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Thread: Index Model 40 mill restoration
11-23-2008, 03:13 PM #1
Index Model 40 mill restoration
Through a series of fortunate coincidences, two weeks ago I came into posession of a Model 40 Index milling machine. The mill had suffered at least a decade of neglect, but the price was right (free!, "If you can fix it, you can have it" were the previous owners words), and it appeared worth taking on the challenge of restoring it.
The ways, table, and dials were largely covered in rust and there were a few items that, according to my research, came stock with the mill but are now missing. These would include the linear vernier scales for the X and Y axes and the X axis table stops.
At this point I have removed the rust from the table and ways, down to some small areas of discoloration and I am hesitant to keep scrubbing to remove those as I don't want to further alter the geometry of the way surfaces. The factory scraping marks are completely gone and the rust removal has revealed two light gouges on one of the Y axis ways.
At this point, with the bearing surfaces of the ways clean , all the moving parts oiled, and the gibs adjusted, I believe my next set of tasks should be as follows:
1. Take indicator readings of the top surface of the table along the X and Y travels to determine whehter any unnacceptable wear exists along the ways surfaces.
2. Check the spindle bore for runout.
3. Check the Z axis and wormgear-fed quill positioning accuracies.
Is there anything elser I should do first before tackling these, or anything I might have missed? The spindle bearings on this machine, from the sound of them, seem to be in acceptable condition, though I would not hesitate to replace them with angular contact bearings as I have a good friend and mentor who knows how and could walk me through the process.
This will be my first experience restoring a machine tool, and I believe there's hope for the machine. At the very least I should have a good learning experience and an excellent drill press by the time I'm done, though I think I should be able to get it to the point of sufficient accuracy to do some light milling. By most accounts, these are quite rigid machines for their size due to the single casting columns. Add to that the fact that Wells-Index still carries parts for them and I'm very excited about my chances for getting her working again at the level of a home shop/light prorotyping mill. Any thoughts or accounts of your experience with this type of project wouldbe greatly appreciated.
11-23-2008, 08:52 PM #2Is there anything elser I should do first before tackling these, or anything I might have missed?
I have no experience with Index mills but the machinists Who I've heard mention them speak highly of them, they seem to have a wonderful reputation.
Congrats on you're new mill, the deal makes it worth restoring even if the brand didn't(which it does)
11-23-2008, 09:19 PM #3
This is what the saddle vernier looks like. Can't say its good for much. I have this one but I don't use it as its down around the side at the top of the knee. Not very convenient.
How many parts do you think Wells-Index has for a WW2 era mill? They'll be happy to fabricate parts from old drawings and charge you mucho dinero. I got the $40 rip off xerox of the factory manual and a xerox of the original invoice dated 1942 indicating shipment to Douglas Aircraft in Long Beach, Calif for U.S. Navy aviation. That was cool to know.
I have not been into the spindle on mine and I've been running it since about 1983. Done NOTHING to it but turn it on and make chips. It even has the two raggidy almost falling apart Vee belts that were on it when I bought it.. though I should really break down and buy new belts.
There are quite a few Index Model 40 owners in this forum so if you use the search function you'll bring up some older posts. Mine is rather mediocre condition but the knee is accurate to .001" and I'm still making parts with it. Used it last night. It does good work but I have no power table feed and that makes my wrists sore.
I'm pondering buying a new Grizzly mill sometime next spring/summer. If that happens this one will be offered for under $500 in Northern Calif. After owning it, using it for 25 years its like an old dependable friend. I'd miss it but at 56 I'd like a new one to work with the rest of my life.
11-23-2008, 10:00 PM #4
COOL! I have a 64 BP J head and if someone offered me a mill like yours and DM2, I'd be all over it! You should find plenty of info here. Congrats and good luck! I love old steel!!!
11-23-2008, 11:47 PM #5
John, I ask a lot of my 40H and it never flinches.
Milling the arcs in the center bracket of.......
this 3-1/4HP router mount......
to make an accurate pattern for metal casting....
then mounting the milled part to cut 48 fin slots in the periphery with a 10" carbide toothed saw blade held in a shop made arbor, in the router. The spiral cord, upper left, leads to a rheostat speed control to limit RPM.
My mill has the scale that is missing on yours, never felt the need to use a "ruler" for measuring the movement of the Y axis, that's what the dial is for.
Oh yeah, that's a 170lb. 12" rotary table canted out on that 1/2" steel plate, Index just grins and works harder....
Got a new Baldor 1-1/2Hp 240 1Ph on the spindle and a 1/3Hp Baldor on the X feed drive.
And John, don't get rid of your drill press, (if you have one), that little wheel that moves the quill will never live up to a good multi lever handle on the quill of a drill press.
11-24-2008, 12:48 AM #6
Thanks guys. After I got my mill into the garage I immediately went into the house and searched and read every thread I could find on this forum that even remotely pertained to it. The information I found was what gave me the inspiration to restore it.
Dutch- I don't really intend to use Wells-Index for any parts- the only thing so far I think I may need to replace is the Y axis drive nut and I can make my own. It's just cool to know that they're there if I need them. Posts from model 40 owners also indicate that the folks at Wells-Index are really cool about answering questions- another nice thing to know.
Bob- some really neat setups you've got going there, in the very vein of what I'll be asking my mill to do for me. I build alot of press tooling/fixtures for work and if it turns out the mill isn't too badly worn out will probably be bringing some work home with me on occasion. What kind of shape was your mill in when you got it?
Dutch and Bob- I remember reading several posts from both of you when I got the mill and want to thank you for the great information. Particularly helpful was the link to the company that sells B&S #9 taper collets; I'll be hitting those guys up in the near future.
Above all thanks for showing me that these are capable machines- when you listen to enough of the Kearney and Trecker/ Cincinatti guys on the General forum spit at Bridgeports like they're useless because of their size, you kind of get a complex about it. But really, I don't need a hogging mill anyway.
11-24-2008, 01:03 AM #7
Oh and David- I don't believe in second rate low budget machine porn; I'll post some pics after a good dose of clearasil is applied to get the pimples off her ass and she's been through rehab to get her off the crystal meth.
11-24-2008, 01:43 AM #8
I understand that philosophy John, but nothing beats the feedback on this forum from a good set of "before and after" pics.
The "in progress" pics and the encouragement from the forum members makes going back to work on the beast alittle easier when you're thoroghly sick and tired of it, I know that from experience.Not to mention the service you're doing to guys like me when you post the pics with all the pimples, then we know we're not the only one who drags this stuff home..lol
Oh BTW, Bob that's the coolest articulated router jig I've ever seen, beautiful work!!
11-24-2008, 04:52 AM #9
11-24-2008, 12:20 PM #10
Robert Campbell Jr. slightly off topic here! The pattern you are working on looks like you used Medite? "a high density partical board" Have you had any problems with the foundrys using this??
And what are you using to seal it off with?
My reason of asking is that I thought of using it myself for cast iron patterns but would like to know the pittfalls before doing so.
11-24-2008, 01:20 PM #11
Obviously I love my very agile little Index 40H and while it is indispensable to me, I feel the same about my Kearney and Trecker 2H Universal horizontal. I know how you feel though, it took me a long time with verticals to finally realize that horizontals, in their own unique way, are unbeatable too, adding a much expanded machining capability.
See a pattern going above? I only collect mills with an "H" suffix.
Thanks for the complements guys, I only have one more photo of the router mount in Photobucket. I reamed the holes in the foot piece with a 20mm end mill to accommodate the router's pinned-in plunge tubes, adding yet another dimension to router placement, that's six, counting the quill feed and mill head left-right, (is that 7?) rotation.
...still @ photo above, the RT mount takes advantage of the fact that there are grooves and taped holes on each end of the horizontal rotary table for removable table clamp "ears".
I machined 3/4" half-rounds with the square half fitting the table grooves. The bottom one rotates in a ball-milled groove in the 1/2" plate, just visible bottom right of RT, while the upper one presents a curved surface for those big hold downs to rest on. I welded a flange to the top half-round for the SHCS's just beyond it, to lock it in place. The spherical bottomed hold down nuts rest in spherical depressions in the rounds below them. The sherical joint link between the hold downs, allows me to dial in up to 10° tilt, both sides of vertical, to allow me create draft angles on pattern work. The 1/2" plate can be rotated 90° then re-bolted to the mill table, allowing the use of a tail stock for long pieces.
Oh yeah, just behind the Index mill, you can see another horizontal, a US Machine Tools/Burke #1. A very useful tool in it's own right. I made those big hold downs on it.
A better pic below;
Arriving at a loving home;
Set up to mill a flat on each end of an 1-1/4" boring bar for one of my lathes;
....and full circle below, back to the Index mill to cut the insert seats in the bar, using a tapered end mill for a snug fit of the relieved inserts. The other end orients the inserts with an edge parallel to the end. That gives me a boring bar with two different insert orientations plus left and right for both= 4 ways to use the bar. I whittled the insert clamps on the Index too.
Never let a reasonable, or sometimes free hunk of old iron get by. It'll set you to dreaming and set you free...
....really happy old carpenter....Bob
11-24-2008, 01:43 PM #12
8D-132, we were typing at the same time.
The pattern material I'm using is various thicknesses of MDF. Wonderful pattern material for me. It machines very well, easily finishes very smooth and is impervious to warping. I use sanding sealer and finish it with the traditional foundrymans sealer, orange shellac. Cutting and gluing stacks with carpenters glue makes it a very versatile, workable and a readily at hand pattern material.
For years I used fillet wax but for this project, I just butter in Bondo before routing the shapes. Holds on ferociously and finishes as well as the MDF.
I'm casting 356 aluminum in Petro Bond sand molds, which of course doesn't utilize water in the sand bond. Don't know how well it would hold up using green sand and water but well sealed, it should be fine. After all, green sand and wood patterns are a centuries old process.
The pattern doesn't remain in contact with the molding sand for long, in either case.
Got any photos/tips on iron casting?
11-24-2008, 08:03 PM #13
Robert, Thank you for the info! I have been toying with the idea of using MDF as you call it for a special project of building a set of fuel tank saddles for a antique tractor, Rough measurements of 2-1/2'W X 3'L to be casted in ductile iron. I don't do the foundry work myself. I am thinking of sending these to Lodi CA.to be poured when time comes.
11-25-2008, 12:26 PM #14
8D-132, now that I really think about it, lately I've settled for "particle board" when I couldn't find Medium Density Fiberboard.
Time was that "particle board" meant a loose, rough pile of unidentifiable fibers, barely stuck together, just junk to me. Nowadays, the particle board I'm finding is good dense material, with properties as good as MDF, so I use either.
10-30-2010, 03:07 PM #15
I have an Index model 40 and I love it! Quite rigid for it's size and handles everything I throw at it. I too had to replace the old 1/2 h.p. factory motor with a baldor 1 1/2 h.p., but I didnt hesitate great motor for the mill. I too bought the $40 rip off copied manual from Wells-Index and was very disappointed in its quality and contents. The drawings were nice and the info card, they werent cheap back then, mine sold wholesale for $1100 in '55. They told me about the parts, but I have the feeling judging by the manual and other services I'd rather buy the print anyday as i couldnt afford a screw or bearing most likely. They will rebuild it for 5 or 6 grand i think it is!
12-21-2011, 10:08 PM #16
I have a model 40 and it came with a broken gib on the y axis. I had one made but the old one had a relieved area under the center bolt. Seems this may be why it broke in two right through the center hole in the first place. When I put the new one on the saddle is hard to move. Does anyone know if this relieved area was original and neccessary?
12-22-2011, 08:58 AM #17
I thought all the Wells-Index machines were as large or larger than a Bridgeport. these 40s look smaller than a BP, perhaps about the size of a Rockwell or even a Clausing. Is that correct?
12-22-2011, 10:47 AM #18
Their 800 series (847 etc.) are large verticals and there are the 55 model, as well as 500, 600 and 700 series too. The 40's and the 55's did not have turrets nor head nod, only side tilt and are very ridgid, with a heavy iron casting floor to head.
A few of the mills at Tony's in the UK here: http://www.lathes.co.uk/index/
They also made a large combination vertical/horizontal, separate motors for each. Both planes being full sized, full featured, not add-ons like a vertical head for a horizontal or the tiny horizontal attachment for the BP.
My 40H has an over-all table size of 8" X 30".
Below, a 12" RT and a mold I cut on the 40H with the big router, to get the 20,000RPM speed that produces a fine finish on aluminum. The second photo is of the mold as set up on the lathe face plate to remove the majority recessed ring, prior to the milling, it is 15" in diameter.