Christmas present for myself and lessons learned

This last year I bought a new toy for myself. It was a Webb 2 axis cnc vertical mill. Now in the shop we have 2 machining centers and a 3 axis cnc mill now, but I wanted something that could be used as a manual mill and still have basic cnc capabilities. So while going to a going out business sale for a local tool supply company I saw this really nice Webb.IMG_0496cs

IMG_0497sNow this mill will not do surfacing or complicated  tasks but it is great for pocketing, drilling a hole pattern and contouring. It also allows the  programing challenged to do basic cnc ops with a minimum of training. With the large group of friends that show up here to play something was needed and this fit the bill.

Now on to the rest of the story.

I was working on some aluminum patterns for a fiberglass mold that I am making when I found a flaw with this machine. There are no stops on the bed. What this means is that you can operate either the x or y axis father the the ball screws are long. This means that you can easily crush  an oil lubricating tube.

IMG_0601sOr run off the screw.


I can tell you that hearing the little ball bearings drop is not a sound that you you really want or need. So calls were made to Webb who directed us to South Western Industries. Of course all this had to happen over the holidays. I must admit that all the people we dealt with even while on holiday still called us back in record time and were great to deal with.  So now the new ball screw arrived on Friday, it was ordered on the 2nd and arrived on the third. You can not beat that for service. Both South Western Industries and the local distributor D and R machinery of Gilbert, AZ. were just great to insure that we got the parts necessary  to get back in business.

IMG_0600scIf you look at the picture you can see a slight difference in length. This will allow us the cut the crew to the correct length to our machine. The first step was to assembly the machine and see how much to long the new lead screw is.


A better picture showing this gap is here.


Now that we had a measurement it was time to cut down the lead screw.

IMG_0607sThe screw was wrapped in plastic and taped. I wanted to minimize the chance of grit getting into the ball bearings and damaging anything.  Not much needed to be taken off, actually a little over an inch. The screw shaft is hardened so it needed to be cut with a grinding wheel. This is a quick shot of the amount to be cut off.

IMG_0608sOnce it was cut and de-burred The machined was re-assembled and I was back to finishing a pattern for a mold.


IMG_0611sJust so you don’t think that this was a walk in the park. The entire project took most of a day and I disassembled and re-assembled the mill 14 or 15 times. Way to much fun. So until next time have a great day.

2 comments to Christmas present for myself and lessons learned

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