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Just comparing the two machines, it looks like the Proxxon will do more things than a beginner like myself needs. It does have much higher speed than the Mini Mill, but less horsepower AND it looks like the Proxxon uses proprietary collets (I could be wrong on that one.)
What about CNC capabilities? Does either of these work like that and of how much importance is this capability for students in Horology – cutting gears, etc.?
You are right, Proxxon uses proprietary collets ranging from 1.0 mm to 3.2 mm (1/32″ to 1/8″) included with the machine, but a M8x1 Jacobs chuck will also work.
Proxxon does have a CNC kit available for it, I don’t have it and would not know if it is of much importance in horology.
I have one of those and I am happy with it. Never used it for things like gear cutting, so I cannot comment on that.