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drill press/ milling machine

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Can a drill press be used as a milling machine for light work ie cutting 1 or 2 thousands off at a time?
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The short answer:
Yes. (I did that for years until I got fed up with it and bought the proper machine.)

The longer answer:
1. You will need to get a good heavy-duty X-Y table. This will set you back hundreds of bux and repeatablilty to one or two thousandths will not happen. A simple, cheap X-Y vise will prove completely insufficient.
2. You will need to address the issue of that Jacobs chuck getting loose on you and/or the taper letting go. Be ready to bleed from time to time from either. Tapered end mill holders are available but represent a huge pain to keep secure in the spindle AND be able to change out.
3. You will need to be patient and keep your cuts in aluminum very light, and your cuts in steel even lighter.
4. Due to chatter, you will need to finish your surfaces with a file anyway.

I have had a lot of experience with this machining-on-the-cheap, and recommend you just save your pennies and get a mill drill. Life will be much better for you.
 

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You can work in some aluminum alloys, plastics, really soft steel. Take very small cuts and you still have mediocre results at best. The small hobby mills you can buy at horrible fright can be upgraded to be very accurate little machines, still limited to small cuts but you can achieve accuracy to .0005 easily. Not a cheap under taking. machine, upgrades and TOOLING well be 800-1000 bucks.

I've converted mine to belt drive, added three axis DRO and several diy upgrades. If I had it to do over I would have started with a larger machine. These start at about 12-1400 bucks. This price range well get a used full size machine if you have the room and three phase power.
 

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