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Old 10-23-2017, 09:01 PM   #1
Rudy
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Default Motorized milling machine head

Anybody having an idea for a geared motor suitable for replacing the hand crank to move the head up and down the column on my milling machine? (Sorry for the possibly wrong term. I'm from Nowhere (Norway :-). BTW, the mill is the one over by the window.
I believe about two rews per sec. would be fine.


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Old 10-23-2017, 09:23 PM   #2
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I have seen small geared motor assemblies used for automotive power windows. They are at a surplus store called Princess Auto in Canada and they might do the job.

Looking at your workshop it appears to be very neat and tidy so I wonder if you are planning to take on production work. I couldn't justify the change that you want. I like cranking handles to make the tasks last longer.


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Old 10-23-2017, 09:38 PM   #3
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Thanks DJP. Maybe a power window motor will do. I could make some kind of counter measure to the heavyer upwards cranking. It's real crampt behind with that crank. And it takes all day to get it moving. The travel on the quill isn't all that long, so it' a lot of cranking..
My shop is newly estabished so I haven't had time to mess it up yet :-)
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Old 10-23-2017, 10:39 PM   #4
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I bought a motor from Amazon. It was a wiper motor for motor homes. Similar items are listed on eBay. PWM controllers are available from both sources. I haven't gotten around to building the power feed yet, but I did acquire the components.

This type of gearmotor has a worm gear. If you need to manually adjust the head position precisely you need a way of disengaging the power feed.

Stefan Gotteswinter (YouTube) added gas struts to counterbalance the head on a mill similar to yours. Adding the struts would reduce the torque needed to move the head.
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Old 10-23-2017, 11:38 PM   #5
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Actually one of the better solutions I've seen for Bridgeports anyways is to get a heavy duty battery powered drill and make an adapter to engage the clutch the knee up and down lever attaches to. The adapter is a pretty simple milling project.

Now I know nothing about your mill but even if lit doesn't have any sort of way to disengage the drive handle you can still use a similar approach. The good things here are:
  1. The battery powered drill remains perfeclty usable for its intended purpose.
  2. The drill and adapter disenage instantly allowing the use of hand wheel direclty.
  3. There is a low investment here and the most expensive piece (the drill) is ultimatley usable elsewhere in the shop.
  4. If you want you can set the cluthch on the battery power drill to slip upon a collision.
  5. If you really want too you can set up the adapter to be used on many axises on various machines, thus one drill runs many machine axis.
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Old 10-24-2017, 01:24 AM   #6
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Hi Rudy. I have motorised my Z axis and posted information in Machine Modifications. There are two posts. If any of this looks good to you, let me know if I can help further. Regards, Peter.
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Old 10-24-2017, 10:48 AM   #7
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Nice conversion deeferdog and good ideas guys. My crank is large and the force you need to crank it is relatively large. I have been thinking wiper motor, but I doubt it is powerful enough, and a bit slow. What I will do next is to install a gas lift cylinder to take off the weight of the head. Then I can conclude on the power demand. Maybe a 12V wiper motor on 24V.
The drill approach has been on my mind. Since the crank is behind on the column I want a switch on the front. However, if a drill is powerful enough after installing a gas strut, I can easily slaughter a drill and use the guts in any configuration. The battery and charger would be a cheap alternative to a heavy current power otherwise required.
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Old 10-24-2017, 12:45 PM   #8
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Default Motorized milling machine head

Have a look at stefan gotteswinter channel on youtube he did a conversion on a mill similar to yours and I'm half way through doing the same to my mill .
I used a small motor drive off ebay as you don't need a lot of power , i used 100 rpm and a 2.5 to 1 reduction in the belt drive .
Still sorting electronics out and need to finish off the motor mount .
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Old 10-24-2017, 03:11 PM   #9
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On my Bridgeport I did not want to invest the big bucks for a power feed for the knee. Instead I bought an adapter (about $30) for my cordless drill. It lets me make the big moves quickly and I use the original crank for fine adjustments. Maybe something like that would work on your mill. It looks like the RF45 mill. Is it?
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Old 10-24-2017, 03:25 PM   #10
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John, my mill is probably smaller than RF45. When I think of it.. I have an old powerfull Snapon battery impact wrench. Maybe the guts in it could fit the bill. For fine adjustment I use the quill handle and crank. The head can move pretty fast.


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