Vertical mill in Charlotte area?

fergy

Fergy
Senior User
Does anyone in the Charlotte area have a vertical mill that would be willing to cut two 1/4"x4" slots into two pieces of aluminum channel? Happy to pay for your time; it should be pretty quick.

Feel free to move if there's a better forum for this. It's for a slab flattening jig I'm making, so it's sort of woodworking. :)
 

nn4jw

Jim
Senior User
What a monster! It makes that bandsaw look small. Did you have to repour part of the slab to support that mill?

My wife was pretty sarcastic when I told her I all the sudden need one of those o_O
 

bob vaughan

Bob Vaughan
Senior User
Its a Sharp HMV 10x54 I bought new in 1997. Weighs 3K lbs. Two guys, a few pieces of 1/2" water pipe, and 15 minutes and it was moved about 40 feet inside my shop building. When I built my shop in 1996, I had stronger than usual concrete used along with fiber fill because I knew I was going to be putting in some heavy machines. My LeBlond 15x54 metal lathe weighs at least as much as the mill. I've made a lot of woodworking machine parts with those two machines over the years, but that was the business I was in before I retired.

Because of the fastidious clean-up involved, I rarely use them for wood maybe other than drilling holes precisely.
 

bowman

Board of Directors, Events Director
Neal
Staff member
Corporate Member
Or you can use a drillpress to drill a series of holes in the aluminum channel and then use a flat file to finish the slots
 

Oka

Oka
Corporate Member
If you do, remember to use a coarser file so it does not clog the file.

ANother way I have done this is to use a non ferrous saw blade on a skill saw, then cut the outside edge of the channel slightly less than desired width and depth then cut more inside until it is nearly cleaned out. THen I use a 4 flute end mill on mty drill press to slean it up. Just jig the drill press with some kind of rip guide to set it exactly between the lines. THe mill will work on the drill press if you are only taking a very small cut, just really cleaning and truing it up.
 

fergy

Fergy
Senior User
I actually gave up and just routed it yesterday. It was only a 4" slot, so I just made a template for a guide bushing in some MDF, chucked up a ball-end spiral fluted bit that I didn't need anymore, and cut them. I just clamped the channel and then clamped the template on top. The cost of the sacrificial router bit was less than a metal shop would have charged for milling it. Doing it again I'd go with a 5/16" slot, or drop to a 3/16" bit, so I could do a rough pass and a cleaning pass, but this will work just fine for this project.
 

fergy

Fergy
Senior User
Oh, it's trashed. The final cut I pushed a bit hard and the flutes at the tip are plugged. It's not coming out. I'd have to hammer it out.

And there's that "issue" I ran into where I didn't realize the collet had bottomed out on the guide bushing nut, and couldn't figure out why I couldn't get all the way through the material, or what the smell was...the bushing got hot enough to scorch the MDF. Felt like an idiot when I realized that and switched to a longer bit
 

Tarhead

Mark
Corporate Member
You may want to replace the collet if it got that hot. I made a scraper burnisher out of an old straight router bit. Insert the sharp end into a handle with the correct size hole and epoxy. Use the smooth shank as your burnisher.
 

bobsmodels

Bob
Senior User
Next time slow the cutter down to 1000 rpm or a little less and flood with wd40. You will need to clean up the router a bit but you will get a nice finish. HSS would work at the lower speed.

Bob
 

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