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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
I heard the same thing regarding noise level. It made me think twice about changing out the gear box gears to metal ones. But I figured what the hell, my hearing is already shot from years of shooting and driving blown alcohol dragsters, back before we knew any better.

I know what you mean about the 4" grinder, that thing is obnoxiously loud even with my somewhat impaired hearing. lol
 

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I have the LMS belt drive. I don't remember what the gears sounded like, but I don't remember any particular change in noise level. It sounds like a jet engine preparing for take-off.

Most of the noise comes from the motor, best as I can tell. I've had the spindle apart; it's just a shaft in two ball bearings, I can't see where there'd be anything there to make much noise.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
Don't even bother to turn your new X2 on. Just start taking it apart, all the way down, to remove the Chinese cosmoline, dirt, swarf, cigarette butts, dead animals, etc. that might be lurking in the hidden places.
Mill was delivered on wednesday. I immediately tore it down to go through it and add upgrades. Good thing too. Of the 4 bolts that hold the motor to the mounting plate, two had all ready fallen out and the other two were about to.

As soon as I started disassembly I discovered that the motor was loose, when I separated the motor from the plate, two screws fell out into my lap. If not for the fact that they are held captive by the mounting plate, the screws would have been gone completely. I also found several other screws that were loose. Pretty clean inside though compared to some reports I've seen, no swarf to speak of.

Today I am changing out the gears in the gearbox for the metal ones, adding the air spring and the column support. I also have received the DROs for all 3 axis, they will go on next.
 

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Keep an eye on your mounting screws for the DRO's. Mine loosened up over time.

Had used lock washers when I installed the DRO's, but they still loosened up. Used a dab of blue Loctite to hold them in place.
 

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7.62x39 what method are you going with for the column support? Did you have to machine supports/mounting brackets to attach the DRO's?

For me, it will become a chicken or egg issue if I need to make mounting brackets. Got my machine on Wednesday also. Trying to decide if I want to mount it to a 4 drawer rolling tool cabinet or a fixed bench.
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
Now it's time to build a mill. I've received AK kits that were closer to being a rifle than this is to being a mill. LOL And this is after I got the gear box all reassembled.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 · (Edited)
The biggest knock on these mills is the inability to achieve and maintain a perfect Z axis alignment. The main reason is because of the tilt "feature". In order to be able to tilt the column, the column is secured by just one big nut. This is the weak point. I see no reason for a tilting head/column so I eliminated it.

With this set up I can tweak the column in all four directions and lock it up rock solid. The L brackets on the sides allow me to adjust left to right and the clamping fixture at the base allows me to adjust front to back.

The larger bolts in the middle of the bar just pass right through it. The plate itself is tapped to 7/16-20, tightening of the bolts applies pressure to the base tilting the column forward. The two outer bolts thread into the base, tightening these, moves the column rearward.
Now I can tram it perfectly and lock it up solid.

Next up is installing DROs on all 3 axis.
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
I got it finished up over the weekend.
I was able to make all the brackets required by reshaping the universal brackets that came with the DROs
All that's left to do is to make a mount for the display units.

Pics of X & Y axis DROs
 

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Aren't you worried about losing a little Y travel with the X DRO on the back of the table?
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
Fortunately I was able to mount it high enough that you lose very little, less than 1/2". Still plenty left for receiver work.
 

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OK, it looks like it was more then that
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 · (Edited)
Table size, Y and Z axis all more than enough to do it. However the X axis would be very close. An AK receiver is roughly 10-1/4" OAL, X axis is about 10", but if you remove the stop plate, you can squeeze a little more out of it. At worst, you'd have to do 2 set ups.
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
To mount the DRO readout units, I took a piece of angle iron notched it, bent it 90º then welded it up and bolted it to the table. The magnetic backs of the display units hold them in place nicely. I also added a magnetic hook to hold a small clipboard for my notes.
 

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Happy Camper
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The biggest problems I've had with mine over the years have been breaking plastic gears - I read you already have metals so that is probably a non-issue for you... too bad they don't have an easy way to re-lube those gears w/o removal of the head! A drill hole for a snorkel tube of lithium grease would probably not be a bad thing...

Other issues I've encountered:

Backlash tends to creep back over time (take it apart, clean and re-zero the components).

Bearing whine - those sealed bearings do tend to get pretty loud when they go. Seems to go really fast for me because I think I'm over-taxing the equipment. Worth it to get the better gears.

Table creep, also broken locking handles - buy the "extra special" German locking handles. Worth the extra money.

Chip management - removed the side "fence" on the table to easily push out extra chips. Should work well with a water cooling attachment.

Water cooling - WAY too much chatter on this system since it is so small. Can't make it into a Bridgeport, but reducing the cutter size is really about all you can do. Read that water cooling can help with this. So following VZ58's lead I put a washing machine drain pan under mine, and bolted everything down together (plastic tension around bolts prevents leaks). Using a cheap aquarium pump, small bucket, cheap magnet, and fine mesh chicken wire for a water irrigation solution. Halfway done with it. Hose mount is just a garden hose section hanging over the edge of the table. Using antifreeze for now to keep rust issues to a minimum. Problem is the SMALL pump can't pump that high vertically. I have to bring the bucket up closer to the table to make it work. Need the next-size bigger pump. Much can be found researching for computer liquid cooling solutions. Pumps can be found pretty cheap depending on where you look. Some coat hanger twisted to shape can be an adequate holder for the feed hose coming from the aquarium pump. Magnets and chicken wire make for a suitable "filter" to keep the pump from clogging on chips. Locate the pump so that it is above the bottom of the bucket, and have the return hose exit coolant at the bottom of the bucket where the magnets are. Hope all this makes sense as I'm going from memory!

Good cutters - surprisingly you can find used stuff on ebay where it is still good enough to work for shop use. I guess these big companies use their tools and don't resharpen... not sure. Tried resharpening but never could get it right. You MUST have good cutters otherwise this thing will just waste power and time.

Machinist Vise - for most of my work I mount the $75 machinist vise directly on the bed, which serves most of my clamping needs. Worth every dime I spent on it.

Cheap dividable heads can be found, and with the correct collets you can have an affordable index solution for light use.

Round stock holder - you really need a V-block or something similar to get barrel stuff done right. Just too hard trying to mount a barrel otherwise.


That's my brain dump for now. :)


I would like to find a good CNC solution for this that doesn't require soldering my own PC boards... there are CNC solutions out there for hobby solutions, but run in the thousands of dollars range, making it unattractive to me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
Good info pookie.
I was thinking about trying a windshield washer pump. Something like this. Amazon.com: ACI 99300 Windshield Washer Pump: Automotive or maybe some type of aquarium pump. The WW pump is nice because it already has the reservoir attached. Either way I would add a flow control valve from an aquarium set up.

I got a vise in this tooling package I bought from LMS, along with the end mills, collets, parallels, 1-2-3 blocks, center drills, edge finder and clamping kit.
 

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