Milling About



Building a Metal Melting Furnace


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The latest insanity around here is Chris's "new" CNC milling machine (made in 1984). I learn so much being around him - like how to find somebody who can transport an 8,000 lb machine from Wichita to Lincoln. I used "" and I have to say it worked out pretty nicely. Got several bids and found a reliable, pleasant guy to truck it up here for us. The seller loaded it with a forklift, and we ended up renting a "tele-handler" (basically, a really, _really_ beefy forklift on balloon tires, with a fork that extends out and/or up about 20 feet). Our 16' auto trailer couldn't come close to carrying the tele-handler, which apparently weighs 24,000 lbs (!!!), so I had to drive it out here on the highway from the rental place 5 miles away. At 15 mph. That was fun. I had to keep resisting the impulse to slide the forks under the vehicle in front of me and surprise them by lifting their car high in the air... :-/ We got the monstrosity unloaded, and had to slide it into the garage on 2x4 skids, since the forks held it up too high. Even then it only cleared the door by 1/4" - I watched it brush past the weatherstripping. We're going to tear it down in the garage, and Chris is going to convert it to run with a PC and EMC software, while I tear off all the sheet metal bodywork, strip off the old, ugly, peeling, baby-puke green paint and then prime it and repaint it some less hideous color. After it's all back together, we'll (try to) roll it through the double-door into the workshop on steel rollers.

In any event, here are the "before" pictures. How anybody can refer to something that weighs three times what my Ford Bronco does can call it "Junior" is beyond me.


"Wonder what happens if I poke this?"

Chris got the x-axis moving tonight, and got the home position sensor hooked up and working. There's just no stopping him!

Here are the PC motherboard and Mesa interfaces, shoehorned into the rack that held the mill's original CPU.

One of the servo motors (this one is on the X axis).

Note the ergonomic PC workstation, with conveniently located keyboard and mouse, and custom monitor stand...

Sheet metal body panels on the stripping/sanding/priming/painting assembly line...

And here it is, installed in the workshop with all of its lovingly painted body panels reattached.

Ever wonder what became of the "interrogation droid" from Star Wars...? Yikes!