View Full Version : New Machine Build About to order a new IH mill

11-19-2008, 07:18 AM
I'm about to order a brand spankin' new IH CNC mill with extended way travel and VFD. I've been researching this for about two years and so far as I can tell this is the best bang for my bucks.

Can anyone share their experience with us on a now purchase from IH? I've read over older posts here, but realize the company has gone through great changes over the years.

Anyone have any suggestions for me?

Thanks in advance for your response!

Jimmy Jackson (jedcustomcycles.com)

11-19-2008, 06:20 PM
They are the only place I know of that I can call at 2 AM in the morning with a problem & talk to a real voice that`s friendly & isn`t cussing me out! :D
Good customer support too.

11-19-2008, 06:23 PM
2nds to Speeder. He said it perfect.

11-19-2008, 07:03 PM
great company, great product. Call them they will lead you in the right direction,
you wont be sorry.

11-19-2008, 09:35 PM
Ok, who's got the IH mill? Is it CNC? When did you purchase it, and how long was the lead time from order to receipt?



11-20-2008, 01:10 AM
I got one sugestion, if ya can swing the turn key then do it ! Give them a call and see what they have available. Last time i talked to them theyhad something big in the works but haven't heard what it was. The only advantage to doing it yourself is that unless your memmory is as poor as mine you will know where all the errors are hidden ! Actually this is no joke, Buy the turn key and git er dun !

11-20-2008, 09:08 AM
You just can't go wrong with the IH. Whether you buy a DIY or a turnkey, you will have a mill with unparalelled accuracy and support.

I bought my DIY CNC mill shortly before Aaron sold IH to Gene and Tommy. Gene and Tommy provided a great deal of technical support for me even though I had not purchased the mill from them. They even supplied some components missing from the initial shipment from Aaron.

I realized that DIY is not for everyone, but I thouroughly enjoyed the process. I have a spindle runout of about .0003 and my table is flat on both the X and Y axis within <.0005 over the full table. It just doesn't get much better than this.

11-20-2008, 11:56 AM
wow, bohica.... I hope mine is as tight!

I am going with the turnkey version as I want to be making chips as quickly as possible, even though the DIY CNC kit sounds like a bunch of fun.

I'm looking for those who have gone before me to share their experinces and suggestions. If pics are available that would be additionally awesome.

What kind of coolant set up do you use with your IH?

Thanks, for all your replies!


11-20-2008, 02:15 PM
Your's should be just as tight. I know Gene and Tommy tweak the turnkey mill to get it in the tenths range. But you will have to do this all over again when you set it up at your location. One thing to check for is the rotational plane of the spindle has to be parallel to the table. I actually had to shim my head out at the base to get this parallel. With an indicator attached to the spindle, I am getting .0004 variation throughout a 6" circle.

I built an enclosure for mine and will soon be moving the mill to it. Right now, it is set up on a stand for testing and final modifications. Plus, I just had to try it out! Couldn't stand it any longer.

The enclosure is built for full flood coolant. I modified my mill extensively. Added one shot lubrication system for ways and all three ball nuts. The z axis ball nuts have 2 lubrication points, one at top and one at the ball nut itself. Some may think that overkill, but I felt better. I added a tramming fixture to the head that makes tramming fast and easy. I will try to post a couple of pix tomorrow.

11-20-2008, 06:01 PM
Thanks, bohica. I look forward to seeing your photos! I too will be building an enclosure for my IH set up, but i'm still searching for as many examples as I can learn from.

Do you have coolant set up yet? What did you use?



11-20-2008, 07:35 PM
Hey check out Bob Warfields site http://www.cnccookbook.com/

He's got an IH mill

11-21-2008, 03:23 AM
look at bobs site it is great. also there are movies of the mill in action on the website with all kinds of tips/ also look thru these posts there is alot of info here. The mill has great travel, great cnc system, servo operated, great support. Man what are you waiting for lol.

11-21-2008, 07:16 AM
Ok... Had a long talk with Gene at IH last night. Man, am I excited. I'll be placing my order within the next couple of weeks for the turnkey CNC, adding extended ways, NT30 spindle, VFD drive, and prewiring for the 4th axis. He suggested for 3D i go with sprutcam. Anone else using this?


11-21-2008, 08:34 AM
Just curious - what made you go with the NT30 option?

11-21-2008, 02:07 PM
I've been researching Sprutcam for a while. Tormach offer it as a package deal with their mill and most of the guys using it seem to be very happy, although apparently it takes a bit of effort to initially fight your way in. It’s under continuous development with regular reasonably priced upgrades, which would indicate that it’s not a blind alley. Also I understand that it is about to go full continuous 4th axis.

Good Luck

.... He suggested for 3D i go with sprutcam. Anone else using this?


11-21-2008, 03:00 PM
Thanks Randy. I have seen his site... awesome btw. I usually end up there reading up on all the things he posts about once a day, if not more.

I've been lurking here for a while and am ready now to take the plunge. I've been a design engineer for over ten years and always wanted to do my own thing. Now it's time to get that ball rolling. I still am anxious to hear any suggestions those of you may have for a relative newbie.


11-21-2008, 04:06 PM
I have used bobcad and sprutcam is a way better way to go. so is rhino.I dont know much about dolphin so cant help you there. what are you planning to do with your mill?

Dr Not
11-22-2008, 01:11 AM
o1roadkingrider - I think you will be very happy with your choice in the IH machine. I can't actually speak from experience on one yet, but I ordered the IH Manual Mill at the end of last week and it shipped out on the 20th and will be here on the 24th. I have a 36" X 48" CNC Machine which I designed and built so I had more need for a good manual mill then the CNC they offer. But who knows I may convert it one day.

As for Gene and Tommy they are great people and if you talk with them much you will soon realize that these guys know every inch of their machines. Plus you can ask them anything you want - How to add your own custom stuff to the mill - How to work a piece the best way - How to do this that or the other - What ever you want to know if you buy from them they will always take the time to answer any question - and like one member posted You can call them up at 2am and usually talk to them. When it comes to support these guys can't be beat.

I took a look at your website and am wondering what kind of projects you will be milling. I'm thinking you are going to be doing some custom Harley parts. I'm an old FLT man myself so that's why I ask.


11-22-2008, 12:19 PM
Bought the IH mill that was manual. I don`t have CNC yet as I am learning metalworking in "basic" mode. CNC sounds like fun & I really could have used it when I started a project that required making 50 parts for a fellow for his business. Took me a few months of evenings & weekends to finish that project. Was soooo glad to get that one behind me!

I ordered my mill from Aaron before he sold it to the current IH owners. Had it delivered in less than 2 weeks if I remember right. It has the 12Z head which Aaron had just started getting from his overseas supplier. The mill is large. The work envelope is phenomenal & was WELL worth the money I paid for it. Beats anything else I have seen that is out there for the money it costs. There have been times when I went to the edge of its capabilities in travels. Was wonderful to know that I could make a part that would fit within the restraints of the mill. If I had gone with a smaller mill as I almost did, I would have been hating life! Hehehe!

I added the X axis power feed & digital readout that they sell on their site. That was the best thing that I did for the mill in manual mode. Those additions were very helpful. The support that I got from IH & SMW were great! Allowed me to get everything dialed in when I first put the gear on the mill. I have had a few small problems over the time that I have owned the mill but they weren`t showstoppers. Gene & his crew were on top of things & sent me what I needed to make sure that I was happy. I have to hand it to those boys up north. They are a GREAT outfit to work with & I have to say hats off to them. They go the extra mile to ensure that their customers are satisfied with the equipment that they sell. Top tier company in my book & there are only a few out there that I have found. Rare few.

11-25-2008, 04:15 AM
I was busy this weekend with a stack of honey-do chores, (got to keep mama happy, or no one else will be) and finally have time to respond to comments and questions left for me.

I'd like to say thanks to those who have commented and responded on this thread. It's great to converse with like minded individuals, regardless of the medium.

Ok, here goes...

Tikka; my choice on the NT30 spindle is based on the ability to make quick tool changes early on, then when i get the time, a tool changer is planned.

Philbur; Sprutcam is too expensive for my budget right off, ($2700) but i'm considering it for the future. Full 3d parts is not a must on start up, but I'll need something with it's capabilities down the line. I think that 2d/2 1/2 d will suffice for now.

Randall; I will be woking on primarily aluminum, motorcycle and automotive accessories, of my own design (and customers) for the most part. I'm planning to market our business for custom milling, design, short production runs and prototype work as well. mold and tooling work would follow, once i have the finances to go full 3d (sprutcam maybe).

Dr Not; See above... yep, harley parts among others. I'm a die hard harley man, but at the same time have a great deal of respect for the metrics as well. Putting your face in the wind is what it's all about, no matter what breed of steed you choose. I'm using my 01 Roadking as the basis for much of my development work. I have a plethora of ideas running through my head for the touring chassis, and the perfect place to try them out.

Speeder; thanks for the comments and sharing your experiences with IH. Seems they are the best choice all round. Support and friendly customer service are rare things these days, and for me that's very important. What do you do with your machine? Actually, that's a good question for everyone.

What do you do with your machine? Let's have a virtual show and tell here, whaddaya say?

Thanks again all...



12-17-2008, 08:59 PM
Well Jimmy, here's some advice, I would take either a year at a machining trade school or like I did three years at a Tool and Die shop(you get paid to learn). This way you learn the why's of machining. To spend several grand on a cnc machine and not have any machining experience is shooting yourself in the foot, I learned alot in three years. In fact it actually slowed my excitement about cnc and metal working down. As I realized to get into the stuff I was wanting to do takes big bucks and the right opportunity!!!!

12-18-2008, 01:08 AM
OK I HEARD that idea for enclosure was asked for along with some coolant ideas. I've lost all my old pics so i just went out and took a few to share here. My mill is opened up for major cleaning and some repair work. I used the coolant main feed line and in one pic you can see that it is quite a flow. you can see i use a 55 gal tank and the top mark with no is limit before overflow. My drains don't show but i have two with screen and cover to hold screens, plus i have a sived bucket in cutout in side of barrel. the pump is from harbor freight for maybe 20 bux. it is an impeller pump running on 110v. I have lexan full front closure and i loose very little coolant to leaks. You may notice that this is the machine depicted on bob's site with belt drive and rail mods to the "z" axis. I've cut quite a bit of aluminum and my screens were plugging up so i figured since i had to work on it I should give it a good cleanup ! It don't show but the base of enclosure will hold almost all of my coolant when the drains slow down, normally it builds enough head to drain and keep up with the pump.

12-18-2008, 02:36 AM
This is a link to some other input, I couldn't find the one that showed construction pics tho, if i recall it was started by Bob maybe he can find it. I noticed that many of the pics are gone in the old threads tho the info is intact.