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    Default Thiel 159

    Hello to all you Thiel owners out there. I have what I hope is a silly question. Just had my new (to me)Thiel Duplex 159 delivered and all seems well except for the overarm which I cannot get to move. The manual I got with the machine doesn't mention anything about this. My assumption is the square boss on the right hand side of the machine, halfway down the length of the overarm performs this task but although it doesn't appear seized I cant get it to turn. Am I missing something obvious ?

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    Another Thiel 159 owner - great!

    The over arm will not move unless all the clamps are released. There are two (hand levers) on the same side as the squared drive shaft and another (hex head) on the other side. They are strong locks, so you are unlikely to move the casting unless they are completely free. Once you get them free, the squared shaft should turn freely, although there is usually a bit of stick/slip.

    It is also possible that the previous owner did not shift the overarm very often, so it may be starved of lubrication. There are oiling nipples that will allow you to get oil into the faces and if you have a good oil gun you can get some reasonable pressure into the oil gallery.

    If you are doing a job where you want to move the overarm casting a lot, then you can use just the hand clamps, but for full rigidity you should use all three. You can use the overarm to extend the Y axis travel using slip gauges and a dial gauge. The slip gauges go on the ground tray on the right of the casting. The dial gauge buts up against them.

    It isn't obvious, but the overarm is driven in and out with a chain that hidden in the casting. The square drive sits in a casting that is screwed to the side of the overarm. You can remove this housing entire, which will give you access to the chain and allow you get oil directly onto the chain.

    You have one of the best mills ever made. Everything is well designed and generally easy to work on.

    Let me know if you have other questions - I would be happy to help.

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    Thanks for your reply, there was so much paint on the overarm I hadn't noticed the removable casting round the square shaft, once removed , the paint cleaned and a little "persuasion" applied to the shaft all is well. As a matter of idle curiousity , the Y axis is stated as having 300mm of movement, mine can only manage about 185mm before hitting the dowelled stops. Is this correct ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by steve1465 View Post
    As a matter of idle curiousity , the Y axis is stated as having 300mm of movement, mine can only manage about 185mm before hitting the dowelled stops. Is this correct ?
    The 'Y' travel quoted in the manual is 200mm. Mine can do 205 before the stop engages. Your travel of 185 suggests that something is interfering. Incidentally, do not try to extend the travel by removing the stop blocks. This could cause some damage if you went beyond the limit under power feed.

    You can extend the useful Y tavel in two different ways.

    If you are using the vertical head, the overarm gives you about an additional 240mm of travel, but you need to keep track of position yourself using slip gauges for example. The overarm travel is actually 400 mm, but you can't use all of it with the vertical head because it retracts past the horizontal head for part of its travel. A DRO makes keeping track easy.

    If your 159 has a tilt/tilt/swivel/slide table (most UK imports seem to) then you can also use the travel of the auxiliary slide in addition. This gives you a further 140 mm. This of course has the full dial to keep track of position. If you use this slide in this way you need to clock the table absolutely square of course.

    So although the nominal Y travel is only about 200 mm, you can get up to 580 mm at the expense of a bit of complication.

    One thing that you should do with a new 159 is to drain and replace the oil in the upper spindle gearbox. If the mill was used with coolant, it is possible for it to splash up and into the spindle gearbox, where it will contaminate the oil and can cause problems with the gears and bearings - and there are a lot of those. An oil change will stop this from getting worse. You might as well do the same with the lower feed gearbox, but that is not likely to be contaminated with coolant.

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    Which leads directly to the next question ! What would be your recommended choice of oil for the gearboxes ? The Engler system quoted in the manual is a tad indecipherable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by steve1465 View Post
    Which leads directly to the next question ! What would be your recommended choice of oil for the gearboxes ? The Engler system quoted in the manual is a tad indecipherable.
    Yes it is a bit obscure. I actually got a cross reference and used that. I'm not totally convinced that It was correct because the oil is fairly heavy and when the mill is cold, it can cause some problems selecting feed gears properly. No problem when warm though. I can't remember what I used, but I can get the answer for you tomorrow evening.

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    I run ISO46 hydraulic oil in my Thiel 158 gearboxes.
    For the vertical head spindle, lead screws and ways I use ISO68.
    Attached is the best viscosity conversion table I have been able to find which might be of some use.

    oil-viscosity-conversion-table.jpg

    Cheers,
    Greg.

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    I used ISO68 in the gearboxes. I think this viscosity might be a bit too high, so ISO 46 might be a better choice. Cross referencing from Engler seems to be a bit tricky, and this is the only machine tool I have that specifies viscosity in this way.

    You have probably already found where to fill and drain the gearboxes, but if not you need to remove the large cast aluminium cover at the back. This is held on by one hand screw and some locating dowels. Behind it you will find the filler and drain plugs and sight glasses for both the spindle and feed gearboxes.

    While you are in there you can lubricate the chain and re-tension it if required.

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    For what it's worth you use ISO46 hydraulic oil for the gearboxes of Deckel manual mills of this vintage. I think the design and materials are similar enough that this would be a pretty safe choice for a Thiel-159.

    Cheers,
    Bruce

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    Hello Thiel 159ers
    I've just joined your little club, if owning said machine counts . In fact I have just arrived back from a very very long wet trip to way past Newcastle and back down to Norfolk with my new mill strapped into the middle of my van. (via Liverpool for another albiet less glamorous machine (3ph spot welder), and honestly.. the M62 is hell on earth)..It looks like a Dalex strapped into the middle of my Luton van with its head off. Anyways, I'm so happy with it, even if there are going to be many late with just her for company. It was sat a little neglected and unloved at the end of a long row of Bridgeports. uncared for but not too abused, and from first looks she is under the grime, dirt and grease looking really good. The quality is poking through whenever it gets a chance. So now the TLC will begin. I have so many questions and would be so very greatful for any fellow Thiel 159 owners advice. My first job is to give her deep clean, manicure and pedicure. I am planning to dismantle enough to get everything free of chips and that nasty black stuff, first. Then take it from there. I took the table off and vertical spindle head, but holding back any furture taking things apart until I have done my research and have as much literature I can find. I have yet to find any literature or manuals, so if anyone has anything I could copy or send me I would be very happy person. I have just bought a Dean Smith and Grace and Hardinge lathe, and Elliot shaper, so don't really want to fork out £60 for each via Lathes.co.uk. I know his does fantastic job, but wish there was cheaper option than a posh bound copy. And of course will be most welcome of any pointers or particular pitfalls. I am very careful when taking things apart to photograph and lable, and usually can work it out, but is there anythign that I should be extra cautious about (apart from obvious). I'm really looking forward to this project, and she already has a name (Lucy)... will post a few pictures when I get a chance. Thanks in advance. Jon
    Last edited by JonPNash; 10-12-2019 at 02:27 PM. Reason: I edited it because when I wrote it, I was so exhausted and had an especially bad attack of dyslexia!

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    A Luton van? I bet that swayed a bit round corners with a Thiel 159 and another machine in it!

    Deep clean is abviously a good first move. Take the table off and work on that separately. Clean out the coolant sump - a nasty job, but will certainly need doing. Don't use a pressure washer - it is far too easy to get water in places where it shouldn't go i.e. the gearboxes. Change the oils in the spindle and feed gearboxes and the vertical head. If you are confident, then stripping the spindles to re-grease the bearings might be a wise move, but these use very expensive bearings that need real expertise to adjust correctly so take care. Incidentally I think this is the only place where you should find any grease and you need a special grease for this job.

    You probably have geared dual metric/Imperial dials everywhere (four of them). If these have been abused, they may not work correctly, but I was able to repair all of mine with not much difficulty. There are quite a lot of parts in these dials and the manual I have does not cover them - I think this was mostly for the UK market. Strip them down and clean well - they will be silky smooth when working properly.

    The internal wiring for my Thiel 159 was not up to modern UK industrial codes so if you are connecting it directly to a three phase supply I would have a good look at that area or ask a proper industrial electrician to take a look and check. Problems may well occur if you connect to a RCD protected supply. For example, my neutral was connected to the machine earth, as was one side of a transformer. If you need to use a single phase supply then don't worry, the conversion using a VFD or VFDs is quite straight forward - I can supply details if this is what you need.

    You really do need the manuals. The parts manual in particular shows drawings of everything and contains cross references for bearings etc. The user manual you possibly don't need, but it does contain a few things that might not be obvious and I would personally get that as well.

    These really are superb mills and even if it has had a hard life there is so much quality and integrity in the basic design that they are wothwhile to repair and bring back to a good condition.

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    Thank you Bill?
    I was just peering into my van, after a nights sleep, wondering what I had taken on. Maybe now in the light of day she wouldn't be as beautiful as when I picked her up. She had the advantage of being along side some very ugly turrent mills and looked tiny. But ... The mill is fabulous. Dirty? Yes! but after a good wash down, we are going to get to know each other very well.. So was also happy to found some others fellow 159 owners, who will understand my excitement mixed with just a little apprehension of getting the little beast working as she should be.
    Thanks for the advice, and I certainly won't be putting any water near her. I think that being in an especially greasy workshop helps to protect against water damage. I will be redoing the electrics as know this area quite well and have help from someone who does the electrics for my local nuclear power station. I will have three phase in new workshop but will probaly still add VFD. One of the metric/imp dials has been a bit mangled (z), (not critically but they are so beautifully made, can't bear to think someone used a pair of grips on them.. It doesn't have a universal table, which is a bit of shame but instead a very study table and sure I can work around that. Anyways. I will keep you posted and probably be back at regular intervals to ask questions. Thanks again Jon

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    Lucy tied up in the back of my van, doing a good impression of a Dalex from Dr Who fame. It was a long wobbly drive home from Newcastle.
    img_5806.jpg

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    The non-universal tables are bigger in area and possibly more rigid. You also don't have to worry about getting them square after using the universal feature. I would love to get a non-universal table for my 159 but as you will find, parts are scarce. The one feature of the universal table that I really would miss is the additional slide axis. This is a specifically Thiel idea and really adds a lot to the versatility of the mill.

    Looking at your photo, I assume you do have the vertical head? Is it the version with the boring head drive? I hope so, that is another very handy feature.

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    Hi
    I've got a head, which I think is the normal vertical head. Will post pictures. It has a quill, and lever on right and large blank dial? on left (looking at at from front). It is very smooth when turned by hand.
    Will get a proper look at it all tomorrow and try to post a few pictures. Jon

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    Hello again,
    Been slowly taking my new machine apart. Its been really badly looked after. Apparently they make parts for the aerospace industry, which doesn't give me confidence when I next step on a plane. Guess that they just load up and push a button on their new big shiny boxes and if it goes wrong call an engineer. But on the bright side, if it had be cared for it would have been 5 times the price. Just simple things and nasty hacks.
    Bill? I was reading you have some literature form SDK bearings on the Thiel spindle. I broke it down and most of the bearings in on the helical gears that drive the spindle are completely shot, luckily the gears are all pretty good and shafts. Also the quill is fine but can tell they just jamed it in one position for years. Also the spring loading is missing. The main spindle bearing at top is good but the bottom double row of cylindericals are iffy. Probably get away with them for now, but ultimately would like to change them for double contact if possible. Going to be doing quite a few modifications to the machine, and for now I'm going to do a full mechanical rebuild. Then when running do the geometrics for ways, but utimately going to bringing it up to date, but keeping the manual side fo things alongside. This is what I do in my other business. Remanufacturing production lighting, keeping the best optics and housings, but updating the electronics and light sources.
    Anyway, would also love to get hold an exploded parts diagram. Will post plenty of pictures of the project. Jon

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    Jon -

    I don't know which head you have and that makes a difference. There is a plain head and a head which has an integral boring feed gearbox (The "Automatischer Bohr und Fraskopf - Aparat7").This is the head that I have. There are also other heads, including a slotter, but they are rather rare. Let us know which head you have (or a photo) and we can get more detailed. As far as I know, the only really expensive bearings in the head are the spindle bearings and these are from the SKF NN series. Fitting these bearings requires a clean room, precision measuring equipment and a fair amount of knowledge. It might be worth getting a spindle repairer to do this part for you. They have a slightly tapered bore and these are pulled up just the right amount to give a precise fit on the rollers. Ideally you should read the SKF NN book (yes really!)which describes how to carry out this procedure. I would not attempt to replace them with anything else - apart from the taper, I suspect the bore sizes would not be a match for anything else and you would be significantly diminishing the precision of the machine. Thiel did not compromise in this area; at the time these spindle bearings were the very best available solution - as evidenced by the large number of photos of high class machine tools included in the SKF NN book. The horizontal spindle uses a similar arrangement of spindle bearings.

    The quill spring is contained in a drum on the front of the head (at least on the automatic boring head). My spring was broken when I bought the mill. I could not get a replacement so I modified the existing spring, re-wound it with a special tool and re-fitted it. It has been fine ever since. This is something that you should ideally fix, the quill will easily drop under its own weight, and although you can hold it with the lock, eventually you will forget and drop a tool into a part. I know - it was a part that I had hours into when it happened. Don't try to refit the spring without some tooling. This is dangerous because the spring is very strong - much more so than say a Bridgeport. I made my own rewinder and fitting tool, so can give you details when you need to do this job.

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    Thanks for the information! I have actually stripped the entire machine down now. It was really badly treated but I think only recently. Underneath the horrible stuff it does not look over used. But I dare not put the pictures on here. No oil came out of the spindle gearbox, so I opened it up. It was half full of chips and swarf. Some of this must have been recent because the gears look imaculate. Nothing was greased or oiled. The z was hacked because the wipers had long rotten away and the gap was full to brim with chips and gunk. The feed gear box was water contaminated. and sharp metal everywhere. Even in the overarm. So it's going to be complete rebuild. The horizontal spindle looks good. And after a second look I think the head will be ok for now. Its the one in manual which is called boring and milling head but not the auto one, but it's very simular. One think I am planning to do is improve the protection of dirt and worst getting into these places and protect with covers. So that the dirt doesn't enter machine. Also planning a more sophisticated lubrication system, than the mostly splash and squirt method. I will be so glad to get back to clean workshop, and not spend all day cleaning horrible pits of metal from my fingers. In a way it being bad enough to do a full job is probably better that it good enough to use with few niggles. What is best way to post pictures? When I put them on this site in the option they are like a postage stamp. Thanks again. Sorry to rample.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JonPNash View Post
    What is best way to post pictures? When I put them on this site in the option they are like a postage stamp.
    (1) Click on your user name (at top of the screen/window)
    (2) On the left, find the item labeled "Albums"
    (3) Create an Album called "Thiel 159 #1"
    (4) Upload photos to that Album
    (5) Click on a photo. At the bottom you will see a "bulletin board link" that you can paste into your posts. Here is an example (a nice optical protractor, made in 1969):



    If you click on "Reply with Quote" just below you can see the exact form that I have entered in my post to embed the picture there. It starts with "IMG" (for "image") in square brackets.

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    Jon -

    Water in the top gear box seems to be a fairly common problem. Almost certainly coolant getting into the wrong places. I had a minor problem with the upper spindle gearbox, but all seemed to be well after draining, flushing with oil and then re-filling. I don't use water based coolant (except for a squeezy bottle) so hopefully this will not happen again. The spindle and feed gearboxes are completely separate and the feed gearbox should not get contaminated as easily as the upper box

    Oil based coolant is a better match for this mill. It isn't likely that you will be doing any production work where it is really critical to use water based - this is a toolroom mill after all. Covers might help, but I don't think there is any realistic way to completely seal the upper spindle gearbox. You can make a new Z wiper quite easily provided that the alloy and steel carrier is still in place. You can supplement this with a simple bib if you wish, but I usually control chips with a thin alloy guard that can be easily repositioned and will stop chips dropping into this area.

    A more sophisticated lubrication system is a great idea, but it would be a lot of work to implement properly. This is one area where the later Deckel mills do things better. There are a large number of oiling points scattered all over the machine including exchangeable parts such as the tables and heads. You would need to replace all these with pressure lubrication points, which would represent a lot of pipework, some of it flexible.

    My Thiel also came from an aerospace shop, in this case BAE systems at Brough. It still has all the factory tags on it. This class of mill was quite popular for that sector.

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