Rockford SA16 vertical slotter / shaper
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  1. #1
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    Default Rockford SA16 vertical slotter / shaper

    Rockford SA16 vertical slotter / shaper

    28” dia. Table
    3-22” stroke
    24” between table and toolholder
    Rotary table and dividing feature
    Ram adjustment: 22"

    10hp. 220/440 volt

    $15K US obo

    Excellent condition, runs perfectly. used in a one man shop.
    Retiring and need to clean a lot of machinery out of the shop
    In Vancouver BC, We can load onto a truck and we can help with
    brokerage to the USA

    posting this for user Collector. rockford1.jpgrockford2.jpgrockford3.jpgrockford4.jpgrockford5.jpg

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    The shop I apprenticed in had one of these. What a great machine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eKretz View Post
    The shop I apprenticed in had one of these. What a great machine.

    Me too!
    Continental Machine and Engineering in East Chicago, In.
    The slotter is on the right hand side in what was called
    the small machine bay
    grey-mattison-norton-rockford.jpg
    John

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    Well I'll be damned, we're practically brothers then. That's the exact machine and shop I was talking about! What years were you in there? 1994 to 1999 for me.

    Seeing that pic brings back memories. Would have been the Hydro-Tel 1 in the left front (did they have the 2nd one while you were there? It was acquired around the middle of my time there). I know the Mattison was between the 4' planer and the slotter. I see the 38" Tuda lathe peeking out back there on the right, and the small OD grinder too. The Van Norman was over there somewhere, just past the foreman's cubicles maybe? And of course the parade of G&Ls.

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    Just missed me. From '91 to '93 and the work dried up in the fall. Went to work for a s...-hole company called Acutus. Knew that was a bad choice when I saw the padlock on the first aid box because people were using up the bandaids. Left after three months.

    I ran the slotter to cut a keyway in a bull gear drive coupling for LTV.
    The tapered keys were done on the Cincinnati Hydrotel. There was only one in '93 and it started leaking lots of hydraulic fluid by then.
    Beyond the Van Norman there were the transfer car tracks to the large machine bay and a very large O.D. grinder that was sold to Egypt.
    Across from the 8" G&L post mill in the large bay was a second set of floor plates. This set was for a large Morton post mill that was also sold.
    In the photo just after the tool boxes on the left was a 4" G&L table bar.Can't see the column but the end of the ways are just peeking out. It had a nice airlift rotary table. Very nice to use no matter what job was on it. That table was made at Blaw Knox and when Continental was started by ex Blaw Knox employees that table sorta showed up or so the story goes.

    After the 4" the other bars were 5" heavy duty types with outrigger table support.
    The #2 5" G&L came from Belgium. The tags were in French. The foundation was four to five feet deep and isolated like the other machines.
    The #3 bar was a Scharrman and it had a lot of nice features. My brother ran that one a lot.
    The last 5" G&L had a loud headstock one needed earplugs.
    Beyond that there was a neat horizontal drill press. The head moved up and down and the column traversed ways like a post mill. Made in England and super easy to run. Didn't get enough work so it disappeared.

    Here is a job I set up and ran on the Bullard. 33 Bearing chocks for the California Steel new single high rolling mill, see T2 with the liquid metal terminator. Job was split with I think Mitsubishi heavy industries. They did the other 33. We got the job because of US sourced content, thanks at least for that. Set to the lay-out and took 1/4" a side out of the bores just to rough. Three shifts back then.
    small-machine-bay.jpgcontiental-machine-engineering.jpgcalifornia-steel-bearing-chock.jpgtop-face.jpg
    Rumor was that Sun had a slotter and the machinist stuck his head in the bore to take a peek. They called the fire department for extraction.
    Always be aware of where your hands are.

    This job was on a Poreba lathe at the s-h company. The floor had cracks everywhere so they would lag 1" plate to the floor and bolt the lathes to that. The taper ran all over the place during the cut.
    gate-valve-pull-rod.jpg
    John

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    Yep, I know Acutus. You must know Jon Allen then. I worked with him for a time. You're probably already aware, but Acutus later changed names to SMS Millcraft - and even moved into the old Blaw-Knox shop for a while. We did a lot of sub work for them at another shop. I am guessing you knew Jason Cathcart, Bill Whyte, LePew and the all those guys. I was pretty good friends with a lot of the guys back then. Lost touch with a lot of them but still talk to Bill Whyte.

    The 8" G&L HBM you're remembering was a 7" unless they dumped it and got a new one in the year between you and I. Never saw the Morton. I think I logged over 4,000 hours in the large bay on the HBMs. My favorite was the 6"- I. Mostly ran those but had a good bit of time on the larger lathes, verticals, planers and etc. I remember cutting a fair number of keyways on the slotter in those R-4 drive couplings too. I really remember milling the outside of the couplings - mostly because of the very vividly colored blue and purple chips. The WeldMold overlay they used sure came off with some pretty colors. I ended up as lead man on midnights when I was starting the 4th year of my apprenticeship, heh.

    The Scharmann was a heap of sh*t by the time I ever ran it. Mostly because the rapid clutches didn't work worth a darn anymore. They never bothered tio fix it. I did rebuild that 5"-IV that was loud; made new liners for the table bottom and even broad-nosed the top on the 6' planer. Was pretty nice when it was finished. I think that 5" #2 was the only one that went over 375 RPM.

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    Right, that was a 7" G&L, old memories. Dave Gaugert ran it when I was on midnights. Jason was a younger than me and was the day foreman when I stopped in years later. It had really downsized by then.
    Ha! Did you get a chance to run the LeBlond-a-Saurus-Rex in the large bay or the Cincinnati Gilbert HBM? My brother had a job at that post mill when Jimmy Glaze came over to ask why the welder was plugging the holes. The read-outs burped and the next ten holes in a row were off.
    Jason found the Swiss pattern flaker and screwed up the bed on one of the 5" G&L's. It just sucked dirt under the wipers after that.

    Too bad about the Scharrman. I set up a job on the table and hit rapid. The selector was set for the spindle and lucky me it just missed the part when the spindle shot out three feet while I was looking for the table to move. Did you know the feed could be changed while running. If the clutches were like a Wotan they would have been adjustable and not so hard to reset.
    I think the #2 5" had the high speed sub-spindle.
    Duane O'Roake still alive when you were there? Good on the lathe, sucked running a bar, worse as a foreman. Another reason I left.
    Dave Doan was real good, day foreman.
    Night foreman? Then maybe Jeff, tall going bald and can't remember his last name, moved on. He was good too and went to some place in Michigan City. I remember faces more than names but might have known Bill Whyte.
    There was some guy nick-named 'Preacher'. I was running the Swasey when he had a 10" chunk of a bad saw cut chucked in the 25" Lodge & Shipely. I was making a bunch of bushings and started hearing ka-chunk ka-chunk Ka-chunk Bam. He was maybe twenty feet behind me and threw that round out of the chuck and it was coming right for me as I was finishing a bore. Got out of the cut and stopped the spindle and ran.
    That round nailed the chip pan right where I was standing.
    Best Memory: the giant leg o-ham for Christmas even tho there was a lay-off one year. Everybody got called called in for that. It was like the whole back leg. Lots of guys would put in a new blade and cut it on the DoAll ("that's not a band saw, it's a DoAll )

  9. #8
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    Oh yeah, those hams were great. Turkeys at Thanksgiving too. One new guy they hired on as foreman for midnights when I was leaving was such a jerk that the guys stole his turkey, haha. He was dumb enough to stick it in his truck bed...somebody snatched it. There was a pretty good war going there for a while.

    Yeah I knew Duane, he was afternoons foreman when I started. Mostly hid out in the office, didn't do a whole lot out in the shop. I learned early that he didn't like to be bothered so when I was on afternoons I'd just go and grab a Journeyman when I had a question or problem. Dave Doan I liked a lot. Got along real well with him. His brother Damon was nights lead-man for a while, then he went to Ford I think. I knew Bill Wall pretty well through a good friend of mine. Lot of liquid lunches for that guy, always smelled like booze.

    Jimmy Glaze and I actually got to be pretty good buddies. I saw everybody was afraid of him when he came down the bay and they always kept their heads down and tried to look busy since he had a pretty well-deserved rep for chewing asses. I remember one time I was running that little 4" G&L roughing some keyways with a 2" indexable milling cutter. It was running out something awful so I was only running a pretty low feed. He saw that and came right over asking why the feed was so low...and proceeded to double it...then started a cut. Got about 4 inches into the cut and grenaded the cutter. That was a funny face he made. I got to regrind the spindle taper in place after that though...haha. After that I would actively seek him out every time I had a problem. We got along like gangbusters from then on. He was an excellent machinist, but definitely a bit of a hard-ass. After you gained his respect he was fine though. If you didn't then look out.

    The Gilbert, yup I ran that one quite a few times, rapids didn't work great on that either. You'd hit the button and the rapid motor would run but the machine would move maybe an inch then stall. Every time. Hit it again. And again. Then one of those times it would take off unexpectedly. I remember someone wrote on the blueprint stand of the Gilbert: "If Cincinnati made an airplane, would you fly in it?" It was a clunker.

    LeBlond-a-Saurus..
    I have to assume you are referring to the 48" lathe across from the giant cast iron surface plate slash inspection table. Yep, lots of time on that too, turning and inspecting expanding mandrels. Found a picture of that one looking through my stash.

    20200112_155807.jpg

    We ought to get together and have a beer, shoot the shit some time. I'm in Crown Point. Shoot me a PM.

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  11. #9
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    Couple more I found.

    14' VBM
    20200112_162812.jpg

    View from the 7" G&L in main bay looking southeast. 6' planer and the 52" Schiess lathe visible.
    20200112_163307.jpg

    Small bay north end by the transfer tracks looking south.
    Hydro-Tel 2 right there on the left. That was a nice machine.
    20200112_163127.jpg

    North end main bay, some finished drive gears for one of the mills.
    20200112_155733.jpg

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    And the old 7".

    20200112_163037.jpg

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    Ya, lots of guys did not want to see Jimmy Glaze stop at their machine, "what is your surface speed, feed rate-feed per tooth, what does it finish at, do you think anyone can make a dollar off this job with you running so slow........this is your job as the foreman so why aren't you teaching these machinists anything (to Duane O'Roarke)" I got to liking the guy.....cause he really was always right.

    Some back story. Glaze worked at Blaw Knox in East Chicago, In. and ran the 12" Schiess post mill. Those guys at BK had a shop mentality that WWII was still a hot war and when they started Continental that came with. Did you know that Blaw Knox poured and machined the turret castings for the M-60 tank? Mike Tutaco told me a story about a young machinist sitting on a turret while drilling a hole with a big radial drill. While straddling the hole a stringer formed and ripped his pants right off.

    The down coiler - mandrel had some plates we called the Christmas Tree. These plates were the guides for the expansion or contraction when holding or releasing coiled steel at the end of the line. The individual plates were set up at an angle on a sub-table on the Hydrotel so the pockets could be milled out. The office door was right by the machine and usually 6:15 - 6:30am Jimmy would come out. I was on midnights and finishing the last pocket and bang, Glaze was standing right next to me asking the usual questions. Being sleep deprived the only thing that really snapped me awake was when he asked if I had been fucking off all night. At that point the squeak of the end mill made sense and looking down I had neglected to flip the feed rate to Hi-Range. I did that and the squeak was replaced by a purr. Turning to Jimmy I heard myself say 'I had only been fucking off this last twenty minutes or so, not all night'. Thought that was it but without another word he turned and walked away. Later the guys asked me "What did you say to him?".
    The Bullard was across from the office door and I was running a bunch of rings. I saved the last one for the end of the shift and when Jimmy, Al Sakelaris and company came out the door I had the turret cutting the top face and the side head finishing the O.D. The ring was chucked on the I.D. Two tools in the cut was always good for a gold star. The rings were pretty big so the chips would miss the fence and scatter across the floor. It was one of those jobs you could spool up the rpms. Those guys all had really nice shoes and even Glaze was not going to walk thru hot chips.

    The Schiess lathe, was the Weipert lathe still back there? They punched thru the concrete and put in a smart looking foundation.
    The big lathes by the cafeteria, 25" L&S and the Monarch 30" I think and 19" LeBlond.. Trains would run across the street and the vibration would show up in the finish cut. I don't think they had a separate foundation cells.
    I can see the top of the Hydraulic Press in the 7" G&L photo. It was a Saturday and a millright was back there working alone. He had placed a brass slug between the ram and the part. Eye level with the part he brought up the pressure till that brass deformed, shot out and nailed him right between the eyes.
    When the machine work light burned out the used ones turned into projectiles. made a nice pop. Damon Doan had a pitchers arm. He would get that 1" diameter chalk and send it. Ended up as a cloud of dust. There was a guy named Phil McCormick. Always sleepy looking and I saw him take a break from running the Monarch and scale the fencing that enclosed the toolroom, for a nap. Phil had a job on the Bullard so he climbed on the the table to mic the size. He had his plumbers pants that day and I saw Damon score right in the red zone. After that he was Phil McCracken.
    That Midnight shift had a great bunch of guys.
    Was there an afternoon foreman named Ron Yerivik? Short guy, Napoleon type? His pants were always too long and he scuffed his shoes when he walked. Don't know why but I called him 'Scooter' one fine day That didn't go over well. That one I'd take back. Besides, he had another nickname.
    Those are great photos Thanks for posting. Lots of nice micro breweries around. A beer sounds good!

    Hey there is a nice slotter for sale in B.C. Somebody buy it!

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    Ah yep, my memory failed that time. It was the 52" Weipert lathe over there, not Schiess. I really liked that lathe, it was a sweet machine. And goddamn that's funny about Phil McCracken. I always wondered why they called him that, haha. He was a basset hound looking S.O.B. you are absolutely right.

    I did know about the tanks, I know a few guys who worked at Blaw-Knox during that time, including Mike Tutaco! I had Mike for my 3rd year apprentice classroom teacher. I wish that place hadn't crashed and burned. My machine shop teacher from high school worked there and his father too. His father was the superintendent of the B-K foundry - his name was Achilles Gatto. Good people.

    Speaking of Jimmy chewing out Duane, I got him really reamed by Jimmy once. Somebody did something on the 38" Tuda that sheared a 2" splined shaft in the headstock, so we got tasked with making a new one. Turned the shaft and went to cut the splines on the Bridgeport. I ended up with the task of finishing the splines after the day shift managed to get everything roughed out just in time for afternoon shift, haha.

    Anyway, I go to start finishing and I can NOT get a cut made without chatter from hell. I tried a new cutter, lighter cuts, heavier cuts, slower RPM, faster RPM...no dice. I finally grabbed the cutter and pushed up and down. Must have been a full ⅛" of play in the thrust direction. Son of a b... So I go and get Duane and he says "Did you try this? Did you try that?" Yup, tried it all. So he says , "Well, just make do and try to get it done," and heads back to the office. I'm thinking "Nah, that's B.S. - where's Jimmy... "

    So I just bided my time until Jimmy made his last rounds of the day and as soon as he came out of the office I was on him like a fly on you know what. I explained the situation and he said "Well why didn't you get your foreman?" After I explained that I had tried and told him what Duane had said he got one hell of a fiery look in his eye and said "Wait here."

    I saw him go into the office and stand in the doorway hollering at Duane for a good 10 minutes. They both walked out after that and Duane made a big show of checking out the spindle, heh. Then with Jimmy standing over his shoulder he said "OK, shut it down, lock it out and let's get it fixed. Go ahead and start tearing it apart and we'll order some new bearings." He gave me a pretty good bitching at later for going to Jimmy. It was totally worth it.

    That press story still went around while I was there. That was a pretty decent sized sucker too, 500 ton was it? I remember pranking the afternoons lead man once with a dry ice "bomb" I tossed under that press. I swear he thought that thing blew a line or something, spent a good 15 minutes looking all over that thing top to bottom. Finally found the blown out plastic soda pop bottle. Never did find out who did it, luckily I was pretty well liked by all the guys, haha. I got the midnights jerk foreman before I left too - used a cigarette as a time delay fuse on an M80 up in the small bay rafters. Big old boom and cloud of dust when it went off. Here I was having been back at my 5" G&L for 5 minutes as honest looking as you please... He had NO idea what had happened and was all over the place trying to figure it out.

    And yeah, another bump for the slotter! Great machine, wish I had room for it. Hope we're not boring any readers to tears with these old stories, haha.


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