Now this is a workshop where I would feel at home…..
“Hi John some photo’s attached.
Now this is a workshop where I would feel at home…..
“Hi John some photo’s attached.
I am starting to regret asking for the workshop photos. Another reader, John, has sent in photos of his super organised, super clean workshop. We must admit that it looks quite inviting,….
and fairly safe, unlike my disorganised dirty mess.
Here are the photos. Somewhere in Oz.
And some notes from John….
“Thought you and possibly your readers might enjoy some pics of my ‘shop. All crammed into a two car garage! I really am running out of space and have to try and be as efficient as possible in that regard . Note the ladders etc hung on brackets from the ceiling in one of the pics. I also have an anvil and coke forge outside, plus materials, bolts and the like stored in one of the garden sheds outside the workshop.
A few notes to go:
103350 my ML7 Myford lathe lives behind the large red tool chest which is handily placed to mill and lathes. Parts washer (green lid) to right of pic, under cloth foreground is completed riding trailer to go behind current long term project 2 ½ “ Burrell traction engine. In welding area, BOC Industrial MIG, Unimig plasma cutter sitting on top, orange cabinet is sand blaster. Note also the copper pipes across the ceiling – they run across and back to help cool the air and dehumidify, with droppers and drain cocks at various locations, plus there’s two inline filters (one to 3 micron) to help ensure dry air for spray painting and sand blasting.
103407 ac/dcTIG, folder/g’tine/rolls (blue in corner), new welding/fab bench frames under construction on floor by current welding bench.
103450 press, tool and cutter grinder, bandsaw, oxy, compressor.
103575 mill, drill press and two grinders/linisher.
103558 ML7 – my first lathe
103633 bench area, tall grey cabinet holds lots of gear – taps, dies, tooling, roatab, dividing head etc etc
104041 recent mods to compressor to quieten the beast using an old Holden red motor air cleaner. Replaces the small plastic jobbies that screw into the heads. It’s been quite effective.”
So, thank you John, for further magnifying my inferiority complex regarding workshop organisation. And I know that these machines are put to work, making a traction engine, and currently a beam engine. Plus a full time job, unlike this retired medico who has time to kill.
Dear readers, if anyone has a dirty, disorganised, dark workshop, please send me some photos. It will do wonders for my self esteem.
I am progressing my Southworth pump. Today, Stuart brought his completed version, so I photographed the incomplete and complete versions together. Actually, it was very useful to see Stuart’s pump again. An obvious difference in one of the components made me realise that I had made a mistake. Now rectified.
Reader Tim from NSW, Oz, sent these pics
And from Victoria Oz, Neil sent these shots of his workshop, with some work in progress visible…
Reading Neil’s signs reminds me of a sign which I saw on someone else’s mill or lathe… “Not to be operated by fuckwits”. Maybe I should put up such a sign on in my workshop, but then, it might invite comments about the current occupant.
And finally, my friend and mentor Stuart’s workshop…
And finally, I decided to add a shot of the spare bedroom in my home. Note the Boxford CNC lathe,
So there you are. Please send your photos of your heaven on Earth.
This post was inspired by one of my readers sending me some photos of her workshop. The photos grabbed my attention for several reasons.
Firstly, the metal working machines share the space with tomatoes! Unusual, eclectic use of the space. Secondly, the roof and walls are made of glass! Great for natural lighting, and nice views for the machinist, and possibly the neighbours. Thirdly, it is such a small space, requiring planning to accomodate quite a few machines and work space. And fourthly, it is so neat and clean. I do see an occasional bit of swarf, but it is so unlike the mess that I work in, that it is quite striking to see such a clean workshop.
Thanks to reader Jennifer for sending these photos. For obvious reasons I will not publish further location details except to reveal that the location is in the UK.
And as a complete antithesis, this is my main workshop in Oz. Bigger, messier, dirtier, darker. Actually, when I looked over my photos I could not find one decent view of my workshop, so I took some new pics. Needless to say, there was no special tidying for the photo.
So, that is where I spend most of my waking hours. The shed started life as a farm workshop, where a lot of welding, and repair and maintenance of farm machinery was done. These days it is mainly used for model engineering. In my working life I was an obsessively neat, organised and particular surgeon. Not quite sure how my activities ended in this mess. But you know what?… I feel totally comfortable here.
If you have some photos of your own workshop area, please send them in and I will publish them for the interest of other readers. Big areas, small areas, old machines or new. Show us where you spend your most enjoyable hours. Send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
My CNC mill is now mostly functioning, although several functions are yet to be connected. The main spindle and XY&Z axes are working, and responding appropriately to Mach3 commands from the laptop computer. It has taken longer than anticipated so far, mainly due to difficulty in understanding manuals supplied from Asia. Axis limit and homing switches, oil pump, coolant pump, work light, and cooling fans still to be connected.
So there has been little of general interest coming out of my workshop. Hence no posts on this site. Not that I have been idle.
I disassembled the top slide on the Colchester lathe to discover the cause for excessive back-lash. It was a worn acme thread bronze nut. No luck yet in finding a new nut for this 45 year old lathe. I will have to make one. Meanwhile, I used a quick and dirty trick to reduce the back-lash which I will detail soon.
I also cleaned and freed up a 3 jaw 10″ chuck which I bought on Ebay. It was frozen solid, so I soaked it in kerosene bath for a few months. Actually, I forgot all about it while it was in the kerosene, and accidentally rediscovered it. This time, after using an impact screwdriver, I was able to open it up and expose the gears and get them moving. Might be worth a photo also.
And I finally got around to installing piston rings in the triple expansion steam engine. Used Viton O-rings. Not a difficult task, and it should not be difficult to replace them from time to time in future. Will be interesting to see if the engine performance improves.
Now to get onto my next project. I have plans and bronze castings for a Southworth design water pump, for replenishing the vertical boiler water while it is in use. It was a surprise to me, just how much water is consumed by a boiler which is powering a model steam engine. To date I have used a hand pump, but having seen a steam powered pump in action, I have decided to make one.
The steam is supplied from the boiler which is being replenished. The pump has to use steam at boiler steam pressure, to force water into the boiler. So the pump has to raise the pressure of the feed water above the pressure of the steam which is powering the pump. The clever pump design uses large steam driven pistons to drive smaller water pump pistons.
Here is a video of a Southworth pump in action. It was made by Stuart Tankard. Here it is running on compressed air, but I have seen it working similarly on steam. I will be making one of the same design, hopefully approaching this level of finish.
A build of larger version of the pump was described by J. Bertinat in a series of articles “Model Engineer” in 1993 (first article 18 June 1993).
Fitted the new VSD Friday. Ordered Tues pm. Arrived Thurs am. Impressive.
$AUD315, inc shipping. Job cost is mounting. Still within reasonable limits.
Now, except for the main spindle motor, there are no more original major electrical components. All have been updated and replaced, along with the cables.
Yet to be wired are the VSD, coolant pump, oil feed pump, limit switches, homing switches, and the Gecko driver and 48v power supply for the rotary table. But the mill is useable now. Video coming up soon.
2 steps forward, 1 step back. That’s what this project is experiencing.
The axis servo motors, their controllers and connections to power, breakout boards, and computer connections are complete, and all working.
An old laptop has found a use. Installed Mach3, Vectric V-Carve Pro. And the connections to the Smooth Stepper board. Windows 10. Deleted all non CNC related programs to gain space on the hard drive.
A problem with the main spindle. It is essentially unchanged from the original. Same motor (4kw/5hp 3 phase), same VSD, and same 3 phase power which is supplied through a phase changer, because the property has only 2 phases supplied. When powered up, it worked, but the RPM’s could not be altered from a very slow rate. The controlling voltage from the breakout board was not changing despite changing the inputs. ? due to a problem with the settings, or a faulty BOB. Didn’t seem serious.
So I was a bit surprised when later I switched on the mill, intending to change some settings, to hear 2 significant pops, and to smell that disgusting burnt electrical component smell, with smoke coming from the electrical enclosure.
Quickly shut everything down, and waited for the cavalry to arrive.
Stuart found that a 24v power supply had failed. No big deal. Not an expensive component. Maybe got a short circuit from a bit of swarf? But further inspection revealed that the VSD had also failed. A capacitor and diode burnt out. ? caused by a surge from the failing power supply? Repairable, but I decided to buy a new VSD. The failed VSD is probably as old as the mill (24 years), so it had a pretty good run. If the old VSD is repairable, it will serve as a spare.
Meanwhile, as a consequence, the main spindle is not working. I have a list of jobs that I want to get into, particularly the steam pump for the vertical boiler. So I will reattach the high speed spindle and use that. It is 2.2kw, but uses high revs to develop power, so I will be limited to small end mills and drills, until the new components (VSD and power supply) arrive. The high speed spindle is single phase, and the speed control is manually selected. Not quite as convenient but useable for the time being.
While Stuart has his head buried in the electrical enclosure, I have been his gopher and TA. But also fitting in a couple of other jobs which have been on the “to do” list for ages. Like clearing out rubbish from the workshop, tidying up etc.
One task which has been vexing me, was to remove a sheet of flooring board which was under the Colchester lathe. The sheet was originally placed under the lathe to protect the vinyl floor covering, but it was not a good decision. As the flooring board became wet with cutting oil and coolant, it would swell and shrink, and I was aware that the lathe levels and settings were changing. So I decided to remove the sheet of flooring, and let the lathe feet sit directly on steel pads on the vinyl/concrete floor.
But how to remove the sheet of flooring from underneath the almost 1 ton lathe? The lathe was originally placed into its rather tight position with a forklift, which is no longer available. The wooden sheet was the same size as the base of the lathe.
So I made these…
I used a crow bar to raise the corners of the lathe enough to place the jacks into position. A bit of trial and error to get the heights correct. When the lathe was about 25mm clear of the flooring, I pulled the sheet out. Then used the crowbar to remove the jacks, and lower the lathe onto its base plates.
I will reset the lathe’s screw feet in the next day or 2, using a precision level and test cuts. There was an excellent YouTube video by “This Old Tony” on the subject recently.
Not much more to report today, but I have decided how to position the computer.
Not easy, because the computer needs to be protected from flying swarf and coolant spray from the CNC mill and the manual mill which is immediately adjacent. And I want the computer to be close to the machine. The CNC mill is NOT in an enclosure.
So this is what I have decided….
And if the swarf is really flying, I can turn the PC away…
I have been putting quite a few hours into the upgrade, but not much to show photographically.
Finally got the new servo motors installed. Replaced the X axis belt. The most difficult servo to access was the Y axis, and of course that was the only one where the alignment of the timing belt was out. Finally sorted by using a fibre optic camera to see why the belt was climbing onto the flange of the pulley. The pulley was 1.2mm too far onto its shaft. I know that, because I solved the problem by inserting washers under the motor mounts. 1mm washers did not work, nor did 1.5mm washers. But 1.2mm washes did work perfectly.
Today Stuart arrived and removed more of the old wiring.
I removed the old XY & Z axis servo motors from the mill. Each one weighs about 15kg (33lb).
Then I removed the belt drive pulley off each motor. There was a grub screw, which would not budge. Assuming that it had been Loctited, I applied some heat, judiciously. The grub screw came out, but the pulley would not budge, so a little more heat, and a gear puller. Two of the gears came off, but one still would not budge.
I asked for advice, and I was loaned a different type of gear puller. (thanks Rudi). This time, some movement of the gear on the shaft was noted, and eventually the last motor gave up its gear.
The shaft of the old motors was 16mm diameter. The new motors had 19mm shafts. So I spent some time on the lathe boring out the gears to fit the shafts of the new motors. The keyways of the old motors were 5x5mm, and the new ones were 6x6mm. So, I borrowed a 6mm broach (thanks Stuart), and enlarged the keyways in the rebored gears to 6mm width. The new keyways needed a lower profile, so some time on the mill and surface grinder to reduce the thickness of the keys to 4.5mm.
That was quite a few peasant hours hours on the lathe, mill, and surface grinder, but the end result was good.
Another small issue was that the boss on the new motors was 5mm deep compared to 3.5mm deep for the originals. So the mounting plate for each motor needed the recess to be deepened by about 1.5mm.
Meanwhile, back to the rats nest in the electric control enclosure….
So, do I 1. make a new mounting plate and assembly? 2. machine or file the new motor’s holes to fit the old plate? Or 3. Fill the old mounting plate hole, then drill and tap new holes in the correct position ??
Filling the old holes. Could have used steel thread and silver soldered it into place. In retrospect, would probably have been the best option. Could have used steel thread and Loctited it into place…. decided against, in case subsequent machining softened the Loctite. Could have filled the old holes with bronze, and drilled and tapped new threaded holes…. well, for better or worse, that’s what I decided to do.
The new holes impinged about 25-33% on the old holes.
The bronze-steel sandwich did cause the tapping drill to wander slightly, but not enough to cause concern. Next time I will try silver soldering in a steel filler piece.
Meanwhile, I have been removing parts and wires from the electrical enclosure.
I intended to reassemble the spindle and its cluster of gears, spacers, and taper roller bearings myself, but after talking to an expert on the topic (Swen Pettig), I realised that sometimes it is better to leave surgery to a surgeon.
I gratefully accepted Swen’s offer to help. In his working life Swen had performed this task on many, many occasions.
Firstly Swen reinserted the taper bearing outer races in the headstock. The lathe spindle is approx 80mm diameter and 800mm long so it is heavy. After careful cleaning, it was fed into the headstock, progressively loading the bearings, gears, spacers, clips and nuts, and moving and tapping them down the shaft as it was moved into place.
when it was all reassembled and tightened, the retaining disk at the chuck end was loosened, sealed with liquid gasket (Loctite product- cannot remember the name), and retightened.
Then Swen went through a lengthy process of checking the end play, using a dial indicator, tapping each end of the shaft with a copper hammer, and finally settling on 0.01mm of play.
Then we had a short test run at low speed, and he tested the end play again, with no change.
Then we set it running at 200 rpm, and went and had a cup of coffee for 20 minutes. Came back and checked the bearings temperatures. All cold, all good.
I reinstalled the external gears, the cover, etc, and took some decent cuts in some cold rolled bar.
All good. Oil change soon.
The major components arrived this week, from China and USA. Switches, and other components which go “ping” will be bought locally as required. I am hoping that existing pulleys, belts, brackets will be adaptable.
The motors to drive the X, Y and Z axes are 1.2kW AC servo motors which can be connected to single or 3 phase power. Each one weighs 6.7kg (14.7lb) . From China, they are nicely finished. Substantially shorter than the old servos which they are replacing and slightly larger diameter. I am hoping that the slightly larger diameter will not cause major problems.
And each servo motor came with a controller and cables and connectors.
And the electronics came from USA.
All up cost so far is ~$AUD2100, of which shipping is about 25%.
Next step is to swap over the servos. The old shafts are 16mm and the new ones are 19mm. I intend to machine the bores of the pulleys. Hope there is enough
meat Tofu to allow that.
Almost ready to cut the lathe gear. It is 237mm diameter, 25mm thick, with a new rim Loctited and Scotch pinned to the old hub.
And today I made a tool holder for the new-old gear cutter which I purchased from Russia. It was meant to have a 27mm bore, but when measured was closer to 27.1mm, so I made an arbor to match.
Meanwhile, on advice from Swen, another GSMEE member, thinking ahead, and setting up to trial fit the new gear after it is cut. Here is Swen, making some steel temporary bearings to try the new gear on the shaft, after the gear is made. Tapping out the old taper bearing races. This is what Swen did for a living when he was in the work force. I have learned heaps just watching Swen doing his stuff.
Hi readers. Sorry for the long break. Since my return from UK I have been severely jet lagged, then very busy, and not much time in the workshop.
The jet lag going westwards to from Oz to UK was minimal, but after the homeward trip it took 2 weeks to start feeling normal again. It is a 22 hour flight, plus 2 hour stop over in Singapore. I do not remember ever having such marked jet lag before, and not much was done during those initial 2 weeks.
When I did venture back into the workshop, I discovered that my CNC mill was malfunctioning. The Y axis has been a bit unpredictable for quite a while. I found a broken wire and fixed it, but the problem returned. After a previous electronic failure in the Z axis, my CNC expert advisor, Stuart, suggested that I should replace the electronics in a major upgrade. The mill is a solid industrial machine, mechanically in sound condition, and is worth spending some time and money on.
It is a 1997 model, and the memory in the CNC motherboard is a whopping 7k! I was able to get a fair bit done with the 7k, and the situation was improved by linking an external PC, and using V-Carve Pro. But there was a limitation in that the mill is a 2.5 axis machine. Not that I want to use 3 or 4 axes very often, but the lure of improving the mill is irresistible.
So I am in the process of ordering 3 new servo motors. They will be AC single phase servos, rather than 3 phase motors. I have installed one of these in my small Boxford lathe as a spindle motor, and it has proved to be reliable, compact, powerful and inexpensive (well, fairly inexpensive, comparatively speaking). They have been ordered from China. Cost-wise, the three axis motors will be much less expensive than one of the existing 3 phase servos. On top of that I will need a breakout board, ESS smooth stepper to link to a computer, and various switches, wiring, power supplies etc.
I will document the steps of the rebuild.
But the item that I was getting to, was hooking up my rotary table to CNC. I had expected to pick up a new gear for my big lathe on my return from the UK, to replace the one with the broken tooth. I was pretty annoyed to learn that the gear maker had not done the job, and worse still he had not notified me that it had not been done. Since he never answers the telephone, I drove to the factory, expecting to pick up the new gear, as arranged and promised, to be met with apologies and excuses. Long story, I have decided to make the gear myself.
It has 77 teeth, an unusual number for a gear, which means that it has to be made, not purchased off the shelf. I have a dividing plate with 77 teeth, but I could see plenty of potential for making mistakes using that, so I elected to finish the CNC conversion of the rotary table which I had started last year. The mechanical aspects had been finished. All that was required were the electronic hookups. Fortunately for me, I have a friend who is an expert at these.
I confess that I have little understanding of the wiring. Stuart had it hooked up in under an hour. A bit longer configuring and tweaking Mach 3, and it was working. The extra Geckodrive, and some wires were the only extra components required to make the electronic connections.
I shot a video of it working, with giving a commentary. But it is so bad that I will reshoot it, and add it to this post in a day or 2. Sorry. Not done yet. But I have been busy preparing the blank for cutting a new gear.
I decided to retain the hub of the gear and to add on a new ring which will be machined, and then new teeth cut into it.
Firstly I had some 25mm steel plate water jetted approximately to size. I chose water jetting in preference to laser cutting or oxy-acetylene cutting to avoid any inadvertent heat hardening.
I also had the original gear water jetted to remove the outer 25mm, including the teeth, because it had originally been heat treated hardened, and I did not fancy machining that on my other lathe and maybe breaking more teeth!
It was not cheap. But a nice finish, which machined easily. So the hub and the blank ring were machined with a 0.1mm gap, and glued together with Loctite 620. Then Scotch pins were inserted. Since my CNC mill is out of action, I reverted to calculating X and Y co-ordinates, using FS Pro. See screen shot below.
Then machined it to size,
So, this post might be a bit ramshackle and disorganised. A bit like my workshop at present, and possibly my brain. My GP has started me on blood pressure medication, so I will blame that.
Watch this space for cutting the gear, soon.
I was not planning any more major projects for 2019, instead intending to finish the triple expansion engine, the beam engine, the vertical boiler, and the CNC rotary table.
But… my hand has been forced.
The Y axis on my CNC mill has been a bit unpredictable for some months, and on my return from UK, it has totally stopped working. It seems to be the encoder on the Y axis servo. I could just repair or replace the encoder, but after discussing the situation with my expert advisor Stuart, I have decided to replace all of the electronics in the mill. New axis motors, new breakout board, new drivers etc. It is a 1997 model, and this is the second electronic failure this year. Plus, it is only a 2.5 axis mill. It will move in only 2 directions per move…. XY or XZ or YZ, never XYZ in a single move. Plus I would like to add a rotary axis, making it a 4 axis machine.
The in built computer in the mill has a 7k memory. That’s correct, 7000 bits. I have an external computer linked to it, which makes it a bit more useful, but the Fagor controller is clunky and idiosyncratic, and I would like to switch to Mach 3.
So, I will document the upgrade as it happens. The mill is a good solid machine, with big ball screws, and 1000mm of x travel, 450mm Z and 450mm Y. It is worth spending some money on it. There are a lot of big, old, CNC machines with obsolete electronics out there for sale. It will be a project which might just be worth watching.
Removed the gear with the broken tooth from my GBC 400-1000 lathe yesterday, with some help from my brother. Approached the disassembly a bit nervously. Did not want to break or damage anything else.
First took some photographs, so I can put things back together eventually, in the correct places and order.
Then removed the chuck, then the back gears, then the large heavy plates at each end of the spindle. The cap screws came out without any drama, but the end plates required breaking free of the paint, and out of the tightly fitting mounting rebates.
Then loosened the big nuts against the internal gears, the external gears, and one grub screw.
Gradually removed the spindle by tapping the gears along the spindle with brass drifts. Pretty tight. And retrieved the little bits as they fell into the oil in the headstock.
Was finally able to lift the spindle out through the chuck end of the headstock. It is heavy. Took two of us to lift it out without damaging the outer races of the tapered roller bearings.
Then looked at the broken gear, and retrieved the tooth from the headstock oil.
Next step was to look closely at the meshing gear.
Meanwhile, I remembered a tool which might help with the inspection….
So, I have a large, hardened steel gear with at least 2 cracked/broken teeth. Options?….
More information required. Watch this space.
I have a problem with my big Chinese lathe. I was hearing a KNOCK-KNOCK-KNOCK as the main spindle was revolving at low speeds with one setting of the gears.
It is a GBC 1000-400 lathe, meaning that it has a maximum of 1000mm between centres, and it will turn a 400 mm disk. It weighs 2 tons. Has been quite useful when turning flywheels, big lumps of metal, large pieces of wood and so on.
So today I removed the cover from the headstock and had a look. The cause of the knock was quickly obvious.
So, what do I do about this? I need some suggestions, people.
Thoughts so far….
So what do you think? The gear is most likely made of steel rather than cast iron, from its appearance. The base of the break is shiny, smooth and not porous.
Here are some pics of the ends of the main spindle. It does not look too complicated to remove the main spindle, but what would I know.
I imagine that the main spindle bearings will be pre-loaded, tapered, roller bearings. I certainly do not want to damage them. And how difficult will it be to reinstall the bearings and main spindle? I imagine that it will involve some careful and precise work. Am I taking on a job which is way beyond my abilities? If anyone has experience of this task I would be delighted to hear your views. I have no drawings or plans of the headstock to assist.
(In parentheses, when I was a teenager, I remember my father pulling a Toyota Crown automatic gearbox to bits, identifying a fault, and fixing it. There were bits of the gearbox everywhere. But he fixed the problem. He was not a mechanic, but he had a go at things, and usually managed the task, as in that case. Similarly, I dont mind having a go at this lathe job, but I would prefer not to risk destroying the lathe, so any expert opinions will be welcome. Option 4 above remains a possibility.)
Well, this one is OK because it came from a Hollander.
One of my blog readers, Huib, decided that I would be the recipient of some of his workshop items which he says were surplus. This was as a thank you for johnsmachines.com.
So, a parcel arrived yesterday, and after a quick look inside, I decided to make a video of opening the items, and showing you. It was great fun for me, and I hope that it will be entertaining for you. It is the biggest file which I have uploaded, so give it a few minutes to open.
Oh, any other readers who would like to send me surplus tools or other interesting bits and pieces…. please feel free. If Haas, or Hardinge would like a review on one of their machines please send it and I would be happy to do a review.