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Thread: Frankenmill

  1. #1
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    Default Frankenmill

    I thought some of you fellas on here might be interested in my hybrid Victoria (Elliott) U2 with Bridgeport series 1 J- head. This is a project that I've been putting way too many hours into for several months, to the detriment of so many other things I should have been doing, but it's now near completion, to the point that I'm using it, and it all seems worth the work.
    I picked up the U2 from an eBay seller a few years ago and have been bemoaning the lack of a quill, the slow vertical spindle speed and the need to take the vertical attachment on & off to utilise the horizontal arbor. A J-head in poor cosmetic nick became available and I jumped at it. After all, how difficult could it possibly be to mount that thing on the overarm of the U2?

    As this is a retrospective rather than a work in progress, I'll post a bunch of photos as time permits, that will give an overview of the project.

    Firstly, the J-head as it arrived from Perth, courtesy of a friend from another forum.
    box contents.jpg

    BP parts unpacked.jpg


    Stripped down to the last screw, into a tub of 'simple green' to strip the paint and dirt, and an order placed to the U.S. for the necessary bits to make it live again.

    j head casting clean.jpg


    I had bought a defunct second U2 mill a while previously as a donor for some missing & damaged power-feed parts for my mill; the spare overarm casting allowed me to experiment a bit and figure out how to go about hanging the new hardware.

    spare overarm.jpg

    after a few false starts and more than a few hours, I developed a plan to machine flat planes on either side of the overarm and attach cheek plates, then bolt a flat plate to the front of the cheek plates.

    Had to make a large-ish flycutter to cover the necessary area on the sides of the overarm

    fly cutter tool.jpg

    then figure out a way to mount the overarm on the mill to do the machining. The 10" shaper vice came to the rescue and got a lot of work on this project. The bulk of the work was done in stub-milling mode using the NT40 horizontal arbor, often with the help of a mirror.
    milling overarm sides.jpgoverarm in shaper vice.jpg

    Once the flats were machined on the sides of the overarm, the cheekplates were made to match. I picked up a large pair of forklift tines (over 80kg each) from the local scrap bloke; they were cut at the thickest point to provide the largest frontal area, flattened on one side on the shaper, then mounted on the rotary table and a radius put on the back end to match the swing of the flycutter.
    cheek plate with radius.jpg

    That'll have to do for the present, more when I get a chance...

  2. #2
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    Thanks for the pics and how you did it, Pete.
    I have an early model flat belt horizontal mill with a round shaft that I'm contemplating doing somethig similar with.
    Thanks
    Kryn
    To grow old is mandatory, growing up is optional.

  3. #3
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    Nice. I have the exact same model J head with the oddball cowl sitting on my spare metal planer ATM. Either it or another one I have is going to get the same use - one will go on the Vicky mill, the other on an extension and fitted to the bigger Kearns HBM.

    I was planning on milling the sides of my Vicky overarm at right angles to the bottom ways and parallel to each other rather than following the slope as you've done. Might not be enough casting thickness though. Must check that.....

    PDW

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by PDW View Post
    I was planning on milling the sides of my Vicky overarm at right angles to the bottom ways and parallel to each other rather than following the slope as you've done. Might not be enough casting thickness though. Must check that.....

    PDW
    The overarm is definitely not thick enough in the walls to mill the sides parallel vertically. If you knock the name badge off the front end of the overarm- it covers a hole- you'll be able to get an idea of the thickness, I'll hopefully post some more tomorrow and you'll see the thickness on mine. I set mine up to remove the minimum amount of material to get a flat surface.

  5. #5
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    The cheek plates were located onto the sides of the overarm with a pair of 10mm dowels to ensure repeatability of position, then thirteen 1/2"UNC capscrews , in two rows at 2" centres, were drilled, reamed, counterbored, tapped etc into each side. I had installed DRO in the meantime, the ability to accurately repeat hole positions was a boon here as I could do each operation on all 13 holes before changing tools, I wouldn't have been confident to do that working off the dials and compensating for backlash. Still took some hours though.
    \

    I was a bit worried about tipping the mill over during this part of the job. The shaper vise alone is over 50kg, the overarm around 80kg.


    That photo above is of the spare overarm that I experimented on, before deciding on the longer cheek plates.

    The thickness of the walls of the overarm casting is just visible here, one side was a fair bit thicker than the other but there's not a whole lot of meat there, which was partly why I used a multitude of bolts to attach the cheek plates.


    The bottom edge of the cheek plates was beveled to match the angle of the bottom edge of the overarm. The vertical attachment went on & off the mill too many times during this project.


    I scratched my head for a while about how to get a flat surface across the top of the two cheek plates. The 18" shaper proved just the ticket.


    Another chunk of forklift tine was attached across the top of the cheek plates with four 5/8 UNF capscrews, again located with two 10mm dowels.


    Stub milling this sort of thing involves some interesting setups. This was how the top plate was drilled, tapped and counterbored.

  6. #6
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    The cheek plates and top plate gave the overarm enough frontal area to work with. The front face of the three plates was milled to attach the next stage.
    milling cheek and top plate faces.jpgmilling faces of cheeks and top plate.jpg

    That big shaper vise paid for itself many times over during this project.

    I had a leftover piece of scrapyardium plate about 1 1/4" thick, had to take it to a mate's place to use his oxy set to cut it. That was the only part of this project done offsite. I faced it in the lathe to get a flat and parallel starting point, then attached it to the front of the overarm with a pair of dowels and a bunch of 5/8 UNF capscrews.
    face plate rough cut.jpgfacing front plate in lathe.jpgfront plate almost bolted up.jpg

    More later...
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  7. #7
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    Hot damn there is a lot of work in this! I wonder if it would have been easier to just cast a new overarm just for this. Probably not in the end.

    Kudos for going at it so thoroughly.

    Sent from my Nokia 8 Sirocco using Tapatalk

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by caskwarrior View Post
    Hot damn there is a lot of work in this! I wonder if it would have been easier to just cast a new overarm just for this. Probably not in the end.

    Kudos for going at it so thoroughly.

    Sent from my Nokia 8 Sirocco using Tapatalk

    The suggestion was made to me as I was starting out, but it would have involved paying someone else to do much of the work rather than doing it myself. As well as the foundry work, I have no way to machine those long dovetails. The amount of work that went into it is a bit crazy though, if I'd worked overtime instead for the same hours I reckon I could have bought a new BP and chartered a ship to import it. But where would be the fun in that.

    Anyway, a little more progress as I munch my re-heated pizza...



    All the above would have been pointless without the head to go on it, so while it was all happening I rebuilt the J-head as well. New bearings everywhere except the spindle, which thankfully were good. When they cast these heads, they must just cut the sprues off and then slather on a heap of bog. The surface on the casting is rough as guts and the shape makes it an absolute pig to get the bog smooth. Most of the sanding was done with the side of my little finger.

    j head casting surface.jpgj-head primed.jpgj-head painted 4.jpgj-head parts painted 3.jpgj-head parts painted 1.jpg

    I decided to install a MachTach while I was at it. After checking for clearance, I used the dividing head to mark out the locations for the six magnets and epoxied them to the top of the bull gear.
    machtach magnets in place.jpg

    Made a hole in the gear housing cover for the hall sensor, and a slot to lead the cable away from the drive belt. Notched the belt housing for an exit point for the hall cable.
    hall sensor cable groove.jpghall sensor cable in place.jpgmachtach cable exit.jpg

    Eventually got the J-head all rebuilt, shiny and ready to go on. The motor got a new pair of bearings, and there was a little fibreglass repair to do on the motor cowl.

    cowl needing repair.jpg
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  9. #9
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    Just a couple more before I go back to what I should be doing...

    The front plate got a ground finish back and front; it maxed out the Y travel on my surface grinder but just made it.
    grinding front plate.jpg

    it was then mounted on the machine so I could transpose the centre-line of the horizontal spindle, enabling the BP vertical spindle to be on the same plane. Not sure why but I figure this might be useful for some future purpose.
    scribing centre line 2.jpg

    I had entertained thoughts of using half of the original BP knuckle to mount to the front plate, but after cutting it in half it was clear there was not enough material to bolt to.
    knuckle halves.jpg

    That meant making a nose piece to replicate the front end of the BP knuckle. I paid a hundred bucks for a chunk of 4140 suitable for the job- the only piece of material bought specifically for this whole project. Started off with a little lathe work on the nosepiece, including a 16mm centre dowel hole on the side that would mount to the front plate
    nose piece blank.jpgnosepiece b side.jpg
    and the basic features of the front face, with a few thou left on for grinding.
    nosepiece ready for slotting 2.jpg

    That'll have to do for now.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by caskwarrior View Post
    Hot damn there is a lot of work in this! I wonder if it would have been easier to just cast a new overarm just for this. Probably not in the end.
    Funny you should say that as I may go that way in the end. The foundry will do castings for me and I've got the planer and HBM needed to do the machining.

    I fab'ed a mount up over 20 years ago to mount a J head to my M head round ram B/port and it's not caused me any problems (aside from the fact that I should have left well alone because the rigidity isn't really there). So the plate approach is certainly quite a good one.

    That chunk of steel is a piece of my boat keel before I welded it together - 200mm x 40mm x 2m long. Was a lot of fun doing those butt welds. I still have one piece left over.

    PDW
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by PDW View Post
    The foundry will do castings for me and I've got the planer and HBM needed to do the machining.



    PDW
    with a planer on hand to machine the dovetails, it would absolutely make sense to cast a new overarm for the purpose. I've never even seen a planer in the flesh, let alone have a 'spare' one in the shed. A new overarm would have a couple of major advantages- you could replicate the front of the BP ram to enable nod with the BP knuckle (I had to forgo the nod function on mine), and you would not be risking destroying your overarm in the process. I was very much aware that a silly mistake on the overarm could turn my machine into a chunk of scrap metal.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete O View Post
    with a planer on hand to machine the dovetails, it would absolutely make sense to cast a new overarm for the purpose. I've never even seen a planer in the flesh, let alone have a 'spare' one in the shed. A new overarm would have a couple of major advantages- you could replicate the front of the BP ram to enable nod with the BP knuckle (I had to forgo the nod function on mine), and you would not be risking destroying your overarm in the process. I was very much aware that a silly mistake on the overarm could turn my machine into a chunk of scrap metal.
    I don't think I'd bother with the nod feature. I can count on the thumbs of one hand how many times I've used it in the last 20 years since I took the M head off of the B/port. There's not a lot you actually need it for that you can't do another way IME.

    I made up a 400m long tilting angle plate with a grid of M10 threaded holes that's a lot easier to set up than nodding the mill head and getting it square again.

    Once I get a J head mounted on my Vicky mill I'm going to sell my B/port anyway. It gets used as a glorified overhead router for wood work as much as it gets used for metalwork these days.

    PDW

  13. #13
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    Where was I....
    mounting the nose piece to the front plate. I used a template the diameter of the nosepiece to figure out the vertical position to mount it on the front plate; there had to be clearance underneath it at the front of the dovetails to ensure the horizontal arbor supports could be slid on. Once the position of the nosepiece was determined, I was able to figure out the rest of the mounting hole positions. A circle of eight 5/8 UNF bolts holds the nosepiece to the front plate. Actually not quite a circle, as the top two were positioned to come all the way through the top plate.

    This is the back side of the front plate, with the nosepiece bolted up. The six 5/8 SHCS are counterbored into the plate as the front end of the overarm is right behind them. Another two holes were made to bolt the front plate to the cheek plates- turned out the best spot for these was right where my dowels were, so the dowels had to be moved. The shallow centre bore in the back of the front plate is to accept a spigot to mount it on my RT for milling the circular T-slot.

    front plate and nosepiece assembled.jpg

    I had to take a smidge off the bottom edge of the front plate to enable the arbor supports to go on.
    arbor support with front plate.jpg

    I had to bore two 5/8" holes all the way through the 5 1/2" width of the top plate, these two 5/8 UNF x8" bolts go all the way through the top plate, through the front plate and are threaded into the nose piece. 7 1/2" bolts would have been better, or 7" SHCS counterbored, but 8" hex bolts were what I could find so I added a couple of spacers.
    centreing hole in top plate.jpgspacers for long bolts.jpg

    The nose assembly was mounted to the RT and set up to do the circular T-slot.

    First the access well

    access well for T slot.jpg

    then the vertical slot , taken down to .050" below the depth of the T to allow chip clearance
    T-slot beginning.jpg

    and finally crossing the T. This is the first time I've milled a T-slot, starting with a circular one felt like getting thrown in the deep end but it went without a hitch.
    T-slot finished 2.jpg

    The face of the nosepiece was finished on the surface grinder. The datum point for all the features on this piece was the middle surface where the tilt gear is mounted, to ensure proper mesh of the tilt worm and gear. The gear also serves as the spigot for the j-head.
    nose piece face surface.jpg

    I mounted everything up for a trial fitment and months of work suddenly looked like something.

    head mounted 2.jpg

  14. #14
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    Tramming was done by grinding the front plate, I ground a gear ring of about 6 1/2" diameter to sweep the DTI over for the tilt and nod

    tramming ring.jpg

    adjusted the tilt, then shimmed behind the front plate to tram the nod. It was nodding forward about .007", much better than I'd expected.

    tilt shim.jpg
    I tilted the head each way and swept the front of the extended ram with the indicator mounted to the table, to check the left-right (slew?) alignment

    lateral alignment sweep 2.jpglateral alignment sweep.jpg

    it took about .005" on the right side to zero the slew readings. I dismantled everything again and set the front plate up on the surface grinder; would be nice to have a sine plate for this but I did it by shimming the four corners on the mag chuck, mounting an indicator on the wheel guard and running it around the plate until the readings matched the shims I used to tram it, then ground it flat. That's a fair bit of material to take off with the grinder so I mounted the wheel dresser alongside the work to enable me to move it across and dress the wheel a couple of times without disturbing the job. You can see the fresh grind marching diagonally across the plate.

    grinding for alignment.jpg

    I forgot to mention earlier, I milled a pocket on each cheek plate to provide a flat, vertical mounting point for the DRO on one side and whatever on the other side.

    pocket for DRO bracket.jpg

    I knocked the sharp corners off everything with a flap wheel or three, then gave everything a coat of shiny grey stuff. Put it all back together again.

    j-head mounted, left front.jpg
    j-head mounted, front.jpg
    j-head mounted, right detail.jpg

    Finished the Mach Tach and mounted it to the DRO arm
    machtach mounted.jpg

    the Mach Tach was intended to take advantage of a VFD but the one I was going to install is dead. For now the head is wired direct with it's original drum switch.

    Still a few little things to finish off- I'm in the middle of making a cover to keep the vertical chips out of the horizontal spindle, I need to put a top cowl on the motor to keep the dust out, and the tilt adjusting worm shaft has been broken in half. I need to put an extra detent hole on the U2's gear selector panel to lock the selector between high and low range; I checked while I had the top off to ensure the oil pump runs so the U2's motor can be used for power feeds without running the main spindle.

    All in all I'm very pleased with the result. It was a lot of work to put into a tired old mill, but I now have almost all the versatility of a bridgeport turret mill, plus power feed on all axes, and a fully functional 4hp horizontal mill with universal table.

  15. #15
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    Thanks for the report on how it was done. BRILLIANT work.
    Kryn
    To grow old is mandatory, growing up is optional.

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