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New mill Wells-Index 745

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dmittz

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#1
I had been wanting a milling machine for a while now.

It is hard to find a good mill in B.C Canada. After 1.5 years of watching craigslist I found a wells-index 745 down in washington state in a custom motorcycle shop. Previous owner had it for many decades and said it was used a few times a year as a back-up to thier main mill, I think the owner purchased from a custom car shop in california who he thought bought it new. which meant it never did production work and was proabbly lightly used.

I called wells index before puchasing it and they confirmed it was a 1hp 3ph, R8 spindle, Sold feb 4, 1969.

I ran it for 30-40 min and everything worked good. Only issue I noticed was a little backlash in the X axis about 20thousands. Table, and knee seemed smooth and tight along full travel. They also included a vise, hold downs and some cutters.

Thankfully the motorcycle shop had a huge crane to load it in our truck.

My father inlaw and I transported it back to Canada in his truck then used his forklift and palet jack to unload it into my workshop. Suprisingly the move was actually not that hard at all.

I am pretty excited to finally have a Mill.

I took the table and knee off for cleaning and discovered although, it was not very dirty that the oil ports had been greesed :(

The good part is all of the precision surfaces look excellent. Since I had to clean out all the oil ports anyway, the plan in to dismantle, repaint, clean, replace the XY nuts and reassembal.
 

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Chuck K

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#2
It was worth the wait. Index mills are great machines. Congrats!
 

dmittz

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Thanks Chuck K, I'm very happy with it. Really cool that wells-index still supports all their machines too.
 

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#4
You got a good one!
 

dmittz

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#5
Hi everyone,

Thought I might update this thread a bit and show the work I've started doing on the Mill.

So as mentioned I discovered that one of the previous owners had had greesed the oil ports, so before I started using it I thought I'd better dismantle it and clean out all of the oil passages etc... Also I hate the color so I'm going to do a full on strip and repaint while its apart. I will also fix anything else that I find is worn/broken. I likley won't touch the ways as they look ok and I really never forsee myself needing extreme percision so a little wear is ok with me.

First step was to start removing the table and taking apart the knee...

20180324_155153.jpg 20180324_155159.jpg
Removing the table wasn't to hard. I Cranked it all the way to the one side, removed the lead screw then pulled it off the saddle and carried it to a rolling cart and set it down the table is actually not as heavy as it looks.

Both the X and Y lead screws are in excellent shape with no noticable wear.

20180325_124449.jpg

The ways on bottom side of the table also seem pretty nice. scapings still visible along the whole length. Its a little hard to see in the picture because the lighting was not great.
20180329_174203.jpg

Next up I removed the saddle:

20180324_155215.jpg
Lots of old greese clogging up the oil ports on the saddle. So I cleaned them out throughly.

20180324_163633.jpg 20180324_163629.jpg

The saddle did seem to have a bit of wear.on thw ways where it rides on the knee, proabbly from the greese instead of oil. I doubt it will matter much for my purposes as I really don't need extreme precision.

On the other side of the saddle however it was a different story, the scraping was relatively intact with some wear near the ends...
20180329_174653.jpg
Next up was removing the knee. I used and engine hoist, when I put it back on I will need to figure out a way to rig it up so I can stop it from wanting to tip forward.
20180328_205345.jpg 20180328_192633.jpg
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The ways on the top of the knee have some wear but it doesn't seem that bad to me.

The Z axis ways look perfect.

20180329_173804.jpg
20180329_174109.jpg
20180328_205328.jpg

I bought 5 gallons of purple power, as I was going to need to do some serious cleaning!

20180326_080412.jpg More updates to come!
 
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dmittz

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I mixed up the purple power 3 parts water to 1 part PP and filled up a large rubbermaid bin and let some of the smaller parts soak in it for an hour or two. Darned it it didn't clean them right to bare metal. Jackpot!

20180403_121916.jpg 20180404_124756.jpg 20180403_142356.jpg 20180403_142349.jpg 20180404_124800.jpg

As soon as each part came out of the purple power bath they got a through solvent wipe down which seemed to prevent much flash rust and preserved the most of the parts in thier bare metal state. Anything that tried to flash rust got put in an evapo rust bath in another runner maid bin until the rust was gone.

I was really happy how nice the first batch of parts came out. Too bad I can't use this method for the coloum and knee!

More Updates to come.
 

T. J.

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#7
Looking good! Your ways look a whole lot better than mine did!
 

Chuck K

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#8
I did much the same thing to an Index mill once. Keep in mind that the pedestal has a lot of body filler on it to smooth out the casting (At least mine did). I ended up removing all of the filler and just painted the rough casting. It still looked good to me, but certainly wasn't as smooth as a new machine. I only mention this because it's really easy to get into the filler when you're scraping layers of paint off. Nice job. It's going to be a keeper.
 

dmittz

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#9
Thanks for the very sound advise Chuck. Ya they really put a lot of filler on these things, and that stuff was hard to get off! I did end up stripping the coloum and knee down to bare metal and it was a ton of work but came out good so far.
 

dmittz

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Next up it was time to deal with the knee. I carried the knee outside and began degreesing it with purple power and a pressure washer.

I wasn't able to get the quill dial etc... off the knee and I didn't want to get to aggressive and break something so I let it in place and covered it up well.

Once the knee was clean I used an aircraft paint stripper to remove 2 layers of paint and some sort of 'body filler'.

20180402_150004.jpg 20180402_150009.jpg 20180402_162913.jpg 20180402_162909.jpg 20180402_162918.jpg

After that the knee was now bare metal so I immediately gave it a solvent wipe and left a space heater blowing on it. That worked well as I didn't get any flash rust before painting.
 

dmittz

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#11
I next seperated the head from the turret and put it on a rolling cart (to be delt with later).

20180404_123415.jpg 20180404_130800.jpg
After the head was removed next I removed the turret from the base.

20180404_162833.jpg

Next up will be the coloum/base...

More updates to come!
 

Richard King 2

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#12
I have a good friend in Coquitlam and he has a BIAX Power 1/2 moon Flaker and I bet he would flake the top of saddle for a few beers. He has an amazing repair shop up there. http://www.carrsmachining.com/ His name is Shane. The 1/2 shapes are oil pockets and not scraping. I hate to tell you this, but it doesn't look the 1/2 moon flaking is original from the factory. I like Wells Index mills as they are still the only American manufacturer still making their machines in the USA. I stopped by their booth at IMTS show. They had a new machine like yours and one they will be importing from Taiwan. The top of the knee looks like it might be chrome plated too. Be sure to buy or make some new way wipers too. Rich
 

dmittz

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#13
Thank you so much for the tips Richard I really appreciate it!

I will definetly give shane a call about the flaking. If he can redo it would be awesome, I didn't realize anyone in my area did that sort of stuff, sounds like his shop is only about 20min from me.

I will for sure get some new way wipers, I was actually just on the phone with Wells-index today about getting some and a new bronze X&Y nut. They are suppose to be sending me an e-mail with pricing soon. Really cool that they still support this machine that they sold way back in 1969!

I am fairly new to machining, and was wondering if you could tell me how you knew the 1/2 moon flaking is not original? so I know what to look for in the future.

Thanks again for taking the time to give me such helpful tips.
 

Richard King 2

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#14
A professional scraper tech can flake and the lines are even and straight. Even when doing it by hand. There are 2 ways of doing it. By hand or using a Power flaker. Both ways can produce a straight line. Go to You Tube and search Jan Sverre Haugjord 1/2 moon flaking.
Jan is one of my students and has several great shows on scraping. Jan is also a good friend and is the co-ordinator of all my Scandinavian Classes I have taught there. Must be 6 now over the last 10 years. He is an Engineer and his hobby is scraping. Shane also took 2 of my classes. He has a complete repair / rebuild shop. Go there and you will be quite pleased. He will probably charge more then a beer though...lol

PS: on the brass nuts you can check out http://www.greenbaymfgco.com/ACME-nuts.php and Wells to get comparison prices. I just bought a nut from them 2 weeks ago. it was a 3/4 / 5 cast iron nut that I had to machine the OD. It cost $46.00.
 
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dmittz

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Thank you again Richard for the great info, that is super helpful. I had a look at a few videos they are very informative. I will definietly be giving Shane a call. (I also have an old south bend 13, I want to talk to him about, but that is a whole other project). Thanks so much for the info about the brass nut that is another great option for me to consider if the wells-index part is too costly. Thanks a million for all the great info!
 

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The next step in my restoration is to deal with stripping and repainting the coloum/base.

Just a note on personal safety. Given when this machine was manufactured there might have been lead in the original layer of paint, so I used a full face mask with a filter approved for removing lead paint and asbestos. I also tried to keep as much of my skin covered as possible. I had the base on a pallet jack so I was actually able to roll it outside (on some 2×10's) and did everything with a fan blowing any dust away from me. I would then just roll it back inside when I was done for the day. As far as painting goes I have full facemask supplied air system so I don't breath in any fumes.

Here's the base/coloum in a pallet jack ready to be stripped.

20180404_162845.jpg
The process of stripping the old paint and filler took many, many hours and was a nasty job but I wanted to be sure the new paint would have good foundation, I was worried the old paint/filler would be oil soaked and lead to adheasion problems.

I first used an aircraft paint stripper to take as much paint off as possible, next I used a scrapper to take off as much filler as I could, then another round of stripper. What was left I used a wire wheel on my 7in grinder and an air sander to remove until I had nothing but bare metal left. Here is is some pictures of the process.

20180405_132808.jpg 20180405_132816.jpg 20180405_161928.jpg And finally just the cast iron was left! I sanded the cast with an air sander and 80grit paper to make sure the primer had something to bit into.

20180407_144248.jpg
20180407_152324.jpg 20180407_152354.jpg 20180407_152450.jpg 20180407_152334.jpg 20180407_152508.jpg

20180407_152435.jpg

I was a still concerned about oil soak in the casting so after I had it down to bare metal I spent maybe 2 hours scrubbing it with solvent. Then I took a little blow torch and tried to just mildly heat up the surface of the casting and then wipe each area wit solvent, giving the ways a wide berth of course. O then left the base and knee with heater blowing on them and I came in twice a day and gave all the bare cast parts a through solvent wipe down. I did this for 7 days until not one part was showing any trace of oil during the solvent wipes/scrubs.

Now I finally felt confident that I have a good foundation to start the paint/filler process.

More updates to come.
 

T. J.

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#17
Make sure you're sitting down when you price that nut from W-I ;)
 

dmittz

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#18
I will make sure to have my chair ready, lol.
 

Richard King 2

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#19
Before I painted a raw casting I would wipe it off with a high quality lacquer thinner and I used Sherman and Williams fast dry primer. I used an Wagner airless sprayer too. Worked good and no air bomb and very little over spray.
 

dmittz

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#20
Thank you for the very sound advise Richard. Yes for sure I will be uing only quality automotive grade paint meant for metal I won't want to put all this work in an then use a cheap paint. I did give it a through wipe with some dupont final prep solvent meant to do a final clean of surfaces before paint.
 

dmittz

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#21
Now that the casting was all ready I got started on the paint/filler process.

I put several layers of automotive masking tape over all the ways and machined surfaces. Once that was done I started with a catilyized expoy primer (automotive grade), 2 coats. Applied with my HVLP gun. As I mentioned before I have a supplied air system so I don't have to breath any hazardous fumes.

I waited about an hour for the epoxy primer to flash then applied 2 coats of 2K high build primer and let it dry over night.

20180414_162354.jpg
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20180414_162409.jpg 20180414_162420.jpg 20180414_162350.jpg
20180414_162345.jpg

Once the high build primer had dried for a day I sanded it as smooth as possible but the casting is fairly rough so I then applied some body filler. After it had dried it was sanded and more high build primer was applied then sanded again...

20180428_114545.jpg 20180428_114556.jpg 20180428_114604.jpg 20180428_114611.jpg
I did several rounds of filler, sand, high build primer, sand etc...

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It took a few weeks to conplete the filler and primer process...

20180502_200004.jpg

20180502_200014.jpg

Finally I had the casting smooth enough for top coat painting. I could have maybe saved time by doing one thick coat of filler to start with and sanding it smooth. However my goal was not to add anymore material than necessary because I think filler is more likely to chip and get oil soaked so I wanted as little as possible for a smooth finish.

For a top coat I used a 2 part cateliyzed urethane single stage paint. I used this same kind of paint on the suspension part of my corvette and it has held up very well over the last few years.

I choose to just do single stage rather than base clear because I think it will be easier to touch up and chips and scrathes. I find an air bush works well for minor touch-ups.

I did 2 coats of the color/top coat:
20180505_154543.jpg
20180507_122839.jpg

20180506_124120.jpg
20180505_154551.jpg
20180505_154609.jpg

I'm quite happy with the way the paint turned out and i belive it should hold up well.

More updates to come.
 

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Excellent paint job. Your patience is paying off.
 

dmittz

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Thanks rtorres, it was a lot of work but i'm happy with the results :)
 

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#24
Before I went any further with the work on the milling machine I figured I needed to make a rolling stand for it as I may need the ability to shuffle stuff around from time to time.

So I made a low slung rolling stand, each wheel is rated for 750+ lbs. so it should handle the weight no problem.

Unfortunatley part way through the project my 20year old little lincon welder packed it in... That's ok it gave me a good excuse to get a better welder... I found a very lightly used Miller 211 with cart and tank of craigslist. the guy selling it said he used it just a few times and it was still on its first spool of wire, I tried it out and it worked great, so I bought it.

20180923_172903.jpg

For some reason the cart didn't have a handle so I made a nice sturdy handle with some brackets to hang the welding gun and ground wire on. I also picked up a few accessories for it since most of my old welding stuff was worn out.

Miller 211 Welder with cart handle installed and a few accessories.

20180929_132134.jpg

Anyway back to the mill:

So I was able to then finish up the rolling cart and painted it with the same epoxy primer and 2 part single stage paint as the Mill.


20180916_135925.jpg

The stand is designed to keep the Mill less than an inch off the ground, I also put some home made leveling feet at all 4 corners so I can set it in place and not worry about it moving while I'm milling. It was a fair bit of work but should be worth it in the long run.

I recruited my father to help me move the mill from the pallet jack to the rolling stand...
We used the same engine hoise we had used to lift the mill before. Once we had it off the pallet jack I pushed the cart underneath the mill. At this point the engine hoist suddenly decided to tip over forward!

We both jumped out of the way and to our amazement the mill dropped about 10 inches down and landed perfectly into place on the rolling cart!

That certainly got the heart pumping.

Anyway it wasn't how I planned to do things but the mill is on the cart safe and sound.

Rolls around very easily.

20180930_152613.jpg 20180930_151218.jpg 20180930_151206.jpg
More updates to come.
 
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Richard King 2

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#25
I sure hope you and Shane can do something to the ways, or guidance from the people here we can walk you through it, Shane has all the equipment you could use. He has 2 way grinders, straight-edges, Biax Power Scrapers and the know how. It would be a shame to let those crappy ways to not shine like your beautiful paint job.
 

dmittz

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#26
Hi Richard, I just wanted to say I have great respect for your skills and really do appreciate the time you've taken to give me advise in the thread. I haven't had a chance to talk Shane just yet but I will be giving him a call for sure. Here's my thoughts/plans for the ways. I'm just a hobbist and won't be making a living with this Mill and I don't plan on doing any really high percision work with it. But I do want it to be functional for my uses.

When I inspected the Mill before disassembally quill/Z axis seemed really good (smooth top to bottom with equal effort). The Y axis as far as I could tell seemed similarly smooth front to back. The X axis was mostly smooth but it did notice it got a little tighter near each end (maybe last 4 inches of travel on each end) But it wasn't terrible.

Of course visually the saddle has some wear...

So having said all of that my plan is to talk to Shane and see what he says and the costs involved. Assuming It is at a price I can justify/ afford I am planning to take the saddle and maybe the table into him and maybe have him grind or scrape the X axis and re-flake as he sees fit given my budget and intended uses.

I do want a functional machine NOT just a good looking one, but at the same time I just need it to fuction for my intended uses it doesn't have to absoutley perfect.
 

Richard King 2

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#27
If you only want visual...a"Cut & Flake" would give it better lubrication and it would look better. That's what many used machinery dealers do after they give it a pretty paint job.
 

dmittz

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#28
Yes, that sounds like it might be a really good option. If the cost is within my budget ideally it would be really great to get the ways on the X axis redone so the table moved smoothly along its whole travel. I'll have to see what Shane says then decide which option I will take. Thanks again for the suggestions Richard its apprecited.
 

dmittz

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#29
So my shop was feeling a bit cluttered with the parts from the Mill scattered about so I figured its time to start putting stuff back together.

When I took the knee off it wanted to tip forward quite a bit as it seems to be 'front heavy'. So I knew I needed to come up with something that would help.me keep it rigged up level when I put it back on the base/ coloum.

I spent a bit of time and made some brackets that would allow me to keep the knee very secure and on a level plane when installing it. It will also be nice to have these brackets around in the future as it will make taking the knee off pretty easy.

Here's the install of the knee.

20181007_133236.jpg 20181007_134241.jpg 20181007_134253.jpg
Once the knee was in place I put some way oil on the ways and installed and adjusted the Gib I also oiled the screw and gears.

The knee seems to go up and down very smoothly along its whole travel so I think its good to go and if I ever want to take it off again the brackets make it pretty easy.

Knee in place...
20181009_113332.jpg 20181009_113346.jpg 20181009_113406.jpg

I also spent a bit of time polishing up the way lock for the knee. Here's what I started with: 20180505_130536.jpg
20180505_133653.jpg
20180505_133659.jpg

Installed on the knee:

20181010_165714.jpg

I also cleaned up the way wiper brackets... here's what they looked like to start with:

20181010_170602.jpg
I did my best to polish them up but, the casting seem to be very porious so This was about the best I could do...
20181012_193949.jpg
Its proabbly vanity but I figured while I was at it might as well take a couple min and polish all the little screws that hold them on to.

20181012_194138.jpg

Well guys I have actually caught up with where I am on the Mill so the pace of updates is going to slow way down. I have a young family and work full time so I only get a small amount of time each week in the workshop and I have some other projects on the go also. But if you all can bear with me little by little I'll get this thing up and running again.

More updates to come.
 

T. J.

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#30
It looks like you have the same style of way wipers I have. I bought new rubber strips from W-I. I got 3 feet of it and it was about $35.

Here's a suggestion regarding lubrication. I have one of these little oil guns and it is great for pushing oil into those zerks.

https://www.machinerypartsdepot.com/product/12PB20

My routine is to put one pump into each zerk, except for the back zerk on the left side of the saddle, which gets two pumps. (It supplies a larger area than the others)
 
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