View Full Version : Made my first tool today (For squaring my mill head)

01-31-2012, 07:44 PM
I was going to ask you guys if this would work, but when I got home today and opened the garage door the sun was shining on my lathe. Figured homework could wait.

When I moved my mill I had to rotate the head of the mill to wrap a strap around the overarm for lifting onto the trailer. When I got the mill home I used the scale to rotate the head back to square, btu I was unsure how true the scale was to square. So today I took a 4" section of 1/2" dowel and drilled a quarter inch cross hole. Then I used my lathe to drill and tap the end of the dowel with a 1/4-20 thread. Inserted a little key and viola:





The arm is approximately 8" long. To prevent variablility I use the drawbar nut to spin the head around instead of grabing the arm with the dial indicator. When I first started the head was more than 1/8" off at 8". I was concerned that the bar and dial indicator setup would flex, but I spun the indicator around many times, and got the same measurement each time. After I got everything square to within 0.001" at 16". I tightened the screws to lock the head in place. Final check shows that I am 0.003" out at 16" with this setup. Spun the rig around 5 times and the measurement was the same each time. Not sure how this is normally done, but I think I am happy with it. Visually, I the scale still looks true to 90 degrees, so know the head didn't rotate much.

01-31-2012, 07:48 PM
Now that looks like a good idea!


01-31-2012, 08:16 PM
You will love your little Rockwell. I built the world on mine.

Dr Stan
01-31-2012, 08:59 PM
Good job. BTW, be careful when you traverse the T slots. If you have much preload on the indicator it can hang up in the slot. One way is to put a thin piece of flexible material under the indicator point before you go across the slot. I generally use a pocket size Starrett chart.

Another way is to use a 1" gage block between the indicator & the table. That way when you sweep you're not touching the table.

01-31-2012, 09:52 PM
Congrats on your project.

P.S. Frankly, I wouldn't rely on this fixture for tramming. It's a way too flexible for this purpose (yes, I read that you tested it).

02-01-2012, 12:29 AM
And you don't need to swing that far out. I keep it constrained to the depth of the table. Look at an indicol and invest in a DTI. The plunger type drop indicators are rarely removed from their boxes, they are good for long travel.

Brett Hurt
02-01-2012, 12:29 AM
looks good I bet that was fun to make its good when I make some thing and it works Brett

Deus Machina
02-01-2012, 06:21 AM
Looks effective and simple. I really should make something of the sort for mine.

I'm always just used a piece of scrap aluminum and a flycutter. Put in a bit, take a cut, check the pattern.

02-01-2012, 08:54 AM
Good Job on your first tool. I just trammed my little HF mini-mill again this week. I had to shim it by .010 on the column for nod. My table left and right was no problem .000. Front to back it was out .008. I was wondering does your mill have any diviation on the front and back of the table. These little HF mills like I have are noted for being off. I should have loosened up the bracket on the bottom of the column and put the shim under there ,but I didn't want to go through the trouble of removing the way cover to access the 3 screws holding it in place. Maybe next time I mess with it. I used the same tool as you , only a little heavier material in the rods with a Starrett universal connection. My dial test indicator was of the flat varity with a large rounded stem . This made it slip over the slots in the table easier. Keep up the good work.

02-01-2012, 09:43 AM
Nice work! I'd probably do the same thing if the top of my table looked
like that.

As others have said, no need to drive yourself nuts by tramming that far out.

02-01-2012, 10:13 AM
nice set up.....

02-01-2012, 07:58 PM
So last night I was thinking about this in bed, I realized my bridgeport boring head woult be a lot more sturdy. So I made a new tool that fits in my boring head. I also switched dial indicators so I could swing the spindle around without worrying about crashing my indicator on the t-slots.




Works pretty good!

02-01-2012, 08:12 PM
Look at an indicol and invest in a DTI.

I actually have one of these, I just didn't realize what it was until I googled your post...:o

02-01-2012, 09:52 PM
I don't think the pointer is set correctly in that last picture. With it at that angle, you are not going to get a tru reading. The pointer should be 10-15 degrees off parallel from the surface it is measuring. Other than that, I like it. Hadn't thought of using the boring head. That might save me time picking up center on a hole. I'll try it next time.

02-02-2012, 05:21 PM
Mine is similar, with the horizontal bar being 1" square aluminum.
I had an old back-plunger DI with a button head about 3/8" diameter and convex, so it slips over the t-slots.
Works great.