Mini Mill or Alternative Method

Flute Maker

Mike
User
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.....
 

ScottM

Scott
Corporate Member
DQ
IMHO.....First of all 63 is not that old. I an not sure on the quality but an online search found some around $500. If you really need it, go for it and call it an investment.
 

Roy G

Roy
Senior User
DQ
Mike, you could look into an X-Y table and a drill press. This would work just like a mill but only for wood. Not stiff enough for metal.

Roy G
 

Tom from Clayton

tom
Senior User
63 is just starting to warm up. I'm 73 and when I was 63 I started looking at how to do the things I've always done but easier and smarter. If you can swing it, buy the mini-mill that works for you for, at least the next 10 years or so.
 

mkepke

Mark
Senior User
DQ
What do you make your flutes out of?

Unless the hole layouts are custom for each flute, it seems to me you might want something like a small CNC machine...

-Mark
 

Flute Maker

Mike
User
What do you make your flutes out of?

Unless the hole layouts are custom for each flute, it seems to me you might want something like a small CNC machine...

-Mark
They are made out of alll kinds of wood.I dont think I cold swing the CNC machine right now. One guy on another form mentioned the Micro Mark milling machine.He bought it and loves it.. Thanks a lot everybody!....
 

Flute Maker

Mike
User
Mike, you could look into an X-Y table and a drill press. This would work just like a mill but only for wood. Not stiff enough for metal.

Roy G
Ill check out the xy table...I had thought of that a while back...maybe time for that
 

awldune

Sam
User
WRT to an XY table on the drill press, be aware that the taper on the chuck will disengage when subjected to side loads.

You need to be very gentle and take "small bites" to avoid the chuck falling off. This can be rather alarming and conceivably dangerous (mostly to your workpiece) when it happens. Don't ask me how I know! :p

I have the G1064 and find it to be sort of OK once it has been disassembled, cleaned, and tuned up. https://www.grizzly.com/products/Grizzly-4-Cross-Sliding-Vise/G1064
 

bobsmodels

Bob
Senior User
I second Sam's comment on the chuck problem. If you can find an Old Craftsman Drill press with the thin belts made in the '70's or a Powermatic 1100 they have a Jacobs 633-C chuck. It has a standard 33 taper but with a collar that screws on the spindle holding the chuck on. That way you can do side loads, maybe you can get dual use from one tool. Craftsman used to sell an arbor for 1/2" shaper cutters. Delta or Atlas had a table that looked like a shaper / router table that you clamped on the drill press table. That drill press served as my milling machine, shaper / router for many years. Now it is just relegated to a Drill Press.

BTW I just turned 72 and added a nice multipurpose Horizontal / Vertical mill to my machine shop area, figure with a little luck I will get 10 -15 years out of it.

Good Luck with your projects

Bob

chuck-633c.jpg
 

Flute Maker

Mike
User
The little grooves I would make on my flutes arent any deeper than a 1/32" and maybe 1" to 2" long. A lot of traditional makers just use a sharp knife.I do a much better neater job with my router. An xy axis vice I think would be good in helping with hole placement though I really am doing fine like I am I always want to make something a tad better ...besides being a tool junkie! lololol! Oh I forgot I would sort of flatten the top of the flute where the groove goes.I can do some of this with a scraper for the most part..
 

Flute Maker

Mike
User
Almost 62? ROFLMAO son 79 here
I second Sam's comment on the chuck problem. If you can find an Old Craftsman Drill press with the thin belts made in the '70's or a Powermatic 1100 they have a Jacobs 633-C chuck. It has a standard 33 taper but with a collar that screws on the spindle holding the chuck on. That way you can do side loads, maybe you can get dual use from one tool. Craftsman used to sell an arbor for 1/2" shaper cutters. Delta or Atlas had a table that looked like a shaper / router table that you clamped on the drill press table. That drill press served as my milling machine, shaper / router for many years. Now it is just relegated to a Drill Press.

BTW I just turned 72 and added a nice multipurpose Horizontal / Vertical mill to my machine shop area, figure with a little luck I will get 10 -15 years out of it.

Good Luck with your projects

Bob

View attachment 185592
Bob you should be good to go on that! That is what keeps us all going...just keep pushing ahead!!!! I have one of the older Delta Rockwell multi tool with the drillpress ,table saw and jointer.All works I just use the drill press for the most part.It is built tough and heavy!!

I was looking at this vice. https://www.amazon.com/LeBerry-Compound-Multifunction-Worktable-Drilling/dp/B077SFLXD1/ref=sr_1_29?gclid=CjwKCAjwq-TmBRBdEiwAaO1en_PMgPgs61geIQ0f94kiovkoACzYfWlfGUMCbDQBE9GCMTDQiwLr0BoCneYQAvD_BwE&hvadid=177775442760&hvdev=c&hvlocphy=9010039&hvnetw=g&hvpos=1o3&hvqmt=b&hvrand=3793748921360631868&hvtargid=aud-676677759484:kwd-13646506199&hydadcr=1645_9901543&keywords=milling+vise+for+drill+press&qid=1557789363&s=gateway&sr=8-29
Wonder how good it is ? China made ???
 
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bobsmodels

Bob
Senior User
Mike

Realize any of the inexpensive x-y tables are going to be a "kit". They will not move smoothly. You will need to totally disassemble them, clean them (get all the crud off the sliding surfaces), find all the burrs that cause binding. Then put them back together and set the gibs for the best movement with no play liberal use of oil. I purchased one from a very reputable dealer and spent the better part of a day refitting it. It does not work at the ends, just binds up. However for my application I only need to move it about 4 - 5" and I have that smooth. I really did not want to fool around scraping it in.
It appears that the one you are looking at has 10.4' x travel and 5.3 Y travel, which is very long for this type table, most are 5-6 x axis 2-3 Y axis. How much travel do you need? Being a pessimist from experience I would guess you could get about 8" of smooth travel out of it by cleaning it real good.

Bob
 

bobsmodels

Bob
Senior User
Mike

You might not have noticed but it appears the y axis handle extends beyond the bottom of the unit. either you have it sitting off the edge or up on blocks. All my rotary tables are like this and they sit on the edge of whatever machine table to which they are attached.

Bob
 

nn4jw

Jim
Corporate Member
DQ
I've had the Grizzly G8750 6" x 18 1/2" compound slide table for maybe 5 years. For my purposes it didn't need a lot of degreasing, it has full 12" of travel, and everything is smooth. It's heavy and requires a decent floor model drill press to support it. Even then I have to help support the drill press table when raising or lowering it. You'll also need the correct size clamping kit to attach vises, etc to the t-slots, so count on around $50+ for that. Mike, that's true for the table you are looking at too.

 

TENdriver

TENdriver
User
I may not fully understand the process, but could you build an “over arm router” setup to use in conjunction with the x - y table?

It would seem that any setup would be less of a challenge if it were constructed as a dedicated machine that doesn’t require Swiss Army knife flexibility.
 

nn4jw

Jim
Corporate Member
DQ
Proxxon also makes a compound slide table, KT 70, that has a little more than 5" of travel, is about half the price of the other 2 tables mentioned and is light enough to mount on a bench top drill press. I have one if those too and for something as light weight as a flute might work quite well. Amazon sells that one too.
 

Flute Maker

Mike
User
I may not fully understand the process, but could you build an “over arm router” setup to use in conjunction with the x - y table?

It would seem that any setup would be less of a challenge if it were constructed as a dedicated machine that doesn’t require Swiss Army knife flexibility.
 
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Flute Maker

Mike
User
I may not fully understand the process, but could you build an “over arm router” setup to use in conjunction with the x - y table?

It would seem that any setup would be less of a challenge if it were constructed as a dedicated machine that doesn’t require Swiss Army knife flexibility.
Proxxon also makes a compound slide table, KT 70, that has a little more than 5" of travel, is about half the price of the other 2 tables mentioned and is light enough to mount on a bench top drill press. I have one if those too and for something as light weight as a flute might work quite well. Amazon sells that one too.
Need more travel if used for the hole placement.Would work good for making the groove though.
 

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