Nichols Milling machine questions.
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  1. #1
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    Default Nichols Milling machine questions.

    I have recently acquired a Nichols milling machine. 3 phase 1725 RPM 1 1/2 HP Master gearhead motor with a 744RPM output. I am sure someone on this forum has one identical to mine. Qustion is what pulley sizes are on yours? I have pulleys that are 2 step B size belts that are dual belt. Drive pulleys are 4" and 6.5". Driven or spindle pulleys are 11.25" and 13". The manual I have references a two step pulley for high speeds. These pulleys just don't seem like they are original to this machine. IMHO. Since I need to get a VFD for this machine what pulley arrangement would be used with the gearhead motor I have? If yours is run be a VFD what madel/make did you get? This machine is in great shape as there is hardly any wear. It even has the Longitudinal feed screww on the table. Need a couple of handles but no big deal. Was setup with air cylinders to raise the spindle automatically. Even has coolant tank but no pump at this time. Any help will be appreciated. A few pics to ponder.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 100_0832.jpg   100_0831.jpg   100_0830.jpg   100_0833.jpg  

  2. #2
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    Nice to see a Nichols show up on the forum again- been a while. The 2-step pulley was a standard option, along with a 5-step version. A vfd is definitely a win, I have a Teco-Westinghouse 2hp set up on my machine; I frequently use large slitting saws so operate with low frequency and the smallest sheave on the driving pulley. I went to the trouble of mounting the speed control pot in the start/stop button box, very handy to have it up there.

    My machine never had air drive on the feeds, I happened on one for the table but it was worn out past a likely repair so scrapped it. I use lever vs screw feed on the table about 50:50, the lever feed is a big win on the slitting saws, but not desirable for precision moves.

    Coolant is a big win if you're inclined to set it up, I use diluted Habcool which really helps the sawing in particular. The machines easily take NMTB and CAT40 tooling, needing a cap screw as drive key. OTOH tooling gage length is a concern- the table doesn't have much y axis so options like drill chucks are constrained.

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  4. #3
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    Thanks Greg. This is the info I was looking for. I guess I will use the pulleys that came with the machine. A VFD will be ordered today. I can always get pulleys in the future if I cannot get the speeds I want with the pulleys I have. Thanks again Greg.

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    If you are inclined to disassemble the machine there are a couple things to be careful of. The table y feed nut is relatively fragile (cast iron) and prone to breaking of the table receives a reasonably strong impact. The dovetail locks are not highly effective; they work by the clamp distorting the dovetail half which works well until the dovetail wears then the clamp doesn't work as well so the operator tightens it harder and so forth. The knee dovetail is prone to cracking because of this. The dovetails can be milled back straighter, though grinding and scraping is more orthodox. If you find the table chatters or vibrates a bit, its a good sign the dovetails need attention.

    If you take the knee off, put a strap around it and the column to hold it up while you take the dovetail half off- the knee is very front-heavy so will fall easily if you're not careful- make sure the elevation screw is all the way out but don't let the screw come all the way out of the threads and smash back down while you do it... lol

    There is a sort-of manual here;

    http://pounceatron.dreamhosters.com/docs/index.html

    search for Nichols down towards the bottom of the page. Quite a few people use hole saws etc on this machines for mitering tubing- I've not done that but I do use weldon endmill holders, er32 and B&S21 collets, slitting saws, boring heads etc. I have actually never used a tradtitional horizontal mill arbor on mine lol.


    Greg


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