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  • Clausing 8540 H-mill questions....

    Possible shot at one here... Price is right... machine may not be.

    Two things I know about....

    There is a problem with VS system, may be leaking hydraulic gizmo, might be shot pulley.

    Longitudinal feed has been replaced, removing leadscrew and putting in hydraulic feed. No handles left, possibly feed box is still on or is around somewhere, but leadscrew and maybe several related parts are gone for sure.

    Question is, how are replacement feed parts or other parts price-wise and availability-wise....?

    Can't call Clausing, I wouldn't know what to ask about yet. Ditto for the 'bay.

    Any estimate of weight? That's another issue.

    I sort of assumed around 800 lb complete, might really be 1000 lb. I'd have to disassemble it to move it at that rate, main problem would be lifting it, after that getting it downstairs (11 steps).

    This one may have deal-killing drawbacks..... but the price is right.
    1601

    Keep eye on ball.
    Hashim Khan

  • #2
    J,

    I happen to have two of these at present (8550 and 8540) and they seem to be pretty nice mills, just right for a basement shop. I've been combining the two of them to get one good 8540 and am just about done.

    The shipping weight was about 925 lbs for the 8550 (no power feed) and 1,000 lbs for the 8540 (with power feed).

    Clausing does still supply some parts for these mills and it looks like some of the longitudinal travel components are on a fairly recent Clausing parts price list. You probably won't like some of the prices, though. The lead screw is around $700 alone! Prices for other components are much more reasonable. For example, one of the gears for the manual rapid feed train is only $20 or so.

    The vari-speed system seems to be almost identical to the one used for the Clausing 5900-series lathes. The seals on the hydraulic cylinder can leak and these are cheap to replace. There is also a Delrin bushing inside the two halves of the mortor pulley. The bushing wears with time and was apparently meant to be replaced on a regular basis. When it wears, wobble will be evident on the threaded shaft on the motor pulley assembly which protrudes out from the bottom of the lower belt guard.

    A new bushing is around $25. If it's not worn too badly, you can probably just replace the bushing and have a good drive system. If left too long, a P-shaped key between the two pulley halves can start to bind and shear off the keyway. There is also a anti-friction coating on the fixed pulley hub that can wear out if the bushing is not replaced in time. Worst case would be a new pulley assembly at $1k or so, or convert to a step pulley drive and use a VFD. At least one 5914 lathe owner was able to rebuild his motor pulley satisfactorily.

    The mill comes apart fairly easily, and the manual (available from Clausing for $25) will be quite helpful. My wife & I moved one of these mills to the basement, a piece at a time. The worst part was the base and column, which we left attached. It nearly took my leg off on the way down (stupid on my part) so in hindsight I'd separate the two. Two reasonably strong adult males with a 2-wheel refrigerator dolly could handle it pretty easily then, or you could rig up a HF 800 lb hoist to lower it down the stairs the way we did mid-move. Email me if you are interested in this approach and I can point you to some pictures of a similar move we did with a heavier tool.

    Several years ago, Dave Ficken at Meridian told me that a decent 8540 should bring around $700-1200. Prices seem to have dropped a bit since then, but a friend just bought a nice one for $1500 from a dealer.

    I hope to have about $600 in mine after parting out the surplus parts from the second mill, exclusive of tooling and electricals. I've seen almost no 8540 parts on Ebay over the past several years, despite regular searching.

    BTW, if you order a manual from Clausing, have the serial number handy - they made a few changes in the mills over the years. The manual is about 60 pages long and goes into quite a bit of detail on maintenance issues.

    Mike
    Mike Henry near Chicago

    Comment


    • #3
      Well, he was selling for $200. I decided not to mess with it. Owner sent me some pics.

      The entire front feed box and leadscrew assembly, nut, etc is gone, replaced by a hydraulic feed.

      Looks like the rest of it is there, But I wouldn't count on anything.

      Lots of trouble to move, I don't really have room, it's NOT a universal mill, and there is too much missing.

      Also, its probably beat, since the hydraulic feed suggests it was used for a repetitive manufacturing operation, and was due for its first cleaning in a couple years from now.

      I appreciate the info, however.

      I have a smaller H-mill, with vertical head. I was sorta thinking about the Clausing as one that would take a serious cut...the smaller one is just too light, and is a few inches smaller. 5 x 18 table, one slot, vs 6 x 24 table, three slots.

      [This message has been edited by J Tiers (edited 06-18-2005).]
      1601

      Keep eye on ball.
      Hashim Khan

      Comment


      • #4
        J,

        The 8540 came with either a 1-1/2 or 2 HP motor so it should be capable of some serious work. That seems to be the case from some of the test cuts I've run thus far and what my friend tells me about his.

        The rapid feed gears on both of the mills I have show a lot of wear so I kind of suspect that most of these mills would have the same problem. A full set of replacement gears (4, I think) runs a little over $120 or so from Clausing. Pretty cheap in my book and you might want to keep that in mind should another one turn up. FWIW, the spindles on both of my mills show 0.0002" or less TIR, which is pretty good considering that they both seemed to have been "well used", as the saying goes. Keep in mind, too, that the 8550 lacked the integrated power feed that the 8540 has.

        The Rockwell horizontal mill is almost identical in size, but I think that the Clausing is built a little better. The Clausing hydraulic vari-speed system is a potential problem, but only if it has been beat to death. A nice feature of the Rockwell is that it could be had in a combined vertical/horizontal configuration. The friend with the Clausing 8540 has one of these as well. The disadvantage is that pulling the vertical head is a minor PITA, unless you are built like Arnold Swarzenegger. My friend usually leaves the vertical head in place and uses an EM holder or stub arbor in the horizontal spindle when he needs to use that mode.

        Mike

        Mike Henry near Chicago

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks

          Not only is the "end-of-table" box entirely missing, so is the one on the knee.

          The end of the table has been modified extensively to hold the hydraulics.

          I'll keep it in mind..... I might do as well with the non-powerfeed model, which would negate the need for feed boxes. However, this one appeared to need much refurbishing work in addition to finding the parts, for which a donor machine would be needed.

          The only good part was the price.... which I suspect would be substantially increased by replacing even part of the missing parts. gears are one thing, the whole feed assembly is another. And, not knowing if any parts have been simply hacked away in the coversion.....

          The vertical head deal I can understand... On the Lewis, I have to pull the overarm, and put in the other one which has the vertical head on the end. I'd rather not do that so much. It isn't that heavy, but threading the overarm through the clamp assembly is a nuisance, and risks nasty damage, because its a tight fit.

          I leave it as a horizontal most of the time, and use an angle plate for vertical mill work.
          1601

          Keep eye on ball.
          Hashim Khan

          Comment


          • #6
            J,

            <font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">The only good part was the price.... which I suspect would be substantially increased by replacing even part of the missing parts. gears are one thing, the whole feed assembly is another. And, not knowing if any parts have been simply hacked away in the coversion..... </font>
            Agreed - used parts to complete the leadscrews, handles, etc. would probably run you at least $200 and would be hard to find. Mostly, I was mentioning the relatively low cost of the gears in case another mill showed up - wear on the gears could be a good bargaining chip but would be fairly inexpensive to replace. For example, I got the 8540 fairly cheap (but more than $200) because the motor pulley was completely shot. It was originally an Ebay listed item but the seller pulled the listing after a friend & I inspected it, got replacement cost from Clausing and let the seller know.

            I like the idea of having separate tools (vertical + horizontal mills vs combined) so long as there is room in the shop and money in the budget, but combined is better than none at all.

            Good luck on the search!

            Mike
            Mike Henry near Chicago

            Comment

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