The Venerable Mill, Where Would We Be Without It?
Let’s just get right to the facts. Where would we be if someone had never invented the modern milling machine? Everything you can see from your vantage point disappears, just like that. There are very few devices with more than three moving parts that haven’t had at least one of those parts milled.
Milling machines — even used milling machines — offer so much potential to improve productivity, if for no other reason than their total flexibility. In the hands of a seasoned operator, a five horse knee mill has a wide array of capabilities, like 5-sided milling without having to re-fixture the part. Drilling, plunge milling, threading (both inside and outside), literally powering any metal cutting tool that goes around in a circle.
Everything said up to this point is with a vertical milling machine in mind, what about a horizontal milling machine, what can that type of machinery do?
We Got Vertical, Horizontal, Table, Knee, Floor, Bed and Boring, What is it?
It’s got to be a tossup between the lathe and the mill as to which machine tool has more importance in today’s modern production facilities. Both machines have been evolved to a high pinnacle of productivity. Many tend to lean towards the mill because of the incredible number of variations the mill has progressed into. From massive boring mills down to a little table top variety you could use to make jewelry, the milling machine has certainly come of age.
At Jorgenson Machine Tools, milling machines seem to be a constant stream of activity, either coming in, or going out, there’s always a milling machine sitting around the shipping dock. Where a used milling machine for sale is concerned, our selection at any one time can be described as diversified, varied, and at times a bit unusual. At any one given time there are dozens of used milling machines ready for delivery and at other times maybe not so much. We will frequently take in what all involved know is not really a trade-in, but rather a request to move out an older machine to make room for the new.
Put another way, we’ll buy your new machine if you will take this old one away. Not so long ago we accepted a 1945 DoAll band saw for trade in that looked like the head of a saw put on a steel coffee table! We contacted the regional sales person for DoAll when we first got it in, thinking the machine may be worth more because of its age and scarcity. Yeah right, DoAll got back to us eventually, with the response, we probably still have a thousand of these saws active in the field.
Used Mills Are an Investment — Where Might Your Money Best Be Spent?
In the case of used milling machines, about all you have to get right when selecting a mill for a specific job is:
- Is the table big enough?
- Do you have enough travel in X and Y to make your part?
- Is there enough clearance under the spindle with the tooling mounted?
- Do you have the horse power to do the kind of “hogging” you want to do for your face milling?
The beautiful thing of this scenario is we were specifying a mill for a specific job — and that’s all good — but once the job is done for that release of parts, you still have a milling machine sitting there waiting for more work to do. This a machine that has all these capabilities: picture a “universal knee mill” like a Bridgeport mill, just sitting there waiting for something to do. The next problem your shop is going to endure is how to up the scheduling for this mill just to keep it busy. The bigger universal knee mills have 5 horse power drives that will usually provide as much as 2,000 r.p.m., which is fast enough to run a 1/16 drill bit.
There Is Another Unique Characteristic We Haven’t Even Touched On!
Let’s say you have a medium-sized manufacturing facility where you make your own parts and are blessed with a competent maintenance staff (or person). You're perfectly happy going along every day doing your thing, and then one day, there is a loud bang and one of your machines goes down. Son of a gun, you got an output shaft that is now in two pieces and no back up part in house.
You know how this story goes, right? Can’t find the shaft any closer than three working days away. Remember how this story started — the part about a competent maintenance staff or person? Well, hello, super good maintenance engineer! He comes to the rescue by making a close enough shaft out of softer material than the rest of gear set which gets them through until the two new shafts arrive at their facility. So there’s that, parts being cut within a matter of minutes of being needed — that capability is HUGE in the production environment.
One of our salesmen related the following: "I did a little 'thumbnail' survey while I was at a show in Texas sometime before oil took its fall. (For those of you whom my not be familiar with the term, 'thumbnail survey' is simply an informal generally question and answer personal survey of as many folks as you want to include that you conduct yourself.)
"So I’m after the topic 'What is the Future of Manual Machines?' I got to ask a fair number of folks in the three days I was there, what they thought, and was quite surprised by their replies. The replies I got basically fell into two categories: repair [like the scenario we described above], and another one I hadn’t even considered, prototypes.
"The gist of the discussion of the people who had an opinion was that there will continue to be a need for manual machines. Occasionally a programmer will forget to put in an O-ring groove so that rerun goes to the used milling machine rather than back to the CNC milling machine for repair. I had more than one person tell me they could have a part completed from raw material before a CNC programmer could write the program."
For the Best in Used Mills, Go to the Best
We have the best assortment of USED MILLING MACHINES for sale anywhere! Give us a call today for your competitive quote: 801-214-7390 (Info@JorgensonMachineTools.com).
Jorgenson Machine Tools, “Where Service is Second to None!”