RE: Subtractive- Desktop mill advice anyone?

From: Mark Zeiner IdeasMold (
Date: Thu Aug 22 2002 - 06:05:08 EEST


        One relatively new subtractive technology you might want to
check into is laser cavity machining. I have seen this machine in action
and it is very impressive for small details. I'm sure it is a bit Pricy
(OK allot pricy) for most of us but there might be some shops out there
that offer this service. I am not aware of anyone offering the machine
services yet. Here is the link on the laser if you are interested in
looking into this machine. and a
description of the machine from the web page:

DML 40 S: 6-axed-lasering with 3 optical and 3 mechanical axes
The DML 40 S now also permits machining of vertical walls through 6-axis
technology and its 3 mechanical- and 2 optical axes. A measuring probe
reliably controls the depth of the structures to be machined. The beam
path with its horizontal beam is operated by the LaserSoft 3D control so
that intricate and fine structures, as well as molds no long present a
problem for you. The housing of the DML 40-machine is not only
appealing, but offers perfect space utilization with its small footprint
and easy access to the work area. In addition, the most advanced
components guarantee the precision needed for laser machining.

        As far as the Mini Mills I would be concerned with the machine
accuracy for your small parts. I have machined several small parts with
a full sized CNC Mill and still had accuracy problems. Sure you can use
cutter comp and tune in the dimensions but sometimes the part cant be
measured due to complex curvatures on the final part. There is a big
difference in accuracy in CNC machines. Older cheaper machines don't
hold accuracy as well as some of the newer high speed machines. Balanced
tool holders are also very important for accuracy. Just double check the
accuracy specs on whatever you decide to purchase.

Good luck
Mark Zeiner


-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Behalf Of jeffrey mcwhinney
Sent: Wednesday, August 21, 2002 2:38 PM
Subject: Subtractive- Desktop mill advice anyone?

First off, I've watched the additive/subtractive machining debate on
list for the two or so years I've been a member. I suppose I feel there
the field of RP which should involve whatever process (up to and
an artist with fast hands). And then there are the individual subjects
the technologies that gets you there. I was interested in additive when
joined, believing it would easily transform my wildest CAD ideas into
reality (I'm talking little jewelry items). Well, I've tried the best
machines out there (thanks Bathsheba and Steve Adler for being truly
and although the printers are remarkable in ability to duplicate small
features accurately, I have not gotten the surface finishes necessary
for my
So... I'm trying a new tack. I am shopping for a mini CNC mill. This
approach is partly because I've finally accepted the reality of platinum
3D printing costs (I'm going to make some rings from titanium, and my
business plan of one ring/one pattern was not viable-yet). Also, I
with some tweaking and tricky fixturing I could mill my current ideas.
I remembered that I am a machinist by trade and should probably stay
to what I know best.
So... since I've been ignoring all correspondence on the subtractive
discussions till now, might I get some help from those involved with it
tracking down the most affordable mill worth owning? It is going in my
so must be 110v, reasonably small and capable of machining hard metals.
I thank all in advance, and also request any info on discussion groups/
websites geared towards this field (I've already found

Jeffrey McWhinney
McWhinney Designs

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