patgizz
patgizz PowerDork
3/29/14 3:14 p.m.

i have a big stand on the floor drill press. it has 16 speeds from 220rpm to 3840rpm.

i also have a very nice machinist's vise mounted on it, which works like one would expect, awesome, but i've never used it more than making it easy to drill multiple holes fast without moving the material in the jaws.

could i buy some end mills and chuck them up in the drill press, set to X rpm(not sure, educate me here), and use them to assist me in milling things like alternator brackets out of scrap pieces of aluminum? if this is possible would it also mill mild steel?

i don't have budget or room to buy a mill, but have several parts that i would love to make for my car without paying someone else to do them.

jimbbski
jimbbski HalfDork
3/29/14 3:17 p.m.

A "normal" drill press is not ridged enough to mill on. There are some that are more massive that some light milling could be done. Not seeing what yours looks like I going to say you won't be successful.

Kenny_McCormic
Kenny_McCormic UberDork
3/29/14 3:17 p.m.

Nope, chuck will fall off, and the quill isn't designed to take the side loads, also a drill press isn't rigid enough to hold much precision.

44Dwarf
44Dwarf SuperDork
3/29/14 3:27 p.m.

Yes it can be done but as all the above have said you'll turn your drill press in to a pile of crap in short order. they do sell small X,Y table for doing this.

ncjay
ncjay HalfDork
3/29/14 3:31 p.m.

In my experience, drill presses can't hold an end mill very well. A nicer, high dollar drill press might, but mine can't. I've tried.

Apexcarver
Apexcarver PowerDork
3/29/14 6:48 p.m.

In desperation I tried it once. The chuck drops down and you have to hammer it back in (large floor model).

travellering
travellering New Reader
3/29/14 6:56 p.m.

What you can do, but it will take a long time, is plunge mill. Notas fun as plowing a mill sideways through a chunk of metal, but still surprisingly effective and easier on a wimpy spindle setup.

WonkoTheSane
WonkoTheSane Reader
3/29/14 7:54 p.m.
travellering wrote: What you can do, but it will take a long time, is plunge mill. Notas fun as plowing a mill sideways through a chunk of metal, but still surprisingly effective and easier on a wimpy spindle setup.

You'd be surprised how many milling ops I've done by plunge milling (on a CNC).. It's amazingly effective on harder materials (think higher grade stainless, titanium, inconel) on a flimsy machine that really shouldn't be doing those materials anyway...

motomoron
motomoron SuperDork
3/29/14 8:04 p.m.

(Speaking as someone w/ a machine shop who makes things for a living)

The forces generated by a 1/4", 2 flute end mill in aluminum at 1400 rpm never cease to amaze me. You can feel the cut with a hand on the base casting, and the machine weighs a bit more than a 1991 Honda Civic Si.

And this is not a particularly rigid machine.

As tempting as milling in a drill press seems, I'd honestly give it a skip. As others have noted, they're barely up to task of pushing a drill in the Z axis straight down through the work. Side loads confound them.

Drilling hole and connecting the dots with a jigsaw w/ a good metal blade the cleaning up with files will probably produce a better result.

Kenny_McCormic
Kenny_McCormic UberDork
3/29/14 9:57 p.m.

In reply to motomoron:

All of that. A good basic(no back gears, power feed etc.) floor model ~15" drill press is maybe 220 lbs. A similar sized knee mill is going to be around ten times heavier.

mr2peak
mr2peak HalfDork
3/29/14 11:08 p.m.

I've cut alloy on a routing table before.. Simple gauge holder and switch delete panels.

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