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Smallish vertical knee mill

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  • Smallish vertical knee mill

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    Wasn't sure I'd be able to do this buddy job successfully.
    Possibly could have meant lots of previously wasted time
    and much money for my buddy if I botched it !!

    Buddy half heartedly bid online for a late 60's early 70's
    I think British made Rover and he won the auction.
    He's had it for 2 or 3 years now pecking away at
    restoring it.

    He's got it totally torn down to bits.
    over that time we would repair or remake various
    pieces now and then in my home shop, as well as him
    doing tons of work to it at his place.

    So now he's got the engine completely torn down,
    and wanted to change the rear main seal from the original
    type to a modern rubber lip seal.
    As he found out, there is no rubber lip seal available with the
    same dimensions as the older type.
    This would necessitate boring out the rear of the aluminum
    engine block to accommodate the new seal.

    I've never done this kind of work before, so some head scratching ensued......
    How would I do this??

    My mill is pretty small ...Clausing 8520 vertical that I picked up about
    15 years ago.
    Until now, I've never used it in the horizontal mode.

    Got ahold of some 4"x4"square steel tube and some2"x2" square
    aluminum tube and used those materials to extend and build up
    a way to mount the aluminum engine block the the mill table.

    after many hours of setup, including traming in the head to the existing bore face,
    I then set up the 2" boring head.
    previously had to order a 1/2" od x 3" long insert boring bar with the triangle insert
    positioned so that when held in the side hole of the boring head, the bottom flat of the
    insert was parallel to the bore bottom surface.

    Then forgot to have on hand a chamfering bar to take care of the sharp edge of the
    newly bored pocket.
    So searched through my oddball collection of junk and found something that I could
    put a piece of HSS tool bit in and hand ground an angle on it.

    Didn't get a pic of that sorry.
    The lip seal chart listed the press fit as 0.008" under the seal OD
    After measuring with an inside micrometer, I hit it at 0.007" under.

    For me, this whole adventure was a blast !!!!!!
    We had big smiles when it was done.
    ​​​​​​​I had not botched it !!
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    Mike Green

  • #2
    holy cow, that must have been a butt puckering operation! I can see how you spent hours setting it up, it's not like you could have another go if you screwed it up


    • #3
      Yep, Once I started boring there was no going back!
      At some point during the bore it was time to stop and take a measurement
      and I nearly poked myself in the eye with the handle on the fine feed
      crank wheel , so I decided to temporarily remove it,

      I dropped it on the floor and being made of plastic of course ,
      it cracked into two pieces.

      Clumsy Bastard !!!!
      Some nearby blue painters tape stuck it back together long
      enough to finish job.
      Mike Green


      • #4
        "A man's gotta know his limitations." Well, you sure did and you worked to within a hair of every one of them.

        Great job! I would frame those pictures.
        Last edited by Paul Alciatore; 03-30-2021, 10:01 PM.
        Paul A.
        SE Texas

        And if you look REAL close at an analog signal,
        You will find that it has discrete steps.


        • #5
          Did you install the Bridgeport head. Looks really cool.
          John b. SW Chicago burbs.


          • #6
            Thanks Paul !!
            And.....did I feel lucky ?
            Yep ,sure did.

            john b,
            The mill came with the Bridgeport M head already fitted when I got it.
            Mike Green


            • #7
              Hi Mike,

              WOW! .................Accomplishing a job like this is so great to see because it shows us all how to think beyond 'normal' limits.

              Wish I could shake your hand but this will have to do:

              Best wishes to ya’ll.



              "To invent you need a good imagination and a pile of junk" - Thomas Edison

              "I've always wanted to get a job as a procrastinator but I keep putting off going out to find one so I guess I'll never realize my life's dream. Frustrating!" - Me

              Location: Bustling N.E. Arizona


              • #8
                Thanks, like I said,...I had a blast !!
                Mike Green


                • #9
                  Very nice job!! I agree, you should frame those pictures and hang them on the wall in your living room. This probably doesn't apply here but I have found that sometimes when a seal isn't available a new one for that shaft size is available in a smaller OD and a simple adapter bushing will make another, not the stock size, work. Or it could go the other way correct OD and a bushing pressed onto the shaft to enlarge it.


                  • #10
                    Nice job on extending the limits of your mill and thinking outside of the box for the setup. From first thoughts to final touch up on the chamfer you deserve the big I borrowed from JHE's post just so I could poke the thumb at you.... I'll be keeping this idea in mind for possible use of my own.
                    Chilliwack BC, Canada


                    • #11
                      Very nice!
                      Reminds me of the friend who had a stripped thread in the crankshaft for the flywheel gland nut on a VW motor. We put the entire motor up on a horizontal mill. He bored and tapped the end of the crank and made a custom gland nut to fit. MUCH easier than tearing down the motor.

                      The things you can/will do when you have the tools and skills.
                      It's all mind over matter.
                      If you don't mind, it don't matter.


                      • #12
                        I feel your pain ! this post brings back memories of when my bro's ford F-450 trans swallowed my mill due to it spinning it's front main and me having to bore and go with an oversize sleeve...

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                        Least I had an access view;

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                        Bottom line --- this is why Mills rule... head was already tossed down so good time to use my "lathe" to make the oversize sleeve....

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                        • #13
                          Mike, you impress the heck out of me! Everything you post is top-notch quality.

                          I still owe you several favors. Anytime you need something, let me know!


                          • #14
                            Thanks, I agree with your ideas too.
                            You illustrate other ways to think around a problem!

                            Thanks, most kindly sir!

                            Thanks, got any pics of your friends adventure ?

                            A.K. Boomer,
                            Your first pic cracked me up !
                            Awesome stuff man, just awesome!!
                            I can't seem to blow up the pics enough to see just
                            how you managed to fasten the thing down to the mills table ?

                            how goes things ?

                            Thanks, that's some undue awfully high praise man!

                            I'm no machinist, just having fun in the home shop,
                            I have the luxury of taking as long as I want for any
                            of these projects.
                            Mike Green


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by MGREEN View Post

                              A.K. Boomer,
                              Your first pic cracked me up !
                              Awesome stuff man, just awesome!!
                              I can't seem to blow up the pics enough to see just
                              how you managed to fasten the thing down to the mills table ?
                              Back at you --- lot's of similarities going on there lol

                              my whole rig was held in place by a set of 1-2-3 blocks and one stud in the center that was cinched down so tight I probably deformed my table - but it was worth it lol

                              keep keeping on man - where there's a mill there's a way...

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