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Clean & Repaint of a Rockwell 21-122 Horizontal/Vertical

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polyfractal

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#1
Hey all! First post, first mill. I'm brand new to machining and recently picked up a mill from my local craigslist: a Rockwell 21-122 Horizontal/Vertical mill.

DSC03456.jpg DSC03462.jpg




DSC03458.jpg DSC03460.jpg

I purchased it from an estate sale, and it appears the previous owners took great care of it. The ways are all in great shape, the various moving components actuate smoothly, looks like ~10 thou backlash on x-axis, the table has seen better days but doesn't have any major gouges, etc. There's a layer of dust, grime and rust in places but nothing terrible.

The only major flaw on arrival was the quill, which didn't fully retract into the head. It felt like there is some kind of blockage in the rack/pinion gearing near the 1" mark which simply prevented it from retracting fully. The spindle bearings also felt a bit rough.

The mill also came with a ton of tooling, including an extra power feed, three vices, a rotary table, and assortment of end mills, taps, drills, punches, files, and a boring head. It also came with the important horizontal accessories, namely the overarm support, a tool arbor and spacers..

DSC03467.jpg

Because I'm new to machining, and the mill is in relatively good condition, I really don't want to mess it up smile.gif I originally planned to do a full rebuild and scrape ways, re-align, etc. But I've re-considered my skill and the amount of work... and honestly the mill looks to be in good shape and will be fine for me as a beginner.

So instead I'm just doing a clean/repaint/re-assemble. My main objective was to get at the spindle bearings to see if they needed replacing. Also to address the quill travel problem. The paint overall was in pretty good condition... but there were a few areas where it had flaked badly and was rusting. So I'm just going to repaint the whole mill so everything matches.

I decided this would be a fun project to try my hand filming, so I've been shooting a lot of footage of the clean/repaint. Here are the first two episodes:

This video has an overview/walkaround of the mill, some fooling around with cutting aluminum scrap, then disassembling and cleaning the vertical head.

This video is mostly cleaning/stripping the fiddly bits of the vertical head; the fine feed control, the head rotation mechanism and the pulley/brake assembly.

I think there will probably be one or two more videos. I have a bunch of footage of removing the table, stoning it, etc. Also stripping the body + masking + spraying, then re-assembly. I'll post those up once I get the footage edited together. :)
 

RandyM

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#2
Well, it really is Christmas time. That looks like a great machine with countless hours of fun. This is going to be a fantastic rebuild. :encourage:
 

firestopper

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#3
Welcome!
I see a lathe in your future and maybe a press.
 

FOMOGO

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#4
Nice versatile machine, and you are way ahead of the game, starting out with a great assortment of accessories and tooling. Welcome aboard, and I'm thinking Paco's crystal ball is spot on. Cheers, Mike
 

polyfractal

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#5
Thanks all! I'm pretty excited to start using it once I'm finished cleaning it. Have a laundry list of projects I want to work on :) The mill came with a nice selection of starter tooling, but I can already see a bunch of things that I'll need in the future. Plan is to start grabbing tooling a little bit at a time as I need it for projects, to help defray the cost :)

I see a lathe in your future and maybe a press.
Haha for sure, I've already setup email alerts for lathes in my area :)
 

Silverbullet

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#6
YUPP she's a beauty and the extras are what you need to start with. Have fun and be safe , read up on the precautions and keep hands and fingers away from cutters and moving parts. No hanging jewelry or loose clothing , strings , rings , long hair . Remember that machine only knows to go and stop with you in control. Great machine to have best of luck with your baby.
 

polyfractal

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#7
Hehe very good points :) I've done a fair bit of woodworking, so safety precautions around spinning blades has been pretty ingrained in my head... I'm hoping most of that safety training will translate over to metalworking. Although hot chips flying around will be new to me, and more chance of breaking tools if something goes pear shaped :)

I am thinking about moving the on/off switch though. The vertical head's control panel is the one on the bottom left, behind and below the table. It's really awkward to get to without reaching over the table (seems like a bad idea). And if something is going wrong I'll want to mash the button quickly without running around the table. Think I'll move it somewhere up high, near the head similar to how I've seen some bridgeports configured.
 

JPar

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#8
Nice machine, and good videos of the head disassembly. I just got one of these last fall, and eventually I'll need to clean and re-pack the spindle bearings. Your videos are going to be very helpful!
 

lowpass5

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#9
Very nice machine. I think you will enjoy running it. I will do spindle and motor bearings on mine in the near future IMG_0203.JPG Your videos are definitely helpful!
I would recommend DRO's early on your upgrade list.
 

Groundhog

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#10
Hey polyfractal,
Great post and videos. Nice mill too. Looking forward to more videos of the refresh and then of machining projects.
 

ACHiPo

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#11
Hey all! First post, first mill. I'm brand new to machining and recently picked up a mill from my local craigslist: a Rockwell 21-122 Horizontal/Vertical mill.

View attachment 250174 View attachment 250175




View attachment 250177 View attachment 250176

I purchased it from an estate sale, and it appears the previous owners took great care of it. The ways are all in great shape, the various moving components actuate smoothly, looks like ~10 thou backlash on x-axis, the table has seen better days but doesn't have any major gouges, etc. There's a layer of dust, grime and rust in places but nothing terrible.

The only major flaw on arrival was the quill, which didn't fully retract into the head. It felt like there is some kind of blockage in the rack/pinion gearing near the 1" mark which simply prevented it from retracting fully. The spindle bearings also felt a bit rough.

The mill also came with a ton of tooling, including an extra power feed, three vices, a rotary table, and assortment of end mills, taps, drills, punches, files, and a boring head. It also came with the important horizontal accessories, namely the overarm support, a tool arbor and spacers..

View attachment 250178

Because I'm new to machining, and the mill is in relatively good condition, I really don't want to mess it up View attachment 250179 I originally planned to do a full rebuild and scrape ways, re-align, etc. But I've re-considered my skill and the amount of work... and honestly the mill looks to be in good shape and will be fine for me as a beginner.

So instead I'm just doing a clean/repaint/re-assemble. My main objective was to get at the spindle bearings to see if they needed replacing. Also to address the quill travel problem. The paint overall was in pretty good condition... but there were a few areas where it had flaked badly and was rusting. So I'm just going to repaint the whole mill so everything matches.

I decided this would be a fun project to try my hand filming, so I've been shooting a lot of footage of the clean/repaint. Here are the first two episodes:

This video has an overview/walkaround of the mill, some fooling around with cutting aluminum scrap, then disassembling and cleaning the vertical head.

This video is mostly cleaning/stripping the fiddly bits of the vertical head; the fine feed control, the head rotation mechanism and the pulley/brake assembly.

I think there will probably be one or two more videos. I have a bunch of footage of removing the table, stoning it, etc. Also stripping the body + masking + spraying, then re-assembly. I'll post those up once I get the footage edited together. :)
I’m jealous! Would love to get a machine like this. Great videos, too.
 
Last edited:

polyfractal

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Dec 8, 2017
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#12
Very nice machine. I think you will enjoy running it. I will do spindle and motor bearings on mine in the near future View attachment 252482 Your videos are definitely helpful!
I would recommend DRO's early on your upgrade list.
Love the paint on your machine! Looks great :)

Part 3 is up:


Took the power feed, table and leadscrew off for cleaning. Derusted the table, although I messed up and left some wrinkles/bubbles in my evapo-rust paper towels, leading to a "marbled" cast iron surface in places. It stoned out easily enough, but memo to self in the future: always remove bubbles :)

Otherwise just doing lots of gruntwork prepping the body for painting. Lots of citristrip and scraping, and masking all the little fiddly bits.
 

polyfractal

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#13
Hey all, finally got around to editing the last of the footage and putting up the last video. Sorry for the delay, been super busy with work :)


Overall I'm pretty happy with how it cleaned up. Certainly looks nicer, and all the axis move a lot more smoothly now. Since this video was taken, I've been using the mill for some small projects (including adding a DRO to it) and things have gone very nicely. Just broke out the overarm support last weekend for some horizontal milling and it worked like a treat.

Here's how it looks today. A bit dirtier than the video but I guess it's better to use a machine than keep it spotless :)

IMG_20180406_105821.jpg IMG_20180406_105846.jpg
 

polyfractal

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#14
Probably the final update for a while on the mill project: I put up a video about adding a DRO (seen in the last photos). I opted to use cheap aluminum scales from Shars, a Kindle Fire tablet and TouchDRO kit. Fabricating mounting hardware for the scales was a bit touch-n-go, mainly because I forgot I now own a nice mill to cut/drill metal :)

But everything is working and holds reasonable tolerances after calibration. Pretty happy with the TouchDRO setup, it works very well

 
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