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Morrisflex Sander on an Atlas MF Mill ?

Inventive re-use of garage equipment

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IanT05/06/2020 23:18:57
1532 forum posts
144 photos

My smaller mill is an Atlas MF Horizontal that came with a light vertical milling head which worked but was very noisy. There were several vertical heads sold to go with the Atlas in the US - the most common one being the 'Marvin'.

Mine appeared to be neither of these US heads, although the actual MT2 'spindle' seemed to be a commercial product but mounted on a shop-made bracket - nicely welded and neatly done but not mass-produced. I have often wondered what the source of the MT spindle head was.

Recently I decided to try and improve things and stripped the whole assembly down. Fortunately, the main spindle bearings seemed sound, the front one being quite substantial. The bevel gearing was also in reasonable condition. However, the two bearings supporting the input drive shaft were shot. After some difficulty I finally managed to remove both bearings without damaging the shaft or housing and new (imperial) bearings were ordered and fitted.

In the process everything was well scrubbed and cleaned and this evening I noticed some faint engraving on the spindle head.

" Morrisflex, BO Morris, Coventry, England "

I quickly found BO Morris (maker of flexible shaft equipment for garages) but at first still couldn't identify my spindle head. Then I found this link and the penny dropped - it's a very well made Sander/Polisher attachment for the Morrisflex flexible shaft system.

Morrisflex Flexible Shaft in use

Mystery solved - and I can now add sanding and polishing to the uses my little MF mill can be used for!

Regards,

IanT

Brian Wood06/06/2020 09:46:08
2187 forum posts
37 photos

IanT,

Morrisflex sytems were also used for fettling work to clean up forged parts in some 'exotic' materials for the nuclear industry, using small carbide burrs in the chuck rather than sanding discs. Used like that they quickly removed blemishes, creases and other undesirable features in readiness for the next steps in the production process.

I saved a few burrs from those days, but without a suitable high speed drive and handling equipment they are just artifacts that I can't use

Brian

Chris Evans 606/06/2020 09:59:23
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1658 forum posts

When I served my time as a mould and die toolmaker we had several MorrisFlex machines for polishing the dies. Basicly a motor driving a flexi shaft mounted on wheels, the motor pivoted to allow the shaft to move through an angle.

Oily Rag06/06/2020 16:44:42
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94 forum posts
54 photos

I have a later more modern Morrisflex (1980's?) similar to the one Brian speaks about. Used for gas flowing cylinder heads and porting 2 stroke engines using either carbide burrs, wrapped sanding spindles or mounted grindstones these machines were the fore runners of todays Dremels, but they were industrial strength!

The one I have is a hanging mount and has a three speed epicyclic gearbox giving 3,000, 9,000 and 27,000 rpm. It is a nice piece of kit and something I would not be without. I have another that was made by Klaxon which is very similar to the B.O Morris unit but has only 2 speeds - 3,000 and 6,000. Must dig it out and do something with it!

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