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Rockwell Mill Question From a n00b

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  • Rockwell Mill Question From a n00b

    I have a Rockwell Milling Machine (vertical & horizontal) that I don't know very much about, not to mention I am a complete novice at machining. I machined a small piece and had awful results. I seems as though the table is loose on the knee. It actually seemed to be rocking while using it. I think the prior owner never did anything other that accept mediocre results.
    I have no operator's or maintenance manual for it. How do I check to make sure the gibs are in proper adjustment? Even the tag on the head that identifies the spindle vs belt placement speed is worn out.
    I feel I am competent to make adjustments etc., but it would be good to have a parts or maintenance manual.
    Can anyone point me towards one?
    Thanks, Dennis

  • #2
    Couldn't be any worse then my first mill and I made plenty of things on that.

    But yes as I tried to hold closer and closer tolerances the mill table itself became an issue. Most of which I attributed to the sloppy original manufacture. Might help to tell folks which modle you have and what kind of movement you are experiencing


    • #3

      and previous thread

      usual "suspects" have manuals, lathesUK and ozarkwoodworker


      • #4
        Congrats on the Rockwell millling machine. It is a good machine for the home shop. The combo horizontal/vertical is a bonus.

        The knee gib is on the left side of the machine, captured by button head allen capscrews at the top and bottom. Make sure the V-ways are clean and lubricated. Preferably with way oil.

        To tighten, loosen the screw on the small end of the gib at the bottom of the knee and tighten the screw at the large end at the top of the gib. Check for a good snug sliding fit and adjust as needed. When done, tighten the screw at the bottom. The gibs on the table and saddle are adjusted in the same manner.

        Once adjusted, check through the full range of travel, as with an older machine, most wear will be toward the center of travel. You will need to strike a happy medium between too tight at the extremes and too loose at the center.

        On any milling machine, always tighten the clamps on the axes not being moved.
        Jim H.


        • #5
          J C's explanation/description is very good - I would only suggest trying the tables X & Y axes gib adjustments first (they probably need it too), you will be able to 'feel' how your adjustments are affecting them. The knee will be a bit more challenge getting that 'sweet spot' in the adjustment with it being vertical - as J C said, the wear is probably confined to a specific area and will take a bit of patience to find that happy medium.

          I would also stress the importance of locking/tightening the clamps...
          If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something........


          • #6
            Given that you are a self admitted tyro machinist, it would be wise to get and read some good books on the subject. The direction you are moving the table in relation to the direction the cutter is turning can cause unwanted back and forth motion of the table. It's the difference between climb milling and conventional milling. Most worn mills and small mills don't like climb milling much due to their lack of rigidity and wear of the feed screws.
            I'm not saying this is definitely the cause of your experience. Your description is a little vague so it's a guess at best. The point is that a book such as Harold Hall's "Milling: A complete Course", for example is a good place for beginners to start learning the basics. You may find that technique combined with the adjustments mentioned above will result in work you are very please with.


            • #7
              I have the same mill I could email you a copy.


              • #8
                Dave, thank you for the offer, I could use it. $$? I'll PM you my email address.
                Thanks Again, Dennis


                • #9
                  the U.S. Army used this mill and produced a very good manual for it, which is now in the public domain.
                  Download the PDF here:


                  You will probably want to join the Rockwell Yahoo group, which I recommend. it's active and informative.
                  This manual and lots more is available in their Files section


                  • #10
                    This was own of our first milling machines. It is probably our most favorite little mill.

                    I have the manual for both the horizontal and the vertical versions of this mill, but has anyone ever seen a manual for the combo machine?

                    I was just wondering if Rockwell ever made a parts manual for the combo, or were you just suppose to use two different manuals?



                    • #11
                      Dennis, you will find everything you are looking for an more at dedicated Rockwell mill forum at yahoo. Schematics etal. You have tapered gibs that probably need to be adjusted.



                      • #12
                        Thank You Rick, I'm off to do some lookin'