Nichols Mill Gear Drive Information
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  1. #1
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    Default Nichols Mill Gear Drive Information

    New poster here, long time lurker. I have a Nichols mill which was missing the large gear when I obtained it. I have posted an ad looking for one but am looking for information on this assembly in case I need to get one made, I don’t have a dividing head nor have I ever cut a gear. I understand that there is also a splined drive plate with a bearing which allows the gear to be disengaged by the inside spline, which I do have.

    f2036871-d10c-4c85-9553-a4f253665ce5.jpg

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    Good luck! You have one of the newer model with the gear box instead of just pulleys at the back of the machine.

    You may have to buy a 2nd machine for parts, and if you do, make sure it's another gearbox machine! Don't confuse the large belt/pulley safety cover on the back of older machines with the gearbox that's on yours, if all you have to go on is a photo.

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    ADV-Didn’t know Nichols made such a thing, would be great to see a few wide angle shots. Does this version still use the Masters gear reduction motor?

    Scott


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    I'll get some photos when I get back to the shop. This machine doesn't have the geared motor, just a regular 3 phase, 3 hp, 1720 rpm motor on it. The gear reduction is in the head if engaged or direct drive from the pulleys when disengaged. This is how mine runs without the gear. Issue is that the lowest speed is about 690 RPM, which is fine when running a carbide insert mill but I would like to setup the machine for a horizontal arbor. I have been in contact with the parts guy at Chas G Allen, Inc. and while they haven't said that they don't have the parts (he is waiting on me to give him a list) I don't imagine it would be cheap if they do have them, but we shall see. I would be OK with making all the other details myself, I can even OD grind the sleeves, it is that 10" gear which I don't have the capabilities for.

    So here is the parts diagram for this assembly, I figure I will put as much info here in this thread in case someone else may benefit in the future:
    nichols-gear-change.jpg

    So far it appears that I am missing the gear, a couple sleeves (107, 109) and a couple of bearings (104, 108)

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    Have you figured out diametral pitch, diameter and number of teeth? Might get lucky and find an off the shelf gear that needs some modification to fit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dalmatiangirl61 View Post
    Have you figured out diametral pitch, diameter and number of teeth? Might get lucky and find an off the shelf gear that needs some modification to fit.
    I have not worked much with gears, but according to my calculations using the Machinery Handbook, it appears to be a 12 circular pitch, 112 tooth,9.333 pitch diameter gear, .750 wide. Problem is that as there is a bearing for the gear to run on when disengaged, I estimate the bore to be in the range of 3.250”. Motion has a gear but it’s listed at $430, the thin ball bearings have got a similar price on them as well. I am sure the prices are reasonable for the part, but that’s more then I bought the mill for so unless I find something surplus I will have to find someone parting out a machine or find a doner to buy. The slides are still in good shape, I have had it apart to clean it and a majority of the flaking is still there, so it would be nice to be able to run some hss cutters

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    That is not a trivial gear project....

    What about eliminating the bearings and shifting function? Generic gear keyed to spindle.

    Would a low speed only mill suit you better than hi speed only?


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    You are sol unless you find someone parting one out.

    I would part the one you have out to fund purchase of a different complete mill.

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    Bike might be right, if maybe a bit blunt.

    I've never seen a gear-drive Nichols like that. I suspect it's a fairly late-model one, probably from about the time Nichols was winding down production since everyone was moving toward CNC.

    As such, there's probably not too many out there, period, and little demand for one to be parted out rather than just sold intact or scrapped outright.

    A couple of options:

    One, make your own gear. Not easy, but possible.

    Two, see if you can bypass the gear drive somehow. I don't know what the full assembly looks like, and you might wind up having to make a bunch of parts, but that, too, might be possible.

    Three, how about making a pair of aluminum pulleys and using a belt?

    Four, see if you can find an 1150 RPM motor. That'd cut your spindle speed down by a third, and a VFD on top of that might get you low enough to negate the need for the gear reduction.

    Or five, as my dad used to suggest, toss the whole lot and take up stamp collecting. You don't need a forklift to move a stamp collection around.

    Doc.

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    Should be able to find a decent priced.. and complete.. Nichols in Michigan.

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    Burden surplus has a limited selection of fairly inexpensive gear reducers and motors, to obtain something like the OEM reduction at least. OTOH from looking at the catalog I think it'd involve quite a bit of work mounting the hardware. Not that the master gearmotor is so very compact but it is mostly out of the way. One of burden's 5:1 right-angle boxes would get a plausible speed range but they are immediately expensive at other ratios, and probaby awkward to set up.. but perhaps the crade could be modified to hold the motor downward. Seems like a lot of work and you still would need pulleys or some kind of belt.

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    I'm not that familiar with Nichols mills but I was wondering if a head from an other mill with the older drive system would fit in the vertical dovetail ways of this one ?
    That way perhaps one from a machine that was being parted out because of say a worn or damaged table could be adapted more easily and less expensively than finding a gear and any other missing parts for this one.
    Regards,
    Jim

  13. #13
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    Right now the machine is useful to me running a carbide shell mill and the like, it could just be more so, so unless I come across some parts or another machine its going to stay in the shop. A non-official estimate from the current replacement parts source has just the gear at $5000 (they would have to cast it) so that's not an option. Its not absolutely necessary right now to come up with a solution, but I will update this thread as things change, in case the experience may provide insight to others.


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