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Gas strut for Axminster SX2

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Mark B29/07/2021 18:30:42
70 forum posts
30 photos

I've just purchased a second hand Axminster SX2 milling machine which I've just started to set up. One possible issue I've found is with the gas strut. I think it might be worn out as whilst it holds the head in its current position, it makes no attempt to raise it.

Can anyone confirm if the strut is supposed to lift the milling head, or it is only for holding in the current position?

I've confirmed that the head moves freely and having removed the strut, I've performed a crude experiment with my bathroom scales which shows the downwards weight of the milling head is about equal to the lifting strength of the strut.

Chris Bradbury29/07/2021 19:57:58
22 forum posts
1 photos

Hi Mark B, The gas strut on my X2 holds the head in the position that I stop at.

JasonB29/07/2021 20:17:04
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The strut just "takes the weight" of the head so it's easy to wind up, it won't spring up like the quill of a drill press.

oldvelo29/07/2021 20:43:15
276 forum posts
54 photos

On a Mill Drill my personal prefference is for the gas strut to lift the with the gibs lock off. Being able to move the head up or down with no backlash works for me. Drilling or plunge milling with the correctly sharpened edge on the tool for the material being worked helps prevents cutters diving in until the backlash is taken up. I do not have any experience using an SX2 Mill Drill. The X2 has has a massive ammount of backlash that needs a lot of alterations and adjustment to get to a reasonable ammount of backlash.

Mark B30/07/2021 08:34:22
70 forum posts
30 photos

Thanks for the replies. I was on the verge of replacing the strut but wanted to check first this correct. I was expecting the strut to lift like a spring quill. A replacement wouldn't have made any difference, so I'll focus my efforts elsewhere...

JasonB30/07/2021 09:15:47
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The X2 and SX2 type mills are a not like most "mill/drills" which have a quill and some othermeans or raising the head such as leadscrew or separate rack handle. So the spider handle has to double up and it would be a bit of a pain if the head sprang right up to the top of the column every time you let go of the lever.

oldvelo30/07/2021 11:26:54
276 forum posts
54 photos

JasonB It depends on the technique you use. Bring the head down with the capstan handle until just clear of the work then engage the dog clutch. Advance the cutter with the oversize handwheel I have fitted to replace the piddly little knob as fitted on the factory machine. There is photo's in my album of the modified X2 mill.

Ron Laden31/07/2021 07:49:12
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2248 forum posts
446 photos

One thing is worth noting that if converting a mini mill to a gas strut as I did to my SX2P is making sure the strut has enough stroke. I did mine a couple of years back not long after getting the mill and with little experience followed what I read and the videos I watched. Most were fitting a 6.0mm strut with a 220 mm stroke length and a rating of 120N, it worked well enough and balanced the head nicely.

However I soon realised the 220mm stroke was reducing the head travel. When the strut bottomed out the spindle was 80 - 90mm above the table which is OK with a collet chuck and most cutters but I wanted it lower should I ever need it for some reason. So I changed to a 300mm stroke strut which gets down to 35mm off the table. I also went up to a 8.0mm strut but kept the 120N. The longer strut does mean a vertical mounting bracket fitted to the head but it's simple to make up and fit.

The head is well balanced and feels equal up and down it doesnt have any tendancy to drop or creep up. Having the head set to spring up when released wouldn't suit me but everyone to their own.

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