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Can a drill press be used as a mill?


gavino200

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I'd like to be able to do some very basic milling. Nothing more fancy than making small recesses in loco weights to accommodate decoders, capacitors and maybe small speakers. 

 

Would it be possible to place the  loco weight in some kind of clamp and slowly move it around on the base of a drill press to mill out a small rectangle. Is there a good reason not to attempt this? 

 

I'd first drill a hole with the press. Then holding he clamp/holding device, with my hands a good distance away from the drill bit, I'd move the weight around in the x plane to mill the recess. 

 

Anyone ever try this?

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10 minutes ago, gavino200 said:

Then holding he clamp/holding device, with my hands a good distance away from the drill bit, I'd move the weight around in the x plane to mill the recess. 


I highly doubt this‘ll work tbh.

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7 minutes ago, roadstar_na6 said:


I highly doubt this‘ll work tbh.

 

I bet you're right. Can you tell me what you think might happen? Also any idea what the smallest/cheapest setup might be that could do this reliably? 

 

Is it the bit? Or the press/motor/torque capacity that would be the problem.

 

I got the idea from this machine which is described as something you can mill with.

 

https://www.micromark.com/Micro-Make-MicroLux-Precision-Plunge-Router

 

and this

 

https://www.micromark.com/Dremel-Plunge-Router-Attachment

 

 

Edited by gavino200
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I found this interesting video that explains the difference. It also shows how you can convert a press into a mill, but it's for experienced machinists. Way beyond my skill level, but still interesting.

 

 

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1 hour ago, roadstar_na6 said:

I think it’ll just get stuck and rip the thing out of your hands.

 

Yes, considering the forces involved, I think that's likely. I think it would lead to instant tragedy. Having the item securely vice locked in an XY table seems to be the key. Probably more than cutting considerations.

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Drill presses do not have shaft bearings designed for high lateral stresses, while milling machines do. You might prematurely wear out the bearings in the drill press.

 

Rich K.

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Only real issue I foresee is that drill presses don’t have bearings for lateral loads.  They designed for movement along one plan, mills are designed for all. You may find you have slop with your press.

 

Having said that for what you’re talking about doing I don’t see why you couldn’t.

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On 12/12/2020 at 11:46 AM, gavino200 said:

I'd like to be able to do some very basic milling. Nothing more fancy than making small recesses in loco weights to accommodate decoders, capacitors and maybe small speakers. 

 

Would it be possible to place the  loco weight in some kind of clamp and slowly move it around on the base of a drill press to mill out a small rectangle. Is there a good reason not to attempt this? 

 

I'd first drill a hole with the press. Then holding he clamp/holding device, with my hands a good distance away from the drill bit, I'd move the weight around in the x plane to mill the recess. 

 

 

Not made for it but I've seen guys (not live, but end results and video) mill out aluminum with drill press and special bits when making 80% firearms.

 

With the right bits, I am betting that small amounts of milling with the drill press in pot metal and the like in order to put in decoders and other small bits will be ok and wouldn't abnormally wear out your drill press.   You aren't proposing to make whole items this way -- just making small orifices and stuff, right?

 

Edited by chadbag
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1 hour ago, chadbag said:

 

 

Not made for it but I've seen guys (not live, but end results and video) mill out aluminum with drill press and special bits when making 80% firearms.

 

With the right bits, I am betting that small amounts of milling with the drill press in pot metal and the like in order to put in decoders and other small bits will be ok and wouldn't abnormally wear out your drill press.   You aren't proposing to make whole items this way -- just making small orifices and stuff, right?

 

 

Right. Just a small recess to fit a cap, or a small decoder. I got the idea watching Kiran's video of a professional sound decoder install into his TGV trains. It wouldn't have to be anything elegant. Just a rough fit. It would never be seen. 

Edited by gavino200
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