vertical mill spindle square

the 3rd dwarve

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I recently purchased an SPI spindle square and just used it to tram in the vertical mill head tonight. I wish I had bought one of these years ago. It took me less than 4 minutes start to finish to tram the head in both directions. You can also use it with a sine plate to set the angle of the head. It will work on any mill with a 3/8 collet.

Regards,
Jeff
spindle square.jpg
 

Dushan Grujich

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I recently purchased an SPI spindle square and just used it to tram in the vertical mill head tonight.

142129.jpg
G'Day Jeff!

I can well imagine the ease of setting up the mill with that gadget. Couple of questions if You will not mind. What is the centre distance between the dial indicators and what is the overall size ? I've checked web and could not find detailed description with dimensions.

Cheers

Dushan
 

D Magner

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Jeff,
Did you square-up the mill's spindle to the top of the movable jaw in the Bridgeport vise, or it that just a demonstration photo?
David
 

the 3rd dwarve

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Hi Dushan,

This unit uses 2 SPI 24=313-9 indicators with .001in divisions and 0.25 travel, they are about 2.15 inches in diameter.

The centerline of the indicators is 4 inches.

The steel block’s dimensions to the largest point are:
.50in thick X 2.0 in high X 4.57 in long

The length of the 3/8 rod above the steel block is 3.25 inches.


David,

I actually used a parallel off the bottom of the vice as this is the reference plane I use most often. Taking the picture was an afterthought and that was the easiest way to show the tool for anyone who didn’t know what I was talking about. The great part about this tool is the ease of use. Now I will be able to quickly set up when I use the rotary table, indexing head, or even when clamping right to the table.

Regards,

Jeff
 

logic

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For those interested in a Mini version since our machines tend to be on the smaller side, there's a company in Arizona, USA that makes them here excluding the indicators which are from China but the price is only $100 (currently on sale). The centerline distance between the 2 indicators is 3 inches and the Shank diameter is available in 1/4" and 1/8". They also make a full size version.

I don't currently own this product but I intend to purchase one this week. I saw a video last week which may have been an SPI and thought it would be great if somebody offered a smaller version. Did some searching and found a Mini one offered by Edge Technology which can be found at the following link.

http://www.edgetechnologyproducts.com/mini-pro-tram-system.html

Patrick
 

Jerry Kieffer

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While these devices have been available from time to time over the years, personally I could never understand the attraction.

By design they have three potential areas for accuracy issues.

(1) spindle mounting runout.

(2) Runout between the mounting Arbor and the indicator bar

(3) Accuracy differential between the two indicators especially if they are Chinese

When using a conventional setup with one indicator, two of these concerns (2 and 3 above) are eliminated. The method commonly used to tram a Mill can be seen in the attached photo. While glass on the Mill bed is commonly used, ground stock or the mill bed itself can also be used to assure maximum accuracy. In this case the spindle is rotated to quickly and accurately to indicate any inaccuracy.

Again personally, I would suggest spending money on a high quality indicator that will give a more accurate reading when tramming and can be used for many other setups unlike a single purpose device.

For small mills the single indicator setup as shown, offers the advantage of being mounted with WW collets assuring a higher level of mounting accuracy

Jerry Kieffer
 

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Dushan Grujich

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G'Day!

Jeff,

Many thanks for the idea, I think it is great so I made it. It is not as pretty as the commercial ones but it doe the job, nicely. I thought that spending $100 or more for a tool is too much when I have about a dozen of German made dial indicators laying around, which I bought thinking to use for building in to different tooling that I make for personal use. I was thinking that it is a lot more efficient using dedicated DI's rather than having to mount and remount one or two each time when needed.

Dial indicator 01.jpg

These DI's are nice little things 35 mm diameter and 74 mm overall length, with a 3 mm travel and 1/100 mm reading accuracy, jewelled of course

Spindle Square 01.jpg

I decided to make the gadget with centre distance of 50.0 mm, of course the larger centre distance would make it more accurate but I am prepared to live with the increased error ;). Thus, I made a block of aluminium 80x20x10 mm, drilled it and reamed the holes for DI's to 8.0 mm and made mounting shank out of 7.0 mm ground drill rod 75 mm long. I have secured DI's and the mounting shank with 3 mm grub screws, with 1.5 mm Allen key sockets.

Ended up with a nice little gadget that is very useful.


Cheers

Dushan
 

logic

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Hi Jerry,

In regards to your runout concerns when using this tool, this is taken care of by the calibration step that as shown in the product video that I linked. And regarding your concern over the use of Chinese indicators, I personally try to stay away from Chinese tools but I think for this particular application, the use of these indicators are fine but can certainly be debated.

When it comes to absolute accuracy, I don't think anybody is going to disagree that the conventional method of using a single indicator as you described is a proven accurate method. But this tool looks like it can be very useful in tramming your mill in a much more efficient manner. I also think that there is a lot of value in being able to see 2 indicators as you are tightening things up.

Now I'm not here to defend this type of tool as I don't even own one. However, I definitely plan to purchase the one I linked to and will be curious to see how it compares to the conventional method in terms of efficiency and accuracy.


On another note...I recently saw you mentioned in the latest Sherline Newsletter regarding your 1/8 scale Harley Davidson you have been working on. The video that the article linked to was also very interesting. Your work is simply outstanding as I've read many articles regarding your past work in this area. So when it comes to accuracy, I'm not one to debate with you.

Patrick
 

logic

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Dushan,

Your tool looks great, must be nice to have some extra nice German indicators laying around. Please let us know how your tool works out for you. What kind of mill(s) will you be using with this tool?

Patrick
 

the 3rd dwarve

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Hi Dushan,

Are those indicators made by KS Tools Werkzeuge - Maschinen GmbH? That looks like it will work just fine. I figured when you asked for dimensions you were going to fab one up. I had it on my list of things to do to fabricate one of these but never got around to it. The SPI unit was purchased for $40 with the 2 indicators so how could I go wrong.

As far as accuracy goes I guess if you are working to 5 decimal places one of these wouldn’t work for you.

Patrick,

If you use your mill for different operations you will appreciate the ease of use one of these provides.

Using a sine bar and gauge blocks I can now set the mill head to an angle easily, quickly, and accurately (enough for me anyway). It takes me longer to do the math than it does to set up. I can also use it to set the angle on the lathe cross head.

Now that I own one I won’t be without one.

Regards,

Jeff
 

Jerry Kieffer

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Hi Jerry,

In regards to your runout concerns when using this tool, this is taken care of by the calibration step that as shown in the product video that I linked. And regarding your concern over the use of Chinese indicators, I personally try to stay away from Chinese tools but I think for this particular application, the use of these indicators are fine but can certainly be debated.

When it comes to absolute accuracy, I don't think anybody is going to disagree that the conventional method of using a single indicator as you described is a proven accurate method. But this tool looks like it can be very useful in tramming your mill in a much more efficient manner. I also think that there is a lot of value in being able to see 2 indicators as you are tightening things up.

Now I'm not here to defend this type of tool as I don't even own one. However, I definitely plan to purchase the one I linked to and will be curious to see how it compares to the conventional method in terms of efficiency and accuracy.


On another note...I recently saw you mentioned in the latest Sherline Newsletter regarding your 1/8 scale Harley Davidson you have been working on. The video that the article linked to was also very interesting. Your work is simply outstanding as I've read many articles regarding your past work in this area. So when it comes to accuracy, I'm not one to debate with you.

Patrick
Patrick
Thank you for the kind words

I can certainly understand the desire to compare methods side by side since this type of comparison is what my comments were based on.

While I have never owned a two dial devise, I was given one built by Federal using federal indicators to try out a few years ago.
After side by side comparison you quickly learn that readings by either method are meaningless and only machine performance after tramming will determine success.
My personal experience was that the use of a single high quality indicator setup per my photo outperformed the twin indicator in both accuracy and time spent.
Please share your experience.

Jerry Kieffer
 

Dushan Grujich

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Hi Dushan,

Are those indicators made by KS Tools Werkzeuge - Maschinen GmbH?
G'Day Jeff!

Dial indicators which I have used were made by Feinmess Suhl GmbH founded in 1878, ( now part of Steinmeyer GmbH & Co. KG). Friedrich Keilpart founded his company in Suhl / Thuringia, symbol "KS" in a wedge stands for Keilpart Suhl.

These particular DI's were bought NOS, marked KS Keilpart TGL 7682-0 and were made during the existence of DDR, they are fully jewelled and are quite accurate. Some years ago I have tested them for accuracy and for linearity within the 3.0 mm travel and have found that they are just as good as any standard issue DI's each costing more than did my complete investment for a dozen.

I've looked up the KS Tools and from what I can see it was started in 1992 and I do not know of connection between the two companies or if there is any.

That looks like it will work just fine. I figured when you asked for dimensions you were going to fab one up. I had it on my list of things to do to fabricate one of these but never got around to it. The SPI unit was purchased for $40 with the 2 indicators so how could I go wrong.
Well, all I can say is that it does work nicely, You can see it in use at the image below. Once again thanks for the help!


Spindle Square 02.jpg


As far as accuracy goes I guess if you are working to 5 decimal places one of these wouldn’t work for you.
Talking about the accuracy of measurement method, I am not worried about errors, they are extremely small to be of real importance. What I was worried about was the actual slop in the milling spindle that is inherently present in the type of mill used by EMCO and utilised with Unimat 3. Having measured the play in spindle (not the runout) has shown it to be 4/100 mm, 100 mm away from the bearing itself. So it is not much of a concern anyway as the flexing of the mill column is more than that when milling. Even if the slop and column flexing add up there still is not much to be concerned with, providing one takes light cuts.

After all, for the intended purpose (of mine) for the Uni 3 mill and its capabilities, the accuracy is more than ample of both the mill and of the means to square it up. As the saying goes: It's the nature of the beast.

Needless to say that when it becomes necessary to have work done to a much higher precision I shall get a an ALG 100 or ALG 200 mill, they are hefty beasties that will take a lot of punishment and shall still work true.

Cheers

Dushan
 

the 3rd dwarve

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I needed to set up the rotary table yesterday so I thought I would take a little extra time and check the function of this SPI spindle square.

I cleaned the table well and then blocked it with some 600 wet & dry to remove any nicks. I then cleaned it again.

I then set up the SPI spindle square and set the head up x and y.

Next I checked it with an indicator as we’ve all been doing forever. I was a little disappointed at the results. While it was pretty close in the Y direction, it was out about .003 in the X direction.

I set up the SPI square again and took a little more care with it. The second time yielded acceptable results.

The pictures only show the X axis because I couldn’t get a picture from the back for the Y.

One caution I would make is that the spindle square is so easy to use I rushed it and didn’t get the results I should have the first time. Lesson learned for me.

The other thing I wanted to try was setting the head over 15 degrees to mill a slot in a fixture I was making. It was easy to do and quick.

Regards,

Jeff
 

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Bob Fisher

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Jul 2, 2012
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Bought the same thing a month or two ago when it was on sale at MSC. does make things easier. Bob.
 

Joe Navarro

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Dec 18, 2012
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The spindle is ground within a few tenths of a thousand. It is the only unit on the market that can be preset. One thing I notice is a lot of people miss one thing on the instructions that is that you can check the head by comparing the two indicators. Afterwards you can double check by only looking at one indicator while turning the spindle. If results are different it could be the collet.
 

Joe Navarro

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Dec 18, 2012
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Issue 1: If there is an issue with spindle mounting you would want to know this. The SPINDLE SQUARE is ground to within a few tenths of 1 thousand of an inch. It has a heat treated and ground shank. You can swing the head and only looking a one indicator you can double check the reading as per he conventional setup. You also have the advantage of an easier to read dial.
 

Joe Navarro

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Dec 18, 2012
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Issue 3: An indicator is mainly used as a comparative reading instrument. These indicators are supplied with a certificate of accuracy witch can easily be checked by sliding a flat ground something under one and then the other.
 

StephanG

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I use this device.

The indicator has dovetails along all its sides so you can mount it from any direction.
Mounting it from the end gives you a 40mm swing.
You can replace the indicators arm with a longer one if you want more swing or greater accuracy.
I just borrow the arm from my magnetic base and mount it to the collet chuck with a bit of scrap.

For angles I prefer to tilt the job rather than the mill head. Nothing to reset afterwards.
I find this gun sight level works for me. Can read angles to 30 sec.
Place it flat on the table and take a reading. Add the angle you want and set the vice or the job to that figure.

May not give you perfect results like a sine bar etc but good enough for my needs so far.
 

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