Metalworking

November 22, 2004

We just received our new Sieg X3 Mill from Bob at Lathemasters. Once we placed the order, it took 7 days for it to arrive. Bob doesn't list them on his website but you can contact him via email or phone to purchase one. He made the ordering process very easy. There is also a Yahoo Lathemasters newsgroup where you can find more info on the X3 mill.

The mill was delivered on a lift gate truck and the driver placed it in the garage with a pallet jack right were I wanted it. The mill was well protected by the heavy wood crate. The shipping label listed the total weight at 445Lbs. So far everything looks fine and the motor powers up nice and smooth. The initial mechanical check passed. Nothing seems to be broken and all axis move smoothly. There is lots of red grease covering the unpainted portions of the mill. It will take a couple of days to clean it all up and move it to the basement workbench.

We plan to CNC the mill with servo motors and Gecko 320 drives, stay tuned for more.

After cleaning it up a bit, we noticed this is one of the newer X3 mills with a longer table and column. The table is approximately 6.25" x 21.75". This should give the mill a couple more inches of X travel. The maximum vertical distance between the spindle and table is now about 14".

A question was asked to us, "Why the X3 and not something else?"

We have a X1 but it is too small of a mill for some of the things we wanted to make. We looked around at the many different types of mills available on the market and the X3 came out as the best value for us. It may not be the best choice for others though. We wanted a dovetail column mill, a decent work envelope and one that can be easily moved to the basement workshop. The Rong Fu RF-45 and similar clones have a dovetail column but the weight of the mill, about 800pounds was just to much for us. The X3 cost $1075 including shipping so it is still a reasonable price point and is less expensive than a RF-45.

We spent a couple of hours cleaning and taking apart the mill. Using WD-40 and mineral spirits but lots of red grease everywhere still.

Mill base with the table removed. The white stuff is lithium grease I put on to protect the bare metal.

The motor controller board.

Column is 29.25", the base is another 4.25". Total height is 33.5". This mill is much bigger than our X1

Z-Axis gear mechanism at the base of the mill.

The motor gearhead assembly.

Z-Axis top bearing mount for the leadscrew.

The adjustment screw for the tapered Z-gib???? Still covered with red grease.

The tools and extra belt shipped in the small cardboard box.

110volt 600watt 4000rpm 6.5amp motor

The R8 16mm drill chuck and drawbar.

The end of the Y shaft diameter is 12mm.

The mill made it down to the basement workshop floor. We purchased a Harbor Freight "Bigfoot" heavy duty hand truck that was on sale for $29. There was no problem at all moving it. The big tires on the hand truck made going down the steps easier. You can rent a hand truck for around $10 a day but I figure it will come in handy for moving anything heavy in the future. The local Harbor Freight store is about 6 miles away so a source of cheap tools and stuff is only a few minutes drive.

The rest of the mill parts sitting on a worktable. The mill head was attached to the column by four bolts and was easy to remove.

December 6,2004

Our three Gecko 320 servo drives arrived. They sent a neat little magnetic gecko that is sitting on the 3rd Clifton Precision servo motor. We plan to eventually design our own servo drive but for now it was cheaper buying three of them for $99 each.The motors were purchased from Automec Direct for $18 each. Some info on the motors on CNCzone. We still need to purchase the encoders.

Everything back together again. The mill on the right is our X1 cnc micro mill.

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