Index Mill Handwheel Question
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  1. #1
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    Default Index Mill Handwheel Question

    I'm sick and tired of breaking thumbnails due to the design of the handwheels on my Index mill. I was going to take them off today and remove the decorative ridge on them that catches nails, but I can't figure out how to remove the plastic knobs from the wheels.

    One handwheel has a screw coming out the back side that I tried to remove, but it's in there pretty good. I looked at the second and it also has a screw, but no means to turn it. The third handwheel doesn't have anything going completely through it.

    It appears that the end of the knob may snap in place, but I was not able to even get a razor blade into what appears to be a slot between the knob and cap.

    Of course, my book doesn't even mention the handwheels.

    Has anyone ever removed the knobs?

    Thanks in advance!

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    Well...I won't ask just how long your nails are....but a photo would help. I have a Wells and have never had any issue with the handwheels...are your wheels original?

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    One or more photos may help here. Closeups and well focused, please.

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    I was going to post photos, but ran out of time.

    See if these help. I don't know if the handwheels are original or not. This is an Index, not a Wells Index.

    handwheel-1.jpg

    handwheel-2.jpg

    handwheel-3.jpg

    Note the sharp edge between the smooth, silver part and the black cast part.

    There are flats on the base of the knob, but no way to get a wrench on it.

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    Those wheel look the same as my Wells Index, and the handles do, too. the handles are replacements I bought from Wells Index...they are a modern handle that I assume is 'generic'. I think McMaster sells a very similar version.

    Unless the stud on the handle has a hex recess in it that you can turn with an Allen wrench, the answer is to use the flats on the silver metal 'base' of the handle. You can't get a wrench on it? Sure you can...a tappet wrench is what I used or you can also use the cheap flat wrenches they give you with air tools for the collets.

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    Smooth some Bondo into the 'groove' and let it harden. No need to do the entire groove, just a couple of inches each side of the knob.
    Knob is screwed into the hand-wheel. If you really need it out make a wrench that will fit.

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    A stamped, thin wrench like from an air tool collet might work, but I don't want to sacrifice a good wrench to do it. I may try the Bondo idea first.

    I figured that since the plastic handle rotates on the stud, it may be removable somehow.

    Thanks for the replies!

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    That could be a plastic cap glued on the end of the handle. Could be a socket head behind that cap?

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4GSR View Post
    That could be a plastic cap glued on the end of the handle. Could be a socket head behind that cap?
    That's what I was thinking. I went back out and looked at it again and filed down a stamped metal wrench that almost fit. No way to get it on there. I've decided to drill holes in it and use a pin, like a spanner wrench to loosen it.

    When I re-install them, I'm going to put washers under them to space the out far enough to get a wrench on them.

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    Why not drill an ''exploritory'' hole through the end cap big enough to have a looksee, my money's on there being an internal hex on the shaft.

    P.S. I'm a rubbish gambler

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    I have a Index 745 and haven't noticed any issue with my hand wheels. That is a replacement handle. I think I have one on my mill from McMaster. The OE plastic handle was made differently and smoothly. Also had more taper with a smaller overall profile. The OE knob has a hex that is pretty easy to get a wrench on. I'll take a pic.

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    Just for kicks, I took a Craftsman 5/8" tappet wrench...very common....and it fit the flats perfectly. I unthreaded the handle, then reinstalled it using plenty of torque, no issues.

    The cap on the end is probably a molded-on or glued-on cap that is meant to be permanent. I wouldn't mess with it.

    I would also spend a couple minutes with a die grinder dulling the offending edge long before I used Bondo. The amount of metal removal needed is very small.

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    Yes, I believe those flats on the silver part of the handle definitely say it is a threaded attachment. I have seen handles like that before: they are quite common.

    As for damaging your nails, I don't know if you are talking about the edge on the wheel itself or an edge on the handle that is doing that. If you need to take the handle itself apart, that may be a separate cap on the outer end of the plastic piece. I would make what is called a lens ring spanner or lens filter wrench. Here is what they look like:

    lens ring wrench - Bing

    I have quickly and easily made custom ones from steel flat bars 1/8" or 3/16" thick by just drilling a hole near one end for the size I needed and then using my band saw to cut a slot the long way into the edge of that hole. They can grip a small, round part quite tightly and then you can try to remove it with a twisting motion which would cover either a friction fit or a screw fit. If you use it carefully, it will not mar the finish on that plastic part. Polishing, sanding, or reaming the hole for a better finish will also help to prevent marring.

    I will see if I can find one that I made and post a photo of it.

    EDIT: I found two that I had made in the past.



    The top one was done with a bit of extra effort as I anticipated using it multiple times. It is made from a strip of weldable steel, 1/8" thick and I went to extra trouble to finish the edges and ends and to make it a bit nicer looking. It probably took around a half hour to make. I found this one in a drawer at my bench with wrenches and files. The second one was made very quickly from a piece of a strap or tee hinge and was used only one time. I found it in my scrap metal drawer. I doubt that I spent more than 15 minutes on it and that includes finding the hinge scrap.



    Quote Originally Posted by steve45 View Post
    I was going to post photos, but ran out of time.

    See if these help. I don't know if the handwheels are original or not. This is an Index, not a Wells Index.

    handwheel-1.jpg

    handwheel-2.jpg

    handwheel-3.jpg

    Note the sharp edge between the smooth, silver part and the black cast part.

    There are flats on the base of the knob, but no way to get a wrench on it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GregSY View Post
    Just for kicks, I took a Craftsman 5/8" tappet wrench...very common....and it fit the flats perfectly. I unthreaded the handle, then reinstalled it using plenty of torque, no issues.

    The cap on the end is probably a molded-on or glued-on cap that is meant to be permanent. I wouldn't mess with it.

    I would also spend a couple minutes with a die grinder dulling the offending edge long before I used Bondo. The amount of metal removal needed is very small.
    One of the handwheels has the knob screwed in so far that there are no flats showing at all.

    My original intent was to mount them on my lathe and do a nice job of smoothing them up. I just want to break the sharp edge. I got busy with other projects today, so I haven't messed with it anymore.


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