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My Nichols Mill

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gwarner

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#1
My search for a mill finally ended. I am now the happy owner of a Nichols mill. The Sunday before Memorial Day I drove 6 hours to Saint Paul to pick up my new acquisition. Loaded it up and drove home. Then I spent the next few weeks getting it cleaned and set up, as well as all the accessories I got with it

Since my shop is in the basement, I was limited by the choices of machine I could get. I was not going to be able to move a large item down my basement steps. This Nichols fit the bill perfectly. While it is over a 1200 pound machine it was easily disassembled and moved down my steps. The top separates from the base so each section was manageable. Additionally I was not going to use 3 phase or 220 and wanted to be able to convert to a 12dc variable speed motor.

For those of you who have one of these great machines you understand my excitement. They are a well build production machine quite capable of heavy cuts. They use a 40 taper so tooling is not a problem. It has an 8.5x30 table with three 5/8” slots. It has Bijur lubrication for the ways . and Based on what I planned do I wanted a horizontal.

It looked rough when I first saw it but the seller assured me it was a tight machine and was under power so I could hear it run. After taking it apart he was correct. The only place I see any signs of wear is in the sliding heads tailways. The hand scraping is still very visible but you can see some signs of wear. The rest of the ways for the bed, saddle and knee all look pristine. There is no backlash in the knee or saddle and a few thousand in the bed. Also there is not even one divot in the table. On the other hand, the vise that came with it is close to scrap. The divot holes have divot holes.

This thing was dirty. Everything I touched made my hands greasy, not just the machine but the pallet of accessories that came with it. I will do another post to go over what I got but I have thrown out about one third of the crap that was there.

I have the Nichols running on a 2.5 HP treadmill motor and while I have not done any actual projects with it, YET, I have done several test cuts. There is plenty of power even at low speeds it does not seem to notice. The spindle pulley on this is 12 inches in diameter and weighs, I guess, around 30 pounds. Once you start it spinning it is not going to stop. The motor mount for it came from the treadmill I got the motor from. A few quick welds and a hole drilled is all the fab work it took for the mounting of the motor. I made a pulley to fit over the motors flywheel so I could use the flywheel as a fan and additional momentum. It is driven by a v-belt . I did keep the original 1HP geared 3 phase motor and could go back to that if ever needed.

The crank handle for the knee was missing so I fabbed up a handle that I am quite happy with. Other than that the time spent was disassembly, cleaning, eliminating unnecessary parts, reassembly, painting and digging through boxes and bins of greasy junk looking for keeper items. There is a lot of time spent trying to organize all this new stuff.

Here are some pictures. I am not the type who stops to take pictures when I am working so there are some from the ad and a few of the way it sits now.
mill.jpg IMG_0396.JPG IMG_0398.JPG IMG_0397.JPG mill0.jpg
 

gwarner

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With the mill I got a box on a pallet full of accessories. A lot of it was junk but some was of value that I could put to use . Everything was greasy so I would load up some place it in a bucket of degreaser. Let it soak for several hours then dump it in a screened basket and hit it with the pressure washer. Then dry it quickly to prevent rust.

The good stuff I kept was 12 arbors 4 of them Nichols originals. 2 end mill holders ½ and 3/8.There is also a B&S 9 tapered arbor that I need to find a home for.

I dug out a bin full of hold down bolts but no slotted holders or step blocks. Real happy to find a huge assortment of arbor spacers and shims 1 inch and 7/8 inch. Found several drawbars, Some are short that I think may fit the vertical head but I did not get one of those. I restocked my bolt bins of hex head bolts and washers. There was an extra half nut and the small bearing for the arbor support head. Also 2 more sets of Micrometer stops.

There was a tailstock and several Hardinge D4 and D5 tool holders that use a taper to adjust the height. I don’t have a need for the holders so I may sell or trade them away.

To hold all this I used parts from the scrapped treadmill to build a shelf. I used wheels from a HF mover dolly. I rolls nicely and I like the curved rails.

IMG_0400.JPG IMG_0401.JPG IMG_0402.JPG IMG_0403.JPG IMG_0406.JPG
 

Billh50

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#3
Nice score !

I'm still hoping to find a real milling machine I can afford. Maybe one of these days I can work a deal for one.
 

gwarner

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Thanks Billh50,
While I am very happy with the deal I got I don't really call it a score. Had it came with an Indexing head, Rotary table, and a decent vise then I would say it was a score. As it sits now I am going to be investing a lot of time/dollars to finish equipping this.

I am sure your time will come on getting the right deal for you on a mill. I have been trying hard for the past few years and ran into many disappointments. A gentleman from this forum told me to expand my search area. Within a few months I found one I could live with.
During my search the most frustrating part was reading of people who already had 2 or 3 mills then along someone who practically gives then another one. How do they find these deals???
 

markba633csi

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#5
Hi GW, Nice mill- I like horizontal mills too for many of the same reasons: size, footprint, rigidity and flexibility. They are often good bargains too since most people consider Bridgies as the first (sometimes only) choice.
I just brought home this Diamond mill on Oct. 3 and I'm still getting dirty hands when ever I even get close to it LOL.
Do you still have the B&S #9 arbor? I have a 12" but would like a short one too. 1012160959-00.jpg 0911161101-00.jpg
Mark S.
 

markba633csi

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#6
BTW I like the way your table is designed with the fluid channel in the back like that.
MS
 

gwarner

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#7
I have really enjoyed this mill. There have been a few times I wished I had the overhead attachment like yours has.
I do still have the #9 arbor but I think it may be a 12" as well. Tomorrow when I get back down to the shop I will measure and post the specs of it. Not doing me much good.
 

Silverbullet

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#8
Billh50
I've seen a fairly large quantity of this style mill here on the east coast , lots around NY. There's a Rockford mill with a Hardinge turret LATHE for I think $850. Separately the mill is $350.00. I'd buy the mill if I had a way to get it to me . I'm about 100 miles away from it max. In south Jersey. A guy in hamminton NJ has a #5 for $600.00, on craigslist of course. I find them but miss out being crippled.
 

gwarner

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#9
Silverbullet, I wish there were deals like that around here. I had to go 2 states over to get mine.

Markba663csi, The #9 arbor is 12" so not a short one.
 

markba633csi

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#10
Thanks anyhow, GW I'll keep you in mind tho, in case I snap mine in two.
Mark S.
 

BMcC

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#11
I have the Nichols running on a 2.5 HP treadmill motor and while I have not done any actual projects with it, YET, I have done several test cuts. There is plenty of power even at low speeds it does not seem to notice. The spindle pulley on this is 12 inches in diameter and weighs, I guess, around 30 pounds. Once you start it spinning it is not going to stop. The motor mount for it came from the treadmill I got the motor from. A few quick welds and a hole drilled is all the fab work it took for the mounting of the motor. I made a pulley to fit over the motors flywheel so I could use the flywheel as a fan and additional momentum. It is driven by a v-belt . I did keep the original 1HP geared 3 phase motor and could go back to that if ever needed.


View attachment 130762
I know this thread is a couple of years old, but I just bought a Nichols "Whitney" mill and it had a 3 phase reeves drive motor attached to the side of the mill, versus where the motor would have originally been mounted. To use the moving head on the mill, I need to mount the motor where it was originally intended.

I have a treadmill motor that I'd like to use, (and actually looks a lot like yours), so I was wondering if you could tell me more about how you got it set up? i.e. what are you using for a motor controller, and also has it worked well set up like this?

- Brian
 

gwarner

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#12
I think you will be happy with this heavy duty machine.
The image on the far right shows how I mounted the treadmill motor. I welded the pivot base onto some square stock. I experimented with a few different controllers and all worked about the same.
I usually work with aluminum so the treadmill motor worked fine or a while. I could stall it on deep cuts.
About a year ago I switched over to an electric motor and a jack shaft to get the low speeds I need. The electric motor is the better set up.
 

Componenx

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#13
Looks like the toolroom version; mine is ancient and well worn in comparison. VFD and original motor, even the belts are vintage. Before and after pix:
mill 2.jpg IMG_0797.JPG
 

gwarner

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#14
You did a beautiful job restoring that.
 
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