New machine day: Bought an Aciera F5
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  1. #1
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    Default New machine day: Bought an Aciera F5

    After using my Pedersen VPV-1 for 10+ years I really wanted a newer type milling machine that was a bit more versatile. The Pedersen is very good for large parts and heavy machining but a missed a couple of features like:
    - Rapid feed (mostly on the vertical axis, that table is heavy!
    - The ability to machine with a horizontal arbor
    - A table that can be set at an angle

    While I really wasn't looking to buy one, I came across an ad which had only a couple of fuzzy pictures and a description "Mill with accessoires". After checking the pictures best I could, I could see that is was an Aciera F5. The price was very low especially with the tooling that it came with. I made an appointment and checked it out with my friend JW (Botje on this forum). We talked to the seller who was closing his business due to retirement and his son didn't want to continue the business. He had two Acieras for sale that he bought 9 years ago from the RWTH Aachen (university in Aachen, Germany) but he hasn't used them much since then. Both machines were in a very good condition. The ways show little to no wear, the scraping marks are still visible. Obviously we bought both machines for a price that made us feel like we stole it from him


    Anyway, enjoy the pictures, more will follow.

    Here is how we got the F4 and F5 home
    img_1287.jpg

    This is my F5
    img_1306.jpg

    It came with this awesome rotary table
    img_1295.jpg

    And a couple of dividing heads with attachments to rotate them around two axes
    img_1302.jpg

    In the box is a Wohlhaupter UPA4
    img_1303.jpg

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  3. #2
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    Very Jealous indeed. I wish I had all those goodies for my F5. I have been in and out of mine a few times so don't hesitate to ask if you need anything. Make sure noone has accidentally swapped the drain and fill plugs of the feed gearbox. One has a breather hole. Also the main gearbox has a huge huge volume of oil in it.

    Also inspect and service your variator bushes if its the simplabelt style one like mine.

    Regards from Australia.

    Sent from my SM-G973F using Tapatalk

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    I see two right-angle heads! You really did score. I wish I had one. If you have questions about either the F4 or F5, ask. I have both and have been inside them. Anybody have an extra 6-T-slot F5 table kicking around? I have a 7-T-slot table, but it's really too much overhang for the X slide. What were they thinking?

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    Both machines came with this awesome DRO, an early 1990s Elesta Visulesta 4 with Heidenhain scales. The little CRT screen is just too cool. Still looking at a LCD swap, as the screen on mine is bad. Scales look good, even the seals are fine. Don't know why the DRO on the F4 was removed, seems to work fine!

    Conveniently I have a few days off from work and immediately dug in and already did some repairs on the machine. Repaired some wonky electrical wiring (zero and ground combined, ground not connected in the CEE plug).

    Removed the feed gearbox and variator to fix an oil leak, which turns out to be a badly attached drive motor.. Looking at the RTV used someone tried to fix something and made matters worse. Still took the box partially apart and cleaned the gearbox, lots of sludge. Only two keys in the variator mechanism are somewhat worn, will replace those.

    Also replaced the faded oil sight glasses for nice stainless steel ones, good to actually see the oil level!

    The drive motor cooling fan was completely clogged with dirt/dust/shavings/grease, definitely something to check annually?
    Last edited by Botje; 08-06-2020 at 04:47 PM.

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    So I also removed the feed gearbox because it was loud running in the high speed mode. However I found some rusted bearings that need replacing, but because they are pretty cheap bearings, I'm going to rebuild the complete box with all new bearings. It seems like coolant got into the gearbox

    @rbalexandra: is there a gasket under this cover? I can't see from your picture. Buy mine had a lot of goo and coolant residue under it. The manual also says not to damage the gasket but I can't see one?
    eb363514027aaf8c5dde51c1d17a1fab.jpg

    41ccd97f-b957-4862-9e1e-ae6dad859ce5.jpg
    This is what I found when I removed the feedbox

    img_1332.jpg
    The bottom is filled with sludge

    img_1333.jpg
    These two bearings are rusted on the shaft, I think I'll grind the outer ring open and mill the inner ring with a carbide endmill to remove the tension.

    img_1335.jpg
    These are the top two bearings that were complete rusted

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    Yeah cleaning that gearbox sucks. My co er did not have any gaskets, just an o ring seal. Beware it can take a lot of fiddling to get the guill that goes into the gearbox to line up properly.

    While you are in there carefully check the condition of the bronze worm wheel.

    Sent from my SM-G973F using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by rblalexander View Post
    Yeah cleaning that gearbox sucks. My co er did not have any gaskets, just an o ring seal. Beware it can take a lot of fiddling to get the guill that goes into the gearbox to line up properly.

    While you are in there carefully check the condition of the bronze worm wheel.

    Sent from my SM-G973F using Tapatalk
    Yes The quill was stuck in the bore due to the sludge and rust so it was already difficult to get out.

    95430352-0a82-47b9-b2cd-e48347555831.jpg

    I just finished disassembling the complete gearbox. There was 2cm of sludge in the bottom. There are some blind holes with bearings that will not flush out so I think disassembling was the only way to properly clean it.

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    Working on the F4.. very happy with the condition of the machine!

    Of course there were surprises.



    Slideways look great. Here exposed the lube ports to remove all kinds of nasty grease that had been used during the idle ~10 year time at the previous owner. Also a great opportunity to remove some shavings from the sumps.


    Found where to fill the oil:



    Drain is via both drain plugs behind the V-belt cover (not visible on picture, will upload one later).
    The left one (lower) is a normal drain. The right one (upper, next to the drive pulley) looks like a drain plug but its better to completely remove the tube (has 2 flat slides). That way it opens up a drain port for the 'top floor' oil bath and drains to the lower oil bath. Also this tube has a O-ring that most likely is rock solid by now and creates a small oil leak.
    To expose this fill port on the top, you need to remove the vertical head and slide the top support further forward than the lead screw allows. But as mentioned before, best slide the ram further forward and remove the little cover to clean out the sumps.

    Feed gearbox cleaned up nicely too:



    Idler bearings replaced, new V-belt, new keyways for the variator discs. Box was dirty and close to empty. During maintenance (suspect at the uni) the motor re-fitted and did not seat in the flange, creating a huge gap. Luckily it did not run afterwards, or very little, as the gears (especially the motor gear that was meshing at an angle) show now strange wear.


    Spindle drive variator has been disassembled and cleaned too.



    Bearings were like new, discs also. Replaced the key as well as the original one had a bit of play in the shaft.
    Only strange thing is this.. The center discs, which should slide over the shaft, is extremely tight on the shaft now. Been cleaning up the bore with light abrasives and its better now but still. Very strange.
    New belts ordered too. Gates Quad Power-4 (XPB 1180 Lw upper, XPB 1650 Lw lower). Need to conform fitment, sizes closest to what was available. It was either these or some no-name (much cheaper) B44/B63 belts.

    Details... replaced all oil sight windows for steel/glass ones. Picture auto-rotated, mill is still right-side-up.



    NB: during the install of the DRO, two M3 holes were drilled/tapped right into the transmission. Oil leaks ensured. Lower one is already plugged with a setscrew and Hylomar. Ugh. Besides, the M3 holes were used for holding the cables of the scales, which could have been attached to the brackets for the scales too, imho.


    Drive motor was a little rough to turn, no notches but I could not leave it unattended. For now I cleaned and re-greased the front bearing and it turns smooth again. We'll see how it holds up.




    ToDo:
    • Un-stuck and assemble spindle drive variator
    • Fit new belts (3x)
    • Assemble feed variator
    • Replace O-rings and gaskets gearbox, then fill with oil (Repsol Super Tauro 150)
    • Replace cables to both motors.
    • Re-fit vertical head and change oil.
    • Buy toolholders and T-nuts/bolts
    • Replace worn main switch
    • Make bracket for DRO display (bracket lost in storage)
    • Replace DRO CRT for LCD (see my post in the Visulesta Elesta 4 display thread)
    • Re-fit scales, make new power cable, repair one cable to scale etc

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    This week the F4 made chips again!
    Runs very smooth and it is a very easy machine to work with.

    The Gates belts mentioned in my previous post work perfect:



    Motor-variator belt is slightly longer than the original one so the motor needs to be adjusted a bit. I don't know if the 60hz versions of this machine has different belts so take that in mind when ordering belts.

    The middle (sliding) variator disc still moves difficult, which translates in a handwheel that is difficult to turn. But it is getting better, I'll probably leave it as is. The belts do make some noise but its not that bad.

    Filled the main transmission with Repsol Super Tauro ISO150 oil. Manual states 2,5 liter but the oil window showed low level with that amount and the top sump was not really topped off. Ended up adding another liter and with in total 3,5 liter the gearbox is filled, when the machine is running the level is in the middle of the oil window. Machine stopped/rest the level climbs to the top of the sight glass.




    Vertical head has been disassembled and cleaned. Oil was dirty and level was low. The head is easy to disassemble, gear mesh isn't disturbed by disassembly in the separate assemblies. I left the grease lubed items assembled; spindle and gear carriers all ran smooth.

    Cable of spindle motor has been replaced. The cable routing is neat and tidy but a real pain to replace the cables.. The electric panel needs to be removed to access a few cable clamps, space is limited.

    First test cuts are promising. Machine runs quiet and smooth

    Only it appears a shear key (if its fitted?) in the traverse/feed seems to be broken. Feed worked good, though during rapid vertical the motor sounded strained.
    Now, the feeds work but I can stop the handwheel/feed when I grab the rotating handwheel. Checked the vertical shaft which comes up from the base and that shaft stops too when the feed interrupts. Belt is new and does not slip, keys of variator discs are new. Feed slips both during rapid traverse and normal power feed.

    Anyone know if there is a shear key/pin in the transmission?

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    I dont know if there is a shear pin in the feed box, I didn't note one when I dug into mine. I would think either the double cone friction clutch is worn out (mine is getting that way) or there is a plastic coupler that connects the motor and gearbox, I think that would be the first thing to die if the feeds jammed.

    Sent from my SM-G973F using Tapatalk

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    Here's another vote for a clutch problem. My F4 will sometimes fail to move in the Z up direction in normal feed, but moves fine in rapid. Sometimes it will move fine under normal feed and subsequent rapid, but when I take my foot back off the rapid pedal, the normal feed stalls. I think the lower clutch cup may have filled up with sludge and needs cleaning.

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    I'm impressed by the nice job you are doing to bring this machine back into good shape. It's funny how you "discover" things like the motor not properly attached and meshed to the gearing, or the washers that are too tight on the shaft, or the unplugged holes from mounting the DRO scales. Fixing those things will ensure that the machine keeps operating properly for many more decades.

    I did have one comment. You wrote:

    Quote Originally Posted by Botje View Post
    Drive motor was a little rough to turn, no notches but I could not leave it unattended. For now I cleaned and re-greased the front bearing and it turns smooth again. We'll see how it holds up.
    I have also done this many times (cleaned and re-used bearings) but I am starting to change my philosophy on this. The point is that modern quality bearings from SKF/FAG/NTN are extremely high quality, in this size cost about 10 Euro/dollars each, and can be obtained in a day or two by mail order from lots of suppliers. That is so cheap compared to the cost of your time and effort that it simply makes sense to replace them with new ones. Similar arguments apply to O-rings and seals.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rblalexander View Post
    I dont know if there is a shear pin in the feed box, I didn't note one when I dug into mine. I would think either the double cone friction clutch is worn out (mine is getting that way) or there is a plastic coupler that connects the motor and gearbox, I think that would be the first thing to die if the feeds jammed.

    Sent from my SM-G973F using Tapatalk
    Quote Originally Posted by rklopp View Post
    Here's another vote for a clutch problem. My F4 will sometimes fail to move in the Z up direction in normal feed, but moves fine in rapid. Sometimes it will move fine under normal feed and subsequent rapid, but when I take my foot back off the rapid pedal, the normal feed stalls. I think the lower clutch cup may have filled up with sludge and needs cleaning.
    Thanks rblalexander and rklopp. It feels like the clutch yes. I had the gearbox out of the machine and should have cleaned the clutch right away.. I tend to disassemble more than necessary and this was something I feared when I had many more (small) construction sites on this mill haha. At least it sounds like an easy fix! And at the same time I will make sure to check all bearings, as Bruce pointed out.

    Quote Originally Posted by ballen View Post
    I'm impressed by the nice job you are doing to bring this machine back into good shape. It's funny how you "discover" things like the motor not properly attached and meshed to the gearing, or the washers that are too tight on the shaft, or the unplugged holes from mounting the DRO scales. Fixing those things will ensure that the machine keeps operating properly for many more decades.

    I did have one comment. You wrote:

    I have also done this many times (cleaned and re-used bearings) but I am starting to change my philosophy on this. The point is that modern quality bearings from SKF/FAG/NTN are extremely high quality, in this size cost about 10 Euro/dollars each, and can be obtained in a day or two by mail order from lots of suppliers. That is so cheap compared to the cost of your time and effort that it simply makes sense to replace them with new ones. Similar arguments apply to O-rings and seals.
    Hi Bruce, thanks for the kind words! Yes it is my goal to make sure the machine work as intended again and keep it running for many decades to come. Even this machine which was never used for series production has a multitude of smaller and bigger issues. Part of the fun is to bring it back to its former glory. I am very happy that this machine has had an easy life. Machines that had a rough life, like the large TOS FA3V mill I have too, are much much more involved to get into even usable shape, let alone restore them to their original accuracy.

    First I want to make sure the machine is basically OK, which is more than obvious now. Next project after the feed clutch will be mounting the DRO, more cleaning and probably minimal painting of the worst parts. The chip tray for example is in terrible shape. I already media blasted it and will take a good look at the steps you used to paint your FP2!
    Agreed, it is best practice to replace the bearings. Replaced many a bearing on my other machines and indeed its too cheap not to. Now I know the bearing size for this motor (6306) I can source them, checked pricing and indeed those are roughly 10 euro/pcs. And looking at the time spend cleaning the 1205 variator bearings it would have been wiser to replace those too.


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