Friday, May 31, 2013

Mill: Solid Column Upgrade

The tilting column's mechanism sucks. It's a pain adjusting with any precision since you need to use a big wrench and high torque. It's also hangs off the back of the table which greatly reduces it's rigidity. Finally, it can easily go out of X alignment without you knowing it. For those reasons I upgraded to the Little Machine Shop solid column:

It has a column with thicker walls than stock with bolts via four bolts to the bed. It's much superior. Yo have to use shims to adjust both X and Y alignment. You can view the two adjustment separately, and simply sum the shim on the shared corner. You should always have at least one corner without shims on it when you're done. When installing the solid column kit I upgraded the mounting bolts to grade 12.9 M8x40 socket head cap screws which are 5mm longer, and made sure to use a torque wrench to tighten the bolts to make my readings consistent between adjustments, using 20 ft/lbs with lubricated threads.

 In the above picture you can just see the end of an aluminum foil shim sticking out between the base and column.

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