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  1. #1
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    Default Looking for a Mill

    I am thinking of buying a mill, about the size of a Sieg X2 or X3 or Sieg Super X3.

    I know everyone always tells you bigger is better but that is about the size I can squeeze in to my shed.

    I would love to hear your pro's and con's of these machines!

    Have a great new year.

    Ratty 05/2004 -05/07/2010 COOPER 01/08/1998-31/01/2012

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  3. #2
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    Hi 460,

    Hey at the end of the day you have to be able to fit it in your shed! I know little about Sieg machines but I have only heard good reports about them.

    From memory the Super X3 has a few extra features such as swivel head/column but little else and is quite a bit more pricey. Not sure of your budget but I would buy as big as you can fit. Definitely go to a sieg dealer and have a play with one and then compare to other brands of a similar size. Have a look at a brand called Optimum, they are still made in China but under license from a German company, they may be worth a look too.

    Cheers,

    Simon

  4. #3
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by wm460 View Post
    I am thinking of buying a mill, about the size of a Sieg X2 or X3 or Sieg Super X3.

    I know everyone always tells you bigger is better but that is about the size I can squeeze in to my shed.

    I would love to hear your pro's and con's of these machines!

    Have a great new year.
    I looked at the Siegs when I first decided to buy a new mill but decided against it after reading reports on the net. A lot of people said that one of these would be disappointing in the long run unless you were only interested in model work. The Sieg is used a lot for CNC conversion tho.

    In the end it is what you want to do with it and how much room you have that is important.

    Dean

  5. #4
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    Default

    > I would love to hear your pro's and con's of these machines!

    I bought an X3 in 2004 and still have it and still like it. I would not hesitate to buy it again, I think it is very good value. But mind you, most I do are smallish jobs. Like all Sieg machines, you have to put in some time and work to make it into a good machine. I started by stripping it to pieces, cleaning, deburring, correcting, putting back together, aligning everything.... Then I added a DRO... And after having used it 5 years I replaced the noisy DC motor and very noisy gearbox with a VFD/belt drive combo. In this same price class (about $1500) the only real alternative is a Chinese RF mill/drill clone. These are twice as heavy as the X3 and have twice the motor power, but are a more basic design, rougher built, almost agricultural, but durable, lack variable speed, and better suited to larger / coarser type of work. The X3 is in comparison more refined and better suited to smallish and more accurate work. Keep in mind that you are likely to spend in the first year again as much as for the
    mill itself, on tooling and accessories.

    If you are limited only by size (and not by funds), have a look at the German Wabeco mills. Prices start at about $3k ex factory, plus about $500 for airfreight and GST (you buy these direct from factory in Germany via ebay). Chris

  6. #5
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    The Sieg X3 from H&F is $1749 which is just $1 less than I paid for my mill which is 2hp, 240 X 800mm table and a geared dovetail column. It weighs about twice as much and also has a rotating head and table. Tooling will be more expensive tho.

    These specs are another reason why I went with this one. This was the only dovetail column unit I could find in my price range with this sort of capacity.

    Is the X3 head lifted by the angled handwheel on the base?

    Dean

  7. #6
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    Default

    I have a mill about the same size as the Seig X3, and it's very capable.
    I won't be skimming my Falcon's cylinder head on it.

    Jordan

  8. #7
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    Default Sieg Mills

    Quote Originally Posted by cba_melbourne View Post
    > I would love to hear your pro's and con's of these machines!

    I bought an X3 in 2004 and still have it and still like it. I would not hesitate to buy it again, I think it is very good value. But mind you, most I do are smallish jobs. Like all Sieg machines, you have to put in some time and work to make it into a good machine. I started by stripping it to pieces, cleaning, deburring, correcting, putting back together, aligning everything.... Then I added a DRO... And after having used it 5 years I replaced the noisy DC motor and very noisy gearbox with a VFD/belt drive combo. In this same price class (about $1500) the only real alternative is a Chinese RF mill/drill clone. These are twice as heavy as the X3 and have twice the motor power, but are a more basic design, rougher built, almost agricultural, but durable, lack variable speed, and better suited to larger / coarser type of work. The X3 is in comparison more refined and better suited to smallish and more accurate work. Keep in mind that you are likely to spend in the first year again as much as for the
    mill itself, on tooling and accessories.

    If you are limited only by size (and not by funds), have a look at the German Wabeco mills. Prices start at about $3k ex factory, plus about $500 for airfreight and GST (you buy these direct from factory in Germany via ebay). Chris
    Chris
    I have often looked at these mills & wondered about their capacity to end mill steel components.
    The demos & videos viewed seem to demonstrate with Aluminium or Plastic.
    Have you done much end milling with a large end mill cutter on steel or cast iron.
    I have a Hercus model O mill & often desire to drill & space holes accurately. The Hercus does not have the sensitivity of a hand held downfeed for small drills. If the Sieg mill could handle the milling along the lines of the Hercus I might consider it, because it would offer more scope. I do like the vertical dovetail to keep things in alignment for example when changing drill chucks & or drills diameters etc.
    The Wabeco mills are another alternative. However I am interested to get your comments based on your experience with the Sieg.
    regards
    Bruce

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oldneweng View Post

    Is the X3 head lifted by the angled handwheel on the base?

    Dean
    Yes. In practice, I mostly use this graduated handwheel for precise downfeed and for plunging. The quill downfeed of the X3 does not have a worm drive for precise downfeed like the SuperX3 has.

    That said, I have fitted my X3 with a Shumatech 550 DRO. This DRO allows to sum (add/substract) the input of two scales. I use 4 scales. X and Y are self explaining. Then I have two z scales, one attached to the quill, the other one to column up/down feed. This means I can use the quill to quickly position the cutter, and the head up/down for fine adjustment, and the DRO will always display these two movements as one single figure, like distance from tip of cutter to workpiece. Works perfect for me. Chris

  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by cba_melbourne View Post

    If you are limited only by size (and not by funds), have a look at the German Wabeco mills. Prices start at about $3k ex factory, plus about $500 for airfreight and GST (you buy these direct from factory in Germany via ebay). Chris

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for pointing these mills out, alot more than I wanted to spend but sounds like these are precision machines not like chinese manufactured mills/lathes.

    I couldn't find any of these Mills on E bay, but found these in the UK from
    PRO Machine Tools Limited, sent them a email about the freight.I am guessing that the 3 axes Autofeed, high speed motor is for a CNC mill.


    WABECO MACHINE PRICES Jan 2012 CNC lathes and Mills in UK

    Price ex-VAT inc [email protected]%
    Milling machines
    11200 F1200E Milling machine £2,140.00 £2,568.00 AU$ 8,599
    11201 F1200E with 3 axes Autofeed £3,830.00 £4,596.00
    11202 F1200E with high speed motor £3,350.00 £4,020.00



    http://www.emcomachinetools.co.uk/Li...id=193&mid=636

    Ratty 05/2004 -05/07/2010 COOPER 01/08/1998-31/01/2012

  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by cba_melbourne View Post
    Yes. In practice, I mostly use this graduated handwheel for precise downfeed and for plunging. The quill downfeed of the X3 does not have a worm drive for precise downfeed like the SuperX3 has.

    That said, I have fitted my X3 with a Shumatech 550 DRO. This DRO allows to sum (add/substract) the input of two scales. I use 4 scales. X and Y are self explaining. Then I have two z scales, one attached to the quill, the other one to column up/down feed. This means I can use the quill to quickly position the cutter, and the head up/down for fine adjustment, and the DRO will always display these two movements as one single figure, like distance from tip of cutter to workpiece. Works perfect for me. Chris
    I thought that was the case but wasn't sure. Thanks for the explanation. Mine has the head lift handle on the side of the column which appears to be the most common location. After cranking it right up and down today to oil everything and adjust the jib I started thinking about a power lift mechanism. I think it would need something better than the motors discussed in the "Power Feed on Mill/Drill" thread lol.

    A DRO at least on the Z axis is something I will think about in the future when finances allow.
    Dean

  12. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by wm460 View Post

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for pointing these mills out, alot more than I wanted to spend but sounds like these are precision machines not like chinese manufactured mills/lathes.

    I couldn't find any of these Mills on E bay, but found these in the UK from
    PRO Machine Tools Limited, sent them a email about the freight.I am guessing that the 3 axes Autofeed, high speed motor is for a CNC mill.


    WABECO MACHINE PRICES Jan 2012 CNC lathes and Mills in UK

    Price ex-VAT inc [email protected]%
    Milling machines
    11200 F1200E Milling machine £2,140.00 £2,568.00 AU$ 8,599
    11201 F1200E with 3 axes Autofeed £3,830.00 £4,596.00
    11202 F1200E with high speed motor £3,350.00 £4,020.00



    http://www.emcomachinetools.co.uk/Li...id=193&mid=636
    They are not quite THAT exensive as you quote. You have to search ebay for "wabeco" with the checkbox "worldwide" ticked, they list 6 conventional (not CNC) mills. Or visit their eBay store directly:

    WABECO Maschinen - Drehmaschinen Fräsmaschinen items - Get great deals on items on eBay Stores!

    The cheapest F1200 (1.4kW) lists for AU$ 2,844.55. You can ask for shipping cost to Australia, I asked them 7 years ago whn deliberating between this and the X3, and airfreight was about $400. To this you must add our GST, and the custom broker fee. All up I would guess this mill will set you back just under $ 4k. That is a lot for a machine of only 85kg net weight (or about half the weight of an X3 that costs less than half as much). But you get what you pay for in terms of finish and quality.

    The most expensive F1410 (2kW) lists for AU$ 7.745.06. It has a high speed spindle continuously variable from 100 to 7,500 rpm, no belt or gear changes necessary. But it is still only 127kg net weight. Wabeco mills are made for accurate small jobs, things like building model engines and clocks, or instrument work. Certainly not to do full size car cylinder heads. Chris

  13. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Abratool View Post
    Chris
    I have often looked at these mills & wondered about their capacity to end mill steel components.
    The demos & videos viewed seem to demonstrate with Aluminium or Plastic.
    Have you done much end milling with a large end mill cutter on steel or cast iron.
    I have a Hercus model O mill & often desire to drill & space holes accurately. The Hercus does not have the sensitivity of a hand held downfeed for small drills. If the Sieg mill could handle the milling along the lines of the Hercus I might consider it, because it would offer more scope. I do like the vertical dovetail to keep things in alignment for example when changing drill chucks & or drills diameters etc.
    The Wabeco mills are another alternative. However I am interested to get your comments based on your experience with the Sieg.
    regards
    Bruce

    > Have you done much end milling with a large end mill cutter on steel or cast iron.

    Bruce, depends how you define a large endmill . Most I do is Aluminium and Stainless, but I had no problems with Steel and cast iron. It may give you an idea knowing that the vast majority of my cutters are 12mm and smaller. I own no endmill larger than 18mm. The majority of things I make could as well be done on a mill the size of a minimill, or indeed in a lathe. For me, the X3 has plenty of rigidity and power reserve. I would recommend the X3 for things like model engine or clock making. The X3 I have is the one with long table but the early short column. There are several X3 size combinations on the market, as well as metric or imperial leadscrews, and MT3 or R3 spindles. Good to know before you buy.

    > If the Sieg mill could handle the milling along the lines of the Hercus I might consider it, because it would offer more scope. I

    I cannot compare the X3 with your Hercus-0 mill, I have never seen one life. But I think a very good yardstick to compare rigidity and capability of a mill is its weight. Sure, better materials and better workmanship can change the comparison one size up or down, but a 300kg mill will always be more rigid than a 150kg mill.

    Another way to get a feel is maybe this: in terms of "percieved rigidity" and cutting capability, I would compare the X3 with my Hercus 260 lathe. Both have about the same weight, both have about the same motor power, both can remove metal at about the same rate, both will chatter if one overdoes depth of cut. Chris

  14. #13
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    If interested, an illustrated two part .pdf article on my VFD modification for the X3 can be found here:
    8x18_Lathe : 8x18_Lathe

    You got to join the group, then go to files, its the two files at the bottom of the list named:
    X3_VFD_Part1_version2.pdf and X3_VFD_Part2_version2.pdf

    Chris

  15. #14
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    Default Thanks for Info

    Chris
    Thanks for this info on the Sieg X3.
    your answers from an experienced owner of a Sieg mill has convinced me that it would be a mill adequate for my purposes.
    Most of the End Mill jobs I do are also 12 mm 1/2" dia & smaller.
    Occasionally I will use a fly cutter, or a 3/4" dia End Mill but this is pushing things somewhat with a Hercus Mill.
    Also as a satisfied owner of a Hercus 260 lathe (22 yrs) I can relate to what you mentioned about capabilities.
    A lot of times I need a sensitive drilling, repeatable set up, using small dia drills & the Sieg sounds the go.
    It was also interesting to learn from you about the availability of imperial leadscrews. This is what I would go for if I proceed with the Mill.
    Thanks so much for your assistance.
    regards
    Bruce

  16. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Abratool View Post
    Chris
    Thanks for this info on the Sieg X3.
    your answers from an experienced owner of a Sieg mill has convinced me that it would be a mill adequate for my purposes.
    Most of the End Mill jobs I do are also 12 mm 1/2" dia & smaller.
    Occasionally I will use a fly cutter, or a 3/4" dia End Mill but this is pushing things somewhat with a Hercus Mill.
    Also as a satisfied owner of a Hercus 260 lathe (22 yrs) I can relate to what you mentioned about capabilities.
    A lot of times I need a sensitive drilling, repeatable set up, using small dia drills & the Sieg sounds the go.
    It was also interesting to learn from you about the availability of imperial leadscrews. This is what I would go for if I proceed with the Mill.
    Thanks so much for your assistance.
    regards
    Bruce
    Thats one happy customer sorted. Now what about the OP?

    Some very useful information Chris, for anyone trying to decide what to buy. It is always about space, money and what you need to do with it. You have covered the latter very well. You have even convinced me that I have bought the right machine for my purposes. As I said I looked at the Siegs (X3 actually) but decided it was not big enough. The WABECO mills sound like a nice bit of equipment. Making model engines including steam, which is one thing I am interested in would be much easier and more fun with one of these I am sure. It is not going to happen tho.

    Dean

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