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Used dividing head

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  • Used dividing head

    Need some advice on what to look for in a used universal dividing head. The fellow I purchased my mill from about a year ago offered it to me at the time time for additional cost, wasn't in the budget at the time nor did I really look at it.

    Called a few weeks ago and am going to the city tomorrow, would like to check it out.

    To be honest I don't know what I am looking at or how to judge the condition or what it should come with. And unfortunately I can't tell you what make it is. He dosn't know either as i asked when I last talked to him, he did tell me there was plates with holes in them, a chuck and a few other things??. All I can tell you is that it was awful big and heavy looking, which I guess describes most pieces of equipment.

    Don't get to town very often (200km drive one way) (thats metric) maybe once a month or two but would like to pick it up if its in reasonable condition.

    Cheers, Bob

  • #2
    you must make sure it's not too big for your milling machine and is there a tailstock etc don't rush it you might end up with something of no use to you .Alistair
    Please excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease


    • #3
      How does one know if its too big? If memory serves correct I believe the pivot point to be 8" to 10" diameter. What is the tail stock? Similar to a lathe?
      Have an older bridgeport mill.
      Cheers, Bob


      • #4
        The tailstock is for holding work between centers. Given your interests, this is something you might use if (for example) you wanted to flute rifle barrels.

        A lot of these heads are fairly large, eating up work envelope. A typical bridgeport table is flexible out at the ends that are unsupported, so having to have a 200# head sitting out at one end might be a recipie for deflection. Even a fairly small one can be a bit heavy and rigidity is nice, but the really big ones are real gut-busters.

        Me--I am still shopping. I want a smaller one so I can use it on several of my machines...maybe even my 12" Sheldon shaper. I still have this vision of being able to cut a gear with a form tool ground from a $5 HSS blank. I don't have any project in mind with that...just that it might be useful some day.

        Paul Carpenter
        Mapleton, IL


        • #5
          I have an Ellis dividing head that is 6 1/2" swing. According to the brochure I got on the net it weighs 80 pounds. Mine has a 3 jaw set true chuck on it that feels like it must weigh as much. It does fit on the table (6"x24") of my Clausing 8520 mill just right. I only have one plate for it though and only one set of jaws for the chuck. No tail stock either but it would be easy to build one. Looks like this.

          San Diego, CA


          • #6
            I have a 10" swing (5" centre height) Elliott universal dividing head that I use on my Bridgeport, it has a tailstock and a full set of change gears for differential indexing and spiral milling. It is very, very heavy and I have to use a half ton chain hoist to lift it on and off the mill table. The Bridgeport seems to be quite capable of taking the weight and I have used it with success to cut gears.

            Last edited by Malc-Y; 05-22-2008, 05:38 PM.


            • #7
              Know what you mean by gut buster, the mill came with a 6" Kurt with rotating table. Constantly moving it between mill and drill press. Found out recently this is a pretty good quality vise. Maybe the head is of the same?

              From what i remember the body is not cast like that, it looked more like one machined part fitting into another. When i saw it the chuck was not on it nor did i see it. Hard to judge the scale of size but think it's a fair bit bigger.

              Also need to know if I should be checking for wear in certain areas if this is a concern.

              I will find a picture of my mill, its a 9 x 40 something, havn't thought about the bed size since I it got home. Has always been big enough so far.



              • #8
                How many gears is there Malc?


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Quetico Bob
                  How many gears is there Malc?
                  There are 10 gears as follows: 24, 28, 32, 40, 48, 56, 64, 72, 86, and 100 teeth, they are 14 DP, not sure of the pressure angle but machine tool gears usually are 14 1/2 degrees (at least they are in the UK).



                  • #10
                    In everyones opinion, what would be the maximum size dividing head suitable for this machine? Couln't find any recent pictures, just started tearing it apart here to give it the once over.
                    Cheers, Bob


                    • #11
                      It should run smoothly in both directions, have the fingers for hole spacing, three plates, the most common #2 with 23,24,27,29,31,33 #1-15,17,18,19,20,21 #3-37,39,41,43,47,49 that is the circle numbers for my index head, I have the tail stock and chuck, 40 to one ratio, K&T about 75#, five inch capacity. Also there should be someway to adjust for backlash.
                      Herm Williams


                      • #12
                        Sorry the pic crops a bit, but this is my 6" Yuasa/News head (I think its a B&S clone from way back in the day). Its a good size for a regular sized Bridgeport- when set to vertical theres still a bit of envelope for drilling (but not much- bigger drills need to go into collets). Chuck on mine is a 5" or so Buck.

                        As far as condition, try to ensure you have plates- they can be a nuisance to track down. I had to convert a plate from a different head- bushing for the center hole, plug the existing screw holes and drill new ones in the right place. Annoying but simple enough.

                        I guess checking mechanical condition is obvious enough. Backlash and engagement are adjustable on mine- quite handy.

                        Ensure there is a means to lock the spindle- which is how you'll prevent backlash from letting your work flop back & forth under the cut, starting the chuck loosening on the spindle. Don't ask... But speaking of which, if you really need to lock up the work, put a length of threaded rod through the spindle bore (long studs from a Brigeport holddown set, for example), then a nut on each end, compressing the chuck against the spindle so it can't unscrew. Don't ask...

                        Also ensure you have or can easily get tooling for the spindle- chuck would be nice, collets if possible, etc. A tailstock would be nice but lacking one shouldn't be a deal-breaker if the other stuff is there.

                        Consider an extensive disassembly and cleaning, mine was full of old grease that had hardened to something like epoxy.




                        • #13

                          If you can't tilt it up as shown, you will want to have a rotary table as well.....

                          For regular stuff, like gear making, with it in horizontal mode, you need daylight of AT LEAST 2x center height, PLUS the total height of spindle tooling (cutter, etc) from table to spindle.

                          If you can work from the side, you can cut that down some, but then you need a lot of travel on the cross-slide.

                          To tilt it up, for minimum daylight you need to add the total height, plus the height of workholder (chuck, etc), plus work, plus spindle tooling.

                          It gets to be a lot, at the end of which it would be far more solid to have a rotary table.

                          Keep eye on ball.
                          Hashim Khan


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Quetico Bob
                            In everyones opinion, what would be the maximum size dividing head suitable for this machine? Couln't find any recent pictures, just started tearing it apart here to give it the once over.
                            Cheers, Bob

                            My Bridgeport is the same size as yours with a 42" x 9" table and I have found that the 10" swing Elliott dividing head is the optimum size, any bigger would be too big!

                            The Elliott comes with two division plates with holes as follows:-

                            Plate No.1:- 15, 18, 20, 23, 27, 31, 37, 41 and 47.

                            Plate No.2:- 16, 17, 19, 21, 29, 33, 39, 43 and 49.

                            The worm ratio is 40 to 1.



                            • #15
                              Thank you all very much, will let you know how I made out.
                              Cheers, Bob