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The Shop   (update 9/14/05, 11/04/2010)

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My shop started out with a HF Mill/Drill a few years ago (back in 2001). We have an outlet about 5 minutes away so it was real easy to inspect before buying, plus it was on sale. The stand was bought at another HF in Pasadena because it was also on sale. I got two great deals. It was easy to bring home, just loaded it in a pickup. A few pieces of plywood, plus an engine host and it found a new home. 

After reading the manual, cleaning and greasing it was ready to go. The first addition was a X axis table feed. Enco has them on sale once in awhile. Also I added several end mills, boring head and cobalt bar set, V blocks, Co-Ax indicator, edge finder, parallel set, 1-2-3 blocks and a magnetic indicator holder with a 1" indicator. Replaced the Enco vise with a Kurt D688!!  This pretty much got me going, I use everything on the list.

HF Mill Drill with new Kurt vise and DRO

There are several thing I still need to get or do:  

          • Convert the power system to a VFD.

  DRO Quill, the micro dial works but many times I lose track of where I am.

 I'm looking at the Phase II 6" H/V Rotary Table. So many projects are much easier to do.

 DRO. Added ... see picture above and below!

  Reduce the vibration in the motor belts. Surface finish could be much better. 

New shop addition...Enco 9x20 Lathe!! (2/03)

After much thought and planning I decided that a small size lathe was in order. There were so many projects that require turning that I was missing out on. Due to limited space the 9x20 was chosen. It fits nicely on the left side of the garage between the wall and a big Suburban; just enough room to work.
The lathe is sitting on a 7 1/2 inch slab of cement, this is to help reduce vibration and bring it up to a comfortable height. The slab has reinforced steel rods and is bolted to the floor. The stand was set in wet cement and bolted in place. Finally the lathe sets on aluminum plates that were milled at different angles to level the lathe in the x and y plane. Seems to work fine. 
Enco 9x20 Lathe with modification

Like so many new machines there are modifications that are required to make them perform better. After reading many posts on the Yahoo 9x20 Lathe group, I ordered a Phase II wedge type tool holder. This was installed before I even powered up the unit. Installation was easy only requiring to re-drill and tap the hole in the plinth. Works great!!

I have have made two other modifications recently
(01/04). (Sorry no pictures). The 4 bolt clamp and the top slide bearing. For details both can be viewed on Steve Bedair's site.

The 4 bolt clamp made a BIG difference. Surface finish was greatly improve and the vibration significantly reduced. Before it was installed I would avoid doing parting, the tool would grab the material making the clutch slip. No matter how slow I went or how much lubrication was used, it didn't matter. Now ... not a problem! I am hoping for an improvement in threading also. We'll soon see. To get a smooth surface I would sand and sand until my fingers were black then polish. Now sanding has gone way down and in some cases I don't sand at all. Great mod ... try it.

The top slide bearing is another good modification. I can now tighten the gib and still have a smooth slide operation. Instead of the lead screw rubbing against it's mount (metal to metal), it's against the inner race of the bearing. The roller bearing works because the forces on the inner races are small. This mod requires a little more work to get everything aligned correctly, but it is worth it.

4 Modification to the Top Slide

The Lathe Crossfeed, Mount and Bearing Modification  (12/16/04, update 10/6/05) is another worthwhile change.

Additional support items for the lathe and mill/drill were needed. To the left of the lathe there is a 18"x24" surface plate with a protective wood covering. When trying to make measurements or do layouts I always had problems with getting accurate and repeatable measurements. Normally I don't buy too many things on ebay, but since I was able to actually see it before bidding, I had to try. Got it and the stand for about $100; grade B in super condition. No shipping! With the surface plate, along with a Fowler Height Gage and .0005" indicator, measurements and layout work is easy and accurate.

Bandsaw and sander added to shop!! (04/03)
How do you cut a 2" round steel stock or a 1/2 x 6" plate?? Crooked, after an hour of pushing a hacksaw around. It didn't take long before the need for a bandsaw and sander was realized. HF to the rescue, again able to see and on SALE!! No real modifications yet, works great. Motor does get hot, but with careful monitoring it should last a long time. Bi-metal blades are now install and really do the job! A cooling system, stronger legs and wheels are in the future.

I use the sander to de-burr and reshape various material. It's handy and quick.

HF Band Saw
Acu-Rite DRO added to the Mill/Drill (06/04)
After attending a show in LA, I saw how easy it is to use a DRO on a Mill/Drill such as mine. Well it wasn't long before the need(!!) set in. This DRO is 2 axis ACU-RITE Micro-line with a resolution of .0005", accuracy of 10um/m. It has full bolt hole pattern, Centerline Calculation, Zero Reset, Preset, and other little goodies that make machining much more fun. It took about 4 hours to attach the scales and mount the readout in a good location. It's easy to use ... find datum, move to the coordinates you need, lock table and drill. Need to move 4.0025" over, just place it in incremental mode and move. No worry about backlash or how many turns of the dial were made. It's really nice!

ACU-Rite Micro-line DRO
Well, that's my shop for now. As new toys (ahem ... TOOLS) are added, I will review them and let you know how they work.

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