Summer Project #3: Nickels' Nichols

Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

May 15th, 2018, 10:57 pm #1

The third on our hit parade of machines at least has the benefit of being an easy mod; Just the table and saddle need to be ground to finish, and the grinding shop will take care of all of that.




I've had this machine since '09 or so, and while it's been handy, it has never been perfect due to the wear in the middle of the table travel. The rest of the machine is in fine shape, having been nearly fully rebuilt just a few years ago, so once the table and saddle are back, she should be back up to damn near 100% again.



Of course, I'm thinking I'll complicate matters by painting it. 😁 I was never really happy with the so-light-it's-nearly-white grey, it was one of the first machines I ever properly painted, and I learned a hard lesson in the difference between what the color looks like in the chip book at the store and what it looks like in the shop under the different lights.

Doc.
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: June 28th, 2017, 11:03 pm

May 16th, 2018, 2:32 am #2

So why couldn't you just plop the bed on your grinder?
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

May 16th, 2018, 4:15 am #3

TheFnord wrote:So why couldn't you just plop the bed on your grinder?
-Plop a 32" bed on my 16"-of-travel grinder? 😁

Even my Grizzly mill doesn't have the table throw to mill the Nichols table all in one go. The Exacto does, and I'd been toying with the idea of doing that- milling the ways a little more true, if not quite as precisely as grinding.

But like the rest of it, I'd been kind of holding fire 'til this out-of-state trip was either made or positively cancelled. And, as the grinder is a professional, with many years of experience at this sort of thing, rather than making it "somewhat better", he should be able to make it "damn near perfect".

Then, with a bit of care and regular lubrication, chances are it'll outlive me and still be in top shape for my epic estate sale. 😁

Doc.
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: October 8th, 2014, 2:05 pm

May 16th, 2018, 12:55 pm #4

As you repaint things have you ever considered leaving a sketch underneath the paint? It might make your epic estate sale even more epic if people think they may find some of your original art hidden inside.
If it ain't broke, I'll fix it!
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: August 16th, 2016, 11:47 am

May 16th, 2018, 4:39 pm #5

I wonder how much I increased the value of the new wall at work when I hid my business card in before the sheetrock went up.
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: September 16th, 2014, 7:01 am

May 29th, 2018, 7:05 pm #6

Paint doesn't make it any more accurate - I'd say pick your new color and do the saddle and table when they get back form the grinders, and get it back to making chips. 

Then when it slows down for the winter you can take it part-way apart enough to make all the paint match. And it looks good enough to call that the Primer Coat and just do a nice job on top of that.
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

May 29th, 2018, 8:22 pm #7

BruceBergman wrote:Paint doesn't make it any more accurate[.]
-Just how long have you been hanging around the Guild? 😁

You should know by now that I'm not happy with a machine until it looks as good as it works. Hell, that's half my job description- when a customer wants me to make a part, I don't just do the bare minimum to make the thing functional, I make it look good too.

I'm sure there's some low level of OCD or something in there, but it's the same thing thousands of artists go through. The guy doing a custom paint job on a hot rod might strip all the paint off a fender just to fix a tiny wave in the sheetmetal that 99.8% of people who see the car would never have noticed. The Project Binky guys spend a HUGE amount of time making random brackets, that will never be seen by anyone once they're installed, not only functional, but looking good and professional as well.

In this case, I have to look at the machine every day. The color isn't "bad", per se`, not like it was painted baby-puke green or hot pink or something, but there's still something that tickles my OCD about it.

I admit I'm kind of drab, painting all the machines one of two tones of Basic Grey, but something in the back of my head tells me that machine tools are supposed to be grey. (And for many decades, they were, starting in World War 2 where, as a materials and time saving measure, the War Production Board stipulated that all machine tools were to be painted one of just two or three shades of grey, a habit that long outlasted the war, and still kind of holds today with the majority of new CNC machines still being painted white or very light shades.)

(It's also worth noting that somewhere on the internet is a guy's webpage, where he's rebuilt a series of small machines much like I have- and each one is painted a completely different color. Candy-apple red, hunter green, navy blue, sunrise yellow, gloss black, etc. Taken individually, each machine looks fine, with quality paint and shiny metal. But looking at a photo of the entire shop, it looks like Mickey Mouse barfed a 10-pound sack of Skittles in there. There's no way I could stand that on a day-to-day basis. A car showroom, sure. A motorcycle collection, no problem. A wall full of paintball guns, no sweat. A roomful of machine tools? No way.)

Doc.
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: October 8th, 2014, 2:05 pm

May 29th, 2018, 9:09 pm #8

DocsMachine wrote: I admit I'm kind of drab, painting all the machines one of two tones of Basic Grey, but something in the back of my head tells me that machine tools are supposed to be grey. (And for many decades, they were, starting in World War 2 where, as a materials and time saving measure, the War Production Board stipulated that all machine tools were to be painted one of just two or three shades of grey, a habit that long outlasted the war, and still kind of holds today with the majority of new CNC machines still being painted white or very light shades.)
At a place where I used to work we hired a tool & die maker and shelled out a lot of money to outfit him with a shop. I'm not entirely sure why; we were an electronics manufacturer and we didn't really use custom tools. The few times we used injection molded parts we usually just hired a design service and they'd huddle up with our draftsmen and engineers to come up with the specs for the molds, then hand it off to their in-house mold makers. But we were on a hot project and the Project Manager convinced corporate to spend the dough.

Somehow the company bought machine tools without asking for the toolmaker's input. When they were delivered he was livid, and tried to quit on the spot. They were ORANGE. About the color of a school bus. The PM finally was able to talk him into staying but for weeks afterwards he'd rant about how machinery was supposed to be GRAY. Eventually he got past it and I even heard him say he thought they were good machines, but he'd never ever own something that color himself.
If it ain't broke, I'll fix it!
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: September 16th, 2014, 7:01 am

May 29th, 2018, 10:29 pm #9

I've been around here long enough to know you get customers in fits and starts, and a lot of them need their work done now Now NOW!!  😱

Like the fishing boat from a couple years back with a busted Vee Drive gearbox that isn't making money sitting in the slip and not out fishing. 

Just saying don't get your heart set on doing the full repaint Right The Moment it gets back from being ground - if you need to Make Chips with it first thing, toss it together and do that. Or a spritz of LPS-3 and set it aside if you don't need it - then start the painting when it calms down. 
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: January 11th, 2016, 8:57 pm

May 29th, 2018, 10:34 pm #10

It's not OCD, Doc, it's pride in good workmanship, and it seems to be not uncommon in machinists. The senior machinist in our old gummint workshop would not let something escape from his shop unless it looked - and worked - 'just like the original part - only better.' He bled from the eyeballs on the few occasions when the foreman took the workable, but imperfect, item from him, saying, "It's urgent, dammit!", and sent it out to the field.
Breakfast.com halted. Cereal port not ready.
Quote
Like
Share