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Thread: Harbor Freight 42976

  1. #13


    Neat! I have one of the "12 spd. drill mills" also, I got mine from Speedway. I use it for drilling and tapping. One thing Ive allways liked is the quality. Allmost no backlash, everythjing is tight, the motor and gear train run very smooth, its a nice machine to work with, although mine is still manual. Great to see yours CNC'd. I am curious how you will do the Z axis.


    (Note: The opinions expressed in this post are my own and are not necessarily those of CNCzone and its management)

  2. #14


    Mr. Nuts

    I also have the same mill and have owned it for 3 years and it is mainly used for drilling as I have a cnc mill that put the unit into semi retirement. You have inspired me to possible cnc my unit also, as soon as I finish cnc-ing a 9X20 Harbor freight lathe. If I may ask some specifics. You are running Mach2 or mach 3 with this mill. That the same controll software my cnc uses.

    What stepper drivers are you using, and what size are the stepper motors and did you choose to use the existing ball screws, probely that way I'll go initially (or did you use ball screws) and how is that going?

    I like the looks of your control box that is sitting on the shelf, any way you could shoot a close up and let me know where you picked it up. At this point, I have been using an AT desk styled pc case, and it takes up too much room!! I need to repackage my electronic is something like yours.

    I am also courious as to how to do the z-axis. Really like your lube system. Good Job!!

    Looks like you hit a home run.

    Take care and keep up the good work,


  3. #15


    Checked one of these out at the store today. The unit has actually been discontinued. They were selling the floor model for $200. It was a little beat up. Chuck was bad, table had surface rust, and the paint was a bit banged up. I could have had it for $175 out the door with a coupon, but I passed on it, because I just couldn't figure out how to make the Z axis precise. I like the XY on it, but not the Z. Also, while it has an MT2 spindle, it has no drawbar, so you're stuck using a chuck, which is less than ideal for milling.

  4. #16


    Mine has an MT2 and a drawbar. Iit doesent come through the top cover, but there is one under the lid on mine at least. The lack of a fine downfeed is a definate shortcoming, for sure.


    (Note: The opinions expressed in this post are my own and are not necessarily those of CNCzone and its management)

  5. #17


    I was thinking you could make a clamp to go around the part of the spindle assembly that doesn't rotate it (sorry, not sure exactly what to call it) and then bring a bracket off of that and mount a digital caliper and then mount the other end of it to a bracket coming off the left side of the head casting somewhere. This would give you a good resolution Z depth measurement, but you are still lacking in the Z fine adjustment. It seems like by tightening up the Z lock lever that you can move it a quite small amount by then tapping on the downfeed handle, but it would still be a tricky operation to "dial in" .010" for sake of example.

    With regards to backlash, the machine I saw in the store had about .013" backlash on each axis.

  6. #18


    Yep, it should have a drawbar, but perhaps the floor model did not.

    There is a Yahoo group dedicated to this drill/mill:

    They have mods for a fine z-axis control that don't look too hard to implement if you don't mind doing the work.

    A guy there also has an interesting z-axis setup for CNC. He hacked on a ballscrew to move the z-axis. There is pic there, but you have to be joined to the group to see it. Its in the RCAZ photo folder.

    If you own one of these its definately worth the time to sign up for the group and take a look.

  7. #19


    Quote Originally Posted by Dead Nuts View Post
    While apart, I didn't like the mechanism they had to oil the table so I designed and built extensions for them. Now it is easy oil the table. The attached pictures show my method. It was amazing how much easier the table slides after proper oiling. It goes without saying guys, keep your machines well oiled.

    Dead Nuts

    I'm looking at oiling options myself... and have some questions...

    Do you have check/metering valves installed?

    I assume the oil just gravity feeds? How fast? Does the oil level go down something like an inch every hour or so?

    Do you oil the quill as well?



  8. #20



    The oilers are entirely gravity fed. I used semi transparent tubing so I can see the level in the tubes. I just oil once per day and it seem to work quite well. Some axis use much more oil than the others. Though I have never timed them. The Y axis oil runs out the side some and uses the most.
    No I found no oiler on the qwill.


  9. #21


    Thanks for the information!

    So, it sounds like when you got it, it had those little ball/valve oil port thingys?

    Then you pulled them out and tapped the holes with a pipe tap, or did you glue the fittings in place?



  10. #22


    Hi again Jeff

    "it had those little ball/valve oil port thingys"

    "Then you pulled them out and tapped the holes with a pipe tap, or did you glue the fittings in place?"

    That is ecactly what happened. I left the "little ball thingys" on the X & Y axis screws and all the hiddens ones I replaced with pipe fittings. I screwed them in where I could and pressed then in if there wasn't room for the thread (no glue). They've all stayed in well.

    By the way, I used a tap to remove the "little ball thingys". It was the only way I could figure out to get a handle on them.


  11. #23

  12. #24

    Default What oil to use?

    I just purchased a business that has an HF 42976 mill. I have never used a mill and need the basics. What is the correct oil to use? I will be making the mod shown here for the oilers. Very nice. I also want to eventually make it a CNC mill. But that will be a while down the road. I would like information on on parts used and software to run it as a CNC mill. I am brand new at all this.

    Thank you!

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