Marc gets a mill -- refurbished TAIG 2019ER
Wednesday, Mar 1 2017
Last year a friend gave me an old (1940s ???) lathe that – after throwing lots of time and too much money into it – works, more or less. It is a small, benchtop unit, the Craftsman version of an Atlas 618. My trials and tribulations with the lathe are documented here. Of course once you have a lathe you soon find the need to work with out of round stock. When a 4-jaw chuck isn’t enough or you need to cut a pocket you need a mill.
But I didn’t need a big mill. I started looking at the mini-mills. Most seem to be made by Sieg to various specifications and sold by Harbor Freight, Grizzley, and The Little Machine Shop among others. To get what I wanted was going to cost more than I wanted to pay. Then I discovered TAIG.
The Taig mill is made in the US and it has all the features I want. But… it still cost more than I was willing to pay. Lucky for me lots of Taig owners are updating their manual mills to the CNC versions. One version of the update includes a swap of parts. Taig takes the returned parts and adds new XY tables, new lead screws, and I don’t know what else to turn them into a refurbished manual mill. It sells at about a 40% discount to new. SOLD.
The mill came with everything needed to start cutting metal: Mill, Vice, Collets, a few End Mills, etc. I set up the mill and aligned the Z-axis column to the XY table. Then I attached the small vice to the table and got it aligned to less than 0.001". I could have done better, but I was anxious to do a test cut.
It works. It works well. Only down side is tool size – the mill uses an ER16 collet which maxes out at 10mm (3/8"). I don’t think this will be an issue for my intended use. The mill came with inch sized collets. I ordered set of 1 to 10 mm metric collets in 1 mm increments. They will let me hold any size tool up to 10 mm in diameter.
I wish the 65+ year old lathe worked as smooth as the mill.