When one Phillips isn’t enough. Recorded in between years as Stefan would say, Max invites his brother Thayer and his father Fred on to join in an end of year discussion with our new semi regular co-host Stefan Gotteswinter! In this episode we talk about:
Fred’s shop that Thayer works out of. Fred has a really nice Rockwell mill (one of our all time home shop favourites) and a Southbend Heavy 13.
We talk about gunsmithing in the United States, Germany and Canada
Live free or die!
CAD and Stefan’s embrace of Autodesk Fusion.
Stefan machined some really nice Torx screws using his Deckel pantograph.
Justin is busy making Christmas presents.
Stefan wants to get a CNC lathe in 2018.
Max is hoping to finish his Trent pinion mill.
Both Max and Justin are hoping to get back to semi regular posting on Youtube.
And finally cars. Max is hoping to get some German iron.
I’m sure every wife feels it. The pang of guilt when we say “no” to our husbands. It happened to me the other night, as Justin and I were laying in bed. He rolled to his side, and looked at me with hopeful, almost expectant eyes. A gentle smile was on his lips. After he’d asked the question, I sighed and closed my eyes as the wave of guilt washed over me. “I’m sorry,” I said, “but I don’t think now is the right time to buy another machine tool for the shop.”
I could tell he was disappointed, so I tried valiantly to support my response with reason so I didn’t appear too callous. I reminded him that in the past 10 months, he’d purchased a Schaublin lathe, a Craftex mill, and a surface grinder, not to mention the various tooling additions needed to operate them. He’d also been generously gifted a tool and cutter grinder, and while that hadn’t cost any money, the time to drag these machines home and set them up for use was more than a small investment of precious hours. I also suggested that the point of owning these machines was not offer them a humble home in our garage, but rather to make something with them.
As Justin conceded that I might have a small point to support my argument, I opened my eyes. Surprised to see him getting dressed, I asked where he was going. “To make some chips,” he replied, as though it should be obvious. “These machines had better start earning their keep.”
If you listen to the podcast you already know that I purchased a Rong Fu Mill Drill. While some people have issues with the round column, the mill drill is a significant step up in machine capacity and machining performance when compared to the X2 mini mill.
For those unfamiliar, the Rong Fu Mill Drill looks to be a heavily modified drill press. There are several size variations, but most utilize a R8 tapered spindle with provisions for a draw bar. The dovetail table has a relatively large travel of about 450 mm (over 17″) and 200 mm (just under 8″).
While there is much debate on the origins of the Taiwanese mill drills that started showing up in the 1970s, the most probable explanation is they are simply rather crude copies of the Fehlmann mill drill machines. Fehlmann is a Swiss machine tool manufacturer and they still build a number of mill drill machines, although I suspect you if have to ask the price you cannot afford them. Besides the very similar appearance, the main reason I think the Rong Fu mill drills are copies of the Fehlmann is primarily because of the tapered gibs on the Rong Fu table. Fehlmann being a Swiss machine tool company in and of itself is another telling reason why they were copied.
Round column mills are not just limited to two companies. Emco also manufactured several round column mills around the same time as Rong Fu started. A German company also manufactured a nice home shop mill drill branded as Ixion around the same time or slightly before the Rong Fus started flooding the home shop market.
The Rong Fu mill drill I purchased came with the typical flimsy tuna can stand that is oh so common on import machine tools. I did not purchase the machine new and the previous owner was selling the stand with it, otherwise I would have passed on the stand and just built one. Initially I was going to weld up a new stand out of 2×2 steel tubing, but then I thought could I just dump a bunch of concrete in the bottom and kill 2 birds with one stone; adding weight and rigidity? That and I find concrete a very useful engineering material in the home shop from previous antics.
And that’s exactly what I did. For less than $75 and one day’s home shop work, which is less than what the material alone would have cost for a tubing stand, I now have a rigid machine tool stand.
I’ll be posting further on the mill drill as I use it, but so far it has been a great addition to the shop.
In this episode Max and Justin decide to prognosticate about what the home machining shop of the future looks like. 50 or 100 years down the road is it going to be full of modified CNC machines, or will the electronics on those machines render them scrap and only the old school manual machines still be in use? We talk about
Max’s sea foam green stamping fixture
Max is working on a new TV stand for the house
Justin finished his tailstock tap and die holder
A new mill drill for Justin’s shop. Did he make the Rong choice?
The Dodge Omni and Shelby GLHS
Do all VW owners hate Honda owners?
Max’s hatred for all things Digifant
Motivated millennials: will they keep CNC machines going?
Are we living in an golden era for home shop machining?