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[4]

Best Way To Clean Up T-Slots on the Milling Table?

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Janderso

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#1
When I try to slide the T-Nuts on my Bridgeport 9X42 Table they get stuck in spots. I can't see the underside to know what is going on. I assume there are burs? These tight spots are in the center of the table, right where I need to tighten down my Rotary Table of the Chinese Vise.
I have watched a youtube where someone milled his own table with a t slot milling tool.
Ideas?
 

Technical Ted

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#3
When I got my Bridgeport the T slots were terrible! Couldn't get any T nuts though any of them. It was just crud! I cut out a thin piece of steel that I could clean out the underside of the slots. I also sprayed them down good with WD40 to help loosen the crud up. I couldn't see it, but it was there binding my T nuts up. After an hour of cleaning and scraping they are as good as new.

This would be my guess on what your issue is. There should not be a reason to go in there with a cutting tool.

Ted
 

ttabbal

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#4
I tossed one of these into an order I was making already for belts, wipers, etc.. http://www.machinerypartsdepot.com/product/SG5050101

It seems to help scrape the crud out of the slots. I haven't found any need to use a cutter on them, but mine might have been treated better. Hard to know the history of an old machine like these.
 

Janderso

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#5
A T-slot cleaner. Who would have ever thought. learn something new every day!
Thank you, I ordered one.
 

Technical Ted

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#6
I tossed one of these into an order I was making already for belts, wipers, etc.. http://www.machinerypartsdepot.com/product/SG5050101

It seems to help scrape the crud out of the slots. I haven't found any need to use a cutter on them, but mine might have been treated better. Hard to know the history of an old machine like these.
A tool like this will work very well. This is what I was alluding to when I said I cut a thin piece of steel to do the job, although mine was just in the shape of an "L" and I worked one side at a time.

ttabbal's post proves that a picture or link is worth a thousand words!

Ted
 

Janderso

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#7
Ted, I really like your avatar. Very thought provoking. Hey, it's my thread, I can wonder.
 

extropic

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#9
When I try to slide the T-Nuts on my Bridgeport 9X42 Table they get stuck in spots. I can't see the underside to know what is going on. I assume there are burs? These tight spots are in the center of the table, right where I need to tighten down my Rotary Table of the Chinese Vise.
I have watched a youtube where someone milled his own table with a t slot milling tool.
Ideas?
I have had that problem before, if you're talking about the narrow (5/8") portion of the slot being too tight. I think the problem was caused by someone using 'makeshift' (read CRAP) nuts or bolt heads in the T-Slot. A proper T-nut or T-bolt has enough bearing area to distribute the load. If there isn't enough bearing area, when tightened, the nut or bolt head can mushroom the bottom of the vertical slot.

I recommend taking a nice sharp mill file and run it along the vertical slot faces. I use some fingertips between the file and the opposite side of the slot and can easily feel the difference between the file cutting high spots or sliding along a clean surface.

I've never seen slots so bad that "re-milling" was a reasonable option. I hope yours aren't that bad.
 
Last edited:

markba633csi

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#10
You could mill the slot sides a bit, just take care not to take off too much material.
Mark
 

wcunning

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#11
I second what @extropic said. On my Rockford MV100, the table had lots of little mushroomed spots caused by t-nuts one size smaller than they should have been twisting in the slot and the corners upsetting the cast iron. I spend some time with a large, sharp mill file using that procedure to clean that part up, in and among a whole lot of t-slot scraper, mineral spirits, maroon Scotchbrite, etc. to get the crud out. I also did a bit of chamfering on the t-slots with a sharp triangular saw file.

Good Luck,
Will
 

chips&more

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#12
And I third what “extropic” said. And it’s not easy trying to remove that burr and nothing else from the slot walls…Dave
 

Janderso

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#13
Sounds like good advice from all. It looks like I am not alone with this issue.
Thank you all.
 

Bob Korves

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#14
I also agree with extropic. Just be careful to only remove the high spots. Most of the extent of the slots can be left alone other than a light stoning or fine file work to take down just the burs and dings. When in good condition, the t-slots are a really useful aid to quickly setting up ordinary work on the table. Don't lose the original machined surfaces by getting carried away with cleaning up the slots. As mentioned, solvent, scraping out the crud, light filing of burrs, and maroon Scotchbrite will usually get it cleaned up while still being usefully accurate. Also, down the road, be as kind as you can to those t-slots, and they will return the favor.
 

Cadillac STS

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#15
One of those T slot tools is a good idea

Something else I did was to take a round 1 1/2 inch piece of nylon 5 inches long. On the lathe make one end fit the vacuum and the other end fit in the T slot. Making the wall thin it fits right in the slot and cleans out chips easily.

T slot covers will prevent things getting in in the first place.

All that after getting them all cleaned out to start.
 

wcunning

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#16
@Cadillac STS is exactly right -- getting the table covered once you have it cleaned out is paramount. I watched this youtube video a while ago, and then spent a bit of time making all of the same guards he did, and it has *massively* improved my milling time, since I can clean up in 1/10th the time it used to take me or less.


Cheers,
Will
 

Downunder Bob

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#17
I tossed one of these into an order I was making already for belts, wipers, etc.. http://www.machinerypartsdepot.com/product/SG5050101

It seems to help scrape the crud out of the slots. I haven't found any need to use a cutter on them, but mine might have been treated better. Hard to know the history of an old machine like these.
Way back when I was an apprentice we made these out of HSS power hacksaw blades, ground them up by hand to a slight loose fit. The handle end was ground to be like a tang on a file and then it was fitted to a file handle. With regular use kept the "T" slots nice and clean. We had them attached to each machine with a light chain.
 

cathead

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#18
The best way is likely to file off the high spots if possible. I'm including in this post a "crud cleaner"
I realize it won't remove nicks but is excellent for general housekeeping on the mill. It has a piece
of silicone rubber sandwiched in between the metal parts and riveted on, a great little project for the shop. I use it every time
I remove the vise from the mill along with a vacuum cleaner. Thinking about this post subject, Maybe one could fashion
a piece of file to a handle for "brushing the teeth" on the underside of the T-slots...:)



P1020254.JPG
Here's a photo of my shop made T-slot cleaner.
 

kvt

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#19
cathead, looks like people could make something like that but attach a piece of stone on it so clean burs etc on the underside of the slots etc. I may have to try it.
 

Charles Spencer

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#20
I cut my t-slot cleaner out of sheet metal and folded over the top part to make a handle. Cathead's looks a little more heavy duty than that.
 
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