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New to forum, new to me Rong Fu 30

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lafester

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Hello all, thought I would make a quick post to introduce myself and ask a few questions about my new mill drill.
I've been lurking at all the machine sites since I got my heavy 10 a couple months ago but never really had a reason to post.
I just picked up a 1998 Taiwan rf 30 and do have a few questions about it so I thought I would finally make a post.

Unfortunately the mill is still in pieces in my vehicle so I just have the typical crappy cl pic. It actually looks quite a bit better then I was expecting. No damage to the table and everything was nice and smooth. The PO was older and obviously did not care about where he attached things to his machines, but did seem to take care of them otherwise. Came with the stock base, small collet set, collet rack, 3 chucks and a shars 4" locking vise for $800.

During my search I have seen a nice Enco, Very nice (new) Jet, Very nice Taiwan CM, a weird CM Chinese RF40 clone that seems to be pretty rare and then the typical junk and no name clones. I was pretty surprised how many come and go in just a few weeks. For all the people who hate on them, they sure are popular. Meanwhile the knee mill ads sit there for weeks and weeks and weeks. This is actually the first one I have seen in person and I think it should be fine for my occasional use. I did see a 25 once and thought it was big at the time... that is kind of what got me to start looking. I really like the Enco 30 with the power downfeed but I only saw one of them worth buying and very far away. Now that I have mine I can relax and if something better pops up I know I can flip the old one pretty quick.

Really my only question at the moment is about the chip tray. Were these sold separately or are they part of the base? I did a quick search and didn't come up with much.
Anyone adapt anything to use or make their own? What are the dimensions of a stock tray? I've seen pics with and without them and mine did not come with one unfortunately.

Thanks!
 

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mmcmdl

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craptain

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Welcome.
The chip tray is part of the optional base/stand. Many, if not most, were sold without it. As was mine.
I have no chip tray on my mill, but made a tray for my lathe, using a couple of baking trays bought from a catering supplier. Made of aluminum, I cut them on the table saw and butt jointed them to an appropriate size. Imperfect but effective.

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C-Bag

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Welcome to H-M and to the RF30 club :) There are quite a few of us here and do good work with them. There are many detractors too, oh well. My RF-30 was made in '88 and came with a heavy duty welded table with a 1/4" thick top the width of the table with 2x2 tube frame. Way bigger than the original but I like it because I am always putting tools that I need for the job on it which is much handier for me and there is a reason it was called a bench mill. It also has room for an old 3drawer middle box for tools under the mill drill. The one thing it didn't have was an acess hole in the table to adjust the Y axis nut and for service. So I added that. Personally I don't see the need for a chip tray as I don't use flow coolant and it's easier to vac off the chips without the lip of the tray. Just my 2c YMMV.
 

lafester

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Well, like you said, it's nice to have a ledge to 'temporarily' place tools and such while working.
The drip pans look nice but too flimsy and the baking pans are too small.

A few weeks ago I had a deal on a nice Enco with a big welded stand but the guy sold it without telling me the next day.
I'll probably just keep an eye out for one as they seem to pop up pretty often, for much less then building my own.
 

lafester

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Anyone know the bolt size for the base feet?
My garage is a disaster and I can't find or get to much of my measuring tools.

Nothing I have fits! I need to make a temporary rolling base for it until I get everything situated.

Oh and everything is in the garage now. Wasn't too bad, just needed help with the head. Really don't like how they bondo and paint over everything.
On the plus side I think my 1940s industrial 3 phase motor will actually fit on this mount so that will be one of the first mods... if it has enough hp.
 

craptain

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Mounting bolt holes are right at 1/2" or 14mm. 1/2" bolts might be a little tight.
I just walked over 10 feet to check for you.
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lafester

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Thanks craptain. Pretty sure I tried both sizes and they were tight. might be a courser pitch then I have available. I'll head over to ace and see what I can find.

Thanks for checking!
 

lafester

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Ace had nothing that would fit so I'm just going to tap some normal threads in there.
Nothing is ever easy...
 

C-Bag

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when you say "base feet" are you talking about the four base holes or the 4 bolts that hold the mast to the base? When I bolted mine down I believe is used 1/2".

Going to 3ph and a VFD has been a dream of mine but not having a line on a 3ph of at lease 1.5hp or 2 has kept that on the future search. Getting it mounted on a good table comes first and I hope you find something. One of the best cheapo mod's I've done to mine was a 3 axis igaging DRO off eBay. The whole kit was like $130 and was a game changer as far as making life easier to do some accurate work. Yeah those glass scale kits for $400+ are nicer no doubt but I have a hard time paying more for the DRO than the mill cost.

The other mod I've been contemplating is putting a linear bearing between the base and the head to keep it registered if I have to change the Z or do like one of the members did where he accurately staked the the head lift rack to the mast and mount gibs to the head to guide the head along the head rack.
 

lafester

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I was referring to the nuts welded to the bottom of the stand. I am giving up on messing with that as I just don't think the stand is stable enough to move around. I've looked a little at dro and I think the glass kits have come down in price but there seems to be some quality concerns with them. I'll probably go with an igaging kit as well. As much as I like to play around this stuff I don't think I will be using it enough to justify anything too fancy.
I bet I will be doing more drilling then milling but who knows.
 

C-Bag

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I think we are in the same boat. I seldom do anything longer than 6" and maybe 4"wide. Most of what I did for a while was drilling holes for pattern fits and the DRO fixed all my problems with that. It doesn't matter how much play in the leadscrews the DRO tells exactly where the XY&Z are. It has been very good at keeping me within .001. And it gets back to 0 perfectly.

I sometimes think about a bigger mill, but in reality it would be overkill even though I've had it for 3-4yrs now. The projects I do a Bridgeport would be wasted. So while I get the projects done and gain experience while getting the necessary tooling I'll continue on with the old RF-30 until I outstrip its capacity. And like you mentioned even though many bag on it this mill will be easy to turn. Even for me who can't seem to turn anything. And the beauty is it uses all R8 so it will transfer to a lot of other machines.
 

mickri

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Welcome to the forum. Sounds like you are a newbie just like me. You will find really knowledgeable people on here who will provide advise and help with any problems that you might run into. Don't be afraid to ask any questions.

I have an RF31 clone which is one step up from your RF30. For chip control I put a piece of aluminum foil on the table on each side of the vise and also between the column and the back of the table. Works pretty good to control the chips and makes cleanup really easy.

One issue that you will run into is losing alignment if you have to raise the head to change tooling. You will find all kinds of contraptions that people have come up with to remedy this problem. I have found a simpler solution. Whenever I do a project on my mill/drill the first thing that I do is figure out all of the tooling that I will be using and do a dry run changing out the tooling. I then set the head high enough to make all of the tooling changes without having to raise the head. Since I have started doing this I have not had to raise the head to change tooling.

Share your projects with us and take lots of pictures. We love pictures.
 

lafester

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Thanks! yeah, I have read quite a few threads on these and this comes up in every single one.
A little planning, making an index mark or taking a reading with an indicator all seem to do pretty well when needed.
It is strange though, that the manufacturers have never attempted to improve the product in this area.
A simple keyway on the column could at least get you real close.

I wonder if I could scribe a straight line up the column to use as an index point.
 
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mickri

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I thought about scribing a line on the column until it was pointed out to me that even a very thin line is still way too wide to bring you back to where you were. One of the simplest solutions I came across was to use a dial indicator mounted on a magnetic base where the DI would read back to zero as you brought the head up against the DI. No fancy gadgets. No lights bouncing off walls and mirrors. Put the DI against the head and set the dial to zero. Move the head and change your tooling. Then move the head back against the DI until it reads zero. Seems pretty simple to me.
 

C-Bag

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Seems simple until you have to unexpectedly change heights with like a boring head or face cutter. Getting back to zero is a snap with the cheap DRO if you don't change Z. I tried the magnetic laser pointer shooting to the opposite wall to a plumb bob line and it worked suriprisingly well. Within .001. Was just a cheap HF mag laser level stuck to the side of the head. I'd invested in a pretty complete set of collets, screw length drills etc to avoid height changes and it worked until I got stuck.
 

lafester

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I spent some time today putting the mill back together, cleaning and fresh oil.
Everything looks pretty nice, just a few dimples on the table and some missing paint.
The pulleys, motor and column look practically new so I don't think this has been used much.
The nameplate and depth gauge still have the plastic protective coating on them.
The pulley guard is almost perfect as well.

Strangely two of the handle set screws are missing but at least one of them is there so I can try and match up a couple more.
I should finally have some pics tomorrow when I get the head back on.

I've done some more measuring and I am fairly sure my old 3 phase will bolt right up (or at least close) but I want to run it with the stock motor first to see the difference. The old motor is only 3/4 hp but it is just as big and heavy as this 2 hp Rong Fu. Anyway, I've been running it on my Delta 17 and it has yet to even slow down so we shall see.

Just occurred to me that @ 1140 rpm this motor is probably pretty darn close in real hp compared to a chinese 1750 rpm motor.
 

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lafester

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Wow, with the cover off that head looks soooo much smaller.
Quick question about mounting the head on the column.
It seems the main issue is trying to get the damn crank lined up with the bracket... can you not just remove the crank, lower the head on and then replace the crank gear box? Mine has already been removed once (bondo showing and paint cracked) so it's not a big deal.

Again, why did they bondo and paint all the joints?

I've got a super heavy duty ratchet strap wrapped around the head and I plan to just hook that up to the hoist to lift. Maybe add a chain through the head as a safety measure. If it is way off balance I can use a light duty strap to level it out.
 

mikey

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It seems the main issue is trying to get the damn crank lined up with the bracket... can you not just remove the crank, lower the head on and then replace the crank gear box? Mine has already been removed once (bondo showing and paint cracked) so it's not a big deal.

Again, why did they bondo and paint all the joints?

I've got a super heavy duty ratchet strap wrapped around the head and I plan to just hook that up to the hoist to lift. Maybe add a chain through the head as a safety measure. If it is way off balance I can use a light duty strap to level it out.
Yes, you can remove the crank and gear and install the head on the column. You still have to align the rack with the slot in the head but it will slip on. Then install the crank/gear.

The bondo is cosmetic only. Then they used the cheapest, crappiest paint they could find. Don't put masking tape on the paint; even Blue painter's tape will peel the paint right off.
 

C-Bag

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Wouldn't be just as easy to pull the rack off, install the head leaving it held up by your lift and then feed the rack down through the head until you get to the gear then crank it down into place? Dunno, just asking. I've not had the head off mine yet. But I did lift it off the table in order to cut the service hole in the table and used that hole through the top of the head between the mast and the quill and it balanced perfectly by adjusting the table in or out.
 

lafester

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The main problem is the gears get hung up on the end of the rack so either way I think at least loosening the crank box is in order.
 

C-Bag

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Doh! Yup, now that I took a look, no teeth on the ends.
 

lafester

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That wasn't bad at all, except for my severe lack of space to barely even move the hoist.

The head will not just drop down at first due to friction so I was easily able to lower the hoist a few inches, walk over and level the head so it drops and then repeat. Once the head is fully on the column lock the head, remove the crank and install the bracket from the top. We should have taken the crank off to remove the head as well... lesson learned but no damage done to the gears.

Now... I have to remove everything behind, above, and near the mill so I have free movement. These things sure take up a lot of space for being a 'small benchtop' mill.

I promised pics so I'll snap a few in a bit.
 

rock_breaker

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Just went to the shop and measured the chip pan on my enco 105 (similar to a RF 30, the pan measures 23 " x 31" at the top lip. The lip is 3" from the machine frame in front and 4" from the back. I think the "Y" leadscrew wheel has something to do with this. The side are each 3.5 inches from the main frame . Failed to measure depth but guess 3" Welcome to the site.
Have a nice day
Ray
 

lafester

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Thanks Ray. I was thinking about nesting two drip pans and seeing if that would work. It's only like $18 total for two of them.
Hmmm. Now that I think about it I have a dog crate pan that I will probably never use again. I'll have to dig it out and see.
 

matthewsx

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Thanks Ray. I was thinking about nesting two drip pans and seeing if that would work. It's only like $18 total for two of them.
Hmmm. Now that I think about it I have a dog crate pan that I will probably never use again. I'll have to dig it out and see.
I have an old dog crate pan under my lathe....
 

rock_breaker

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The top of my Clausing lathe bench is plywood treated with "Verithane" on top of that is a rusty biscut/brownie pan that catches most of the chips.
Have a good day
Ray
 

geoffm

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Mine was my late father in laws one. I fitted a VFD and a 3 axis DRO from Aliexpress so it is on the quill as well, Both are well worth doing. the VFD allows me to run of 1pf, although that is not important as I have 3ph, but it is nice to alter speeds without changing the belt. The DRO is the best addition by far and saves so much time. I looked at fitting a power feed, but haven't been able to justify it.
Mine is a rare one with the power feed on the quill downfeed. I have only used it once when I was boring a worn casting to take a bronze Bush, but it worked a great and made it easy.
My father in law did a lot of work with it, and they are more capable than many people give them credit for.
 

lafester

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Yeah, during my search I saw a couple with the power down feed but they were both too far away.
Someday I will find one locally at a reasonable price and then I can upgrade.
DRO is on my list to get fairly soon. I am seeing some pretty cheap options out there.

I have been sidetracked (sidelined?) by a medical issue but hopefully soon I can mess with the 3 phase motor.
I haven't even been able to fire up the stock motor yet and it is killing me.
 
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