Dillon 650 Attachment For My Bridgeport Mill

In my ongoing quest for another square inch of space in my shop, I was cleaning a storage area (tossing trash is more like it), and ran across this long idle tool. I’ve been wanting a stable, adjustable loading bench for a while, but it hasn’t been a wicked priority for me. It struck me that theres not too many more stable, adjustable points in my shop than the table of my mill. I’ve had this short section of U channel that I’ve been tripping over for too long (that coincidentally was painted close to Dillon blue), and decided to trim it and drill a couple of holes in it. The end result is a real sturdy fixture that comes off right quick (thanks to the short T-bolts left over from the vise rebuild). mvc-009f
The whole “fabrication” process took about an hour (less the painting and drying time). I had a can of “old ford blue” left over from some other project that matched pretty good. I still hafta tweak the loaded cartridge catcher bracket a little, but so far it looks like a winner. It occurs to me I’ll hafta be pretty dilligent about stray powder residue and milling sparks, but I can deal with that. I might need to come up with some enclosed cabinet to store the press, and all the attachments to keep it clean, but that strikes me as being a plus in the long run. After looking at the pics, I noticed I need to pay more attention to leaving my lathe drum switch in neutral, too!

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Minor bummer during the assembly process: I wonder now if I REALLY need my old Rockwell/Delta drill press. The BP is so adept at drilling/tapping the drill press almost becomes redundant, but its a luxury I don’t know if I’m ready to give up yet. Now all I need to do is dig out all my loading supplies, I think I’ve got some Bullseye powder and some 200 grain LSWCs around here someplace…………

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Kurt Milling Machine Vise Rebuild

A while back I picked up an older Kurt D60 vise complete with no jaws and 40 pounds of swarf on C-List for $95. It was in pretty fair shape, with only one really substantial divot, but it was stiff and grungy. I tossed it on my workbench, and used it to grab stuff for a while until I sold my offshore mill vise to John Leatherman at the CAMS Yardsale. There was nothing wrong with the Chi-Vise, but the Kurts just work so much better. A month or so later, I found a decent Kurt swivel base on Ebay for about fifty bucks. All I needed was a set of jaws, and some T-bolts to get started. I ordered a rebuild kit and some table keys while I was at it. The total expenditure for the vise, swivel base and parts was about $225.
The entire “rebuild” took about 5 or 6 hours, mainly due to taking pics, and the fact that I had never taken this type of vise apart before. After having done it once, I could probably get the job done in a couple, maybe three hours. I wasn’t going for a “Pebble Beach” restoration, I just wanted to get a functional vise back on my mill, and figgered I’d throw a little money at it to make it a little better. I could have skipped the overhaul kit, as the existing parts were all good, but the kit cost $10, so why not? The finished product looks just marginally better, but functions smooth as silk. I’m glad I spent the time to get it apart for a good cleaning.
The total tools used were 3 or 4 Allen wrenches, and some wet stones of various grits. The vise was given a real good cleaning in my parts cleaner before I started the dissassembly. Heres what I started with………mvc-090f

And heres the parts…………..mvc-092f

Dissassembly, starting with removing the allen bolts from the fixed (rear) jaw…………..mvc-093f
Then removing the movable jaw. This requires removing the lock ring off of the main screw, then just backing the screw out.mvc-094f
Here we are 5 minutes into the job.mvc-095f
Heres a couple of shots of the locking mechanism on the movable jaw. The half-ball rides on an angled ramp that pulls the movable jaw down when tightening. This small detail is what sets Kurt vises apart from their Chinee clones. Here you get a good idea of just how much crap accumulates in the hidden recesses of your vise.mvc-096f
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The first step was to flat file with a very fine toothed mill file to get all the dings and divot off. Five minutes work took all the high spots off so it would sit flat and mate together nicely. No major surgery here.

***UPDATE 8-4-2013***

I’ve had quite a few Emails chastising me for raping my vise by dragging a wood rasp across it. To be clear: this is a VERY fine 2 inch wide mill file with very sharp, very shallow teeth, designed for removing high spots on precision surfaces. While alot of time was spent drawing the file across the vise, the only thing removed was high spots and burrs. Once they are gone, the file just glides across the surface.

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Next, getting the burrs off the fixed jaw with the fine file, then a stone.mvc-104f
Then the base gets the same treatment.mvc-105f
Heres a shot about 1/2 way through stoning the ways on the base of the vise. There is a couple of pits in the way due to coolant erosion, so its never gonna be perfect. The ways are smooth with no high spots, and I’m happy with them.
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Stoning the movable jaw is next.
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Chasing all the threads………….
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Heres everything cleaned, smooth, and ready to go together.
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Heres a couple of shots of the screw, and the new torrington bearings included in the kit, and as installed (shim-bearing-shim).
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Reinstalling the locking collar with a couple of thousanths clearance.
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And the base of the movable jaw.
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to reinstall the top part of the movable jaw, first grease the 1/2 ball in the tapered part of the locking tang.
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Then place vise jaw like this….
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Then tip the jaw towards the front, and pull towards the front at the same time. This will join the two locking tangs.
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Then install the allen set screw to keep the two parts of the jaw together. You will need to leave about an 1/8 of an inch of play (maybe back the screw out one turn), other wise the slide will bind. The ball acts as a fulcrum to lock the jaw to the way, and that is the way its designed to work. Just leave a little play in the screw, so you can assemble the vise, and play with the adjustment later.
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Install the fixed jaw.
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Then the cap that keeps chips out of the screw.
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Now you can install the new jaws. First the fixed jaw.

***UPDATE 8-4-2013***

I’ve been told that the Kurt manual tells the rebuilder to put the vise in a press to preload the jaw against the way before torqueing the jaws down. Presumably, this is to register the jaw tight to the way for accuracy and repeatability. This makes perfect sense to me, but as I didn’t have this info when this article was written, I just held it down with hand pressure when I tightened the jaw. Additionally, I didn’t torque the jaws, merely locked them down tight.
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Then the movable jaw. I put a sheet of paper under this (sliding) jaw to keep it off the ways.
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There Ya go, now onto the base.
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First, install the keys. This will keep the base pefectly indexed to the table on your machine.
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Then install the T-bolts for the vise.
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Then apply a little way oil to the sliding surfaces before dropping the vise on. Be sure to use a wood block, so you don’t damage the new table keys.
Way Oil in our store..
Set your angle to zero degrees.
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And tighten her down.
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Here it is temporarily mounted to the mill, using the T-bolts from the Chinee vice. The old bolts are too short, because this base is thicker, and I will change them shortly. I haven’t trammed it yet, but just threw an indicator on it real quick, and it looks to be real close right outta the box. I’m happy. All that is left is to fit new bolts, and make some chips!
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I did not intend to restore this vise to Concours condition, I just wanted to make it right, with a minimal expenditure of time and money. For about $225 total cash outlay (that includes the price of the vise), and an afternoon and a half of labor, I’m happy with the results. The vise has a much stiffer feel than the old one, and grabs my work much tighter. The jaw contacts the work, and locks tight within 1/8 turn, and feels like a bank vault. I can’t help but feel that it will improve the quality of the work going out of the shop. I can hope, anyway………………

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H-3 Install and Level Your Lathe

The Original South Bend Lathe Works Bulletin H-3, (published in 1942). It covers about all you need to know to get your lathe in trim.

Edit-Update 10/2010: The manual originally posted here has been replaced by a better .PDF version and can now be found along with the other three South Bend bulletins.

We Posted All Four Bulletins Here!

Or use a direct link…

Bulletin H-3 – “Install and Level Your Lathe”.

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Welding Cart Upgrade – Fabrication

mvc-018f1 This is my old Snap-On mig welder, that has been in more or less constant service since the 1980s. My only gripe with the thing is it’s wheels, that have bothered me from day one. Being that the band saw base was such a major improvement to usability, and I had a pile of salvaged 3X3 angle iron around, I thought I’d make a cart for it and document the fabrication. Heres a pic showing the cantilevered wheels that allow the welder to tip when backing up.

mvc-020f1 The first step was to miter cut some 1/4″ thick angle iron straight from the scrap bin. Most of this stuff has gussets welded to it, so grabbing it in the factory vice is a challenge. Big pieces of stock really show the small saws vices short comings. A better vice with a decent swivel base might be a future addition. With the new stand, the saw is at a much better work height, and has a much more solid feel.

mvc-021f Heres the base getting squared up, and tacked for final welding on my work bench. This is a piece of 1/4 steel with a drain trough I welded up for transmission work, but is about the best welding table around. Its dead flat, and you can just clamp the ground lead to the table if the metal is clean. This steel is primed, so I clamp right on the work. You can see some of the existing gussets here, which will work nice to add some support for the Argon bottle.

mvc-022f Nothing real earth-shaking here, just a shot of the finished welded corner. The bottom will be ground flat for the casters.

mvc-024f2 Again, nothing life changing, just a shot of the finished product, with some paint on it.

mvc-025f2 Heres a shot of the existing gussets I used to add support the gas bottle at the rear of the stand. The way the welder was constructed, you’d have thought I ordered these for the specific machine. Sometimes I get lucky.

mvc-027f1 This is the end result. I haven’t fastened the welder to the cart yet, but had to try it out. It works great. This is another thing around here that I’ve been moaning about for years, and finally got straightened out. The welder not only moves easier, but has a more solid feel, and is more stable. You can’t see it in this pic, but I’ve been hanging my wire and ground leads on the gas regulator which is an accident waiting to happen, so I guess I’ll hafta add some hangers somewhere on the cart. I’m probably gonna add a handle on the front that I can use as a guide for the wire feed. The lead comes out the front, and tends to take a lot of abuse. I’m sure one good hit would put enough of a kink in it to stop the wire from feeding. I’ll update when I get that done.

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Bandsaw Base Fabrication

I locked myself in the shop this weekend, and set about doing some housekeeping (damage control is more like it) , so I could move around the shop a little. I had some metal stock that needed to be put away, so I dragged out my Clarke (Chinee) bandsaw to cut some stuff down to size. I’ve been cursing the dismal wheels on this saw since I bought it a couple of years ago. Anyone that owns one of these saws knows what I’m talking about. Its the first thing that new buyers fix when they buy them, and is a hot topic on the Yahoo 4X6 website. I was too busy using mine to fix the problem. Well, I stumbled across a 9 1/2 foot length of 4140 stainless 2 1/2 inch diameter round stock at work in the scrap dumpster (Yeah, in the dumpster), and needed to cut it. I work at a water treatment plant, and have free reign at the metal dumpster, its like Christmas every day! Anyway, I had to support a 300 pound hunk of SS, and wrestle the saw under it to make the cut. The wheels on the saw really showed their stuff, what junk. I finally got tired of hearing myself complain about the Chinee junk and decided to grab some 2 1/2″ angle iron (from the dumpster) and make up a rolling stand for the saw. I had two sets of casters off some Craftsman tool boxes that now support my steel workbench. I probably shoulda gotten some pics of the build, but never thought about it till the paint was drying, I’ll put some shots of it on later this week. Its a world of difference. I extended the rear of the stand to stop the annoying habit it has of trying to flip over when you put the saw in the upright position, and has a much more solid feel to it. It rolls easily and is at a much better work height, about 6″ higher. I wish I had made the stand when I first got the saw.

While I was building the base I was reminded how cheezy the “wheels” on my Snap-On mig welder are. I’ve had the welder for 20+ years, and have been complaining about that for a while too. The problem is that with a big bottle of argon, theres more weight in the rear than with the “homeowner” bottle that came with the welder, and because the wheels are near the middle, the cart wants to tip to the rear when rolling. Now that I’ve made some room for myself, maybe I’ll build another cart for it. I’ve got a couple more sets of casters kicking around. Then theres the Lincon 225 arc welder. I’d kinda like to put that on casters, and have somewhere to hang the leads….

base pic 1
This is a pic of the base as described. Note the classy original base in the bottom shelf.

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