"One Perfect Part at a Time"

X3 Mill

4 Inch Machinist Vise

There is now another new tool in the THMS workshop. I received my four inch machinist vise from the Little Machine Shop and have it installed on my Sieg X3 Small Mill. I think it is a great addition to the manual mill and have posted a review in The Hobbyist Machine Shop. http://thehobbyistmachineshop.com/cms/workshop/4-inch-machinist-vise

Jump over there for a close look at this medium priced precision machinist vise.

Tight Squeeze

newvice4inchTexas weather has finally relented from the high temperatures and we are now into an El Niño wet spell. But it does mean that it is very comfortable for working in my unconditioned garage workshop.

I do have heaters for the winter but no air conditioning for the hot weather. So Fall is the season for me to spend more hours in the shop.

I am presently considering an addition to my Taig X3 Small Mill. I just made a repair to the DROPROS digital scales I have on the machine. Unfortunately, I haven’t been using it enough to keep the memory backup battery charged. It is a 3Volt rechargeable Ni-Cad rather than a large button cell. I killed it once a few years ago and it died on me again just a few weeks ago.

I sent it back to DroPros the first time (free repair) but I did it myself this time. I found the exact same replacement battery on-line. What happens is the Ni-CAD discharges so low and for so long that it reverses one of the cells. Then it will not take a full charge. New battery and the scales are working perfectly again.

How I discovered it was I had a project that I wanted to use the manual mill and the digital scales. I finished the project with the manual scales and ordered the battery.

The project went well but I decided I really needed a heavier and larger vice on the X3. I have been using a 3” screwless vice for years. Now I am looking for a 4” lockdown style vise. It may or may not look like the picture shown. It should weigh about 35 pounds.

The larger jaws, heavier weight and especially the screw action should… Continue reading

DRO Error Fix

This is my DROpros DRO that I installed on my X3 manual mill back in February of 2010. There is also a complete install article in The Hobbyist Machine Shop. Go visit both links.

This is the best addition I made to my manual mill. I use the DRO on everything I make on the X3 Who needs dials anymore?

Well, I did. I was about to run a few cuts and when I flipped the DRPpros on it did its little display dance as I call it the gave me an error seen in the first picture. The X REF kind of hinted to me it was looking for a reference and didn’t find it. I figured there may be a battery inside for a reference voltage.

I sent this first picture to DROpros and explained the problem. They agreed it could be a battery or perhaps a diode that failed.

About a week later I shipped the control head back to them. I did peek inside and there IS a battery on the main board. I checked the voltage and under no load it was only half of the voltage indicated on the battery label. Ta-ta…

Just got it back and as you see it is working perfectly again. I didn’t get a bill for repair or return shipping yet. I paid for for sending. I may not get a bill.

The DroPros owner is a veteran and proud of his customer service. As a veteran brother… Continue reading

Weighty Subject

A fellow ham radio operator Dennis (KI4DW) was in need  of replacement weights for his Brown Brothers “bug” keyer. The weights are the easy part. I thought he needed the thumb screws duplicated too. Turns out he has the screws.

The weights I turned from a 3/4 in leaded steel bar on the PD400. The slots are cut with a 3/32 end mill on the X3. The digital readout was a real big help in free handing the slots. (CNC automation spoils me.) In the picture, the slots still need a bit of internal filing to square the inside corners.

The 8-32 thumb screws would be a lot more work to make exact copies. I was afraid of the time (and cost) I would spend on two of them. I have since discovered a good source for these at McMaster-Carr.

If I make any more weights, about a half hour in BobCAD should make the slot cutting easy work starting from dead center. Heck, the G-code would be easy to write from scratch.

Just a few hours work on developing these parts. CNCing the slot would make it much faster to produce more.

Shars Preminum ER16 Collet Holder

I just received this R8 to ER16 premium collet holder from Shars Tool Company in St Charles, IL. It is brand new and rated at 0.0001″ runout at the face. What that means is that this collet adapter should be able to run at well over 10,000 RPM without problem.

When you spin that fast and faster, things like balancing the collet nut become necessary. You can see that has been done on this adapter. I will never get close to that rpm on the X3 mill but it is nice to know it is that good.

I have some projects that need machined with small end mills. The manual Taig mill with an ER16 spindle would be perfect. My Taig mill is set up as CNC and although it could be controlled manually, I like to use the X3 with the DRO for manual milling. Higher RPM would be nicer on the X3 for small bits, but I can live with 2000 RPM and slow feeds.

The adapter looks like is was made from stainless steel but it is nickel plated to avoid corrosion from cooling fluids.

Price range $50 – $60. On Ebay I bought at the lower price.

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