Home Forum General Chat Introductions G'day from Glen Forrest

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    Hey guys, Dave Wilcox here, but Wilbur will do to avoid confusions.

    I’ve been working in the Aluminium Extrusion industry for the past 7 years as an Extrusion Press Operator and more recently as an Apprentice Die Corrector. I’m currently winding up my Cert III Fitter/Machinist training and will be following this up with a Cert IV in CNC/CAD in the middle of the year.

    [INDENT]I’ve been looking at getting a few machines for home now that I’ve got some skills under the belt so I can start tinkering around and playing with some ideas. I also have a couple of little PTFE projects on the go for a friends lab (using work machines) which would be much more convenient in the comfort of home.[/INDENT]

    You guys seem to genuinely know what’s going on and seem pretty open to throwing ideas around and helping each other out. It’s refreshing. Would be good to have a chat and maybe catch up the next time you guys decide to meet.



    Paul Kelly

    Welcome Wiblur. Lots of expertise on this site.. What machines are you looking to get?




    I’m on a budget of $5000 so I can’t go too crazy. Just looking for a lathe and mill to get started. Our work lathe is a $15,000 chinese piece of junk so I don’t really trust the cheaper ones, unless you might know otherwise.

    Was looking in the AL250 price point but will probably go for the AL320 for the extra room. 26mm spindle bore seems a little restrictive.

    As for the mill it will probably Be somewhere in the HM46-48 range.

    I’m not very electrically savvy. Are these able to run off single phase 240v power or will I have to upgrade to higher amp power points or buy a phase converter. My landlord is a sparky so shouldn’t be too much of an issue of that’s the case.

    Any feedback, advice or alternatives would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance,


    Paul Kelly

    At the budget end of the scale, you really can’t go wrong by looking at the dollars per kg for machines.
    This is because its mass that (for a variety of reasons) determines how big a cut you can take. And little machines are always light.


    Get an AL3x0 from hare and forbes. It’ll need some finishing, but they are a solid machine and you’ll have a new one. The 320 has no thread cutting gearbox so it’s change gears until you CNC the thing, but they fit your initial budget. The 330’s have a gearbox and you should definitley spring for one if you want to cut threads and won’t be CNCing the machine.

    Anything smaller is just too small. I’ve had a 9×20 and an AL330. (not in that order). I CNC converted the 9×20 and it’s just about flogged out from over use now..

    Applying the aforementioned measure:
    Al250 $2000/180kg= $11 per kilo
    AL320 $2500/280kg = $9 per kilo <—–Winner


    Don’t buy an X3, I own one and it’s great. After I replaced the motor, drive, and added about 100Kg of steel to it.. They have a big weakness in their column design.

    A round column RF31 is MUCH better than an X3, the RF46 square column is the go if your budget allows.

    Same approach,
    X3 $1850/190Kg = $9.75 per kg
    HM46 $2000/318Kg = $6.30 per kg <—— Winner

    Tooling from McJing or CTC

    Everyone ends up owning a 100mm bandsaw..




    The dollar per kg measure for eyeing up a machine will be very helpful, cheers for that.

    I did have a walk around Hare and Forbes the other week just to get a physical and hands on feel of the machines. They had an AL33x on display there but I think it was about $1000 dearer than the AL320.
    I don’t really mind the change gears either as I’m not planning on mass producing threaded parts and can pick up the # teeth gears as I need them. Assuming they don’t come with a full set with the lathe.

    The CNC conversion sounds like it would be a fun (hair pulling) project down the track too.

    Considered the Sieg machines when I was first looking but the overall weight of them was almost half of similar sized machines and it seemed a little fishy. I’ve seen the post about all the job you did on the X3, and I’m sure its a great machine now after all that effort. Someone had to do it, glad it wasn’t me.

    The Steelmaster MD45 actually come in under $6 per kg. Don’t remember seeing them at Hare and Forbes even though they’re listed as an on-seller. Based on that this might be a machine to look at.


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