[4]

Index Model 645 Mill

[3]
[10] Like what you see?
Click here to donate to this forum and upgrade your account!

T. J.

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Oct 31, 2015
Messages
320
I went to pick up a milling machine yesterday - what an adventure! I'll give you the complete narrative, so everyone has ample opportunity to laugh at me :grin:.

I live in the Texas Panhandle, which is probably as much of a machinery desert as anywhere in the country. So I obsessively scour Craigslist, EBay, etc for machinery in a large radius around me. (I bought my lathe in Wichita Falls - about 250 miles away) So a few days ago I found an ad for this milling machine on EBay. It's in Enid, OK - about 300 miles away. The photos were horrible but I was able to determine that 1) it was an Index Model 645, 2) it came with a milling vise and a rotary table 3) it had a power feed. The seller didn't know much about the machine, so was unable to answer my questions about spindle taper, wear, etc. But he only wanted $700 for it. So I bought it, figuring that even if it was completely unserviceable, I could part it out and/or scrap it and recover my money. So we made plans for me to pick it up and he said he even had a hoist to load it on my trailer and some extra guys to help - perfect!

I drove 5 hours to get there and meet the guy, who obviously doesn't bathe frequently. No other guys to be seen. He takes me to the machine:
image.jpeg
This photo was taken from the door of the building. If you look close, you can see the motor and belt guard of the mill in the middle-left of the pic, behind the two toilets. Most of the stuff between the door and the mill is heavy. Oh, and there was a piano behind me. :cower: Mind you, he's had 10 days to get ready for me to pick it up. He asks me if I brought any help (no), then says he has a broken rib and can't lift much. This is getting even better. He calls some friends to come help, one shows up, then leaves and never comes back.

Undeterred, he and I start working. First, we have to bring the A-frame with the hoist from another building about 100 across yards the parking lot. It also had a lot of 'stuff' around it that had to be moved. Then we begin creating a path to the mill buy pulling stuff out of the way with a come-a-long and a pickup. About 3 hours in, we're to this point:image.jpeg

I didn't take any more photos of the loading process after this because I was sweating so much at this point, my phone was getting too wet in my shirt pocket. (Remember - it's August in Oklahoma). We drug the mill to the door with the pickup, stopping once about halfway to reposition it with the come-a-long. We positioned the A-frame in the door and backed my trailer up, ready to back it under once we had the mill lifted high enough. Easy right? Well, his 1-1/2 ton manual hoist would barely get the back end of the mill off the ground. So with a floor jack and lots of wood blocks, and we finally get it high enough for the base to clear the trailer bed. Then come-a-long it into position over the trailer axles. At this point, I'm completely exhausted, soaked in sweat, and look like an oilfield grease monkey. The loading process has taken 5 hours. Now I have a 5 hour drive back home. Here's a pic of how I strapped it down. This was taken after I had it home and backed into my barn.
image.jpeg

It probably would have been better to leave the head upright and place two straps across the ram. At any rate, this was very stable and the mill did not move at all on the ride home.

In the next post, I'll have some closer photos after I have time to inspect things a little further. I think the ways are probably OK since they had a thick coating of oil. The spindle has an R-8 taper and turns smoothly. My main worry is the condition of the table. I'm afraid it may be pitted:apologize:. We'll see once I get it cleaned up...
 
Last edited:

woodchucker

Bronze
Registered
Joined
Nov 25, 2015
Messages
1,504
Sweet, looks like you got a good buy, but had to put some sweat into it to get it.
 

ScrapMetal

Active User
Registered
Joined
Apr 6, 2011
Messages
2,070
Wow! That was way too much work. o_O He should have given it to you for "free" to cover your labor cleaning up his storage area. On the plus side, as it was buried, you know that it hasn't been abused lately. ;)

Glad you got it home safely. I'll be looking forward to seeing it come back to life.

-Ron
 

T. J.

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Oct 31, 2015
Messages
320
Wow! That was way too much work. o_O He should have given it to you for "free" to cover your labor cleaning up his storage area. On the plus side, as it was buried, you know that it hasn't been abused lately. ;)

Glad you got it home safely. I'll be looking forward to seeing it come back to life.

-Ron
Actually, whoever buys the lathe that was sitting next to it owes me big time because they can use the same pathway to get it out! There are a few gems among all the junk in there. There was an Atlas shaper in good condition and complete with the stand. I thought about negotiating for it, but there was one big problem. I would've had to move all that stuff again in the other direction to get it out!

As for abuse, it's seen its share. I'll get to that in a minute. But first, I found out some history on it. I ordered a manual from Wells-Index today ($49) and while I was on the phone, had them look it up in their records. It is serial #9942. It was shipped from the factory in October 1963 to Hart Machine Tool Supply in Oklahoma City. That company's tag is still on it. It included options of an R-8 spindle taper, power feed, and vernier scales.

I had a little time this afternoon to mess with it. The collet in the spindle came out easily and the taper seemed to be smooth. Now on to the table. I removed the vise and rotary table. The vise is made in India, but looks to be decent quality. I'll have to clean the rotary table up to find a makers name. The t slots in the table were packed full of brass chips, dirt, and rust. Here's what the table looked like after I got the slots cleaned out a little.
image.jpeg
It looks better in the pic than in real life. :guilty: I scrubbed on it a bit with some mineral spirits and scotchbrite and did find some shiney iron under the rust.
image.jpeg

Also, I was too optimistic about the ways...
image.jpeg
I'm gonna remove a little more of the thick rust on the table manually, then I'll cover it with towels soaked in Evaporust. Also I'm thinking about pressure washing it to get the caked on dirt & oil off before I start disassembling it.

Here's where I could use some advise. The table and ways look pretty bad to me. How bad do they have to be to say it's not worth refurbishing? I don't mind spending some time and money on it if I'll have a useful machine in the end. If it's not going to be capable of accurate work, I'd rather cut my losses and keep looking for another mill.
 

ScrapMetal

Active User
Registered
Joined
Apr 6, 2011
Messages
2,070
I don't think the table looks that bad (unless "real life" is much, much worse than the pic). Remember, most of the work you do will be using a vise or rotary table. As long as you can get everything level with itself and trammed you should be golden.

-Ron
 

brino

Active User
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Jan 2, 2014
Messages
3,817
It is a little hard to tell from the pictures how the dovetail ways look.

My advice is to clean them up and run some tests:
1) to find worn spots (and with no power), you can tighten the gib adjustments so the table just moves in that direction and then trying moving the table to its extents. If you tighten the gibs on a worn/loose spot then the table will not move end-to-end until you loosen them again.

2) if you have power to it you can tighten the gibs for good motion and try cutting something. Look for any "throbbing" at the dovetail interface, if it's well lubed sometimes you can see the light reflection changing off the oil at that line. Start with something soft (wood/plastic/Al) and if all good move on to something harder.

Due to the amount of "dirt" on that machine it's probably worth removing the jibs for a good cleaning and lube before doing those tests.....if already have so much time and effort in it just getting it home, it's be a shame to give up too early.

Personally I don't see any show-stoppers, but much of it is about your expectations and what you intend to do.

Good Luck, and please keep updating us!

-brino
 
D

Deleted member 473

Guest - Please Register!
Guest - Please Register!
I have a 645 just like yours that looked much worse than yours when I started putting it back together. At least yours has all of its parts! The table on mine looked like someone used it for an anvil. I sent it out to a grind shop in Houston and had it re surfaced. You may get lucky and find someone in the Amarillo area with a surface grinder that can resurface your table top for you. If not, Commercial Grinding in Dallas may be your best bet. One nice thing about Index mills, they use Meenite cast iron for all of the casting in the machine. The ways are slightly chilled and tough and hold up well. Get you a flat oil stone and some mineral spirits, start honing all of the way surfaces to remove dings, rust, etc.. After doing that, start evaluating wear, if any, and consult us, and go from there. I'll be glad to offer advise on pulling yours apart if you need any assistance. Ken
 
D

Deleted member 473

Guest - Please Register!
Guest - Please Register!
I was in Enid, Oklahoma back in 1985 on a testing job at a oilfield location just north of there. I recall seeing a large acreage of used machinery that I have ever seen in that town. I wanted to go rummaging thru it, but there was no time and I wasn't in my own vehicle. The story I was told, it was owned by an Indian guy and was not interested in selling any of it. I alway wondered what happened to that grave yard of machinery.
BTW: Hart Machine Tool Supply in Oklahoma City, was a industrial supply house that sole machine tools back in its time. I had a old Lehmann lathe that was sold thru them back in 1929 to a oilfield machine shop I want to say around Tulsa. Don't remember, been too many years remembering details. So its no telling who the end user was that bought the mill from Hart Industrial. Ken
 

T. J.

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Oct 31, 2015
Messages
320
Thanks for the encouragement guys. I've regained a little optimism after scrubbing on it a bit more. :)

I finally got it off of the trailer this afternoon.
image.jpeg
It was about all that tractor could handle. I've got it sitting in my barn for now. I'll do some cleaning on it there first and a partial disassembly. Then I'll move it into my backyard shop in pieces and reassemble it there. It'll be a little slow going, since I have several other irons in the fire. One of which is getting my Logan lathe painted and put back together! I'll post my progress as well as lots of questions I'm sure!
 

Martin W

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Mar 26, 2014
Messages
481
Sounds like a great adventure. Probably not what you had in mind when you left that morning though:(. Some days the rows are a little harder to hoe, but the end result is worth it. Can't wait for more posts to see it being put back to work.
Cheers
Martin
 

T. J.

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Oct 31, 2015
Messages
320
I haven't been able to do much with the mill lately due to other obligations and projects. But I did score a used 3 hp rotary phase converter on eBay for a reasonable price, which arrived yesterday. I was able to spare an hour or so this evening and temporarily wired it and the mill up. I am excited to report that IT LIVES! The spindle motor runs smoothly and quietly. The spindle feed works in both directions and all three speeds, although one neutral position on the speed selector seems a little finicky. The table power feed motor shakes quite a bit - I assume due to the belt sitting in one position for years. Also one of the gear selector levers is stuck.

Now I'm even more anxious to get the mill cleaned up and moved into my shop...:grin:
 
D

Deleted member 473

Guest - Please Register!
Guest - Please Register!
......snip....... The table power feed motor shakes quite a bit - I assume due to the belt sitting in one position for years. Also one of the gear selector levers is stuck....:grin:
The stuck gear selector lever is NOT stuck! That is the interlock doing its job. One has to be in the middle or neutral position for the other lever to move and vise-versa. Don't force it! Might be advisable to take the gear box apart, clean, re-assemble. Fill with oil. Ken
 

T. J.

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Oct 31, 2015
Messages
320
Good to know. I'll give that a try.

I need some advise/guidance on disassembling the mill for cleaning and moving. I have an engine hoist to help with the heavy parts. This is my rough plan for now:
  1. Remove spindle motor
  2. Remove spindle feed gear box
  3. Remove head from ram
  4. Remove ram
  5. Remove table
  6. Remove saddle
  7. Remove knee
One issue I've identified is that the ram is frozen in place. Unfortunately, I broke the ram positioning shaft while trying to get it to budge:cower:. If I protect the back end of the ram with some wood, can I hammer on it lightly (or heavily) to move it? (All this with the clamping bolts loosened of course)

Also I may or may not remove the knee depending on how much of a pain it's going to be.
 
D

Deleted member 473

Guest - Please Register!
Guest - Please Register!
Go easy on taking things apart. Parts for this old mill are almost untainable today!
Removing the spindle motor is cut and dry. Next thing you want to do is remove the belt drive/guard housing. Should be four 3/8" socket head cap screws accessible from the top flange of the head under the belt guard to remove. Belt guard is heavy, get some help handling it! Once these four bolts are removed, you should be able to remove it without removing the spindle pulley or brake. I'm doing from memory, so correct me if I'm wrong! The spindle feed box is more complicated and will require you to remove the guts from it before you can remove the housing. It's been too many years ago since I removed the one on my mill. In fact, it doesn't exists on my mill today. That's another story for another time. The head is pretty straight forward to remove from the ram. Again, it is slightly heavy. Before removing, pull the spindle pulley from the housing. Once you get it out of the way apply some ATF fluid mixed with Acetone in the top of the spindle quill and let soak. Keep applying for about a week. Don't try to beat the spindle out yet!!! There is a certain sequence of events that you you go thru before beating on it. In fact I don't encourage it at this point. I'll report back on what to do. Got to go look at mine and recollect from memory how I did it on my mill. Ken
 

Chuck K

Active User
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Mar 1, 2013
Messages
1,025
I had a 645 that was probably the ugliest machine I ever bought. I'm glad that someone painted lime green because nobody was interested in it and I got it for little more than scrap price. I put a lot of work into it but it was a great machine. My advice would be to focus on the gearbox before you run it. When I took mine apart the original grease was hardened and came out like chipping away at a bar of soap. That machine calls for a special grease in the gearbox. I know that I found something compatible at NAPA. I'm sure I still have a tube of it. If you want I can check and give you the info on it. You're going to have a nice mill when you're done with it.​
 
D

Deleted member 473

Guest - Please Register!
Guest - Please Register!
Special Grease? Mine is filled with oil. There is a sight glass at the bottom of my gear box. Can't see anything because of it's awkward location, but it's there. Now up in the head, that gearing is in a bath of grease. Since my head does not have any of that gearing in it anymore, it's no concern to me. But for those that still have the power feed attachment still in tack, I suggest packing it with Lubriplate 630 grease or one of the other Lubriplate products they have for gearing. Ken
 

Chuck K

Active User
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Mar 1, 2013
Messages
1,025
Yes..I thought we were talking about the gearbox on the left side of the head...maybe I should go back and reread the thread.
 
D

Deleted member 473

Guest - Please Register!
Guest - Please Register!
I may need to go back and re-read it, too Yeiks! :(

Look at his post #11.
 

Chuck K

Active User
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Mar 1, 2013
Messages
1,025
Ok...I see that the table powerfeed gearbox takes oil. That I'm not familiar with as mine didn't have it. I was looking for a pic of mine but after computer crashes I have lost a lot of pics. I'll have to search on here and see if I ever posted any pics.
 
D

Deleted member 473

Guest - Please Register!
Guest - Please Register!
Much nicer than the basket case I have. Dad left it in pieces and not very protected from the elements before he passed. I took it on and cleaned it up and put it back together. The power feed was missing the worm gear and the cover. The gear was nearly $600 from Index and the cover was unattainable. Drawing of the cover was available for $25. That was quoted 21 years ago. I removed the gear box and what was left to the power feed and tossed most of it out. Put together a right angle gear box for a hand feed that works fine for me. Here's a couple of pictures I've found to post. Ken

DSCN2061.JPG

DSCN3310.JPG
 

T. J.

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Oct 31, 2015
Messages
320
Thanks for sharing those pics guys!

I'm almost to the point where I can dedicate some more time to this machine. I've finally got my Logan lathe painted and put back together. This weekends project is installing my RPC and 3 phase wiring in my shop to power both machines.

I have removed the motor - the bearings in it feel nice and smooth. I got the spindle pulley off. Next step is to remove the brake handle from its shaft and then I think the belt guard will come off. I'll try to post quite a few pics of the disassembly process here since these machines don't seem to get much air time on the forums ;). Here's a pic of the spindle and brake shoe with the pulley removed:

image.jpg
 

Chuck K

Active User
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Mar 1, 2013
Messages
1,025
That's really cool how you mounted the gearbox. The funny thing about mine was that it was actually in real good shape. I think it was just being used as a drill press. The dials were completely covered with paint. I wish I had pics of it before I sold it. It looked really nice. TJ keep the pics coming. I'm afraid that my memory isn't good enough to be of much technical help.
 

T. J.

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Oct 31, 2015
Messages
320
I'm finally back to working on the mill. Since my last post, I removed the belt guard assembly along with the brake shoe. It simply lifted off after removing the brake lever from its shaft. Next step was to remove the head. Before the head can slide out of the ram, the worm that rotates the head must be removed. It is held in by a castle type nut :
image.jpg

Crude methods were unsuccessful at loosening the nut, so I made a tool for it:
image.jpg
image.jpg
It was a nice little project for my newly refurbished Logan lathe. It worked well and the nut and worm came out easily.
image.jpg

Then with some gentle wiggling, the head slipped out of the ram. I supported it with an engine hoist - it's heavy!
image.jpg

Next step will be to remove the table...
 

Chuck K

Active User
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Mar 1, 2013
Messages
1,025
I'm finally back to working on the mill. Since my last post, I removed the belt guard assembly along with the brake shoe. It simply lifted off after removing the brake lever from its shaft. Next step was to remove the head. Before the head can slide out of the ram, the worm that rotates the head must be removed. It is held in by a castle type nut :
View attachment 142485

Crude methods were unsuccessful at loosening the nut, so I made a tool for it:
View attachment 142486
View attachment 142487
It was a nice little project for my newly refurbished Logan lathe. It worked well and the nut and worm came out easily.
View attachment 142488

Then with some gentle wiggling, the head slipped out of the ram. I supported it with an engine hoist - it's heavy!
View attachment 142489

Next step will be to remove the table...
Your pin socket brings back memories. I have one almost identical to it in my toolbox. Half the fun of a project like that is overcoming the obstacles along the way.
 

T. J.

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Oct 31, 2015
Messages
320
I got the table removed today and discovered a problem along the way. I had previously noticed a large amount of backlash in the power feed drive shaft - now I know why. This is the gear box on the right end of the table. The shaft that's sticking out is the lead screw. The gear on the bottom is on the end of the driveshaft.
image.jpg
After removing the gear I found that the woodruff key slot was wollered out. You can't really tell it from the photo, but the shaft is worn to a taper from the gear flopping around on it. The bore of the gear is shot as well.

image.jpg
I'm going to check on prices and availability from W-I, but I'll bet they're pricey. It would be fairly easy to make a new shaft. What is the feasibility of brazing the bore of the gear and then reboring it?

Anyway, I finished removing the gear box on the right end of the table and the hand wheel from the left end. I then removed both table gibs. The table then slid off easily.
image.jpg

image.jpg
 

FOMOGO

Active User
H-M Platinum Supporter ($50)
Joined
Sep 2, 2013
Messages
2,040
Might be simpler to bore the gear oversize, and install a press fit bushing. Looks like a brazing repair was made on the housing, which might account for the damage to the shaft and gear. Mike
 
D

Deleted member 473

Guest - Please Register!
Guest - Please Register!
May be easier to build up the shaft and fill in the woodruff key slot and re-machine. Be a cleaner method to use. Still have to re-bore the gear slightly to get a true running bore in it. Then remachine the shaft for a snug fit to the freshly bored gear. Once that's done, start working on fitting the woodruff key.

Why do people think grease is a better lubricant? Yuck!! What a nasty mess!!!

Get all of that cleaned up, need to plumb the mill with a Bijur lubrication system, put an end to all of that grease!

Ken
 
Last edited by a moderator:

T. J.

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Oct 31, 2015
Messages
320
Yes, the grease globs vary from looking like it was pumped in yesterday, to being almost petrified. And most of it is infused with the ubiquitous brass swarf that seems to have permeated every crevice on this machine. I'll look into the Bijur systems. Do you have any suggested suppliers?

I do have a question regarding building up the shaft. Since it is steel, would it be better to weld it (MIG) or braze it?

Thanks!
 
[5] [7]
Top