Tag Line

"Built Dam Strong!"

29 April 2014

TOS FA3V Mill update: New bits and I poke around a bit more.

I got to work this morning and the tarp that I have over my mill was off. Huh. After work I wanted to make sure nothing was messed with. of course, I could help but poke around a bit while I was checking everything over!

I started off by pulling the start/stop switch cover to see what the switches look like:
 That's a bit more complicated than I was expecting, not that I knew what I was looking for:
 I am sure that I could find something modern and new that will work, but I am likely going to give a go at fixing the broken face of the stop switch. I like fixing original stuff, especially since the whole mill is made to last and to be serviceable, unlike most modern throw-away stuff.

I took the "back splash" off:
 Mounting the vice will need the extra space, I think.

I found a lot of chips to clean up:
 The back splash was mounted by simply drilling and tapping four holes on the back of the table:
 This actually bodes pretty well for the eventual DRO install.

I left it there for now, as I was tired after a long day of having an inspector hovering over my shoulder. Refraining from beaning him in the head with a hammer was the most tiring part. LOL!

Yesterday, the collets I ordered arrived. I've managed to get one stuck already:
 Lesson learned: Don't crank the collet nut down without the endmill in the collet! I'll get it out easily enough.

This is a poor sideview of the collet body:
 The recess in the upper part of the collet fits into the collet nut, which has a raised edge for locking the collet in place. In fact, the proper way to load the collet into the holder is to snap the collet into the nut FIRST, then tighten the nut onto the holder. If you load the collet into the holder first, you'll just jam everything together and make a mess of things. You certainly won't be holding your endmill or tool correctly at all!

Here's what the assembly can look like:

 I really like this system so far. =)

Another thing arrived in the maill today in this non-descript grey plastic box:

 There we have a Mitutoyo dial test indicator that reads to .0001" for a very, very reasonable price. It seems to be working perfectly, too! A dial test indicator is a very precise device that allows one to measure small deviations along axes and even diameter with the proper setup. The first thing I will do with this is use it to line up the fixed jaw of my vise to make sure it is parallel with the spindle. This will keep the work in a fairly precise location and allow parts to be made precisely parallel or perpendicular to the spindle, which is important for longer pieces or parts that must meet certain specs for flatness or parallelism.

My phone really sucks at macro shots, so this is the best I could do to get a closeup of the face of the thing:

It came with a couple of basic accessories, the most important of which is this 3/8" shank dovetail adapter:
The shank will be held by a collet in one of the holders. I'll get pics of how I use it when I use it.

Slowly but surely things are falling into place! This is about the most exciting thing to happen until I get the stuff I ordered to make a drawbar and can then actually make some chips! Oh, I ordered oil, too, as I don't want to run the mill dry. Duh! There is a lot of complex mechanical workings going on in this thing, and it should be oiled properly for maximum smoothness and minimized wear and tear.

27 April 2014

Busted Sub, Part 14: I am currently the largest, best idiot in the automotive world.

I'll just get this over with:

Two right hand spindles.

Yeah. I'm that dumb. *sighs* The friend who sent them to me has the two left spindles. *shakes head* I'm really tired of this at this point. I have a plan and it is being executed.

Anyway, I did get a lot done over the weekend.

The subframe was bolted in:

I did put one side of the bronze flanged bushings in:
 I think that they will work very well. There was certainly much less slop in how the subframe mounted up.

I got these from a friend:
 Gotta love in the bag new Honda parts! (This is the the steering rack boot part number.)

Bolted in the new inner tie rods:
 Lower control arm, shock/spring/fork:
 One of the collars was rust frozen to the radius rod in an odd position:
 I used a flap wheel to take the collar down to the OD of the machined section of the rod, but notice the gap between the end of the machined part and the collar. Yes, there was a washer there (I beat the snot out of it trying to loosen the collar up, but only succeeded in busting the washer off), but there was still about a 1/8" gap. I am sure that couldn't have been good for suspension symmetry.

I finally got the collar off with a cold chisel and a couple of good whacks:

Then cleaned everything up as best I could with a wire wheel:
 I wanted to clean up the threads with an M12x1.25 die, but could not find it so in it went as is.

Then I got busy with the other side:

Here's another shot from underneath:

It's springtime, so take the time to notice the beauty around you:

23 April 2014

TOS FA3V mill update: Tooling! What I've chosen, what I've got and some basic info on different things.

Well, the start of it, anyway:

 I scored these two Kennametal CAT40 TG100 collet chucks, one 3" gauge and one 4" (or was it 5"?) gauge, for a ridiculously good price on eBay. The seller was even kind enough to combine shipping.

Now, WTF is all the gibberish? Kennametal is a brand, a good one, in fact, of all sorts of metal working tooling, especially indexable carbide inserts and holders.

CAT40 is the spindle specification of my mill. There are several specs, all in even intervals of 10 (10, 20, 30, 40, 50 and larger), with CAT40 being the most common, CAT50 being larger and becoming more common with much higher power machining centers coming onto the market (which needs larger, more rigid tool holders (usually) to transfer the power at every lower runout specifications) and CAT30 used a lot of smaller machines of the imported and cheap variety. CAT40 spindles share nearly all the same specifications as NMTB spindles except that there is no extended tail on the top of the tool holder. (That is the only difference between CAT and NMTB, as you can use CAT40 tool holders in an NMTB spindle, but not vice versa. I am choosing to use CAT40 tooling since surplus and even new tooling is plentiful, readily available and in many cases, dirty cheap.

TG collets are a specification of collets. Collets are holding devices that clamp onto something of a fairly specific diameter, be it a tool or even material to me machined. (Lathes often have collet systems to allow for very low runout, or wobble, workholding and repeatable positioning.) Collets allow for fast tool changes, low runout (which leads to better tool life) and not having to change out the whole tool holder to clamp different size pieces. Changing a collet and tightening the lock nut is way faster, usually, especially with a mill like mine where the drawbar is WAY up on top of the darn thing.

Specifically, TG collets are a single, low angle, high precision collet. The most common collet type is the ER collet system. I chose to go with a slightly less ubiquitous collet system for two reasons:
1. The TG collets' clamping force is much greater.
2. TG collets are better designed, IMO, with a radial bearing integrated into the locknut. There ARE some ER collet systems that have that feature, but ALL TG collet lock nuts should have this by definition. This allows for slightly better centering and more torque being able to be applied, further increasing clamping on the tool.

The two disadvantages of the TG collet system, as far as I can see:
1. The collets are slightly more expensive.
2. The grip range is not as wide, and techincally, you would need a mroe extensive and therefore expensive, set of collets to cover any given range, BUT . . . I won't need more than 5-6 collets, so the grip range is moot and the price for a few collets is much less than for a set of collets.

The TG collets have different size specifications, denoted in multiples of 25, with TG25 being about the smallest you'll find, I think. So, common sizes are TG25, TG50, TG75, TG100 and TG150. Multiply the number by ten and you get the maximum size the collet can accommodate in thousandths of an inch, so my TG100 collet chucks can accommodate 100x10=1000 thousandths, or one inch. So, this means that my collet chuck and the appropriate collet and grip a tool with a shank of up to 1". That's pretty darn large for an end mill. I do have a few of them that are that large, but most endmills that I have that I will use have either a 3/8" or 1/2" shank, and those are the first two collet sizes I will get.

Speaking of endmills:
I'm sorting this lot by size and then further by flute type. Basically, an endmill with more than two flutes is usually used for steel and/or cast iron. Two flute endmills are used for aluminum and other non-ferrous metals.

The ones I don't use are going on eBay to help recoup some of the growing expenses to feed the machine. =)

Busted Sub, part 13.1: Steering rack is finally bolted in.

The paint dried yesterday, but I had some other stuff to take care of so I couldn't get the rack bolted in. I took care of that tonight. I am living the "What about Bob?" plan: babysteps. heh

It's together!

It fits pretty darn well. I had to loosen the bolts on the other side and wiggle everything around a bit to center the bushing(s), but I think that will do nicely. For a change.

Now for the bad news that always seems to crop up:

My new inner tie rods (that I bought a LONG time ago) don't come with new lockwashers, so now I either have to try to save the old ones from my original rack or get new ones and wait . . . Ugh. UGH!

Whatever. Progress is still progress.

21 April 2014

Busted Sub, Part 13: Modifying the rack bracket

As I found out yesterday, the power steering rack is thicker than the manual rack, which alters the mounting points for the rack quite a bit. On with the fixin'!

I found some steel in my pile o' crap and cut it and cleaned it to fit in the end of the of the manual rack bracket:

I welded it to the bracket:

I also rosette welded the original hole and ran some passes to thicken up the overhang on the piece I added:
 Rounded the edges:
 Flattened the bottom:

I measured the hole spacing and found that the hole centers are 83mm apart. I used my calipers to transfer marks and then centerpunched the bracket:

I drilled a pilot hole and could only find my 3/8" drill bit, which was a bit too small for the bolts, so I used one of my uni-bits to open up the hole so the bolt fit through:

Then, of course, is the test fit:

Ready for paint:
I hit it with VHT chassis epoxy. It is drying in the basement. We'll see how it turns out tomorrow. It was windy. I probably have a run or two, but I am not going to really care about that since it is under the car. heh.

20 April 2014

Busted Sub, Part 12: I broke two nails, and that was just the start . . .

I ruined my fresh manicure! I'm kidding. No, seriously, I'm kidding.

Today was another day where I was fighting everything to get something done and I made some forward progress, but, well, you'll see. heh

The spindles are now 100% complete:

I really like these MOOG lower ball joints:
 The boots and hardware are very excellent. I expect long life out of these!

On to more interesting stuff. I figured that even if I couldn't use all 8 bronze flange bushings, I could certainly use 4 of them, even if they do get reamed off center doing it by hand. I didn't think that it would hurt one bit to have the bushing slightly off. It would get squished nicely by the bolt, anyway!

I wish the flange part was a bit wider:

Not bad, but not exactly what I wanted:
 I'll deal with it for now.

I cleaned up the six rubber plugs and popped them back into place:
 A keen observer will notice there are only three of four bolts in the holes. I managed to misplace tht particular bolt for a long while . . . Grrr!

Next,  started to fit up the new steering rack. Everything was going smoothly until I went to clamp the passenger side of the rack:
 I have a power steering subframe. The power steering rack is thicker in diameter and the bracket that holds it in place is longer.

Compare the above holes to the original subframe:

Here is how much room is left in between the new Prothane poly bushing and the subframe when the two bolts are tightened on the driver's side:

For now, the easy fix is to trim the ears off the old bushing:

And use that to take up the slack space:
 For the bracket, I am going to modify it tomorrow after work. I have a pretty simple fix in mind that shouldn't take long to implement.

The last thing I did before calling it a night was to get some of the shifter bushings pressed in!



They pressed in pretty easily one at a time. I tried to do both at once, but they wanted to shift off line doing that. They eased right in one at a time. I had concerns that my press fit would be wrong, but, it didn't seem to bother anything at all.

I did need to send the reamer through one more time, however. The inside of the shift lever end was no where near round, so there was a mismatch in the bushing fit. One pass with the reamer later and the test fit is a success!

There is an ever so slight clearance for the bolt. I don't think that will be an issue at all.

Now I need to find the other bits from the shifter so I can finish pressing the bushings in and figure out what length bolt I need for both pieces and get the sucker put back together.

I can't find my customer shifter . . . I may just throw in a good stock shifter for now in order to test the bushings under "normal" circumstances, and honestly, I don't need to bonk the exhaust as I am actually anticipating having move the shift linkage up by creating a boxed section on top of the center tunnel of the car with the custom shifter, as the bottom of the shifter is pretty darn long. So, for now that might have to do.

That's it for now. Hopefully I'll get the darn subframe bolted up tomorrow finally, allowing me to get the rest of the suspension and brakes in. That won't take long at all once the subframe is in. I do anticipate one issue, though. One of the steel inner sleeves for the radius rod bushings is rusted to the shaft of the radius rod. I really want to get that off and clean it up before installing the new bushings. I may have to cut it off, as I don't have a torch at home and can't try to heat it up easily. Propane really isn't so good for that kind of thing.