Author Topic: Milling machine tram tool  (Read 39277 times)

bogstandard

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Milling machine tram tool
« on: February 28, 2009, 07:24:04 PM »
Here we go again, clearing items from the backlog of jobs I have promised people I would do for them. :clap:

I remember seeing one of these that a long time machinist had made for himself, but it was about twice as long. The longer it can be made the easier to use and more accurate it will be. He did piece work, so anything that speeded up the tramming process meant more money in his pocket. :thumbup:

A friend has asked me to make him one of these, and he has already given me the relevent dimension required, I think for an X1 mill.

These are produced commercially, in a slightly different design. How they can have the audacity to patent it, I have no idea. :scratch:

If you find one during your searches, please don't relate to it in this post. Issues have arisen over copyright on another post, and I don't want it rearing it's head here. :wack:

The one I will be making will be a short version, that will tram in both X and Y axis. But there is nothing stopping you making one much longer, just for use in the X axis. I should really have done that with mine, as I have no tramming adjustment in the Y axis on my mill, maybe I will just make another one but longer. :dremel:

Now a few things that need to be said.

Please don't ask about tramming in this post, if you don't know what it is or how to do it, please raise a seperate topic and all questions will be answered there. :poke:

The other main issue is that this will end up as a precision instrument, and if your machinery or yourself are not up to working to tight tolerances, I would suggest you wait until you have the relevent experience or machinery. Get it wrong, and you will be doing a non tramming exercise on your mill. :smart:

You will require a faceplate on your lathe with the same or larger diameter as the main bar is long, or if you can come up with something that will do the job I will be showing later, then good, but the accuracy of this tool depends on the final cutting on the lathe. If you can work to tolerances of 0.002" (0.05mm) or lower, you should be OK. :clap:

This is easily only a one day job. Its takes me much longer because I can only work a couple of hours at a time, and I make the post up out of what I have done in that time. :med:


So away we go, showing what I have been up to today in my little shop of horrors.


I will be turning this,




Into one of these.
It looks an easy exercise, but as I have said, all the work is keeping everything accurate, and being done in the correct sequence.




These are the rough materials I will be using for the job. I will be showing things in imperial for our US cousins, but actually I will be working in metric as that is the size of most of the bolts and bits used.
The length of the ali bar isn't shown yet, as that will be determined later, this one is about 8" long. You could just as easily make the bar out of steel, as long as you can get the surface finishes required. There is no handwork allowed except for deburring. By hand finishing surfaces, you will be introducing errors into the precision faces, unless you have a real nice lapping plate, and know how to use it correctly. The steel bar is 5/8" diameter.
You can work with larger or smaller dimensions, but it will be up to you to modify the design to your materials. These are the ideal sizes for the gauges I have.




This shows how deep the material should be for the gauges you are using, the sensing tips should be protruding out of the bottom of the finished tool by roughly the amount shown. You can use slightly shallower bar, but the gripping area for the top part of the gauge rod will not be supported as much. You don't want too much sticking out of the bottom as it makes the part vunerable to being knocked.




If you are going to be making the dual axis version, you will need the dimension as roughly shown between the two points of the gauges. The easy way is to measure from centre to centre of the outside rails of the table. If just making the X axis version, just make it as long as you feel is right, 12" would be a good figure (if you have a faceplate that can take it).




So now we get to the machining bit, cleaning up the bits of rough material I have selected.

There is a bit of a catch 22 situation here, because of the high accuracy of machining and drilling, the mill needs to be trammed up as close to perfection as you can get it. I had no trouble, as I already have a tramming tool, you will just have to do it the hard way until you have made yours. A sure sign of having the tramming spot on, is when flycutting, you will get very fine pattern marks showing that it is cutting on both the forwards and backwards cut as it goes over the material.
Here it is just cleaning up the surfaces, with a 5 thou cut. I went thru the procedure as though I was squaring up a bar, and ended up with all faces parallel to less that 0.0005" (0.01mm).




Then using a countersink tool, a very small chamfer was put down each edge. This is to try to eliminate errors after the tool has been used for a time, no sharp edges to get 'dinged' and stop the precision faces sitting down correctly.




This shows my setting tool from the bottom. It shows the layout of the slot and if you look very carefully, where the bolt sits. I will be showing how to do all this and dimensions a little later.




So now onto a bit of lathework.

The bar had a spigot machined on one end about 5/8" long (non critical but somewhere close), and 3/8" (10mm) diameter minus 0.001" (0.025mm). You could just about get away with being 0.002" (0.05mm) under size. This is to allow the use of high strength Loctite during assembly. The shoulder was also cleaned up as this will be a datum face.




The end of the spigot had a small chamfer filed on the end, and a hole drilled and threaded into the end of it. Mine was 6mm, for imperial, maybe 1/4"




So the bar was then turned around and the outside diameter reduced so that it was slightly smaller than the dimension between the chamfers on the ali bar. There will be slight length and diameter changes to this bar on the very final operation of making the tool.




The two main bits machined up and ready for the next stages.




Showing how they will be assembled, once the right holes are in place.



So there we have getting the bits prepared.

Next time it will be drilling holes and assembling it all.


John

Offline Brass_Machine

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Re: Milling machine tram tool
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2009, 07:36:20 PM »
Awesome. I have been waiting for this one. Thanks John!

Eric
We're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad.

Offline Bernd

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Re: Milling machine tram tool
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2009, 10:14:06 PM »
Nice work John.

I see I'm going to have to make one up for the Bridgy.

Bernd
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Offline sbwhart

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Re: Milling machine tram tool
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2009, 12:01:07 AM »
Supper John, :clap:  Like Eric I've been waiting for this.

Cheers

Stew
A little bit of clearance never got in the road
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Location:- Crewe Cheshire

Offline Mustang

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Re: Milling machine tram tool
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2009, 12:11:44 AM »
Excellent John, :beer:

I just purchase two DIs for this project so your long awaited post hits the nail right on the head. :hammer: Now I will know how to proceed.

Bravo Zulu

Andy

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Re: Milling machine tram tool
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2009, 03:30:50 AM »
John,

My first tramming was done using a blunt tooled 16" flycutter & feeler gauges.

Then in later years, a finger clock in a bent piece of tube.......

Now, soon to be a born again miller....
I`ve got the clock..... Searching for a suitable piece of tube.  ::)


I am really intrigued by this double headed delight.  :thumbup:

David.

Still drilling holes... Sometimes, in the right place!

Still modifying bits of metal... Occasionally, making an improvement!

Offline SPiN Racing

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Re: Milling machine tram tool
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2009, 07:25:08 AM »
<Watches closely taking notes>

Taking a deep breath and going to look at what Im doing and start to try to tighten my tolerences up... so I go from making it work.. to doing it correctly.

Scott
SPiN Racing

Offline Darren

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Re: Milling machine tram tool
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2009, 07:31:19 AM »
Nice project, I realise what it is now  :clap:

I guess accurate machining is required here, maybe later for me then  :lol:

Interesting use of a left handed tool John, any partic reason, or just because you can
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bogstandard

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Re: Milling machine tram tool
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2009, 07:56:31 AM »
Thanks lads, I will see what I can get done this evening.

It looks so easy to make, in fact it is, but because it ends up as a precision tool, the quality has to be kept high.

You could actually do a real roughie on it, and as long as the holes are vertical to the bottom face and that bottom face is perfectly flat, it could be rescued by the final operation (to be shown later). But then it would just be a roughie tool with no real pride involved, and as such would not be treated so kindly during it's life.

Darren,

How many times have you used your left hand tool? I bet hardly ever.

By mounting it in the way I have, I find it is perfect for both normal right hand cutting, facing, and if needed, it can be swung around, reclamped,  and used for it's correct job. So really, in conjuction with my profile tool, I find I can carry out about 90% of jobs on the lathe with it, and gives me a better view of the parts being machined, not having the toolpost holder blocking the view. Plus pure laziness on my part, it saves me having to swap tools about.

John
« Last Edit: March 16, 2009, 07:40:58 AM by bogstandard »

bogstandard

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Re: Milling machine tram tool
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2009, 05:12:58 PM »
Another hour or so's work coming up.

As I am making this for an internet friend, and the dimensions given to me were in metric, at sometime during this post I have to use all metric measurements to get to where I want to be. I will be using 125mm between the dial gauge tips, plus 15mm at either end for the gauge clamp system. If you are working in Imperial, just use your own figure for the central measurement, plus a converted 15mm at either end. The end bits aren't too critical, but don't make them any smaller.




So after covering the side that was to slide on the bandsaw table, just to protect the surface finish, I hacked off the spare at the end.




After setting the bar onto parallels, both ends were cleaned up without removing too much metal.




The final length isn't critical, as long as it isn't under your length minimum limit. All I needed was a final length, so that I could find exact centre of the bar.
Unfortunately, my 6" digivern just wasn't quite long enough, so I had to revert to old mechanical tooling. This is most probably more accurate than the digivern anyway.




So now I had the OAL and width, I can easily find exact centre both ways.
The bar was tapped down gently onto a pair of thin paras.




The reason for the thin paras is that I need to drill right thru the bar, so I checked with the largest sized drill I will be using, just to make sure I won't be trying to drill steel as well as aluminium.




So I have a piece of ali all centred up in the vice, ready to start drilling. Turn on the camera, and squeak, crunch. The lens locked up solid, and wouldn't turn itself onto picture taking mode. So after the usual battery change, hitting it all ways from saturday, it still refuses to go.

So sorry gents, unless you want to carry on without piccies, all my posts are now piccy suspended until I can get my hands on a decent digicam.

I will have a bit of a twiddle tomorrow to see if Darrens vinegar trick will work, but I doubt it.

After many thousands of pics over the last six years, it is time to say goodbye.

R.I.P. Fuji S5000, you have done me well. You are destined to be recycled into other things.


Man in black Bogs.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2009, 11:53:04 PM by bogstandard »

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Re: Milling machine tram tool
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2009, 07:14:23 PM »
I've got a canon ixus 400 sitting on the shelf John.... My old one.

Still in good order.... Yours if you want it.... Not quite the fuji, but takes good macro shots and short videos with sound (60second If I remember correctly)

Could be delivered Thurs' or Friday If you want it?


You know the deal  :thumbup:


Can't have the threads drying up just as your getting going can we?!




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Offline John Stevenson

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Re: Milling machine tram tool
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2009, 08:20:17 PM »
John,
Is a Fuji S3500 any good to you?
Got one here 2 months old and I can't get on with it.

JS
John Stevenson

bogstandard

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Re: Milling machine tram tool
« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2009, 11:06:04 PM »
Isn't it nice to have such generous friends.

Many thanks for the great offer gentlemen, but things are already being sorted.

I had already been offered a later version of my camera a couple of months ago, just like you gents F.O.C.

An email late last night sorted it out for me.

Plus after a bit of 'experimentation' early this morning, I managed to get the lens freed off, and it is now taking piccies again, just with a bit more noise than before. So hopefully, that will get me to the end of this project today.

I wish these things had grease nipples and oil holes.

Thanks again lads.

John

Offline sbwhart

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Re: Milling machine tram tool
« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2009, 03:18:42 AM »
Sounds like swarf in the works of your camera John  :hammer:

Stew

A little bit of clearance never got in the road
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Location:- Crewe Cheshire

bogstandard

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Re: Milling machine tram tool
« Reply #14 on: March 02, 2009, 05:38:59 AM »
Might be Stew, must remember to move it off the mill table while I'm cutting. :lol:

But to be honest, I think it has just worn out. But the bits are a little smal for even me to make.

John


bogstandard

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Re: Milling machine tram tool
« Reply #15 on: March 02, 2009, 08:41:58 PM »
So after last nights camera fiasco, here I am again, burning the midnight oil. I had to work later tonight to try to catch up because I didn't get it done yesterday.

Went into the shop, turned on the mill, and everything was as I had left it, everything centred. So a quickie start.




First job, drill a hole right thru the bar. This is for the spindle holding bolt and I used a clearance hole for 6mm. This is a bit confusing here, dual measurements, but I told you I had to do some bits in metric.




I then followed it down with a 3/8" end mill. After a time using your machines, you get to know if it will cut accurately or not. I know that this will be an accurate cut. Maybe you could leave the spindle until you have cut your hole, and then trim it down to fit the hole minus 1 thou.
Not really the ideal, using a drill chuck to hold the cutter, but I know my chucks, and this one definitely cuts with no runout. My larger one would cut 0.002" oversize. Get to know your tooling, and you won't go far wrong.




This went to a depth of about 3/4". If you remember, the spigot was only 5/8" long. I don't want it to bottom in the hole, but to be pulled down tightly onto the formed shoulder where the shaft meets the spigot.




Next job, measure the diameter of the dial gauge holding shank. Near as dammit 8mm. You will have to measure yours for the size of drill you require.




Before drilling the gauge mounting holes, I did a quick check for fit of the spindle. By eyeball, it looks very close or even spot on, but as usual I am not trusting my eyes. Only when it is on the lathe will it show if it is out or not.

So I then got back to drilling the holes in the required places. After centre drilling, I put a 6mm down thru the bar, followed by a 7mm, then the final 8mm. If you carry out this method, of coming up to size on a hole, the hole usually ends up spot on size. The reason being, only the first hole drilled relies on cutting the middle part of the hole out, so if the drill is ground slightly out, you can end up with holes of all shapes and sizes. The following sizes of drills are cutting a lot less material than if going straight in, and also no tip to throw it off line. My hole sizes ended up spot on, a nice snug fit.




So that was the top face finished with. The bar was turned the other way up, recentred and an end mill used to put a recess in for the spindle holding bolt head to fit into. If you remember, this bar is 1.5" deep, so I went to a depth of 1/2". This left an uncut middle to the hole that is 1/4" thick, top to bottom, plenty strong enough to take the strain of a real tight bolt.




So while it was this way up, I took the opportunity to cut a 3/16" deep recess into the bottom face. This is to allow the bar to sit better on the table when measuring without having to worry about dirt and damage under the whole length of the bar. The final faces of the datums ended up at around 1" long by 5/8" wide, with the gauge tips protruding in the middle of the face.




Now back on the bench, after all holes were given a nice clean chamfer and all edges deburred with a scraping tool. Plastic tape was then put over the datum faces, to protect them during the next machining operations.




The next job was a straight forwards slitting cut for making the gauge clamps, one at either end.




So what is the correct place for the clamping bolts?
Measure up your gauge like this, mine were 3/4" long, measured to where the lead in taper starts. Half that figure = 3/8"




Measure from the edge of the hole to the end of the bar, half of 1/2" = 1/4"




3/8" down, 1/4" in. I didn't blue up and mark out as I don't want scibe lines over the finished product.
The bar was remounted into the vice (with new tape on datum faces), and the hole positions found using my edge finder.
I used 5mm cap screws instead of the shown 6mm. The 6mm looked way too large.
So a tapping size drill was put right thru, followed by a clearance drill, but only until it reached the saw cut. The recess for the bolt head was then put in.




After tapping the rear side, and after another deburr, the block was finally finished.




Now the two main parts can be assembled together. Using hi strength Loctite (clone) on the spigot and holding bolt, everything was given a good tighten up. This is now ready for when I can get back onto the job tommorrow, and true it all up.




Another late night.

Bogs
« Last Edit: March 03, 2009, 03:09:59 AM by bogstandard »

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Re: Milling machine tram tool
« Reply #16 on: March 03, 2009, 02:18:41 AM »
Another crackin` episode John!  :clap:

Keep `em coming......  :thumbup:

David.
Still drilling holes... Sometimes, in the right place!

Still modifying bits of metal... Occasionally, making an improvement!

Offline sbwhart

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Re: Milling machine tram tool
« Reply #17 on: March 03, 2009, 02:53:17 AM »
Superb rite up John

 :clap:  :clap:  :clap:

Stew
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Location:- Crewe Cheshire

Offline Darren

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Re: Milling machine tram tool
« Reply #18 on: March 03, 2009, 05:59:55 AM »
As usual a smashing write up John,

It's a wonder you never took up teaching, you have the knack.  :thumbup:
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bogstandard

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Re: Milling machine tram tool
« Reply #19 on: March 03, 2009, 06:36:52 PM »
I have a rather duff right arm, and this morning, they drained all the blood out of my left one. Does this mean I am classed as harmless? :lol:

Jammie doughnuts, here I come. :clap:


The loctite has set, so now I can get it onto the lathe to true it up.
First off, I checked the runout of my faceplate. 0.001", normally that would be acceptable, but I want it better for the precision I am about to try to achieve.




So I put on a 2 thou cut, and sent the tool on a 40 minute journey. :med:




While the faceplate was being skimmed, I made a quickie set of clamps to hold the tramming tool to the plate.




So the plate was finished, and when checked, no runout.
This pic also shows a good example of the casting effects. Notice the shiny bits, that is because the casting was thicker in those areas, so that area cooled down a lot slower, and so ended up with a much finer chrystaline structure. You learn something new every day on Maddmodders. :mmr:




Using a technique very similar to one Bernd showed the other day, the trammer was gently pushed against the faceplate, with a piece of paper under the datum faces, to prevent damage. :thumbup:




While it was in position, I fitted the quickie clamps to hold it against the faceplate, again with pieces of paper to prevent damage.




The DTI was now swung into use. I first trammed across the top face, to see if the paper was causing any problems. It was spot on. So I then concentrated on the spindle. By gently tapping with a lump of nylon bar, I gradually moved the trammer to a zero runout position and then locked everything up tight.




So now was the time to see if my hard work was in vain. You guessed it, 0.0035" runout.  :scratch:
So it does go to show, if you think you are making it accurately, it just might not be so. I expected this and it was the reason I kept saying that it needed to be mounted on the lathe for final tuning. It only had to be a minute amount out of vertical, and by the time it reached the end of the spindle, that error would be multiplied many times over.




The fix was dead easy, just gentle skimming up, and while I was at it, I reduced the spindle diameter to a very useable 12mm. Now it was truly spot on, and I was a happy bunny. :ddb: :ddb: :ddb:
WE NEED BUNNIES INSTEAD OF NANA's




So what do you do with it now?

Well the first thing was to fit the gauges, and put the datum faces down onto a perfectly flat surface. You could just move the 0 dial to line up with each finger and that would be it. But I go a little further and and by moving the gauges up and down in their locating holes, I try to get the dials showing zero at the top. It just looks neater. But also make sure the tiny dial measures the same as well.




So how do you use it?

Just put it into your chuck (a collet chuck would most probably be a little more accurate, but I know this one is OK).

Bring the tips down until they are resting on the table and are moving the dials.

Then just adjust the mill head until the dials show the same figure, it need not be 0, it can be anything, 8 or 3, as long as they are the same (including the little dials).

Swing it thru 90 degrees and you can tram the Y axis as well using the same procedure. If you are unlucky, 5 minutes total time.

Once the needles are at the same setting, you have now trammed the head on your mill.

As you can see, and as I said, my head is perfectly in tram. I should know, I used my own little tramming tool to do it.

A lot easier than trying to use a clock on the end of a bar, and then attempting to swing it thru 180 degrees to take the next measurement ----- and so on until you eventually get it right.





Little and large trammers.

The little one can now go to it's new owner.





So this little tool looks a pig to make, but in fact it is very easy, as long as you can keep things under control with fairly tight tolerances. As I said, the final lathe work will true it up a treat.
 
Total cost -- However much a pair of gauges are and a few bits of raw materials.

Your gain -- tramming now becomes a joy, rather than a PITA.

I hope you have enjoyed the post, and it gives you the inspiration to make one for yourself. You would never regret it.


Disappearing backlog Bogs.

Offline Bernd

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Re: Milling machine tram tool
« Reply #20 on: March 03, 2009, 09:16:53 PM »
Very nice John.  :thumbup:

Some time in the future I'll have to make one for the Bridgeport mill. I've got the head tramed in pretty good on it now using, like you said, a long bar and sung it back and forth to get the head "0". I might never move it but then again you never know.

BTW, that tool sure would look nice in a wooden box.  :poke:

But knowing how you don't like wood work I guess not.  :lol:

Bernd
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Offline HS93

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Re: Milling machine tram tool
« Reply #21 on: March 04, 2009, 12:04:32 AM »
That looks magic  :ddb:   :ddb: and I have Just the Padded box for it, and a little mill to use it on.
The only problem is that I will now have to up my game a lot so it will be worth all the effort you have put in to it. :bow:

thanks

peter

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I am usless at metalwork, Oh and cannot spell either . failure

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Re: Milling machine tram tool
« Reply #22 on: March 04, 2009, 01:36:36 AM »
Job done  :thumbup: 

Nice bit of tooling there John  :)




Quote
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Now if that were the case then Peter's post would be the cast of "Water ship down"!!!!  :lol:




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Re: Milling machine tram tool
« Reply #23 on: March 04, 2009, 02:01:18 AM »
Thank you John.  :thumbup:

That`s a crackin` job, well explained......  :clap:

David.
Still drilling holes... Sometimes, in the right place!

Still modifying bits of metal... Occasionally, making an improvement!

bogstandard

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Re: Milling machine tram tool
« Reply #24 on: March 04, 2009, 03:40:48 AM »
Thanks lads for the comments, glad to have entertained you for a while. As usual, I have enjoyed doing it as well.

Peter & David,

When I can get the boss to take me out to the post office, your little packages will be on their way, but not today, I have a special cruising visitor calling this afternoon. More goodies from the US.

My next backlog project will be making some model engine flywheels for a project in the future, for myself and a good mate of mine, who will need one very soon.

Showing how I do these has been done before on other sites, but if anyone is interested, I will catalogue it and post as usual. If not, I will just get on with it.

Just a quick note on the tramming tool.

Although I go on about extolling it's virtues, I will just tell you what I think about it.

I have been doing the process of tramming for more years than I want to remember, using all of the old school methods. Struggling to get perfection, and no matter what anyone tells you, unless you are very experience in doing it the 'old way', it can become a chore that you detest doing.
Not so much of an issue on the larger and more rigid machines, but just by doing some heavy cutting can easily knock your head out of tram. It is not an issue normally when cutting in the X axis, you just get a little back cut, and that can be an advantage at times. But when you do a cut in the Y axis with the head out of wack in the X, you will never get a truly square cut, it will be tilted one way or the other.

This little tool, in all honesty, makes the job of tramming a joy to do, taking out all the inherent errors normally associated with the job, and it speeds up the process to usually a couple of minutes, rather than the normal half hour or so.

John