Complete drill press milling setup tutorial with details and links (2 Viewers)

Eloe2000

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Since I keep receiving questions I figured I should try to compile all of the details into one post. Full write up, details, tips, and purchase links for a <$100 chip milling rig used for milling hotstamps and inlayed chips. This requires a moderate level of handiness and decent eyesight. If you don’t have the spare time, skill, or just want to mill a small amount of chips just reach out to @Josh Kifer or @Gear for milling by hire. Once you have your jig created and everything setup and aligned, I was able to reach a rate of about 30min per 100rack milled by my third rack. This is just a detailed explanation of my setup and experiences, but most of my knowledge just came from other posts here. I am trying to credit where I remember but just remind me if I stole your idea so I can link to your post :)

What chips can I mill?
This is meant for 7/8” hotstamp or inlayed chips or molds that are meant for 7/8” inlays including THC, suits mold/card pip, Paulson mold, many CPC/ASM including HHR etc. This will NOT work on RHC chips which have a 1-1/16" inlay since there is no bit available at that size and a 1-1/4” bit is too large. However a 1-1/4” bit will work for Roulette mold chips. Some CPC/ASM may also be appropriate to mill with a 1” bit.

What you will need:
Optional for finger guard:
  • 2” diameter by 1.5" tall precut pvc collar from HomeDepot
  • 3"x3" "L" right angle bracket
  • Screws and nuts and bolts
Tools you will need:
  • Drill and standard bits
  • Sandpaper
image0.jpeg


Creating the jig:
Cut two pieces of wood to be 1/4”x4”x8”. Use a 1.5” hole saw, fostner, or spade bit to drill/cut a hole in one of the pieces of wood in a way that the hole touches edge of the wood. This will allow you to pry the chips out if they fit too snugly. Begin lightly sanding the inside of this hole/recess until your sample chips fit snugly. Try several different chips because there is some variance.

Measure the distance between the mounting holes on the drill press working surface. Align the piece of wood with the chip recess that you just cut on top of the other piece of wood so that the top piece overhangs the bottom piece by about 1/8” to allow you to grab chips more easily. Please not that you don't see this overlap in my video because it was a later change I made which definitely makes it much easier to grab the chip and flip it over by hand. Drill holes through both pieces of wood for the bolts to mount to the press working surface. The cut a piece of silicon to fit in between the pieces of wood which will help reduce the likelihood of chips spinning in the jig.


Finger guard:
I created a finger guard using a 2” diameter 1.5" tall precut piece of PVC and a simple 3" “L” or right angle bracket. This allows me to keep the machine running but protect fingers when flipping a chip. The 3" bracket (from Home Depot) holes lined up perfectly for me with my jig bolts. Your mileage may vary there.


Setting up the press:
I have not experimented with the speeds of this press since it is a manual process of changing the belts. I haven’t felt the need to experiment other than the default belt setting. I use a very large cardboard box with the front side cut out and place the entire press inside of the box to operate. This completely contains all of the debris. I do not have a garage so I simply set this up outside on a patio table every time I intend to use it. When I am done I just take the press out and dump the debris into a garbage bag.


Aligning the jig:
Place a chip in the wood and silicone sandwich jig on the work surface and loosely bolt down the jig. Set the work surface platform close to the bottom of the travel space so that you will allow the most room to flip chips once the drill bit has been lifted. With the Magnate bit installed in the press and the machine OFF slowly lower the press to determine the alignment of the bit relative to the chip in the jig. Rotate the bit by hand to make sure the jig is completely centered and then tighten everything down (see video below). Because of the limitations of this cheap drill press, leveling may be easier with small shims under the jig than using the press leveling controls. Expect to realign the jig for every use and every different kind of chip.


Milling hotstamps:
Depending on how snug your chip fits in the jig you can use another chip or a tool to apply some amount of pressure to keep the chip from spinning or jumping. I generally do not need to do this but with some chips it may be necessary due to slight variations in diameter. Slowly lower the press to the chip surface and you will see the bit working. Remove just enough so the hotstamp is gone by eyeballing. My eyesight isn’t great but I still find this very easy to eyeball. Some chip hotstamps/inlays are slightly off center. I have found that typically all the chips in that rack will be slightly off. So if my jig accounts for that slight off centered-ness I just eyeball the chip as it goes in and can get the chip oriented correctly so the bit hits perfectly. Experiment with the speed of your press, but I found with this drill press the slowest setting produced the smoothest chip surface and the cleanest debris.


Milling inlayed chips:
I have found that each inlay behaves differently when it gets milled out, but it actually creates less mess than hotstamp milling. It is also obvious as soon as the inlay gets pulled up. The tricky part is the alignment since the inlay is exactly 7/8” like the bit. I have compensated for this when necessary by aligning the jig in a way that it is very very slightly off center (like 1mm). In this scenario I do an initial drill press and then slightly rotate the chip to hit the remaining inlay if at all necessary. The first inlayed chips take a little while to get aligned and figure out how to attack but after that they are the same speed to mill as the hotstamps. Experiment with the speed of your press, but I found with this drill press the slowest setting produced the smoothest chip surface and the cleanest debris.

Shaped inlays can be tricky as I have found some inlays to be excess of 7/8” on THC. I have even found variation in the same rack of chips. One way to address this is to align the jig very slightly off center and then hit the chip several times while rotating the chip in the jog to create a slightly larger recess and remove all of the inlay. This is not ideal however.


Label design and label printing for your new fresh chips:

Make sure to use the forum vendors for the rest of your custom set resources.

Label designs go to @timinater or @p5woody

Inlay labels go to @Gear or @ABC Gifts and Awards

Milling for hire go to @Josh Kifer or @Gear
 
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allforcharity

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Fantastic write-up!

I have been contemplating entering the milling-for-hire service, at least for fellow Canadians, but my equipment/router setup isn't exactly as flexible for milling different diameters just like changing a bit. I can only really do a 15/16" recess, which basically takes it all the way to the inner recess edge of a typical THC chip, i.e. you lose the entirety of the inner ring to the recess. Doesn't affect the hats/canes, though.

In future I will also experiment with DISQ and SQinCR ASMs to see if the milling accuracy is reasonable on these types of chips, too.
 

Eloe2000

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Fantastic write-up!

I have been contemplating entering the milling-for-hire service, at least for fellow Canadians, but my equipment/router setup isn't exactly as flexible for milling different diameters just like changing a bit. I can only really do a 15/16" recess, which basically takes it all the way to the inner recess edge of a typical THC chip, i.e. you lose the entirety of the inner ring to the recess. Doesn't affect the hats/canes, though.

In future I will also experiment with DISQ and SQinCR ASMs to see if the milling accuracy is reasonable on these types of chips, too.

Thank you! Your approach is really interesting. I was trying to figure out how to use my existing router originally and I just couldn't get my head around it. Theoretically couldn't you devise a jig to accommodate any recess size if you were able to the correct size circular mount/jig thing to run the chip around in?
 

Eloe2000

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I could 3D print jigs of different diameters for the router method if that would help you do different sizes.

Oh interesting for @allforcharity. His method is pretty ingenious but I must admit I am not completely confident that I understand it totally. But it appeared to me if he was able to get jig mounts with precisely measured recess diameters he could do different inlay sizes. Since his method isn’t controlled by the bit diameter but the travel space for the chip itself. This might open up possibilities for him. My method is completely controlled by bit sizes and there are only a couple of those.
 

allforcharity

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Thank you! Your approach is really interesting. I was trying to figure out how to use my existing router originally and I just couldn't get my head around it. Theoretically couldn't you devise a jig to accommodate any recess size if you were able to the correct size circular mount/jig thing to run the chip around in?

Yes, it's true. The trick is to find or make the right jig with very accurate diameters. I prefer something machined out of metal for durability. The problem is, the accuracy of manufactured items vary.

I could 3D print jigs of different diameters for the router method if that would help you do different sizes.

Thanks, appreciate the offer. I actually just received a 3D printer myself, so if me or my kids can get the darn thing up and running, I should be able to print my own in time. I'm just worried about the durability/deformability of the PLA with the way I would rotate the chip inside the jig.
 

One Eyed Dollar

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This is a great write up, @Eloe2000! It makes me want to dust off my jig and do some more milling. I have the same drill press and tried a variety of speeds, and I think I settled on the slowest to avoid wobble/run out.
 

i'm nobody

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Thank you very much for this. I did do the table top router method for some hot stamped Paulsons and once had the center aligned it went quite well.
I did try the same method on one BCC horse shoe mold and on one roulette mold chip and neither worked very well. So I am really looking forward to trying the drill press method.
Once I get my honey do list under control. :whistle: :whistling:
 

Eloe2000

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This is a great write up, @Eloe2000! It makes me want to dust off my jig and do some more milling. I have the same drill press and tried a variety of speeds, and I think I settled on the slowest to avoid wobble/run out.

Honestly, the setup just seemed to work for me from the start so I didn't feel the need to tweak it and forgot about the speed belts. I will try to change things up though at some point, especially to experiment more with inlayed chips.
 

Colquhoun

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Very cool! I like the finger guard you used as well. Watching you pull out those Paulson chips without a guard made me cringe. :nailbite:
 

GenghisKhan

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Thanks for the great write-up!
I was just scouring the site for all the different tips, and jigs. My new drill press, bit and chips are ready to go.

I'm going to copy your jig and give it a go within the next few days. I'd say tomorrow, but I have a feeling a honey-do list may suddenly appear.

I was thinking of doing this in my poker room with the cardboard box. Maybe clean up with the shopvac after every few chips.

Questions:
-Do you think the noise will drive my wife crazy upstairs? :ROFL: :ROFLMAO:
-Does this create any tiny dust? Or just the large chip slices? I don't think I need a mask do I?

Hey you forgot PPE!
 

Eloe2000

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Very cool! I like the finger guard you used as well. Watching you pull out those Paulson chips without a guard made me cringe. :nailbite:

I thought we were all gamblers, no?! Haha, yeah the video without the finger guard just shows what is happening better.
 

Eloe2000

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Thanks for the great write-up!
I was just scouring the site for all the different tips, and jigs. My new drill press, bit and chips are ready to go.

I'm going to copy your jig and give it a go within the next few days. I'd say tomorrow, but I have a feeling a honey-do list may suddenly appear.

I was thinking of doing this in my poker room with the cardboard box. Maybe clean up with the shopvac after every few chips.

Questions:
-Do you think the noise will drive my wife crazy upstairs? :ROFL: :ROFLMAO:
-Does this create any tiny dust? Or just the large chip slices? I don't think I need a mask do I?

Hey you forgot PPE!

The noise isn’t that bad, especially when it is just running. The sound intensifies when you strike the chip but definitely way less than a vacuum cleaner or a circular saw or something. Maybe on the equivalent of my Roomba.

The debris is kind of like pencil or crayon shaving. Personally I just blow out any debris from the jig every once in a while but I have thought about adding a cheap clip on fan. Some people have told me they have mounted their shop vac house to the jig. But that seems like overkill to me and the noise of the shop vac would drive me nuts.

I don’t use a mask, but perhaps if you have one you could try it especially if you are indoors.

The debris it creates...
2B4A2854-A127-4F37-BD7E-D7E12ADBC3C5.jpeg
 
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Eloe2000

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I've done a few hundred chips so far with a press. Just large slices. My CNC makes dust when milling.

View attachment 448812

Damn that is a sexy green. Oh man, do what I do and put that sucker in a large cardboard box so you can just blow all of those shavings out of your way and not make a mess on your work station. The. You can just dump out the cardboard box at the end.
 

arch3r

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Damn that is a sexy green. Oh man, do what I do and put that sucker in a large cardboard box so you can just blow all of those shavings out of your way and not make a mess on your work station. The. You can just dump out the cardboard box at the end.

Did someone say sexy green?? All milled, cleaned and oiled!
IMG_20200202_135546.jpg
 

facinfears217

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i like the holder and finally a new use for my drill press. anyone ever used a router with any success?
 

Eloe2000

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I finally had time to experiment with the speed of the press and found that slower speeds certainly resulted a smoother chip surface and more manageable debris. I am now using the slowest setting on this press. OP has been updated.

Additionally I experimented with shaped inlays. What’s odd is that within the same set of chips I appear to have found some inlays slightly wider than 7/8” and some not. Also some shaped inlays go right up to the outer ring so milling them out may not be desirable. Some chips came out great and others were certainly not ideal because of the size of the inlay or it’s placement. OP updated.
 

Forty4

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I'm just worried about the durability/deformability of the PLA with the way I would rotate the chip inside the jig.
I’m not going to say you’re overthinking it but wanted to point out that CPC is using 3D printed punch for the half moon edge spot. Again I don’t know what material they are using just that it was 3D printed.
 
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