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"Built Dam Strong!"

16 April 2014

TOS FA3V Mill update: It is bad when UPS outperforms the USPS.

The seller of my vise on eBay had to break up the vise into two packages worth of parts. The vise body arrived at my shop, as it was just easier for UPS to deliver that there than to have to drag it from the house. As of this moment, the second package with the rest of the parts for the vise and the handle have disappeared and I am starting to get concerned . . . More on that later.

I have to say, this is one of the best packing jobs I've seen in a while!
The top, bottom, front and back were protected by 1/4" plywood. The sides were braced perfectly with wood, too:

Top and bottom both looked great!

I like seeing this on stuff I order:
 I mostly just opened the box up to ensure that it arrived in one piece and that the one piece was in as good a shape as was shown.

I sprayed down the top and bottom with WD40 and took my dual grit Norton stone to the top and bottom. I saw and felt NO raised areas at all whatsoever. The mating surfaces are flat enough so that the stone actually suctions to the flats when you pass it over the surface!

Some stains lifted up, probably from the WD40 more than the stone itself.

After that treatment, I set it on the table temporarily:

 I have some dinky t-nuts and bolts that will eventually be used to lock the vise to the table, but I think my first project is going to be milling some more substantial t-nuts for the thing. A big vise like that needs to be held securely!

Since it was really crappy weather and couldn't work on my CRX, I poked around the mill some more. I popped the covers off the X (or is it Y? In and out) lead screw area and check it out:

It looks to be in really good shape, though there is a lot of aluminum swarf that needs to be cleaned out (and it will). The covers also don't fit particularly well, and I have to see if I can fix that up before I use the mill too heavily. Aluminum chips and crap aren't usually very damaging, but get some steel or cast iron in there and it can get pretty abrasive and abusive in a hurry.

The stop button is cracked:
 I want to replace that, for sure. I am not sure if I can find a modern equivalent, but if not, I have an idea on how to fix it.

This is a view from the underside of the table, which needs more cleaning:
 The rectangular thing is a "stop dog." It is set to limit the travel of the table by bumping a limit switch:
 The nub on the box-like thing is the actual limit switch. There is one for both sides. Reading through the manual, there was an option to have the mill run an automatic or semi-automatic cycle, sort of like early CNC, just without the computers. You could set it to run one pass or oscillate back and forth so you could conceivably change parts on one end of the table while it is actually milling on other parts. I am sure OSHA would love seeing that done with no guards in place. heh

The flat part of nearly any machine tool, and sometimes not flat part, where something moves is called a "way" and they should be kept clear, hence the piece screwed in with two screws:
 That is called a way scraper. It basically pushes chips, debris and anything else out of the way before it gets crunched in between the way and the able and ruins the surface.

Here is one of the very many oil sight glasses:
 When the mill is running correctly, the oil pump will push oil to all the running parts, and you will see oil moving in these things. That reminds me that I need to get some oil for this thing . . .

Here is the gearbox speed selection lever:
 It is calibrated in inches per minute, so it is currently set to about 30in/min, which is very fast. It drops down to an incredibly slow 9/16" per minute (I think that is about 13mm?) which would be for finishing passes to make things ultrasmooth and shiny.

Here is another view of the block thing that holds two limit switches:
 You can see the faint outline of an arrow, which I think would correspond to these marks on the table:
 That pink will have to come off . . .

Here is something I didn't notice as it was covered with gunk:
 That is the power feed direction selector and indicator assembly. The direction is supposed to light up. I am not sure it ever worked, but it might. If not, I will have to figure out how to change out the bulb! I am thinking it would look even better with an LED behind it, maybe even glowing in some virulent radioactive color. heh

This is the power feed speed selector switch. The middle position, where it is now, is neutral (off).
 Moving it one click to either side moves the table one way or another. Moving it one click further in either direction (two clicks from neutral total) kicks it into high speed, which is AWESOME for moving the table around in a hurry. Way better than cranking the tables by hand, especially since I am missing one crank.

I also just noticed this one screw is missing:

It should look like this:
 I am sure it is a metric thread screw, so I will have to pull another one and figure out what size the thread is an order another one.

Finally, I managed to get the darn spindle plug out from the top of the spindle!

I found some 1/4" round rod in the shop and it was long enough with some help:

 to pop the plug up and out! I used the vise body and plates that were around the vise (waiting to get welded on to an angle, I think) as spacers so I didn't have to crank the table all the way up by hand. (I didn't want to bother hooking up the power that day.)

Speaking of cranking, even with the 92ish pound vise b odyon the table, it wasn't much more effort at all to crank the whole table up. The whole knee assembly weighs a good chunk of a ton, so the the gearing is very effective, though you would certainly be able to get a very good shoulder workout every day if you had to do that by hand all the time!

One more tidbit:
The mill uses an NMBT40 taper spindle. With a new, slightly different draw bar, I can use CAT40 (or CT40) tool holders. Cat40 is just about the most popular CNC tool holder size ont he market, so there is no shortage of surplus on eBay.  I've decided to exclusively use CAT40 tool holders so I don't have to make more than one drawbar. This will simplify my tool choices while giving me access to very many easily found and good quality choices, even if it means I will have to pass on a few things that are dirty cheap once in a while. Cheap is only as good if it can save you money or time. If it can't, then it ends up costing you more of both. I can't really afford to try a billion different things, so, after doing some basic research, I will stick to this plan and see how it works out for me. I really won't know everything I need until I start making stuff with the mill, and seeing what kind of work pops up for me to do with the mill. I have a good idea of what the basics are for the mill, but that is going to be a post for another time.

So, that's it for now.