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Nichols Hand Miller

Let me ask something. How much would one of you pay for my table? I have a 30" table that is 6 3/4" wide. So, it's a narrow table, but it's long.

I'm thinking maybe I should part mine out, get it out of my garage, and make space for another machine that does work. I do have some good parts on mine, other than not having a motor. Too bad my pulley got chipped.

I have an excellent overarm but in looking at Google Maps, Ar. ain't close, 1773 miles. Baltimore is 2857 miles from me. :eek:

To make these mills make sense, it seems that finding them locally is the best option. So, do I wait for parts, find one local, part mine out?

How much is the table worth to someone? Maybe that will push me over the edge.

Alan, The reason i decided to sell the free mill to Greg is that the shipping would be well out of my financial capability at this time. Of coarse he hasn't decided weather or not to take it yet.

But i cant blame him for wanting to upgrade and since it would be to expensive for me to ship i thought it would be best to make the most of the situation and get free parts it has not cost me anything and the rest of the mill could be sold to cover his costs, time and trouble.

If you decide to part out your mill im sure there will be plenty of people on this forum that would love to have the parts.

As far as the leaky motor goes my truck leaks my faucet leeks my motorcycle leeks my shoes leek and i leek

I have seen new equipment leek in the military new trucks leek after a few months of service they have three classes of leeks class one is a seep class two is a slow drip class three is a steady drip and will deadline a vehicle.

The seals may be getting a bit weak on Greg's motor but the way he describes the leek at first and then stopping would not be a problem with me after all these are not new machines.

However i cant blame you for wanting to find something closer that may be in better shape i wish i could find a free mill right hear in town but it seems like all the good stuff is on the east coast so i will just have to do what i can under the circumstances.

I hope your not upset with any of us im just trying to do what is right by everyone and if you or anyone els think that im not then let me know and i will try to straiten things out the best that i can.

Hi Alan,

Sorry, I didn't mean to give the impression I was attempting to unload a lemon- I am quite happy with my machine, just that the NY one could well be a nice upgrade- and if the deal can be worked so James gets the parts he wants out of mine so much the better.

The NY mill has the toolroom table so the table from mine is available. I'm not entirely happy with the overarm support and arbor on my mill because the repairs on them aren't fully done- they are parts from the older & pretty tired mill we parted out and the arbor sleeve needs redoing, so they will be cheap. As I've pointed out previously, all the gibs need grinding to tighten them up which isn't a big deal but is significant- my mill has a fair bit of mileage but its in reasonable & operating condition. (I think you should consider evaluating the gibs on yours btw- a test indicator against the sliding elements which you push and pull will tell. If you see flex thats fine but if the element shifts much one way then the other, then the gibs need grinding to take up the wear- that might affect your decision to part out or not.)

The motor & electrics have been running since about May, the machine has been lacking proper tooling (and I have been lacking time to complete work on same) which prevented it from cutting anything till last month or so. I've put a couple hours of runtime on it while I bored out the overarm support and other intervals of letting it run so I could listen to the motor & evaluate the bearing temps, etc. But you're right, getting the motor out to you will be an expensive proposition relative to the price of your mill. I will say though that I don't see how my machine's motor might be in need of repair- it works fine & runs well- whats to repair on it? Tear it apart and find a replacement seal to stop a few drips of oil onto the base casting of a metal working machine? If the seals were such that all the oil leaks/drips out then sure, but that is entirely not the case.

The NY mill looks like its ready to plug in and go, apparently it was in use last year. They need the space and the mill "conveyed" from the previous owners of the facility. I am not immune to the prospect of a mill that doesn't need a bunch of work & is well tooled...

But nearly all these old machines come to us more or less beat up, some worse & some better. Yours was ready to roll until the freight yahoos knocked it over. OTOH if you're into picking up a cheap, used machine to earn money with & the value proposition hinges on a cheap & working machine its going to be a crapshoot no matter what you buy. I mess with these old machines as therapy for being in the office, so extra months of downtime while I wrangle out problems is no big deal.

If your mill has to earn its keep and has to be cheap to be viable then it probably does make sense to part out and start over. OTOH you're unlikely to find another mill as complete and nice and cheap for some time- a couple hundred might get you over the top and into a working machine.

If you need Nichols parts, I couldn't think of a better guy to get them from than Greg based on my past dealings with him. I would have zero reservations... for what it's worth.


I have to agree that Greg is good to get parts from, and didn't mean to dis Greg in that regard, just that I'm starting to question the quality of some of the Nichols parts, specifically the motors. Greg treated me more than fairly on the starter and y-axis nut.

I suspect most of these mills were taken out of production because they either had failed motors, or other damage. Motor failure seems the most likely.

I'm sure there are cheaper ways to get a motor rewound, but the local place mentioned about $900 for the winding alone. That seems very high, and Gary got his motor rewound for $200 back in '98. However, consider the cost increase in copper as of recent and there is probably little chance to get similar pricing today. Maybe I'll end up trying to piece mine back together, and maybe I'll part it out. The shipping cost for these parts is really prohibitive unless someone really wants them. More of what I am questioning is if it makes sense to be shipping these parts across country, lining the shipping company's pockets with our money?

If in fact the motors are a common failure, and if Greg's motor will need repairs, I just do not know if that makes sense for me, and why I'm tossing around the idea to part out my mill, which is actually in nice shape other than needing a motor and spindle pulley fixed/replaced.

Demand for Nichols parts is going to be dropping with so many parts mills being about, and the amount of folks interested in horizontal mills is almost a hidden message to wait for parts local. I don't know to be honest, my machine has been a time sync and if anything has prevented me from doing actual milling which I can do on my POS mini-mill. Don't let me disparage anyone with my comments, I think I'm just reaching the end of my patience on all of this...sorry for ranting...

Alan, you've had more patience than I ever would!

I think Nichols were high quality goods when new. Buying used industrial machines that are decades old on the cheap for home use is going to cause some headaches once in a while. Everything I've read about Nichols motors leads me to believe they are pretty bomber, even operating w/ out oil some times. A bit of a leak is nothing to worry about for me at least (means there's oil in there!).

I just got a Boxford lathe shipped out... A+ crating job.. really over the top. I'm liking the Boxford machine. If I had it delivered and found it had been tipped over, I too would probably be singing a different tune about my time-sink lathe! Hang in there.

Alan, I think you'll feel a lot better when you make that long awaited first cut. The Nichols mills perform out of all proportion to their size.

I originally had four Nichols plus a Burke handmill. Sold the two good Nichols and the Burke to shops that use them often. I've horsetraded through a succession of larger mills, but have always had in mind to keep one Nichols either dedicated to keyway cutting, or alternatively, dolled up with an X axis screw and a vertical head. I always seem to get sticker shock when the occasional vertical head shows up on ebay though.

When I stepped into this thread I was not looking to stir the pot-I haven't followed it closely, just peeked in occasionally. To be clear I will simply say this: I need to bench run both of my motors before I can commit to selling one. I currently know less about my motors than Greg does his;Electrocution or Class 3 leaks are entirely possible. If both are good, then one is for sale. The five step pulleys, and the miscellaneous stuff are available in any case. Beyond that, shoot me a PM.


I'm sure I will feel a lot better if I get my Nichols to cut, not doubt.

I'll shoot you a PM, I'm interested in the pulleys and/or motor (either or both). As can be seen, my pulley was damaged in shipping, and my motor is fubar. Nichols Damage

While I can probably fix my current pulley, I'd certainly be interested in one that doesn't need repair.

My primary need is a motor.

There's been a Nichols in MI for sale that the seller has been asking $400 on, the shipping would be $320 to the freight terminal in San Jose. I have pondered if that wouldn't be a better option, but the seller has never had it under power and it is partial air and the hoses are not hooked up. But it does have a Master Gear Motor.

I did offer a guy back east to buy his motor from a parts mill that he listed not long ago, but no reply...I'm sure he would like someone to take the entire thing from him...even Greg offered to drive up and get it for gas, which was more than fair, but it still doesn't add up to me in that case. By the time I would pay Greg gas, and I would certainly need to give him something had he to driver up there, even though he didn't want anything for his time, and then to ship the motor back here, I thought it made more sense to just try and buy the motor.

I've owned a few old machines, and the quality of the Nichols is quite good, I'm just stymied with the situation I've gotten myself in...(sigh) Unfortunately I got myself in this mess to begin with by not wanting to drive 6 hours to pick it up...(mainly because my truck is not functional for a 12 hour trip, IMO). We all learn the hard way sometimes... :mad: Seems this mill just spiraled downhill after that point... :mad: :mad: :mad:

Although to give credit to Greg, he did give me a great price on a couple parts I got from him, his old starter and the y-axis nut. If I can just get the spindle turning I can cut some brass...if I ever do I'm sure I'll be laughing at my POS mini-mill...but in the meantime it's the only machine I have to slot with and it's laughing at the Nichols which sits in pieces... :mad:


Thanks for posting that link, I looked yesterday and couldn't find it for some reason, just have spelled it wrong or something.

I wonder if I could use a 3 step pulley on my spindle with a 5 step on the motor, if I ever get a working motor that is...?

I primarily need the 2 large steps for brass, rough and finish. Anyone have a good pic of a 3 step pulley or know the dimensions?

I'm skeptical about the 3-step pulley at Plaza. The Nichols manual states that the pulleys on intermediate and high speed models were made in two sections: a large 3-step section and a small 2-step section.

It doesn't say if the two-section pulleys use the same mounting hardware as the standard pulleys, and the parts diagram is ambiguous (to me, anyway). If they do use the same bushings, you could probably make it work...although without the mating 2-step section you'd probably have to make up some sort of spacer.

No idea on dimensions, but it's probably smaller than the standard pulley, and mounted on the spindle in order to get the higher speeds.

Yeah, his lists are damn close to digging through mountains of actual tools.

I would email him with parts needs.... he has lots of unlisted stuff.

Here's a Nichols mill that was lowered to $99 starting bid in Vermont, which includes a rotary table. It has the 1.5 High Speed motor, and has been listed a couple times on ebay already. Setup with a surface grinding wheel, but has the original arbor also...with coolant and power feed. That box is probably helpful to keep the swarf contained! ;)

If that was on the west coast and I could pick it up, that would be what shipping a motor would cost. Pulley setup looks strange, but it probably works ok with that power feed it comes with. :D

It's got the high speed bearings as well.

(linky pic)

Hi Alan, Interesting mill i have not seen one like that befor with what looks like a drum switch that is in a recess cast into the collum.

I wonder just how old that mill is but for 99 cents theres no way to go wrong.Hmmmm i wonder if Greg's seen it

Heck for 99 cents i would be tempted to go after it my self i wonder if people would pick up a hitch hiker with a mill :D

It would be my luck that the police would pick me and the mill up for vagrancy and dump us of at the city limits with orders to stay out of town and i know that it would be vary difficult to hop a rail car with the mill in tow.

If only the Jode family was headed the same way with there truck i could pick fruit to help pay our way.

Wow.. quite the set up. It's an old machine like mine... I'd be surprised if it had the high speed bearings. Also looks like the motor is a newer replacement from the paint difference visible in the main photo.... motor is a lighter grey than the rest of the mill. A ripping deal for someone....


The auction says "TIMKEN BEARING EQUIPPED", and in the manual it makes it very clear that 1.5HP is required for high speed up to 5000 rpm. My guess is that these timken bearings are for high speed, but I don't know for certain.

This machine has been listed several times, and it's listed in grinding as you can see, because it does have a surface grinding wheel on it (a cool addition, IMO, since it says it comes with the original arbor).

Not much use for me, I'm not back east to pick it up, and shipping is of course a deal breaker for me. I see 2 completed auctions with no bids, one for $149, and another for $119, now this one for $99. The rotary table alone must be worth the price, let alone the power feed, high speed, surface grinder, etc...there's a deal waiting for someone on the right coast. ;)

I suspect the spindle pulley might be replaced to optimize the optical work they were doing with the surface grinder, but still...there's a lot of machine/tooling there for the price.

Ok, I'm over my postmortem depression on the Nichols and feeling that there could be light at the end of the tunnel. I have much of the pieces out and took some pics, just in case anyone is interested in what the inside of the Nichols motor looks like.

(linky pic)

Hi Alan, Nice pictures the crack in the bell housing doesn't look all that bad to me and i don't see how it would affect the operation of the machine.

If you don't repair that motor what are you going to do with it?

Ive been working on saw horses the last few days and i have two finished and painted there really heavy duty and ought to last a lifetime. I had to close up shop early today after a sudden down pore.

I wish i had a camera i would take a few pictures and post them.

I haven't herd anything from Greg about the NY. mill so i guess his work is keeping him from it he said that he is really busy this time of year.

How is your work bench coming along?

Hi Alan, Nice pictures the crack in the bell housing doesn't look all that bad to me and i don't see how it would affect the operation of the machine.
Alan, I totally agree with this. I'd stop drill that crack with the smallest drill you can manage and forget it thereafter. It'll last forever. The motor actually looks fine. I presume that you need new wires on the ends of the windings, no? You can install these yourself with relative ease. The bearings look like stock items.

Are the windings burnt? If so, then you're looking at a rewind. If you'd like any help attaching new lead wire to the winding ends I can help - I just did this for my Sprunger drill press. Do you have a multimeter?

While the crack doesn't look too bad, I suspect it will leak as it goes all the way through.

Fasto, a friend also suggested to drill the end, braze a rod in, and possibly braze/weld the crack. I don't have any equipment to braze/weld though...could probably find someone around with some though.

Do you think JB-Weld would work if I ground out the crack? The motor shop that took it apart said it will leak for certain. They seem to have scratched it with a scribe or something to see if it was only on the surface or not, so that part is not clear in the pic, it just look like a scrape.

Yes, I do have a multimeter, but am challenged when it comes to motors. Should all of the leads be able to get continuity across any two? Seems that is how it is supposed to work and if it doesn't work it's a short in the winding. However, there are 2 wires for each lead, so do I need to take them apart to test? Any help would be appreciated.

I am not sure exactly if the windings are burned or not, I can try to get some better pics of it for you guys. It's got grease and/or some type of black crap all in there, so it's hard to tell. I'll look closer.