6-in-1 Multipurpose Machine Kit

This page is still under construction - there is lots more to add - mostly not very favourable!

The box lid
The box lid

This is a review of a 6-in-one multipurpose machine sold via KKMoon on AliExpress and other places. The kit assembles to make a variety of mini-machines. It is described as "6 in 1 Lathe Tool Kit Jigsaw Grinder Driller Plastic Metal Wood Lathe Drilling Sanding Turning Milling Sawing Machine Tool Kit"

There are some extremely serious problems wuith some of the assemblies: these have been hi-lighted in red.

First impressions: a clever design. If it works it could be useful. Or is it little more than a toy? There are two versions: an all-metal version and one which is partly plastic. The instructions say "Metal 6 in 1 is stronger and durable". Which is fine, but you are still going to require replacement tools and spare parts. These do not appear to be available!


The Instructions

The instructions, at first sight, seem not bad for a Chinese-written manual - they are mainly pictorial. But why is the format so tiny that you really cannot see the photos properly? Page size is only 138mm high by 104mm wide, so photos mostly postage-stamp size or slightly bigger, so little detail is visible. This makes the instructions bad! What is particularly disappointing is that, with relatively little extra thought, they could be good. I wonder why they are so tiny - is there a paper shortage in China? Of course the text is Chinese-English. Chinese does not translate well into English and always needs to be slightly re-written to be good. As I am a technical author I find this particularly annoying!

However there is a large jpeg of the instructions which the manufacturer send, when I requested a pdf (which would have been far more use!). They did not answer several other points I made!

A large jpeg is less than ideal so I have split it into a 14 page pdf of the 6 in 1 Mini Multipurpose Machine instructions which can be printed out A4, so is much clearer. However even enlarged, the photos are not always clear.

Photos usually (and in this case definitely) are not as good as drawings, so this is rather puzzling as the KKMoon page selling these has some very good drawings - which should be in the instructions!


Metal-working Micro-Lathe

Most use for me would be as a micro-lathe. So I go straight for this.

The lathe tool clamp
The lathe tool clamp
The photo (right) is from the enlarged instructions. Even at this scale, can you work out what hardware is used to clamp the tool? I could not. Incidentally I could not find on Aliexpress any replacement lathe tools. The one supplied is 4mm square. The smallest common size seems to be 8mm square, which would no way be safe with the shown plastic clamps. My offering would clamp that size tol much more firmly.

Lathe Tool clamp

Tool clamp
Tool clamp
Tool clamp
Tool clamp
Tool clamp
Tool clamp

So I get the lathe assembled to the point that I am trying to clamp the metal-working tool in place. It is completely impossible, from the 30mm x 25mm photo, to see how this is mounted. The two clamps are plastic z-shaped pieces. The two arms are different as shown in the side view. But the photo from the instructions just shows some sort of screw and nut arrangement to clamp the tool and it is indistinguishable which way te clamp is to be mounted. The holes in the clamp are much larger than the M4 screws provided and, as the third photo shows such a nut-and-bolt system does not fit squarely and could never safely clamp a metal-working tool.

My metal clamp
My metal clamp

So, having in my possession a suitable Z-shaped aluminium piece (a heatsink from an old 2QD controlled which I designed and sold), I decided to make a proper, safe clamp as shown. But even when clamping this, the clamping action is not solid as the plastic of the slide beneath gives, so each of the screws (only 3 mate with the supplied tool) has to be tightened and retightened. But I think this clamp will probably cope with an 8mm x 8mm tool.

The main problem with the lathe unit is that there is no vertical adjustment of the tool, which seriously limits its usefulness - especially as 4mm lathe tools appear to be unobtainable. Some adjustment could be made by padding the tool but this would be in the wrong direction.

Collets

The set comes with an impressive set of 8 collets, 1mm to 6mm. These may be used on the drive end, to hold for instance, a mandrel or they can be used on the fixed end to hold drills for centre drilling.

These collets are nicely and accurately machined and work nicely. collet/png
The main criticism is that, because the chamfer is at the root of the collet rather than the tip and is at a shallow angle, the collet has a tendency to get stuck in the tapped shaft, with the inserted tool retained. If the chamfer was at the tip, as shown on the right, any sticking would be in the cap nut, which is being unscrewed so will remove the tool as it is unscrewed. This version would also require less force to clamp the tool as the clamping is applied at the collet's tip so there is better leverage.

The collets are also very robust so that they will not easily clamp significantly smaller than the designed sizes.

The nut to tighten the collet is 15mm across flats. 15mm is not a common spanner size so most users will need to use an adjustable spanner.

3 jawed chuck

This is a neat little chuck which runs quite smoothly. This is one of the parts which impresses with its quality.

The only criticism is that two rods are supplied to adjust it by locating in holes in the chuck. But the diagram in the instructions is so small it is easy to misread which holes to use! One important hole is in the back knurled section. There are three more holes in the plain section to allow the front rod to be moved from hole to hole. Obvious once you have seen it. The fit of the chuck is so good that visual inspection does not show the join between these two parts of it!

Be careful not to widen the grip too far or one of the jaws will fall out!


Wood working (bead) lathe

Grinding Machine

I had a job I thought the grinding machine could do. But I hit a snag! The plastic disc ("Sand Wheel" in the instructions) onto which sandpaper is attached via adhesive backing, does not screw onto the drive shaft. I investigated.
The fits a standard M12 bolt ">
The "Sand Wheel"
fits a standard M12 bolt

The M12 bolt with<br>the drive.
The M12 bolt with the drive.

The Wheel is moulded with a standard M12 thread, pitch 1.75mm. A standard M12 machine screw (not part of the kit!) fits if nicely. But the shaft onto which it should fit is M12 fine - a 1mm pitch! This is a silly mistake which should never have happened. The machine in this guise is unusable! Clearly a mistake has been made in specifying the component and the producer has no quality control checking!


Table jig-saw

I tried to assemble the jig-saw. The instructions say "Using the screws (M4x10) to combine the jigsaw casing with the jigsaw base". But the jigsaw casing is not identified in the picture of parts, nor does it appear to exist separately. It seems that these two parts are already combined in the supplied "jigsaw base". Instructions should clarify - not confuse! I find this sort of error incomprehensible.

However once you have worked out which bits to use, the jigsaw fits together well. The drive mechanism is an eccentric ball-race mounted on a shaft that uses the 6mm collet. The ball-race slots into a rectangular box on the vibrating shaft that holds the saw blade. This box comes packed with grease so should last a fair time, provided the grease doesn't get too polluted with abrasive particles. When you dismantle the saw, most of the grease comes out on the ball-race of the eccentric, so you need a small polythene bag to store this component in.

The table screws onto the jigsaw base with two self-taping Philips screws so might not take too many disassembly-reassembly runs unless care is taken to use the original threads - the way to do that is to turn the screw slightly anticlockwise, feeling for a slight click as it locates the original thread.

The saw blades are tiny - about 1.3mm wide with a tooth pitch of 1mm. 15mm length protrudes from the table, so they could cut intricate shapes in thin material.


Drilling/vertical milling machine

The instructions start"1. M4x6 screws + camping (sic) plate, put them into the T-shaped groove of the machine bed (long). Next put the screws through the second line pear-shaped [they mean keyhole] hole of the machine bed (short)." Keyhole slots are there to locate previously engaged screws! Fiddling with screws inside a hollow metal object is not easy! So engage the screws in the clamping plates first! Locating is much easier if you remove one end of the machine bed (short) first so you can see what you are doing.

The next bit of the instructions says"M4x8 screw through the drilling table and twist them with the M4 slot nut into the T-shaped slot in the middle of pattern 2." What is pattern 2? It does not help that the instructions are mostly for the all-metal version. The metal plus plastic version is significantly different. I found the instructions at this point impossible to follow but, having printed out the enlarged instructions A4, I could work out from the pictures how to assemble the machine. You have to take apart one of the small slide units, unscrew the grub-screw in the adjusting knob and remove the threaded adjusting shaft. The knob itself is captive so cannot be removed as the instructions suggest. The smaller half of the slide then must be mounted on a "intermediate piece" taking care that the slot on the back of this piece in vertical and not horizontal. The slide should be well oiled (the instructions suggest vaseline).

Kit as miling machine
Kit as miling machine
The result is a usable drill-press. The slide action is crude and stiff and the lever falls out, but the drill works. Care must be taked with the clamping so that the drill is vertical but a 0.7mm drill (which is about the smallest that can be gripped) ran true and drilled a nice hole.

This same system can be used as a mill, when the slide unit should not be taken apart. The two bottom slides adjust the table so shapes can be milled. This mill also works nicely.


Horizontal milling machine


Tools supplied

The kit comes with a few tools I was unable to find on AliExpress any replacement tools specifically for this machine and those with a yellow background will prove problematical. he others can be improvised fairly easily. This apparent lack of support tends to give the impression that this is indeed a toy and the manufacturer does not expect anyone to give it any serious use, or indeed for it to last long! A shame because there is some clever thought in its design, and some good engineering.

Mains power supply

 

Replacement tools

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