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Just got an Index 645...

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Brino, you're the man!!! I couldn't for the sake of it remember that. Thanks!!! Ken
 

NorseDave

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I'm not sure if there was anyone thing or just a combo of stuff, but Friday morning I got the ram moving. After whacking it a few times on the sides and then on the back of the ram, I noticed that the dirt line on the ways seemed to have moved. Whacked it again on the back, and sure enough the dirt line moved another 1/8". Put a wrench on the axle and lo and behold it started moving. Feels a bit notch, but it covers the entire travel without issue. I didn't have much time Friday, so this week I'll have to give it a better shot of oil along the entire way so it doesn't bind up again.

TJ, thanks for the accompanying picture, helps a lot!
 
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Here's a picture of the drawbar arrangement on my 645 mill.

20171029_131402.jpg
 

NorseDave

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Well it has been a while between updates. I'm happy to say that despite the various little issues like the spindle feed randomly (?) popping out, and the missing table power feed, I have been putting the unit to work, at least relatively speaking. I've done a fair amount of basic drilling with it - and wow it is so much nicer to use than my drill press - but yesterday I did my first actual milling operation. For a while I've been wanting to build a suitable table extension for my also-vintage Eisele cold saw. The saw itself is awesome, but the base is only about 30" square, with the blade obviously in the middle. So if you need to cut, say, 4" off of a 8' long steel tube, that's about 6' of steel tube hanging out in space, which doesn't work. Long ago I made a very crude work support on a screw base so I had some height adjustment, but it was always intended as a stopgap until I had a proper table extension.

Anyway, for my design, I needed to cut some small slots in a piece of steel C-channel so I can get the rollers in and out. I measured, marked, and drilled the channel out a few weeks ago, but once that was done I didn't even have an end mill that I could use to cut the slot. Finally got a chance to cut the slots out yesterday, and for a first-ever milling operation, I'm happy with how it went.

The whole process has, however, uncovered a few issues - some with the machine, and some with its operator!

First, while I will eventually put a DRO on it, right now there isn't one. The X and Z dials are good, but the Y dial will not lock down. The set screw gets plenty tight, but it doesn't prevent the dial from spinning. I'm a little puzzled as to what's going on here. To compensate for it, I set up a dial indicator for the Y axis and used that to make sure I milled out the same amount on each slot.

Next, I have tried checking and adjusting the gibs. Y and Z seem good, but there is considerable movement of the table in the Y direction - that is, if I extend the table over towards one direction, I can push/pull it towards/away from the machine quite a lot. The dial indicator said something like 7-8 thou. I can tighten the adjustment screw down to eliminate that, but then the table is very tight to move in the X direction. I am assuming (possibly incorrectly) that the procedure is the same as Keith Rucker showed on his 845 on YouTube. And yes, I know I need to call W-I and get the manual!

And finally, it occurred to me when I started milling out the aforementioned slots that I had absolutely no idea what the correct spindle speed, depth of cut, and feed speed (albeit manual feed) were for that operation. I assume I should be picking up a machinists handbook of some sort to help answer these questions, but I have no idea which one. Suggestions?

Thanks all. I'm barely taking baby steps on this thing, but I'm really enjoying learning how to operate it!
 

T. J.

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that is, if I extend the table over towards one direction, I can push/pull it towards/away from the machine quite a lot. The dial indicator said something like 7-8 thou. I can tighten the adjustment screw down to eliminate that, but then the table is very tight to move in the X direction.
While the saddle (Y axis) and knee (Z axis) have one gib apiece, the table (X axis) has two gibs. Did you adjust them both? They are on either end of the front way (toward the operator).
 

NorseDave

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While the saddle (Y axis) and knee (Z axis) have one gib apiece, the table (X axis) has two gibs. Did you adjust them both? They are on either end of the front way (toward the operator).
Hmm - I was thinking one was an adjustment screw, and the other a lock screw for the adjustment. No? If so, that would certainly explain it.
 

T. J.

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Yes there are two screws per gib. What I was referring to is there are two gibs on the x-axis. Here is a pic of my mill with the table removed. The arrows point to the locations where the gibs would be when assembled.
IMG_0410.JPG
 

NorseDave

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Well I'm slowly poking along trying to do stuff, but that is mostly in between actually using it. I'll admit, at the moment it is getting used more as a drill press than a mill, but I have done some milling work with it, so I don't feel totally ashamed!

I have encountered a somewhat puzzling issue recently - the belt that drives the spindle (so the lower belt) keeps flipping itself over and running inside-out. So instead of the \_/ sitting in the grooves of the pulleys, it flips around and the V is actually facing out, mostly. It of course doesn't sit flat like that, so it is slightly twisted. It doesn't seem to really bother the mill itself too much, other than making a little extra noise that's not there when the belt is on right. I've tried adjusting the tensioner - both tighter and looser - and neither seem to make much of a difference. It will run for a bit in the right orientation - I don't know, let's say 5 minutes - and then at some point I'll notice the extra noise, and sure enough it's flipped around.

I'm assuming a new belt would fix the problem, but I've considered that it could also be a pulley alignment issue. I haven't really looked to see what sort of adjustment there might be for that, if any. The belt looks okay - definitely not new, but no cracking and has only a little bit of fraying on the edge in one spot.

In related news, I finally (!) ordered a manual from Well Index. It is pretty amazing in this day and age that I can call Wells Index up, talk to a real person, and get support for a 50 year old mill.
 

NorseDave

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Ugh, last update was April? I'm ashamed.

Anyway, been using the mill while slowly developing a list of stuff I need to fix or sort out, and also gradually expanding my tooling. Fortunately it came with a set of B&S 9 collets (1/8" - 3/4" in 1/8" increments), but other than that I'm mostly starting from zero. It did come with a vise, but it was not a milling vise - I'm not really sure what style of vise it is. Upon removing it, I discovered it's an unfortunately-named KKK vise made in Japan. I really have no desire to try to search for that on the Googles. Anyway, I scored a Kurt D60 off eBay for $200 shipped, and other than needing a new pair of jaws, it's in fine shape. So it's nice to have a real vise on there.

The other day I finally decided to explore why the y-axis dial doesn't lock. Turns out, somehow the original hand wheel is MIA, which I'll admit I didn't really realize until I started looking at pics of other Wells machines. What's on there now isn't a wheel at all, just a handle, which is rather annoying when cranking. Anyway, with the current handle, the sleeve that fits over the keyed shaft slides past the keyway, and since it's not in anyway attached to the handle, it's physically impossible for the dial to lock given the current setup. So that's no good. I took off one of the x-axis handwheels and put it on the y-axis and confirmed that it would work properly like that. So, anyone have any hand wheels taking up space?

Unrelated, anyone have any ideas on why the spindle travel would be reduced? It only goes to about 4" on the scale vs. the full scale it's supposed to be. And yes, the travel stops are out of the way!
 

zaaephod

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Unrelated, anyone have any ideas on why the spindle travel would be reduced? It only goes to about 4" on the scale vs. the full scale it's supposed to be. And yes, the travel stops are out of the way!
Hi NorseDave,
I recently acquired the same model of mill, and noticed limited quill down feed as well. If you're lucky, your issue will be as simple as mine. The spiral spring behind the quill feed handle was adjusted incorrectly. On my mill, with the quill handle, cover, and inner spring sleeve (it's held in place with a roll pin) removed, I found the quill of the machine would move through its range of motion by hand, pulling it down or lifting it while the quill lock was disengaged.

Do be careful, if you wind the spring without the cover, it looked to me like it could rapidly eject itself into something reminiscent of the old Slinky we all tried in vain to untangle as kids. I'm sure there's a proper technique for adjusting it, but I basically just fiddled with the orientation of the mechanism that engages the inside of the spring until it would rotate through the entire travel of the quill. Looking at the spring, you'd expect it would wind through many revolutions, but that's not the case, it is only just enough to move through the travel of the quill.

I suspect the reason for this condition is because most folks would expect the quill to retract like a drill press, which it's not intended to do, it's only meant to help ease the force required to bring the quill back up. The resulting 'adjustment' would end up with the hook at the end of the spring wedging between the sleeve and the spring, preventing the quill from reaching its full extended position.

Something of note if you do work on this, the sleeve that slips inside the spring has a roll pin through it, but it's not on center, the pin will only go through the assembly at 360 degrees of rotation in relation to the quill feed shaft, I couldn't rotate it only half a revolution. Hope that makes sense.

Hope this helps.
Z
 

NorseDave

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Hi NorseDave,
I recently acquired the same model of mill, and noticed limited quill down feed as well....
Hope this helps.
Z
Much thanks for the info Z! I will have to dive in and see what I can find. The last, ugh, year has been slow on the progress of bringing the mill back into fighting form, so to speak. I've been using it for stuff and working around the various things that aren't working properly, but one of these days I need to just bite the bullet and tear certain things apart, clean, lube, and rebuild as necessary.
 
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