Our team just received some funding from one of our sponsors who is helping us clean out our shop and refurbish all of our old tools. Right now our Mill just broke and we are looking to purchase a new one for our shop. What is the cheapest best quality stand up mill for our team to buy for metal and wood working?
These two things don’t usually go together. There have been many threads on the subject on these forums. What is your budget?
If I had to pick one that is cheapest and best quality, probably a used Taiwan-made Bridgeport-style knee mill that has been taken care of, that is in your local area. But, if you have to purchase new, the options change.
What budget range are you in?
Our budget is around $6,000.
Since you are in Sacramento, you might contact the Kennedy Robotics team (3250). I know they have a very nice shop setup at their school and they could probably help with some local advice. This would be especially useful if you were to decide to stretch your money by looking at used machinery.
$6,000 is not bad. In fact, you could do pretty well with that. You could just about do a new Chinese knee mill for that price, or a new smaller knee mill and new smallish lathe, or a couple of used machines. You have some options.
Old Bridgeport off of Craigslist if you have someone that can look at the machine and knows the signs of a good machine. You can get a SWEET mill for 6k buying old iron.
I’ve never really seen a bad Bridgeport style manual mill. Chinese or Domestic, old or new as long as its not totally worn out or rusted it’s usually fine. I’d avoid any mill smaller than a Bridgeport. Not all of them are bad but they can be hit or miss. If your going to put all the work into buying, moving and installing a new machine get something that will flexible rather than potentially limiting.
Can’t comment on new Chinese but if you call up Gary Aragon down in San Leandro (which is a fair distance away) then he can get a good price on a quality used one (American-made). Last I checked he had a variable speed head Bridgeport with a DRO for about $3,000, leaving you some money to buy a pneumatic toolchanger. Usually he seems to be buy and sell them at a rate of 3-4 per week so you won’t have to wait long to get a good one.
Having a machinist go down to evaluate before buying is wise, but Gary is a nice guy and you can test anything under power.
I second this, Gary is a good guy and 1678 has bought several machines from him. Let him know its for educational use and he is far more willing to work with you on the price.
+5 for Gary Aragon. A start-up I interned at bought a CNC retrofit Bridgeport-style mill from him, and we ended up getting some well-priced used tool holders as well. It’s been a few years, so I don’t remember exact numbers.
Team 3134 3275 have a grizzly. We have used it for class and robotics for 2 years and no problems. Solid machine for the price plus it has power feed and a dro.
You will need tooling and a machine vice. Probably another 500 to 1000 dollars. Unless you still have some from the old mill.