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Used Milling Machine Worth It?

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by SLC_Blades, Jun 18, 2019.

  1. SLC_Blades


    Aug 20, 2018
    Hello everyone! I’ve recently struck a deal on a buying/selling app with a local guy selling a benchtop Grizzly vertical mill. This item retails for $900 and the seller was asking $595 (talked him down to $525). The machine appears to be in great shape and the seller has cited no issues; this price includes some tooling and a vise. Seems like a sweet deal to me, but I don’t know if the machine itself is worth my time.

    I do mostly full tang fixed blades with the occasional hidden tang here and there. I know that this machine is rather underpowered and most likely won’t be making folders anytime soon (correct me if I’m wrong). As a new maker on a relative budget (already have a 2x72 and a home-build HT oven), I feel like this tool wouldn’t be of great benefit to me, despite the fact that I’d love to have it

    Can anyone think of any uses that would warrant me spending the money? Thanks!
  2. Joker66

    Joker66 Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 20, 2014
    If you would like to buy it for the pure joy of buying tools ( which I completely understand ) then it might be worth your money.
    Otherwise, I would wait until I developed a need for a mill, and then go about shopping for one to meet that need.
    Don't buy a tool now and then look for some way to use it.
    It would be a shame to spend that amount on this mill only to find you need a larger one once the actual need for a mill arises.
    If you are new at this you may find you get more mileage out of something else, such as a good drill press or bandsaw.
  3. SLC_Blades


    Aug 20, 2018
    Good things to ponder, thanks for the reply
  4. Marc Cooper

    Marc Cooper

    Apr 7, 2019
    I'd say go for it. That's a good price and a killing machine is a great (and fun) thing to have. I use my milling machine and lathe mainly for making pens, but I do mill an occasional fuller or weird groove.
  5. robwil


    Aug 18, 2007
    It sounds like a worthwhile purchase for starting out using milling to shape pieces. it will give you an opportunity refine your skills with milling, figuring cutting speeds, feed speeds, suitable cutters, mills etc. I think you will continue to find more and more uses for it as time passes. I have wanted one for a long time just to be able to slot guards. It can also shape guards as well. it can make for tight fit up of the guards over sawing/filing guard slots. There may be times you may find yourself in a need for a flat surface on a guard or butt cap that being able to mill can provide. You will always be able to resell it in the future when your in a position to upgrade.
  6. Lieblad


    Jul 24, 2015
    Grizzly machines, you get what you pay for..
    Said that, they can be a great hobby size machine.
    Underpowered is somewhat relative, if its bogging down, you can always back off on its feed... :)
    I would look it over good and check it for run-out before buying.
  7. Kali4nia


    Aug 12, 2015
    For less than 600?!?! Go for it. Milling is an addiction as well!
  8. SLC_Blades


    Aug 20, 2018
    Thanks for the replies! Definitely lots of help. I’ll most likely go through with it, but let’s see how I feel by the end of the day
  9. JTknives

    JTknives Blade Heat Treating www.jarodtodd.com Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 11, 2006
    There you go, I fixed your post. I could not read it’s the text was white.
    Ken H> likes this.
  10. Bill DeShivs

    Bill DeShivs KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 6, 2000
    A small vertical mill is always a good thing to have.
    I have one of the smallest ones made, and I use it for one specific purpose-milling the underside of automatic button-side scales.
    AVigil likes this.
  11. Drew Riley

    Drew Riley

    Oct 17, 2007
    I ended up buying a full sized knee mill, and it's easily one of the (if not THE) most used tools in my shop. I use it for far more than knife making though, and I couldn't imagine not having one now.

    Now, I can't say I'd have nearly as much use for a smaller mill, though if I could only have a small mill or no mill, I'd definitely take the smaller mill. You may be surprise at how useful you find a mill, and you may even end up wanting a bigger one once you start using it more.
  12. Ken H>

    Ken H>

    Dec 31, 2011
    While it's smaller than I'd want, at that price you'll never regret buying the mill. While it's under powered and under sized, that only means you'll be taking smaller and slower cuts, but you can still make the cuts. For folders and guards, I suspect the small mill will work just as good as a large mill. They make a GREAT drill press - just put a chuck in the quill rather than the collets. BTW, it does have R8 quill?
    12345678910 likes this.
  13. JTknives

    JTknives Blade Heat Treating www.jarodtodd.com Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 11, 2006
    I have a smaller “mill/drill” I ditched the pully speed control and belt drive it witha 1hp high rpm motor and vfd. Motor is rated up to 6,000rpm. It’s nicehaving a small mill that I can really crank to 11 with small endmills.
    butcher_block and Ken H> like this.
  14. nosaj750

    nosaj750 KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 28, 2010
    keep the cuts .035 or less and you won't have any issues using carbide. I've made quite a few folders with a Grizzly and still going....
  15. 12345678910


    Jul 13, 2009
    You still haven't mentioned the model number
  16. butcher_block

    butcher_block KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 6, 2004
    got lucky when i found my bridgeport and its a high speed head top speed is 5600 rpm i believe like you said little cutters and carbide endmills love speed

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