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Ring Light for Milling Machine?

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  • Ring Light for Milling Machine?

    Just bought a Precision Matthews 728 milling machine and I would like to get a ring light for it. The end of the quill where the light will go is about 3" diameter. I've looked around Amazon and didn't see anything that looked like it would fit. I noticed Adam Booth uses one from Hound Dog Machining, but they are out of stock and don't know when they'll be making more. Appreciate any advice.

    Ed P

  • #2
    I made one for my BP copy out of UHMW, a few magnets, and an LED "halo" for dressing up car headlights. Many sizes avalable. I don't really like it that much. It obscures my view of a short end mill so I have to bend over, and a drill chuck casts a shadow. I continue to use it but I still have gooseneck lamps on either side. I should note, The photos aren't great representations. The light escaping up and out isn't very much really, not enough to be bothersome in normal light. I had white UHMW on hand, but a darker housing material would be a better choice.

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    Last edited by Randy; 01-14-2022, 05:43 AM.


    • #3
      I made one pretty similar to Randy's. Cheap import halo and a ring of black acrylic with a channel cut into it. Means the light only goes down rather than out and at you. I don't have a quill (head moves) so it is mounted on the head. The largest halo you can fit would reduce the shadowing you get under the drill chuck. Halo was IP rated (LEDs not exposed) so I didn't bother covering it but it is a very good fit to the channel in the acrylic. Made mine with a rotary table on the mill but no reason you couldn't turn it on a lathe.
      Not sure that a halo is strictly necessary, there's no massively good reason you couldn't stick some LED tape on an aluminium profile and attach that under the head like a kitchen cupboard downlight.


      • #4
        Don't bother, they look cool but are useless ( to me ) since the tool and the work area is shadowed
        depending on how close the chuck is to the work.

        Grab yourself some gooseneck LED sewing machine lights, I have two
        hooked up to a mag base that attaches to a cover plate for the head tilt bolts
        that I made for my PM 932.


        • #5
          Per Cenedd, an example of LED tape panel out of the way under head...

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          • #6
            wbc. That is an innovative-to-me use of LED lighting strip. (The addition of the gooseneck-mounted lamp covers the bases.)

            The conformable nature of LED strips opens up all kinds possibilities for contouring the backing material they are mounted to. Aluminum would seem to offer cooling and shaping benefits as a backing material, but clearly SS backing material has worked well in your application.


            • #7
              I also made a ring light. This was on the cheap and a 4 inch diameter one for cars 'halo light' from ebay.
              It does provide some light but as expected it's not aimed to converge on the area of a cutter.

              +1 for more goosenecks. You know,, like that has been used for the last 80 years.


              • #8
                My mill came equipped with a high intensity lamp with a goose-neck that was so stiff that it was almost impossible to position it so it illuminated the work. It just, plain sucked! I had originally intended to buy/make a ring light for my mill and even had purchased an inexpensive LED ring to play with. However, I quickly gave up on the idea for several reasons. One reason was the area around the spindle is sometimes used to mount other accessories and I did not want to give up that space. Another is that inexpensive LED rings tend to be too dim to be of real help. I know these could be overcome, but my experience in TV and theatrical lighting gave me some ideas that I considered better.

                What I settled on was three lights located on the two sides of the head and a third one in the rear. The side lights are on goose-necks so they can be aimed and positioned as needed. However, I find that they mostly stay in the same places. The third one is a strip style light about six inches long which I placed behind the spindle. It is directly attached to the head casting and has no provision to be moved. All three of these lights are mounted with neo magnets and, in addition to a master switch which was built into my mill, each one has it's own switch to allow more control over the directions the light comes from. I made use of three switch style electric boxes as bases to mount these lights, the power supplies (wall warts), and the master switch. These are all painted hammer tone green to match the mill. All of these added lights are LED based. I simply removed the original goose-neck lamp and mounted the box with the master switch in it's stead. This switch box has 115 VAC inside so I mounted it with screws in the original tapped holes for the goose-neck.

                A big advantage of using three lights arranged around the spindle is that neither the spindle, the work, my hands, any other accessories, nor even a combination of two of them can completely block the light so there is always light on almost every part of my set-up.

                In use I have found this to be a very versatile arrangement and the light is almost perfect.

                One suggestion that I do make is that if different types of lights are used, try to use ones that have the same color temperature. I like the "cool" white types and that also matches the ceiling lights in my shop.
                Paul A.
                SE Texas

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


                • #9
                  Dual Moffatt lamps on my DoAll saw.
                  No shadows.


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                  • #10
                    I have a 728VT and ended up making a custom quill stop. On the bottom of that stop I inserted a few steel dowel pins to attach a ring light with magnets.

                    Here is the light I purchased (100mm) version. You have to purchase the DC plug separately.

                    Hope this helps!
                    You may only view thumbnails in this gallery. This gallery has 2 photos.


                    • #11
                      Goosenecks for me too. Buddy has a ring light on his Bridgeport, can't stand it. Casts shadows any time the spindle is down or has something like a drill chuck in and also interferes with some measurements when the mic spindle is facing up (depth mic).


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Doozer View Post
                        Dual Moffatt lamps on my DoAll saw.
                        No shadows.

                        The necks on the Moffatt lamps aren't strong enough to hold the lamp heads up? I see both of them are resting on something mid-span. The left one looks like you made a ring to hold it.


                        • #13
                          I purchased a ring type light advertised for use on the drill press from Princess Auto here in Canada. It was in the $20.00 area for cost. Works fairly well & could be brighter and the plastic ring itself is somewhat fragile. I had to put a band around mine as the housing cracked. Maybe the newer ones are better, but probably not.