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View Full Version : How's that way frosting workin' out for yah?



J Tiers
12-19-2010, 01:45 AM
I see, in various places people who have bought a machine mentioning proudly how much of the "way frosting" is still visible. This iis generally assumed to be good, indicating that the ways are relatively un-worn.

So, a while back I bought a Benchmaster mill, horizontal, which I have finally got around to working on. It's going to become a vertical, but not with original Benchmaster equipment.

Anyway, I bought it because it was going quite cheap, figuring that I would have to do quite a bit of scraping and alignment work on it. Recently, I noticed that the column ways were "frosted", and that the frosting, which was a bit above the usual crude scrapes, was intact over the whole way surface. This was interesting, although I was pretty sure Benchmaster never had scraped, let alone frosted, the ways of their machines.

Some might have considered this indicated something good, presumably un-worn ways, etc. But since I am a suspicious spoilsport, it didn't indicate anything much to me. I fully expected it to mean that the ways were bad (I'm a machinery Grinch, I guess).

So, I got out the smaller granite flat, blued it up, and spotted the ways.

Hah...... the picture below shows the initial spotting...... So much for frosting as an indicator of goodness...... good thing I had no such idea. I went and had a good look at the mating portion of the knee, and it confirms the story..... it has wear only in the areas where the blued areas of the column ways would touch it.

Evidently, the (now deceased, I understand) previous owner simply decided to frost it as a cosmetic measure, without doing the preliminary work of scraping.

So, don't count on frosting of the ways as indication of anything other than at best, the work of a wishful thinker.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/0803/jstanley/benchM_spot.jpg

JRouche
12-19-2010, 02:33 AM
Funny..... There was a pic I saw that showed the over zealous use of "frosting". It was comical. I like to call it metal shaving. It was done over the ENTIRE part of the bed of the machine, on parts of the machine that was not a bearing surface.

Some folks use frosting over board like some guys use engine turning. And some engine turning examples are just as funny.

Give a guy a tool and the freedom and time to do what he wants and he will. JR

Mcgyver
12-19-2010, 10:56 AM
Funny..... There was a pic I saw that showed the over zealous use of "frosting". It was comical. I like to call it metal shaving. It was done over the ENTIRE part of the bed of the machine, on parts of the machine that was not a bearing surface.



thats the front ofmy big chevelair T&VCG table (the KO LEE knock off), makes me think they're a bunch of twits every time i look at....its in line to be scraped so i know its sqaure. Having it square will be very useful!

JT that is terrible...but doesn't invalidate the usefulness of checking frosting when inspecting. Your machine ways might be the shape a banana however they exhibit very little wear! lol

J Tiers
12-19-2010, 11:37 AM
Notice that the middle area between the ways is also "frosted" at top.... that area is not touched by the knee, but is, of course, visible...... from there up to the spindle clamps (A Benchmaster horizontal has the spindle clamped in what normally would be the overarm clamps, and the overarm is above that on a bracket)

lazlo
12-19-2010, 01:12 PM
I posted before that I grabbed a Biax power flaker and scraper that was offered for sale as a pair on PracticalMachinist.

I happened to see it, about 30 seconds after it was posted, and grabbed it. I got a *ton* of private messages from individuals who were not frequent contributors on PM, asking to borrow or rent the half-moon flaker.

Not a single person asked to borrow the scraper :rolleyes:

noah katz
12-19-2010, 05:19 PM
Why isn't there more bluing remaining in the valleys of the frosted area?



http://img.photobucket.com/albums/0803/jstanley/benchM_spot.jpg

Mcgyver
12-19-2010, 06:43 PM
Why isn't there more bluing remaining in the valleys of the frosted area?

JT's point is that while dressed up, the bearings surfaces are not flat and present almost no area of contact - the proverbial lipstick on the pig. Ideally you'd want a speckled pattern of blue all over the bearing area. if the flaking is a low area, you'd expect that to be area that would get the least blue, none really unless a thick coat of blue was used.

Robert that is both funny and a bit depressing. To maintain some faith in the species I'll chose to believe many of them had scrapers but sought the rarer froster to complete a job :)

.RC.
12-19-2010, 07:26 PM
On any decent machine exposed ways should never ever ever be frosted....

Frosting on exposed ways is a sign of amateur hour..

J Tiers
12-19-2010, 09:53 PM
On any decent machine exposed ways should never ever ever be frosted....

Frosting on exposed ways is a sign of amateur hour..

Well, you would be in the minority..... outvoted by such notable 'amateurs" as the Brown & Sharpe Company, etc.

They commonly frosted the visible ways, and sometimes visible non-way areas, of machines for the pictures in their catalogs, etc. They probably didn't do it for their normal production, but they might have, I never ran a new machine back in the "scraping era", so I don't know.

If it were "amateur hour" to do that, then their catalogs would have made them laughingstocks....... but the funny thing is they weren't and aren't.

Maybe it is really YOU who are the laughingstock?

Toolguy
12-19-2010, 10:10 PM
One place I was at bought a new Bridgeport mill. The ways had so many u shape cuts to retain oil, there was no flat bearing surface left. We had to send it back and get another one.

Doc Nickel
12-19-2010, 10:16 PM
The V-ways on my Sheldon lathe were originally frosted, as were nearly all the reference surfaces and dovetails on my Nichols mill- including the face of the spindle head (http://www.docsmachine.com/machineshop/nichols15.jpg).

Nichols only made a coupl'a million of those little millers, which sounds pretty good for an amateur effort. :D

Doc.

lazlo
12-19-2010, 10:19 PM
Nichols only made a coupl'a million of those little millers, which sounds pretty good for an amateur effort. :D

Especially since back in the day, all the promotional brochures for Monarch, Bridgeport, Hardinge, Rivett, et al showed exquisitely flaked machines. I wonder where those shop queens ended up?

http://www.lathes.co.uk/rivett/img3.gif

Edit: sorry Jerry, I missed this comment. What Jerry said :)

"They commonly frosted the visible ways, and sometimes visible non-way areas, of machines for the pictures in their catalogs, etc."

noah katz
12-19-2010, 11:05 PM
...if the flaking is a low area, you'd expect that to be area that would get the least blue, none really unless a thick coat of blue was used.


I still don't get it - it can't all be so low that only that thin area of blue is left??

J Tiers
12-19-2010, 11:33 PM
I still don't get it - it can't all be so low that only that thin area of blue is left??

OH YES IT CAN.....

The mating ways on the knee show contact only out there, with essentially no contact inboard of that "strip". Inboard areas still show machining marks. Apparently they didn't grind or scrape, or at least the last people to touch it didn't.

It does not take much to keep cast iron surfaces from actually touching. And the vertical ways on the column are not subject to that much wear.... the knee isn't moved as much as the table is, by a long shot.

Holding a straight piece of metal (straightedge of the 'ruler" type) against the surfaces, you do not SEE any particular space, but the blue surely shows it. I didn't find any grit or divots that actually stuck up enough to make a difference... I went over it with a burr file first.

obviously I have work to do, if I really want to convert this for my own use... the original plan was to spin it, since I got it cheap. But then I decided I wanted a second mill, and I would convert this to a vertical. Benchmaster made a vertical head system, the mill was made to be convertible, and if I can find one before I get too far into making a head for this (with quill) I may just nab it. But I want that quill, so.....

beckley23
12-19-2010, 11:50 PM
Have you spotted the column face with a straight edge, or surface plate?
Harry

.RC.
12-19-2010, 11:56 PM
Maybe it is really YOU who are the laughingstock?

Well if you think about it.... Lets scrape a way flat, the pockets left are no deeper then 0.0002"

Now lets scrape a series of pockets 0.001 deep all over our flat way...

Now lets expose that way to dirt, grime and swarf just like in a normal shop... What is going to happen to the ways when these 0.001" slots fill up with above mentioned, grime, dirt and swarf... When the mating parts rubs over the top it is going to pull it between the ways and wear it out..

J Tiers
12-20-2010, 12:09 AM
Have you spotted the column face with a straight edge, or surface plate?
Harry

Um.... that's what the picture is ;)

Yes, it really DID spot up like that......and that's relatively thick blue, as you can see. No "blue haze" there.

And, no, it doesn't make sense to me either. Logically, it should have worn-in more, but I am assuming, for better or worse, that at least since the knee was last machined, the wear has not been very much.

I don't know if that was original, or recent machining.

Edit:

BTW, R.C., I see what you mean... sorry I was kinda "on" you, my apologies to you......that isn't by any means entirely a silly consideration..... you have a point, although it may apply equally well (almost) to scraping.... but most QUALITY frosting is not very deep... I don't regard a thou or maybe more of "pocketing' as a good plan at all, on ANY ways... If scraped, the oil retention should be good enough.

I very much doubt if the 'frosting" on the B&S machines was anything like that deep. It was a checkerboard pattern, more a scraped finish pattern than an applied pattern of pockets.. I happen to think that the "pocket" frosting looks stupid. On the other hand, the checkerboard frosting looks like a million dollars to me.

Done right, "frosting" looks like "frost".... not a bunch of gouges. I have heard of surface plates with the company logo "frosted" into the middle, very visible, but undetectable if you passed your hand over it. That's more the quality of the B&S, etc 'frosting".

noah katz
12-20-2010, 12:47 AM
OH YES IT CAN.....

Oh...my goodness

doctor demo
12-20-2010, 01:22 AM
On any decent machine exposed ways should never ever ever be frosted....

Frosting on exposed ways is a sign of amateur hour..

The Cincinnati #5 at work and My Kempsmith both have factory frosting all the way up the colum past the spindle.

I guess they aren't decent machines:) :)

Steve

.RC.
12-20-2010, 05:46 AM
BTW, R.C., I see what you mean... sorry I was kinda "on" you, my apologies to you......

Apologies are not needed, I was probably a bit harsh in my original post and did not elaborate enough....

But to me...

Frosting is purely decorative, very shallow

Flaking is the deep oil retaining scratches...

I really meant flaking on exposed slides rather then frosting..

BigMike782
12-20-2010, 02:03 PM
Newbie question.

"I got out the smaller granite flat, blued it up, and spotted the ways."

Do I take this to mean that you blued the plate and that the blued areas on the column are the areas that the knee is/was bearing on?
Is it possible for someone to post a pic of the way it SHOULD look?

Waterlogged
12-20-2010, 02:29 PM
Do a youtube search for "scraping", "hand scraping", "scrapefest", etc. Plenty of great videos.

beckley23
12-20-2010, 07:53 PM
JT- Sorry I didn't see the spotting at the top of the column.

This is the spotting of the cross slide of a 16" Monarch Series 60 lathe. It's pretty close to be being finished. The cross slide is 8-1/2" wide and approx 20" long(IIRC).
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v152/beckley23/se108.jpg
Harry

J Tiers
12-21-2010, 12:11 AM
Big Mike:

Yes..... granite flat got blue spread on it, and then was held up against the ways and moved slightly to transfer the blue wherever it touched. Which wasn't much, as you can see... a streak up the outside "edge", and a spot at top, basically.

It SHOULD look pretty much like the picture that beckley23 posted.

I don't blame him for asking if I had spotted it... you need to look close to see that there is ANY blue on it.

Now I an wondering if the Benchmaster Company could possibly have been that bad, or if this is the fine work of Bubba and his friends, moonlighting from their day job of roofing and ditching.

I'll have to scrape it until I get a good spotting, verify and correct the guiding way and the gib way, then spot the knee against it, checking for a 90 deg angle (or a tad short of that) to the saddle ways on top of the knee. And so forth until the table is correctly aligned.

BigMike782
12-21-2010, 08:53 AM
Thanks for the clarification.I was thinking that the way were blued and the plate took off everything except the low spots.......obviously I was wrong:D .

BigMike782
12-21-2010, 09:01 AM
Thanks for the clarification.I was thinking that the ways were blued and the plate took off everything except the low spots.......obviously I was wrong:D .

beckley23
12-21-2010, 07:25 PM
A possible explanation for the column spotting, is that the casting over time "stress relieved" itself. I say this with hesitation, but when I was working on the saddle of the "Wreck", the apron interface of the saddle was warped, and had to be straightened with a milling cut. The unusual aspect, was that the rear saddle wings were/are straight and flat. Given the age of the machine, mfg in 1964, anything could have happen in the intervening years, and the machine did a back flip in the second to last move, which was the reason it was for sale. I wouldn't think that Monarch let it out of the factory like that, I think that would have showed up real quick.
Then again, somebody could have been using a bad spotting tool, and the pattern is what you see.
Harry

aboard_epsilon
12-21-2010, 07:57 PM
The vertical knee ways would never wear like horizontal ways ..basically when the knee is unclamped and its wound up and down ..The weight of the table tilts it forward ..and the knee only touches at the bottom.

you can see this ....just unclamp the knee ..and stick feeler blades in it ..gap will be wider at the top than the bottom .

there wouldn't be that much wear there anyway ..because the machine is only under load in xfeed and yfeed mode.

what you would get, is wear from chips that had fallen into the gap if no wipers are fitted.

the knee will also deflect to one side ..as its being wound up and down ..one side for up ..other side for down..this is because youre winding and levering on the handle, will through it that way or the other, whilst its loose and unclamped.

all the best.markj

noah katz
12-21-2010, 11:53 PM
J Tiers,

Curious how thick the piece of granite is; are you sure it didn't deflect at all?

Granite is about 3/4 as stiff as aluminum.

J Tiers
12-21-2010, 11:53 PM
A-E....

That's mostly true, but.... The screw is very approximately at the balance point, so it removes some of the unbalanced hanging weight when moving the knee.

And, I very much doubt that anything like that is affecting it, this machine is all parts that a 200lb desk worker can carry around easily (except the column, which is a heavy sucker). The column spots as non-flat, and the knee confirms it.

As for casting "relaxation" etc, maybe... I just don't know, didn't think it would be an issue with a lighter weight machine, actually, didn't think cast iron really DID that. If it was not from external stress, but was a relaxation of internal stresses, that I can believe much more easily.

Granite deflection? The granite flat is about 50 or 60 mm thick, enough that I am just not considering that possibility.... especially since very little force is involved in "spotting" a vertical surface..... one does NOT "force" anything, but rather brings the surfaces together with enough pressure to transfer blue (if doing it horizontal, pressure relates to the weight of the upper piece.)