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Square column for mill build

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Shawn_Laughlin

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does anyone make/sale a mill column only? Dovetail or boxway z and matching slide only,no motor no x and y,only the column and slide with maybe a system to lower and raise it? Or am I doing to have to try to piece something together from a used mill? I have a grizzly g0791 mill lathe,it’s a g4003g with a round column mill and I want to convert it to a square and I’ve seen where people have done it with there rong fu but they don’t go into detail by any means. I either want to completely build a whole new stand alone machine or just use it as is now on the lathe.

Thanks
 

matthewsx

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I doubt you will find anything new that will be cheaper than buying a complete machine.

Here's the one I found on craigslist that got me started down the path I'm on.

column.jpeg


You will probably be dollars ahead to sell what you have and buy what you want, I'm only really doing this for the learning process.

Cheers,

John
 

Canus

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Check out Bruce Whitam. He sells a kit that may do what you want.
 

vinnito1

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I not aware of anyone selling a bench top mill column only. Before undertaking my column build on my G0704, I checked with Precision Matthews if they sold any of their products "unfinished" since I would not be using may of the parts for my cnc conversion process. Matt replied to me that they do not offer an unfinished cnc kit

Attached is my link to my cnc conversion and column upgrade to my G0704. If building your own column interests you, I would ask what machine tools do you have access to build it? I am luck that I have access to a Bridgeport mill and lathe to be able to make most parts. I don't know of the size capacity of your mill/lathe combo, but I spent considerable time planning on how I was going to machine/finish the parts with the tools available. In a few cases, the cuts I needed to make are bigger than the X/Y travel on the mill, so knowing how to re-indicate before machining was important.

Making your own column is not cheap either. As many people have already said, look for a used machine or find a good scrap yard. I needed a thick piece of steel that had a cross section of 3"X 4" that was ~11" long. Checking with the online and local steel suppliers, a piece of cold rolled 1018 would have cost me at least $150. A local scrap yard sold me a piece that was 2.5x3.75x11 for $20. I don;t know what flavor of steel it is ( i assume A36 hot rolled) but for $20 and checking/tweaking my design, I couldn't pass it up.

Here is the link to my build
 

Shawn_Laughlin

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Yes vinnito the prices of steel almost gave me a heart attack when I started pricing but I kinda lucked out as well. I actually build pressure vessels and have plenty of sa-516-70 steel plate at my disposal. Its not The best material but it will work just fine. I’ve git more 3/8 and 1/2” than I know what to do with.

The whole reason I bought the mill lathe combo bc I really have no room at all. I know people are going to question that but really I have not one square foot of extra room.I am a sardine in a can,really and I need my lathe so there is no way to to fit and single thing in my garage. I had to store my moms fridge recently when she moved and it’s still there and with the motorcycle it is stuffed so I have to keep the combo until I get a little more room but do plan on buying a medium size machine or even a Haas cnc mill one day,I’ve just got to get a lot more experience under my belt.

I thought about,if not already a thing, combining a box way and linear rail and make a linear box way. I have 20’ of solid heavy aluminum supported, hardened Linear rail and thought about 4 strips, 2 in the front and two in the back and build a roller assembly that is boxed in like a box way. Don’t know if it’s a good idea or not but I’ve been wanting to bounce that off some people that are more knowledgeable than me on these things. I’ll post a picture of the rails I’m talking about.

I can build anything and weld anything and very good with metal work but I’m limited to what I have at home and work (meaning machining tools) so I have to make everything withvwhat I have.
 

Shawn_Laughlin

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Astjo2, Thanks for the reply. I can find ways but no one lists the prices at all and when you fill out for a quote I hear nothing back bc I’m not a company which really pisses me off. And say I’ve got the ways in hand I’m so knew to this I’m not sure of what I would need. I could figure it out with trials,errors and money but one of those I don’t have a lot of. I’m very new to the machining world and I know no one that does that kind of work either so I’m left asking question and figuring it out and I’m good at problem solving and building but would like for it not to take years to complete and that’s why I would like to buy an assembly.
 

matthewsx

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There have been many discussions on this forum about how to make a round column mill do precision work. You have what appears to be a very capable machine, if you're having trouble getting the results you want from it I would suggest trying to resolve them with your current setup before re-designing it from the ground up. It's very possible you could make the changes you're talking about and still not get the desired results. Sometimes the only solution is a larger, more rigid, more precise machine to do the job, and sometimes you can get it done by modifying the process and/or materials used.

The rail you have might be good for a surface grinder or CNC router, making it work for a vertical column would be challenging to say the least.
Post up some pictures of your shop and the projects you've worked on, or at least tell us what you're planning to do that you don't think the G0791 won't handle. It's easier to figure out how to make one part than building an entire machine, ask me how I know this....

As for storing your mom's fridge I can understand that. I recently moved a bunch of my mom's stuff into a rented storage unit so I could expand my shop. For me it's worth the extra monthly expense to be able to use my garage as a shop rather than storage for stuff that will likely never be used.


Cheers,

John
 

astjp2

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Just to be clear I would absolutely replace the steel rail might even go with good stainless grade.
Well you need to not do the millennial thing and actually call the companies on the telephone, if online is not getting you where you need to get an answer, then call. Also stainless sucks for wear, a good carbon steel is better, much better. Stainless is normally too soft. Just think of how stainless knives do NOT hold an edge like a good Damascus (carbon) steel will. You can also align the rails by a solid block, that will get you within a few tenths.
 

Shawn_Laughlin

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6AEF8F1A-8196-45DB-B01E-D1593A2DFE91.jpegC6799EF5-7352-41D3-82BE-70E05CB6B30C.jpegThank John and astjp2 for your replies. I put my dti at different places down the column and then at the front and backside of base and found that it’s the column base itself and where it connects to lathe bed where all the flexing is coming from. It also explains why when I face or turn in that general area my measuring or different than at the sides so I’ve decided to start there.

I built a 1/2” steel cover ,that I welded together and 14 half inch bolts the secure it to the base , that I will then take a piece of 6 x 4 x thicker than your average I-beam , that will either bolt to concrete or the lathe base column cross support. The cross support is also an addition I felt it needed and it did..... I was surprised how much just skinning the column base with 1/2” plate helped so adding the I beam should really make it a lot more ridged. I think I might even add 3 tramming bolts, 1 in back and on each side, the front has no room bc of the dro I added. You have to just make the dro mount anyway you can on this machine and now I know why grizzly doesn’t offer dro pre installed or even a kit for it. Getting tge dro mounted was arguably the best thing I’ve done so far to it but that’s way off topic.

I gotta go in a second and get shorter bolts.
 

Shawn_Laughlin

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Your right astjp2, my dad bought be a Damascus skinning knife at the sturgis bike rally a few years ago and I’ve never had to sharpen it. It might be bc I haven’t got to use it much but. Lol. But I agree with you
 

spumco

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I have 20’ of solid heavy aluminum supported, hardened Linear rail and thought about 4 strips, 2 in the front and two in the back and build a roller assembly that is boxed in like a box way.
Not a trivial job to align 4 surfaces so they're co-planar and parallel.

I'd suggest selling the rails you have and buying some regular linear guides. Those can be attached to a big chunk of square tube, which in turn has had an adapter flange welded & machined on the bottom. Instant new column. Fill it with epoxy granite to stiffen it and damp vibrations. The rails can be aligned and bedded in epoxy so the trucks don't bind and they move perpendicular to the mounting flange.

Build a head out of plate steel, fit a spindle and motor to it, and...

Or sell your mill and buy a square column mill and save a bunch of time.
 

Shawn_Laughlin

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I worked this weekend on making it more ridgid and it made a difference it the rigidity but now even though it cuts better there a little bit of shaking like when no load is put on the cutter and it’s just free spinning. I’m thinking it’s possibly the column itself so ima try the filling the column with an epoxy granite mixture to see if they cured it. I know it won’t hurt it. But I have a question. Where do you get the crushed granite? I have some granite drops that were left over from my counter I had done a while back,so could I use that and just crush it up somehow or do I need something specific?
Or is what I need easy to find?
I Have epoxy but the other materials I’m not sure what’s best bc there is so much on the internet that says one is good and another person says it’s not.
 

matthewsx

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Decomposed granite is available at any home center store. Lots of good info on the correct mix out there.
 

hman

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I don't think the exact nature of the fillers is important, as long as all of them are hard. There are lots of recipes out there on the interwebs. When I filled the column of my X2, I used a mixture of things I had on hand - included glass beads from the sand blaster, some aquarium gravel I'd bought for the project, and a goodly handful of 1 ¼" black drywall screws (to give it some "long distance" stiffness). If you use such screws, be sure they don't have an oil coating from the factory!

Not shown in the photo, but I scabbed a long rod onto the tip of the vibra-graver and used it of agitate and de-air the mix after pouring it into the column.
kHPIM2076.jpg
 
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