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Mobile Army Machine Shop- then and today

Discussion in 'QUESTIONS & ANSWERS (Get Help Fast Here!)' started by Nels, Jun 26, 2011.

  1. Nels

    Nels Founder Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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    The US Army mobile machine shop, 1943:

    Mobile_Machine_Shop_US_Army_1943.jpg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 19, 2011
  2. Pacer

    Pacer Active User Active Member

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    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or window open, uncovered, and sit there to be auctioned off in 15-20 years after the electrics are ruined and totally out of date, and everything else rusty and dusty.
     
  3. Tony Wells

    Tony Wells Vice President Staff Member Administrator

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    Impractical. Does the government actually own any of these, or is that from a prototype or sales pitch?
     
  4. mikew67

    mikew67 Active Member Active Member

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    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 HSM (i.e., some semblance of its former accuracy).

    Mike
     
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  5. mikew67

    mikew67 Active Member Active Member

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    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]

    USS Midway machineroom.jpg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 19, 2011
  6. Tony Wells

    Tony Wells Vice President Staff Member Administrator

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    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.
     
  7. mikew67

    mikew67 Active Member Active Member

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    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 a moderator: Nov 19, 2011
  8. Tony Wells

    Tony Wells Vice President Staff Member Administrator

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    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.
     
  9. mikew67

    mikew67 Active Member Active Member

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    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
     
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  10. Tony Wells

    Tony Wells Vice President Staff Member Administrator

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    I'll dig it up, Mike.
     
  11. Pontiac Freak

    Pontiac Freak Active User Active Member

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    Neat ship! I took the family through it 2 years ago and we were all amazed.
     
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  12. Rbeckett

    Rbeckett Platinum Rest In Peace

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    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
     
  13. HSS

    HSS Active User Active Member

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    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
     
  14. Nels

    Nels Founder Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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    That is a huge lathe aboard the Midway-

    What type was it?


    Nelson
     
  15. Nels

    Nels Founder Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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    That's a beautiful machine.

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


    Nelson
     
  16. Nels

    Nels Founder Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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    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.

    M12%20welding%20truck.jpg M12%20welding%20truck%202.jpg machine%20shop.jpg 0586.jpg gmc214.jpg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 19, 2011
  17. mikew67

    mikew67 Active Member Active Member

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    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.)
     
  18. Nels

    Nels Founder Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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

    http://portland.craigslist.org/mlt/tls/2781522069.html
    [h=2]Army SGPMSMD Machine Shop Equipment Trailer - $9800 (SLE)[/h][HR][/HR]Date: 2012-01-03, 12:27PM PST
    Reply to: sale-jrntb-2781522069@craigslist.org [SUP][Errors when replying to ads?][/SUP][HR][/HR]
    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
    [TABLE]
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    [/TR]
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    [/TR]
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  19. ScrapMetal

    ScrapMetal Active User Active Member

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

    -Ron
     
  20. goldenchips2

    goldenchips2 Active Member Active Member

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    11 mpg highway
    8 mpg city
    gas ain't cheap !!
     
  21. churchjw

    churchjw Active User Active Member

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    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

    Mobile_Machine_Shop_US_Army_1943.jpg 100_6955.JPG
     
  22. 4gsr

    4gsr Global Moderator Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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    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!
     
  23. 4gsr

    4gsr Global Moderator Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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    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.
     
  24. rock_breaker

    rock_breaker Active User Active Member

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    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
     
  25. terrywerm

    terrywerm New Member Liaison Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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    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.
     
  26. Dave Smith

    Dave Smith Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    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
     
  27. Jimsehr

    Jimsehr Active User Active Member

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



    [​IMG]
     
  28. ddmunroe

    ddmunroe Active User Active Member

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    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
     
  29. ddmunroe

    ddmunroe Active User Active Member

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    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

    Krause.jpg
     
  30. Marco Bernardini

    Marco Bernardini Active User Active Member

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    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)

    Sun_modular_datacenter.jpg
     

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