Mills for engine work
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    Default Mills for engine work

    Hello, I do engine machine work with all specific equipment for specific tasks but I am looking to get a mill that I would like to use for surfacing blocks and heads with a cbn/pcd head plus have a machine I can mess around with making other things on.

    I really dont know much about mills other than what I have read up on them. What are some mill models you guys would suggest that is big/rigid enough for doing this work? Thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by jl1132 View Post
    Hello, I do engine machine work with all specific equipment for specific tasks but I am looking to get a mill that I would like to use for surfacing blocks and heads with a cbn/pcd head plus have a machine I can mess around with making other things on.

    I really dont know much about mills other than what I have read up on them. What are some mill models you guys would suggest that is big/rigid enough for doing this work? Thanks
    22" Nicholson "Black Diamond" long-angle lathe bastard file. Straight edge. High spot blue. GOOD Old Skewl Schwabian-trained "draw file" skills.
    Plus an overly-generous ration of an enhancer called "desperation" has twice worked for me. Otherwise, off it goes to a specialist. Or the scrapyard.

    A mill to do a typical US small block V8 EASILY is not a physically small animal. Nor light. "Traverse" thing, end-to-end stable under the mass of the work. Not heavy cuts.

    Generally cheaper to send it to he who has been DOING it for 20 year or so, already.

    The acquisition, tooling-up, and running of a mill is prolly only about ten percent of what one needs to know and have to be assured of a good outcome.

    If-even ten percent.

    PM AlfaGTA if he doesn't drop-by, first.

    HIS line of work, one does what one must. Not as easy as ordering-up new goods.

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    I'd ask what type, and size of engine. On cylinder heads, maybe engine blocks too, are they cast iron, or will you see aluminum too ?

    In years past we built all our own cylinder heads, but we're talking industrial and marine diesel engines that would see many overalls in they're life. These days manufacturers offer core exchanges that is difficult to beat in cost with warranty coverage as well.

    I don't recall the brand name of the machine, but it was not a mill. We used a resurfacing machine that used a big ass grinding wheel, and lower half of machine was basically a coolant tank. Took up pretty good amount of floor space as well.

    I have seen heads and manifolds resurfaced on a mill using a fly cutter. Could be operators did terrible work, but I don't like the finish from the fly cutter. The finish spiral lined and could be felt with my hands and finger nail. Maybe problematic for fire rings on a head gasket.

    I'd probably set up with a face mill cutter if I was going to do it. Maybe a No 2 vertical Cincinnati or the like. Or a horizontal with vertical head. But I'd be using the vertical for resurfacing heads and manifolds. A no 2 size has good weight and power without being too monstrous. If your electric service and floor space can handle it, maybe a No 3.

    But maybe a Horizontal with vertical head is the best choice. Depending on height of engine block, might not be able to get an engine block under the vertical head, with block upright. But flipped on its side, you could put a face cutter in the horizontal spindle. . . Food for thought anyway.

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    If serious, and not for stuff that could be done better on automotive repair equipment, I'd go for a #2 or #3 Devlieg. The Deckel is nice but you have to be clever, due to the size. On a Devlieg, you can just stick the part on there and go to town.

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    If you are doing the work for money, the purpose built machines will be faster than anything you can do with a general machine. If you are doing this for fun and have need for versatility, it will be hard to beat the DeVlieg.

    Any knee type machine will suffer problems with knee rock on longer travels. When surfacing, this will result in hogged faces with unacceptable flatness with a vertical spindle.

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    Would a Horizontal Boring Mill or small Horiztonal Machining Center be the best option for the requirements in the O.P. ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by gbent View Post
    If you are doing the work for money, the purpose built machines will be faster than anything you can do with a general machine. If you are doing this for fun and have need for versatility, it will be hard to beat the DeVlieg.

    Any knee type machine will suffer problems with knee rock on longer travels. When surfacing, this will result in hogged faces with unacceptable flatness with a vertical spindle.
    We have been surfacing large Caterpillar heads with our Kearney Treckers for years. worked great.

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    Shop I used years ago would use a large horizontal belt sander to surface aluminum heads. They may have been doing cast iron head as well but not sure on that. I never did feel particularly good about that. Given how much they were charging then I really didn't care for it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dana gear View Post
    We have been surfacing large Caterpillar heads with our Kearney Treckers for years. worked great.
    Curious the set up you use.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spud View Post
    Would a Horizontal Boring Mill or small Horiztonal Machining Center be the best option for the requirements in the O.P. ?
    Not "small", no. You go OVERSIZED to minimize the deflection challenges.

    Galis/FMC did the faces of the big CI gearboxes and the CI enclosures for the ~ 600 VDC switchgear - and the mating covers for both - metal-to-metal, as mining machines need - on the five-inch bar.

    They'd FIT the 3 inch bars .. but the five could go faster and still produce flatter overall mating surfaces because it was stiffer, relative to the tool loading - same size at the surface being machined.

    Time is money. You make the investment in any given machine-tool knowing you can earn it back.

    Or some OTHER outfit beats you at it ... and you send them the work.

    That's just business. Not religion or wishful thinking.

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    I have an Cincinnati 3# that I do use for all types of surfacing / engine surfacing, I have made 3 sizes of cutting heads from 8' to 16" that locates the cutting surface off of the cutting head. Each cutter head has CBN & PCD and coated carbide inserts for them as needed with a speed chart for each one.

    (101) Of course the biggest thing in any machining is both tool and part rigidity, once set get the speed and feeds right for what you are cutting (some people don't get this).

    I have received new and remand heads hat looked like it was a good surface finish but they were not flat that was cut on a auto rebuilding machines.

    My mill make 3 machines (1 mill and 2 grinders) I do surfacing work on and they all have their place, and the tooling can go from one to the other as needed.

    My mill is one of those combination mills with a vertical and a horizontal head so I can also mill from the back side of the table to make it even more versatile.


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