Metal Milling Machine

There’s been some discussion recently about getting a manual metal milling machine for the space. I think this would be very useful personally.
I’ll ask for this to be made a wiki post if possible so that others can edit it.

I’ve tried to combine all the bits of info we’ve had on telegram so far onto this post so it doesn’t get lost.

  • Ideally we’d like a DRO (Digital Read Out) on the device
  • A bench sized mill, or one that comes in two parts (cabinet underneath) would be easier to get through the door
  • A manual mill to start with, we can worry about CNC attachments later on.
  • Not a fancy drilling machine, but a proper mill.

Size Issues

One thing to consider with 2nd hand machine is the overall size.
The typical height of a firedoor is around 1981mm or 1.9m
A lot of the larger milling machines on ebay tend to be around 2.1 meters high

I think in some cases you can loosen the bolts on the front of the turret to get the turret to swing down
but with older bridgeports you have to be careful not to strip gears if twisting the head more than 15 degrees

One idea might be to temporarily store the machine just outside the lift entrance area on the ground floor (this is on the other side of the elevator doors from the hackspace)
if we still have access to that area.
I think it was originally padlocked off with a code which we might still have (unless it’s been changed)
Then use that as a way of disassembling the machine for transport into the space.

Bench Mills

for this reason a smaller bench style mill may be better for fitting through the door
these I think come in two parts

  • A Base which is a sort of cabinet / container.
  • The main top unit which needs to be lifted on top of the base

We have some steel scafolding, supports bars and planks that I brought in for painting the ceiling. I’ve also got a block and tackle at home I was planning on bringing in anyway at some point
so we might be able to use this to get the top unit onto the top of the base


Delivery is an important consideration with the weights involved.
I think for new devices they typically charge around £100 for the delivery.
For a 2nd hand machine depending on it’s size renting vehicle large enough is one thing to think about.

The slingsby we have can lift around 2.5tons / 2500Kg

Pledge Run

I think we can only spend around £500 of the £1000 on a new mill.
So we’d have to do a pledge run to make up the difference.

  • Hackspace Fund £500
  • Garlicbread / Richard. £380
  • Mike - £150
  • Stephen - £250
  • Bob - £50
  • Mark - £50
  • Total - £1380

Links so far


2nd hand

Other Items

this is about as close as I’ve found to something with a DRO we might be able to afford that’s new / bench size
At around £1,820.00 although I’m not sure if that includes delivery

This looks nicer but is around £2,331.00 with a DRO
and also needs £102 delivery

So far I’ve not tried emailing anyone on these or anything yet

Bearing in mind these are new machines

So I spotted this one recently

Also posted this on telegram
I asked the following

  1. Do you know if this machine can be used as a manual mill as well as a CNC? (I’ve noticed the handles on the front)
  2. Do you have any indications of size / weight? (Is it something that would fit in a van / taillift luton for example)
  3. Can the machine on top be lifted off the cabinets underneath?

Reply Back:

Yes it can be used manual, it can break down into the mill/the white enclosure/the base. I’d say 400kg all in!
Taillift van would be fine!

There’s been a few bids on it, looks like it just jumped up to £1,220.00
So I’m guessing we probably won’t manage it, since I’m not even sure if anyone else is putting anything else in yet towards it
Have to wait and see

another option, pasted from the meeting

Latest find by Alex

Elliot p1, 3 phase, 2 days 21hours left for bid
It’s in Barnstaple North devon

chat on telegram (23/12/20) regarding this issue highlighted some issues with a large industrial (bridgeport type) mill:

  1. size will add costs to delivery and make future moves (of space) more difficult and costly
  2. as the largest machine in the space, such a mill has a high risk profile would require a new level of training – something that has caused problems with the lathe(s) in the past
  3. the machine itself could be expensive, requiring £1,000+ in pledges, which could be hard to obtain before april 2021
  4. someone will need to take on the job of scanning the market for a (good condition) second hand mill, negotiating a price, and organising delivery. given the time constraint, this could prove to be a blocker

the impression from the board is that these would count against the £500 application

OK folks, we have the £500 grant approved towards the cost of the mill. The rest must come from pledges.

Pledge money must be IN THE HACKSPACE ACCOUNT BY 19 FEB 2021 (detail to follow)

Having looked at various machines around Xmas, and following some debate on Telegram (see above) I am leaning towards a new benchtop-mounted machine a la Blondihacks.

Her mill is from Precision Matthews in the US and seems well specced. In Richard’s list above, we have some very similar machines available here, both in appearance and spec.

We need to act fast
Given the deadline for money, we need to settle on a machine. I intend to run up a quick Google sheet comparing the key information to which people can add potential models for consideration. Input is welcome, but it must be constructive.

We need solutions, not problems, so if you think something is a bad idea, you should ideally provide a better solution, taking into consideration our time and budget pressures (see below).

It is my hope to have chosen a mill by 31 Jan.

Cost and pledges
If we want a new machine, we’re looking at around £1300. If we want a digital readout, that will be more like £1800. At time of writing we have £1200 pledged, so will need some more. Potentially a lot more.


  • Time is our enemy
  • If you can pledge money towards the mill, please do so
  • Stay tuned for an update re. machine choices
  • If you have opinions about what mill we should buy, speak up now

Current pledges:

  • Hackspace Fund £500
  • Garlicbread / Richard. £380
  • Mike - £150
  • Stephen - £250
  • Bob - £50
  • Mark - £50
  • Total - £1380

Any more pledge money is welcome and will be spent on tooling (vice, collets, cutters, workholding) (which is an additional cost).

I’m posting here for the benefit of those not on Telegram, as that’s where most chat happens.

Last week, themembers agreed to buy the Emvio EMV-25 mill, which we did. It should arrive next week and one of us (probably me) will be on site to receive it.

This has almost cleaned us out, financially, but we still need some tooling.

Thanks to a couple of generous donations, we have a vice and DTI. Stephen has kindly volunteered to make us an edge finder. We need:

  • some cutters
  • the relevant R8 collets to hold them (long-term plan is to get an ER collet set)

We can then make some of the relevant workholding tooling in the mill, but also using the lathe.

If anybody has any ideas for any more items, (bearing in mind that we will have to cover the cost personally) feel free to add them here or on Telegram.

I’m working to make money on the Roland CNC Mill in order to cover the cost of getting it working again. Maybe, there are items you can make on the new mill that can be sold to cover the cost of further upgrades.