Thursday, 8 November 2012

Mill Mantling

This week I have been more excited than a dog with diphallia. Allow me to explain.

Some time ago I was given a milling machine. Specifically a 1976 Mk1 Dore Westbury. The mill has only had one owner from new, that owner being a retired professional engineer who had built the mill from the basic kit of castings. And a fine job he had made of it too. I just needed to go and pick it up and bring it home.

Which is a problem if you happen to live in New Zealand and the mill is in England.

My father had been given a much larger Bridgeport and had no need of the smaller mill so asked if I wanted it. I enjoy a challenge (if you hadn't already noticed) and since I know the mill well and know it's history, it was worth pursuing. So during my recent museum leave I took time out to arrange the shipping. Now, getting a 76kg lump of iron around the planet is a non trivial task which is compounded by the strict MAF regulations here in NZ. I'm not complaining about those regulations by the way, I like NZ the way it is and support efforts to protect our biodiversity. The upshot is that I couldn't make a crate myself since all the timber has to be treated and stamped and certified and documented etc, etc, etc. It turns out that there are companies that specialise in moving lumps of metal about. I used Oakbridge because I happened to see an advert in one of the classic motorbike magazines that litter my parent's house. They were very easy to deal with and for a price, happy to take on the job. That price being somewhat less than an equivalent mill would cost here in NZ. I have seen several other Dore Westbury mills for sale here but they all seem to be either badly built (they were a kit, remember), badly abused or an interesting combination of both. None of these options appealed.

I took the mill apart, thoroughly cleaned it and arranged pick up of all the pieces. That was 3 1/2 months ago. Since then the mill has been on a long cruise and I've been wading through customs and MAF forms. Actually that's a lie since a local agent handled all that for me, I'm not good at paperwork you see.

Then on Saturday, this turned up.

Inside it was this. 

When my daughter saw the pile of bits, she asked if I was going to mantle it straight away. I liked that. It isn't one by the way, I looked it up

I just needed to paint the castings, Dad never got around to it

And put it back together. The quill is a little tight and I need to take it apart 
again to remedy this, I've probably got a little paint around the edge of the bore.

I only had the one piece left over at the end which was good. 
Dad, what is this bit?

I still have to bore a hole in the top of the workbench to allow the column to drop through. And to bolt the base down. And to route the switch cable properly.

In other news, I have been in touch with Norman, a fellow old bike enthusiast from England who has been following some of my ideas for making stuff. Norman has just started a new blog to document his own experiences and I urge you to go and have a look. In particular try and help him out with an identification for his latest project.

As I have suspected for a long time, it turns out that fiddling with old bikes in sheds is rocket science. Well sort of.

1 comment:

  1. Hello again!

    Nitpickery: Austrian, not German. To be seen not only from the network domain "", where ".at" stands for AusTria, but also from the red-white-red-striped logo up top, which is reminiscent of (and probably created in homage to) the Austrian flag.