My adventures with my RF-30

In this thread I will document my adventures in getting this mill from the dealer to up and running in my garage. I have another thread here that documents some of the early research and mills I looked at.

I just bought an RF-30 clone. It was originally sold by Rutland Tool, which I remember as a local SoCal company in the 80's. I bought it at a machinery dealer in Pomona, Wheeler Machinery. Nice people, very reasonable to deal with. I was pleasantly surprised. I got the mill and a 5" Kurt vise for $975 out the door. After the sale I asked if I could get a t-shirt, too, and they said yes.

They loaded it with a forklift into my truck. I have a Chevy 1500 so the 600lb weight was no problem. The put a 2x4 between the quill and the column and picked it up with a forklift. It balanced really well and the 2x4 held the weight just fine.

Once in the truck they pushed it to the back with the forks.

I tied it down with just two straps wrapped around the column. It didn't move at all.
I guess I am kinda confused?
Why do these machines need an access hole in the middle of the table.
I always thought some of these RF30 clones needed the hole to oil the Y leadscrew & nut.
My machine does not need the hole in the table to lubricate the Y or the X leadscrew or nut.
What am I missing?
Manual Mac The hole is not in the table. The hole we are talking about is in the top of the stand to gain access to the underside of the base.

Pontiac428 mine does not have adjustable nuts for backlash nor does it have any locating pins like Davidr8's. Mine also doesn't have dials that you can zero. Another difference is that it has 4 pulleys instead of 3 to change the speed. The other big difference is how you engage the fine feed on the Z axis. Most have a plastic nob on the outside end but mine has knurled sleeve between the outside end and the head to engage the fine feed. So these machines are similar but different in many respects. Why? I don't know.
Maybe the differences are between machines made in Taiwan and China, Taiwan are considered superior quality.
I've never had an issue with my either the X or Y nuts from oiling just the leadscrew. Every few years I completely disassemble the X/Y tables, clean, inspect and re-lube.

When I first got the RF31 the spindle would heat up which was caused by dry grease on the 2 bearings. I simply cleaned and repacked them to solve the issue.
Mine is a 1980 LC-30 (Long Chang) made in Taiwan.
MT3 spindle taper
I can't zero the dials
Non-adjustable nut
Knurled fine-feed sleeve
Three pulleys
Z-axis mechanism does not have a removable cover
Three bolts to secure the head, the middle one has a big hub with tapped holes similar to the down feed lever
Mickri, by table (with hole) I meant the table (stand) that the mill sits on. Not the mill table itself.
Unfortunate use of words on my part.
Sorry for the confusion.
The mill stand I have is the heavy sheet metal one that many company’s sell for the RF-30/31. Came with the mill when I purchased it.
I will be building a steel one with adjustable feet. Been saying that for a long time but you know.....
I will be making it 2 or 3 inches higher than the supplied one which positions the top of the mill table to about 37.5”.
My X&Y lead screws are made out of bronze (or brass?), not cast iron.
The X screw is adjustable for backlash, finally figured out how to adjust it.
ARC-170, congrats on your machine.
I use mine a lot, & couldn’t be happier with it.
1997 Taiwan RF30
Column bolted to base 1/2 way up instead of the bottom of base
40" table height, 3 pulleys, rear is not stepped after VFD conversion
All Dials zero
$600 CAD with power feed + 2 clamps sets + angle vise - purchased in 2013


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Mine is an Excel EC30B made in Taiwan. Don't know the year.
4 pulleys
Knurled fine feed
R8 spindle
Can't zero the dials and have decided that I like that feature. It allows me to precisely position the table to a prior location.
Non adjustable nuts
3 bolts to secure the head.
Removable front cover plate.
Study stand on casters
I paid just under $500. Don't remember the exact price. No tooling other than a 15" Walther rotary table that would not fit on the table. Sold the rotary table to a local machine shop for double what I paid for the mill/drill.
I'd appreciate seeing a picture of the sleeves you made.
Sorry, I misspoke the sleeves were on my sold RF25 but I found a photo.
Clamp the handwheel to the shaft with a setscrew and insert a washer/spacer between it and the notched dial


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3. MILL TABLE DESIGN (continued)
I took a look at my mill and it appears I can lube the cross feed nut from the top. This is a view looking from the side of the mill at the back of the table. The nut is just visible at the left of the screw threads. I took the chip cover off.
DSC00303 (2).JPG

I can see under the mill since it's on moving dollies and it looks like I might only need access to the cross feed nut if I ever replace it. I saw what looked like a horizontal screw on the bottom of this part that faces the rear of the machine and is in line with the y-axis, but it's not on the parts list at for the G0705, which is, I think, the same mill.
A 3" diameter hole will be sufficient for that.

Here is the table design:
mill  table sketch 2.jpg
The mounting holes in the front of the base are at the front corners, but the mounting holes in the rear are about 3.75" in from the back. So I added another cross piece in the rear. I will drill holes in the front cross member and the third cross member from the front so I can have the bolts go thru the table, into the frame. The bolts will stick out the bottom.
I was not fond of just bolting the mill to the table top. It's going to be 3/4" plywood with a 16Ga steel top.
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