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Thread: Mobile Army Machine Shop- then and today

  1. #1
    Founder Nels's Avatar
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    Mobile Army Machine Shop- then and today

    The US Army mobile machine shop, 1943:

    [attach=1]


    and today, an 8' x 8' x 20' custom portable CNC machine shop was built for the U.S. Army to house a sophisticated, computer controlled manufacturing facility meeting stringent size, weight, and operational constraints; self-contained, air (C-130), ground (PLS/trailer) or rail transportable, easy to deploy and re-deploy, controlled user friendly work environment.


    [attach=2]


    Special Features of portable CNC machine shop Include:

    7-ton Mazak Lathe
    Two-Way Satellite
    Communications
    Advanced Computer
    Workstation
    High Pressure Air System
    Leveling Jacks and a
    Self-Articulating, Fold-Out
    Sidewall Work Area
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Starlight Tools; 11-19-11 at 08:53 PM.
    My toys: South Bend Heavy 10L Lathe (1978), Burke #4 Milling Machine (1946), Van Norman #12 Milling Machine (1942), South Bend 14" Drill Press.

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  3. #2
    Bronze Pacer's Avatar
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    Re: Mobile Army Machine Shop- then and today

    That sure looks like a fine set-up -- have to wonder what "we" paid for it. And the sad part is, in 3-4-5 years (if that long), it'll be shuttled off in some corner of a base and left with a door or window open, uncovered, and sit there to be auctioned off in 15-20 years after the electrics are ruined and totally out of date, and everything else rusty and dusty.

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    Administrator Tony Wells's Avatar
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    Re: Mobile Army Machine Shop- then and today

    Impractical. Does the government actually own any of these, or is that from a prototype or sales pitch?
    "A man who works with his hands is a laborer. A man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman. A man who works with his hands, his brain and his heart is an artist."

    -Louis Nizer

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    Re: Mobile Army Machine Shop- then and today

    Quote Originally Posted by Pacer link=topic=2576.msg17505#msg17505 date=1309091176
    That sure looks like a fine set-up -- have to wonder what "we" paid for it. And the sad part is, in 3-4-5 years (if that long), it'll be shuttled off in some corner of a base and left with a door or window open, uncovered, and sit there to be auctioned off in 15-20 years after the electrics are ruined and totally out of date, and everything else rusty and dusty.
    Pacer, I think you have it right -- but not just for the military. I just bought a Mitutoyo CMM (coordinate measuring machine) off the surplus list from SLAC (Stanford Linear Accelerator Center -- a research facility funded by your tax dollars and mine :-) The good news is that it only cost me $80. The bad news is that it sat unprotected from the weather on a loading dock for many years. My first step was to use about a gallon of EvapoRust to remove the rust from the (formerly) very precise THK linear ways and bearings. The balls were unrecoverable (but easily replaced). The electronics are missing. It was only used for a couple months -- until they determined that they couldn't use it successfully for beam alignment.

    I'm still optimistic that I'll be able to recover it to a level useful for an ... (i.e., some semblance of its former accuracy).

    Mike
    Last edited by Starlight Tools; 11-19-11 at 08:56 PM.

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    Re: Mobile Army Machine Shop- then and today

    Just for grins, here's a picture of a corner of the machine shop onboard the USS Midway, a late/post WWII aircraft carrier, now docked as a historical display for the GAP (Great American Public) in San Diego harbor. Looks like the Navy got to carry heavier iron :-)

    Mike

    [attachimg=1]
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Starlight Tools; 11-19-11 at 08:57 PM.

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    Administrator Tony Wells's Avatar
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    Re: Mobile Army Machine Shop- then and today

    Heidenhein makes good scales that you could most likely repair your CMM with. I've worked on Boice and Hansford CMM's a bit. Mostly pretty straightforward.
    "A man who works with his hands is a laborer. A man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman. A man who works with his hands, his brain and his heart is an artist."

    -Louis Nizer

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    Re: Mobile Army Machine Shop- then and today

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Wells link=topic=2576.msg17717#msg17717 date=1309277661
    Heidenhein makes good scales that you could most likely repair your CMM with. I've worked on Boice and Hansford CMM's a bit. Mostly pretty straightforward.
    Tony,

    Thanks. I'm hoping to recover the existing scales. The linear scales, the read heads and the preamps are there and appear OK. I just need to reverse engineer the preamps and go from there. (Anybody have any inside info on Mitutoyo CMM electronics? :-) My main issue is with rusting of the linear tracks. Plan is to dissolve the rust (done) and hone the tracks with diamond paste.

    Mike
    Last edited by Starlight Tools; 11-19-11 at 08:58 PM.

  11. #8
    Administrator Tony Wells's Avatar
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    Re: Mobile Army Machine Shop- then and today

    I have a copy of some older, but still useful, IMO, software for CMM use. I'd have to think about the interface a bit, but as I recall, it's not too complicated. This software is PC based. It comes from Caliper Designs.
    "A man who works with his hands is a laborer. A man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman. A man who works with his hands, his brain and his heart is an artist."

    -Louis Nizer

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    Re: Mobile Army Machine Shop- then and today

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Wells link=topic=2576.msg17720#msg17720 date=1309279892
    I have a copy of some older, but still useful, IMO, software for CMM use. I'd have to think about the interface a bit, but as I recall, it's not too complicated. This software is PC based. It comes from Caliper Designs.
    Tony,

    Thanks. Any info on the electronics and hardware would be especially useful. (I plan to rewrite the software, since it'll probably run on an embedded system.) But the software would be useful, too, especially insofar as it helps me define the interface hardware and timing.

    Mike
    Last edited by Starlight Tools; 11-19-11 at 08:59 PM.

  13. #10
    Administrator Tony Wells's Avatar
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    Re: Mobile Army Machine Shop- then and today

    I'll dig it up, Mike.
    "A man who works with his hands is a laborer. A man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman. A man who works with his hands, his brain and his heart is an artist."

    -Louis Nizer

  14. #11
    Brass Pontiac Freak's Avatar
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    Re: Mobile Army Machine Shop- then and today

    Quote Originally Posted by mikew67 link=topic=2576.msg17687#msg17687 date=1309248999
    Just for grins, here's a picture of a corner of the machine shop onboard the USS Midway, a late/post WWII aircraft carrier, now docked as a historical display for the GAP (Great American Public) in San Diego harbor. Looks like the Navy got to carry heavier iron :-)

    Mike

    [attachimg=1]
    Neat ship! I took the family through it 2 years ago and we were all amazed.
    Last edited by Starlight Tools; 11-19-11 at 08:59 PM.

  15. #12
    Global Moderator Rbeckett's Avatar
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    Re: Mobile Army Machine Shop- then and today

    The biggest issue with the mobile machine center is the armies policy that no feild fabbed parts will be installed. While I was in Iraq we had several issues of air leaks and could fabricate a perfectly usable replacement hose but were not allowed to since the replacement part did not have a NSSN and may or may not have been compliant with some obscure, esoteric standard. These were all MRAP vehicles built by International, nothing special other than the armor. It was very frustrating to hold a vehicle for one simple line and wait 7-8 weeks for it to arrive. Happened too many times to too many vehicles. Hated that aspect of that job.
    Bob
    If you don't have something positive to say, keep it to yourself it makes you look so much smarter.

    Life Resolution--NEVER let my shop get cluttered again....EVER!!!!!

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    Re: Mobile Army Machine Shop- then and today

    The machine shop on board a Navy vessel was always a much nicer and more convenient work center than anything transportable by the Army. When the Navy moved to a new location, the machine shop didn't have to fold their tents. When the Army moved to a new location, everything had to be closed up, folded up and packed up. We had a machine shop truck in our company in Viet Nam that looked like the WWII machine shop in the picture. The sides opened up and the floor slid out on both sides. I think it opened up to about 15' wide, IIRC. Sometimes I think I would like to have one of those old machine shops on wheels, but I get over it and say "naw"

    Pat

  17. #14
    Founder Nels's Avatar
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    Re: Mobile Army Machine Shop- then and today

    That is a huge lathe aboard the Midway-

    What type was it?


    Nelson
    My toys: South Bend Heavy 10L Lathe (1978), Burke #4 Milling Machine (1946), Van Norman #12 Milling Machine (1942), South Bend 14" Drill Press.

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    Founder Nels's Avatar
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    Re: Mobile Army Machine Shop- then and today

    That's a beautiful machine.

    Way too big for my tiny home shop, but still, nice.


    Nelson

    My toys: South Bend Heavy 10L Lathe (1978), Burke #4 Milling Machine (1946), Van Norman #12 Milling Machine (1942), South Bend 14" Drill Press.

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    Founder Nels's Avatar
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    Re: Mobile Army Machine Shop- then and today

    Some more Army mobile machine and welding shops!

    Ordnance Maintenance Truck, 2 1/2 Ton

    There were several types of trucks beyond those pictured below, including the automotive repair truck, for general vehicle maintenance; the electrical repair truck, for various types of automotive electrical equipment; the instrument bench truck, to maintain and repair special fire-control equipment; and the tire repair truck.

    [attach=1]

    [attach=2]

    Of the vehicles shown, only the machine shop welding trucks had their own electrical generator; the others got their electricity from other generators in the maintenance unit.


    [attach=3]

    [attach=4]

    Welding Truck M12
    The M12 has a hardtop cab. The generator is the same as the machine shop variant and powered the arc welder. The images come from TM 9-2852 on Welding Theory and Application, 3rd June 1943. According to Steve Malikoff, it's a great TM and still very relevant on technique and equipment, including a detailed chapter on how to repair shell holes and cracks in armor plate using a variety of methods. This lightproof welding screen and snap-on window curtains were provided to shield the work being welded and prevent detection when welding at night.


    [attach=5]

    [attach=6]


    Machine Shop Truck M16A1, M16A2
    These trucks were used for general machine shop work. While M16A1 was basically a heavy lathe truck, M16A2 had a 10 inch bench lathe, a 7 inch bench shaper, an electric bench grinder, a 10-ton hydraulic press, and a special 1/2 inch drill press that was "very much like a radial drill." It had a full complement of hand tools, gauges, calipers, extractors, etc.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Starlight Tools; 11-19-11 at 09:10 PM.
    My toys: South Bend Heavy 10L Lathe (1978), Burke #4 Milling Machine (1946), Van Norman #12 Milling Machine (1942), South Bend 14" Drill Press.

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    Re: Mobile Army Machine Shop- then and today

    Thanks, Allthumbz, for the neat pictures and history!

    Wonder how uniform the lathe cuts were in the presence of "incoming"?

    Mike (who's workshop is about the same size and even more crowded, but not mobile, even though it's in a garage

    PS: BTW, I should forward this thread to a friend who is now president of the MVTF (Military Vehicle Technology Foundation; check it out at http://www.mvtf.org/ And if you're ever in the SF Bay Area, you simply have to do a tour.)

  21. #18
    Founder Nels's Avatar
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    Re: Mobile Army Machine Shop- then and today

    Here is another modern mobile Army machine shop for sale on Ebay:

    http://portland.craigslist.org/mlt/tls/2781522069.html
    Army SGPMSMD Machine Shop Equipment Trailer - $9800 (SLE)


    Date: 2012-01-03, 12:27PM PST
    Reply to: sale-jrntb-2781522069@craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?]

    Here's your chance to own a mobile turn-key machine shop and a peice of history.

    Description provided by previous owner...

    "This SGPMSMD Shop Equipment Trailer was manufactured by the Southwest Truck Body Company for the U.S. Army. It features a 60 kilowatt White-Diesel generator set with a Hobart DC Welder, a 60,000 BTU furnace, 27-inch lathe, drill press, air compressor and more, plus tent accessories to enclose the trailer when the clamshell doors are open."

    Please note that this unique trailer weighs 31,000 pounds. No trades please.

    keywords: mill, lathe, grinder, cutter, dro, vise, press, cnc, phase, machining, surplus, military, militaria, WWI, WWII, rare

    • Location: SLE
    • it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
    My toys: South Bend Heavy 10L Lathe (1978), Burke #4 Milling Machine (1946), Van Norman #12 Milling Machine (1942), South Bend 14" Drill Press.

  22. #19
    Tungsten Carbide ScrapMetal's Avatar
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    Re: Mobile Army Machine Shop- then and today

    Dang, I really, really would like to have that parked in my driveway.

    -Ron
    South Bend 11" Lathe
    Wells-Index 860 Mill
    Queen City Shaper

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  24. #20
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    Re: Mobile Army Machine Shop- then and today

    11 mpg highway
    8 mpg city
    gas ain't cheap !!

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    Cast Iron churchjw's Avatar
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    Re: Mobile Army Machine Shop- then and today

    The thing I get a kick out of in this picture is the cabinets on the left.

    Mobile_Machine_Shop_US_Army_1943.jpg

    Here is the same cabinet in my shop.

    100_6955.JPG

    It was painted blue when I got it and I added the wheels and a new top. I had never seen one in original use. Very cool to see.

    Jeff

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  27. #22
    packrat 4gsr's Avatar
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    Re: Mobile Army Machine Shop- then and today

    and today, an 8' x 8' x 20' custom portable CNC machine shop was built for the U.S. Army to house a sophisticated, computer controlled manufacturing facility meeting stringent size, weight, and operational constraints; self-contained, air (C-130), ground (PLS/trailer) or rail transportable, easy to deploy and re-deploy, controlled user friendly work environment.


    Special Features of portable CNC machine shop Include:

    7-ton Mazak Lathe
    Two-Way Satellite

    All thumbs,

    This portable machine shop was built down here where I live by a company called Clegg Industries. I can throw rocks at their building from my house! They build speciality portable mobile equipment for the military, postal service, medical industry, but mainly for our Government.

    Everytime they move that Mazak lathe, they have to call in to get the new GPS coordants valudated!
    Ken

    A 1954 20" Lodge & Shipley Model X gap bed lathe, A 1957 13" Sheldon Sebastian lathe, A 1949 9" South Bend lathe, 645 Wells Index mill, Brown & Sharpe 612 Valuemaster surface grinder and other misc junk (my gold mines to me).

  28. #23
    packrat 4gsr's Avatar
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    Re: Mobile Army Machine Shop- then and today

    Quote Originally Posted by mikew67 View Post
    Just for grins, here's a picture of a corner of the machine shop onboard the USS Midway, a late/post WWII aircraft carrier, now docked as a historical display for the GAP (Great American Public) in San Diego harbor. Looks like the Navy got to carry heavier iron :-)

    Mike

    [attachimg=1]
    I'm rebuilding a Lodge & Shipley lathe just like this one but with a longer bed and has a gap in the bed.

    That's a 1950's model L & S lathe, it's not WWII vintage.
    Ken

    A 1954 20" Lodge & Shipley Model X gap bed lathe, A 1957 13" Sheldon Sebastian lathe, A 1949 9" South Bend lathe, 645 Wells Index mill, Brown & Sharpe 612 Valuemaster surface grinder and other misc junk (my gold mines to me).

  29. #24
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    Re: Mobile Army Machine Shop- then and today

    The men working in the moble shop in the first picture reminded me of the Phillipines then I saw the chains on the truck tires, of course it could have been the monsoon season but I never saw chains at Cubi Point, Luzon 1956-1957.

    Ray
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  30. #25
    Global Moderator terrywerm's Avatar
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    Re: Mobile Army Machine Shop- then and today

    Quote Originally Posted by churchjw View Post
    The thing I get a kick out of in this picture is the cabinets on the left.

    Mobile_Machine_Shop_US_Army_1943.jpg

    Here is the same cabinet in my shop.

    100_6955.JPG

    It was painted blue when I got it and I added the wheels and a new top. I had never seen one in original use. Very cool to see.

    Jeff
    I've got that exact same cabinet!!! Mine was not blue, but was/is mostly olive drab, but primer red where the paint is scratched or wore off. I got it with my Logan 210 lathe mounted on top of it. It has an added top on it that extends to the right and supports the tailstock end of the lathe. Not the most sturdy setup, but I am working on making some changes there. When I got it, it was pretty shaky, I had to apply some short welds in a few strategic places to firm it up. The two large drawers at the very bottom open and close really hard, so I have to look into that also. I suppose I will have to snap a pic and post it here one of these days.
    Wermie
    Don't take life too seriously - no one gets out alive!

    Making chips with old machines- Keller 5HD power hacksaw, Logan 210 lathe, Clausing 8520 mill.

  31. #26
    Cast Iron
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    Re: Mobile Army Machine Shop- then and today

    Quote Originally Posted by churchjw View Post
    The thing I get a kick out of in this picture is the cabinets on the left.

    Mobile_Machine_Shop_US_Army_1943.jpg

    Here is the same cabinet in my shop.

    100_6955.JPG

    It was painted blue when I got it and I added the wheels and a new top. I had never seen one in original use. Very cool to see.

    Jeff
    Jeff--I also have two cabinets just like them in my shop--very heavy duty--one is green and the other is light grey---I have a lot of heavy items in the drawers and they were hard to pull open and push shut until I pulled them out and put heavy grease on the bottom edges and the support guides.--Dave

  32. #27
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    Re: Mobile Army Machine Shop- then and today

    This is my machine shop truck with me in the doorway.
    jimsehr




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  34. #28
    Brass ddmunroe's Avatar
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    Re: Mobile Army Machine Shop- then and today

    Hi Jimsehr,
    Your pic looks like it could tell a thousand words with it, would you be kind enough to tell us what you mostly did with your mobi-shop and maybe some memorable jobs as well. You would have to be a pretty self sufficient person to do this kind of work.
    Thank You
    dd

  35. #29
    Brass ddmunroe's Avatar
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    Re: Mobile Army Machine Shop- then and today

    This is a most remarkable machine.
    If you look to the far left on the floor ... you will see the powering electric motor then follow this to the line shaft then drive belts built into the roof ! You can just see the shaper head above the mill table.
    Now this is machine built to go mobile.
    dd
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    Re: Mobile Army Machine Shop- then and today

    Quote Originally Posted by ddmunroe View Post
    This is a most remarkable machine.
    If you look to the far left on the floor ... you will see the powering electric motor then follow this to the line shaft then drive belts built into the roof ! You can just see the shaper head above the mill table.
    Now this is machine built to go mobile.
    dd
    Nice!
    I think these mobile shops could be useful not just for warfare operations, but also in case of disasters (quakes, etc.) involving thousands of civilians.
    A similar solution, but in the data management, was proposed some years ago by Sun Microsystems with their cool "Project Blackbox":

    Sun_modular_datacenter.jpg

    (Image from Wikimedia Commons)
    ← here

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