I've been researching Taig tools and I've noticed a fair amount of people that recommend buying a lathe first over a mill. I'm curious to hear more about why that is?
I understand you can do some limited milling with a lathe and the proper accessories. For the projects I have in mind I'm not considering to turn anything, rather just milling out angular shapes and slapping them together to build robots and servo actuated devices.
Thanks for the quick reply. One thing I have noticed is the lathe is much cheaper to start. I can buy a milling attachment and seems like I could do what I wanted. From what I have read these tools have great resale value so I can trade up to a mill later if I need. Do you have any experience with the mill attachment for the Taig lathe?
I spoke to Carter over at cartertools.com. He indicated that the mill attachment is good for a pieces a couple of inches in size and its not as rigid as a mill. Still hemming and hawing on this for some reason!
Btw from my above post it sounds like I enjoy 1 machine over the other, this is not the case. I enjoy using both machines especially if I dont crash them!
I understand your thought that you'd like to go for the lathe first because it's cheaper, but in reallity, there's a reason why the mill is more expensive
If you're really not going to be doing any turning as you mentioned, I would just save the pennies up and spring for the mill.
I also want to note that Nick Carter at cartertools.com is indeed a great guy and will be glad to help you along the way. He has helped me and is very customer service oriented. His shipping is reasonable, and does not leave you hanging.
I bought the lathe first so I could do turnings. It came with a brand new milling attachment, but due to the limited work envelope, I've never used it. In your situation, considering the work you've described, I would seriously consider not only a mill, but also CNC. I still use the lathe for certain operations such as threading and turning trim pieces, but the Taig CNC mill fills about 95% of my machining needs.
Shane - I've heard the advice to buy the lathe before mill on many occasions. In general, I think it's a good idea but that is without taking into consideration your application.
The reasoning is that the lathe with milling attachment can do the operations of the mill (sort of) and many more, and for less cost. However, you are severely restricted on the size of work that can be milled. Also, as you heard from Nick, the rigidity of the milling attachment doesn't allow for anything more than relatively light cuts. I do have this attachment and it is an awesome addition to the lathe for only $63. If the parts you have in mind fit within the milling attachment's reach, and you are tight on funds, I would recommend going with the lathe. However, if you need bigger capacity and are thinking CNC worthy projects in the future, save up for the mill.
All that said, I went with the CNC mill straight out of the gate and it worked out fine for me. I do have the lathe and most accessories now as well however. Also, just recently picked up a rotary table for the mill and that is an excellent add! Good luck! -Keith