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Cincinatti 2MH saga

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  • Cincinatti 2MH saga

    This is going to be one of those long running machine tool soap operas except the "soap" is various combinations of Purple power, WD40 and diesel fuel.

    About six weeks ago I bought a Cincinnati horizontal. I have been meaning to post a thread about it and I finally got my pictures organized enough to do it. I might be useful for someone thinking about one of these old machines to see what kind of work is involved. I already have one mill in this class, a Kearney and Trecker 2CH, but it has some mechanical and possibly some alignment issues. I got the Cincinnati because I thought I’d be able to give it a quick cleaning, hook it up and have it running in a couple of weeks – Ha!! Jokes on me. Six weeks on, I’m still taking things apart and I’m not going in for a full reconditioning project – not even painting it - just cleaning. I had no idea how much filth would accumulate over the years.

    It’s a 2MH plain (non-swiveling table) built in late 1941. This model was not Cinci’s top of the line, like a Dial Type. It’s more of an entry level machine. It weighs about 4,000 lbs and has a 5HP motor with 15 spindle speeds from 22-1200 RPM and 12 feeds from 2-30 IPM. Spindle reverse is done electrically through a built in drum switch on the left side of the column and the feeds have an independent geared reverse. Since it’s not an advanced mill for the time it doesn’t have a fully enclosed knee with a circulating oil pump. The feed gearing, leadscrews and ways on the knee are lubed via a pair of one shot oilers. One is in the saddle and one is in the right side of the knee. The used oil runs out the bottom and ends up in the coolant sump.

    It came out of a school shop being closed down. It has a vertical head and a standard lead gearbox with change gears used to drive a dividing head or rotab synchronized with the table. It turned out that the vertical head is something Cincinnati called universal milling attachment and can be used along with a universal DH to mill spirals on a plain mill. It is driven by the main horizontal spindle and has the all the driver pieces. I also got one arbor and two drop brackets one A and one B style. The B style is missing the bushing so I have at least one future project. Horizontal spindle is 50 taper and vertical head is 40.

    Mechanically it’s in pretty good shape all things (70+years old) considered, but it seems like it was never cleaned. It was amazingly filthy, to the point that it must have interfered with function. You couldn’t run a T nut through any of the slots on the table, especially the one where I found an eight inch half round file buried under oily dirt. The other thing about all that dirt is that it had a nasty smell, bad enough to burn my sinuses. All that ancient oil and grease had gone rancid. I didn’t know that petroleum could go rancid, but I do now. The worst was the grease in the vertical head – I haven’t gotten around to cleaning it yet but I keep it bagged up to contain the funk.

    Here it is before I brought it home. If you look behind the vertical head you can see a bench mounted lathe. It’s a nice little 10” Sheldon that had been crashed - It looked sad so I gave it new home. I’ve got to stop adapting stray machine tools.


    Open wide. I took the doors out to fit the table through because I still thought I would be up and running without a complete tear down. The tarp is covering the K&T mill column and you can see its knee up on blocks behind the orange bucket.

  • #2
    Nice toy, and thanks for posting the pics. Please keep going with both the pics and story.

    I suspect you are going to find that many of the larger horizontals prove to be projects that can get pretty deep rather quickly. Coolant and lubrication sumps, pumps, gearboxes, and multiple motors with the associated wiring do tend to complicate things a bit, but also make the machine an absolute pleasure to run. If you want a simple and easy clean, plug, and play try a standard turret mill without integrated coolant and lube sumps, pumps, and/or power feeds. Those Cincinattis are nice machines, though personally I do prefer the K&Ts. Dont get discouraged, both will be up and running before you know it.
    "I am, and ever will be, a white-socks, pocket-protector, nerdy engineer -- born under the second law of thermodynamics, steeped in the steam tables, in love with free-body diagrams, transformed by Laplace, and propelled by compressible flow."


    • #3
      What about bearings, working surfaces etc?
      If these are worn, you will face a hefty bill...

      I am by no means a machine expert but bringing my ML 7 lathe to as new conditions plus some upgrades was quite a heroic undertaking consuming hundreds of hours of work.
      Much needed to be replaced, much needed to be scrapped...

      Though I am very pleased with the result.


      • #4
        A lot of work used to be done using animal lard as lube so I imagine that combined with all the other stuff it collected over the years could make for a real smell mess. OTOH, it looks like a good score for condition...the cleanup is something you should only undertake once.


        • #5
          Thanks for the encouragement. This is not my first project so I've already done the "easy" mill - a South Bend Vertical. Looks like a skinny BP but lacks both the nod and the swivel joint at the top of the column. I started looking for a mill with more grunt when I tried to use this 1,500 lb machine to hog off some steel. Thing was shakin' all over and it still took hours of cranking. I almost sprung for a power feed but then saw an add in CL for the K&T. Hmmm I could get power feed for one axis on a nice, but kind of light mill or a whole 'nother mill with power feed on all three axises - Sign me up!

          I haven't run either one yet in an actual milling operation, but the K&T is much more advanced. Stuff like separate independent power take offs for the standard feed and the rapids so that the table can be moved while the spindle is disengaged. It seems to be a cut above the 2MH, but that's about what you would expect comparing entry level vs. top of the line.

          The Cinci has clearly seen some use, but I'm not sure exactly what condition it's in. I can see some wear on the sliding surfaces, but everything feels pretty tight. Not the most accurate assessment ever. Right now, I don't have the time or the skills to do a full on reconditioning, so I'm going to put it back together and use it. One reason I grabbed that Sheldon is to use it as a training project to learn how to scrape for alignment. Once I've developed the skills on the smaller machine then I might feel like I'm able to tackle a bigger project like one of these mills. Or I might come to my senses and take up golf or something.


          • #6
            Unloading this guy was interesting. One of the threads here had a post about a drop bed trailer. I found one at Sunbelt rentals, but they called it a scissors lift trailer. For the most part I liked it because I didn’t have to haul 4,000 lbs up a ramp with a 1000 lb winch and I was able to drop the bed right into the doorway. I do have some small reservations about it. First it was small and had a frame around the bed so working around it meant climbing over the frame a lot. Second the trailer is heavy for its size and only had two wheels so no safety margin – a blow out would be really bad.

            Getting ready. Here I’ve got the trailer bed dropped in the doorway and now I’m going to jack the mill up high enough to put a pair of 4X6s underneath. I got that Port O Power knock off on impulse and it has become an indispensible part of my “rigging” kit. It can be used as toe jack – it only needs 2 inches clearance and to push things at odd angles where a bottle jack won’t work.

            Bolting on the skids. I like to bolt long timbers to the base as skids to give me a longer flat surface to make a better rolling base. Also makes it easier to turn the machine and helps to ride over joints.

            Starting to roll. The four timbers on the floor were level with the trailer bed. That way I didn’t have deal with the 4’ transition down to the floor.

            This is how I pushed it off the trailer. I have moved other heavy machines, but this is the biggest by about 1,500 lbs. That extra mass makes a big difference; I couldn’t move it over the diamond plate by hand so I went to plan B. Each stroke moved the machine about 1/16” so it was a long sloooww job.


            • #7
              And through the magic of time lapse photography - Six hours later it’s off and in the door.

              Couple days later it's off the timbers and ready to clean


              • #8
                Nice job moving it. Looking forward to the nitty gritty part.

                There is a big 3LV (supposedly Hercules brand) near me for cheap, but moving it scared me, so I brought home a 2200 lb Stanko instead.. it was enough trouble


                • #9
                  I'm no expert, but when a see a old machine like that, with ALL of its handles, and tags and original hardware, I think that you got a really nice machine.


                  • #10
                    At this point I still thought I could give it a quick cleaning and be making chips in a couple of weeks. So the first thing I did was drain the spindle gearbox sump. These old machines usually hold several gallons of oil, so I get my five gallon bucket, pull the cap and let ‘er rip. And out it came - dirty and rusty colored as expected, but then it stopped after only about a gallon. Hmmm.

                    Well on the next step - Rinse cycle number one. Kearney and Trecker recommends a periodic cleaning of their machines by filling it with kerosene and running it for 5-10 minutes. I figured this would work OK for a Cincinnati. It took about 3 ½ gallons of diesel fuel, which is pretty close to kerosene but cheaper. I hooked up the motor and it started right up. I hadn’t seen it under power before so having the motor start was a good sign. Ran it for 10 minutes checked out all the speeds and feeds and everything worked – awesome. Shut it down and waited a bit for everything to settle and drained it. Only got back about two gallons. Definite Hmmm. Then I looked down at the base and saw a nice puddle of oil, clean diesel oil. Damn! Looked around and found streams of oil coming out from the bracket that houses the main input drive shaft. OK, Big Problem number one – didn’t really expect a perfect 70 year old machine did we? Looks like I’m going to have to replace the gasket under the bracket. Before I can get the bracket off I have to remove the pulley which is held on by a collar with a set screw. So after trying just about everything to pull the collar off the shaft I finally thought to try turning it. This is how I learned that a collar with what looks like the usual set screw over a key can actually be a lock nut with a shoe. Here it is with the pulley off.

                    Pulley and lock nut.

                    The pulley bracket is held in place by four bolts and two very tight taper pins. I finally had to resort to drilling and tapping two 5/16” holes in the flange to use jacking screws to push it off. You can see the pin and the bolt at the top and some remnants of the gasket hanging off.

                    Then I pulled the motor and its controls. The motor is OK, but the controls – not so much. First of all the stop/start buttons are way down on the right side, so no Estop. Second the contactor won’t work for me, it is only rated for 3HP at 240V and it has a 440V coil anyway. The best part is the "wiring" : First there is the way someone jumped the overload relay with 12Ga wire. Then there is that nice white wire hanging out of the box all stripped and ready to play. The other end was stripped too. Somebody was depending way too much on good luck. Did I mention this came from a school? With 440V power? OK now I found Big Problem #2 - all the electricals except the motor will have to be replaced.


                    • #11
                      Time for some dirty pictures

                      I might have mentioned how filthy this mill was. Well here is what I found in the main gearbox when I pulled the input shaft.

                      And this is what the coolant sump looked like after I drained the liquid. It’s supposed to be oil, but I say liquid because it was about half water.

                      Vertical head. I really loved that liquefying grease.

                      The inside of the knee


                      • #12
                        And some more

                        Knee again from underneath.

                        The top with the ram off.

                        This is what the saddle looked like underneath the table.

                        And one last dirty pic of the saddle and its parts. That oil block was buried a half inch deep in oily rusty swarf.


                        • #13
                          I believe you'll have a very good machine once you have it cleaned up. Since it was in a school shop it probably does not have that many hours on it and given the year (1941) its probably war surplus.

                          I prefer the mechanical Cincinnati over the hydo versions as I've had the hydros get so hot you could not touch the back of the machine. When I was at Columbus-McKinnon we used a Cinci hydro to cut a long recessed spur gear (the two ends of the part were larger than the OD of the gear) that took right @ 16 hours to set up and cut one piece. Since the machine would get so hot first shift started the mill and I would begin set up when I came in on 2nd. This was to allow the machine to expand from the heat other wise part of the gear teeth would be on center and others would be off center due to the change in the size of the machine.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by toyjeep73
                            Nice job moving it. Looking forward to the nitty gritty part.

                            There is a big 3LV (supposedly Hercules brand) near me for cheap, but moving it scared me, so I brought home a 2200 lb Stanko instead.. it was enough trouble
                            Hey I saw that mill too, and started out to FL to get it. But then I thought, even if I could get it home, how would I ever get it in my shop? So I got a BP in you area, New Smyrna. Got it off my trailer, stood it up and rolled it in my shop alone. Took about 4 hours.
                            Last edited by lowcountrycamo; 04-01-2012, 12:43 AM.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Dr Stan
                              I believe you'll have a very good machine once you have it cleaned up. Since it was in a school shop it probably does not have that many hours on it and given the year (1941) its probably war surplus.
                              Oh, no doubt - One of the tags is a US gov property tag, and another is from a surplus seller.

                              It's looking like you are also right about it being a good machine. Not to get too far ahead of the story, but under all the crud I'm finding surprisingly little wear. I don't have the equipment to do an accurate assessment, but making do with what I have, I am finding the ways to be pretty straight. I put a good straight edge on the top ways of the saddle and eyeballed the back light leaking through underneath(I know - not the best method, but I'm not scraping it). Looks really good, much better than I expected. Most of the old scraping is gone and it's got some very light scoring, but at least it's not all hollow or bowed. Hopefully the alignment is still pretty good too.

                              Originally posted by Dr Stan
                              I prefer the mechanical Cincinnati over the hydo versions as I've had the hydros get so hot you could not touch the back of the machine.
                              That was normal?