Milling Machine

mill.jpg The milling machine a BM-70VE Bridge-port-style turret mill, sold by Hare and Forbes and made in Taiwan. It is large and powerful enough to do serious work.

The milling machine is a gated tool. That means you must have been trained by an approved Artifactory trainer before using it, even if you have used such machines before.

The milling machine, and many of its accessories, are owned by individual Artifactory members (mostly Ben and Kamil). Some of them are expensive. They are available for other members to use, after suitable training and subject to the policies set out below.

The isolator and tool cabinet are to be kept locked when the machine is not in use.

This is a POWERFUL INDUSTRIAL MACHINE and safety is the paramount consideration at all times when it is in use.

The key hazards associated with the machine are:

  • Contact with revolving tools
  • Long hair, loose clothing or jewellery becoming entangled in the moving parts of the machine
  • Work pieces, broken cutting tools, swarf etc being ejected from the machine
  • Electric shock
  • Closing movements of parts under power can result in finger trapping
  • Closing movements between the table and fixed structures can result in body crushing
  • Heavy objects such as vices and index fixtures can fall from the table
  • Sharp edges on cutters, work pieces and swarf can cause cuts
  • Contact with cutting fluids, oil and grease can irritate skin
  • Accidental starting of the machine
  • Lack of sufficient space around the machine can lead to the operator being pushed by passers by resulting in injury
  • Slippery floors or loose items around the machine can cause slips that result in contact with the moving parts of the machine
  • Manual handling of heavy items such as vices and index fixtures can be a hazard

The key risk mitigation measures in place are:

  • The machine can be electrically isolated and locked out when not in use
  • Only authorised users are informed of the combination
  • The machine is provided with and emergency stop
  • All cabling is armoured to protect it from damage
  • Except during training, people other than the operator are not permitted inside the working area when the machine is in operation
  • The floor surface must be kept free of spills, loose items and swarf
  • The operator and any trainees must wear eye protection at all times when within the working area
  • The operator and any trainees should consider wearing ear protection when the machine is in operation
  • Substantial, non-slip, flat-heeled shoes that cover the whole of the foot, must be worn when using any machine
  • Long hair and loose clothing must be secured and dangling jewellery must not be worn when operating the machine
  • Gloves must not be worn when using the machine, although they are permissible for manual handling when the machine is not in use
  • Manual handling tasks associated with changing heavy vices and indexing heads etc should be assessed prior to commencing, and assistance sought if necessary
  • The machine must be electrically isolated before any internal mechanisms are adjusted
  • Cutters must be stopped when positioning the work piece, clearing swarf, adjusting coolant pipes, measuring or gauging
  • Hands must be kept well away from the table when it is traversing under power to minimise the risk of trapping fingers
  • Coolant nozzles must not be adjusted whilst the machine is in operation
  • Swarf must never be removed whilst the machine is in operating
  • Suitable implements must be used to remove swarf. Avoid hands coming into contact with swarf
  • Contact of metal work fluids with the skin should be minimised. Wash hands thoroughly after the use of metalworking fluids
Item Requirement Notes
Eye protection Mandatory
Enclosed shoes Mandatory
Hearing protection Optional The machine is loud when you are standing right next to it!
Gloves Not recommended Can be used when handling heavy stock but should be removed when the machine is in use
Long sleeves Optional Hot metal chips hurt!
Dave Madgewick
Aron Spencer
Branden Ross
Tom White
Bruce Chambers
Alasdair Penman

Access to the machine

Access to the machine is available to Artifactory members only. New users will need to complete a training / familiarisation session (see the Milling Machine Training page), and then at a later date use the machine under supervision. Upon satisfactory completion of those requirements, the user will be given the combination to the tool cabinet and isolator and will be able to use the machine without supervision. Access remains at Ben's discretion (in addition to the usual Committee discretion) and can be revoked at any time.


The cost to use the machine is $5.00 per hour for Artifactory members and $10.00 per hour for others, applicable to both setup and machining time and payable to the Artifactory. Bank transfers should be referenced “MILL” followed by your surname.


The artifactory maintains a small selection of mill tooling (end mills and slot drills) that are stored on the bench and are available to all users. Breakage of / damage to this tooling is covered by the usage fee. Privately-owned tool holders kept in the tooling cabinet are generally available to all users, but their consumables (carbide inserts, saw blades etc) are subject to agreement with the owner, such as a small cash contribution. Users may want to purchase their own high-use consumables (e.g. end mills) and are welcome to add insert tooling to the privately-owned collection (this adds the potential for reciprocal use agreements).

Damage / breakage

Breakage of or damage to the machine or accessories is generally expected to be paid for by the person that did the breaking. Exceptions would include wear and tear, or machine failures unrelated to use.

At present the machine is operational but two of machine functions are limited pending repair or replacement of parts:
• The y-axis power feed is disabled as the motor has an earth fault and requires replacement. The x-axis feed works as normal.

1. Don’t hurt yourself or others

  • Long hair to be tied back. No loose clothing or jewellery is to be worn
  • Operating the machine requires the operator’s full attention. Minimise distractions (this includes from 'helpers') and stop work if necessary.
  • Consider the safety and comfort of other users of the space. If your work will be particularly noisy, schedule it outside of peak times.
  • Wear appropriate PPE. This includes eye protection and enclosed shoes, at a minimum.
  • No body part should be placed anywhere near a moving tool.
  • Take care when handling tooling, particularly when fitting tools to or removing them from the spindle.
  • Take care when lifting work holding accessories such as vises, as many are heavy. Ensure they are securely fastened to the table when in use.
  • Be aware of hazards that may inadvertently be created when working with powered feeds. This includes crushing and being struck with the handles of manual handwheels that have not properly disengaged.
  • Do not open the electrical cabinet without a good reason, and do not attempt to disable its interlock.
  • Clean up any spills to avoid creating a slip hazard.
  • Do not machine materials that are hazardous when inhaled. If in doubt, consult the relevant MSDS.
  • Don’t try to clear swarf with your hands. That stuff is sharp!
  • Always be ready to activate the emergency stop, and don’t hesitate to use it.

2. Don't hurt the machine (or accessories)

  • This mill was once in daily use and has survived to this point without any operator accidentally running a tool into the table. Don't be the first.
  • Ensure the ways, spindle taper and tooling are kept free of swarf. Clean swarf with a brush / t-slot scraper / vacuum cleaner. Using compressed air to clean the machine should be done with caution to avoid driving swarf into places you don’t want it, on the machine or on your person.
  • Do not hammer, hacksaw or undertake any other potentially damaging operations on the mill table. It is precisely made and most useful if kept that way.
  • Be very careful with power feeding the quill vertically, as the drive train is relatively delicate and not suitable for high power operations. The maximum recommended twist drill size for powered quill feeds is 10mm.
  • The mill head has lots of controls on it, some of which are quite complicated. Do not move these unless you understand what they do.
  • Don’t change the spindle speed range, quill feed engagement or quill feed rate while the spindle is turning.
  • Be conservative initially in your choice of feed rate and depth of cut. Work your way up.
  • Use appropriate tooling for the job you are doing.
  • Treat precision accessories gently and only use them in ways consistent with their intended purpose. This includes all tool holding, work holding and measuring accessories.

3. Be a considerate tool user

  • Clean up after yourself. Vacuum or sweep up swarf, including from on the floor.
  • Put away tools and accessories you have finished with.
  • Return anything you have borrowed from the general area.
  • Don’t remove mill-specific tools from the mill area. All items stored in the tool cabinet are to be returned there and the cabinet left locked.
  • If you suspect the head or vice are out of tram (say, after you crash the machine), advise #tools_and_fabrication on Slack, and preferably put a note on the machine.
  • Feel free to remove the vice if you need to for your job, but consider simply working on a different part of the table - it's big!
  • Notify #tools_and_fabrication on Slack of any problems including missing / broken tools or machine functions not working. Do not attempt repairs without discussing with Ben first.

Reading these instructions does not count as being trained.

Listed below are the accessories available to users:

Work holding

Item Owner Link
100mm k type milling vise Kamil
125mm drilling vise Ben
Semi-universal dividing head Kamil
14mm hold-down kit Ben
V blocks Ben
4 and 6 sided ER40 collet blocks Ben

Tool holding

Item Owner Link
NT40 / ER40 collet chuck Ben
ER40 collet set 2-25mm Ben
1-16mm keyless drill chuck Ben
22mm face mill arbor Ben
80mm slitting saw blades (2) Ben
Boring bar set Kamil

Measuring and setup

Item Owner Link
Set of parallels Ben
Set of angle plates (2) Ben / Kamil
Centre finder Kamil

Ben has a range of other measuring instruments that can be used by arrangement.

The Blondihacks Mill Skills series on Youtube is a great place to learn about using a milling machine. Episode 12 in particular is helpful in getting to know the DRO.

Adam's Bits is Australian-based and sells carbide end mills in a range of sizes.

Model BM-70VE
Type Vertical
Digital Readout 4-Axis Digital Readout (independent scales on knee and quill)
Table Size 1500mm x 305mm
Spindle Taper - Vertical NT40
Longitudinal Travel (X-Axis) 1050 mm
Cross Travel (Y-Axis) 420 mm
Vertical Travel (Z-Axis) 500 mm
Type of Slides Dovetail (X), Square (Y & Z)
Ram Travel 485 mm
Spindle to Table (max) 460 mm
Spindle Travel / Diameter 155 mm / 105mm
Throat Depth (max.) 750 mm
Tilting Head (Left ~ Right) ±90º
Tilting Head (Forward ~ Back) ±45º
Power Feed - Quill 0.04 / 0.08 / 0.13 mm/rev
Power Feed - Longitudinal (X-Axis) 30 – 3000 mm/min
Power Feed - Cross (Y-Axis) 30 – 3000 mm/min
Power Feed - Vertical (Z-Axis) Not specified
Table T-Slot Size 5/8 in
Work Table Load Capacity 500 kg
Spindle Speed Range 70 – 4200 RPM
Motor Power - Spindle 3.75 kW / 5hp
Supply Voltage 415 V 3 phase
Shipping Dimensions (L x W x H) 160 x 170 x 240 cm
Nett Weight 1800 kg
  • tools/milling_machine.txt
  • Last modified: 2022/10/20 20:08
  • by ben