First Mill - Abused Abene VHF3 - Need advice!
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  1. #1
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    Default First Mill - Abused Abene VHF3 - Need advice!

    Hi all,
    My first post here. First off, I want to say I have learned a LOT from this forum - so thanks for sharing your knowledge! I have some experience with milling machines, but very little with maintenance/repair.

    The mill (my first for the home shop):
    An acquaintance passed away, and I was offered his VHF3 for scrap price (very low). However, I soon discovered that he never had the mill running - he picked it up in a scrap yard and had great plans, but health prevented their execution. I love the concept of this machine, but in short, it's rough.

    I will need a rotophase to get 3-phase, but want to look at it mechanically first - after a quick peek inside, I think I should be comfortable enough with the electrical side of it when (if?) the time comes.

    I took it home (see photo), managed to free up the arbor and remove it; the exposed areas of overarm support bar were heavily rusted - I soaked in fluid film and wire-wheeled the rust off with a soft wheel (see photo).

    Freed up the head, now travels nicely up and down its ways. Also peeked into the gearbox and everything looks/feels great.

    However:
    Longitudinal travel is the only one that moves. Transverse and vertical are very stuck. Are there any tips for freeing these? I suspect corrosion is the issue on vertical (top exposed dovetail ways were rusted).

    I don't want to break anything, but I am looking for realistic advice. Is this a rusty pile, or will I end up with an ok machine if I persevere? ANY input/next steps greatly appreciated.

    Thanks
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 20191021_190435.jpg   20191021_190414.jpg   20191021_190401.jpg  

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  3. #2
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    Not a bad looking machine, seen lots worse.Think its worth more investigation.
    Can't tell about the condition of the ways where the slides are sitting....Might be fine, could be a pitted mess.
    You have to get deeper into the machine.
    Would think lifting the table off the "Y" slide would be a good starting point.

    As to the stuck slides (Z,Y):
    Soak everything is penetrating oil...patience here is your friend.
    Back out/remove any table/slide gibs and way wipers. Abene owners here can help with the details on this if its unclear by looking.
    Try working the slides back and fourth to get some oil into the contact points....
    With gibs removed, you should be able to carefully lift (slightly) the "Y" slide to help break it loose, and assist the penetration of the oil into the sliding joints.

    Good luck.
    Cheers Ross

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    From the photo I notice two crank handles broken. That and the machines scrap yard origins suggests it may have suffered a face plant or two. The slides could wedge tight from such a fall. I would look into removing the three axis gibs first. This will eliminate stuck slide corrosion/oil scum from the equation. The slides will either free up and you can continue disassembly or you will find broken/bent parts.

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    Makes sense - thanks! Gibs seem to be rather stuck..is there a recommended way to remove? Perhaps see if I can tap the far side after loosening the screw as much as possible?

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    You will need advise from someone who knows your machine to help with gib removal. They differ by machine.

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    If you haven't already, I would drain the knee and see how much water/rust/gunk is in there. That will give you some idea of what you may be up against.

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    Last night I was able to free up the z-axis by loosening the bolt-in Gib/Dovetail Retainer. Only moves upward (too much resistance to go down still - handle unthreads). I've re-soaked everything in Penetrating Oil - hoping it'll clear that up.
    Y-axis freed up fairly easily out of the blue - had been soaking since Saturday and eventually let go. The gib is still moving with the table (cracked the rear notch off trying to lightly loosen screw), but with it being moved from its previous frozen position all the way in, I should be able to get at the back of the gib now to press it out.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kirt View Post
    If you haven't already, I would drain the knee and see how much water/rust/gunk is in there. That will give you some idea of what you may be up against.
    This is a great idea for a next step. In terms of diagnostics, I'm also thinking I should take the table off - any general advice for a rookie? Please critique my plan:

    1. Remove the handle cover plate, then remove retaining ring to take handles off. - this is done, the "grabbers" are visible - do I need to keep digging down through here, or can I loosen that large nut with a special wrench and pull the whole assembly off, before removing the capscrew-retained cap on the end of the table?
    2. Reach the screws holding the lead screw nut together under the table.
    3. Try to remove leadscrew out one end
    4. Slide table off one end (with help) onto waiting surface.

    Many thanks

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    The first thing that occurred to me is I sure hope you have a crane of some sort, those parts are too big to manhandle on ones own. Just taking my Schaublin 13 apart wasn't really possible (safely) on my own and it is a much smaller machine.

    As you propose pulling the gib and lead screw should let you get the table off, but I wouldn't do it without at least an engine hoist or better yet an overhead crane/A frame. You don't want to hurt yourself nevermind dropping the parts on the floor isn't going to make them work any better.
    L

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    Get the parts manual and find my thread where i did a bunch of work to mine. If you can't find the manual pm me your email.

  12. #10
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    as usual
    Manual is on that french site
    Abene VHF 2 & VHF 3

    Peter


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