RF Clone ? why bother ?
My understanding is that the IH kits have been for the most part phased out as they would prefer to just & only sell the turnkey units. This would give them a more solid base for calculating their parts production schedule to align with assembly of the mills.
As for the redesigning of the IH mill base machine, I say WHOOPEE ! maybe ?
I would like to see more iron incorporated into the column and base to further minimize the flexing under loading which is detrimental to cutters, and they natural tendency for the base to relieve and twist. It would also be an enormous advantage to incorporate square rails and eliminate the dove tails. BUT alas, it would also increase the cost of the base machine to some unknown quantity which might hinder its usefulness to hobby or small shop budgets. I for one can't wait to see what they come up with. The last change to the machine at the china casting foundry was called for by Gene to stiffen the Z aspect of doves and was successful.
The absolute biggest change that I see as being needed is in the procedure & quality control of the parts for assembly. It is imperative that they incorporate a thorough wash down of parts after machining and before any assembly or painting and I would also have them quit using so much bondo on casting before the paint, it gets in the way.
If they make the right changes, I'd think real strong towards upgrading to a newer machine myself ! OH, can't forget that it would be super nice if it already had what is needed to get the spindle speed way up to maybe 10grand, with a oil lubed quil.
Then I recall mention of a lathe in the works, humm, DC servo spindle drive, slant bed, square rail, quick change tool turret, better chucks, large throat, tail stock that will stay where ya put it, more turning clearance, inverted tooling to spit chips directly into pan, which has a handy dump feature, live tool mount for mill, thread, & grind for under $10g