Well, this certainly is a bit of a challenge...

Well, this certainly is a bit of a challenge...

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

May 11th, 2018, 8:50 am #1

No, not the Tide Pod challenge... I was addicted to those for a while, but I'm clean now. 😁

If you've been reading the past few days, and my posts haven't bored you to tears, you'll know that I'm yet again working on shop machinery. The current escapade is one that's been brewing for a couple of years, with a friend of mine planning to make a trip to the States with a truck and trailer, in order to bring up the rest of his belongings.

He'll be hauling some of my heavy iron down to a shop that will be grinding it back to a fresh spec, which will help bring three of my machines back up to damn near new again.

I'm very much looking forward to that, as my shop is stuffed freaking full of unfinished projects- and while I have sadly learned to live and cope with that over the years, I still hate it.

The Nichols mill, once the parts return, will be easy. A day's cleaning, maybe a touch of painting, some lube, a reassembly, a little adjustment, and we're done. The rest of the machine is rebuilt and in top shape.

The Springfield will not be so easy. Most of the machine has been rebuilt, but I'll still need to do some nontrivial work to the carriage, including applying a castable low-friction plastic, repairing the oiling system, possibly scraping in the cross-slide, fabbing new way wipers, shimming the tailstock, etc. etc. I fully expect that to be an all-next-winter type project.

The Stockbridge shaper... Oy. That's a total project. I have fixed little or nothing on that since I got it, apart from stripping rust from a few pieces and some general cleaning. Once the ram is done, the rest needs little more than cleaning and reassembly- there's some repairs to be made, but they're trivial. I'm going to try and get to some of the painting before the parts come back, so i can get right to at least assembling the overall chassis. The rest can be tended to over the winter or whenever I have time.

And, of course, because I have brain damage or something, today I threw a fourth fairly major project on top of this whole dumpster fire. Long time readers will recall I have an older Wells horizontal bandsaw. It's been a handy machine over the years, but like most of the machines I get, I wasn't happy with the paint, and despite the machine being fully working, there were small aspects I wanted to fix, upgrade or otherwise attend to.

So, about 2:00 this afternoon...



And by 2:45...



In this case, I'm not biting off TOO big a chunk, because about 80% of this will just be stripping the multiple layers of old paint, and repriming and repainting anew.The only actual repair/upgrade work, apart from the occasional buggered screw or cracked bracket, is that I'd like to add a 'drip tray' in case I ever desire to add coolant, and I'll be swapping the straight 3-phase control (I run it on my phase converter) with a 1HP VFD, so that it can run on standard 220V. (Or possibly even 110V, as you can now get 1HP 110V-in VFDs, that give you 220V/3-phase out.)

But, like many other things, it's a project I've been wanting to do for years now, so might as well jump at it.

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

May 11th, 2018, 9:17 am #2

Just for the sake of the argument, here's a list, that we can refer back to at the end of the year, and see just how dismally I failed well I did. 😁

In no particular order, the primary projects:

1) Springfield Lathe
2) Stockbridge Shaper
3) Nichols Horizontal Mill
4) Wells Horizontal Bandsaw

Oh, and don't forget...

5) The Cutlass rear axle, which has been sitting on my welding table for eight months now.

Plus a couple of secondary projects:

6) Rebuild the vertical head for the Nichols Mill
7) Toying with the idea of repainting the Nichols too- the paint is such a light grey it's damn near white, and I was never happy with that.
8) Finish the base for the Lewis shaper (which really just needs bodywork and paint)

And, since I'm currently feeling unaccountably optimistic, how about...

9) Finish assembling the old Rockford drill?

On that one, I can't "finish" it 'til I get a new gear made, but there's no reason I can't clean, derust and install the rest of the mechanism, and top it off with a new gear when I have the opportunity.

And, to make it a nice even ten, I'd be incredibly happy if at some point I could also...

10) Finish the Logan CNC conversion (which in my favor is damn near done.)

So, that's ten solid projects, and I am, of course, known for getting what, two decent machinery projects done in a year, at best? 😁

(All of that also doesn't count that there's still minor work to be done to the Exacto mill, a lot of work to be done to the CNC router and cabinet, I still want to finish off the Sheldon lathe by finally fitting the drawers, the other Cutlass work I want to do [console, seats, gauges] and of course I'm sure one or two customers will probably want me to work on their guns on occasion. 😁 )

I would be incredibly happy if I could get 50% of that done before the end of the year. I would still be quite satisfied if all I accomplished was 30% of it.

If I get 70% or better, you ladies and gents ought to throw me a friggin' party. πŸ˜‹

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

May 11th, 2018, 2:16 pm #3

Other than customer guns, is any of that paying work?

Uh ... I'm sorry, I think I was channeling my wife there for a second.
If it ain't broke, I'll fix it!
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

May 11th, 2018, 4:53 pm #4

hinermad wrote:Other than customer guns, is any of that paying work?
-Not directly, no. They're machines to DO paying work.

I do admit the shaper is almost entirely a waste of time. That one's almost purelyΒ  a rescue, like saving a 3-legged dog from the pound. πŸ™‚ The big lathe only slightly less so. The lathe is much more useful, of course, but I haven't had a job come through the shop where I needed that kind of size and power... since about the time I bought the damn thing. 😁

And, with the local economy as depressed as it is, there's basically zero chance of me being able to sell it for anything even close to what I have in it, which means I'm stuck with it. But if I'm going to be stuck with it, and it's going to take up so much room, it needs to be usable and accurate. This one I will use on occasion, even for the smaller stuff.

The horizontal mill is VERY usable- I had a current job bolted to it the day I took it down to send the bed off. I have over a thousand cutters for it thanks to a lucky buy by a Guilder years ago, I have a vertical head for it (that still needs to be reassembled) and apart from the bed, the machine was in excellent shape. It was only the slop in the bed, which reduced accuracy and surface finish, that kept me from using it more often.

And this bandsaw- well, I've had it over ten years now. The only reason I haven't cleaned it up yet is that it was so handy I basically put it right to work. And the few times I did have a few moments I could have cleaned it up, I was in the middle of another job and still needed it.

The car stuff is of course entirely personal. Considering it's basically the one pure hobby thing I have left, NOT directly related to any one of my four day jobs (machinist, manufacturer, cartoonist and publisher 😁 ) I think we can overlook that.

The drill and the the little shaper are also basically just rescues- machines I got 'cause I thought they were cool, back when I had some room for 'em. 😁

The CNC Logan and CNC router are both of course destined to be production machines. The current task that both will be immediately assigned to once they're up and running is making parts for my lever-action rifle project. I have a long list of other parts as well, but that's the top of the heap.

Doc.
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Joined: September 29th, 2016, 1:55 am

May 11th, 2018, 6:42 pm #5

I guess your best bet is to simply triage what you've got in order of utility and how fast/easily you can get it to work well again.Β  Lots of times I do setup for a project in bits and bobs; I often have trouble starting a project, but if I have all the parts ready to go, I'm much more inclined to finish it.Β  While waiting for our cats to kick off so I can lay laminate in the house, I've acquired a chop saw, built a jig to cut boards to width, and picked up all the connectors and edging to make transitions at doors and redo the baseboards.
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

May 11th, 2018, 7:37 pm #6

Well, that's sorta-kinda what I'm doing. Machine rebuilds like this kind of need to take place in the summer, so I can either pressure-wash or chemically strip parts outdoors. And our "summer" is basically four months long. (The trees are only just now barely starting to bud- and I mean barely- and the leaves will be falling by mid-September.)

The lathe and horizontal mill don't need any outside work- they're already painted and cleaned. So I need to do the shaper parts and saw parts outside while I can.

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

May 12th, 2018, 8:36 am #7

One of the fun things when tearing apart these old machines, is seeing how many times they'd been repainted.

... Okay, for weird definitions of "fun", but hey. 😁

The Springfield had been painted four times, all slightly different shades of grey. This saw, as I was carefully chemically stripping the legs today, also had four, including the original:



I also found where some now-illegible instructions had been written on the crossbar in permanent marker. Couldn't read 'em, but it looked like a line marking the max width to move the blade-guide arms, with some legend describing it as such.

Not quite as good as the chip I saw at a paint-and-body shop once. Had been peeled off the hood of a car, and when examined under good magnification, you were able to count something like 13 to 15 layers of paint (which included primers.) Meaning the car had been repainted something like seven times, and a different color each time. 😁 The car had been blue, red, white and green at different times, and a couple different shades of each.

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

May 12th, 2018, 10:35 pm #8

I spared a few minutes today getting some of the newly-liberated parts ready for paint:



I stripped the bulk of the gunk chemically, rinsed them off with the pressure washer, and used razor blades, wire brushes and Scotchbrite pads in air grinders to buzz off the rest. They didn't need to be 100% stripped, this isn't a show car and the old paints were actually adhering pretty well, but really, it's easier toΒ  take all the paint off than it is to sand it all smooth, given the chips and flakes.

Anyway, with the paint off, a wild crack appears!



Obviously not a particularly huge issue, as it was hiding under at least one coat of paint- a coat that was probably ten years old when I got the saw, and I've had it over ten years myself- but this is of course the ideal time to fix it.

So, the first step, will all cracks like this, is first to stop-drill it...



Groove it out nicely with a cutoff wheel and then a die grinder with a carbide "tree" rotary file...



Preheat it slightly with a couple propane torches, 'cause it's still only about 45 degrees out there (hey, Alaska :green: ) and carefully weld it up with some "Muggy" cast-iron welding rod:



Let it slowly cool, then get the air tools back out and grind it back to flush. Or as the Project Binky guys say, "linish it into shape". :green:



The other pair of legs had already been broken and welded at some point in history, at least two paint jobs ago. The welds aren't great- I'm pretty sure somebody tried using just standard 6011 or other mild steel rod on it- but they appear solid. I'll grind those down too, check for cracks, and wire brush the gooblies off in preparation for paint.

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

May 13th, 2018, 4:45 am #9

Got a last-minute customer job done quicker than expected, so since I still hadn't put all the air tools away, I cleaned up the ugly welds on the other leg-frame:



They're not the best welds- basically it looks like the guy had to keep piling on and grinding out welds 'til the carbon content got low enough to finally hold. 😁

I didn't see any cracks as I dressed 'em down, and they've held this long, so I saw no reason to grind or cut them out- especially if I was going to have to replace 'em with that $10-a-stick Muggy rod. 😁

But, with a little patience and some power tools I got 'em dressed down nicely:



I didn't bother cleaning up the inside much, but that's generally not as visible.

Doc.
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Joined: March 6th, 2018, 8:17 am

May 14th, 2018, 6:59 am #10

That's the first tool I've seen you work on that I actually used. At the DOT sign shop we used it cut assorted angle iron for sign mounts.
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