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Brown & Sharpe 618 Surface Grinder

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ErichKeane

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#1
So, this guy popped up on my local craigslist for really cheap, and I jumped at it. It seems complete and has about every feature I could want, as well as being rust-free. That said, I know absolutely nothing about it! I've got 220v in my shop, so I can run this with a VFD (which I've done before), but I have to find the data-plate first in order to size it! Anyone know where I can find that?

I found a manual for it on vintage machines, but its pretty information heavy, not sure I will know how to operate this guy.

Also, an interesting side note, apparently my grandfather worked at Brown & Sharpe (likely in the factory) for a few years!

IMG_20181004_054011.jpg IMG_20181004_054017.jpg IMG_20181004_054019.jpg IMG_20181004_054027.jpg
 

Janderso

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#2
If you can't figure it out, I'll take it off your hands.
Do you know how rare that surface grinder is?
At least on the West side of this great Nation anyway.
Good for you!!
 

ErichKeane

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#3
If you can't figure it out, I'll take it off your hands.
Do you know how rare that surface grinder is?
At least on the West side of this great Nation anyway.
Good for you!!
:) Actually, I don't really know anything about its rarity. It apparently was in a machine shop for a while, though not used often once they moved to 5-axis CNC stuff. It apparently was listed on craigslist for a few days with no bites, so they lowered the price to $1250. For that, I figured it was worth it even if I had to scrap it, so I jumped at it.

It came with the coolant pump as well (up against the tailgate) so I get to figure out how that works as well, but getting it into my shop is obviously 1st priority.
 

Bob Korves

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#4
Those are hydraulic powered machines, the pump may be for the hydraulics to run the table and power feeds, or it might be for coolant, can't tell from the pics. Come to think of it, the hydraulic pump and reservoir may be in the machine. Benmychree on this site has one, and can probably answer any questions you have.
 

Norseman C.B.

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#5
Lucky DOG !!.......................;)
 

benmychree

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#6
On my Micromaster, the hydraulic pump is in the base/reservoir, and it also does all the oiling of the machine via Bijur metering nozzles, they should be checked out to be sure they are feeding oil, the ones on mine had to be replaced; I think this one has manual table travel and hydraulic crossfeed, as I do not see the requisite levers, etc for automatic table travel. I would like to see a better picture of the unit against the tailgate to know what it is. I do not see any splash guards, so wonder about the coolant hose running up to the wheel guard, mine has all the splash guards, and the wheel guard is also equipped for a dust extraction system.
 

ErichKeane

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#7
On my Micromaster, the hydraulic pump is in the base/reservoir, and it also does all the oiling of the machine via Bijur metering nozzles, they should be checked out to be sure they are feeding oil, the ones on mine had to be replaced; I think this one has manual table travel and hydraulic crossfeed, as I do not see the requisite levers, etc for automatic table travel. I would like to see a better picture of the unit against the tailgate to know what it is. I do not see any splash guards, so wonder about the coolant hose running up to the wheel guard, mine has all the splash guards, and the wheel guard is also equipped for a dust extraction system.
Awesome, thanks for the feedback! Here are the photos from the ad (below). Otherwise I can give more pictures when I get home if you have something in particular of interest.

00v0v_jBQnkYj8kxI_1200x900.jpg 00y0y_cvkGuNeD16z_1200x900.jpg 00202_7BqGDGmzhuY_1200x900.jpg
 

benmychree

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#8
I have not seen anything quite like that unit, it seems to have both a coolant pump and a blower incorporated in it. According to the manual I have, the coolant unit for a "wet" machine such as mine, has only a coolant pump in a rectangular sump on wheels, I have the pump, but not the tank, and have been using the machine dry; yet another project to fabricate a sump. It looks to me that the hydraulic system is contained within the sump of the machine, you could remove the front cover and see to it, and you should do so to clean out the sump and replace the oil, mine specifies Vactra #2, a combination hydraulic and waylube oil.
You have quite a nice grinder there, capable of very close tolerences; did you see that the knob on top of the downfeed unit has 1/10 ths of a thou graduations that are about 3/8" apart? The grads on the handwheel are 2 tenths each. The feed movements on these machines are quite sensitive. Post a pic of the top of the apron , centered on the middle handwheel, the controls on this machine are a bit different than mine, which does not have the lever on the right side , just back from the downfeed handwheel.
 

ErichKeane

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#9
I have not seen anything quite like that unit, it seems to have both a coolant pump and a blower incorporated in it. According to the manual I have, the coolant unit for a "wet" machine such as mine, has only a coolant pump in a rectangular sump on wheels, I have the pump, but not the tank, and have been using the machine dry; yet another project to fabricate a sump. It looks to me that the hydraulic system is contained within the sump of the machine, you could remove the front cover and see to it, and you should do so to clean out the sump and replace the oil, mine specifies Vactra #2, a combination hydraulic and waylube oil.
You have quite a nice grinder there, capable of very close tolerences; did you see that the knob on top of the downfeed unit has 1/10 ths of a thou graduations that are about 3/8" apart? The grads on the handwheel are 2 tenths each. The feed movements on these machines are quite sensitive. Post a pic of the top of the apron , centered on the middle handwheel, the controls on this machine are a bit different than mine, which does not have the lever on the right side , just back from the downfeed handwheel.
The place I bought it from called that device the coolant pump and tank. Its heavy, and seems to have had some sort of liquid in it.

The hydraulic system label says:
"Use high lubricity way and hydraulic oil - 150 SUS AT 100F

ASLE W-150 Mobil Oil Co.
Vacuoline No 1405

Renew oil and filter annually, tank capacity approx 22 gal".

Do you have any good source for the oil? I searched vacuoline 1405 and found this: http://shop.sclubricants.com/mobil-vacuoline-oil-1405 though $20/gallon seems steep, even without shipping! Is there a good alternative/cheap way to buy a drum?

I'd noticed the downfeed 10ths, but didn't pay much attention to it. I'll definitely try to get those photos. Thanks!
 

benmychree

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#10
If you could find a crossover chart, I think that Mobil Vactra #2 is the same spec. You might be able to get by with less gallonage since the machine will not operate all day long 6 days a week; renew oil yearly? Don't hold your breath!
 

ErichKeane

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#11
If you could find a crossover chart, I think that Mobil Vactra #2 is the same spec. You might be able to get by with less gallonage since the machine will not operate all day long 6 days a week; renew oil yearly? Don't hold your breath!
I hope so! Also, any idea on how to size a VFD? There are 3 electrical blocks that are rated for 1.5 HP each, (spindle, hydro pump, and coolant), plus a 120v transformer.

Anyway, here are the pictures! Some from the apron, some from the electrical box, so let me know if there is anything else i can provide to help make an idea!

I've got local business stopping by next tuesday with a forklift for 20 mins, so hopefully I can get it into my shop by then!

-Erich

IMG_20181004_160710.jpg IMG_20181004_160706.jpg IMG_20181004_160618.jpg IMG_20181004_160418.jpg IMG_20181004_160340.jpg IMG_20181004_160325.jpg IMG_20181004_160019.jpg IMG_20181004_155954.jpg IMG_20181004_155910.jpg IMG_20181004_155858.jpg
 

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#12
Use a 5HP VFD to be safe. You can get away with less, but risk burning out the unit. That was one great find (envy, oozing from pores...)
Good luck with your new machine!
 

benmychree

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#13
The apron top is entirely different than mine, but I am guessing that the crank on top at the left is the table throttle (and it does have hydraulic travel), the vertical thing in the center is table feed direction and that the lever to the rear of the right hand of the vertical feed is the cross feed direction; on mine, that lever is located with the rapid/grind/dress and amount of cross feed knob. I'm figuring that your machine is an earlier model than mine; if you feed/dress on mine, those functions are initiated by setting the lever down on the right side, then opening the table travel lever on top of the apron, I assume yours would work the same; with the selector lever set to rapid/grind/dress, the table travel function is disabled.
What is your serial number? It was not legible in the picture.
 

ErichKeane

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#14
Not sure I got all that, but hopefully it'll make more sense when I get power to it :)

Serial is 523-6182-6599. If there's any way to get the age fo that one, it would be pretty awesome. My grandfather used to work at the Brown and Sharpe Foundry in Providence, so I'm curious to see if the times overlap.
 

benmychree

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#15
You mentioned your GF worked for B&S at one time, my mother's uncle served his apprenticeship there starting in 1914 -1918 when he took a new job as a coast watcher during WW-1; I have some of his apprentice school work. I just read a book about the company, and came away with a less than favorable opinion of its labor practices, especially in its later years; the machinist's union was on strike for 16 years there!
I took a tour there in 1970 with mom's uncle, it was not so much of a tour that I would have liked, but their cafeteria was wonderful!
 

ErichKeane

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#16
I dont know much of his experience there, just my facebook post got a few comments saying he was there a while. He would have been at least mid-60s or closer, but otherwise I have no idea.
 

benmychree

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#17
The serial numbers on mine seem to indicate that yours is newer than mine; the last four digits are the actual serial number, mine is 5730; it appears that the model came out in 1959, and my list ends in '62 with a number of 1349, I think I found something online that suggested a date in the late 1960s, perhaps '67. The sump on mine calls for 15 gallons of oil, I think I put about 12 gals. in and saved the rest for other uses.
 

benmychree

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#18
I'm told that the foundry was not moved to North Kingston from Providence when the rest of it was moved, I've read that there were 47 buildings at Providence, on a hillside, not too efficient! In North Kingston, they had over a million SF in one building on one level, plus a second level that the offices were on, there was a system of catwalks radiating from the office level to all the respective departments with stairs to descend into the departments, so that the office people did not have to walk through other departments on their way to specific departments, and presumably get waylaid and delayed by folks not necessary to interact with.
 

benmychree

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#19
I took some pics of mine so you can see some of the differences between the two of them #1 shows the cross feed selector and speed knob with the cross feed lever mounted with them in a place not convenient to reach, where yours is, mine has the Neutrofier mag chuck control mounted. #2 shows the table travel controls on top of the apron, yours looks like an improvement. #3 shows the wheel guard with the suction port, it also has a bracket on the far side for the coolant nozzle. #4 shows the Neutrofier control box. #5 shows the stop start control box #6 shows the hydraulic fill porton the left side just back from the front of the machine. #7 shows the electrical controls with less equipment than mine, I guess you would have an extra contactor for the blower. #8 shows the serial number plate.
The Neutrofier, if one is not familiar, ramps down the residual magnetism in the chuck and workpiece when the chuck is turned off; it is a wonderful thing, no fighting to part to get it loose from the chuck, with the usual chance of scratching the chuck and workpiece. It does the job by reversing the electrical polarity in a number of cycles, with diminishing voltage at each reversal.
 

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ErichKeane

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#20
Huh, interesting pictures! Once I get this guy powered up, I'll have to take a look.

I noticed that I have a 3rd control on the apron that I didn't take a picture of. It is on the side of the apron, and is a rotating handle. It is on the apron, but above the "Step size" control (which is where your #1 image is I think).
 

benmychree

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#21
On my number one pic, the cluster has the rapid/dress/grind selector, a rotating knob that controls step size and dress speed, and the cross feed directional selector, which on yours is up higher near the top of the apron; I'm curious as to what the un pictured mystery rotating handle might be!
 

ErichKeane

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#22
Alright, I got the grinder off the pickup and into my shop on Wednesday, and wired up last night. I found a local forklift repair/rental shop that I was able to convince to come by and do the unload for me. I didn't want to learn how to drive a forklift while carrying a 4000lb machine :)

I picked up a 5hp Chinesium VFD on Ebay. I hooked it up and sorta went through settings and changed what seemed like a good idea. It actually seems to have no problem letting me use the standard magnetic switch to turn it on, as long as I don't have the coolant unit on as well. I can turn the coolant stuff on later, but not together with the hydro pump and the spindle.

I noticed that the coolant unit actually has _2_ motors on it! There is a small water pump, PLUS a massive blower thing. I've got no idea about that one's purpose.

Alright, to the machine itself :)

First, the wheel on it is a Norton 7 1/4x1/4 (with a 1 1/4 spindle cutout I think) in what looks like unused shape. Presumably I'll want to pick up a wider one? Or is a 1/4" one normal? It looks like I could get a 9" wheel in the cover without a problem.

Next, the electrical panel:
IMG_20181004_155954.jpg
Top is 'on', red is 'off', these are both magnetic switches I think. There is a pull-on switch marked 110 (lower right), which turns on a 110v plug on the front of the electrical box. This seems handy for a small work light! There is a 220 pull-on switch (lower left) that turns on the power to a 220v plug on the back, which is for the coolant unit.

Finally, the hydro-knobs:
IMG_20181004_160710.jpg
The leftmost knob on the top of the apron seems to be the hydroaulics 'on/off' switch. The other one up there is indeed the left/right for the X-axis, though it seems to move on its own when working.

The 'mystery knob' is actually visible on the left of the electrical panel picture above. It appears to be the Y-Axis direction. That is useful in 2 of the other modes.

Speaking of modes, the final hydro panel:
IMG_20181004_160618.jpg

The bottom knob has 3 different 'modes' that it selects between. In sharpie, they are marked (left to right) "Dress", "Grind", and "Rapid". The 'top' is marked "Step Size", which only seems to affect the 'grind' speed. There are factory logos on them, but I will have to look closer to make out what they say. Perhaps I'll see if I can find my good camera and take a better picture :)

"Dress": I couldn't figure out what this one does. It didn't move the X-axis at all, and otherwise didn't seem to do anything.

"Rapid": This mode doesn't move the X-axis, it simply allows the Y-Axis knob to rapidly move the Y-Axis. I can do an entire direction of travel in about 10 seconds with it, which seems handy.

"Grind": This seem seems to be the useful one. it moves the X-axis left/right based on the stops on the front. Every time it does 1 cycle of this, it moves the Y-axis forward/backward, based on the direction of the Y-axis knob (how much it moves is based on the 'step size' knob it looks). The height is not controlled it seems (as far as I can tell), so I likely will have to still turn that myself. Additionally, the human seems to have to change the Y-axis direction at front/back, since there is no switched-stop like with the X-axis.

I'm away most of the weekend, but if you've got suggestions/questions, I'll have an hour or two in the shop tonight.

Thanks again for your help!
 
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Bob Korves

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#23
"Dress" would be a Z traverse (toward and away from the column.) It is a power feed for dressing the wheel.

Soap box <ON>
(yes, again... :eek 2:)
On your surface grinder, table back and forth is X, spindle up and down the column is Y, table toward and away from the column is Z. Those letters are based on the spindle orientation, and a surface grinder has the spindle pointing a different direction than a vertical mill.

The long held convention is: Z = in and out along the spindle axis, X = the major axis at a 90 degree angle to the Z spindle axis, and Y is the secondary 90 degree axis to the Z spindle axis, and 90 degrees from X. A horizontal mill has the same configuration as a surface grinder, therefore the same nomenclature, different than a Bridgeport. On a lathe, Z is the carriage travel, toward and away from the spindle, X is the cross slide, Y would be something like a milling attachment. Not everything is a Bridgeport...

These old rules apparently seem to go away on many CNC machines, some of it I understand... :confused: Call machine axes anything you want in your shop, but don't try to confuse the forum, we get confused easily. It is often more easily understood and less confusing if we just say things like in/out, up/down, and left/right.
Soap box <OFF>
Not trying to be a nit picker, the only goal is mutually understandable communication.
 

ErichKeane

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#24
Ah, I was unaware that the axes were based on the head, I'd always thought they were in relation to gravity. I'd also never thought about calling Lathe directions X/Y/Z, though I guess that makes sense...

I'll have to figure out how to get those square in my mind :) It could perhaps have been doing a slow fwd/backward feed, but I didn't notice, I'll have to see if I can get that happening. It makes a ton of sense that 'dressing' would be wheel dressing. I was expecting it to be a 'very mild cut', like a cleanup pass, but wheel dressing makes more sense. Thanks!
 

Bob Korves

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#25
I was expecting it to be a 'very mild cut', like a cleanup pass, but wheel dressing makes more sense. Thanks!
A typical wheel dressing on a grinder that size would be somewhere around 2-3 seconds. I suspect there is control of the traverse rate there somewhere, probably a dial. John York (benmychree) probably knows how the dress function works, but his Micromaster does seem to be laid out a bit differently than yours.
 

benmychree

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#26
Yes, "dress" is for wheel dressing, and when the lever is set to "dress", the speed is not adjustable on my machine. On my machine it is labeled "True", and when the lever is set, it is started by the table travel lever and the direction set by the cross travel lever.
I think, all this "X,Y,Z" stuff is a bunch of cr-p when I was working at the trade and in my shop, this terminology was unknown; in lathe work, it was long or carriage fed, cross feed, etc, in mulling it was table, saddle feed, and vertical or up and down, and more or less the same on grinders, one never had to stop and think, "which one is that alphabet letter"?
On my grinder, it came with a 3/4 wide wheel of 8" diameter (maximum). A narrow wheel would have been only used for slot grinding. I posted a picture of the wheel guard on mine that shows a port at the upper left corner (with a cap on it) that could be connected to a centrifugal blower by a flexible hose to that blower on your coolant unit, thus having a vacuum evacuation system for dust control, but it seems that my machine never used that feature, and the operator's book does not show that type unit, only a coolant pump with sump; I have the pump, but not the sump, I have been grinding dry, although getting a working coolant system is a goal, as it has its advantages. For specific questions, you can e mail me at: york@napanet.net
 

Dabbler

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#27
ErichKeane, Tom Lipton got a Micromaster for his shop early this year. He introduces it in "Monday Night Meatloaf 115, and mentions his rebuild of it. His also has a 'dress' function, and his is from the 1960's.


If you guys need some really specific, you can contact him through email or instagram. He is usually very helpful about helping guys.
 
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