Any tips for making mill tramming less irritating?
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    Default Any tips for making mill tramming less irritating?

    I have an older Wells-Index 860 mill that is roughly set up like a Bridgeport, 4 nuts that hold the head on and a worm gear to angle it side to side. It's a bit worn and the worm gear has some slop so I need to loosen the bolts to get movement without possibly destroying the worm gear (yes, I know it needs to be replaced but I just can't ever seem to afford the down time). I don't have to tram very often but I just replaced the power draw bar and had to tilt the head to pull the draw bar out.

    Using a single dial indicator attached to the quill I can get it trammed but not without a LOT of aggravation. The problem is that when I go to tighten up the 4 nuts that hold the head on it goes out of tram. Basically I end up playing a game of set, tighten, loosen, hit the worm gear, repeat ad infinitum until I chance upon the magic combination.

    Anyone have any tricks to help?

    Thanks much,

    -Ron

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    Don't loosen the bolts completely off. Keep them snugged up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sean the Dog View Post
    Don't loosen the bolts completely off. Keep them snugged up.
    Plus one for that.

    Tony

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    I wonder if something is going on, it shouldn't be that tedious. If you bolt a stud to the table, grab it with a 1/2 collet, with the quill retracted all the way, you can remove the bolts holding the head on and with the y axis slide the head right off. Look at the studs and the knuckle and see if something is messed up. If someone way overtightened the studs, they may have messed something up so that it is always trying to move out of tram when you tighten them. IF you do find something messed up, Wells may be able to help, they are a pretty good outfit. They were so good to me that I gave them the remnants[that they wanted] of my CNC when I scrapped it.

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    My Bridgeport J head has to come off "soon" to investigate belt noises and power down-feed issues. To make the job easier I shall make a decent size foot with an R8 blank arbor firmly spigoted into it exactly perpendicular to the base in both planes.

    Hopefully with the R8 arbor fitted into the head and the foot securely calmed to the table I can both pull it off and put it back close enough to exactly in tram for all normal purposes.

    We shall see.

    Clive
    Last edited by Clive603; 12-19-2019 at 12:31 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clive603 View Post
    My Bridgeport J head has to come off "soon" to investigate belt noises and power down-feed issues. To make the job easier I shall make a decent size foot with an R8 blank arbor firmly spigoted into it exactly perpendicular to the base in both planes.

    Hopefully with the R8 arbor fitted into the head and the foot securely calmed tot eh table I can both pull it off and put it back close enough to exactly in tram for all normal purposes.

    We shall see.

    Clive
    I rebuilt the head on my Bridgeport several years ago and did it with the head in place on the machine. Replacing the delrin sleeve in the variable sheave is done on the bench so very little time was spent off of the floor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MetalCarnage View Post
    I have an older Wells-Index 860 mill that is roughly set up like a Bridgeport, 4 nuts that hold the head on and a worm gear to angle it side to side. It's a bit worn and the worm gear has some slop so I need to loosen the bolts to get movement without possibly destroying the worm gear (yes, I know it needs to be replaced but I just can't ever seem to afford the down time). I don't have to tram very often but I just replaced the power draw bar and had to tilt the head to pull the draw bar out.

    Using a single dial indicator attached to the quill I can get it trammed but not without a LOT of aggravation. The problem is that when I go to tighten up the 4 nuts that hold the head on it goes out of tram. Basically I end up playing a game of set, tighten, loosen, hit the worm gear, repeat ad infinitum until I chance upon the magic combination.

    Anyone have any tricks to help?

    Thanks much,

    -Ron
    Very seldom have I seen anybody lube the gears that tilt the head. That's most likely why the gears to bad. Give everything a squirt of oil and see if that helps. Trying to move things when they are dry as a bone won't make things any easier.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MetalCarnage View Post

    Anyone have any tricks to help?
    I use a tightening sequence which turns a nut ever so slightly. Then going to the next nut on the opposite diagonal side.
    Continue until there is enough force to hold the head true and then use real force.

    The tightening sequence takes longer but there is less movement and foul words spoken.

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    The gears are always sloppy.
    Keep the locks just snug and always come in from one direction. If reverse needed back off and take the lash from the same side.
    Tighten the bolts in a cross in multiple passes and watch the one tenth indicator as you do it.
    On round number two you know somewhat where it will move. Use as big of a swing with the indicator that you can. Swing one direction do not back up, go around.
    I tram to way travel and not to table tops but everyone has their own like.
    Most certainly the table top method is so much faster and involves a whole lot less handle cranking.

    Maybe creep up on it and don't go for zero at the first pass. Get half of it out and then move again.
    Once you start flipping back and forth it seems like just lucky to get where you want to be and you settle for less than you really wanted.
    If doing table top stone the areas you will sit the block and make sure no dust or lint under the block. It has to be like a clean gauge block on a clean surface plate.
    After a "good" tram number I wonder how many go back and double check it in that position or 6-10 inches sideways.
    That second check can break your heart.

    You also need to think about how close does it really need to be for my use.
    Two or four thou out on a 6 inch circle and I'm gonna be running 1/8 and 3/16 endmills and features a quarter inch deep max. Not a problem.
    Bob

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    Ron,

    This suggestion is probably much more than you want to deal with, but here is how I tram my B-port clone.

    Years ago I made a ring from a 12" OD piece of pipe with a 1/2" wall. I parted off a 1" ring and had it Blanchard ground on both sides.

    Along with this ring I use a Blake Co-ax indicator with a very long probe which rides over the ring that is set on the mill table.

    With the machine running very slowly you can adjust and tighten things on the fly..so to speak, and get them dead nuts without having to become a contortionist.

    Any true flat reference you can set on the table will work, but the real key in my book is the Blake Co-ax indicator. With the mill running slowly you get to see the actual run out with the dial looking right at you, no bending or mirrors or looking around the spindle.

    Stuart

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    Using the worm and worm gear to get that zero tram is a pia when the head moves too far in the other direction.

    Now when it is close I use a soft face dead blow to tap it to zero. It is a large Martin about five pounds.
    Easy-peezy.

    The worm shaft on the Bridgeport is not supported in a bore on the outer end so that shaft can and will bend if the face bolts are too tight, or the key will shear. A new shaft for the worm is longer than the original. I made up some guide sleeves to drill and ream a hole so the outboard end of the shaft is supported.
    John
    Last edited by jhruska; 12-20-2019 at 01:49 PM.

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    One method to get the tram roughed in is with a precision square. I run the quill all the way down and place a precision square against the quill to get the alignment roughed in. We have a flexible light on our mill, so i shine that behind the square for a finer line between the square and the quill. If the table is down a bit i'll place the square on a 2-4-6 block to bring the square to the work.

    I can usually get within .003" in a 8" sweep with just a square. I then move on to the indicator, the roughing in step save a lot of back and forth with the worm gear.

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    Set your indicator so the dial is pointing up if you haven't already. I always see people trying to use a mirror to see their indicator for some reason and it drives me nuts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jhruska View Post
    Now when it is close I use a soft face dead blow to tap it to zero. I
    John
    Both of my bridgeports have missing paint on the sides of the head near the top. They are missing a little more paint now. I get it close via the graduations then snug the bolts and loosen the worm. Tap the head with a "precision adjustment tool" till it's right.

    For nod zero the indicator near the column and adjust the worm until it reads zero close to you. Do it a three or four times and you're done.

    If you want the worms to last a long time don't use them to crank the head all the way around. Lift it up on the head while when it's near horizontal to help the worm out. I basically think of the worm as insurance the head isn't going to flop over on me when I have the nuts loose.

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    Geez I hate to be the jerk here, but unless your BP/Wells/BP clone is in really bad shape, it shouldn't take you more than 15 minutes or so to tram in... if it does, you are doing something fundamentally wrong IMO. Do you have an angle scale mounted anywhere/ on the Y nod/ Xnod/ I've found on almost all BP's if I eyeball the zero on those scales pretty good, I'm close enough to start using the indicator straight away.

    Pro Tram System 01-000, 10-000, 09-000 - Edge Technology

    ALso these if you don't like 'sweeping' the indicator, but I would only use one of these to get close (.002-.004"?), then still sweep with a good indicator setup. Also, have found using 1x2x3 blocks is better for sweeping an indicator for tram instead of letting it 'bounce' when it goes over the T-nut slots, YMMV.

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    Or build your own.d3e07d2a-a80a-455f-a61e-cc75574b6d81.jpg

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    Looks like the technique had been pretty well covered. +1 on don't use the worm to move the head, just follow the head by turning the worm as you move it by hand to keep it in position. Smack the head around to get it final trammed, I use my palm. I have an 847 I bought new in 1979 that is a breeze to tram in, I love how Wells does the nod in line with the quill compared to all the rest. I bought another 847 that was almost new condition from a school that never used it. It was a real PITA to tram. The serial numbers of both machines were very close, the second machine had to no more than a year newer than my first machine. I finally figured out that the surfaces where the ram and knuckle met were not machined very nicely, and that was what was causing all the grief. Taking that apart and fixing it never happened, I sold the machine (to another school!) a couple years later, In the meantime we just never moved the head once we got it in place. Now that I know I can scrape I'd be more likely to tear into it, and just scrape the 2 surfaces. Another thing wrong with that 847 was that the spindle hole for the drawbar was misdrilled, the hole looked like it was drilled from both ends and didn't meet in line in the center, the drawbar was always tight in the spindle because of that, couldn't be spun by hand. I guess that was a bad day at the Wells-Index factory.

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    Tram your mill in more often. It should take less than 10 minutes. Keep the items at hand.
    Lock up that .0001 indicator. I use a .0005 Interapid, along with Interapid's gooseneck, but a .001 is good enough for a turret mill.
    Use a solid 123 block under the indicator tip. An added benefit is you can feel any bruises in the table.
    Get the nod close before checking the swing. Move the nod about twice as much as its out.
    Fine tune the swing with a soft hammer or a smack of the hand. I use a 3# rawhide on my S2.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MetalCarnage View Post
    I have an older Wells-Index 860 mill that is roughly set up like a Bridgeport, 4 nuts that hold the head on and a worm gear to angle it side to side. It's a bit worn and the worm gear has some slop so I need to loosen the bolts to get movement without possibly destroying the worm gear (yes, I know it needs to be replaced but I just can't ever seem to afford the down time). I don't have to tram very often but I just replaced the power draw bar and had to tilt the head to pull the draw bar out.

    Using a single dial indicator attached to the quill I can get it trammed but not without a LOT of aggravation. The problem is that when I go to tighten up the 4 nuts that hold the head on it goes out of tram. Basically I end up playing a game of set, tighten, loosen, hit the worm gear, repeat ad infinitum until I chance upon the magic combination.

    Anyone have any tricks to help?

    Thanks much,

    -Ron
    i often spent 2 minutes each day checking tram and vise, takes longer to explain it than to actually do it
    .
    1) double indicator setup, rotate and zero each to same spot. then as you adjust tram they need to read same number in general takes about 20 seconds along X and 20 seconds along Y, then check both so done in 1 minute, i added a level from cheap combination square to bigger one so when tramming from 45 degree tilt its 10x faster
    .
    2)also attach to column and zero to back of table and indicate a parallel sticking up in vise to check vise parallel,
    .
    you can buy them now already made for a reasonable price now a days.
    .
    mine i roughed out on a lathe, maybe took 30 minutes to make each. aluminum works ok.
    and as you tighten bolts you can see if it drifts. literally double indicator 10-100x faster in my experience. if it makes you feel better just look at one indicator and rotate it for final checking tram. also .001" indicator (cheaper easier to get) usually good enough rather than .0005" indicator. also if you put on table a 8x8 precision ground piece(when tramming) not only does it span tee slots but it averages out table waviness. even if you use a .0001" indicator you might find tram varies reading different parts of the table cause table not flat to .0001", you be lucky if table flat .0005"
    .
    if you do heavy milling you might find it goes out of tram every day .002" or small enough to not be immediately noticeable. thus why i check every day usually. 90% of time no adjustment is needed.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails trammillgauge1.jpg   trammillgauge2b.jpg   tramvise.jpg  

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    Hire a hot young bimbo in short shorts and a front-tie halter top to do it, then sit back and watch ?

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