Tramming Sieg X3 Column and Head

Saturday, March 16, 2013

You might recall that last week I took delivery of a brand new Grizzly G0463 Mill/Drill, also known as Sieg X3 or Sieg Small Mill. Once the mill was thoroughly cleaned, lubricated and put back together it was time to tram the column and the spindle. This step is often missed by new machine owners, but without proper alignment the mill will newer be able to produce accurate work. For instance, if the column is not square, center of the spindle (and thus the cutter) will shift in the horizontal plane as the head is lowered, so the dimensions will be off. On the other hand, when the spindle is at an angle, the holes won't be perpendicular to the table and fly cutters will produce concave surfaces. Fortunately, tramming the X3, although a bit fiddly, isn't very difficult and doesn't require any exotic tools. In fact all you would need is a machinists square, a dial test indicator and a way to hold it [the indicator].

First Impressions from Sieg X3 Mill

Sunday, March 10, 2013
Grizzly G0463 on the shipping pallet

A few weeks ago, after admitting to myself that I’ve outgrown my little Harbor Freight Mini Mill I decided to sell it [on Craig’s List] and get a larger milling machine. A few hours later, after a number of back and forth text messages it was spoken for and I officially became mill-less. My whole metal shop has to fit along one wall of a two car garage, Bridgeport type milling machines are pretty much out of question. From the get go a friend categorically talked me out of a round column mill/drill, so my choices were limited to Sieg X3, Sieg SX3, a Rung Fu 45 clone or one of the smaller knee mills. After some soul searching I realized that for my projects X3 is the most practical choice. Although pretty small, as far as metal mills are concerned, it still provides somewhat larger work envelope and the design seems to address most, if not all, of my pet peeves with the Mini Mill. On the other hand it’s still light enough to be moved by a few people etc.

After the budget was approved by the accounting department (AKA my wife) I went to to place an order for a brand-spanking-new G0463. The order was placed late on Sunday, March 3rd and at 8:30 AM on Tuesday (yes, in two day) FedEx called to schedule the delivery. I opted for a “customer pickup” and at noon the same day a friendly FedEx employee was loading it into my truck.