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Discussion Starter #1
Anyone familiar with the dremel 18"?
I know it is variable speed, has a tilting table and takes 5" blades, but how does it cut?
Is there a lot of vibration?

What thickness's of wood and brass can it cut and what type of finish does it leave on the edge?
 

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RK,

I rarely make it this far down the forums list.

I bought a Dremel s/s perhaps 25 years ago. It was a piece of tin junk. Noisy--"much ado about nothing"-- and worst, you could bump the head with your hand and tilt the blade off level by a serious amount. I paid a C note for it, and took it back the next day and got my money back. With difficulty. Never paid any attention to Dremel tools since, save their rotaries and certain of their 'drill presses', all of which I bought at garage sales for under $5.

A better tool is the Harbor Freight variable speed bandsaw, IMNSHO, at less money. At least it has a cast iron frame.

Les
 

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RE: dremel 1830 18" scroll saw

Buddy of mine has one that he uses on his scroll saw work. Cut through an inch thick board of ash I gave him. He's been doing stuff for over a year with it and I've heard no complaints. I love the Dremen rotaries, use my 4 all the time. One is in their drill press setup, it's a two speed, my multi-speed plug in is my newest and it works great. I have one of the old straight battery powered ones that is good for slow work. The ergonomic battery unit is fantastic! Use it all the time also.
 

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Jerry,

Not sure if you mean a Dremel scrollsaw or an Asian one, but if you mean Dremel, I imagine they've had a lot of time to redesign.


Cutting through a thick anything doesn't tell a lot about a scrollsaw--what you want is a stable, always-plumb cut, and no vibration to screw things up. In both these areas my early Dremel was a miserable failure.

Les
 

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Jerry,

I forgot to add that I have two Dremel drill presses--both old--that I find useful, and that I am eyeing the 'mini-mill' they offer--but with vast suspicion.


Plus, I have a baker's half-dozen Dremel rotaries, some so old I'm having to think of making collets for them (tells you how well D. supports old stuff, eh?) I certainly didn't intend to down 'em out of hand. They're quite useful in their place.

Les
 

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Discussion Starter #6
RE: dremel 1830 18" scroll saw

I was talking about the Asian one from HF. Funny, my question doesn't show up on my browser. Can you see it?
I have two drill presses one is an old Sears Craftsman,,, about 60 years old to be exact, with some great features like adjust on the fly variable speeds (mechanical not electrical) a locking spindle, forward and reverse, and a foot pedal. Its a bench top model and I use it mainly for milling.
The other is a rockwell (about 22 years old) variable speed. Variable speed but you have to stop it to change the belts. It does have an adjustable table though that works on a pinion gear.
I have two dremel rotary tools, but one of them is misplaced at this time. I like them but on both of them the 1 speed (the slowest) does not work.
 

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Rk,

Yes, I can see your question on my browser.

That old Craftsman was likely made by Atlas--an industrial tool maker. Downgraded somewhat, but still far superior to anything available today at a reasonable price. Take care of it! Keep it cleaned and oiled.

Les
 

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RE: dremel 1830 18" scroll saw

Les,
It's my baby. Works much better than the Rockwell. I adjusted the gibs on the rotary milling table this weekend and found that the chatter I thought was related to the spindle was gone :)
 

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RK,

I want to post to suggest to you not to overload that sturdy, valuable old Craftsman while using it as a mill.

A mill has a much sturdier head and quill assy. A drill press doesn't match up that way because it isn't designed for side loads as a mill quill is. You can wear out that drill fast if you 'crowd' it. Also, a three-jaw chuck, by its nature, isn't designed for side loads either. Accuracy suffers.

Craftsman went through an advertising streak in the 80s to the effect that everything that rotated could also be a sander. They even sold sanding belts for woodcutting bandsaws. You'll note they no longer do this. (Mostly because they're going down the toilet, quality-wise.

As for the chatter that you are pleased at eliminating--as you should be: envision those noises as shocks, because that's what they are. For everything your ear heard, your drill press quill took it on the chin, not having the luxury to dissapate some of the energy into sound waves.

It is very difficult to get across the idea that drilling and milling take energy. If they didn't, who'd throw away his eggbeater drill and buy a drill press? Well, once you have a drill press, you have a machine designed to absorb energy in the vertical direction, in the main. Wobble from unevenly-sharpened drills is accommodated to some extent, else the quill would soon get sloppy and the buyer would get a different brand, next time.

A mill, OTOH, has a heavier quill and bearing support, because side loads are expected and accounted for. But that 'meat' in the form of steel or cast iron which absorbs the energy used by the bit to remove pieces of the material being worked.
Just file a piece, or scrape it by hand, and see how much energy you expend. Multiply that by the speed of the bit being fed into the same material, and you might conclude 'yo, work!' And I left out the energy turned to heat as distracting.

Les
 

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RE: dremel 1830 18" scroll saw

Thanks for the advise Les. I realized that about the drill press long ago. Because it wasn't designed for side loads, I do not mill anything harder than brass and I don't try to push it through quickly. Its what I would call my last resort milling option. If I need that perfect milled cut I will do it in very small increments at very slow feed rates. As soon as I started to notice the chatter, I stopped milling for a long time, and didn't start again till after I tuned up the rotary milling table.
A while back I noticed that the carriage on the milling table had a lot of slop. I didn't attribute the chatter to the slop in the table because I thought it was from the quill. I only noticed it one day as I was clamping a piece on the table to drill holes in a circular pattern and discovered that while I was clamping the piece, the table was moving a little. Needless to say, I didn't drill the pieces, but took the mill table off the press, turned it upside down and discovered that the rotary portion was not moving put one of the the slides was jiggle quit a bit.
I cleaned up the ways a bit and then adjust the gibs until the action was smooth and stable.
The carriage was also a tiny bit loose so I repeated this on the carriage.
After I put the table back on the press, I decided to see how it would do on milling up some 22 gauge brass for the pedestal on my ruby. I was happy to find that there was absolutely no chatter on the milling bit. and that unlike previous experiences the cut width was actually the diameter of the end mill.
The drill press was a gift from my father-in-law about 22 years ago. He and I picked it up along with a craftsman metal lathe (which we sold unfortunately) and a lot of other machining tools that I knew nothing about at the time, from an estate sale in S. Cal. Apparently the guy that owned it was an old army buddy of my father-in-law that passed away that year.
The milling table was already attached to the drill press when I got it, so was the first end mill bit I had ever owned. I'm assuming the original owner used it as a mill, but for the first 5 years I owned it, I took the milling table off and kept it as a curiosity while I used the drill press in my cabinet shop set up to drill holes for the 32 mm hardware I used to install on my cabinets.
It wasn't until I started checking out MLS, that I realized what I had was a milling table. (Believe it or not my father was a machinist but I knew/still know very little about the profession). I dug the milling table up out of storage about 3 years ago, cleaned it up and mounted it to the table.
Unfortunately I loss the hold downs that originally came with it, so I have jerry rigged some.
WAY TOO MUCH INFO,,, I KNOW,,, but my question is
would running small stuff through it at slow speeds be too much of a burden on the quill? As I said, once I tuned the table up, there is no more chatter.
 

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RK,

While your reply is long, it is also heartening. It appears you're open to seasoned advice. I've given up wasting my time trying to point out what I did to you, but hey, sometimes ya gotta try once more.

The first thing I'd like you to contemplate is the purchase of a mill. Just contemplate it, you don't have to explain beans to me. I'll come back later in this post--if I remember!

Now, about the specific question of using that old drill press for a mill:

1) Turn up your bit speed--the smaller the bit, the faster the rpm's. The faster the rpm's the slower you want to 'feed into' that bit. Why, you ask? Won't the bit get hotter, spinning against the metal that way?

Ans: It will if you fail to keep up a steady feed rate, hardly possible with a setup like you have. I know that because I have a Walker-Turner set up with an Asian X-Y table. (I have no shame--couldn't afford the payments on pride when I was young). I've also run Bridgeport IIs a whole bunch. There is no comparison, and the WT is an industrial 1/2" chuck machine. Do you use lube oil on the bit while you're cutting? If not, do it.

Kinda cutting oil? you might ask. Any thing you can find is better than dry cutting. Use motor oil. I use 30wt because I can't get true sulferated cutting oil anymore in less than tank car lots. A gallon would last the rest of my life. You get a can and an acid brush, (i.e. a tin-handled brush) and you fill that can about a quarter-inch full, so when you knock it on the floor, there's less to clean up. You brush that oil on that bit about every ten seconds or so. Keep a puddle ahead of the bit.

2) Do your cutting near the top of the mill bit instead of the tippy end. I believe you can figure out why.

3) There is a definite rotation to that mill bit. Think about this on the bit's level: it is rotating. The teeth are either A: cutting into the material in a 'meeting motion', or B: coming around the long way to 'scrape' off the material as it passes. B is called 'climb milling' and it gives a great finish cut. Use it for your last pass, where the spec is nigh unto a gnat's posterior.

4) for a big mill bit 1/2", or as I'll say, 'five hundred thousandths' (it's all in the inflection ) use a slow mill speed because your 'infeed rate' (the rate you turn that crank to feed material into the bit) will vary because of a lot of reasons. Not TOO slow--you'll come to grief by jamming your material into the bit. That's up to you to figure out. I'd hazard 1,000 rpm is a good median number. (You say, "my drill press doesn't go that fast!" Uh, that's why it's a drill press.) Also note, brass is 'sticky'. It doesn't like to cut clean, or drill clean because it's brass. The harder the brass, the less the problem. Yellow brass, loved by all, is the worst for that. For that, you have to crank up the RPM's and slow the feed rate. And use Tap Magic or my favorite, Kroil. (A shop w/o Kroil is an amateur's shop). A shop with WD40 ... run, don't walk, away.

5) DO NOT BECOME ENAMORED OF THE FINISH YOU GET WITH CLIMB MILLING. Climb milling has a built-in trap: it grabs the material and pulls it into the bit in big chucks, not one of which you'll like. That's why I said to make it your last cut. As an aside, learning to wrap crocus cloth on a mill ******* file will give you enthralling results. (Take if off the machine. Or at minimum, turn the machine off, if you don't want to disturb the setup.) Go ahead: file right up to a spinning bit: you won't do it again until you heal up.

6) I am not one to post 'safety warnings/hazard!'. If you're working with a power tool and don't have a clue and are bereft of a vivid imagination .... well, sucks to be you. NOT my problem.

7) MISC: Think your rotary table is solid? Hmm? Lean on it with the heel of your hand during a practice cut--you do take practice cuts after setting up, just to make sure your mind didn't got OTL, right? NO practiced machinist sets up and starts in w/o a practice cut. Who knows what you forgot? To err is human. To forget is also human. To F**k up is very human. The big thing is, avoid shedding blood.

SUMMARY: Use cutting oil. Lube. It dissipates the heat, mostly. Sometimes it helps with the cut. Don't count on this last.

Want to use that blue-colored, darkened mill bit one more time because they're expensive and you're out? Go ahead. You can always get more metal somewhere. What you learn to do is, run your thumb along the cutting edge, like you were told in Scouts NEVER to do, and gauge the sharpness. You have to learn this. You will develop thicker skin on that thumb while learning.

Your drill press is not stressed to mill, so don't lean on it during a cut. Trust me. If you don't, lean on it anyway and watch your tolerance go to ****.

OTOH, putting 'positive pressure' on your turntable will help keep things going your way. You just have to learn where, and how much. I ran a worn-out Bridgeport for some months using my hip at a certain place on the table that had excessive runout. And a South Bend lathe to keep the infeed honest. It's all in the game. Learn it.

Hope this helps.

Les
 

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Discussion Starter #12
RE: dremel 1830 18" scroll saw

Les,
Thanks again. As I said I know very little about machining, I'm learning though and the info you gave me gives me confidence and concern. I've been using 90wt gear oil for cutting fluid because I can't find real cutting fluid any more either. I use to have a bottle of cutting fluid designed specifically for brass, and I used it all up on door installs back in the 90s. If my memory is right it was red and did not work on aluminum at all.
As for the other tips, I'm going to have to review them a lot before I understand them except of course the purchase recommendations. As far as a new mill goes, I have 2 options, purchase the milling attachment for my new taig lathe or buy a whole new mill. The former is more doable than the later since I already spent too much on the lathe and if I bought a new mill, I might be shopping for a new wife at the same time ;)
 

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RK,

I heartily recommend a stand-alone mill over an attachment for a lot of reasons, the chief one being that no tool does two jobs well. (When discussing mills & lathes).

Wives tend to get over it.


Since for me, even a MM mill + attachments (a mill's about useless unless you nearly double the cost in add-ons) is a heavy expense. So I told my wife I was going to save spare dollar bills that came my way. In a year, perhaps, I'll have one. If not, then longer.

Seriously, think long and hard before you buy an attachment for your lathe to mill with. I know a lot of 'em are out there, but....

Les
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Good advise again Les. I felt similarly when I first choose the attachments for the lathe, but after your comments above I began to reconsider, now I'm certain I won't buy the milling attachment but will think long term on buying a milling machine. Heck, I already have a good 3 axis table and it shouldn't be too hard to fit it to any mill,,, speaking of which, would you mind

This is my milling table. I was thinking of making some jaws or hold downs for it out of wood, but not sure they could stand the stresses of milling. I'm also wondering if its worth it
to keep this on the drill press if I purchase a mill in the future, or to use it on a new mill.



This is my bench top drill press. As you can see from the labels it is made by King-Sealy and I can reduce the bit speed as low as 350. Its in between 350 and 500 right now.
 

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That's a very nice drill press and rotating table you have there. Almost surely, with a mill you'll find a lot of use for it, though it's designed to go on either machine, depending upon what the work at hand requires. Take a look at Micro Mark's indexing table, too. Those are very handy. They're also listed on other small-mill websites. Google 'Mini mills' and you'll find some good ones, or I'll do a lookup and post the links.

Les
 

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Discussion Starter #16
RE: dremel 1830 18" scroll saw

Les,
Thanks again. Question, do you recommend a vice like clamp for the milling table or jaws like the jaws on the lathe chuck?
 

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Rk,

You will almost certainly find a lot of use for a mill vise. The kind that clamp to the mill table. Point of fact, I'd call 'em indispensible. If you can afford a tilting one, that goes up to abt 45deg, that's a nice tool to have, saves resetting the mill head and lots of dorking around. I have two sizes, both Chinese, one is 4" W and the other I think is about 1.5" wide. Be sure you buy the step-block hold-down set, you'll thank yourself in saved effort. Also, spring for the collet & drawbar set--in my case, they'll work on my Asian lathe, too. I suggest you buy the best set you can (the one with the most different sizes of collets) but a good argument can be made for the basic set, so long as all your mill bits will fit in. Right there, you'll increase accuracy quite a bit over using a 3-jaw chuck. And since your Taig likely won't accept a C3 collet (check and see if it will) the basic set, enough to hold your mill bits, should be enough. Every time you simplify your setup, you reduce the chances for error and increase accuracy.

Lastly, on the MM mill (A chinese one, but it has Imperial threads on the X & Y lead screws, thus when you dial in .001" you get it, instead of oh, I think ~ .0065" for the standard metric lead screws). That makes for lots of headscratching, calculations--or you break down and mount a dial indicator to each axis. Incidentally, I'm no fan of these digital readouts, FWIW. You can always add 'em later. You can add the leadscrews later, too, but I'm going to get 'em installed. Talking ~ $100, last time I checked.

You do understand, don't you, that when you get your new mill, you need to disassemble it, scrape out the dead bugs and unlucky chinaman parts, dried cosmoline, and look for out-of-tolerance/sloppy fits, fix them, lube the snot out of everything, and reassemble. Your accuracy will increase. Don't think, like most, you can shake it out of the box, plug it in and start working. You have to clean and adjust it, first. (Called initial setup).

And lastly some more, get one 4" angle block and one or two smaller ones. They're ever so handy for setting up odd-shaped work.

And lastly one more time, they sell an indexing table that works for either chinese mill or lathe, it might fit your Taig, you can write and ask. If you have an indexing table, you have a rotating table that can also 'index' to stop at regular points around a circle. Suppose you wanted to drill eight equally-spaced spokes in a hub for a wheel? There you go. A mill makes a great drill press, but not vice-versa.

If you Google 'mini-mill' you'll find two great sites that'll tell you much about them, from the user's perspective. WARNING: both those site at once show you how to put a larger chuck on your machine. Don't do that. As I've said before, there's a limited amount of cast iron in those little machines, so chucking up some glob of metal with a larger chuck is just asking for wear and sloppy tolerances and problems.

Les
 

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Discussion Starter #18
RE: dremel 1830 18" scroll saw

Les,
I thought it was a bench vise, but a small one. I got it in the same lot, and it is a vice that I can tilt 90 degrees. Its easy to clamp to the milling table. It also has some v slots for holding small round objects.
As far as the indexing tables. I've been checking them out. Keep in mind I'm ignorant of this type of equipment so my observation here is devoid of any true understanding of what I'm looking at, but it looks like an indexing table just has stops built into the either rotation of the handle or the movement of the table. If that's so, then couldn't I fabricate an attachment for current rotating table?
As far as taking a new machine apart and putting it back together, I just figured that was a norm now adays. The last machine I got that didn't need cleaning or tinkering was my Rockwell drill press about 22 years ago.
I've been hesitant to buy a digital caliper. I had a really bad experience when the first digital measuring devices came out about 20 years ago. I got this thing called a smart level with a 6' beam because I used to install a lot of doors and thought it would be handy not to have to read a bubble. Turned out that it wasn't nearly as accurate as my 6' imperial level and there is sits in its nice little yellow pouch to this day collecting dust.
Still, even though I'm only 55, my eyes aren't what they used to be, and I'm having a hard time reading even the 1/64ths on my nice starret calipers, so I'm thinking a digital might not be a bad idea. My dad used to have a really nice set of starret machinist calipers with dial indicators. One of them was shaped like a C clamp if I remember correctly. Unfortunately my younger, not so together brother, got hold of his tool box after he passed away and all have from it are the tools I borrowed from him while he was on his death bed, a starret protractor, small square, and a couple of dividers.
What measuring tools do you recommend. Sorry, if I ask to many questions :)
 

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Posted By rkapuaala on 02/15/2009 5:43 PM
Les,
I thought it was a bench vise, but a small one. I got it in the same lot, and it is a vice that I can tilt 90 degrees. Its easy to clamp to the milling table. It also has some v slots for holding small round objects.

RK:

~Yes, that's what you want, it's called a 'machinists vise'. Keep in mind a mill vise is much lower in vertical profile so the work will still clear the quill. There isn't so much room as on a drill press.


As far as the indexing tables. I've been checking them out. Keep in mind I'm ignorant of this type of equipment so my observation here is devoid of any true understanding of what I'm looking at, but it looks like an indexing table just has stops built into the either rotation of the handle or the movement of the table. If that's so, then couldn't I fabricate an attachment for current rotating table?

~Yes, it is possible to make one. (Someone made the first one, right?) But making an accurate one is difficult. I know you have a rotary table, and that's a good thing in and of itself. The indexing head, as they're called, will mount both vertically and horizontally--that is, it will rotate in two planes, depending upon how you fix it to the mill bed.

As far as taking a new machine apart and putting it back together, I just figured that was a norm now adays. The last machine I got that didn't need cleaning or tinkering was my Rockwell drill press about 22 years ago.
I've been hesitant to buy a digital caliper. I had a really bad experience when the first digital measuring devices came out about 20 years ago. I got this thing called a smart level with a 6' beam because I used to install a lot of doors and thought it would be handy not to have to read a bubble. Turned out that it wasn't nearly as accurate as my 6' imperial level and there is sits in its nice little yellow pouch to this day collecting dust.

~One simply must have a good digital caliper. I don't like 'em (digital) because I'm used to the 'pointer-type' (dial) but my son got me one that would read metric/SAE at the push of a switch. He paid nearly $100 for it wholesale. That is the one item you can't skimp on. I'm told new Starretts are junk now--once they were the benchmark of the trade.

Still, even though I'm only 55, my eyes aren't what they used to be, and I'm having a hard time reading even the 1/64ths on my nice starret calipers, so I'm thinking a digital might not be a bad idea. My dad used to have a really nice set of starret machinist calipers with dial indicators. One of them was shaped like a C clamp if I remember correctly. Unfortunately my younger, not so together brother, got hold of his tool box after he passed away and all have from it are the tools I borrowed from him while he was on his death bed, a starret protractor, small square, and a couple of dividers.
What measuring tools do you recommend. Sorry, if I ask to many questions :)" src="http://www.mylargescale.com/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/smile.gif" align="absMiddle" border="0" />

~No such thing as too many questions. It's a shame you missed out on your father's tools. I'd make sure I had a good, decent micrometer. Sounds redundant, but trust me on this one. You only need one with .001" resolution. A small square is better than a big one for model work. You'll need a 'wiggler' for the mill, but they're cheap. And a 'tell-tale' gauge. That is the nickel-sized, usually yellow-faced little dial thingy reads from 0-.010". The face turns the scale under the needle so you can use it as a +/- indicator. They come in a 'kit' with little arms and swivels, which attach to the main stalk of a magnetic dial indicator holder--that's also their correct name. They're handy as a pocket on a shirt for a lot of things, not the least of which is 'tramming' your mill--making sure the axis of rotation is perpendicular to the bed. I don't know how these mini-mills are set up, but I do know they tilt, so what tilts will need to be set straight again. You do that by chucking (colleting) one arm of this dial gauge into the chuck such that the wiggler's feeler rests on the mill bed. BY HAND, rotate the gauge in a full circle to see which way the head's tilted, and adjust accordingly. Don't despair if it isn't perfect, you can hand-fit if necessary. Also, run the dial indicator down the entire length of the table, from one stop to the other, and see how much droop you get. If it isn't much (.005") don't particularly sweat it unless you plan to be doing a lot of long top cuts. Now run it along one of the T-bolt edges, and see if its square that way. Do it with the infeed table (All these years, I can't remember which is X and which is Y--I do believe Y is the long table)
. On both of these, try lightly to move the tables when they're at both extremes, and note the 'play'. (On the dial.)Take out as much as you can, down to .001" if you can. You might have to do a bit of scraping or stoning, not a dark art, but just be careful. The idea is to make 'em as true as possible throughout their run. It'll be amazing if these cheap little machines don't have a little slop in them, but it won't kill you if you know it's there, you just learn to compensate for it.

Any other questions, feel free to ask away.

Les
 

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Discussion Starter #20
RE: dremel 1830 18" scroll saw

Thanks again Les. You've given me a lot to work on and think about and I feel a little (very little, but enough) more enlightened. Maybe in a couple of weeks or so after I assimilate what we have discussed in this thread, I will have some other questions, but I think I will email you so as not to bore everyone :)
 
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