YOU DONT HAVE A MILLING MACHINE?
THEN JUST MAKE ONE!
Ive been performing work involving lathes and similar metal working machines for quite a number of years since around 1976. Since I began tinkering in the world of miniatures, I realized one very important but obvious thing. In the early days ( 1950s and 1960s ) we simply did not have any really top quality machine tools that were of a size and weight range that would be considered small and somewhat portable. Most of us had to live with full size tooling which we somehow coaxed into performing miniature jobs. We did however have a couple of choices back in those early days. The original Unimat and the early Sherline lathes come to mind. Milling could be done on these small machines by adding a milling column and head. Yes, you could do some milling but you were and still are limited to relatively small work pieces as the control surfaces could only advance the work a limited amount in the three general axes. At least the Sherline lathe could be converted to a pretty capable milling unit with the addition of the milling column. That would work for some of the more compact project components but what if you needed to surface an engine base plate measuring 4" x 8". You would need a real milling machine to do a job such as that. The full size Sherline Milling machine would probably be able to handle something that large. A new Sherline Mill will also set you back at least $500 before you even think to add even the most basic of tooling and even the new Atlas variable speed Minimill will run you about $700 plus shipping. At this writing there is a new milling machine made by Taig Tools that sells for about $595. All three of these machines are excellent tools and I will probably be purchasing the larger and more heftier Taig or Atlas when I get my pennies saved. Being of a very cheap and frugal nature and having a need right now for a milling machine of some sort, I though I would make the dubious attempt to build a functional milling machine that would be able to surface a 4-1/2" x 9" work piece. Easier said than done, but I approached this project in a very naive and innocent way. If I had sat down and really pondered and thought about it for more than 10 minutes, I probably wouldve declared myself insane and gone straight to bed.
At this time I realized I better begin to document my project from beginning to end by video taping it as it progressed. At least I would have actual proof that I could, if it turns out that it works well. I began to realize that this somewhat crazy idea may actually have some merit after receiving a "Care" package from my good friend Mr. Nick Carter who is an independent Taig Micro lathe dealer and maintains and oversees this excellent Taig Micro lathe web page. In this box of goodies was several Taig micro lathe cross slide extrusions complete with "T" slots and dovetails, a couple of three jaw chucks parts which I will make into a working chuck soon, parts for the Taig drilling tail stock, a drilling ram, a head spindle blank, two threaded nose arbors plus a few other great little bits of tooling. The last item,,,, a complete lathe bed and under structure assembly! This is the heart of the Taig lathe besides the headstock, of course! I though I would make some sort of indexing unit with a head spindle and index plates on one end and a tail stock center to hold gear blanks to be milled on a mandrel. The perfect device for small gear production on a small or for that matter, large milling machine. I will still do just that at a later date, but instead what I envisioned was this bed assembly being mounted vertically with a screw operated carriage and spindle unit sliding up and down along the dovetailed bed. In order to accomplish that, I had to come up with a device that would pass as a slide. Earlier, I had measured the steel dovetailed bed along its width and found that it was too narrow by about .125". No wonder it had been rejected by the factory. The very condition that caused it to be rejected made it perfect for my application. When I slid one of my dovetailed Taig riser blocks onto the bed, I still had plenty of room for a pretty hefty brass jib as I knew I would need if I ever wanted to have a smoothly operating slide. I took a jib out of a small dovetailed slide I cannibalized out of a strange scientific instrument that had been trashed as scrap. It fit perfectly against the dovetail on the bed. Once I saw that it would indeed work, I smoothed out any tiny imperfections on the bed with a small stone and scraper. I then glued the jib to the locking dovetail clamp on the riser block. Yes, you heard me right! I did say I glued the jib to the clamp. Unlike normal slides with their floating jibs, the clamp on the riser block itself is an independent part that acts as a jib as well as a lock against the lathe bed depending how tight or loose it is adjusted. Therefore the jib which is the wearing surface had to be made one with the clamp. Thats why it was permanently glued to it. It is a full 1/8" thick and should last for a lifetime of use. I assembled the clamp with small springs in between the stock cap screws and the screw holes and slid the unit into the bed dovetail as if I was using it as a riser block. In fact, it could still be used as such. I applied some good slide grease to all the surfaces that contact the slide and adjusted the clamp screws until it allowed the unit to slide back and forth without any wobble or binding. So far so good! Now I had to come up with a way to operate the slide in a highly controlled and accurate manner. That of course, called for a lead screw and nut assembly. I played with the idea in my head for a while, deciding which thread pitch to use for the lead screw. I also had to come up with a diameter that would be suitable for this application. First I had to chose a pitch that would give me a convenient rate of advance per full turn of the screw. I considered three pitches of 10-20 and 40 tpi. These are the three most common pitches for lead screws in which imperial decimal inches will be the scale for measurement. These would give advances of 100-50 and 25 thousands of an inch per full turn in that order. I had to also consider the fact that I wanted to minimize backlash in the system as much as possible so the rather coarse 10 tpi screw was basically out of the question. I almost considered the 40 pitch but although that would give the least backlash of the three, I would have to turn that darn crank forever in order to move the z axis only one inch. I chose 20 tpi for my lead screw as it seemed to be a good compromise. I needed a 12 length of threaded material which was too long for my small Asian lathe to thread so I used a length of pre threaded steel rod in 1/4-20. You could get fine thread rod in 7/16-20 but that has to be ordered through and industrial supply house. The smaller 1/4-20 stuff is readily available through any home center or local hardware store. It is however somewhat rough as it comes from the factory so I lightly chucked the rod by first wrapping a couple of layers of masking tape around the threads and while the lathe ran slowly, I cleaned the threads with a piece of 400 grit piece of folded silicon carbide wet & dry paper and some machine oil. After passing the folded paper between the threads for a few cycles, I had a beautiful, smooth length of threaded stock. I needed to perform two turning operations on either ends of the screw so once again I wrapped two layers of masking tape around the rod so my chuck jaws would not mar it and began to machine it. I faced the first end and turned a _" long tip to .187" diameter. That is .0005" less than 3/16". I flipped the work around and did the same thing to the other end but for a distance of 1-1/2". I then threaded it to 10-32 with a tail stock held die leaving the last 3/8" un-threaded. I removed the screw and put it aside so I could make a .375" diameter by .375" long brass bushing that would slip and spin on an aluminum plate that fits on the uppermost portion of the Z axis bed. The screw is kept captive in this plate with the crank and nut from above, spinning freely in the plate bore. This plate would have a blind bore of .375" diameter and .380" in depth. It would also have a 3/16" reamed through hole for the smaller portion of the lead screw to pass. That was made from a piece of _" round brass rod. I turned it to .375", center drilled the end, drilled for about _" depth and reamed to 3/16". I chamfered the edge and parted it off a bit longer than 3/8". I reversed chucked it, faced it to a .375" length and chamfered the remaining edge. I also slightly counter sunk the reamed hole on both ends. This bushing was installed on the 1-1/2" 3/16" portion of the turned screw so it sits flush against the point where the 1/4-20 begins with a bit of CA glue ( Crazy Glue ).
Without a threaded nut or more accurately put, a block, the screw could not advance the sliding carriage so off I went to try to come up with a working design for this part. After examining various similar units like my milling table and my lathe cross slide, I decided on a solid brass block for my lead screw nut. I happened to have a length of _" x 3/4" brass bar stock from which I would make a nice block. The end was squared by side milling on the lathe using my vertical milling slide and vise. I then transferred it to the drill press where I clamped it by the _" width. I located a point along the _" center line and 5/16" from the milled edge. I drilled a #7 through hole through the 3/4" wide portion of the block and while the stock was still on the drill press milling vice, I tapped it 1/4-20 with the drill press to maintain vertical alignment. I flipped the work on its 3/4" side and drilled a through hole mid way between the edge of the work and the edge of the threaded hole. The first hole was with the #43 drill which is the tap size for 4-40. Then I opened the hole to a #33 for the first 1/4" which is the clearance size for 4-40. Now I tapped the remainder to 4-40. Now I set up my slitting blade arbor on the drill press and I cut a clamping slit along the center line of the _" wide side by making multiple passes until the slit was into and running parallel with the 1/4-20 hole. This allows me to use a small cap screw to tighten or loosen the fit of the lead screw against the threaded block. Result is minimal to non existent backlash in the system. At this time I sawed the end block to a bit over 1" length from its parent stock and milled the end smooth. I then located the center point along the freshly milled end surface and with the aid of a wiggler plus a test dial indicator, I mounted it on the four jaw chuck. With my block perfectly centered, I began to turn a 3/8" diameter by 3/8" long spigot on the block. When I reached the perfect diameter I took a final pass along the rectangular shoulder of the block to square it up as perfect as possible. I center drilled, drilled and tapped a 10-32 hole that just broke through the 1/4-20 hole. I cleaned up the resulting burrs by running the 1/4-20 tap through the hole once again. I screwed the nut / block on the lead screw and put both parts aside.
I went back to work on the carriage / slide block in order to locate a permanent position for the lead screw nut. This called for a large longitudinal slot running in the direction of the bed, to be milled in order for the nut to be mounted without interfering with the bed. Check out most lead screw operated slides and you should be able to see what I mean. So back to the milling vice to mill that slot. I scribed a longitudinal line along the center line of the female dovetail slot where the nut was to go and then scribed two more parallel lines _" to the right and left of the centerline marking out the 1" wide slot. I also scribed a line indicating the depth of the slot. I needed to leave a bit more than 3/8" worth of material after the slot was finished. I then located the actual center of the slot, marked and center punched it for drilling. The final through hole was drilled and reamed to 3/8" diameter. This accepted the nut spigot so it could be secured with a cap screw and washer from the other side. I slid the slide block from the bottom end of the bed and carefully began to thread the lead screw by temporarily turning it with two hex nuts locked against each other. It worked flawlessly! I tackled the lead screw dial next. This was made out of aluminum. Turned it on the lathe with it mounted to a mandrel. Ultimately it was about 1-1/2" diameter attached to a larger diameter thinner plate to which a simple turning knob was threaded and locked with a nut. I engraved the dial with 50 equally spaced lines, with every fifth mark a bit longer and deeper. This procedure can be clearly seen on my Taig Micro lathe Advanced Operations 4 hr video tape that I market. I turned a brass thrust bearing that I attached to the upper lead screw plate so the dial could bear against during use. A witness mark was cut with a razor saw on the brass bearing and That more or less finished the work on the vertical slide. To assemble the dial and handle I made sure that the upper portion of the lead screw with the 3/8" brass bushing was fully inserted against the upper plate bushing bore and while holding it in place I screwed the dial from the top until it was semi tight against the brass thrust bearing. I greased all of these areas thoroughly before this. I secured the handle by screwing a threaded knurled knob against it. I then tightened the set screw on the dial and I ended up with a smoothly operating lead screw with less than .003" backlash. Later on I went back and drilled a set screw hole to further lock the dial / crank unit to the lead screw. The unsupported end of the screw rides in a small brass block that I simply epoxied to the lower end of the bed surface. This set up provided full support along the whole length of the screw.
I could now slide an existing Taig headstock to the slide block and be done with it but I wanted to have at least 5" of clearance between the center of the spindle and the surface of the lead screw. I needed a sturdy riser block. Another riser block connected to the existing one would work but that would have only increased the capacity by 1". I needed something in the neighborhood of 2-1/2" extra rise so I began to think about building my own riser block. The final dimensions for the block were basically determined by the size of an existing block of scrap aluminum that I happened to have in my rather substantial metal stock pile. I used my drill press / milling machine to surface mill all six sides perfectly even. Checked them out with my very accurate machinists square and found them to be nearly perfect. This block basically would be a thick male / female, 45 degree dovetailed riser block. The bottom of it would slide and lock over the existing male dovetail of the Z axis slide block and the upper portion would have a matching male dovetail to accept the standard Taig head stock / spindle unit. I milled the dovetails right on my drill press / mill using a _" shank 3/4" 45 degree cobalt steel dovetail cutter and the results were great! It did take some time to accomplish this as each pass has to be no more than 10 to 15 thousands in depth. You must first remove the bulk of the material with a standard straight end mill, finishing it with the dovetail cutter. To allow the block to clamp tightly over the slide block, I had to cut a centered length wise vertical slot on the under side of the riser block and drill a couple of equally spaced transverse threaded and clearance holes for locking bolts. This was pretty straight forward stuff. The block now slides over the slide and once positioned, you just lock it down by tightening the two side bolts. It is also self aligning as any dovetailed unit would be. The head stock also clamps on in the same manner to the top of the block. This combination provides a total of about 5- _ " of clearance between the spindle and lead screw surface. Thats more than on my drill press milling set up so Im very happy about that!
After wrestling with the decisions on how to power my little mill, I decided to sacrifice my aging, nearly dead variable speed scroll saw by cannibalizing its motor and controller unit. I had a couple of brand new sewing machine motors reserved for this and although they would have provided a very elegant looking power choice, they lacked greatly in the power department. The chosen motor was a DC permanent magnet variable speed 500 to 1500 rpm unit and I had been considering for use on my Taig Microlathe. Well, that will have to wait as now the mill has become first priority. The motor shaft was 10 mm in diameter and the pulley bore is a reamed .500" so I had to make an adapter sleeve for it out a piece of scrap rod material. I also milled a flat on it for a pulley locking set screw. With the head stock mounted to the mill, I set up to run some hand held tests with the motor turning the spindle at different speed settings as well as pulley belt positions. It seemed to work really well. It is as quiet running as an induction motor at any speed and has plenty of torque even at the low rpm range. Now to figure out a way to mount it to the column. This actually turned out to be pretty straightforward. I opted to use piece of 1/4" thick aluminum angle stock to make the mount. The motor already had a very good cast, integral, threaded mount so I made a simple bracket for it by cutting off a piece of the angle material to length and after the customary cleaning milling cuts I laid it out for the various mounting hole positions. The bracket mounts directly to the riser block, utilizing the same locking bolts that clamp it in position. I then transferred the three mounting holes for the motor to the bracket, but instead of just drilling them, I milled _" long lateral slots for all three bolt holes. This way I can adjust the lateral position of the motor for correct belt tension and any other minor position adjustments that may be needed. Still using the old head stock and pulleys from my lathe I tested the assembled unit. It performed perfectly well but I saw a potential problem. Because of the direction that the motor ran, I had to mount it with the shaft pointed up. That means that the lower end of the somewhat long cylindrical motor extends down too far and would probably interfere with some work pieces during certain types of milling cuts. With an end mill holder and a 3/8" end mill installed, the bottom of the motor housing is only about 1" away from the tip of the cutter. To solve the problem Id have to reverse the motor rotation and re-mount it so the shaft is facing down. This would place the motor body completely out of harms way above and to the side of the head stock. Well, its been one more day and I have solved the problem with the motor. I figured out with some expert help from a couple of friends who know more than I, that since my motor is a permanent magnet motor, its just a matter of switching the leads coming out of the controller to the motor. Took a peek inside my speed controller and saw that all of the main lead connections were snap on. That made it even easier than I first imagined. After locating the black and white connectors leading to the motor, I just pulled them out and reversed their positions. It now ran clockwise and actually did not blow up! Amazing!! I had to now build a new mount since the motor would now be situated from above. This was actually quite simple. I kept the existing mount bolted to the side of the riser block but added a 1/4" thick rectangular plate about 2-1/2" x 6" bolted vertically against the surface of the former motor to mount surface. The motor now mounts to this plate pointing straight down. I purposely drilled the non threaded holes a bit oversized to allow some minor alignment adjustments if required. After aligning the pulleys on their respective shafts so they ran co-planar with each other, I adjusted the motor position for correct belt tension. I like to set it so that routine belt changes are possible without the need to loosen the motor mounts, yet not so loose that belt slippage is a problem during everyday milling. The next job on the agenda calls for hacksawing the original scroll saw base along the area behind where the speed controller lies. With my particular unit, the controller was situated along the front right part of the base. I can cut the nose off the saw base and still end up with the original controller housing while retaining the lateral integral mounting flanges that were cast in. At this time I sawed off the excess material off the base which contains the controller. It was easy to cut, just a pain to hold with the motor still hanging to it.
I drilled three extra equally spaced pairs of mounting holes on the base of the Z slide unit to a bit over 1/4"diameter. It now had a total of eight mounting bolt holes.
After several rainy weekends in a row, we finally had a sunny Saturday morning so out I went to hit the scrap yard to try to locate some suitable material for the column, base and sub table for the mill. I was able to obtain the perfect stock for these three components right away. It was a bit weird but I found these pieces of stock in almost ready to use condition. The base is a solid slab of aluminum about 1-1/2" thick, measuring 6" x 10". It was milled square on the ends and was flycut on the top. It was pretty much perfectly flat. The sub table was 3/8" thick piece of plate stock measuring about 10" x 16". It had a bunch of predrilled holes in a sort of grid pattern. The column was a piece of 2-1/2" x 5", 1/4" wall thickness tubing about 10" long. Everything was already squared off so I didnt need to do any further work to any of the mating surfaces. Preliminary checks for squareness of the dry fitted components was excellent. The column required eight mounting holes matching the existing holes on the Z slide base. I located them so they were running vertically and centered with the upper end of the Z axis slide ending up about _" from the upper edge of the column. I center drilled and through drilled 5/16" holes at all eight locations of the tubing to accept 3" long 1/4-20 bolts and allow a bit of play for alignment of the Z slide during the final assembly. The base was oriented so the column would join it at the rear of one of the 6" wide ends. A 1" deep 3/8-16 hole was drilled and tapped, centered and 1-1/4" from the edge. This would accept the threaded rod that will lock the column to the base with a rectangular cap and large washer over the top. A piece of 3/8" thick plate was cut to about 1/4" larger dimensions than the column cross sectional dimensions and a centrally located 3/8" diameter hole was then drilled. This cap slips over the threaded rod and against the top of the column and the whole secured tightly together with a large fender washer and nut. The sub table was temporarily installed to the base so its long axis ran left to right with carpet tape. I allowed about 2" to protrude beyond the front edge of the base. I squared it off as well as possible with my machinists square and drilled five #21 holes to a 1" depth. One in the center and the rest at each of the corners and into the solid base slab. The sub plate was then drilled to the clearance size for a 10-32 thread with a #11 drill and counter sunk to take flat head machine screws. The holes were then tapped and the sub plate was detached and the carpet tape removed. I epoxied and screwed the sub table and base together . I also drilled two pair of _" diameter through holes for the 2" long _" diameter bolts and nuts that will secure the milling X&Y table to the sub table. Two pairs were drilled to allow the milling table to be installed at two different positions in relationship to the Y axis. This way you could extend the capacity of the Y axis by an extra inch when needed. With the milling table mounted to the sub table, the whole unit began to take on the appearance of a true milling machine.
The column threaded rod was epoxied into the threaded hole and tightly screwed home. The bottom edge of the column was liberally coated with epoxy and slipped over the rod and centered on the base so the back edge was perfectly flush and the narrower sides equally spaced along its width. I cut a rectangular piece of plate stock that I then epoxied to the back edge of the base so it overlapped about 2" of the column body. This will act as a back brace and add a lot of strength to the whole unit. The front edge was similarly treated except with a piece of angle stock. I checked the alignment once again and let it all sit and cure overnight. I installed the eight 1/4-20 x 3" bolts so they pass through the column body from the rear and protrude through the front. Washers were used only on the rear. The row of bolts on the right side of the column as you look at it from the front needed to be shortened by 3/8" due to a restrictive flange located on that side of the Z slide bed mounting base. The opposite row was left undisturbed. The surface of the bed will have to be aligned perfectly at 90 degrees to the surface of the milling table. It will also have to be trimmed perfectly vertical to the table surface as well. Once the bed surface has been aligned, I can then check the head stock / spindle to milling table surface alignment. Final minute adjustments will be done by shimming the milling table itself. At that time we will be ready to test it on some real stock.
Well, I just got done assembling the vertical Z slide to the mill column. I have not yet filled the column with concrete mix but I did align things as best I could for this preliminary test. Ultimate alignment with take place after the concrete fill has fully cured. At this time the vertical column tubing tends to compress somewhat under the pressure from the eight mounting bolts so I am unable to fully tighten them. Not withstanding these minor problems, I did manage to get the thing working and was able to end mill a piece of 1" square aluminum stock. I also used a large diameter ( 2-1/2") flycutter with very nice results. Side milling was done on a piece of 1/4" thick saw material and that was also pretty good. Overall results are better than what I was generally getting on the drill press as a milling machine but not as good as what I get on my 7x10 Minilathe and milling slide. The 7x10 has a much larger spindle and heavier headstock. Now for the down side! I am getting quite a bit of vibration if I try to end mill ( 3/8" diameter four fluted end mill ) aluminum cutting anything deeper than .020". I fully expected to be able to exceed what I was able to routinely do on the drill press. Several possibilities exist for the vibration. The headstock spindle sits a full 6" away from the Z dovetail surface. This could be too far out. The column could be flexing and contributing to the overall problem. The headstock may need to be locked during cuts. I will be troubleshooting all of this problems and will report on what happens. The variable speed motor is a very smooth, powerful and quiet performer though. No complains there!! I still need to provide a mount for the controller so it is not dangling to the side and possibly exerting a pull against the complete Z assembly. Before retiring last night I epoxied another brace to the front lower end of the column in the hope that this provides a bit more stiffness to the unit.
I lengthened the power cord leading from the controller to the motor and began to look for a convenient place to mount it. I attached the controller to the right side of the column by drilling and tapping two matching 1/4-20 holes. I used two short cap screws and locking washers, securing the controller vertically to the side. I have also received the brand new headstock and pulleys from Taig Tool for the mill so now I could replace the ones I was temporarily using on the mill back to my Taig Micro lathe. I mixed a batch of a pre mixed floor patching compound called Ultra Patch so I could fill up the still hollow column. It took a full 24 hour to cure to full hardness and this has indeed made the difference in the rigidity of my mill. I dont know what the mill weighs at this time but it must be close to 80- 90 pounds easy. Ive tackled the job of aligning this baby as close to perfection as I can. The headstock spindle and the dovetailed Z slide bed are already as perfectly aligned to each other as they are ever going to get so the only thing left to do is to get the surface of the milling table as square to the spindle axis as possible. I tried to shim from under the base of the milling table but that turned to be a royal pain. Instead I decided since I now had my old drill press free to use as a drill again, I located and drilled a set of four through holes at each corner of the cast iron base of the milling table. I then tapped them to 1/4-2- and installed four cap hex bolts that I could now use as jacking or aligning bolts. With a test dial indicator running on a collet in the mill spindle I could check for run out of the tables surface. I needed a broad base to take a reading on a continuous 3" to 4" diameter circle. I happened to have a piece of thick, finely ground laboratory plate glass that is used as a lapping surface and since it is accurate to within a couple of tenths, I quickly brought it into service. I rested the plate glass on top of the now perfectly clean milling table and began to take circular readings by turning the indicator around with the head spindle pulley. At first it showed about .015" total misalignment which sort of shocked me as I though it would be closer than that. After about ten minutes of fiddling with the jacking screws, I was able to bring everything to less than a thou. More like .0005" total run out in a circle of about 4". I consider this as excellent as its going to get. I locked the milling table with the two _-13 bolts running from underneath the sub table.
I quickly began to take some sample test cuts on different materials using a variation of speed controller setting as well as different pulley belt positions. I also used various types and diameters of cutters as well as stock material to better determine what this little mill could do. The finishes when end milling are excellent and thats on steel, brass or aluminum. As far as depths of cuts, I took a sample slot cut on aluminum that was about .090" deep with a 1/4" four flute end mill. Yes, I would like it to cut deeper but thats already twice as deep as I could cut with my drill press when I had it operating as my mill. Fly cutting is also excellent, leaving finely and evenly machined surfaces. At this time I would classify this undertaking as a complete success. For your information, I have video documented this complete project from its conception to its end and I hope to offer it as a visual help to any who would like to successfully do what I have done with my meager amount of tooling. It is a very long two part video set with about 12 hours of total planing and building footage as well as the final section which is devoted to a full demonstration of what the unit can and cannot do. No punches pulled here! This is a clear example of using an inferior machine and with it, creating a superior, much more accurate and capable tool that will easily out perform anything in its class! Total average cost for this project depends on what you originally have available to you and the sources for material that you are able to tap into. The parts that I had to purchase where a Taig Headstock unit, a pair of Taig pulleys and small belt, a commercial X&Y medium capacity milling table, a Taig bed assembly ( this I got for free from my good friend N. Carter ), and a Taig headstock riser block. All other material was purchased as scrap or new as in the case of any hardware used. The motor was salvaged out of my almost dead scroll saw. The parts that I did have to purchase came to a total of about $250. That does not include about $25 of aluminum scrap for the various support components of the mill. Admittedly, the motor may have cost about $125 new but I originally paid only $116 for the complete saw and used it literally until it died ( not the motor thank god! ). I figure that I easily got well over $116 worth of use out of that old saw so I considered the motor to be a freebie! Total cost for me was somewhere around $275 give or take a couple of bucks. I now have a fully functional milling machine that I would not consider selling for three times that! Any questions you may have about this project and or the video can be directed to me via Email and I will be more than happy to discuss it at length with you!