Over at Little Machine Shop, their HiTorque 5500 benchtop milling machine is currently on sale. In a post last week, I mentioned itching for a CNC machine and wondered aloud if it’s a good time to buy one.
Well, I’ve also been itching for a mid-sized benchtop mill.
This machine is based off of the Sieg X2.7, putting it a step higher than the X2 machines commonly described as “mini mills.” It’s listed as weighing 262 pounds.
The HiTorque bench mill lacks some of the nice upgrades of the comparably priced Mini Mill Deluxe that Little Machine Shop offers. Most notably, it lacks the Deluxe’s DRO (digital readout) system. But, the Bench Mill is a larger machine that should offer greater rigidity, not to mention greater capacity.
The Bench Mill has a solid column, which should make it more rigid than smaller mills that have tiltable columns. LMS’s smaller mini mills also have solid columns.
It has a 750W brushless DC motor, 23.4″ x 5.5″ table size, R8 spindle, tapping mode, and digital position readout for the quill.
Sale Price: $1350
Regular Price: $1500
Freight: $195 including lift gate (for my zip). There’s also a cheaper “pick it up at the terminal” rate.
There’s also a metal stand and chip tray available.
Speaking personally, I probably won’t pull the trigger, at least not right now. I like to work with wood, plastic, and aluminum. I don’t often reach the limits of what my Taig can do. And while I wish I had a machine that can flatten out larger workpieces, I keep thinking that I can put the money to better use.
After looking at the price of the CNC machine I had my eyes on, I decided to look at smaller machines, to better learn on. Then, maybe a few thousand hours in, I could upgrade to something bigger.
But if I factor in how much that smaller CNC might cost, and how much something like a more capable benchtop mill might cost, I think about whether it’s best for me to simply save for longer and keep planning for an eventual CNC.
With that said, there are plenty of Mini Mill conversions, and I don’t doubt that there is info on Bench Mill (Sieg X2.7) conversions as well. *Looks online.* Yep, there’s some information online about possibly converting this class of machine.
While LMS’ user manual is spartan, someone on a forum pointed out that there’s some helpful information in Grizzly’s G0704 manual. That is NOT the same machine, but I thought it was useful to point out anyway.
I have wondered if I should look at LMS’s Mini Mills again, which start at around $900. Their Micro Mills aren’t any more capable than my Taig, and so I’m not even looking at them.
While the difference between $900 and $1500 (or $1350 during this sale period) is not chump change, I’d justify it as being a more rigid and future-proof machine that with a barely larger foot print. Since I don’t have any R8 tooling, or work-holding accessories scaled to a machine of either size, the additional investment would be the same in that regard.
I… don’t know.
But since I’m on the fence and will likely close my wallet on this deal, I felt compelled to write about it. Maybe some of you are home machinists waiting for a deal like this, and you can school me on its pros and cons after you buy it.
Maybe I’ll wait until the 10% off deal comes around again, or maybe I’ll find a deal on the Mini Mill that makes the smaller machine more attractive.
Or maybe I’ll save the money and put it towards a stepper motor and electronics package to convert my small Taig mill into a CNC.
One thing I do know is that I like Little Machine Shop. You can find Sieg mills under many brands, such as Harbor Freight, Grizzly, and Micro Mark, but I find that I’d rather do business with LMS on a potential purchase like this one.
Buy Now(via Little Machine Shop)
Deal ends Feb 27, 2018.