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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Adelaide
    Posts
    66

    Default Looking at a new small/medium mill - BF-20LV?

    Since selling the old mill a few years ago I have been occasionally thinking about a new mill setup, especially since I am planning on bringing the AL320G back from our storage unit over the summer.


    Mainly looking at lighter duty mills, about this size https://www.machineryhouse.com.au/M650 as it needs to be relatively portable in case we move house again. Planning on putting it on a mobile stand similar to a table saw to maximise room in the garage.


    Will also be replacing my larger drill press, so needs to be reasonable for quick drilling duties which a simple MT3 chuck would surely suffice. Mainly milling smaller brackets and items in the 300x150 window, so no particular need for a larger mill.


    I see lots of stuff around on the BF20 series, but lots of it doesnt seem to relate to the current H&F offering. MT2 vs MT3 arbor being one of the key indicators.

    Similarly ozmestore1 on eBay has had a HM45/46 equivalent on sale for quite a while (although seems to be gone now), but this would seem to be a similar option. Although strangely many rate the BF20 as a better mill in the long run than the venerable HM45.

    Anyone have suggestions on a viable option for me?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    SA
    Posts
    1,644

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by takai View Post
    Anyone have suggestions on a viable option for me?
    I've been looking at/for a mill for a long time.

    Space is the issue at the moment and the medium sized ones would probably do most of the model making sized work I would need.

    Those BV20 sized units seem pretty popular with hobbyists and you see glowing reviews on them when first received, but is that true long term ?

    One of my YT viewers bought one from H&F, had it shipped to Perth, WA, and in short order it stripped out the gears in the mill head doing (supposedly) ordinary work. The owner was totally furious as the seller viewed it as user error and wouldn't do anything to rectify the issue. I can't say either way. It was top of the range.

    So the guy was stuck with a non functioning machine and well over $2k out of pocket. Not at all happy.

    It is just one case, but it does make you have second thoughts about the durability of these units.

    Anyway, that's all I know about the BV20 sized units.

    Still looking.

    Cheers Rob
    The worst that can happen is you will fail.
    But at least you tried.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Adelaide
    Posts
    66

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by nearnexus View Post
    I've been looking at/for a mill for a long time.

    Space is the issue at the moment and the medium sized ones would probably do most of the model making sized work I would need.

    Those BV20 sized units seem pretty popular with hobbyists and you see glowing reviews on them when first received, but is that true long term ?

    One of my YT viewers bought one from H&F, had it shipped to Perth, WA, and in short order it stripped out the gears in the mill head doing (supposedly) ordinary work. The owner was totally furious as the seller viewed it as user error and wouldn't do anything to rectify the issue. I can't say either way. It was top of the range.

    So the guy was stuck with a non functioning machine and well over $2k out of pocket. Not at all happy.

    It is just one case, but it does make you have second thoughts about the durability of these units.

    Anyway, that's all I know about the BV20 sized units.

    Still looking.

    Cheers Rob
    Interesting on the gears. I found a few European sellers who are making steel gears for the BF20 series, not expensive either. So that would certainly mitigate that issue.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    SA
    Posts
    1,644

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by takai View Post
    Interesting on the gears. I found a few European sellers who are making steel gears for the BF20 series, not expensive either. So that would certainly mitigate that issue.
    The fact that aftermarket metal gears are being sold, suggests that all is not well in BV20 gearbox land

    Terminal destruction is something we can all well do without though.

    Cheers Rob
    The worst that can happen is you will fail.
    But at least you tried.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Tasmania
    Posts
    239

    Default

    I've got a BF20L that I've had for years and I've pushed it reasonable hard.

    To be honest, for the size of it I'm pretty impressed and I've built loads of stuff with it. But as I've reported elsewhere on this forum, my mill can't be trammed properly (which I consider absolutely critical on a mill). The dovetail ways on the vertical column are not parallel, but instead waisted in the middle, which means you can't set the gibs properly or the head is loose in the middle of travel but binds tight at the top and bottom. I fought with the seller (Ausino Engineering in Melbourne) who denied all my attempts to gain any sort of warranty claim on the faulty column. I tried consumer affairs etc and they were all but useless. In the end I had to give up. I just want to make sure you don't buy from Ausino, either via ebay, gumtree or direct.

    For the most part I can work around the issues as much of what I make is not super critical. But it annoys me every time I use it. I'll fix it with linear rails or something one day.

    Now having said that, if the mill was good out of the box I'd be very happy for what it is and a lot of people are. I have an X3 mill as well and prefer the BF20 every time.

    Buy from someone willing to stand by the product and you should be ok.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    North Yorkshire UK
    Posts
    2,860

    Default

    Hi Guys,

    I'm one of the people with a BF20 mill ! I managed to strip the plastic gear on mine, however I made a steel gear and replaced it. This actually solved two problems. The original plastic gear was not made truly concentric with the shaft and right from new the machine made a rhythmic thump that varied with speed. The new steel gears cured that issue and they won't strip under load. At the time I bought mine, no one made a replacement steel gear.

    https://metalworkforums.com/f65/t183...l+gears+BaronJ

    The other issue is the vertical dovetails. As near as I can determine, the dovetail is a uniform size along its length, but because of the way that the box section is made, when tightening the head gib screws, it causes the column to deform inwards. This deformation becomes permanent ! Giving the effect that the head is more loose in the middle. I can tram the head very accurately but the tram varies with head hight and how tight you nip the head gibs.

    In theory this should not happen because there is basically a block of metal between the inside edges of the dovetail faces. However its not machined to be a good fit and there is several thou of slop in there. This bowing of the box section also means that the gib strip, which is tapered cannot be properly adjusted.
    Best Regards:
    Baron J.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    North Yorkshire UK
    Posts
    2,860

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by takai View Post
    Since selling the old mill a few years ago I have been occasionally thinking about a new mill setup, especially since I am planning on bringing the AL320G back from our storage unit over the summer.


    Mainly looking at lighter duty mills, about this size https://www.machineryhouse.com.au/M650 as it needs to be relatively portable in case we move house again. Planning on putting it on a mobile stand similar to a table saw to maximise room in the garage.


    Will also be replacing my larger drill press, so needs to be reasonable for quick drilling duties which a simple MT3 chuck would surely suffice. Mainly milling smaller brackets and items in the 300x150 window, so no particular need for a larger mill.


    I see lots of stuff around on the BF20 series, but lots of it doesnt seem to relate to the current H&F offering. MT2 vs MT3 arbor being one of the key indicators.

    Similarly ozmestore1 on eBay has had a HM45/46 equivalent on sale for quite a while (although seems to be gone now), but this would seem to be a similar option. Although strangely many rate the BF20 as a better mill in the long run than the venerable HM45.

    Anyone have suggestions on a viable option for me?


    My BF20 is the older brush motor type and I've had a number of problems with the motor. Since they have now changed to a brushless motor the issues that I had should have gone away. Also I had the choice of MT2, MT3 and R8 spindles. I chose MT3 simply because that was the tooling that I had the most of. The three spindles all interchange with each other very easily. Now that I understand the vagaries of the mill I have I'm quite happy with it, and frankly I've done a lot of work with it.
    Best Regards:
    Baron J.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Adelaide
    Posts
    66

    Default

    Also considering the RF45 clone from ozmestore1 over in Adelaide. They seem to be a standard robust machine, and a reasonable RF45 clone.

    Thoughts?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Canberra
    Posts
    1,090

    Default

    The BF-20LV was on my shortlist of machines - I ended up getting the very similar, but more expensive BF-28LV, mainly due to it's larger mass, power and table size. So far very pleased with it, but haven't done a lot of work on it, and don't have any background with other mills to draw any comparisons from.

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