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Advice on removing column from mini-Mill

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Adrian Johnstone10/05/2021 08:53:45
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29 forum posts

I have recently been gifted a Warco mini-Mill (other suppliers and names are available). Due to its weight and a rickety path to the workshop, I thought I would separate the column from the table as advised here and elsewhere.

This is the rotating column variant, and I have the column retaining nut off and the column resiting at about 20 degrees to he horizontal. I can lift the column up and down, but it doesn't seem to want to slide backwards very easily off of the bolt. Not a surprise since that's the main locating point.

Any tips on easing it off? It's a big lump and I don't want to drop it. I currently have about a 1mm gap between the column and the bracket, so in principle could apply some leverage but I won't want to hack the surfaces.

Adrian

Edited By Adrian Johnstone on 10/05/2021 08:55:34

Nigel Graham 210/05/2021 09:48:25
1666 forum posts
20 photos

Column from table, or from the base?

I don't know the specific machine though I have previously owned a Warco round-column machine. The column does not rotate - the head rotated on the column and as far as I can see from Warco's catalogue this still the case with all their round-column mills.

The column is in two parts: the tube and rectangular-section plinth. They stay united.

The plinth is screwed to the base and I don't recall anything positively locating the plinth to the base beyond its four holding-down screws.

'

So,If column from base, assuming you have removed the feed-screw and table, and cannot arrange vertical lifting-gear:

From similar moves of my own, I would arrange suitable timber packing and cushioning on which the machine can be lain on its side with the column fully supported, and fully horizontally, no weight acting on any delicate parts, and the side of the base resting on a board on which it can slide. Old blankets etc. will help protect the paintwork. This takes the superstructure's weight off the base and its joint, enabling you to separate them much more easily.

Do you have a manual with parts diagram for the machine? I don't know if Warco publish them on-line, but the diagram may give you the detailed information.

Journeyman10/05/2021 10:18:51
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1018 forum posts
191 photos

I think the mill is similar to this:-

tiltmill.jpg

Is there only the one retaining bolt? Other than gently rocking whilst pulling I can think of nothing except as the OP suggests of applying a little leverage.

John

Russell Eberhardt10/05/2021 10:21:41
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2694 forum posts
86 photos

If it's the X1 type mill the column should come off O.K. with the nut removed. I would try a bit of penetrating oil and work it up and down a bit as you pull. ARC have some dismantling guides on their websites for their versions that might help.

Russell

Adrian Johnstone10/05/2021 10:28:18
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29 forum posts

Thanks Nigel for this detailed reply which will be useful for folk with the round column version.

I have the tilting column version in which a rectangular column rotates around a large bolt in the Y-axis so that the head can achieve angles in the X-Z plane of about +/- 70 degrees to the Z axis. It is essentially the same unit as described in Neil's article on mods to the mill at http://www.stubmandrel.co.uk/workshop/90-improving-the-rigidity-of-an-x2-mill **LINK**

The goal is simply to separate the unit into two lumps for lifting purposes. Two approaches appear on line: (1) undo the Z-stop, wind the head up to the top and take it off and (2) unbolt the column and the head. Ketan in a post here prefers (2) to (1) so I thought I'd better try that first, since Ketan certainly knows more about these units than I do!

The problem is that the column doesn't really want to come back off of the rotation bolt, and it is pretty hard to get much force onto it without using a wedge to separate them, and I don't want to hack up the sliding surfaces for the rotation axis.

Of course this arrangement, in which a single bolt and a thrust washer are all that you have to maintain rigidity in the Y-Z plane, is pretty flimsy, so I shall no doubt soon be implementing the bracing plate approach described by Neil in that article above. If I only I can get the thing down into my workshop first...

Adrian

 

Edited By Adrian Johnstone on 10/05/2021 10:29:36

Edited By Adrian Johnstone on 10/05/2021 10:33:02

Edited By Adrian Johnstone on 10/05/2021 10:35:22

Nicholas Farr10/05/2021 10:29:11
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2959 forum posts
1335 photos

Hi, like Journeyman I think this is the one Adrian means.

mill#drill-1.jpg

Regards Nick.

Adrian Johnstone10/05/2021 10:31:11
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29 forum posts

Thanks to Russell and Nick whose messages crossed with my clarification: yes indeed that is the version. Apologies for confusion: I forgot that there was a round column version.

 

Adrian

Edited By Adrian Johnstone on 10/05/2021 10:31:28

Edited By Adrian Johnstone on 10/05/2021 10:33:42

Adrian Johnstone10/05/2021 10:51:58
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29 forum posts

Thanks to Ruissell's pointers, I looked at https://www.arceurotrade.co.uk/machineguides/Super-X1L-Mill-Dismantling-and-Reassembly-Guide.pdf https://www.arceurotrade.co.uk/machineguides/Super-X1L-Mill-Dismantling-and-Reassembly-Guide.pdf I shall try unbolting the bracket from the bed rather than sliding the column back off of its rotation bolt. The Warco variant I have has a rather different mounting arrangement for the column - the Sieg one in the document above and Neil's article looks like a much more sensible engineering proposition with a proper pivot but there is enough commonality to give me some ideas.

Adrian

Nicholas Wheeler 110/05/2021 11:24:26
721 forum posts
51 photos

I have the Chester equivalent of that machine, and wonder why you feel the need to take it apart to move it? I can lift it on and off the bench by myself. I did get help to carry it down the cellar steps, mainly because it's a bit awkward to hold.

Removing the table would remove a similar amount of weight, and is easier to do.

Stuart Smith 510/05/2021 11:40:07
229 forum posts
27 photos

Adrian

I have found that Grizzly tools in the USA have similar mills and lathes to the ones sold here. That also have very good manuals with detailed parts drawings etc.

I have had a quick look and this one looks like it might be the same as yours:

**LINK**

I don’t know if this will help you but I have a Warco WM16 and the Grizzly equivalent manual has a lot of useful info, so maybe you can work out what you need

Stuart

Adrian Johnstone10/05/2021 12:04:49
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29 forum posts

Stuart - thanks; that's helpful. I've got the manual.

Nicholas - OK, well that's excellent, but beyond my capabilities. The machine weighs just under 70kg. My body mass is 80kg, and machine tools are not cuddly things to carry, though I can manage a 45kg compost bag without trouble (bags of compost don't have sharp edges). The machine has to be taken about 100m up a rough path. I can lift it onto a low trolley to move it around the house, but the trolley won't go up the rough path, and I can't lift it up to bench height. Hence proposal to split. I don't think taking the table off will be sufficient as it is only a small proportion of the mass, but I'll take a look.

Adrian

not done it yet10/05/2021 12:08:21
6271 forum posts
20 photos
Posted by Nicholas Wheeler 1 on 10/05/2021 11:24:26:

I have the Chester equivalent of that machine, and wonder why you feel the need to take it apart to move it? I can lift it on and off the bench by myself. I did get help to carry it down the cellar steps, mainly because it's a bit awkward to hold.

Removing the table would remove a similar amount of weight, and is easier to do.

I, too, wonder why a machine weighing so little needs dismantling. How much does it weigh?

Nicholas Wheeler 110/05/2021 12:16:17
721 forum posts
51 photos

Your 70kg is the shipping weight. By the time you've removed it from the crate, taken the vice and drill chuck off it will be less than half that. Which is low enough to move around, although some help moving it down your path would be sensible.

Strapping it to a sackbarrow would also work.

Ady110/05/2021 12:34:43
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4685 forum posts
713 photos

If you can get it onto a sackbarrow in one piece it could save a lot of work

Never easy if your doing a job like this on your lonesome though

Take plenty of padding/sheets if you have them

A nice gift BTW, lucky you

Edited By Ady1 on 10/05/2021 12:38:11

Clive Farrar10/05/2021 12:42:49
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108 forum posts
41 photos

I have one and a bad back. Despite the Atlas types out there saying just carry it. I agree with you it is too heavy and too awkward a shape.

Mine was rubbish in the front to back Z axis so i took it apart to work on the base of the column and to add the rigidity plate similar to Neils.

To make it managable for me I removed the bump stop at the top of the column and removed the head complete and put to one side. heavy but managable.

I took the column off the bottom stand because i wanted a separate look at it and the mating faces. Like you it would not come apart. However the main pivot bolt on mine was obviously removable so I put the nut back on and with a protective bit of wood drove it out to release the column. Probably un-neccessary but I was determined to get a good look at every thing whilst I was doing a major strip down and re alignment.

I then released the base from the bed casting.

 

The next bit may not be relevant for you but i also removed both slide tables as i had excessive back lash to cure.

Note ARC table lead screw nut's DO fit this Warco machine and ARC are much easier to deal with ( IMO ).

Whilst apart I

trued up all V slides.

checked column base to column fit with engineers blue, ok

Checked column base to base casting with engineers blue and hand scraped it level whilst taking out the Z error. I improved the contact area between the 2 from about 10% to 80+% which is good enough for me.

 

added the stiffening plate and appropriated packers to the base of the column.

After dozens of reassemble checks I ended up with about 0.02 mm max out over a 160mm radius.

Good enough for me .

 

Take care, don't be persueded to lift beyond you capabilites and good luck with the move.

 

Regards Clive

Edited By Clive Farrar on 10/05/2021 12:43:37

Edited By Clive Farrar on 10/05/2021 12:45:24

Stuart Smith 510/05/2021 15:50:13
229 forum posts
27 photos

Adrian

Just a thought, but could you remove the head from the column by winding it to the top?

Stuart

Adrian Johnstone10/05/2021 19:41:47
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29 forum posts

Dear all,

thanks for the various suggestions. I am hapy to say that the mill is now on the bench at the bottom of the garden, though still in two pieces.

Just to respond to a few messages, and in case somebody is reading this in five years time when faced with the same challenge...

@Stuart Smith 5: yes, winding the head up to the top is one option, but Ketan and others have noted that lifting the head up and aligning it to get it back on can be strenuous, hence the suggestion that taking the column off is easier (though I note Clive successfully took the head off before removing the column).

@Clive: for me the solution was to take the handle off one end of the table and move the table to its furthest extent. This allows the column to tilt down to maybe 20 degrees above horizontal without fouling the table or the handle. I chocked with wooden blocks to take the weight, then simply undid the three bolts holding the column bracket to the bed. I should have thought of this before, but hadn't removed the previous owner's protective bellows to look carefully at the construction. I think trying to take the column off of the pivot with the base still attached was basically a bad idea.

@ Nicholas Wheeler 1: I guess you are thinking of a different unit when you suggest it would weigh less than half of 70kg. Once I had the unit split, I weighed the two parts. Together they amounted to just over 57kg. Rather nicely, the base/table unit and the column/head unit weigh almost the same, to within 1kg, and I can manage 29kg. I would suggest that one person carrying 57kg any distance might be a bit challenging even for fit young guys (I'm a fit old guy of 61). Though wouldn't it be great to have a mini-mill 100m dash at your next model engineering sports day

Thanks once again, all, for your input. Now to clean and fettle as per Neil's articles. Then maybe some stepper motors...

Adrian

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