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Paul Kemp10/08/2020 20:17:57
548 forum posts
18 photos

Good grief, only on this forum maybe? Fellow posts a picture of a lovely little mill with tons more versatility than an off the shelf modern option, horizontal spindle, vertical spindle, swivel table etc, asking for any info on what it may be and half the responses are focussed on the colour of the cable. He has only just got it, it's in his own private shed, it's not likely to be taken to a building site, is that really the most important thing? Does yellow Artic cable explode if it's used on 240v rather than 110? Has it got a far inferior insulation value or increased resistance? Come on for goodness sake look at the potential of the machine itself rather than dissing the cable! Who knows the fellow may be intending to scrap the motor, cable and switchgear.


Michael Gilligan10/08/2020 21:26:51
16195 forum posts
706 photos

Thank you for your observation, Paul

As it was me ‘wot started it’ ... perhaps you would like to re-read what I wrote.


Paul Kemp10/08/2020 22:00:20
548 forum posts
18 photos


It was less about "wot u rote" or the spirit in which it was 'rote' but more about what followed and general thread drift on this forum. Fellow just asked for info on his new machine not a critique of the electrical installation, if he wanted an opinion on that he would have asked the question differently?


clogs11/08/2020 07:11:37
576 forum posts
12 photos


just got to ur question on the forum.....

what a sweet, super little machine.....I wish I had the chance to own it..

even tho I have a BridgePort J head and Myford VMF.....

greedy perhaps but u cant have to much of a good thing.....

oh u lucky man......have fun....

Nicholas Farr11/08/2020 08:01:17
2405 forum posts
1188 photos

Hi Paul, I don't think this thread has drifted anymore than many other threads do, however the yellow lead was raised and I think the responses to it have put it into perspective, which in my opinion can only be a good thing. I haven't read anything to suggest that the OP has to change it.

Regards Nick.

SillyOldDuffer11/08/2020 10:02:18
6186 forum posts
1345 photos
Posted by Nicholas Farr on 10/08/2020 18:43:59:
Posted by SillyOldDuffer on 10/08/2020 15:08:48:
Posted by Simon Williams 3 on 08/08/2020 19:48:17:
Posted by Vic on 08/08/2020 18:47:43:

I’ve got extension leads with both yellow and blue cables. I didn’t know there was any particular convention.


It appears UK domestic appliance leads can be any colour wanted. Black, White, Grey, Blue, Yellow, Orange, Brown, Red, Stripes, whatever. They can suit the decor! More usefully extension leads could be colour coded to highlight trip hazards, or different colours used to identify ends.


Hi, I've done work in many industrial places and a few civil engineering sites and unless your 110V gear had the yellow Artic cable and any 240V gear had the blue Artic cable, you wouldn't be allowed to use those items...

Regards Nick.

Yes, but I said 'domestic', which is where this mill would be used. Hard to imagine it allowed in an Industrial or Civil Engineering setting because of all the other questions. Cable colour is way down my list of professional H&S worries!

Realistically, the machine is a 'bitsa'. In the past someone's converted another mill-like machine (or parts) into a home workshop tool. Probably done back when when milling machines were rarely found in amateur workshops. Looks promising but the only way to know the build is any good is to test it. It has a mix of good and questionable features:


  • Table height adjusted by knee wheel
  • Power Traverse on table
  • Table swivel feature?
  • Whoever made it wasn't a bodger, but he may have pushed his luck.

Potential Issues:

  • Narrow table with limited Z movement.
  • Horizontal spindle not connected.
  • Rigidity of vertical head due to relatively thin column and rotating axle arrangement.
  • Vibration due to motor mount on top of a plate-and-bolt frame.
  • Access to belt for speed changes
  • Slightly flimsy looking head

Although it has a drawbar, might be intended to be a precision drill rather than a mill. Testing with a milling cutter would reveal if it's not rigid enough. I think it will be OK for light work at least.

Just like every other machine tool, it is what it is! If it runs and cuts, even with limitations, any mill is an asset. But if it doesn't cut, it's either junk or a restore project. Whether it's worth restoring comes down to how much time and money the owner is willing to spend on it. It depends: replacing the expensive pancake motor in an otherwise superb Bridgeport is surely worth the effort. Replacing the motor or other pricey parts on this baby might be a complete waste of money if the machine is a poor match to average workshop needs.

The only way to know if it's a gem or a disaster is to test it! Good chance it's a runner because it's lasted this long, but I guess we've all got projects not quite bad enough to scrap. Not everything survives for good reasons!

Anybody recognise which machine this is based on?


Hopper12/08/2020 05:50:55
4770 forum posts
104 photos

It seems to me that concerns about the yellow 110 volt cable are misguided. 110 volt wires will be a thicker, heavier gauge than 240 volt wires, because they have to flow more than double the amps to achieve the same number of watts. And it's amps that burn up thin cables, not volts.

Simple Ohm's Law: Watts = Volts x Amps. So to run a 1000 Watt motor on 240 volts will draw 4.1 Amps. But 1000 Watt motor on 110 Volts will draw 9.1 Amps.

That is why old 6 volt car and motorbike wiring is thicker than the later 12 volt stuff. And starter motor cables are 8mm thick to power a small fractional horsepower starter motor with only 12 volts but massive high amps to make up the required Watts.

So if the mill is being run on 240 volt supply, the 110 volt wire will be heavy duty plus for the job. So maybe the guy who built the milling machine actually knew what he was doing?

Or am I missing something? Electrickery is not really my thing.

Edited By Hopper on 12/08/2020 05:57:26

Michael Gilligan12/08/2020 06:13:42
16195 forum posts
706 photos
Posted by Hopper on 12/08/2020 05:50:55:


So if the mill is being run on 240 volt supply, the 110 volt wire will be heavy duty plus for the job. So maybe the guy who built the milling machine actually knew what he was doing?

Or am I missing something? Electrickery is not really my thing.



I rather wish I hadn’t mentioned it.

There is nothing fundamentally wrong with Yellow cable:

It is simply that a particular type of yellow cable is used [in the U.K. at least] in conjunction with 110V safety transformers [which are actually wired 55-0-55]

My initial comment was a simple observation ... I didn’t really expect it to generate so much discussion.



Edit: This is not intended as an advertisement; it is simply a link to a simple introduction:

Edited By Michael Gilligan on 12/08/2020 06:31:04

Nicholas Farr12/08/2020 08:21:13
2405 forum posts
1188 photos

Hi Hopper, you can get the same size conductors in both yellow and blue and many other colours for that matter. Ohm's law is fundamentally used for DC circuits although it can be applied to resistive AC circuits, doesn't really add up on AC motor circuits and the like, as they are primarily inductive and have some different electrical values that apply.

I agree with MichaelG, there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the use of the yellow cable. In my previous post I was only trying to point out why both blue and yellow Artic cables exit, which are both suitable for outside use in harsh conditions compared to indoor use, the yellow being more robust in most cases.

Regards Nick.

Edited By Nicholas Farr on 12/08/2020 08:45:54

Circlip12/08/2020 10:29:01
1169 forum posts

But But But are the same cables suitable for Saharan conditions??

Regards Ian.

Hopper12/08/2020 10:48:07
4770 forum posts
104 photos

Thanks for the clarification Michael and Nicholas.

Circlip: No. It's an Arctic cable.

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