Metal planer mill conversion
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  1. #1
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    Default Metal planer mill conversion

    Hello gang,

    I'm not trying to push my YouTube channel here, but here is the link to one of the videos of my American Tool Works Planer Mill

    https://youtu.be/AFHDFf_DhlM

    I bought this thing as scrap and fitted the Bridgeport head to it. Some previous owner stripped the planer drive and added a DC drive. The ways aren't perfect, and I need to check it out for accuracy at some point. It's been a money maker from the beginning. But I'm wondering a few things:

    1. What would you add to it/change?
    2. What year do you think it is?
    3. How would you market this machine to get more work for it?

    Thanks,
    Josh

    Sent from my rotary dial flip fone

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    I just took a quick look
    I'd make a cover for the drive pulley

    nice use of what could have been scrap

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    Quote Originally Posted by wgnrr1 View Post
    The ways aren't perfect, and I need to check it out for accuracy at some point.



    3. How would you market this machine to get more work for it?
    Can't market what you don't know what you have.....

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    What year do you think it is?
    Pdf Page 17 shows they were making them 110 years back

    http://pounceatron.dreamhosters.com/...duct-guide.pdf

    ph

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    Quote Originally Posted by digger doug View Post
    Can't market what you don't know what you have.....
    You are correct. I really do need to figure out if it has any accuracy. So far it's done incredible work over 8 feet. I did a bunch of 6 foot parts that came out within .002. Just need to spend more time with it.

    Sent from my rotary dial flip fone

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    Quote Originally Posted by mjk View Post
    I just took a quick look
    I'd make a cover for the drive pulley

    nice use of what could have been scrap
    Drive pulley? What you might be seeing is a knurled wheel for fine positioning. Not that I've used it. But I could make something for that if I was worried about that, and I'm not.

    Sent from my rotary dial flip fone

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    Nice machine. I very high end fab shop near me has one quite a bit bigger, maybe 40” y, 18’ x. They use it all the time! They use it in conjunction with large part fabrication. They use it to skim face weldments, post welding machine features like drilled tapped holes, and jig up for welding. They Do a lot of tack welding right on the table after indicating the parts, then machine some trivial feature that’s not so trivial if it wasn’t on a mill. Not insane tolerance but where a larger machine is needed. They also put a BP head on theirs.

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    Maybe an air mist spray coolant system? To cut chips only once?

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    Must be missing some detail.
    Why did you make the part if you knew it would be scrap?
    Was there a resolution on how to straighten and re-machine it?
    Or???

    Not very patient watching videos, so might have fast forwarded through some explanation?
    smt

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    Quote Originally Posted by stephen thomas View Post
    Must be missing some detail.
    Why did you make the part if you knew it would be scrap?
    Was there a resolution on how to straighten and re-machine it?
    Or???
    smt
    The part is not scrap. It gets clamped into an assembly and welded in.

    If it requires straightening, I would have. Customer is just happy to get this part at all. Nobody has been able to make them, except me.

    Sent from my rotary dial flip fone

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    Can you explain why HR A36 would not have been applicable compared to CR mild steel, then?
    I plane A36 in similar lengths. Cheaper with a lot less, say, "drama".

    Per your Q's: If your idea is to use it as a positioning platform for drilling/boring, pockets, small end mill stuff, i'd make sure all axes were square, then put DRO's on it. Keep the BP head & quill.

    If the idea is to use it primarily for milling, maybe get at least a 40 taper spindle?
    I was not impressed that the BP head was faster/better than simple planing. Though perhaps the tool changing between roughing and finishing tools saves time and nuisance in some cases. It's one of those cases where the lighter the cut, the better the BP is for the app. If the metal removal is deep and wide, planer mode/planer tools is probably more efficient.
    BP could be better for slots if a method to clear the chips is obtained, and certainly for T-slots & dovetail slots, though.

    You increased rigidity by removing the original toolslide. However, with the slide, some funky options including planing long sections of cylinders, ellipses, and other simple large radii curves is possible. I do that primarily in wood, though.
    There's also a lot of cylindrical work including tapers and contours that can be done between centers. Esp with powered workhead. I can do it in metal, but mostly use that app on mine for millwork & ...... pool cues.

    Way out ideas: PM'r Jason sent me a Mimik tracer & powerpack quite a few years ago. One of these days an application/reason to get it operational on the planer will come up. Would love to play with it, but have so many other projects, play & otherwise. Besides that the skiing this year just keeps getting better.

    smt

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    Quote Originally Posted by stephen thomas View Post
    Can you explain why HR A36 would not have been applicable compared to CR mild steel, then?
    I plane A36 in similar lengths. Cheaper with a lot less, say, "drama".

    Per your Q's: If your idea is to use it as a positioning platform for drilling/boring, pockets, small end mill stuff, i'd make sure all axes were square, then put DRO's on it. Keep the BP head & quill.

    If the idea is to use it primarily for milling, maybe get at least a 40 taper spindle?
    I was not impressed that the BP head was faster/better than simple planing. Though perhaps the tool changing between roughing and finishing tools saves time and nuisance in some cases. It's one of those cases where the lighter the cut, the better the BP is for the app. If the metal removal is deep and wide, planer mode/planer tools is probably more efficient.
    BP could be better for slots if a method to clear the chips is obtained, and certainly for T-slots & dovetail slots, though.

    You increased rigidity by removing the original toolslide. However, with the slide, some funky options including planing long sections of cylinders, ellipses, and other simple large radii curves is possible. I do that primarily in wood, though.
    There's also a lot of cylindrical work including tapers and contours that can be done between centers. Esp with powered workhead. I can do it in metal, but mostly use that app on mine for millwork & ...... pool cues.

    Way out ideas: PM'r Jason sent me a Mimik tracer & powerpack quite a few years ago. One of these days an application/reason to get it operational on the planer will come up. Would love to play with it, but have so many other projects, play & otherwise. Besides that the skiing this year just keeps getting better.

    smt
    As far as I could make out the machine has " Trav-A-Dial's " fitted on the table and the cross rail so it has a rudimentary form of positioning. The most important thing is getting all the elements square to the table top and each other. We've discussed this before but if the column's, cross rail and tool posts are leaning forward, normally the case on ancient planers, it doesn't matter much. If they're all leaning forward on a plano mill it causes all sorts of problems, especially with drilling etc.

    I worked on planer to plano-mill conversions in the past with " Futur-Mill " in the UK and we always installed hydraulic clamping to the planing head/milling saddle. Essential with 40HP milling heads. The table drive was converted to an infinitely variable drive whilst still leaving the planing function available to be used. Of course the head/saddle travel screw was converted to a dc drive so you could cross mill under power. Most big planers had a least two planing heads so one was normally left intact so planing could still be done when needed.

    I'd also make a cover for the long axis " Trav-A-Dial " to keep the chips off it and a " Top Hat " cover for the free end of the milling spindle/drawbar. If that ever gets hold of your sleeve it'll reel you in, or maybe try and scalp you when the top end of the head is inclined towards you.

    Regards Tyrone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyrone Shoelaces View Post
    As far as I could make out the machine has " Trav-A-Dial's " fitted on the table and the cross rail so it has a rudimentary form of positioning. The most important thing is getting all the elements square to the table top and each other. We've discussed this before but if the column's, cross rail and tool posts are leaning forward, normally the case on ancient planers, it doesn't matter much. If they're all leaning forward on a plano mill it causes all sorts of problems, especially with drilling etc.

    I worked on planer to plano-mill conversions in the past with " Futur-Mill " in the UK and we always installed hydraulic clamping to the planing head/milling saddle. Essential with 40HP milling heads. The table drive was converted to an infinitely variable drive whilst still leaving the planing function available to be used. Of course the head/saddle travel screw was converted to a dc drive so you could cross mill under power. Most big planers had a least two planing heads so one was normally left intact so planing could still be done when needed.

    I'd also make a cover for the long axis " Trav-A-Dial " to keep the chips off it and a " Top Hat " cover for the free end of the milling spindle/drawbar. If that ever gets hold of your sleeve it'll reel you in, or maybe try and scalp you when the top end of the head is inclined towards you.

    Regards Tyrone.
    Great info Tyrone. I'll have to look into the fire & aft tram. Never even considered that.

    A chip deflector for the trav-a-dial is also a great idea. I've been considering a DRO.

    I wish I had any of the original planer components. I bought it all stripped, with the updated DC drive but no mill head. I'm assuming the previous owner had a mill head on it but took it off before the auction. Based off the drawings I got with it in a cabinet, it was a large precision drill press.

    Sent from my rotary dial flip fone

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    Quote Originally Posted by stephen thomas View Post
    Can you explain why HR A36 would not have been applicable compared to CR mild steel, then?
    I plane A36 in similar lengths. Cheaper with a lot less, say, "drama".

    I was not impressed that the BP head was faster/better than simple planing. Though perhaps the tool changing between roughing and finishing tools saves time and nuisance in some cases. It's one of those cases where the lighter the cut, the better the BP is for the app. If the metal removal is deep and wide, planer mode/planer tools is probably more efficient.
    BP could be better for slots if a method to clear the chips is obtained, and certainly for T-slots & dovetail slots, though.

    smt
    It's the material the customer wants. It was 4140 Annealed. I can think of several others what would work better, but their order, and they pay the bill.

    As far as not being impressed with the BP head, if I had the parts, it would be a planer. But when you buy someone else's scrap, you adapt to your needs. It works extremely well, and makes a lot of money.

    Sent from my rotary dial flip fone

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    How do you plan to control the pos of the table with any sense of accuracy? That has been the big downfall of planner-mills...Phil

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil in Montana View Post
    How do you plan to control the pos of the table with any sense of accuracy? That has been the big downfall of planner-mills...Phil
    I've got a smaller one as well as a fully functional one. For the one missing some parts my thinking was to fit a big fat ball screw to drive the table. So far I have too many projects but I can't see any reason why it wouldn't work.

    PDW

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    Quote Originally Posted by wgnrr1 View Post
    It's the material the customer wants. It was 4140 Annealed. I can think of several others what would work better, but their order, and they pay the bill.

    As far as not being impressed with the BP head, if I had the parts, it would be a planer. But when you buy someone else's scrap, you adapt to your needs. It works extremely well, and makes a lot of money.

    Sent from my rotary dial flip fone
    I was pleasantly surprised how well the " Bridgeport " head worked. I couldn't criticse the results you are getting.

    We used " Trav-A-Dial " style DRO reading heads on the long travel and ordinary DRO scales on the cross and vertical travels. The reason for that was we sometimes needed to retain the planing function and a normal DRO might not have taken kindly to running at 150 to 200ft a minute. This is back 20 years or so, things might be different today.

    I see you were using the drilled holes in the table top to set your work up to. Over here tables didn't have the drilled holes, just the tee slots. So we had slot irons in the tee slots to set work up to.

    Regards Tyrone.

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    Would the customer be willing to pay for a stress relieving heat treatment before doing any machine work? May help some, will still get some distortion from machining stresses. May wind up with a 1/2" of deflection verses a noodle shape for a finish part. Ken

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    Quote Originally Posted by stephen thomas View Post

    Not very patient watching videos, so might have fast forwarded through some explanation?
    smt
    Did you know that you can speed up the play speed on most videos? On youtube at the bottom right of the screen is an icon of a round gear, if you click that it will open up a few options, click on playback speed and you can choose from 1/4 speed to double speed by 25% increments. Handy for watching things in slow mo as well as just generally speeding up. Most vids I watch at 150% or 175% speed- all depends on how fast the person is talking in the original vid. Another nice thing is the back and forward arrows on your key board will give a 5 or 10 second jump, so if you miss what they said on high speed a tap or two on the keyboard back arrow and you can hear it again.
    Some vid platforms dont have the gear icon, they have a 1X in its place - 1 times the playback speed, click to change, same as the gear.

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    FWIW I was not criticizing the BP head.
    Sometimes even think of putting a SB head on mine. Since all my good tooling is 30T & I like SB tapered roller bearings. But keeping the planer function as Tyrone describes.

    However, in response to the OP's stated open questions, i mentioned things i do or muse about on mine. Again, the BP head is most versatile if the cutters are small. If the jobs end up all being planing/surfacing jobs, you can swing bigger cutters with more rigidity on 40T.

    Missed the travadials. Nice addition.

    The thing about planers is how versatile the platform is, for all sorts of functions. & even small planers provide a rather large work envelop.

    smt


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