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Josh
01-06-2009, 11:40 PM
I am looking at buying one of the Rong Fu Geared head mills and I was curious how noisy they are compared to a belt drive mill.

oldtiffie
01-06-2009, 11:59 PM
If its the "RF-45" or similar geared-head, its very noisy, but you - sorry, I - get to live with it.

It is way noisier than my Sieg X3 or the mill-drill on my "3-in-1" all/both of which are vee-belt driven.

Josh
01-07-2009, 12:53 AM
Thanks, I will get the belt design.

J. Randall
01-07-2009, 03:43 AM
I have the RF 45 from Enco and you can hear the gears, but it is not annoying to me. I would rather have the dovetail column and a little gear noise than the round column with quieter belt drive.
James

oldtiffie
01-07-2009, 06:05 AM
James,

what you say about the belt-drives all being "round column" are not quite correct as the "Sieg X3" and "Sieg Super X3" are belt-driven square column mills and both with very good variable speed drives. I have the X3 (which also has a 2-speed very quiet gear-box) and I am very impressed. It is a small mill but with a lot going for it for its size.

The X3:
https://www.machineryhouse.com.au/Products?stockCode=M153

The "Super X3":
https://www.machineryhouse.com.au/Products?stockCode=M155

Both are smaller than the HF-45 square column mill:
https://www.machineryhouse.com.au/Products?stockCode=M145

My advice is to stick with the square column with "Z" dove-tail slide.

Seastar
01-07-2009, 09:12 AM
Take a look at the 6X26's from any of the usual sources.
They are "knee" type and usually come with stands.
I really like mine.
Bill

J. Randall
01-07-2009, 05:19 PM
Oldtiffie, you might want to go back and read my post again, before you start putting words in my mouth. I stated my preference in case he was considering a round column belted machine just on the noise issue. In no place did I state that there were not dovetail of square column machines that were belt driven.
James

oldtiffie
01-07-2009, 05:27 PM
James.

Thanks for the the "heads-up" - appreciated - and the kick in the ar$e - deserved - due to my misquoting your post.

dockrat
01-07-2009, 05:45 PM
I also have one of those RF-45 type mills. Yep it rumbles somewhat but I never notice it now, unless I am pushing it too hard then it lets ya know. I think I would rather just flick a lever to change speeds instead of messin with belts and pulleys. However I am limited to just 6 speeds from 120-1975

oldtiffie
01-07-2009, 08:09 PM
Ernie.

The main problem I had with mine were in the milling head.

The first is/was the back-lash between the raise/lower handle and movement up/down of the head. This is due to the way the head is supported by a spigot/cylinder on the nut which in turn is supported/raised/lowered by the lead-screw which had poor/no lateral support between the end bearings. I have ordered a spare nut and lead-screw and will fit them shortly. It does not affect the operation of the mill - I just want it out or reduced.

Another problem I had was getting enough movement in the gib and screw to take up all the "slack". I removed the gib and screw and used my "Sieg" X3 mill to put another slot in the gib for the flange/collar of the screw to engage in. It works fine now.

The effects of the "slack" in the "Z" gib were were several:

I kept getting significant errors in tram when tightening the "Z" clamps (onto the gib) - the head had a lot (several "thou") of forward/back "play/tilt". This too seemed to cause significant "tilt" in the head when raising/lowering it and so it occasionally "jambed/stalled" and then suddenly "dropped" as I lowered it by the lead-screw. This was a PITA for any boring head work where I wanted to lock/clamp the quill.

Putting the new slot for the collar/flange on the screw gave me an extra 1/2" or so travel/adjustment on the gib and made all the difference. It is fine now.

I have no problem with the speed range and (only??) 6 speeds. I use TC if the speed/s is too high although I prefer HSS with honed edges.

I have never felt that I needed variable speeds as the mill copes really well.

It has plenty of "X", "Y" and "Z" "real-estate" to work within.

It is a very good, robust reliable and quite accurate "work-horse" that is ideal in my HSM shop.

But having the "Sieg" X3 and the mill on my "3-in-1" has "saved" me a couple of times though. The mill on the "3-in-1" gets little or no use now and I will remove it and fit a taper-turning attachment to my lathe.

I have never regretted buying the HF-45 square-column dove-tail mill.

loose nut
01-07-2009, 08:17 PM
The noise on the RF/HF/ZX 45 type mills is only really "loud" in the highest speed, it's not to bad in the rest and you get used to it soon enough. Stick to the square column, mine is far superior to my old round column.

lazlo
01-07-2009, 08:22 PM
How hard would be be to do a belt-drive conversion on a RF-45? Seems like the spindle section would be easy, it's just a matter of finding a way for the motor to travel with the head.

oldtiffie
01-07-2009, 11:26 PM
Lazlo.

Someone did a belt conversion on a HF-45 but there were only about 6 pulleys in the cone - so no better off and the "low" was not as good as I've got - it really needed 2 "step"reduction. If the cone configuration was "3 cones - 2 belts" - as with many mills and pedestal drills, it would be OK.

It is a PITA to do and the "rewards" were not worth the effort.

The BIG appeal of that was a chance to mount the motor - still attached to the milling-head behind the column and so balance the head out a bit as regards reducing the very heavy/significant "nose/front-heavy" situation that is a big load on the "Z" clamps - especially if there is too much gib-clearance, which in turn can cause the bottom edges of the head-dove-tail to "dig in" to the column dove-tail. But that "motor behind the column" modification was not only pretty impractical but is not necessary now that I have solved the head gib problem. That problem was really evident in the way the "Sieg" X3 head moves so smoothly and accurately on the column dove-tail.

I don't like boring with a quill if I can avoid it, as I prefer to lock the quill and use the dove-tail in the column. The "Sieg" is the best I've used in a long long time in that regard.

Another problem - potential anyway - with the HF-45 is the mill-head when tilted or tilting. If you go past 10 degree you need to be very careful that it doesn't "get away" from you as there is no brake or worm-drive to "stop" or move/set it. Same to a lesser extent goes for/with "tramming". I use a "shifting/crescent" spanner on the "cheek" (thin section) on the lower outer side faces of the mill-head. It is quite easy to control/set then.

This may seem a lot of problems but once you appreciate both that they are there and how and when to deal with them it is a very good machine.

J. Randall
01-08-2009, 04:15 AM
Oldtiffie, Thanks for the heads up on the problems you fixed on your RF-45. I printed your post for my shop notes. I have not put to many hrs. on mine yet, but I think I am going to like it pretty well for my hobby stuff.
James

oldtiffie
01-08-2009, 05:23 AM
Thanks James.

I am SURE you will like that mill. Its a real "Goldilocks" mill for me - "just right" and I hope it works out that way for you as well.

It will drive TC/indexable cutters easily. This is one of mine:
http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa294/oldtiffie/TC_end-cutter1.jpg

The 3" boring head - plenty of "Z" space:
http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa294/oldtiffie/HF45-2.jpg

And 1" bore milling cutters:
http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa294/oldtiffie/Stub_arbor1.jpg

That vertical "Z" dove-tail column is "just it" for boring head work as it is very solid and does not "move around" as it might if feeding via the quill. The quill has clearance - all quills do because they have to unless "locked/clamped" - and the quill can "move" - not much, but "movement" never the less which may not help the accuracy of boring at all.

In my mind the quill is for drilling, tapping, reaming etc. as well as adjusting the "Z" height accurately and then clamping it if using milling cutters.

Eventually - in the fullness of time - I intend to put an indexing dial on the "Z" lead-screw. I also intend to put DRO's on my quill, the head "Z" as well as "X" and "Y". I've had them all in a box for going on 2 years but I haven't felt it urgent to fit them as my lead-screw dial (quite accurate) and dial indicators when/if needed have done all I needed.

In short, despite what some may say about "China" machines etc. I have found the HF-45 to be a seriously good mill for my purposes. If there had been a US-made - or UK or European-made mill of similar capacity and value for money I'd haver bought it - but the "China" one was best value for money for my purposes. Same applied for the "Seig" X3.

I am getting older - I am already bloody old at 72 - and I'd much rather crank a milling-head up and down with a heavy load/vise/rotary table etc. on the mill table than crank a knee-mill. Further, I can re-align the column to the table if needed quite quickly where-as it is quite a job on a knee mill.

Your Old Dog
01-08-2009, 08:32 AM
I went with the geared head as I wanted slower speeds. Turns out, nearly everything I do is in aluminum these days and faster speeds would have been really nice :o

loose nut
01-09-2009, 12:25 PM
How hard would be be to do a belt-drive conversion on a RF-45? Seems like the spindle section would be easy, it's just a matter of finding a way for the motor to travel with the head.

Check out this site, he shows how he converted a gear head to belt drive.

http://homepage3.nifty.com/amigos/index-e.html