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Milling Device Answered

Please comment or make an Instructable on how i can make a clamp-on mill attachment for the drill press below?



7 years ago

You can probably work out a way by examining how the cross-slide attachment in the picture works. There is a base, with a set of rails and a threaded rod which moves a slide. The slide has a similar arrangement (pair of rails and a threaded rod) which moves the top slide, which holds a regular modelling vice.

You could probably make something similar with three normal vices, or if you wanted to be really really DIY you could use a similar method to the DIY CNC machines that use the print head rails from dismantled printers to provide the rails, and ordinary threaded rod and nuts to provide the screw mechanism.

What you can build on your own probably won't compete with the quality of what you can buy for similar money, though- you can get something that looks like the picture for $30, and I doubt you could build anything of comparable quality any cheaper.

If you have access to a machine shop with a mill and lathe you can borrow, this looks like DIY instructions on how to make that sort of mechanism. Again, that vice cost more than a complete cross-slide attachment so may not be cost-effective.

You will probably be interested in this, then- it's an example of the "printer rail and threaded rod" style of X-Y bed, being used to make a CNC plotter. 

Each axis only needs to consist of a "bed" with two printer rails and a threaded rod, with a "carriage" that slides on the rails and has a nut threaded onto the threaded rod.  Turning the threaded rod using a wheel on the end slides the carriage up and down the rails.

Seriously, though- let's say $5 apiece for two junk printers to get the rails, a few dollars for a couple of 12" lengths of threaded rod, some assorted nuts/bolts and some pieces of particle board to build the thing would probably bring your total about $30, and that's without a vice on top to clamp the work piece.  If you could scavenge most of the parts from trash you could build one of these cheaply, but I am amazed that you can buy a genuine purpose-built one of these for $30 (and it will almost certainly work better than what you can build yourself).

If you do build one yourself, however, you should definitely write it up and post it!

I highly doubt the threads will be fine enough, the rods stiff enough and the bed heavy enough to be of much use. You get what you pay for with tools, so why not just save and spend the money now and have something that'll do a good job for 40-50 years?

Exactly what material are you milling and what type of milling operation are you trying to do? I don't know if a drill press has high enough speed or torque to do certain things as well as being put to use safely in that capacity.

i know its got the torque and speed its just the sliding table that's the issue.

One thing that morse taper drills DON'T like is side forces - you may need to invent another way to chuck the mill. Don't try and extend the quill either, the quill doesn't take side loads EITHER.