a long, long time. Buy the mill.

    David
    David

    Nothing to do with woodworking at all, just our music at church (I'm the guy with the Koa Takamine) - Go to YouTube and search for Airline Baptist BC - enjoy!
    YouTube Woodworking Channel for David Falkner (just search for me by name)
    Romans 3:23

    Etsy shop - CurlyWoodShop

  8. #8
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    Mar 2014
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    Ditto. I will be 76 this summer and just invested in a large 4x4 foot CNC router with high speed spindle. Phasing out my laser work or at least incorporating it into my router projects. All my toys are paid for, even the Honda ATV I purchased a couple months ago!

    It beats sitting in the retirement home waiting for the next game of Bingo!
    Retired Guy- Central Iowa. , LightObject 40w CO2 Laser and Chiller, MakerGear M2 3D Printer. Fine Line Automation 4x4 CNC Router- Mach4 ESS

  9. #9
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    Nov 2013
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    Getting older and retiring/semi retiring should be about enjoying life. I have discovered that a lot of the things that I thought were important, not so much. Some of the things I used to enjoy doing have become more work than they are worth nowadays. A fer instance: enjoyed fishing a lot, did quite a bit of it, but these days maintaining a boat is not all that interesting to me. As they say, been there, done that.

    I much prefer things that I can just walk out the door and do without a lot of preparation. One of those things is playing ball with Murphy (he is the guy in the avatar). Labs love to retrieve, it is what they do. He is also old enough now that he enjoys just laying around in the grass and enjoying the weather. Works for me! I don't lay in the grass though. I will head out to my shop with no clue as to what I will do when I get there. Maybe just do something to make things better, build a box, do a "honey do" project. My shop is fairly small but it packs a big wallop. Great workbench, table saw, lathe, drum sander, radial arm saw, band saw, mini mill and a 3X4 cnc router that I built about 6 years ago. The shop is 14X28, air conditioned and heated. Internet access, tunes and other creature comforts. Plenty of windows too. I spend a lot of time out here.

    My point is that when a person retires they should set things up so they are enjoying life. My wife and I put in a simple patio under our favorite shade tree, we spend lots of time relaxing there. This is our last home so if we want to make something the way we want it, we could care less if some real estate agent thinks that will make it harder to sell. (real estate agents want to make it easier for them to sell it obviously).

    Anyway, I have to run along, Murphy just came in the shop with a ball and pine cone. Off we go!

  10. #10
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  11. #11
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    Late to this thread, but I wonder if another option is something like the Woodrat. It is nothing more than a way to hold your router while moving the piece underneath. Put a digital readout on it and you have a pretty easy/precise indexing system.

    My concern with small machinist type equipment (I have a small 3-1 machine) would be total travel (wondering if a flute would be too long for that x/y table you show.

  12. #12
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    Yes that or something similar would be a better suggestion. It is a little pricey for me right now so Ill have to make do.Or maybe come up with a shop made "something". Yes the machinist type equipment wouldnt have enough travel for the most part...

  13. #13
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    For the price of the Woodrat you could have decent small CNC router. Just remember some of the Chinese stuff may have a table size you need, the actual work area may be lots smaller.
    Retired Guy- Central Iowa. , LightObject 40w CO2 Laser and Chiller, MakerGear M2 3D Printer. Fine Line Automation 4x4 CNC Router- Mach4 ESS

  14. #14
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    Feb 2003
    Location
    Hayes, Virginia
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    Mike,

    Many years ago I sold my drill press and purchased a Grizzly bench mill. The bench mill takes care of more projects than I could ever have done with just a drill press. Based on the type of work I do this has served me well and I can't imagine ever owning a drill press again. My situation is probably unique but it works for me, the mill gives me lots of both woodworking and metalworking capability beyond what a normal drill press can accomplish. A couple years ago I purchased a power feeder for the mill, it wasn't something I needed I just wanted the convenience. Because I make signs I work in a variety of materials, plastic is about 75% of my work material.

    Between my bench mill and my little 7 by 14 metal lathe I am able to make custom things I can't purchase and repair things reasonably fast.

    FWIW my bench mill is over 500 pounds so had to fabricate a heavy duty stand for it, can't imagine it sitting on a bench

    Buy the mill, there will be a hundred things that you can do with it that your not even thinking about.

  15. #15
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    Mar 2010
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    Laurinburg NC
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    That sounds great.Will consider it for sure!

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