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Thread: Unimat SL modification to improve control of milling depth

  1. #1

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    Barkersoldbean's Tools

    Unimat SL modification to improve control of milling depth

    I am a hobby user of a unimat sl and struggled to control the depth of cut when milling - due to the crude and coarse action of the splined handle that moves the milling head up and down.

    Iíve seen some rather elaborate add on devices to better control the milling depth; but these seemed to junk what is a good basic mechanism for moving the milling head up and down - itís just too coarse.

    I decided to try and retain the existing mechanism but just add a method of finer control - via a 1:30 worm drive.

    Essentially, the existing splined shaft is rotated indirectly via a worm drive assembly bolted to the milling head using the existing M6 bolt holes.

    It was all made on the unimat sl, works really well and cost around £10 to make - you just need to source the worm drive gears from eBay.

    If anyoneís interested in exact drawings and a work plan - I can try and pull it together.

    Unimat SL modification to improve control of milling depth-160e301d-7c7a-4bbd-9d4f-6db20e3c23a7.jpg
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  2. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Barkersoldbean For This Useful Post:

    DIYSwede (07-10-2019), Jon (07-10-2019), Seedtick (07-11-2019)

  3. #2
    DIYSwede's Avatar
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    DIYSwede's Tools
    Nice! Thanks for sharing.
    So how much/ little travel per turn of the worm did you achieve?
    Then just add a graduated scale to the worm and it'll be entirely repeatable!
    Personally, I'm into this idea as a "poor man's dividing head" for the lathe's headstock for toolpost milling.

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    Barkersoldbean's Tools
    Quote Originally Posted by DIYSwede View Post
    Nice! Thanks for sharing.
    So how much/ little travel per turn of the worm did you achieve?
    Then just add a graduated scale to the worm and it'll be entirely repeatable!
    Personally, I'm into this idea as a "poor man's dividing head" for the lathe's headstock for toolpost milling.
    Thanks for the reply - I've checked the travel with a dial gauge (which is how i monitor travel across all axis rather than rely on the graduated scale).

    Quite serendipitously - for each complete turn of the thumb wheel it moves the carriage by 1 mm - making operation using the thumb wheel (it's a unimat one with markings) without a dial gauge really simple.

    The worm drive can be purchased via the following eBay link.

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/1-30-Redu.../362593141972?
    ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649

    All you need is then a small block of aluminium that you mount everything into and a few bits of 3mm, 4mm and 10mm rod to make the various studs, bushes and axles.

    The hardest bit was machining the aluminium block for the worm drive and the main drive gear - I took the easy route and used a pillar drill first to remove as much as I could before finishing it off via the milling head - even then it was very small cuts and a lot of shaking about!

  5. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Barkersoldbean For This Useful Post:

    DIYSwede (07-11-2019), Jon (07-11-2019)

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    DIYSwede's Avatar
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    DIYSwede's Tools
    Thanks, I guess you were lucky for the 1 mm/ turn ratio?
    I've scrounged a complete, tight and rugged 30:1 brass gear/ steel worm tilt drive from an old Strand TV studio light we scrapped at work,
    so now "I'll just" have to find a hopefully clever, non-destructive and reversible way of attaching this to the lathe's headstock,
    and conceive and (ahem -) manufacture a few index plates...
    All these projects to do...

    OTOH: "Idle minds are the Devil's workshop, and ditto hand His tools!"

    ATB

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    Paul Alciatore's Avatar
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    Paul Alciatore's Tools
    Instead of a worm drive, I added a mount for a DI to show the actual distance traveled. It has a handwheel for setting it to zero.

    Unimat SL modification to improve control of milling depth-p1010002.jpg

    I found that with a delicate touch, I could easily set it to a thousandth. A piece of tubing slipped over the Unimat lever would allow finer adjustments. It is a joy to be able to work to actual numbers in the Z axis.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Unimat SL modification to improve control of milling depth-p02reduced800x600.jpg  
    Last edited by Paul Alciatore; 07-11-2019 at 06:44 PM.
    Paul A.

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    Thanks Barkersoldbean! We've added your Unimat Depth Control Modification to our Machining category,
    as well as to your builder page: Barkersoldbean's Homemade Tools. Your receipt:





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