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Old 01-10-2008, 06:22 PM   #1
Stan
 
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Default Benchmaster Mill

I don't see any others using this mill. They were made in Los Angeles in the 50s and could be converted to Horizontal or vertical by changing the spindle. They came in a short or long table with a MT2 fixed quill and a true knee. Like all my tools, mods have been made. I bored out the quill to take MT3 collets to make more room than using endmill holders and it is powered with a GE industrial DC motor with KBIC drive. Mine is the long table (6" x 36") with the optional power feed on the left end of the table. It is on a factory stand set up for coolant which I seldom use because of the mess. Note the big WD40 spray container.

The item on the right end of the table is a shop made spacer which indexes for 2,3,4,or 6 spaces. I can take the chuck of the lathe holding the workpiece and stick it on the spacer to quickly make flats.



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Old 01-10-2008, 06:30 PM   #2
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Default Re: Benchmaster Mill

I've seen those before, they're cool little mills. I guess you'd have to be in the right place at the right time to lay hands on one.

Best,

BW



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Old 01-11-2008, 02:00 AM   #3
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Default Re: Benchmaster Mill

It is kind of ironic that this one came from a US Army surplus option. Being very safety conscious they had totally enclosed the belt drive with 10 gauge steel and expanded metal and then mounted a size 1 motor start switch on the side of the column so that you had your arm almost touching the cutter when you reached for the stop button.

Since they are so simple, if not beat up too bad they are easy to repair and the quill uses ordinary tapered roller bearings with a nut on top to set the preload. The real drawback to them is the fixed quill.

For long time readers of books and magazines featuring Rudy Kouhoupt he did all his early marvelous design and build with a SB 9C and a Benchmaster mill using endmill holders and no power feed. He only got his mini lathe and mill in the last years of his life.

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Old 01-11-2008, 03:25 AM   #4
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Default Re: Benchmaster Mill

There are quite a few bechmaster mill in my area. My highschool shop instructor's was the first I had ever seen. A few of my friends have these also...never a complaint.

Frank

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Old 01-11-2008, 04:05 AM   #5
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Default Re: Benchmaster Mill

I love the little horizontal mills and shapers too. Amazing old machinery. I would think these smaller models might be a bit less beat than the full scale machines, but its hard to say.

There was a girl over on Practical Machinist that restored a little SouthBend drill press that came out the coolest thing you've ever seen. It was so neat I snagged the pix for my blog: http://www.cnccookbook.com/CCBlogDec06.htm

Here is one:



Best,

BW

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Old 01-14-2008, 06:56 AM   #6
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Default Re: Benchmaster Mill

Stan: My father and I bought one with both the vertical and horizontal spindle options back in the 70s. It is in storage now until I can get it set up again. First comment is that the speed of the spindle is too fast and we put a planetary speed reducer on it to slow the spindle speed down, what use it did get was primarily in the vertical spindle mode. It may be that we should have bought a 1200 RPM motor to run it instead of the 1800 RPM motor. The second comment is that it has a NO. 2 morse taper that limits somewhat the tooling size that can be used. What little I got to run it (when I was visiting home), I thought it was a good model makers mill. All in all I am looking forward to getting it set up again and playing with it and have some rotisserie motors for the table feed

I got a early mill/drill in the mid 80s (couldn't talk Dad out of the Benchmaster) and it is a little bigger and the R 8 spindle has a vertical feed which is nice. I use a Zerox takeoff motor for a table feed drive and have dial indicators to help on the 3 axis.

The rotating table was a X/Y table I took off the bottom XY feed slides and mounted it on a homemade horizontal/vertical base.
don

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Old 01-14-2008, 03:28 PM   #7
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Default Re: Benchmaster Mill

dparker: See my comment above about boring out the quill to MT3. You can buy a set of imported collets 1/8 to 3/4 for about $100.00 that seem to do an adequate job for my level of expertise. MT3 collets take a substantial whack on the drawbar to release them, so in the past year, I put a fine thread in the top of the quill and made a new drawbar with a differential thread. Turn it one way to pull the collet in and turn it the other way to push the collet out. I'm sure the bearings appreciate my update.

The obvious answer for speed control is DC motor. Constant torque at any speed and no 60 cycle buzz in the machine. There is a four step pulley on the quill and motor but I rarely use the two middle pulleys. I use either the slowest or fastest and adjust the motor speed for anything in between.

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Old 01-14-2008, 04:31 PM   #8
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Default Re: Benchmaster Mill

Don, you and your dad have nice looking shops. Looks like the "organized shop" gene is inherited!

I'm working to get mine in order, but its a never end battle. It oscillates between two states:

junk < available space = organized

junk > available space = messy

My problem is I like my junk and the organization both. So I'm expanding.

Cheers,

BW



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