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Wadkin Universal Millers Type WL

sable

Titanium
Joined
Feb 7, 2013
Location
midlands,UK
I promised to put some pics from a Wadkin brochure on a thread started by PeterS on Wadkin of Leicester, England but on looking at that thread I realise it is on the Woodworking forum so I think this one is more appropriate here.

I have one of these machines which I use for general jobbing work.

Considering it weighs in at around 14000 lb it is quite flimsy and does not work particularly well with large face mills as the motor is only 5hp but the machine has travels of x = 48" y=31" and 44" spindle to table so it is a usefull machine to have around.

As far as I know this was Wadkins first entry into milling machines for metal ,the WL being aimed at pattern shops who made cast iron patterns for production foundries.

The brochure seems to be dated 1/65 and I don't think it was long before an improved version was brought out with many of the weakness put right.

A separate company on a different site seems to have been formed to manufacture the WL millers in the 1970's and later versions were available with CNC controls ,and I think it was this side of the company that made the, V4.6, V5.10 and V6.15 machining centres.
 

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Joined
Apr 19, 2006
Location
Manchester, England
Hi Sable, I've been meaning to comment but I forgot. Your machine looks a bit like a poor mans " BoKo ". I remember " Wadkin " going into the metal cutting machine field in the early 1970's. A company I worked for bought a SCD single column drill from them. It was a " Pollard " drilling head mounted on a " Wadkin " column and base. it had a table about 4ft by 2ft mounted on round slideways. It had a AEI-Airmec tape controller with a point to point drive system. The machine moved to the location and the operator drilled/tapped/reamed the hole in the conventional manner and the machine then moved on to the next hole automatically. Although it sounds basic it worked very well and the company was very pleased with it.

This led them to buying the next machine up in the range, I can't think of the name now but it was altogether bigger machine with a table maybe 5ft by 2.5ft and was also capable of milling. it was obviously purpose built and looked just like a large vertical milling machine (think " Kendall & Gent " or " Noble & Lund " ). The controller was very similar but maybe a bit more sophisticated. I was given the job of installing it but a " Wadkin " guy was doing the commissioning.

The day of the commissioning came around and the " Wadkin " guy put a test tape in the controller to put the machine through it's paces. It was doing fine until the head came down in rapid traverse doing about 1,000 rpm. There was a bank of stops on the side of the column the were supposed to stop the milling head/quill short of the table but somebody at " Wadkin " hadn't properly tightened up the stop and the 50's international spindle nose ( driving dogs and all ) ran straight into the table !

The guy's face was a picture. The brand new, un-used table had to go away for re-machining. I left that company a few months later so I don't know how the machine performed subsequently.

I think " Wadkin " later branched out into bigger, better machines, I remember seeing a TCD ( Twin Column Drill ) machine that was like a small plano-mill and a machine that was almost an outright copy of
a " BoKo ". It had more swivelling axis than your machine.

Regards Tyrone.
 

sable

Titanium
Joined
Feb 7, 2013
Location
midlands,UK
You're absolutely right Tyrone ,it is a poor mans Boko ,it is only half the weight of a similar sized Boko F3 which also is a much better equipped machine, having said that I am not sure if my Wadkin is from quite the same era.
Wadkin obviously realised the limitations of the the WL and made the much more sofisticated WL25 and larger WL40 which also I have brochures for (I will post those later).
I have not seen the machines that had more swivelling axis than mine which has swivelling head ,swivelling column and power rotating table (which I used a few weeks back to make an O ring groove in the face of a flange too big for the lathe).
The table feeds are on a 1.5hp DC motor from a Rapier DC drive which I think is a retrofit. The feed speed is contolled from a potentiometer on the pendant.

My biggest concern with this machine is the nut on the vertical axis. When I moved this machine I had to reduce it's height to get it under a low door ,this envolved lifting the power elevation motor off the top with the screw hanging out of the bottom by manually winding the handwheel while the head was blocked from the table untill the screw was out of the nut ,a forklift then took the whole thing off the top and into my truck.It was once the screw was out that I found that the nut was well worn and there is no catch nut as a backup or a counterbalance ,so this is on my to do list,I know I should have done it before reassembly ,but I was too busy at the time and so it went back together.
 
Joined
Apr 19, 2006
Location
Manchester, England
Hi Sable, i remember looking at the " Wadkin " brochure for the " Bo-Ko " copy around the same time ( 1976, I remember because I moved house and changed jobs over Easter that year) and it was definitely a more modern and sophisticated machine than the one in your illustration
Most vertical mills don't normally have a safety nut but they almost always have some method of counterbalancing the weight of the head. What's your machine like winding the head up by hand ?

Regards Tyrone.
 

sable

Titanium
Joined
Feb 7, 2013
Location
midlands,UK
Winding the head up the column is not difficult just slow but in reality you only raise the arm up with the power elevation and occasionally fine adjust with the hand wheel.
The real bugbear is winding the head up and down its own slide which has no rapid or even automatic feed, this is pretty hard work especially for drilling holes but the machine is usefull to get a job done and only cost me scrap price so I'm happy with it.I also like the 31" cross travel with table to match which makes it much easier to machine larger componants.
The other downside of the lack of a counterbalance is that the arm tends to droop ,I assume the slides have worn with that cantilever effect.
 

tonysharman

Plastic
Joined
Jun 3, 2015
Wadkin WL Pattern Milling Machine

Hi my name is Tony Sharman from Australia, I have a Wadkin WL pattern making milling machine and was looking for any of the manuals available for this machine. If anyone could help it would be greatly appreciated.













You're absolutely right Tyrone ,it is a poor mans Boko ,it is only half the weight of a similar sized Boko F3 which also is a much better equipped machine, having said that I am not sure if my Wadkin is from quite the same era.
Wadkin obviously realised the limitations of the the WL and made the much more sofisticated WL25 and larger WL40 which also I have brochures for (I will post those later).
I have not seen the machines that had more swivelling axis than mine which has swivelling head ,swivelling column and power rotating table (which I used a few weeks back to make an O ring groove in the face of a flange too big for the lathe).
The table feeds are on a 1.5hp DC motor from a Rapier DC drive which I think is a retrofit. The feed speed is contolled from a potentiometer on the pendant.

My biggest concern with this machine is the nut on the vertical axis. When I moved this machine I had to reduce it's height to get it under a low door ,this envolved lifting the power elevation motor off the top with the screw hanging out of the bottom by manually winding the handwheel while the head was blocked from the table untill the screw was out of the nut ,a forklift then took the whole thing off the top and into my truck.It was once the screw was out that I found that the nut was well worn and there is no catch nut as a backup or a counterbalance ,so this is on my to do list,I know I should have done it before reassembly ,but I was too busy at the time and so it went back together.
 

sable

Titanium
Joined
Feb 7, 2013
Location
midlands,UK
Hi my name is Tony Sharman from Australia, I have a Wadkin WL pattern making milling machine and was looking for any of the manuals available for this machine. If anyone could help it would be greatly appreciated.

Can't help with that unfortunately ,I did find a manual for the much more modern WL40 online ,there were a few bits I found useful in that
 

4GSR

Diamond
Joined
Jan 25, 2005
Location
Victoria, Texas, USA
Here is a picture of a Wadkins Spar mill that was converted to cutting spirals on drill collars that John Oder and I worked on way back around 1978. That is a 50HP Setco Mill head attached to the column. We did four of them. I have no clue of any of them are still in use today. Oilfield manufacturing back then was pretty harsh on on machine tools!
 

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johnoder

Diamond
Joined
Jul 16, 2004
Location
Houston, TX USA
No, was not open side moving table as the planer type shown - if I recall correctly. More of a "closed box" design traveling along ways, the "box" mounting the cutting and work supporting elements.

On Edit - Thanks, Ken, on the manual pdf :)
 

4GSR

Diamond
Joined
Jan 25, 2005
Location
Victoria, Texas, USA
John,

Down load the manual that is on the link posted above. It is the same one's as you and I worked on back then.

And check out the hugh DC rectfier tube in diagram 14! That thing had about 3 pounds of Mercury in it. We found out the hard way when one busted on us getting the thing out of the control cabinet.

Ken
 

sable

Titanium
Joined
Feb 7, 2013
Location
midlands,UK
John,

Down load the manual that is on the link posted above. It is the same one's as you and I worked on back then.

And check out the hugh DC rectfier tube in diagram 14! That thing had about 3 pounds of Mercury in it. We found out the hard way when one busted on us getting the thing out of the control cabinet.

Ken

Wow ,I didn't see that ,the rectifier is quite something ,I wonder if mine would have had a smaller version to power the DC feeds, what does yours have Tony Sharman? Mine has a Rapier DC electronic drive which looks too new to be original.

The size of those spar millers was pretty awesome, 61' travel 79' overall length!

By the way what is the spiral on the Kelly for?
 








 
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