New to me Gorton 1-22 Mastermil
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  1. #1
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    Default New to me Gorton 1-22 Mastermil

    Hi everyone. I recently decided my old mill drill wasn't good enough and I stepped up and acquired a real mill. I located. Gorton 1-22 Mastermil. Just moved it into the shop last week and I'm still cleaning it up. If anyone is interested in the machine's history, or the saga of its acquisition let me know. It's pretty funny.

    I believe it was manufactured in 1959, and I was pleased to find that it has an R8 spindle. Yes, I bought it without knowing.

    I'm hoping to power it up for the first time soon, but I was hoping for some help with that.

    It has a 2 speed 3 phase motor, 220v, and I have a 10 hp Chinese VFD. You know the kind.

    I'm sure it'll be relatively straightforward to get hooked up, but I really have no idea what's going on inside the panel.

    Does anybody have any suggestions for a complete noob on where to start with this? I'd prefer not to kill myself.

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  3. #2
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    Let's see if I can post pics.

    32749.jpg

  4. #3
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    Where in Idaho are you ?

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    I'm in Boise.

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    Well, I got it running. The panel is still mostly a mystery to me, but I wired the VFD into the main power input and it came right to life. The spindle motor runs, I can select high and low speeds, the power downfeed works. Unfortunately the table feed does not work. Anybody have any tips for troubleshooting that?

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    The mill was built in late 1959 and was delivered new to Allen Bradley in Milwaukee Wisconsin in January 1960. It was built with Allen Bradley controls, and with an R8 spindle, which I believe was a pretty uncommon taper for Gorton in 1959.

    Allen Bradley, and its metal finishing arm ABQC, owned and used the machine from 1960 until 1990 when ABQC was spun off from Allen Bradley and became its own company.

    ABQC continued to use the machine until it closed its doors in March 2019.

    In late 2019, many of the remaining assets of ABQC company were being sold, and I acquired the machine then.

    So, it is basically a one owner machine. It was purchased and maintained by the same organization for 60 years. They took pretty good care of it too.

    It came with a 6 inch Kearney & Trecker swivel vise and a Skinner 6 inch vise and a couple dozen arbors, collets, and other various tools.

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  9. #7
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    My acquisition of the machine was somewhat of a saga.

    I've had a Rong Fu mill drill for a while now and decided that a real milling machine was something I wanted. Unfortunately my hometown of Boise, ID is not exactly overrun with industrial machinery. There are very limited options locally, and there are no other major cities within 5 hours of me.

    I went to a few auctions locally and bid on a couple machines that did come up. There was a K&T 2d rotary head machine. It went for $2200 plus fees and taxes. For an untested machine.

    A few months later a Gorton Mastermil appeared. It had clearly spent some time on a farm, but I could tell it was well-made and would be a good machine with a little work. The old farmer who had owned it had broken a few things over the years and had made his own farm style replacements. I figured the machine would go pretty cheap, but when the auction date arrived, it too shot up to almost $2000 before fees and taxes.

    So I wasn't able to acquire anything locally. Inspecting the Gorton at the local auction made an impression on me, so I started searching for one outside of Idaho. I did see one on eBay, but it was in Wisconsin and it was local pickup only, so I disregarded it.

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    After a couple of weeks of fruitless searching I went back to the eBay listing for the machine in Wisconsin. There were 4 low resolution pictures and the listing just said that it worked when it was taken out of service. I could see that it had a tracing arm on it, and that it hadn't been cleaned in ages.

    I reached out to the seller and asked if he'd consider shipping it. To my surprise, he said yes. The machine was listed for $900. I asked for a shipping quote and he quoted me $880. I asked for more details on the machine, but the seller was just selling it on behalf of the owner and did not know much about it. I offered him $700 plus the $880. He accepted my offer.

    So with tax I was in for $1600. Admittedly, that's pretty high for an untested machine of relatively unknown condition and origin. But my options are limited so I figured I'd take a chance.

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    The seller said he would need a week or so to crate the mill and get a pickup scheduled. After about a week and a half I asked for an update and he told me it would be the following week before he could get it moving. This was right around Christmas, so I figured he was just busy. No worries. The next week he calls me and tells me he is travelling from Cleveland, where he lives, to Milwaukee, where the machine was, to get it loaded. He told me he had been having to travel back and forth to make these arrangements, but that he would make sure it got shipped out the following week.

    So we've had multiple week-long delays. When another week goes by and there's no progress on the deal I go ahead and file an item not received case with eBay.

    I figured an eBay case would give the seller a little extra motivation to get the ball rolling. Also, eBay will only protect me as a Buyer for a certain amount of time on a purchase, and we were approaching the end of the buyer protection timeline, so I had to protect myself just in case.

    As the end of eBay's protection approached. I reached out to the seller and told him that if I didn't receive the mill by January 8th, I would be forced to have eBay step in and refund my money since that was the end of the buyer protection period.

    The seller said he would have it to me on time.

    Sure enough he provided shipment tracking. The machine arrived at my shipping terminal on January 8th. Great, I thought. The machine made it just in time.

    So I rent an equipment trailer and go to pick it up. When I arrive at the terminal, the receptionist was very apologetic when she explained that the mill was not properly crated and was damaged in transit.

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    Sure enough, the seller had made basically no attempt to crate it. He had set it on top of a flimsy sheet metal skid and secured it to the skid with 2 flimsy 1 inch ratchet straps. Then wrapped it in visqueen and taped it. That was it.

    I was amazed that the shipper had actually accepted it and I immediately realized that was why it took so long to ship. Nobody had been willing to accept it because they knew it wouldn't make it.

    Along the way the skid had collapsed and the tracer arm was smashed and broken. The y axis handwheel was broken. The electrical panel was dented. There were scratches and dings all over.

    Unsure of my options, I called eBay. They advised me that I had to accept the shipment in order to keep my buyer protection. They said that I could accept shipment, then request a return due to damage in shipping.

    So I accept the shipment and we carefully load it onto the trailer. I rented a tele handler to unload it into my home shop and the machine was home for the time being.

  13. #11
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    After unloading the machine, I reached out to eBay again and closed the item not received case and requested a return. I explained to the seller and to Ebay the condition of the machine and the poor attempt at crating it.

    Less than an hour later the seller issued a full refund of both purchase price and shipping. Unsure what that meant as far as returning the machine I waited several days to see if the seller was going to request a return. Nothing. The case was closed and the "return" was complete.

    I realized that a damaged machine, which at least in the Milwaukee market was apparently worth no more than $700 undamaged, was likely not worth paying $900 to ship back. I assumed the seller had just decided it wasn't worth it and likely went after the shipping company if anything.

    So I began my repairs. I removed the tracer arm entirely and readjusted several other components. I spent endless hours cleaning the machine and repairing little damage here and there. Looks like it will be a good machine in the end.

    I figured the whole ordeal was over until the seller reached out to me a couple days ago and told me he wanted the machine returned.

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    I contacted eBay one final time and explained to them that at this point I had $250 in equipment rentals just to pick up the machine, plus another couple hundred in repairs so far, and probably 15 hours of work. I told them I did not want to return it at this point.

    EBay told me I have no obligation to return the machine. I had done everything according to their policies and received a damaged machine.

    More importantly, the seller had agreed to a refund without an item return, so the case was indeed closed. Ebay told me I had nothing to worry about and that the machine is mine to keep.

    So, yeah. That's the long-winded tale of how I acquired this machine more or less for free-ish.

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    Cool. I've got a 70's Mastermil with the variable speed head. Love the machine. If you need any other help let me know.

  17. #14
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    I guess I spoke too soon.

    The seller is now threatening to report me to the police if I don't ship the mill back for him.

    Ebay's terms are clear, so I'm not concerned, but I guess the lesson here is be careful about online dealings. Well, that and if you're going to ship a machine across the country have some sense and crate it properly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hans Sprungfeld View Post
    Unfortunately the table feed does not work. Anybody have any tips for troubleshooting that?
    Yes, first step, take the tubes out and run them down to your neighborhood Thrifty drugstore and check them on the tester

  19. #16
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    Also check to see if you are getting power to the transformer that powers the feed motor. Check it for the correct voltage. I had to change the jumper wires on mine from 440v to 220v.

    Joe Hynes

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    My transformer is set to 230v. I did just notice a conspicuous absence of wiring running from the panel to the dyna drive. I opened the cover on the bottom of the dyna drive and was greeted by about 6 wire nuts falling to the floor. So now I need to figure out where the power comes from in the panel, where it goes to in the dyna drive, and which wires need to connect to which other wires in the dyna drive.

    On the plus side, they're pretty much all black and oily, so I can't really mess up the colors.

    20200119_114139.jpg

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    20200119_095504.jpg
    20200119_113831.jpg

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    Well, it took a while, but I eventually figured out how to get the table feed all hooked up. It works great now. I'm loving this machine now that I've had a chance to use it.

    I was also fortunate enough to be able to pick up a Bridgeport right angle head and sine table, along with a ton of tooling from a woman whose machinist husband had passed away. I wasn't sure that the Bridgeport right angle head would work with the Gorton mill, but it turns out to be a perfect fit.

    Now I just need to get my old US Navy Springfield lathe running.

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