View Full Version : Portable machining.. is it even possible?

01-14-2005, 03:15 PM
I got a call today from someone building submarines asking my thoughts on cleaning up the sealing surface on a 54" diameter hole. The lip has a 120 degree included angle. The machining device would have to be portable, because this hole is on the surface of a submarine. The boring/milling device cannot be welded onto the hull, but there is facility for bolting. (I guess this is part of a viewing porthole) Now, Hours later, I Can't get this oddball request out of my mind. How do you suppose they will do it?

01-14-2005, 03:24 PM
Something like a can opener with a milling cutter attached to it.

01-14-2005, 03:29 PM
Don't know exactly how they do it. An aquiantance of mine,(no longer local), does the same type of work on piping and flanges in facilities ranging from papermills to nuclear power plants. From what he describe they use someting like a pipe threading head with multiple inserts secured (bolted or clamped, but not welded), to what they are machining.

01-14-2005, 03:59 PM
My guess will be a portable machine facer http://www.dlricci.com/face6.htm

This company makes lots of portable machine tools by the looks of it... http://www.dlricci.com/

01-14-2005, 04:11 PM
How about holding the tool magnetically to the bulkhead/hull? I work for Black & Decker and I know that Dewalt used to have a magnetic mount for some of it's larger drills.

Mark McGrath
01-14-2005, 04:24 PM
www.furmanite.com (http://www.furmanite.com)

01-14-2005, 04:39 PM
unless this submarine is H G Wells' Nautilis you wont find any portholes. as a matter of fact there are only 2 portholes on an aircraft carrier.
im guessing that the holes you are refering to are for either torpedo tubes or missle launch tubes.
either way at New Port News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co. we bored torpedo tubes in New Orleans Class Subs via music wire for setup and bolted boring machines to bulkheads. bored the holes some oversize and had the fitters tack the tubes and the welders finish welding, quite an operation...jim

01-14-2005, 05:21 PM
Climax Portable Machine Tool in Newberg Oregon sells lots of these for a variety of applications. The last I heard about was a portable CNC gantry type tool that bolted in place and then was programmed to drill, mill and tap hole patterns in Bradley fighting vehicles as I recall.

Flange facers and drillers and keyseaters have been around for decades.

C. Tate
01-14-2005, 05:59 PM
Continental Machine in Savannah, GA. They do this type of work everyday. Sounds similar to the flange work CM performs on refinery equipment. These guys have a lathe they transport to power grneration facilities to machine the turbine shafts and other component. I don't remember the swing but the lathe would not fit in a three car garage. When they can find or don't have the machine needed they build it in house. The shop in Savannah has two verticle boring mills (lathes) with 144 inch chucks!!!!

01-14-2005, 06:14 PM
In the days of steam locomotives, railroad repair shops would rebore the steam locomotive cylinders in place on the locomotive. Some of the later and largest of the locomotives had the cylinders cast as one piece with the frame so in place boring was the only method possible. Some compound locomotives had quite large low pressure cylinders, with the diameter of the bore approaching 48 inches if I remember correctly.

01-14-2005, 09:56 PM
Thank you for all your thoughtful replies. Funny how this question was bugging me, and now thanks to your comments, I can see that it is indeed do-able. I've learned a lot from your feedback. Toolmakerjim, Information on these submarines can be seen at http://www.ise.bc.ca I think something like the RICCI machine might work as suggested by Ringer. As I understand the ISE people still haven't found a solution. I'm refering this discussion thread to the project leader Brian. brianmck@ise.com (if any of you want to contact him directly)

01-15-2005, 04:42 AM
The company IN-PLACE MACHINING INC. does this work all over the world. They using
portable mill the operates on an arm like a radial drill press, it can be bolted or held in place with electro magnets.

John Stevenson
01-15-2005, 05:09 AM
Mark Mc Grath gave a web link to Furmanite

Mark did you notice they had a link to Silk machines on their site?

They bought out Silk Engineering for the portable tools side of the business.
When George Silk want to move on to better machines they wouldn't make the move and he was fired.

It backfired though and he setup as Mirage Machines with the new designs.

Furmanite then took him to court to get these designs back, something they could have had for free.
They lost, had to pay out a load of damages and shut up shop in Derby as Mirage's new designs were far superior the the old designs they had bought.

Nice when the little guy wins for once http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

John S.

Forrest Addy
01-15-2005, 05:12 AM
Portable machining is a whole specialization doing millions of dollars of business in the US and who knows how much more world wide. I used to work on subs and they provide a spacious canvas for the artict in portable machining. The seat you refer to just might be for the main engine condenser circ water valves. Not only must that conical valve seat be round it much be concentric with the stem axis.

I can think of a dozen ways to do this job with accurate reference to the stem axis. Most have to do with a powered sweep with a compound tool slide fed with a star feed wheel and a trip.

The no-weld prohibiton only makes it challenging. Think carpet tape.

[This message has been edited by Forrest Addy (edited 01-15-2005).]

01-15-2005, 08:10 AM
i looked at the site you posted, hadnt even considered the tourist sub market. the USS New Orleans from the conning tower mast to the dry dock floor was probably taller than the diving range of the sub in one the sites,150+ feet...jim

Spin Doctor
01-15-2005, 09:10 AM
A guy I used to work with (since retired) was stationed on board a nuc boat support ship as a machine repairman. One job he had was to bore the hatch opening of a nuc boat out .100 as to allow the replacement of a piece of equipment on board. He said the crew members were very concerned about the quality of his work. I guess I would be too if I was on board and had 1200ft of seawater on the other side of the hatch.