With the vice permanently mounted at one end of the table it is immediately available
for holding the workpiece that can then be easily and safely moved into place using
the table's X and Y traverses. The vacant end of the table can be used for mounting
a dividing head or similar, or clamping items directly to the table for drilling
and even hand held applications but only where this is absolutely safe to do! Not
being by any means an essential item this is very much a luxury though the reduction
in the temptation to hand hold workpieces perhaps moves it a little towards being
a desirable item of workshop kit. In the absence of a Compound table I would recommend
using one of the economy cross vices which I did for many years. With safety having
been mentioned note that the machine seen in the Photograph is fitted with an emergency
stop foot switch.
Most definitely not a luxury is my universal band saw, Photograph 5, as faced with
cutting by hand even a small number of larger steel sections many a project would
have been shelved before even getting started.
Whilst I purchased the milling machine, seen in Photograph 6, before both the drilling
machine and the band saw I have placed it here in what I consider to be the order
of importance of the machines to the workshop, that is lathe, drilling machine, band
saw and milling machine. The milling machine taking the last position as, providing
the work undertaken is chosen to suit the available equipment, many milling operations
can satisfactorily be carried out on the lathe.
The machine was purchased soon after such machines started to appear from the far
east and at a time when their quality was at their lowest. Even so, with just a few
improvements the machine has performed well for me. Two items that were particularly
poor but easily corrected were the down feed stop and left/right table stops both
of which were spongy and as a result very imprecise. One problem though that I failed
to overcome was that the down feed handle with micrometer dial would move whilst
machining, making it difficult to subsequently increase the depth of cut accurately
with any degree of certainty. After living with the difficulty for many years and
many attempts to solve the problem I eventually admitted defeat and fitted a digital
readout as can be seen.
The smaller items
This is were my workshop becomes extensively equipped, ridiculously so if the reasons
for this are not considered. Readers of the "Model Engineers' Workshop" will know
that I have provided many articles whose purpose is to described some workshop process
and illustrated this by making an item of workshop equipment. This means that I have
often made an item to feature in the article even though I had no real need for an
extra one of this or that.
Please note. I am not running the mill without a belt guard. The original was steel
and very heavy making it both difficult and dangerous to remove for speed changing.
Just visible in the picture* is the transparent guard that I have now replaced it
with. As a result, there are no more bruises and I am much more likely to run the
machine at the best speed for the task.
*Best seen in the larger picture, click on the above to view.