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Becker No 3 vertical mill - "restoration"

geshka

Aluminum
Joined
Sep 9, 2016
Hello gang.
I always wanted vertical mill with drilling capabilities - something like BP or its clones. I do have a nice mid-sized universal mining machine, but it has fixed spindle which makes centering/drilling/tapping operations awkward.
Having very limited budget it was difficult to justify new mill so I found something that will fit my pocket and will probably work as a milling/drilling machine.
Becker3-1.jpg

I found this Becker No 3 -as you can see from photo - looks like terrible condition, but mechanically is quite OK. Spindle has very little runout and can be rebuild if needed, ways are OK'ish. Nothing is broken or cracked. So, I picked it up. It is surely old and worn and require lot of cleaning and repainting and adjusting. Unfortunately , I don't have any straight edges or "camelbacks" to validate geometry of the ways and slides. So no scraping this time.
Becker3-2.jpg
I brought it home laying down on two pallets and moving into workshop
had to build a special structure inside workshop to support standing it up.

Becker3-4.jpg
Here is rising moment - some safety wooden pieces and come-along.

Here is close-up on spindle
Becker3-3.jpg

It receives a R8 collets - which is quite convenient.

So this summer I will spend working on this new addition on my shop. Any information of this milling machine - charts, drawings, tuning/reconditioning info will be greatly appreciated.

P.S. If somebody in the area or surroundings will be able to loan a straight edge or camelback - I will gladly borrow it for some time. We can discuss terms and I am usually good with returning stuff without damaging it :)
 
lucky7 a member of this forum lives in Winnipeg and owns some straight edges. lending a straight edge is like lending someone your wife, she probably will come back in good shape, but you wouldn't fell right about it. . clean her up and take pictures of the ways. it's old but might be good looking under the crud.
 
Thanks Richard. I heard this saying about wife and some men's stuff pertaining many things - and it still true.
This is exactly what I am going to do - clean it up, paint, measure, fix what is possible , lube and use.
 
Hello gang.
I always wanted vertical mill with drilling capabilities - something like BP or its clones. I do have a nice mid-sized universal mining machine, but it has fixed spindle which makes centering/drilling/tapping operations awkward.
Having very limited budget it was difficult to justify new mill so I found something that will fit my pocket and will probably work as a milling/drilling machine.
View attachment 397899

I found this Becker No 3 -as you can see from photo - looks like terrible condition, but mechanically is quite OK. Spindle has very little runout and can be rebuild if needed, ways are OK'ish. Nothing is broken or cracked. So, I picked it up. It is surely old and worn and require lot of cleaning and repainting and adjusting. Unfortunately , I don't have any straight edges or "camelbacks" to validate geometry of the ways and slides. So no scraping this time.
View attachment 397900
I brought it home laying down on two pallets and moving into workshop
had to build a special structure inside workshop to support standing it up.

View attachment 397902
Here is rising moment - some safety wooden pieces and come-along.

Here is close-up on spindle
View attachment 397901

It receives a R8 collets - which is quite convenient.

So this summer I will spend working on this new addition on my shop. Any information of this milling machine - charts, drawings, tuning/reconditioning info will be greatly appreciated.

P.S. If somebody in the area or surroundings will be able to loan a straight edge or camelback - I will gladly borrow it for some time. We can discuss terms and I am usually good with returning stuff without damaging it :)
A scan from old days - let's you see the original spindle and drive. Add another sacn
 

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Here is spindle separately, doesn't look like on these scans. May be later model or retrofitted from other equipment... I did not clean it up yet, maybe then I will find some marking.
Spindle_1.jpgSpindle_2.jpgSpindle_3.jpg
 
I've built a plastic chamber around main frame to strip older paint and body filler. It is terribly messy and dusty in there. Looks like this will be my living quoters for week or two :) Frame.jpg
 
Working on most effective way to remove grease, grime, older paint and body filler. For now, best for me is hot caustic soda bath -removes everything except rust.
Door_Becker.jpg
 
Correct, Jim. I can do that de-rusting in the same solution just by applying some electrons. I found this process altogether quite convenient and fairly cheap
 
Working ion cleaning again - table, saddle, reverse mechanism for power feed.
Asking for common wisdom opinion - all castings are covered with older style putty which is very "oily" . This black putty was made before synthetic Bondo invented. Is there any simple way to remove this black compound?

Table.jpgSaddle.jpgPower feed reverse.jpg
 
The compound, or filler could be something like "Smooth-on", a compound used for repairs and sealing of cast iron. It was mainly used for things like sealing freeze cracks in engine water jackets or cracks in cast iron low pressure applications. Or, the filler could have been a shop-mixed thing, and any number of old texts have instructions on how to mix these sorts of fillers. Stuff like 'litharge', and even Portland Cement mixed with paint were used.

As to removing the filler in a timely and easy manner, I'd suggest using an air needle scaler. You could remove the filler with a welder's hand chipping hammer, using the pointed end and just pecking away at the filler deposits. The air needle scaler is quicker and does a better and more thorough job. An air needle scaler needs a shop air compressor to supply compressed air to run it. It will leave the cast iron in a clean 'frosted' condition. Blow or vacuum off the remaining dust and debris and the castings are ready for primer. Things like an angle grinder with a cup wire brush will load up with the filler or throw a lot of particulates into the air. The filler may be 'friable' (able to be crumbled), so the needle scaler will make short work of it.

Another thought is to leave the filler deposits in place. Use automotive body sanders to smooth out these filler deposits if necessary. Build up on them with modern auto body fillers, and finish by sanding. Removing the old filler may disclose really rough castings with porosities or 'blowholes' from the foundry, needing to be refilled to slick them off for the new paint. Back when the Becker mill was made, there were no handy air tools or electric tools like angle grinders, needle scalers and air sanders. The castings were 'snagged' at the foundry on large coarse grinding wheels, and sprues and gates and mold flash were chipped off with hammers and chisels and given a lick and promise with the coarsest and largest files imaginable. After that, it was a case of filling the holes and rough areas on the castings with whatever the flavor of the week was for filler. As I wrote, this filler may have been shop-mixed by the painters, and could have any likely substances that were at hand mixed in.
I've seen some fillers on old machinery castings that broke up readily when hit with an air needle scaler, nothing oily about them. Great bonding to the 'substrate' (fancy term for what a sealant, paint, or filler is applied to). However, these old fillers were brittle when hit with the needle scaler or chipping hammer and popped off in chunks.
 
Thanks for the info, Joe. I was thinking about smoothing out surface with this old filler. It is not getting out easily so I am leaning toward to just leave it in the deep spots. The only concern is - will primer or Bondo stick to it?
 
Be careful with old filler as there might be significant lead content. Joe mentioned litharge which I believe is a lead bearing material. The safest approach is to remove as little as possible and fill over it. If you get a sweet taste when removing material from the castings, you are tasting lead.
 
What you describe and what's in the pictures sounds more like oil saturated paint or Japaning, if not just dry oil/grime.

I don't think new paint sticking to the old filler is so much a problem as new paint sticking to the oils that have permeated the old filler. Same is often true of the iron itself holding onto oils. That said, I think it's just a mater of thorough cleaning to break down and leach out the oils in all the surfaces. Cleaning the old paint or filler off IMO has more to do with arresting chipping and providing a visibly level surface for the new paint. I'll often start with mineral spirits to wash most of the surface oils and debris off, then liberal amounts of lacquer thinner to get all the residual stuff out. If it's REALLY saturated, using a torch to bake out the oils may be necessary.

I've had good luck with Krylon's Tuff Coat series of machinery paints. Had a few machines that didn't need primer and even had some residual oil that I was too lazy to get out, and it hasn't peeled up yet. It brushes on thick and levels well so you can get a thick durable finish without a lot of extra steps.
 
Thanks for the suggestions, folks. I took a sample of that black putty and went to the local biolab. They made express test for the led and did not found any ,so I am safe :) . Digging into internet I found some discussions and videos where people suggested this is corn starch with linseed oil (that was a body filler back then) soaked with machine oil.

I am perfectly fine leaving some remnants of it in deep spots, that only concern is - it does not matter how good I am cleaning and wiping with alcohol - it is leaving black residue on my hands. I just afraid primer will start peeling off.

Or may be I am just overthinking all this.
 
I always thought R-8 was exclusive to Bridgeport
(and the clone rip offs). Unless the spindle was
9 Brown Sharpe and was re-ground, consider that
someone MAY have swapped in a Bridgeport J head
spindle. Just maybe. Something to look for.

-Doozer
 
Or may be I am just overthinking all this.
I've primed and painted over this kind of filler, without problems.
HOWEVER, I used simple oil base alkyd paint, without hardener, for this - Rustoleum type stuff.
If you intend some kind of 2 part polyurethane primer and paint, you might get in trouble.
 
In the Colchester film ,there are a couple of guys filling new castings using wide spring paint scrapers .......a few minutes to get a nice smooth surface for paint.............Ive found 2 pac to be unsuitable for machines unless the iron is grit blasted ......the coat is so strong it comes off like a crabshell on an impact.
 








 
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