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Adding power lift to Rong Fu RF-45 Mill Drill. Next was adding quill DRO.

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robstaples

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#1
Adding power lift to Rong Fu RF-45 Mill Drill. Next was adding quill DRO.
This my first mill project. I bought the Rong Fu RF-45 from ENCO with the 2 channel DRO ( by Acu-Rite) and power feed table. My early experience moving the power head up and down required me to walk around and use my right hand/arm as my left was an uncomfortable chore. My machine has a left side shaft and crank handle. I decided to add the same type power head to the shaft. I was concerned that the unit wouldn't have the torque to lift the heavy head so I found a gear set with a 4 to 1 ratio and bearing shaft from SurplusCenter.com.(no affiliation) Both projects were accomplished without modifying the original machine except for bolt replacement(longer).
I bought a knee lift (z axis) power feed that was for a Bridgeport and uses a 3/4 shaft extension with same threads as the bearing shaft. My project attaches using longer screws (2 of the 4) that hold the crank handle shaft to the main frame (see parts diagram). I didn't disassemble the unit for this write up but hopefully you'll get the idea from my pictures. The frame is all aluminum and in 2 pieces. Base plate bolted to the RF45 frame and has a hollowed out recess to enclose the mill crank support flange (part 537 in parts below). I used scrap AL 4 " channel for the frame and purchased short piece of 3" pipe with 1" wall for the bearing shaft holder. The bearing holder, welded to the perpendicular bracket is bolted together with slots to allow for final gear spacing. Two issues: the power feed handle is reversed : lever down lifts the head, and up lowers it. I tried mounting the unit upside down to correct.. looked too goofy. I thought about opening the unit and reversing it electrically but have gotten use to the 'down is up'. The other issue is the power unit end of travel switches and stops are not placed. I haven't figured out a good place that doesn't interfere with operation. It hasn't been a problem and I don't raise the head unattended.


My unit had x-y DRO and no z axis. The quill design on this unit didn't include a quill measurement. Rather than a separate readout, I wanted it on my DRO screen. To add a glass base encoder would be a challenge(ENCO doesn't do it even for special order). I found a rotary encoder and adapter that connected to an extended quill spring cover holder screw. I got the encoder adapter connecting the encoder to 6mm (1/4") extended screw. Made an encoder holder out of AL and spaced it out from the cast iron using an existing hole. The wiring was simple to connect to a DB9 male plug. I did upgrade to a 3 channel DRO head (Tried it first on the 2 channel to make sure it worked). I got the encoder with 2500 pulses per revolution (most that I could find for the least $).
My quill has 4.3" per revolution and 2500 pulses/rev , so the precision of movement detection should be around 1.72 thousandth -- more than enough for my work. If you wanted more, they make higher resolution encoders.


RF45 (5 of 7).jpg Purchase bearing shaft.jpg Purchase gear set.jpg RF45 (1 of 7).jpg RF45 (6 of 7).jpg RF45 (4 of 7).jpg RF45 (7 of 7).jpg RF45 (1 of 3).jpg RF45 (2 of 3).jpg RF45 (3 of 3).jpg

Purchase bearing shaft.jpg Purchase gear set.jpg RF45 (1 of 3).jpg RF45 (1 of 7).jpg RF45 (2 of 3).jpg RF45 (2 of 7).jpg RF45 (3 of 3).jpg RF45 (3 of 7).jpg RF45 (4 of 7).jpg RF45 (5 of 7).jpg RF45 (6 of 7).jpg RF45 (7 of 7).jpg
 

GaryK

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Very cool idea, and great execution.

Was there anything special about the rotary encoder you used? Did it plug right in to you DRO?

What size of vise is that you have on your machine in the picture?

Gary
 

robstaples

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Gary,
I got the specification for the Acu-rite scales which uses a db9 plug (9 pin Plug - commonly used years ago for rs232 serial interface-- before USB) and the encoder uses the same concept (Line driver ). 2 wires for pulse count(square wave) , 2 wires for pulse count 90degrees away from 1st pair to determine direction, 2 for power, and 2 for c or z channel-- don't know ( absolute ref??) but connected to same in acu-rite format. I used a DB9 breakout plug (screw connectors) to establish connection and replaced with soldered regular plug9 ( worked first time based on part specifications). This is my first rotary encoder but there seems to be a standard with data feed format. Encoder from www automationdirect.com TRD-S2500-VD ENCODER 2500 PPR 6mm SOLID LINE- DRIVER 5VDC 2m (6.5ft) CBL LT DUTY and MCGL16-6-635 COUPLING 6MM TO 0.25in.


The vice is 6" with swivel base from ENCO -- bought on sale. It's an import but has been just fine for me.
Key Note: This is my first milling machine after a career with computers and office environments. My hands-on was a keyboard and Powerpoint presentations.
Thanks for asking. It's a fun world and sooo different than my past.
rob
 
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