Saturday, December 31, 2011

PD400 - First Look?

The lathe was delivered today to my home. The delivery guy and myself struggled to get it onto the workbench but we managed.

I spent sometime trying to figure out how to work this machine, taking pics along the way.  It was not an easy task for a newbie.  I immediate realized that all the handwheels can't be cranked.  It took me a while to get rid of the grease Proxxon used to prep their machines for shipment.

The space I set aside is more than adequate for the lathe. At this point, the lathe has not been bolt down to the splash guard.
This is the mounting bolt at the tailstock head.  It was covered by the tailstock.  It took me a while to move the carriage out of the way to move the tailstock to access to this area.  The other mounting point is just below the spindle.  That was easy enough so no pic was taken.
The yellow paint chipped easily on my unit. I dropped an allen key at bed level and the paint chipped.  Maybe that's how this got its name: Splash Guard and "Chip" Tray...

Look at that "cracked" line.  Rushing for a date while applying the paint?
Not a defect but rather unsightly.
The 2 capscrews that need to be loosen to swivel the top slide. The base of the top slide looks rather crude.  But I'm no expert...
The top slide removed for cleaning off the grease.
This is the base of the top slide after cleaning up.

The cut off tool holder came with an "injury" but no problem clamping the part off blade down.
Look at this piece that holds the gear to the leadscrew. Not a nice smooth piece as expected.  I'll learn the name of the components soon to better describe them.
The spindle and back plate look beefy.  It comes with an acrylic cover that will cut off the motor when lifted.  Kind of an E-Stop?

This piece is nice... The spindle is MT3 with 20.5mm bore.
The guard in place.  I left the guard out when trying to start the lathe.  It won't allow me to do so till the guard is in this position.  Saw a tiny magnet at the side of the acrylic hinge.
The whitish pieces is the magnet.  With the guard in this position, there is no way the motor can be started.
The lathe came with the bottom 3 gears in this position.  It should be in the position shown on the next pic for power feed to work.  So the "working out of the box" I read about is not true after all.
This is the right position for the power feed to work.  It took me a while to find out using the pics from the manual and referencing Dan Kautz's review on his site (
To get to the position shown in the earlier pic, the clamping bolt will have to be loosen and the whole assembly swing upwards to mesh with the spindle gear.
The control panel. A table with suggested speed for different material is printed next to the controls.

Let's have a look at the accessories that came with the lathe as standard package and of those I bought.

These are what I'll start with.  Knowing myself, the collection will increase in no time...  God help me...
The 100mm 3-jaw chuck as standard.  The Sherline 3 jaw looks tiny next to it.
Assortment of turning tools.  They're rather beefy.
Sherline left hand tool comparing with the Proxxon's.
Radius/Ball turning tool.  Always wanted to have one.  Dream comes through...

The chuck key came in 2 pieces. I've to hammer the handle in before it can be used.

I will not claim what I've written is a review of the machine as I know too little about the topic to review any machine.  Please take this as my first time experiencing a new lathe and sharing what I saw along the way.

I hope to mount up the chuck tomorrow and start to do some experiments with it.  I've only the morning to do so.  Therefore, it is wise for me to hit the bed now.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Preparing The Shop For The New Lathe

I was at Ikea earlier to purchase the Kitchen Trolley to use as the machine table.  This was what Mike uses in his shop for his display of the Sherline machines.  Decided to go for it after failing to find what I want.  Thinking that it may be inadequate for the PD400, I decided to let it be the home for the Sherline lathe.

The table is rather heavy. Bought 2 plastic boxes to replace the used drawing as metal storage.  The mat and the straws are for my wife.
The table was assembled in the living room as I simple do not have the space in the shop to fix it up. The wooden wheels can be seen from the pic; something I don't like.
The last piece of usable wall in the shop cleared for this.  The only thing I don't like about this spot is the air-con unit directly above the table.  Worried about leakage as the air-con is slightly more than 8 years old.
The Sherline lathe was relocated to its new home. The table was butted as tight as I can against the wall to minimize table movements.  I'll reinforce the joints with some steel brackets tomorrow.
This is where the new lathe is going to sit.  The surface is not very even.  Hope that I won't have the problem of the lathe bed twisted.
What a mess... Will do some cleaning up and rearrangement when the lathe is in tomorrow.  Not feeling too well to continue.
The messy shop from another angle. The yellow vac is a Kacher which I bought last Saturday from Homefix.
The Proxxon TBH Drill Press sitting in one corner.  The plastic drawers and the wardrobe (not in pic) are the last pieces of non-shop item that I failed to get rid of, due to lack of space at home.  I've a plan...
I've a couple of stuff to settle in the office tomorrow to close the year.  Will be back home to clean up the shop and reinforce the table while waiting for the new member of my family to arrive.  It will be exciting...  I'm sure I'll have another write up tomorrow.  Stay tune.

Meanwhile, got to get some sleep.  The medication I'm on is taking its effect...

Arrival of PD400

Mike SMS me this morning that the Proxxon PD400 has arrived! I've yet to buy a table or stand for it being sick for the last 3 days. He'll arrange for delivery to my place tomorrow as both of us have some problem with our back. I went over to his shop to have a look as I've also some business to attend to in the other office opposite.

Some pics as usual.

The box is rather big. With the standard accessories that come with the lathe, I can bearly carry it up. It is heavier on the left side which is where the spindle is located.
This is Mike, checking on the splash guard and chip collection tray.  This tray is tougher than I thought. I'm glad I ordered it together.
Look at that! This one is a beauty... The lathe with a bunch of accessories nicely packed.
The spindle end.  The motor is quite big.  It has a spindle bore of 20.5mm.

The tailstock and cross slide. The tailstock has a MT2 taper. Strange that this pic isn't oriented the right way up when inserted here.
The 100mm 3 jaw chuck, chuck key, and drill chuck with B12 taper are part of the package.
Other Item I ordered with the lathe:
Parting Tool Holder and Tool
Cabalt HSS Steel 5 piece Cutting Set
3 piece Thread Cutting Set
Additional 3 pieces of Quick-Change Holder.  The package has 2 included with the Toolpost.
Travelling Steady
Fixed Steady.  This looks like the Travelling Steady from pic. I'll take another pic when it gets home.
Splash Guard & Collection Tray with the lathe mounted.
Radius Turning Attachment.  Always wanted one...
HSS Boring Tool Set. These are also for cutting internal threads.

(The pics of accessories shown above were either taken from Proxxon or Axminster website)

I rushed over to Ikea in Tampines after I settle my stuff to purchase the kitchen trolley that Mike uses at his shop.  The problem with this as table for the lathe is the 2 wooden wheels at one end of the table.  With the weight of the lathe, I don't know how long this table will last.  Therefore, I decided to go with Mike's suggestion of putting the PD400 on my current bench and use the new table for the Sherline lathe.

Now that I've done writing this post, I'll go fix up the table and clear up the shop to welcome its new resident.  Tonight, I'll go through the manual again to familiarize myself with the new machine.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, December 26, 2011

Igaging DRO - Z Axis (Partially Done)

I've been thinking about how to install the digital scale from iGaging since I received them last week.  Jimmy, aka Sherlineuser on Sherline group, replied in his email to me that he will send me more photos of the mounting point when he returns home this coming Thursday.  The itch is so great that I decided to give it a shot on my own, with the help of some photos posted by Jimmy on the group.

It has to be Christmas night that I matched 2 brackets that came with the scale that may just do the job.  I was a bit hesitant at first to start work as I need to put 2 tapped holes on the mill; one at the column base holding the Z axis bed and the other on the saddle.  The brackets supplied have slot holes that allow some adjustments.  These holes will provide me a certain degree of error show I screw up the hole location while drilling.

I started by fixing the 2 brackets together and on the reading head.  The screw used are a little too long but they're the only ones that I've that can fit into the holes in the bracket.  They will be chopped shorter later.
Getting my daughter to hold the assembly to the mill, I marked the spot to drill as accurately as I can.
Centre drilling the spot to prevent the drill wondering off.  You can see that I'm still not very good with the drill press - the hole is a little off.
Hole drilled with #21 to about 8mm deep.
Using the drill press to start the tap. I'm using the Lupromax Tapping Compound recommended by Chan Man Lee's sales staff.
The #10-32 tap was released from the drill chuck and a tap holder installed.
I freaked myself out when I realized that the tapped hole is too shallow for the shortest cap screw in my box.  2 washers are now filling the gap.

As I was dismantling the Z axis assembly to access the saddle for easy drilling, I realized that there may not be sufficient "meat" on the saddle to drill and tap the #10-32 hole.  I may get too close to the dovetail of the saddle and hit the gib or the hole may have too thin a wall at one part.  This stopped me from proceeding any further for fear of serious mistake(s) when the mind is tired.

While writing this blog, I started thinking about how I can solve this problem.  The only way I can think of at this moment is to use a smaller screw size and drill closer to the top of the saddle where the gib exits.  This is the part where the gib is the thinnest and the dovetail smallest.

I'll sleep on it and see what comes out in the morning.

Its 1.10am now.  Time to hit the bed.

Blessed Christmas.