Mini mill used for knife making stopped working

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by gnique, Mar 20, 2011.

  1. gnique

    Thread Starter New Member

    Mar 20, 2011
    I almost feel like a parasite coming to your community. I have absolutely nothing to contribute. I am only here seeking the aid of beneficent strangers. My only hope is that you will believe that I, too, help strangers in need if it is within my competence and capacity. I make kitchen knives for a hobby and I just recently bought a small milling machine to use to shape wood and metal. It has a 500 watt DC motor that runs off of 120v residential power. It has a speed control knob that adjusts the motor speed from 0 to about 2000 rpms.

    I have used the machine only about three or four hours and it just stopped working. There was no chugging and sputtering. It just stopped turning the cutting head. The power light is on and there is a small yellow light on one of the circuit boards that comes on. I have checked both of its little glass fuses and they are good. I have unplugged it while it was turned on in hopes that a hot power interruption would, somehow, reset the system. No joy. I have also insured that the connectors are seated firmly.

    That is the extent of what I believe to be relevant. Thank you all for whatever help you offer. I will make any of you the offer that if you mail me one of your non serrated kitchen knives I will sharpen it to a degree that you have never seen before. Thank you - Nicholas Jasper, PE


  2. tracecom

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 16, 2010
    Post the model number and any other pertinent information about the mill. Post any schematics and/or diagrams that came with the mill. Chances are that someone here will have had some experience that could help.
  3. SgtWookie


    Jul 17, 2007
    How long was the warranty good for on your mill?
  4. gnique

    Thread Starter New Member

    Mar 20, 2011
    The circuit diagram that came with my Little Machine Shop Hi Torque Mini Mill was so thin as to be non existent. I don't know the warranty period but I assume that it is at least 30 days. I plan to call The Little Machine Shop tomorrow. I don't believe that I can send the machine back to the LMS. I think that I will ultimately have to fix this problem myself.
  5. Kermit2

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 5, 2010

    probably has the topic covered, and the guys over there will know EXACTLY what you need to do to fix it. I'm a member there as well.

    Pop on over and present the question. Some one will probably post a link to a similar topic in short order. I've got a mini mill and 9 inch lathe myself and find they are a wealth of knowledge about all things in these matters.
  6. Kermit2

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 5, 2010
    As a first place to look

    Remove all power and leave it over night to let the caps discharge.

    Then slack out the wiring and get the boards out where you can look at the back of them. Use a magnifier if you have too.

    If you find any solder joints that seem to have circular cracks or round rings in them. You may have found your problem. Cold solder joints, they are called. Reflowing the solder with a hot iron is about all you have to do. A 'touch up' if you will.

    If its something else wrong - then this will just be insurance against future 'mystery' problems.
  7. someonesdad

    Senior Member

    Jul 7, 2009
    I'd first see if the warranty route fixes your problem. My guess is the most likely suspect is the PC board and they'll probably just want you to swap it out with a new one. Looks easy to do with 4 screws and some Molex connectors. If the seller won't support you, then it sounds like you're on your own. Personally, I like Kermit2's suggestion about looking for bad solder joints -- it doesn't take long and could ward off problems in the future.

    Of course, there's nothing more frustrating than getting a new toy and not being able to play with it... :mad:
  8. rogs

    Active Member

    Aug 28, 2009
    Wooaah... that is extraordinary! In the US you get a warranty of 30 days!!! -- on a new product ?

    I thought you guys had 'lemon laws'? -- or does that just apply to cars?

    Here in the UK -or pretty much anywhere in Europe actually -- you'd expect a money back warranty, or a free fix, for at least a year.

    Think I've just found out why we're always complaining about prices being '£/$' the same figure. Your retailers do not have to supply a reasonable warranty, so can cut the price!

    Good luck with the fix. Sounds as if the model engineering site linked to may be able to offer some help. :)

    I have to say - I'm really shocked. In my (limited!) experience of visiting the US, I've always been impressed by the no-nonsense attitude of the folk I met. They tell it like it is, and expect (and usually get!) best quality results.
    On your own after 30 days? That doesn't sound like the kind of thing you guys would put up with.....
  9. shortbus

    AAC Fanatic!

    Sep 30, 2009
    I'm a member at The spindle drive board dying is a common problem on most brands of these mini mills. They all seem to be made in the same factory in China and the electronics don't seem to be reliable. Not owning one I don't read the threads, but you might want to join there and do a search to find out what the fix is. Even though the name is CNCzone they cover all aspects of metal/machine shop work. Good luck.
  10. hobbyist

    Distinguished Member

    Aug 10, 2008
    Hi kermit2,

    I from there too, that is a great forum, for us hobby model engineers.